페이지 이미지

Wakening a lonely echo; and the leaves
Of the old thorn, that on the topmost tower
Usurp'd the royal ensign's grandeur, shook
In the stern storm that sway'd the topmost tower,
And whisper'd strange tales in the whirlwind's ear.

Low through the lone cathedral's roofless aisles
The melancholy winds a death-dirge sung:
It were a sight of awfulness to see
The works of faith and slavery, so vast,
So sumptuous, yet so perishing withal'
Even as the corpse that rests beneath its wall.
A thousand mourners deck the pomp of death
To-day, the breathing marble glows above
To decorate its memory, and tongues
Are busy of its life: to-morrow, worms
In silence and in darkness seize their prey.

Within the massy prison's mouldering courts,
Fearless and free the ruddy children play'd,
weaving gay chaplets for their innocent brows
With the green ivy and the red wall-flower,
That mock the dungeon's unavailing gloom;
The ponderous chains, and gratings of strong iron,
There rusted amid heaps of broken stone,
That mingled slowly with their native earth:
There the broad beam of day, which feebly once
Lighted the cheek of lean captivity
With a pale and sickly glare, then freely shone
On the pure smiles of infant playfulness:
No more the shuddering voice of hoarse despair
Peal'd through the echoing vaults, but soothing notes
Of ivy-finger'd winds and gladsome birds
And merriment were resonant around.

These ruins soon left not a wreck behind :
Their elements, wide scatter'd o'er the globe,
To happier shapes were moulded, and became
Ministrant to all blissful impulses:
Thus human things were perfected, and earth,
Even as a child beneath its mother's love,
was strengthen'd in all excellence, and grew
Fairer and nobler with each passing year.

Now Time his dusky pennons o'er the scene
Closes in stedfast darkness, and the past
Fades from our charmed sight. My task is done:
Thy lore is learned. Earth's wonders are thine own,
With all the fear and all the hope they bring.
My spells are past: the present now recurs.
Ah me! a pathless wilderness remains
Yet unsubdued by man's reclaiming hand.

Yet, human Spirit' bravely hold thy course,
Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue
The gradual paths of an aspiring change:
For birth and life and death, and that strange state
Before the naked soul has found its home,
All tend to perfect happiness, and urge
The restless wheels of being on their way,
Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life,
Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal:
For birth but wakes the spirit to the sense
Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
New modes of passion to its frame may lend;
Life is its state of action, and the store

Of all events is aggregated there
That variegate the eternal universe;
Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
That leads to arure isles and beaming skies,
And happy regions of eternal hope.
Therefore, O Spirit! fearlessly bear on:
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk.
Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bioom.
Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth,
To feed with kindliest dews its favourite flower.
That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glen
Lighting the greenwood with its sunny smile.

Fear not then, Spirit ! death's disrobing hand,
So welcome when the tyrant is awake,
So welcome when the bigot's hell-torch burns;
'T is but the vovage of a darksome hour,
The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep.
Death is no foe to virtue: earth has seen
Love's brightest roses on the scaffold bloom,
Mingling with freedom's fadeless laurels there,
And presaging the truth of vision'd bliss.
Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene
Of link'd and gradual being has confirm'd?
Whose stingings bade thy heart look further still,
When to the moonlight walk, by Henry led,
Sweetly and sadly thou didst talk of death?
And wilt thou rudely tear them from thy breast,
Listening supinely to a bigot's creed,
Or tamely crouching to the tyrant's rod,
Whose iron thongs are red with human gore?
Never: but bravely bearing on, thy will
Is destined an eternal war to wage
With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot
The germs of misery from the human heart.
Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
Watching its wanderings as a friend's disease:
Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
When fenced by power and master of the world.
Thou art sincere and good; of resolute mind,
Free from heart-withering custom's cold control,
Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
Earth's pride and meanness could not vanquish thce,
And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
which thou hast now received: virtue shall keep
Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod,
And many days of beaming hope shall bless
Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.

Go, happy one! and give that bosom joy

whose sleepless spirit waits to catch Light, life and rapture from thy smile.

The fairy waves her wand of charm. Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car, That roll d beside the battlement, Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness. Again the enchanted steeds were yoked, Again the burning wheels inflame The steep descent of heaven's untrodden way. Fast and far the chariot flew : The vast and fiery globes that roll'd Around the Fairy's palace-gate Lessend by slow degrees, and soon appear'd

Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs
That there attendant on the solar power
With borrow'd light pursued their narrower way.

Earth floated then below: The chariot paused a moment there; The Spirit then descended: The restless coursers paw'd the ungenial soil, Snuff'd the gross air, and then, their errand done, Unfurl’d their pinions to the winds of heaven.

The Body and the Soul united then.

A gentle start convulsed lanthe's frame:
Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed;
Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remain'd:
She look'd around in wonder, and beheld
Henry, who kneel'd in silence by her couch,
Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love,

And the bright beaming stars

That through the casement shone.


Note 1, page 1 off, col. 1.
The sun's unclouded orb
Roll'd through the black concave.

Beyond our atmosphere the sun would appear a rayless orb of fire in the midst of a black concave. The equal diffusion of its light on earth is owing to the refraction of the rays by the atmosphere, and their reflection from other bodies. Light consists either of vibrations propagated through a subtle medium, or of numerous minute particles repelled in all directions from the luminous body. Its velocity greatly exceeds that of any substance with which we are acquainted: observations on the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites have demonstrated that light takes up no more than 8' 7" in passing from the sun to the earth, a distance of 95,000,ooo miles.— Some idea may be gained of the immense distance of the fixed stars, when it is computed that many years would elapse before light could reach this earth from the nearest of them : yet in one year light travels 5,422,400,000,000 miles, which is a distance 5,707,600 times greater than that of the sun from the earth.

Note 2, page lob, col. 2. whilst round the chariot's way Innumerable systems roll'd. The plurality of worlds,-the indefinite immensity of the universe, is a most awful subject of contemplation. He who rightly feels its mystery and grandeur, is in no danger of seduction from the falsehoods of religious systems, or of deifying the principle of the universe. It is impossible to believe that the Spirit that pervades this infinite machine, begat a son upon the body of a Jewish woman; or is angered at the consequences of that necessity, which is a synonyme of itself. All that miserable tale of the Devil, and Eve, and an Intercessor, with the childish mummeries of the God of the Jews, is irreconcileable with the knowledge of the stars. The works of his fingers have borne witness against him. The nearest of the fixed stars is inconceivably distant from the earth, and they are probably proportionably distant from each other. By a calculation of the

velocity of light, Sirius is supposed to be at least 54,224,000 ooo,ooo miles from the earth." That which appears only like a thin and silvery cloud streakint; the heaven, is in effect composed of innumerable clusters of suns, each shining with its own light, and illuminating numbers of planets that revolve around them. Millions and millions of suns are ranged around us, all attended by innumerable worlds, yet calm, regular, and harmonious, all keeping the paths of immutable necessity. Note 3, page 1 12, col. 1. These are the hired bravoes who defend The tyrant's throne. To employ murder as a means of justice, is an idea which a man of an enlightened mind will not dwell upon with pleasure. To march forth in rank and file, and all the pomp of streamers and trumpets, for the purpose of shooting at our fellow-men as a mark; to inflict upon them all the variety of wound and anguish; to leave them weltering in their blood; to wander over the field of desolation, and count the number of the dying and the dead, are employments which in thesis we may maintain to be necessary, but which no good man will contemplate with gratulation and delight. A battle, we suppose, is won;–thus truth is established, thus the cause of justice is confirmed ! It surely requires no common sagacity to discern the connection between this immense heap of calamities and the assertion of truth or the maintenance of justice. Kings, and ministers of state, the real authors of the calamity, sit unmolested in their cabinet, while those against whom the fury of the storm is directed are, for the most part, persons who have been trepanned into the service, or who are dragged unwillingly from their peaceful homes into the field of battle. A soldier is a man whose business it is to kill those who never of— fended him, and who are the innocent martyrs of other men's iniquities. Whatever may become of the abstract question of the justifiableness of war, it seems impossible that the soldier should not be a depraved and unnatural being. To these more serious and momentous considerations it may be proper to add, a recollection of the ridiculousness of the military character. Its first constituent is obedience: a soldier is, of all descriptions of men, the most completely a machine; yet his profession inevitably teaches him something of dogmatism, swaggering, and self-consequence: he is like the puppet of a showman, who, at the very time he is made to strut and swell and display the most farcical airs, we perfectly know cannot assume the most insignificant gesture, advance either to the right or the left, but as he is moved by his exhibitor.—Godwin's Enquirer, Essay v. I will here subjoin a little poem, so strongly expressive of my abhorrence of despotism and falsehood, that I fear lest it never again may be depictured so vividly. This opportunity is perhaps the only one that ever will occur of rescuing it from oblivion.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Those thrones, high built upon the heaps
of bones where frenzied Famine sleeps,
Where Slavery wields her scourge of iron
Red with mankind's unheeded gore,
And war's mad fiends the scene environ,
Mingling with shrieks a drunken roar,
There Vice and Falsehood took their stand.
High raised above the unhappy land.

raisthoon. Brother' arise from the dainty fare Which thousands have toil'd and bled to bestow. A finer feast for thy hungry car Is the news that I bring of human woe.

wrict. And, secret one what hast thou done, To compare, in thy tumid pride, with me? I, whose career, through the blasted year, Has been track'd by despair and agony.


what have I done : I have torn the robe
From baby truth's unshelter'd form,
And round the desolated globe
Borne safely the bewildering charm :
My tyrant-slaves to a dungeon-floor
Have bound the fearless innocent,
And streams of fertilizing gore
Flow from ber bosom's hideous rent,
Which this unfailing dagger gave....
I dread that blood — no more —this day
is ours, though her eternal ray

Must shine upon our grave.
Yet know, proud vice, had I not given
To thee the robe I stole from heaven,
Thy shape of ugliness and fear
Had never gain'd admission here.

vict. And know, that had Î disdain'd to toil, But sate in my lonthsome cave the while, And ne'er to these hateful sons of heaven, Gold, Mox Ancho, and Menden, given; Hadst thou with all thine art essay'd One of thy games then to have play'd, With all thine overweening boast, Falsehood: I tell abee thou hadst lost : — Yet wherefore this dispute?—we tend, Fraternal, to one common end; In this cold grave beneath my feet, Will our bopes, our fears, and our labours, meet.

* Also troop. I brought my daughter, Religiox, on earth: She smother'd Reason's babes in their birth; But dreaded their mother's eye severe, — So the crocodile slunk off slily in fear, And loosed her bloodhounds from the den.... They started from dreasus of slaughter'd men, And, by the light of her poison eye, Did her work o'er the wide earth frightfully: The dreadful stepch of her torches' flare, Fed with human fat, polluted the air: The curses, the shrieks, the ceaseless cries Of the many-minoling miseries, As on she trod, ascended high And trumpeted my victory – Brother, tell what thou hast done.

vict, I have extinguish'd the noon-day sun, In the carnage sinoke of battles won: Famine, Murder, bell, and Power were glutted in that glorious hour Which searchless Fate had stamp'd for me With the seal of her security .... For the bloated wretch on yonder throne Commanded the bloody fray to rise. Like me he joy'd at the stified moan Wrung from a nation's miseries; While the snakes, whose slime even him defiled, In ecstasies of malice smiled:

They thought 't was theirs, -but mine the deed!
Theirs is the toil, but mine the meed—
Ten thousand victims madly bleed.
They dream that tyrants goad them there
with poisonous war to taint the air:
These tyrants, on their beds of thorn,
Swell with the thoughts of murderous same.
And with their gains, to lift my name.
Restless they plan from night to morn:
1–1 do all; without my aid
Thy daughter, that relentless maid,
Could ne'er o'er a death-bed urge
The fury of her venom'd scourge.

ratsrnoon. Brother, well:—the world is ours; And whether thou or I have won, The pestilence expectant lowers On all beneath won blasted sun. Our joys, our toils, our honours, meet In the milk-white and wormy winding-sheet: A short-lived hope, unceasing care, Some heartless scraps of godly prayer. A moody curse, and a frenzied sleep Ere gapes the grave's unclosing deep, A tyrant's dream, a cowar tart, The ice that clings to a priestly beart, A judge's frown, a courtier's smile, Make the great whole for which we toil; And, brother, whether thoa or I Have done the work of misery, It little boots: thy toil and pain, Without my aid, were more than vain; And but for thee I ne'er had sate The guardian of beaven's palace gate.

Note 4, page 1 13, col. 1. Thus do the generations of the earth Go to the grave, and issue from the womb. One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south and turneth about unto the north, it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place whence the rivers come, thither shall they return again.—Ecclesiastes, chap. i.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Note 6, page 1 13, col. 1.

The mob of peasants, nobles, priests, and kings. Suave mari magno turbantibus a quora ventis E terra magnum alterius spectare laboren; Non quia vexari quemguam 'st jucunda voluptas, . Sed quibus ipse malis careas quia cernere suave 'st. Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri, Per campos instructa, tua sine parte Pericli; Sed nil dulcius est bene quam munita tenere Edita doctrina sapientum templa sereua : Despicere unde queas alios, passingue videre Errare atque viam palanteis quarrere vitae; Certare ingenio; contendere nobilitate; Nocteis atque dies niti praestante labore Ad summas emergere opes, rerumque potiri. O miseras hominum menteist 0 pectora carca:

Luc. lib. ii.


Note 7, page 113, col. 2. And statesmen boast of wealth :

There is no real wealth but the labour of man. Were the mountains of gold and the vallies of silver, the world would not be one grain of corn the richer; no one comfort would be added to the human race. In consequence of our consideration for the precious metals, one man is enabled to heap to himself luxuries at the expence of the necessaries of his neighbour; a system admirably fitted to produce all the varieties of disease and crime, which never fail to characterise the two extremes of opulence and penury. A speculator takes pride to himself as the promoter of his country's prosperity, who employs a number of hands in the manufacture of articles avowedly destitute of use, or subservient only to the unhallowed cravings of luxury and ostentation. The nobleman, who employs the peasants of his neighbourhood in building his palaces, until "jam pauca aratro jugera regiae moles relinquunt, flatters himself that he has gained the title of a patriot by yielding to the impulses of vanity. The show and pomp of courts adduces the same apology for its continuance; and many a fête has been given, many a woman has eclipsed her beauty by her dress, to benefit the labouring poor and to encourage trade. Who does not see that this is a remedy which aggravates, whilst it palliates the countless diseases of society? The poor are set to labour, for what? Not the food for which they famish: not the blankets for want of which their babes are frozen by the cold of their miserable hovels: not those comforts of civilization without which civilized man is far inore miserable than the meanest savage; oppressed as he is by all its insidious evils, within the daily and taunting prospect of its innumerable benefits assiduously exhibited before him:—no; for the pride of power, for the miserable isolation of pride, for the false pleasures of the hundredth part of society. No greater evidence is afforded of the wide extended and radical mistakes of civilized man than this fact: those arts which are essential to his very being are held in the greatest contempt; employments are lucrative in an inverse ratio to their usefulness: the jeweller, the toyman, the actor gains fame and wealth by the exercise of his useless and ridiculous art; whilst the cultivator of the earth, he without whom society must cease to subsist, struggles through contempt and penury, and perishes by that famine which, but for his unceasing exertions, would annihilate the rest of mankind.

I will not insult common sense by insisting on the doctrine of the natural equality of man. The question is not concerning its desirableness, but its practicability: so far as it is practicable, it is desirable. That state of human society which approaches nearer to an equal partition of its benefits and evils should, caeteris paribus, be preferred : but so long as we conceive that a wanton expenditure of human labour, not for the necessities, not even for the luxuries of the mass of society, but for the egotism and ostentation of a few of its members, is defensible on the ground of public justice, so long we neglect to approximate to the redemption of the human race.

Labour is required for physical, and leisure for moral improvement: from the former of these advantages

"See Rousseau, - De l'Inégalité parmiles Hommes, - note 7.

the rich, and from the latter the poor, by the inevitable conditions of their respective situations, are precluded. A state which should combine the advantages of both, would be subjected to the evils of neither. He that is deficient in firm health, or vigorous intellect, is but half a man: hence it follows, that, to subject the labouring classes to unnecessary labour, is wantonly depriving them of any opportunities of intellectual improvement; and that the rich are heaping up for their own mischief the disease, lassitude and ennui by which their existence is rendered an intolerable burthen. English reformers exclaim against sinecures,—but the true pension-list is the rent-roll of the handed proprietors: wealth is a power usurped by the few, to compel the many to labour for their benefit. The laws which support this system derive their force from the ignorance and credulity of its victims: they are the result of a conspiracy of the few against the many, who are themselves obliged to purchase this pre-eminence by the loss of all real comfort. The commodities that substantially contribute to the subsistence of the human species form a very short catalogue: they demand from us but a slender portion of industry. If these only were produced, and sufficiently produced, the species of man would be continued. If the labour necessarily required to produce them were equitably divided among the poor, and, still more, if it were equitably divided among all, each man's share of labour would be light, and his portion of leisure would be ample. There was a time when this leisure would have been of small comparative value: it is to be hoped that the time will come, when it will be applied to the most important purposes. Those hours which are not required for the production of the necessaries of life, may be devoted to the cultivation of the understanding, the enlarging our stock of knowledge, the refining our taste, and thus opening to us new and more exquisite sources of enjoyment. - - - - - It was perhaps necessary that a period of monopoly and oppression should subsist, before a period of cultivated equality could subsist. Savages perhaps would never have been excited to the discovery of truth and the invention of art, but by the narrow motives which such a period affords. But surely, after the savage state has ceased, and men have set out in the glorious career of discovery and invention, monopoly and oppression cannot be necessary to prevent them from returning to a state of barbarism. —Godwin's Enquirer, Essay II. See also Pol. Jus., book PIII. chap. 11. It is a calculation of this admirable author, that all the conveniences of civilized life might be produced, if society would divide the labour equally among its members, by each individual being employed in labour two hours during the day.

Note 8, page 1 13, col. 2. Or religion Drives his wife raving mad. I am acquainted with a lady of considerable accom

plishments, and the mother of a numerous family, whom the Christian religion has goaded to incurable insanity. A parallel case is, I believe, within the experience of every physician.

Nanu jam sarpe homines patriam, carosque parentes

Prodiderunt, vitare Acherusia templa petentes.


Note 9, page 114, col. 2. Even love is sold. Not even the intercourse of the sexes is exempt from the despotism of positive institution. Law pretends even to govern the indisciplinable wanderings of passion, to put fetters on the clearest deductions of reason, and, by appeals to the will, to subdue the involuntary affections of our nature. Love is inevitably consequent upon the perception of loveliness. Love withers under constraint: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited, where its votaries live in confidence, equality, and unreserve. How long then ought the sexual connection to last? what law ought to specify the extent of the grievances which should limit its duration 1 A husband and wife ought to continue so long united as they love each other: any law which should bind them to cohabitation for one moment after the decay of their affection, would be a most intolerable tyranny, and the most unworthy of toleration. How odious a usurpation of the right of private judgment should that law be considered, which should make the ties of friendship indissoluble, in spite of the caprices, the inconstancy, the fallibility, and capacity for improvement of the human mind. And by so much would the fetters of love be heavier and more unendurable than those of friendship, as love is more vehement and capricious, more dependent on those delicate peculiarities of imagination, and less capable of reduction to the ostensible merits of the object. The state of society in which we exist is a mixture of feudal savageness and imperfect civilization. The narrow and unenlightened morality of the Christian religion is an aggravation of these evils. It is not even until lately that mankind have admitted that happiness is the sole end of the science of ethics, as of all other sciences; and that the fanatical idea of mortifying the flesh for the love of God has been discarded. I have heard, indeed, an ignorant collegian adduce, in favour of Christianity, its hostility to every worldly feeling!" But if happiness be the object of morality, of all human unions and disunions; if the worthiness of every action is to be estimated by the quantity of pleasurable sensation it is calculated to produce, then the connection of the sexes is so long sacred as it contributes to the comfort of the parties, and is naturally dissolved when its evils are greater than its benefits. There is nothing immoral in this separation. Constancy has nothing virtuous in itself, independently of the pleasure it confers, and partakes of the temporising spirit of vice in proportion as it endures tamely moral defects of magnitude in the object of its indiscreet choice. Love is free: to promise for ever to love the same woman, is not less absurd than to promise to believe the same creed: such a vow, in both cases, excludes us from all inquiry. The language of the votarist is this: The woman I now love may be infinitely inferior to many 'The first Christian emperor made a law by which seduction was punished with death ; if the female pleaded her own consent, she also was punished with death; if the parents endeavoured to screen the criminals, they were banished and their estates were confiscated; the slaves who might be accessary were burned alive, or forced to swallow melted lead. The very offspring of an illegal love were involved in the consequences of the sentence.—Gunnox's decline and Fall, etc. vol. ii, page 2 to. See also, for the hatred of the primitive Christians to love, and even marriage, page 269.

others; the creed I now profess may be a mass of errors and absurdities; but I exclude myself from all future information as to the amiability of the one and the truth of the other, resolving blindly, and in spite of conviction, to adhere to them. Is this the language of delicacy and reason? Is the love of such a frigid heart of more worth than its belief?

The present system of constraint does no more, in the majority of instances, than make hypocrites or open enemies. Persons of delicacy and virtue, unhappily united to one whom they find it impossible to love. spend the loveliest season of their life in unproductive efforts to appear otherwise than they are, for the sake of the feelings of their partner, or the welfare of their mutual offspring: those of less generosity and residement openly avow their disappointment, and linger out the remnant of that union, which only death can dissolve, in a state of incurable bickering and hostility. The early education of their children takes its colour from the squabbles of the parents; they are nursed in a systematic school of ill humour, violence, and falsehood. had they been suffered to part at the momen when indifference rendered their union irksome, they would have been spared many years of miservi thov would have connected themselves more suitablv, and would have found that happiness in the society of more congenial partners which is for ever denied them by the despotism of marriage. They would have been separately useful and happy members of society, who, whilst united, were miserable, and rendered misanthropical by misery. The conviction that wedlock is indisoluble holds out the strongest of all temptations to the perverse: they indulge without restraint in a crimonw. and all the little tyrannies of domestic life, when they know that their victim is without appeal. If this connection were put on a rational basis, each would be assured that habitual ill temper would terminate in separation, and would check this vicious and dangerous propensity.

Prostitution is the legitimate offspring of marriage and its accompanying errors. Women, for no other crime than having followed the dictates of a natural appetite, are driven with fury from the comforts and sympathies of society. It is less venial than murder: and the punishment which is inflicted on her who destroys her child to escape reproach, is lighter than the life of agony and disease to which the prostitute is irrecoverably doomed. Has a woman obeyed the impulse of unerring nature;—society declares war against her. pitiless and eternal war: she must be the tarne slave. she must make no reprisals; theirs is the right of Persecution, hers the duty of endurance. She lives a life of infamy : the loud and bitter laugh of scorn scare. her from all return. She dies of long and lingering disease; yet she is in fault, she is the criminal, she the

[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]
« 이전계속 »