Appendix Two - 6
My father! O my father! I have called,
But thou hast not responded. Could I hear
Once more thy tones of manly tenderness,
The fountains of my heart that long have been
Iced over with the breath of selfish world,
Would gush in warm relief, and I would feel
Reviving breezes from another land.
I recollect in early boyhood days,
How often and how fondly thou didst clasp
Thy ardent child in arms of fostering love;
And, whilst his eyes were glistening, did impart
Knowledge in garb of novelty, that waked
Such aspirations as can never sleep.
And then I turn and gaze upon the grass,
Waving in bloom above thy mouldered dust.
O God! in mercy give me power to weep.
Yet, while the long pent-up emotions burst
Convulsively, I ask, why do I mourn?
‘Tis not the frantic heaving of despair;
For well I know, that in unsullied white,
Thou wavest high the palm of victory,
And tuning harp, whose chords can never jar,
Awaits the sons of light. Eternity
Measures his paces to the glorious sound
Of song, whose music cannot pass away!
Is not our father's house the universe,
The temple where his glory ever shines?
Are not the many mansions, suns and stars,
In splendour fitted up for human souls,
Where purity has lit her cleansing fires
In dazzling blazes, or in glow serene?
So I have often thought; and when the brow
Of midnight is illumined with the blaze
Of wheeling systems, turning from the glare
Of overwhelming clusters, I beheld
A mild retiring star in beauty robed.
Mine eyes are beaming, and my spirit throbs;
I seem to gaze upon thy sainted form -
Leading the harpings of a seraph throng,
Whose quenchless love burns on in bright'ning blaze.
The scene is glorious as that golden age,
Sung by the olden bards, in which the streams
O'er gravelled gold in wavy silver gushed.
The secret groves were animate with song
Of sleepless love; - the aromatic gale
Soothed or inspired with its Eolian tones
Of spirit-thrilling might; the giant hills
Awoke the music of their secret springs,
Which ran in life and gladness to the vales,
Laving the feet of lovers in their bowers.
The waterfalls in sheeted brilliancy,
O'er polished rocks in hues of glory fell,
And, in the ravines of romance below,
Roamed joyously and wildly in their strength
No deadly shrub defiled the earth below,
Nor stormy cloud obscured the vault of heaven.
While man - the master spirit in each scene,
For whom the earth in gay profusion smiled; -
The heavens in their etherial splendour glowed;
Man - the fair lord of all - in innocence,
In sanctity unsullied, rolled his eyes,
That beamed truth's lustrous fires; and uttered praise
With voice of modulations all divine,
Now gaze upon the picture. Turn and search
The hoary register of time, and grasp,
With eye and heart, the verifying facts,
Where annalists the palmy period trace.
What strange emotions flit across you now?
Why do you execrate the dreaming muse,
That bodied forth the visions of her sleep,
And blazoned them as truth and verity.
In infamy the canvas fulminates
Its light volcanic and its midnight shades;
Shadows of terrible malignancy,
As dark as he, who glared on Eden's joy,
Blast with their breath the scenery, as fair
As that which sunk beneath his blighting curse.
The philosophic few, who, panting, reached
The loftiest hills of truth within their clime,
Elated with their range, beheld with pride,
With selfish pleasure, all the wanderings
Of those who trod the misty vale below,
In tortuous errors, crooked mazes lost;
Mocked by strange phantoms, driv'n by ev'ry wind,
Chasing with frenzied hope delusive gleams,
O'er marsh and bog into the gulf of death.
And even the few who saw with scorn the chase,
Had but a few dissevered fragments, torn
From Truth's broad column, on whose narrow base
They reared their monumental guilt; for there
The moral sun could never dart his beams -
Each reeking shrine was wrapt in horrid shades.
Hark! to the fitful shriek of deepest woe -
Behold! the gory victims agonise;
Immersed in life-blood, lo, the wooden block,
Rears its rude form in dreadful mockery.
Frantic and dark the prostrate worshippers;
Obscene, unhallowed, all their mystic rites.
Consuming lust and grim revenge are found
Gloating in fury on the carmined earth.
Whilst they who dared to whisper their dislike
Of such inflamed devotion, driven forth
From all the kindlier sympathies of life,
Must pine in alien lands, and bow their heads
Beneath the rolling curse of public zeal,
Uniting, burst in household melody.
Was this a golden age? - Oh, quickly come
Dark angel of oblivion; spread thy wing,
And shroud with solemn, ever-deep'ning gloom,
The execrable scene! - nor let the song
Of fervid dreamers ever break again
The dreadful calm, the voiceless solitude.
Sweet land of purpling vines and sun-lit skies,
Thy cheerful sons long pined beneath the curse
Of despots, and their pampered parasites,
Whose mighty palaces, and costly feasts -
Whose swelling music and enslaving pomp,
Were purchased with the oozing bloody sweat
Of famished myriads held in durance vile.
But men, with souls of flame, arose in power,
Whose withering wit, and thundering eloquence,
Destroyed the deadly spell; inspiring truth
Flashed in electric shock, until each mind,
Through all its deep recesses, felt the tide
Of new life rushing on in giant force.
Then through the nation one ecstatic pulse
Beat high with feverish hope; and all did vow
That they would have another golden age!
As the pale exile in a dreary land,
Groans out the anguish of his tortured soul;
Prays for the peace and harmonies of home.
As the young lover pants to grasp the shape,
Which oft has glided-past his beaming eyes,
In more than earthly charms. But quickly gone,
So were they riven; their feelings, hopes, and prayers,
Were breathed in passion's most enraptured tone;
Their daily reasonings, and nightly dreams,
Were fervid cravings for the moral change,
Whose shadow darkened their oppressor's souls,
With gloom that might be felt. With earthquake shock
The revolution burst. Its fiery wheels
Rolled on resistlessly in gathering heat;
Then royal farces, priestly mummeries,
And titled madness, gasping in the dust,
Were scorched and scattered to the whirlwind's rage.
Say, young enthusiast, was not this the path
To genuine freedom and enduring peace?
Thine heart affirms it was; well, come and gaze
With chastened earnestness upon the scene.
Lo! genius blazes, only to consume
With passion's livid flame; Revenge is fed
With memory of deep and varied wrongs,
And all in vain the trembling tyrants crave
That mercy which they never could extend.
The block is ready, and the glittering steel
In fearful retribution flashes round.
In grim convention ranged, the fiends decree
That God shall not be worshipped - that his name
Is but an idol of fanatic brains;
That Immortality is but a dream,
The coinage of enthusiasm's fires,
And death an everlasting sleep; - the tomb,
A throne where desolation ever reigns.
Sombre suspicion wrinkles every brow;
Assassination lurks on every hearth.
In the foul dens of monster senators,
The horrid instruments of torture glare,
While myriad victims quiver in their blood.
Reckless Ambition, and Intestine Feud,
Bold Blasphemy, and coward Suicide,
Perform their tragedies as deep as hell,
Until the agonised-for golden age,
Fulmines the reign of terror! - yet, even then
Those demons in the guise of human flesh,
Crowded to histrionic moral schools;
And over scenes of fancied wretchedness,
Most piteously whined; - whilst oft broke forth
The pathos of their sentimental slang!
Now let us wing our flight into a land,
Where Nature, on a scale of magnitude,
In overwhelming grandeur rears her domes.
Stupendous cataracts sublimely roll
O'er giant rocks as old as death or time.
In living splendour lakes like oceans glow,
Skirted by forests wond'rous in extent,
That wave their golden arms among the clouds.
In hoary majesty the mountains rise,
Like pathways into heaven, and deep below,
Interminable valleys radiate
In mazy beauty, which will ever mock
The poet's fancy or the artists skill.
The sons of this collossal land were long
The quiet spoil of grasping monarchy,
That mocked their slumbering might with cruel taunts
But, rising up at last, they shook their chains
In dreadful music; - dumb derision grew,
And despotism cursed his powerless fangs.
The fearless patriots moved in glory on,
With energies that waxed, and hopes that glowed
Stronger and brighter, as the battle raged;
Until the mighty sea which laves their shores,
Called up the spirits of his solitude
From their secluded haunts, and bid them raise
A solemn song, and wafted it to lands,
Which echoed back the triumph of its tone.
In wisdom taught by hoar experience,
They framed their Constitution. No state church
Flung its broad shadows o'er the genial warmth
Of heaven-descended truth. No king was throned
To gratify his variable moods,
With human slaughter or with slavish pomp.
No peers were formed, or ribboned, to delude
With useless glare, the reason of the mass.
It seemed as if the whole had warmly vowed,
That moral scenery should rise in power,
As giant-like, as balmy as sublime,
As that which cradled them which spread around -
Was intersect with all the elements
Of beauty and of strength. ‘Twas warmly hoped
That they would realize the golden age.
Who would not weep with tears of blood to find
That they who shook their sordid tyrants off,
Are immolating victims at the shrine
Of Mammon; teaching all their ardent youth
To burn perpetual incense round his throne,
And court his shriv'ling smile? - but, darker still,
Foulest anomaly that ever glared
In damning fact, that they, upon whose base
Justice has graven in characters of flame,
Equality and liberty for all,
Should have their myriads of groaning slaves,
Toiling like beasts of burden, wrapt in shades
Of ignorance, that darkens into crime
Unmentionable - brutalizing crime.
What dark misanthrope foe of God and man,
In maddest rage, did ever hope to see
Strange patriots loudly shaking senate walls,
With thundering for rights and liberties,
Then driving forth their fettered slaves to sale?
Or, viler still, - the sanctioned ministers
Of holy things, discoursing on the love,
The peace, and liberty, which God bestows;
Then ordering, with cool complacency,
The bloody whip to whirl and lacerate
The supplicating forms, from whose dim eyes.
Big tears of shame and anger torturing gush!
Awake! America. Democracy
From ev'ry land calls on thee to awake.
Her brightest hopes thou hast; her fervid prayers
Arise to heaven for thee. Sleep not upon
The dreadful verge, ‘neath which destruction yawns.
Let history have within her stormy page,
One broad and tranquil stream, where liberty
May find repose and gather confidence;
And, by its verdant margin, teach the youth
Of future generations. Sleepest thou?
While vengeance fills the vials of her wrath,
And the twin monsters, Ruin and Oblivion,
In noiseless cars are darkly hovering,
Craving to feast upon thy scenery,
And gorge them with thy glories; - sleeping still?
The shades of those that purchased thee with blood,
And deeply sunk the pillars of thy strength
From their profoundest slumbers, rising up,
Are hoarsely calling on thee to awake.
Wake, then, ere hope expire, and wrath descend
With funeral pall of blackness and despair!
To those, whose ears are tuned to comprehend
The deep still music of the harp of truth,
The genius of history has taught
Two facts of solemn import, principles
The basement of divine philosophy.
One is that citadels of tyranny
Should never be assailed with brutal force;
For they who use it, soon assimilate
To Moloch's image - bear his withering curse;
And they who gain their birth-rights by the sword,
Shall loose them in the fire; and from the earth
Shall perish, as the tyrants whom they slew.
‘Tis natural that this should be the case;
For is not every evil principle,
And every fierce emotion, in the strife
Wakened and nurtured into mastery,
Which deepens on in cankering virulence.
The other is, that changes in the form
Of institutions, never will produce
That happiness for which the masses yearn.
There must be a stupendous moral change.
Thought, feeling, action, now corrupt and cold,
Must gather life, and warmth, and purity,
‘Till selfishness and envy find a grave
Of unrelaxing jaw. This will not be
Effected ‘mid the ashes and the blood
Of stunning revolutionary din,
But ‘mid the harmonies of peace and love,
Breathing from him that fashioned human hearts,
That knows their varied chording - that can tune
And sweep the tones of our humanity,
‘Till melody, undying, fills the earth,
And it becomes the garden of the Lord.
Some years have passed since in a beauteous glen,
A youth with flaxen tresses roamed in joy,
As full of life and music as the streams
Which played in his retreat - free as the breeze
That roved in balmy freshness o'er the scene -
Serene as the unclouded canopy
That stretched above his head. Oft did he bound
With elfin speed the richly-verdant bank,
And often courted sweet tranquillity,
Weaving his reverie in sequestered bower:
Earth seemed a paradise of quenchless joys.
A few more years, and lo! the scene was changed.
He wandered by the solemn sounding sea;
Sought solitude among the perilous cliffs;
And in the gloomy archways which the wave
Had worn and fretted, poured indignantly
His bitterness of spirit; sternly vowed
That, were his life prolonged, he would awake
His brethren from death-like lethargy,
And lead them on through scenes of storm and fire,
To heavenly liberty or glorious death.
Again the scene was changed. - I saw him stand
With chastened aspect ‘mid a reverend group
Of cheerful pilgrims to a better land.
They traced a volume, where the Deity
Was manifest in his essential love.
Sublimely rose the homage of their hearts,
To Him who bid them press with vigour on
To victory, dominion, and crowns,
They sung a song which charmed the list'ning heavens,
And awed the trembling earth; while round their path
The light of immortality was shed,
And angel voices broke in thrilling tones.
The fires which erst were kindled in his eye,
Still burned, but not with meteoric glare.
Radiant and regular the searching flame -
Consuming vice, and scorching those who dared
To glory in their shame. The patriotism
Which narrowed and intensified his zeal,
Was now expanded, ‘till he grasped the whole
Creation as his birth-place, and embraced
With equal love the sons of every clime.
Dear mother, when I first in helplessness
Was conscious of the throbbings of thy love,
Thine hair was raven; now ‘tis mournful grey;
Thine eyes were lustrous, now they're dull and dim
But, O, my mother, years have made no change
In thy affections: they have deepened mine.
Pardon the thoughtlessness which oft has pained
Thy yearning spirit. Long mayst thou be spared,
Blessed and blessing with thy sympathies;
And, after we have toiled the weary vale,
We'll meet where farewell-tones are never heard.