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To change nd change is life, to move and never rest ;
Not what we are, but what we hope, is best.
Cities rob men of eyes and hands and feet,
Patching one whole of many incomplete;
And each alone is helpless as the wind.
Is by some other's presence quite discrowned;
Each owes the next through all the imperfect round, Yet not with mutual help; each man is his own goal,
And the whole earth must stop to pay his toll.
New faculties stretch out to meet new wants,
What Nature asks, that Nature also grants;
And to his life is knit with hourly bands.
Before you harden to a crystal cold
Which the new life can shatter, but not mould; Freedom for you still waits, still, looking backward, stays,
But widens still the irretrievable space.
That through the soul come thronging,
So beautiful as Longing ?
For one transcendent moment,
Can make its sneering comment.
Glows down the wished Ideal,
Carves in the marble Real;
Desire must ope the portal ;-
Helps make the soul immortal.
With our poor earthward striving;
Content with merely living;
But, would we learn that heart's full scope
Which we are hourly wronging,
And realize our longing.
Good God not only reckons
But when the spirit beckons,-
Howe'er we fail in action.
ODE TO FRANCE.
As, flake by flake, the beetling avalanches
Build up their imminent crags of noiseless snow, Till some chance thrill the loosened ruin launches
And the blind havoc leaps unwarned below,
The madness of a People, wrong by wrong.
No strength in suffering ;—but the Past was strong: The brute despair of trampled centuries
Leaped up with one hoarse yell and snapped its bands
Groped for its right with horny, callous hands, And stared around for God with bloodshot eyes.
What wonder if those palms were all too hard For nice distinctions—if that mænad throng
They whose thick atmosphere no bard
Brutes with the memories and desires of men,
Set wrong to balance wrong,
They did as they were taught; not theirs the blame,
And by her golden tresses drew
0, Freedom ! Freedom ! is thy morning-dew
So gory red ? Alas, thy light had ne'er
Shone in upon the chaos of their lair! They reared to thee such symbol as they knew,
And worshipped it with flame and blood,
A Vengeance, axe in hand, that stood Holding a tyrant's head up by the clotted hair.
What wrongs the Oppressor suffered, these we know;
These have found piteous voice in song and prose; But for the Oppressed, their darkness and their woe,
Their grinding centuries,—what Muse had those ? Though hall and palace had nor eyes nor ears,
Hardening a people's heart to senseless stone, Thou knowest them, O Earth, that drank their tears,
O Heaven, that heard their inarticulate moan ! They noted down their fetters, link by link ; Coarse was the hand that scrawled, and red the ink;
Rude was their score, as suits unlettered men,Notched with a headsman's axe upon a block : What marvel if, when came the avenging shock,
'Twas Ate, not Urania, held the pen ?
With eye averted and an anguished frown,
Loathingly glides the Muse through scenes of strife, Where, like the heart of Vengeance up and down,
Throbs in its framework the blood-muffled knife; Slow are the steps of Freedom, but her feet
Turn never backward : hers no bloody glare ; Her light is calm, and innocent, and sweet,
And where it enters there is no despair: Not first on palace and cathedral spire Quivers and gleams that unconsuming fire;
While these stand black against her morning skies, The peasant sees it leap from peak to peak
Along his hills ; the craftsman's burning eyes Own with cool tears its influence mother-meek;
It lights the poet's heart up like a star ;
Ah! while the tyrant deemed it still afar,
O Broker-King, is this thy wisdom's fruit?
A dynasty plucked out as 'twere a weed
Grown rankly in a night, that leaves no seed ! Could eighteen years strike down no deeper root ?
But now thy vulture eye was turned on Spain,
Thy race has ceased to reign,
Slippery the feet that mount by stairs of gold,
Go and keep school again like him of old, The Syracusan tyrant ;-thou mayest feel Royal amid a birch-swayed commonweal
Not long can he be ruler who allows
His time to run before him; thou wast naught Soon as the strip of gold about thy brows
Was no more emblem of the People's thought: Vain were thy bayonets against the foe
Thou hadst to cope with ; thou didst wage War not with Frenchmen merely ;-no,
Thy strife was with the Spirit of the Age, The invisible Spirit whose first breath divino
Scattered thy frail endeavour, And, like poor last year's leaves, whirled thee and thine
Into the Dark forever!
Is here no triumph ? Nay, what though
Along its arteries a shrunken flow,
These do not make a state,
I think God made
Erect and kingly in his right of nature,
Where I behold the exultation
That had been dark for ages,
Or only lit with bestial loves and ragesThere I behold a Nation :
The France which lies
Is the least part of France;
In the new energy divine
Of Toil's enfranchised glance.
And if it be a dream,If the great Future be the little Past ’Neath a new mask, which drops and shows at last
The same weird, mocking face to balk and blast,Yet, Muse, a gladder measure suits the theme,
And the Tyrtæan harp
Loves notes more resolute and sharp, Throbbing, as throbs the bosom, hot and fast:
Such visions are of morning,
Theirs is no vague forewarning,
And shape the world anew;
If this be a sleep,
Make it long, make it deep,
While Labor so sleepeth
His sorrow is gone,
His thoughts in the dawn;
Rain, lark-like, her fancies,
'Mid hearts-ease and pansies ;
Shrieks Mammon aghast;
Will chase it at last;
For firm land of the Past!'
God shield us all then,
Shall cheat him again!
Since first I heard our North wind blow,
I loved thee, Freedom; as a boy
Did with a Grecian joy