3573 hues of grace edition 1818.
Was there a human spirit in the steed,
That thus with his proud voice, ere night was gone,
He broke our linked rest? or do indeed 3795
All living things a common nature own,
And thought erect an universal throne,
Where many shapes one tribute ever bear?
And Earth, their mutual mother, does she groan
To see her sons contend? and makes she bare 3800
Her breast, that all in peace its drainless stores may share?
I have heard friendly sounds from many a tongue
Which was not human—the lone nightingale
Has answered me with her most soothing song,
Out of her ivy bower, when I sate pale 3805
With grief, and sighed beneath; from many a dale
The antelopes who flocked for food have spoken
With happy sounds, and motions, that avail
Like man’s own speech; and such was now the token
Of waning night, whose calm by that proud neigh was broken. 3810
Each night, that mighty steed bore me abroad,
And I returned with food to our retreat,
And dark intelligence; the blood which flowed
Over the fields, had stained the courser’s feet;
Soon the dust drinks that bitter dew,—then meet 3815
The vulture, and the wild dog, and the snake,
The wolf, and the hyaena gray, and eat
The dead in horrid truce: their throngs did make
Behind the steed, a chasm like waves in a ship’s wake.
For, from the utmost realms of earth came pouring 3820
The banded slaves whom every despot sent
At that throned traitor’s summons; like the roaring
Of fire, whose floods the wild deer circumvent
In the scorched pastures of the South; so bent
The armies of the leagued Kings around 3825
Their files of steel and flame;—the continent
Trembled, as with a zone of ruin bound,
Beneath their feet, the sea shook with their Navies’ sound.
From every nation of the earth they came,
The multitude of moving heartless things, 3830
Whom slaves call men: obediently they came,
Like sheep whom from the fold the shepherd brings
To the stall, red with blood; their many kings
Led them, thus erring, from their native land;
Tartar and Frank, and millions whom the wings 3835
Of Indian breezes lull, and many a band
The Arctic Anarch sent, and Idumea’s sand,
Fertile in prodigies and lies;—so there
Strange natures made a brotherhood of ill.
The desert savage ceased to grasp in fear 3840
His Asian shield and bow, when, at the will
Of Europe’s subtler son, the bolt would kill
Some shepherd sitting on a rock secure;
But smiles of wondering joy his face would fill,
And savage sympathy: those slaves impure, 3845
Each one the other thus from ill to ill did lure.