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But their prime glory was insane debauch, With a young infant clinging to her shoulders. To inflict and bear excruciating tortures;
Here she fell down in travail by the way, The unshrinking victim, while the flesh was rent Her piteous groans unheard, or heard unanswerd; From his live limbs, and eaten in his presence, There, with her convoy, she-mother, and child, Still in his death-pangs taunted his tormentors And slaughter'd deer-became some wild beast's prey, With tales of cruelty more diabolic,
Though spoils so rich not one could long enjoy,Wreak'd by himself upon the friends of those Soon the woods echoed with the buge uproar Who now their impotence of vengeance wasted Of savage throats contending for the bodies, On him, and drop by drop his life extorted
Till not a bone was left for farther quarrel. With thorns and briers of the wilderness,
-He chose the spot; she piled the wood, she wove Or the slow violence of untouching fire.
The supple withes, and bound the thatch that form'd
The ground-built cabin or the tree-swung nest. Vanity too, Pride's mannikin, here play'd
-He brain'd the drowsy panther in his den, Satanic tricks to ape her master-fiend.
At noon o'ercome by heat, and with closed lids The leopard's beauteous spoils, the lion's mane, Fearing assaults from none but vexing flies, Engirt the loins, and waved upon the shoulders Which with his ring-streak'd tail he switch'd Of those whose wiles or arms had won such trophies: The citadel thus storm'd, the monster slain, Rude-punctured figures of all loathsome things, By the dread prowess of his daring arm, Toads, scorpions, asps, snakes' eyes and double tongues, She rollid the stones, and planted the stockade, In fragrant colors on their tattooed limbs,
To fortify the garrison for him, Gave proof of intellect, not dead but sleeping, Who scornfully look'd on, at ease reclined, And in its trance enacting strange vagaries. Or only rose to beat her to the task. Bracelets of human teeth, fangs of wild beasts, The jaws of sharks, and beaks of ravenous birds, Yet, 'midst the gall and wormwood of her lot, Glitter'd and tinkled round their arms and ankles; She tasted joys which none but woman knows, While skulls of slaughter'd enemies, in chains - The hopes, fears, feelings, raptures of a mother, of natural elf-locks, dangled from the necks Well-nigh compensating for his unkindness, or those, whose own bare skulls and cannibal teeth Whom yet with all her fervent soul she loved. Ere long must deck more puissant fiends than they. Dearer to her than all the universe,
The looks, the cries, the embraces of her babes ; On ocean, too, they exercised dominion;
In each of whom she lived a separate lise, Of hollow trees composing slight canoes,
And felt the fountain, whence their veins were fill'd. They paddled o'er the reefs, cut through the breakers, Flow in perpetual union with the streams, And rode the untamed billows far from shore; That swell'd their pulses, and throbb'd back through Amphibious from their infancy, and fearing
hers. Nought in the deepest waters save the shark : Oh! 't was benign relief when my ver'd eye Even him, well arm'd, they gloried to encounter, Could turn from man, the sordid, selfish savage, And when he turn'd to ope those gates of death, And gaze on woman in her self-denial, That led into the Hades of his gorge,
To him and to their offspring all alive, Smote with such stern decision to his vitals, Dead only to herself,save when she won And vanish'd through the blood-beclouded waves, His unexpected smile; then, she look'd That, blind and desperate in his agony,
A thousand times more beautiful, to meet Headlong he plunged, and perish d in the abyss. A glance of aught like tenderness from him ;
And sent the sunshine of her happy heart Woman was here the powerless slave of man; So warm into the charnel-house of his, Thus fallen Adam tramples fallen Eve,
That Nature's genuine sympathies awoke,
And he almost forgot himself in her.
Of goodness in thy soul, there yet remains
One spark of Deity,--that spark is love.
Brought morn and even, noon and night, with all Or wrung with lonely unimparted woe.
The old vicissitudes of Nature's aspect : Man is beside himself, not less than fall'n
Rains in their season fertilized the ground, Below his dignity, who owns not woman
Winds sow'd the seeds of every kind of plant As nearer to his heart than when she grew
On its peculiar soil ; while sons matured
Providing nourishment for all that lived :
-The grass and flowers that wither where they spring, Home, with her feeble hands, already burthened -The brutes that perish wholly where they fall.
Thus while I mused on these in long succession, She throws a shroud of turf and flowers around him, And all remain'd as all had been before,
Then calls the worms, and bids them do their office: I cried, as I was wont, though none did listen, -Man giveth up the ghostand where is He?"
- Tis sweet sometimes to speak and be the hearer; For be is twice himself who can converse
That startling question broke my lucubration; With his own thoughts, as with a living throng
I saw those changes realized before me; or fellow-travellers in solitude ;
Saw them recurring in perpetual line, And mine too long had been my sole companions :
The line unbroken, while the thread ran on, _ What is this mystery of human life?
Failing at this extreme, at that renew'd, . In rude or civilized society,
-Like buds, leaves, blossoms, fruits on herbs and trees;
Like mites, flies, reptiles; birds, and beasts, and fishes, Alke, a pilgrim's progress through this world To that which is to come, by the same stages;
Of every length of period here,-all mortal, With infinite diversity of fortune
And all resolved into those elements To each distinct adventurer by the way!
Whence they had emanaled, whence they drew
Their sustenance, and which their wrecks recruited * Life is the transmigration of a soul
To generate and foster other forms
As like themselves as were the lights of heaven, Through various bodies, various states of being ;
For ever moving in serene succession, New manners, passions, tastes, pursuits in each;
-Not like those lights unquenchable by time, In nothing, save in consciousness, the same. Infancy, adolescence, manhood, age,
But ever changing, like the clouds that come,
Who can tell whence ? and go, who can tell whither! Are alway moving onward, alway losing
Thus the swift series of man's race elapsed,
As for no higher destiny created
Than aught beneath them.-- from the elephant The sage of threescore years and ten looks back,
Down to the worm, thence to the zoophyte, With many a pang of lingering tenderness,
That link which binds Prometheus to his rock, And many a shuddering conscience-fits-on what He hath been, is not, cannot be again;
The living fibre to insensate matter. Xor trembles less with fear and hope, to think
They were not, then they were; the unborn, the living! What he is now, but cannot long continue,
They were, then were not; they had lived and died; And what he must be through uncounted agos.
No trace, no record of their date remaining, -The Child;-we know no more of happy childhood,
Save in the memory of kindred beings, Than happy childhood knows of wretched eld;
Themselves as surely hastening to oblivion ;
Till, where the soil had been renew'd by relics, And all our dreams of its felicity
And earth, air, water, were one sepulchre, Are incoherent as its own crude visions :
Earth, air, and water, might be search'd in vain, We but begin to live from that fine point
Atom by atom scrutinized with eyes Which memory dwells on, with the morning-star,
of microscopic power, that could discern The earliest note we heard the cuckoo sing,
The population of a dew-drop, yet Of the first daisy that we ever pluck'd,
No particle betray the buried secret When thoughts themselves were stars, and birds, and
of what they had been, or of what they were : flowers,
Life thus was swallow'd by mortality, Pare brilliance, simplest music, wild perfume.
Mortality thus swallow'd up of life, Thenceforward, mark the metamorphoses ! -The Boy, the Girl ;-when all was joy, hope,
And man remain'd the world's unmoved possessor,
Though, every moment, men appear'd and vanish'd. promise ; Yet who would be a Boy, a Girl again,
Oh! 't was heart-sickness to behold them thus To bear the yoke, to long for liberty,
Perishing without knowledge ;-perishing, And dream of what will never come to pass ?
As though they were but things of dust and ashes. -The Youth, the Maiden living but for love,
They lived unconscious of their noblest powers, Yet learning soon that life hath other cares,
As were the rocks and mountains which they trod And joys less rapturous, but more enduring: Of gold and jewels hidden in their bowels; -The Woman in her offspring multiplied ; They lived unconscious of what lived within them, A tree of life, whose glory is her branches, The deathless spirit, as were the stars that shone Beneath whose shadow, she (both root and stem)
Above their heads, of their own emanations. Delights to dwell in meek obscurity,
And did it live within them? did there dwell That they may be the pleasure of beholders :
Fire brought from heaven in forms of miry clay? -The Man ;-as father of a progeny,
Untemper'd as the slime of Babel's builders, Whose birth requires his death to make them room,
| And left unfinish'd like their monstrous work? Yet in whose lives he feels his resurrection,
To me, alas! they seem'd but living bodies, And grows immortal in his children's children:
With still-born souls which never could be quicken'd, -Then the grey Elder ;-leaning on his staff,
Till death brought immortality to light,
Placed them at once before the bar of God; (No snow falls lighter than the snow of age,
Then first to learn, at their eternal peril, None with such subtlety benumbs the frame), The fact of his existence and their own. Till he forgets sensation, and lies down
Imagination durst not follow them, Dead in the lap of his primeval mother;
Nor stand one moment at that dread tribunal.
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" of those small fingers, and the soft, soft lips
That wakes the parent in the fellest bosom,
For she was brooding o'er her sex's wrongs, Where Nature else had shrunk with loathing back, And seem'd to lie amidst a nest of scorpions. Or imprecated curses, in her wrath,
That stung remorse to frenzy forth she sprangs Even on the fallen creatures of my race,
And with collected might a moment stood,
Yet both impelling her to one dire purpose.
There was a little grave already made, And eye of vacancy, trolling his tongue
But two spans long, in the turf-floor beside her, From cheek to cheek; then muttering syllables,
By him who was the father of that child : Which all the learn'd on earth could not interpret; Thence he had sallied, when the work was done. Yet were they sounds of gladness, tones of pleasure, To hunt, to fish, or ramble on the hills, Ineffable tranquillity expressing.
Till all was peace again within that dwelline Or pure and buoyant animal delight;
-His haunt, his den, his anything but home! For bright the sun shone round him; cool the breeze
Peace ?-no, till the new-comer were dispatch'd Play'd in the floating shadow of the palm,
Whence it should ne'er return, to break the stupor Where he lay rolling in voluptuous sloth:
Of unawaken'd conscience in himsell.
She pluck'd the baby from her flowing breast, That melted from the hollow of the rock,
And o'er its mouth, yet moist with Nature's beverage, Whither the hum and stir of bees had drawn him. Bound a thick lotus-leaf to still its cries; He knew no bliss beside, save sleep when weary, | Then laid it down in that untimely grave, Or reveries like this, when broad awake.
As tenderly as though 't were rock'd to sleep Glimpses of thought seem'd flashing through his brain, With songs of love, and she afraid to wake it: Like wildfires flitting o'er the rank morass,
Soon as she felt it touch the ground, she started, Snares to the night-bewilder'd traveller!
Hurried the damp earth over it; then sell Gently he raised his head, and peep'd around, Flat on the heaving heap, and crush'd it down As if he hoped to see some pleasant object, With the whole burthen of her grief; exclaiming, -The wingless squirrel jet from tree to tree, “O that my mother had done so to me!" - The monkey pilfering a parrot's nest,
Then in a swoon forgot, a little while,
Her child, her sex, her tyrant, and herself.
Amazement wither'd up all human feeling : - The sly opossum dangle by her tail,
(I wonder'd how I could look on so calmly, To snap the silly birds that perch'd too near;
| As though I were but animated stone, Or in the thicket, with her young at play,
And not kneel down upon the spot, and pray Start when the rustling grass announced a snake, That earth might open to devour that mother, And secrete them within her second womb, Tor heaven shoot lightning to avenge that daughter; Then stand alert to give the intruder battle, But horror soon gave way to hope and pity, Who rear'd his crest, and hiss'd, and glid away:- Hope for the dead, and pity for the living. - These with the transport of a child he view'd, Thenceforth when I beheld troops of wild children Then laugh'd aloud, and crack'd his fingers, smote (Frolicking around the tents of wickedness, His palms, and clasp'd his knees, convulsed with glee; Though my heart danced within me to the music A sad, sad spectacle of merriment !
Of their loud voices and unruly mirth, Yet he was happy; happy in this life;
The blithe exuberance of beginning life! And could I doubt, that death to him would bring I could not weep when they went out, like sparks, Intelligence, which he had ne'er abused,
That glitter, creep, and dwindle out, on tinder. A soul, which he had never lost by sin ?
Happy, thrice happy were they thus to die,
Rather than grow into such men and women, I saw a woman, panting from her throes,
-Such fiends incarnate as that felon-sire, Stretch'd in a lonely cabin on the ground,
Who dug its grave before his child was born; Pale with the anguish of her bitter hour,
Such miserable wretches as that mother,
Whose tender mercies were so deadly cruel!
I saw their infant's spirit rise to heaven,
Caught from its birth up to the throne of God; By the same instinct, which taught it to find
There, thousands, and ten thousands, I beheld, The milky fountain, fillid to meet its wants
or innocents like this, that died untimely, Even at the gate of life, to drink and live.
By violence of their unnatural kin, Awhile she lay all-passive to tho wuch
Or hy the mercy of that gracious Power,
Who gave them being, taking what He gave Ear heard, nor heart of man conceived. It pass’d,
-Water of life, as clear as crystal, welling Unvisited by Him, who came from Heaven
To seek and save the lost of every clime; Fields of a Paradise that ne'er was lost;
And where God, looking down in wrath, had said, Where yet the tree of life immortal grows,
“ My Spirit shall no longer strive with man :" And bears its monthly fruits, twelve kinds of fruit, -So ignorance or unbelief might deem. Each in its season, food of saints and angels; Whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. Was it thus outlaw'd ? No: God left himself Beneath the shadow of its blessed boughs,
Not without witness of his presence there; I mark'd those rescued infants, in their schools,
He gave them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, By spirits of just men made perfect, taught
Filling unthankful hearts with food and gladness. The glorious lessons of almighty love,
He gave them kind affections which they strangled, Which brought them thither by the readiest path
Turning his grace into lasciviousness.
Heaven's height; to name and number all the stars;
To penetrate earth's depths for hidden riches, Yea, in the rapture of that hour, though songs Or clothe its surface with fertility; Of cherubim to golden lyres and trumpets,
Amidst the haunts of dragons, dens of satyrs, And the redeem'd upon the sea of glass,
To call up hamlets, villages, and towns,
To sound the ocean, combat with the winds, -The small, sweet accents of those little children, Travel the waves, and compass every shore, Pouring out all the gladness of their souls,
On voyages of commerce or adventure ;
To shine in civil and refining arts,
The Nile of thinking to its secret source,
And thence pursue its infinite meanders, Around the throne, at happy intervals,
Not lost amidst the labyrinths of Time, The shrill hosannas of the infant choir,
But o'er the cataract of Death down-rolling,
To flow for ever, and for ever, and for ever,
He gave the ideal, too, of truth and beauty; How condescending Deity thus deign'd.
To look on Nature with a poet's eye,
Which his strange inspiration makes them do; L'nder the curse, yet from the cure redeem'd, Thus with his breath to kindle war, and bring And placed at once beyond the power to fall, The array of battle to electric issue;'
Safety which men nor angels ever knew, Or, while opposing legions, front to front,
Step in between, and with the healing voice
Of harmony and concord win them so,
That hurling down their weapons of destruction,
And tears of transport; till inveterate foes *T was but the vision of an eye-glance; gone
Are friends and brethren, feasting on the field, Ere thought could fix upon it,-gone like lightning
Where vultures else had feasted, and gorged wolves At midnight, when the expansive flash reveals
Howl'd in convulsive slumber o'er their corses. Alps, Apennines, and Pyrenees, in one Glorious horizon, suddenly lit up,
Such powers to these were given, but given in vain; Rocks, rivers, forests,-quench'd as suddenly : They knew them not, or, as they learn'd to know, A glimpse that filled the mind with images, Perverted them to more pernicious evil Which years cannot obliterate; but stamp'd
Than ignorance had skill to perpetrate. With instantaneous everlasting force
Yet the great Father gave a richer portion On memory's more than adamantine tablet : To these, the most impoverish'd of his children ; A glimpse of that which eye hath never seen, He sent the light that lighteth every man
That comes into the world, the light of truth: Or outraged Nature's most unnatural cravings.
When without toil she gave them all they wanted ! His lie, who led them captive at his will,
The bread-fruit ripen'd, while they lay beneath Usurp'd the throne of Deity on earth,
Its shadow in luxurious indolence; And claim'd allegiance, in all hideous forms, The cocoa fill'd its nuts with milk and kernels, -The abominable emblems of himself,
While they were sauntering on the shores and mount The legion-fiend, who takes whatever shape
tains ; Man's crazed imagination can devise
And while they slumber'd from their heavy meals, To body forth his notion of a God,
In dead forgetfulness of life itself, And prove how low immortal minds can fall, The fish were spawning in unsounded depths, When from the living God they fall, to serve The birds were breeding in adjacent trees, Dumb idols. Thus they worshipp'd stocks and stones, The game was fattening in delicious pastures, Which hands unapt for sculpture executed,
Unplanted roots were thriving under ground, In their egregious folly, like themselves,
To spread the tables of their future banquets! Though not more like, even in barbarian eyes, Than antic clouds resemble animals.
Thus what the sires had been the sons became, To these they offer'd flowers and fruits ; to those, And generations rose, continued, went, Reptiles; to others, birds, and beasts, and fishes; Without memorial, like the Pelicans To some they sacrificed their enemies,
On that lone island, where they built their bests, To more their children, and themselves to all. Nourish'd their young, and then lay down to die :
Hence through a thousand and a thousand years, So had the god of this apostate world
Man's history, in that region of oblivion,
-Knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong. (Sublime with horror, with despair appalling), But knowledge was confounded, till they callid -That Pelicans were not transgressors ;-Man, Good evil, evil good ; refused the right,
Apostate from the womb, by blood a traitor.
He sunk in guilt and infamy below
And, when the debt was due, reclaim'd for ever. Nor always hold with his ten thousand fetters, O enviable lot of innocence! Lock'd in the dungeon of the obdurate breast, Their bliss and woe were only of this world : And trampled down by all its atheist inmates; Whate'er their lives had been, though born to suffer
- Conscience, tremendous conscience, in his fits Not less than to enjoy, their end was peace. Of inspiration, whensoe'er it came,
Man was immortal, yet he lived and died Rose like a ghost, inflicting fear of death,
As though there were no life, nor death, but this: On those who fear'd not death in fiercest battle, Alas! what life or death may be hereafter, And mock'd him in their martyrdoms of torments: He only knows who hath ordaind them both; That secret, swift, and silent messenger
And they shall know who prove their truth for ever. Broke on them in their lonely hours,-in sleep, In sickness ; haunting them with dire suspicions The thought was agony beyond endurance; Of something in themselves that would not die, "O thou, my brother man!" again I cried, of an existence elsewhere, and hereafter,
« Would God, that I might live, might die for thee! or which tradition was not wholly silent,
O could I take a form to meet thine eyes, Yet spake not out; its dreary oracles
Invent a voice with words to reach thine ears; Confounded superstition to conceive,
Or if my spirit might converse with thine, And baffled scepticism to reject:
And pour my thoughts, fears, feelings, through thy -What fear of death is like the fear beyond it?
Unknown to thee whence came the strange intrusion! But pangs like these were lucid intervals How would my soul rejoice, rejoice with trembling. In the delirium of the life they led,
To tell thee who thou art, and bring thee home, And all unwelcome as returning reason,"
-Poor prodigal, here watching swine, and fain Which through the chaos of a maniac's brain To glut thy hunger with the husks they feed on.Shoots gleams of light more terrible than darkness. | Home to our Father's house, our Father's heart! These sad misgivings of the smitten heart,
Both, both are open to receive thee,-come; Wounded unseen by conscience from its ambush; O comel-He hears not, heeds not,- my brother! These voices from eternity, that spake
That I might prophesy to thee,-to all To an eternity of soul within,
The millions of dry bones that fill this valley Were quickly lull'd by riotous enjoyment,
Of darkness and despair-Alas! alas! Or lost in hurricanes of headiong passion.
Can these bones live? Lord God, Thou knowestThey knew no higher, sought no happier state;
Come Had no fine instinet of superior joys
From the four winds of heaven, almighty breath, Than those of sense ; no taste for senise refmed Blow on these slain, and they shall live." Above the gross necessities of nature,