537    England, 1802 (i)

O FRIEND! I know not which way I must look
     For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
    To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom!—We must run glittering like a brook
    In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
    The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
    This is idolatry; and these we adore:
    Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
   Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
   And pure religion breathing household laws.

538   (ii)

MILTON! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
    Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
    O raise us up, return to us again,
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power!
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;
    Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
    Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
    So didst thou travel on life’s common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
   The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

539   (iii)

GREAT men have been among us; hands that penn’d
And tongues that utter’d wisdom—better none:
The later Sidney, Marvel, Harrington,
Young Vane, and others who call’d Milton friend.
These moralists could act and comprehend:
    They knew how genuine glory was put on;
    Taught us how rightfully a nation shone
In splendour: what strength was, that would not bend
But in magnanimous meekness. France, ’tis strange,
    Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then.
Perpetual emptiness! unceasing change!
   No single volume paramount, no code,
   No master spirit, no determined road;
   But equally a want of books and men!

540   (iv)

IT is not to be thought of that the flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flow’d, ‘with pomp of waters, unwithstood,’—
Roused though it be full often to a mood
    Which spurns the check of salutary bands,—
    That this most famous stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
    Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
    We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
     That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.—In everything we are sprung
    Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.

541   (v)

WHEN I have borne in memory what has tamed
Great Nations, how ennobling thoughts depart
When men change swords for ledgers, and desert
The student’s bower for gold, some fears unnamed
I had, my Country—am I to be blamed?
    Now, when I think of thee, and what thou art,
    Verily, in the bottom of my heart,
Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed.
For dearly must we prize thee; we who find
    In thee a bulwark for the cause of men;
    And I by my affection was beguiled:
    What wonder if a Poet now and then,
Among the many movements of his mind,
   Felt for thee as a lover or a child!

542    The Solitary Reaper

BEHOLD her, single in the field,
    Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
    Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
    More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
    Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo- bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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