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The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame Philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not through the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
TO THE QUEEN
The door of Death is made of gold,
That mortal eyes cannot behold;
But when the mortal eyes are closed,
And cold and pale the limbs reposed,
The soul awakes, and, wond'ring, sees
In her mild hand the golden keys.
The grave is heaven's golden gate,
And rich and poor around it wait:
O Shepherdess of England's fold,
Behold this gate of pearl and gold !
To dedicate to England's Queen
The visions that my soul has seen,
And by her kind permission bring
What I have borne on solemn wing
From the vast regions of the grave,
Before her throne my wings I wave;
Bowing before my sov'reign's feet,
"The grave produced these blossoms sweet,
In mild repose from earthly strife,
The blossoms of eternal life.”
The vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my vision's greatest enemy.
Thine is the friend of all mankind;
Mine speaks in parables to the blind.
Thine loves the same world that mine hates;
Thy heaven-doors are my hell-gates.
Socrates taught what Meletus
Loathed as a nation's bitterest curse;
And Caiaphas was, in his own mind,
A benefactor to mankind.
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read'st black where I read white.
Was Jesus humble? or did he
Give any proofs of humility?
Boast of high things with humble tone,
And give with charity a stone?
When but a child he ran away,
And left his parents in dismay.
When they had wandered three days long,
These were the words upon his tongue:
"No earthly parents I confess;
I am doing my Father's business.”
When the rich learned Pharisee
Came to consult him secretly,
Upon his heart with iron pen
He wrote, “Ye must be born again."
He was too proud to take a bribe;
He spoke with authority, not like a scribe.
He says with most consummate art,
"Follow me; I am meek and lowly of heart,
As that is the only way to escape
The miser's net and the glutton's trap.”
He who loves his enemies betrays his friends :
This surely is not what Jesus intends,
But the sneaking pride of heroic schools,
And the scribes' and Pharisees' virtuous rules;
For he acts with honest triumphant pride,
And this is the cause that Jesus died.
He did not die with Christian ease,
Asking pardon of his enemies;
If he had, Caiaphas would forgive-
Sneaking submission can always live.
He had only to say that God was the Devil,
And the Devil was God, like a Christian civil,
Mild Christian regrets to the Devil confess
For affronting him thrice in the wilderness,
He had soon been bloody Caesar's elf,
And at last he would have been Caesar himself.
Jesus was sitting in Moses' chair;
They brought the trembling woman there.
Moses commands she be stoned to death :
What was the sound of Jesus' breath?
He laid his hand on Moses' law;
The ancient heavens, in silent awe,
Writ with curses from pole to pole,
All away began to roll.
The Earth trembling and naked lay
In secret bed of mortal clay;
On Sinai felt the hand divine
Putting back the bloody shrine;
And she heard the breath of God,
As she heard by Eden's flood:
“Good and evil are no more!
Sinai's trumpets, cease to roar!
Cease, finger of God, to write!
The heavens are not clean in Thy sight.
Thou art good, and Thou alone,
Nor may the sinner cast one stone.
To be good only is to be
A god or else a Pharisee.”
1863, 1868, 1874.
The village life, and ev'ry care that reigns
O'er youthful peasants and declining swains,
What labour yields, and what, that labour past,
Age, in its hour of languor, finds at last,
What form the real picture of the poor,
Demand a song—the Muse can give no more.
Fled are those times when, in harmonious strains,
The rustic poet praised his native plains;
No shepherds now, in smooth alternate verse,
Their country's beauty or their nymphs' rehearse:
Yet still for these we frame the tender strain;
Still in our lays fond Corydons complain,
And shepherds' boys their amorous pains reveal-
The only pains, alas, they never feel.
On Mincio's banks, in Cæsar's bounteous reign,
If Tityrus found the Golden Age again,
Must sleepy bards the flattering dream prolong,
Mechanic echoes of the Mantuan song?
From Truth and Nature shall we widely stray,
Where Virgil, not where Fancy, leads the way?
Yes, thus the Muses sing of happy swains,
Because the Muses never knew their pains.
They boast their peasants' pipes; but peasants now
Resign their pipes and plod behind the plough,
And few amid the rural tribe have time
To number syllables and play with rhyme:
Save honest Duck, what son of verse could share
The poet's rapture and the peasant's care,
Or the great labours of the field degrade
With the new peril of a poorer trade?
From this chief cause these idle praises spring-
That themes so easy few forbear to sing,
For no deep thought the trifling subjects ask;
To sing of shepherds is an easy task:
The happy youth assumes the common strain,
A nymph his mistress, and himself a swain;
With no sad scenes he clouds his tuneful prayer,
But all, to look like her, is painted fair.
I grant indeed that fields and flocks have charms
For him that grazes or for him that farms;
But when amid such pleasing scenes I trace
The poor laborious natives of the place,
And see the mid-day sun with fervid ray
On their bare heads and dewy temples play,
While some, with feebler heads and fainter hearts
Deplore their fortune yet sustain their parts,
Then shall I dare these real ills to hide
In tinsel trappings of poetic pride?
No: cast by Fortune on a frowning coast,
Which neither groves nor happy valleys boast,
Where other cares than those the Muse relates,