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Truth shall restore the light by Nature given
Ye that the rising moon invidious mark, And hate the light-because your deeds are dark; Ye that expanding truth invidious view, And think, or wish the song of Hope untrue! Perhaps your little hands presume to span The march of Genius, and the pow'rs of Man; Perhaps ye watch, at Pride's unhallowed shrine, Her victims, newly slain, and thus divine : “ Here shall thy triumph, Genius, cease; and here, Truth, Science, Virtue, close your short career.”
Tyrants ! in vain ye trace the wizard ring; In vain
limit Mind's unwearied spring : What! can ye lull the winged winds asleep, Arrest the rolling world, or chain the deep? No:—the wild wave contemns your sceptered hand;It rolled not back when Canute gave command !
Man! can thy doom no brighter soul allow?
Ye fond adorers of departed fame,
h classic haunt, and well-remembered shore,
Where Valour tuned, amid her chosen throng,
fond zealots to the worth of yore,
Yes ! in that generous cause for ever strong,
Yes! there are hearts, prophetic Hope may trust, That slumber yet in uncreated dust, Ordained to fire th’ adoring sons of earth With every charm of wisdom and of worth ; Ordained to light, with intellectual day, The mazy
wheels of Nature as they play, Or, warm with Fancy's energy, to glow, And rival all but Shakspeare's name below!
And say, supernal Powers ! who deeply scan Heaven's dark decrees, unfathomed yet by man, When shall the world call down, to cleanse her shame, That embryo spirit, yet without a name,That friend of Nature, whose avenging hands Shall burst the Libyan's adamantine bands?
Who, sternly marking on his native soil,
is far away;
Yet, yet, degraded men ! th' expected day That breaks
Eternal Nature! when thy giant hand Had heaved the floods, and fixed the trembling land, When life sprung startling at thy plastic call, Endless her forms, and Man the lord of all; Say, was that lordly form inspired by thee To wear eternal chains, and bow the knee? Was man ordained the slave of man to toil, Yoked with the brutes, and fettered to the soil; Weighed in a tyrant's balance with his gold ? No !-Nature stamped us in a heavenly mould; She bade no wretch his thankless labour urge, Nor, trembling, take the pittance and the scourge! No homeless Libyan, on the stormy deep, To call upon his country's name, and weep!
Lo! once in triumph on his boundless plain,
The plunderer came :-alas! no glory smiles For Congo's chief on yonder Indian isles ! For ever fallen! no son of Nature now, With Freedom chartered on his manly brow; Faint, bleeding, bound, he weeps the night away. And, when the seawind wafts the dewless day, Starts, with a bursting heart, for ever more To curse the sun that lights their guilty shore. The shrill horn blew ! (k) at that alarum knell His guardian angel took a last farewell ! That funeral dirge to darkness hath resigned The fiery grandeur of a generous mind ! Poor fettered man! I hear thee whispering low Unhallowed vows to Guilt, the child of Wo! Friendless thy heart! and, canst thou harbour there A wish but death—a passion but despair?
The widowed Indian, when her lord expires, Mounts the dread pile, and braves the funeral fires ! So falls the heart at Thraldom's bitter sigh! So Virtue dies, the spouse of Liberty!
But not to Libya's barren climes alone, To Chili, or the wild Siberian zone, Belong the wretched heart and haggard eye, Degraded worth, and poor misfortune's sigh! Ye orient realms, where Ganges' waters run! Prolific fields ! dominions of the sun ! How long your tribes have trembled, and obeyed ! How long was Timour's iron sceptre swayed ! (1) Whose marshalled hosts, the lions of the plain, From Scythia's northern mountains to the main, Raged o’er your plundered shrines and altars bare, With blazing torch and gory scimitar,Stunned with the cries of death each gentle gale, And bathed in blood the verdure of the vale!
Yet could no pangs the immortal spirit tame,
When Europe sought your subject realms to gain, And stretched her giant sceptre o'er the main, Taught her proud barks their winding way to shape, And braved the stormy spirit of the Cape; (m) Children of Brama! then was Mercy nigh To wash the stain of blood's eternal dye? Did Peace descend, to triumph and to save, When free-born Britons crossed the Indian wave ? Ah, no!—to more than Rome's ambition true, The Nurse of Freedom gave it not to you ! She the bold route of Europe's guilt began, And in the march of nations, led the van!
Rich the gems of India's gaudy zone, And plunder piled from kingdoms not their own, Degenerate Trade! thy minions could despise The heart-born anguish of a thousand cries ; Could lock, with impious hands, their teeming store, While famished nations died along the shore; (n) Could mock the groans of fellow-men, and bear The curse of kingdoms peopled with despair ! Could stamp disgrace on man's polluted name, And barter, with their gold, eternal shame!
But hark! as bowed to earth the Bramin kneels, From heavenly climes propitious thunder peals ! Of India's fate her guardian spirits tell, Prophetic murmurs breathing on the shell, And solemn sounds, that awe the list’ning mind, Roll on the azure paths of every