UNBIDDEN visitors,―yet welcome,―tears
Gush forth, while streams that dulcet melody―
The tremulous, soft "Sicilian Mariners"―
Upon the evening air. How Love doth flee,―
Winged by the thrill of organ minstrelsy
So suddenly renewed within a gaol, 
To visit the heart's home! Thoughts full of thee,
My bosom's own,―so blest they banish bale
For joy,―breathe from the tones of that heart-madrigal.
How wondrous is existence!―what strange ties
It hath: what individable soul-links
There be with formless sounds and harmonies
The Mind, dulled by Life's grosser turmoil, thinks
Extinct in power,―bereft of charm: how sinks
My spirit into Rapture's lap, even now:
Such ecstasy, in Thraldom's spite, Love drinks,
By help of those sweet notes, from gentle flow
Of Memory's streams, that joy saith nought can bring back
Hush! 'tis my infancy's quaint "Evening Hymn,"
My mother's favourite! Tears! ye best can tell
What thoughts the heart's deep fountains overbrim
With tenderness when that loved choral swell
Its potency o'er memory sways. A knell
It seems;―and yet, a carol sweeter far
Than mirth can troll. Lives in its strain a spell
Which shews the grave that dear brave face doth mar,
But ever shields that heart from the oppressor's war.
Hark! 'tis the grand "Old Hundredth" that now peals
Its solemn glory through the trancëd
That matchless marshalry of chords reveals,
Luther! thy free-born majesty: 
So boldly, gravely full,―that man's control,
We feel, befits not the thewed mind upgrown
Which germs such thought-sounds. Term ye me a
How, then, upwakes the Saxon with each tone,
Within me? Nay, I feel true freedom still my own!
Vain are your fetters, tyrants, for the mind!
Thy championship, brave stripling, proved them vain,
What time thou didst so fearlessly unbind
Old Europe from the triple tyrant's chain,―
Enthroning Reason the soul's suzerain:
Reason the judge o' the book. True warrior
For all men's right to think unawed by man,
What though mirk Superstition on the shore
Of Mind still lingers? She shall raise her throne no more.
Thy enterprise is speeding, and hath sped.
I care not that thou didst not comprehend
Its ultimate: it may be, wholesome dread
Of wild excess Nature doth sagely blend
With courage in great souls; and, that the end
Of noblest change must gradually be sought,
And Reason's heroes with Mind's foes contend
From step to step,―yea, victory for Thought
By years of struggling toil be stably, fully wrought.
I care not though some weaknesses were thine.
Who shares thy giant strength? None but the high
And mighty mental lineage who divine,
From age to age, the ground whereon to ply
At vantage their souls' sinews, and rely
On their own strength in truth for victory.
Thou art our own, great Saxon! we descry
Our brave old Wickliffe's soul restored in thee;
And claim thee for our honoured land of Lollardy!
Honour, all honour to ye, glorious band
Who broke the bondage of the Priest of Rome!
Sires of our common Saxon fatherland,
England and Germany, a glorious home
Ye left us,―if we will!―amid the gloom
'Lighting a candle' by your noble lives
And martyred deaths that, quenchless, shall illume
Our land for aye! Oh, that death-vaunt still
Us strength; and with it, brave one, thy great deed
What though those words, like oracles of old,
Were sealed, in their full meaning, to the seer
Who uttered them? The future shall behold
Their splendid verity, with vision clear!
Then―honour to each stalwart pioneer
Of mental Freedom,―Wickliffe, Jerome, Huss,
Luther, Melancthon, Cobham, Latimer!
Honour to all who dared the flame, scorn, loss,―
Who spurned to live mere spirit-thralls inglorious!
O thrice-blest children of that age of light
And love, which now from the far future beams!
To you it will pertain to place aright
In Truth's great temple whom herself esteems
Her true disciples. Ye, when Time's dim dreams
And weakling fears are fled, and Knowledge pure
Hath given the topstone to Truth's fane,―like gems
In gold, shall place each dazzling form secure
In its eternal niche. Our hands were premature!
But, when the toil of Mind hath wrought its aim;
When later Faiths, like older Phantasies,
Are reckoned with the Past; when Man's high name
His grandest title is; when things of lies
And bloodshed,―thrones and altars,―creeds, and toys
Of Priests and Kings,―Knowledge hath swept away;
When Wisdom hath outgrown the childish guise
Of mythic story, and put on the array
Of manhood; in that boon, free, happy, brother-day,―
It may be―that, in Truth's eternal fane
Enshrined, each in his kindred niche of glory,
He quaintly termed 'rebellious needleman,' 
By thee, great age-fellow!―with martyr gory,
Or some old stout confessor of faith hoary,
May stand, as right co-workers, equal, true,
For Truth; although the world's old bigot-story
Of Man's mind-infancy did long misview
The scope of their twin-toil: scope that themselves scarce
It may be that, around that temple's space,
Splendours may wreathe full many a doubter's brow
As brilliantly as they illume the face
Of philanthropic creed's-man. 'Mid the glow
Of sculptured excellence, in shining row,
Herbert of Cherbury, Hobbes, with Locke and Boyle―
Hume, Godwin, may, with Paley and Butler, show―
Statued with equal honour in Truth's aisle―
Lit with one ray―how truly kindred was their toil!
Spinoza and Rousseau, Bayle and Voltaire,
With Fenelon, Erasmus, Pascal, shrined―
May beam in brotherhood eternal there!―
But, for thy future children doth the mind
Most fondly yearn, loved fatherland! and find
Its sweetest dreams flow thence. O that some
Would visit me revealing humankind
As the far future shall discover them―
Living as they shall live on this loved ocean-gem!
What Howard, when the dungeon is forgot;
What Montague, when no man's blood is shed;
What Hale, when justice can be no more bought;
What Bernard Gilpin, when no poor lack bread;
What Cartwright, when no tyrants on them tread;
What Clarkson, when the world hath not a slave;
What Owen, when free thought awakes no dread;
What Mathew, when there is no sot to save;
What men shall grace our isles when Wrong hath found its
O thrice blest children of that age of light
And love which now the trustful spirit sees,
Bright beaming from afar―Ye will not slight
Your noblest fathers, nor their memories!
But, tombing names of blood and pride that please
The human patient, whom to drug and craze
Guile, long, with Power, hath striven―Ye to sweet ease
Of health, in heart and mind, restored shall raise,
With filial hands, true trophies to your fathers' praise!
Bourse of the world wilt thou be, London, then?
For still I turn with fondness to thy face,
And doat upon thee―though I, mournful, ken
Too many a blemish there! Wilt thou a grace
Be, then, among Earth's cities? Or, shall race
Arrive from some far clime, new emigrants
To found a home, and find thy desart-space
Renewed, my country!―howling forest-haunts
And wilds "peopled with wolves thy old inhabitants?" 
Shall Gain forsake thy marts, great queen of Thames?
Thy merchant-navies vanish?―and, where Pride
In famine-woven silks and blood-bought gems,
Now rolls her chariot, shall Decay divide
Empire with Silence,―there the lizard glide
'Mong crumbling walls,―and there the badger peep
Forth from sere weeds that half his gray head hide,
Save when uplifted by the winds that sweep
'Mong chambers where thy pampered lords no longer
Or, shall true grandeur deck thee: bounding joy
Of human hearts feeling their fathers' home―
That happy home―renewed, and thee the Eye
Become of the wide world? Gaol, 'Bastile'-doom,
Treadmill, whip, gallows, demon War's costume,
And all his trophies and his engines gone:
No Vileness robed―no Worth in rags; Health's bloom
On cheek of sturdy sire and manly son,
Proving what secrets Science hath from Nature won:
Mind writ in every face; books million-fold
Increased; and galleries vast with breath-shapes hung
Raffaelle might worship, or Apelles old;
Groupes from great Shakspere's world, or Chaucer's
In bronzed or marbled life, seeming up-sprung
From some new Phidian realm of earth beneath
To gem the populous squares; Music's full tongue
Telling to millions what Mozart in death
Enraptured heard, but could not the boon-sounds
And all—for ALL! Rank, class,
For ever gone! Labour by Science made
Brief recreation—not by Privilege
Avoided, nor its thrift in name of Trade
Or Commerce filched. To give a brother's aid
To brethren, and enlarge the general bliss
From knowledge, virtue, health—beyond parade
Of pomp or gold—affording joy. I wis,
When Truth doth reign, Earth shall be such a
Do I reharp like themes? Perchance, the gaol
Doth stagnate thought. And now the blythe old man
Is gone, who joked, and told his merry tale
Each morning when the prison-day began,—
Who spread instruction through the hours' long span,
Mingling the grave and gay with cheery tongue.
O how I miss the septuagenarian! 
I wonder what hath kept his heart so young,
That still he dreams to live and see the end of Wrong!
Gone, are my younger fellow-rebels all,
To bustle, once more, with Life's elbowing crowd;
And I am left, a solitary thrall,
Where stillness like the silence of the shroud
Pervades both night and day, save when aloud
Clash bolts and bars, and the shrill curfew tells
The prisoner must to bed.――
The vision glowed
Again in sleep; and, where the spirit dwells
I seemed to dwell,—the spirit that its own Life quells.
A sense of loneliness, methought, I felt,
When from beneath the dome, again, I passed,
And wandered over mountains where none dwelt,
But doleful voices from the howling blast,
Cowed the lone spirit, while gloom-clouds o'ercast
The dull gray sky. Anon, the way descended
Into a darksome clough, where centre vast,
With jaggčd mouth, the dern, dark pathway ended,
And with its lowering brow some gloomier change
I entered, but trod timidly the rock
That echoed hollowly my steps of fear;
And oft I halted, hearing voices mock
And chide my rashness for o'erventuring there;
Till, when I turned, thinking the cavern drear
And its unproven perils I would flee,
It seemed as if dank vapours rose to blear
My vision; and, forthwith, they fell on me
With noisome blight, till I was blinded utterly.
Chilled unto marble horror with the sense
That I was blind, I would have shrieked, but, lo!
The will had lost its wonted prevalence
O'er faculty or organ; and with throe
Unutterable I sank, feeling my woe
Too grievous to be borne. But, as I fell,
I ceased to grieve, feeling new might endow
My spirit—might to picture or to tell
I ken not, 'twas so wildly indescribable.
Onward I floated—for no joint or limb
I seemed to need—into a region dark
Beyond all thought: Earth's midnight is but dim
Compared with the primeval blackness stark
And stript even of minutest atomed spark
Of light my new intelligence perceived
In this strange clime. I, its stern shapes to
Seemed thence empowered that I was now bereaved
Of grosser sight, and with new eyes that soul-realm
Eyes most intensely vision-rich that cleft
The dread opaque gleefully as young eyes
On earth view brightest stars in the blue weft
Above; or lustrous gem-shells scrutinize
In fountains pellucid, then grasp the prize,
At jeopardy of life. Yet, I beheld
Emblems of mortal gloom and miseries,
Much more than joy: but in them was revealed
Grace so transcendent that the mind with rapture
To feel its essence gifted with the power
Of viewing in thick darkness shapes of grace
And beauty so unspeakable. Meteor,
On marish seen, or victims' burial-place,—
Phantasmagoric slights, where figures chase
Each other in illusive vision wild,—
Spectrous deceits the human eye doth trace,
By brain-sick fancy or shrewd art beguiled,—
All fail to explicate how mystic mind was filled
With sculptured forms in darkness, and rich hues
Of pictures crowded on her rapid glance.—
First, statue-groupes arose that did suffuse
The soul with Love's woe-tears:—Orpheus' joy-trance
At his Eurydice's deliverance—
Quick changed to pain and horror, as he turned—
Alas, too soon! ill brooking tarriance
Of looks—lips—clasped embrace: the bliss-cup earned
In vain—to atoms dashed—by Love's own madness
Then, Galatea, with her shepherd love,
Was statued, breathing joy, quick chased by pain;
For o'er them bent the Cyclop, ire enwove
In his grim glance; and wildly o'er her swain
The sea-nymph writhed when she beheld him slain.
Soon, seemed Leander, struggling with the wave
In death, and Hero leaping in disdain
Of life, with haste into her watery grave.—
Then, images of grief and fate the darkness clave:
The Carian queen,—in that fair monument
She built for her loved spouse, and which the world
Proclaimed a wonder—o'er the dead was bent;
And he who sung how the great Titan hurled
Defiance back at Jove,—stricken, brain-whirled,
Fell, as the tortoise from the eagle's beak
Dropped on his head,—the oracle upfurled
In mystery accomplishing. The Greek
Sublime, pitying his slanderers, and with courage
Drinking the hemlock, while in aching grief
His friends stood round, then passed; and, next,
Sad images depicturing man's poor, brief
Mirth-hour on earth: Pollio's fair child, that drew
Its earliest breath in laughter, but scarce knew
Life ere in death it faded; and the stern
And melancholy Agelastus, who
Neer laughed but once, and then, in Cynic scorn,
To see the thistles by the ass for lettuce torn. 
Then rose twin corpses of the craftsmen sage
The Pythian's oracle that deftly reared,—
With Juno's priestess' duteous lineage
Who drew their mother to the fane: reward
Of death, as the best gift, on each conferred
By the high deities, for wondrous skill
And filial piety.  Countless
The sculptured shapes, thereafter, that did still
Pourtray grief, fate, life's swiftness, and all human
Praxiteles, his mirror seemed to dash
To living fragments which a thousand-fold
Showed his deformed rude visage to the rash
Enraged destroyer: Hoar, in gloomy hold
Trophonius sat: young Phaëthon the bold
Fell from the chariot-sun: vortex and rock
By vexed Messina's shore, worn voyagers old
Seemed toiling to escape,—yet swiftly broke
The billows o'er them, and they bowed beneath
And while these semblances I, wondering, saw,
With thousands more, mysterious music streamed
Upon my soul, refreshingly as blow
The evening gusts on toiling swains condemned
To reap all day, whilome the sun heath beamed
His fiercest fires: blythely their hook they ply
To win substantial good; yet, when redeemed
From overheats, breathe joyously:—so I,
With sense of ease, listed the soothing minstrelsy.
And soothing 'twas, though sad: a wildering strain
Unearthly,—or, if like to aught on earth
Most like that theme which breathes her spirit's pain—
The 'Mater dolorosa'  with such birth
Of sweetness, that, once heard, we deem thenceforth,
Grief-music thrills more deep deliciousness,—
Ay, more essential joy,—than strains of mirth!
Most like that voice of rapturous soul-distress
It was; and, wordless, seemed these woe-thoughts to
'Oh! what shall quell Life's universal sorrow?
'In Hades' realm of darkness, drear and deep
'As Death's, or where gloom-prison Earth doth
'Light from the gaudy sun, all creatures weep,
'All spirits ache! Duration on doth sweep,
'Bringing no other change than newer woe!
'Oh! that this waking to eternal sleep
'Might change, and spirits cease to think and
'For ever quenched Life's inward like its outer glow!
'Oh! what is youthful Love?—a torturous dream:
'What conjugal affection?—pain and tears:
'What Life?—capricious gift of Powers supreme
'That mock Man's hopes, and laugh at his weak fears:
'Heath Virtue a reward?—the wicked's sneers:
'Hath Bliss existence?—in the realm of Nought:
'Can Fate be shunned?—when Essence disappears;
'But all in Hades or on Earth who thought
'And life inherit in her web of woe are wrought.
'Spirits, look onward!—what do ye perceive?
'Woe-thought to come--a future filled with gloom—
'Ages in which your essence still shall grieve
'That it exists, and long for instant doom
'Of blank annihilation. Your old home
'Look back upon! What is Man's journey thorough
'Earth's life? Grief from the cradle to the tomb—
'Toil-thought for bread to-day—a shroud to-morrow:
'Oh, what shall quell, for aye, Life's universal sorrow?'
The enraptured anguish of my spirit ceased,
For now this minstrelsy I heard no more;
And every sculptured emblem, which a feast
Of visioned wonderment had set before
The soul's interior self, evanished. Roar
Of multitudinous voices came, and crowd
On crowd of Sorrow's suicides the shore
Of Darkness, in desponding phalanx, trode,
Wailing they could not 'scape Life's ever-during load.
By thousands, the stern, giant Cimbri trooped,—
And Xanthians and Saguntines,—they who fled,
In olden times, from life, by act abrupt,
Rather than wear the conqueror's yoke. That dread
And sullen band of Jews who undismayed,
In old cathedralled York, by their own hand
Met death, to shun the fiendish vengeance spread
For their rackt tribe,  stalked by on
'Twere long to tell the Sorrow-crowds my spirit scanned:—
Of every age, and every mortal clime
They were; and 'twas appalling their array
To view, and think of nations choosing crime
Of suicide,—hasting themselves to slay,
Rather than be their butcherous brethren's prey!—
The multitudes had passed, and a slow river
Methought I reached, upon whose banks a gray
And solemn man whose every nerve did quiver
With woe, walked, murmuring at existence and the
And him there met the noble Roman,—made
A rightful heritor of lasting fame
By matchless Tully's friendship,—though such aid
His own high sense and virtues might disclaim—
Were it not native to the sovereign flame
Of genius, like the sun, to render gleam
Of lesser lustres dull, and give a name,
Even to brightest things, less for their beam
Inherent, than the ray lent by its fire supreme.—
"Pomponius, hail!"—began the solemn sire;—
"Thee have I longed to meet in this demesne
Of mystic darkness,—for until I tire
To loathing, have I walked with ghosts obscene,
Listening their threadbare tales of vulgar teen.
Friend of Rome's noblest tongue and largest mind,—
Thee, calm Philosophy with thought serene
To bear unmoved the common woes assigned
To man, must have endowed: what subtle woe was
"Unto thy soul on earth, that thou its coil
Shook off? Could loftiest friendship, wealth, and
With joys refined, thee fail to reconcile
To life? O Atticus, while I had these,—
While on my peace no feminine fiend did seize,
Dishonouring my children, and my own
Hoar age covering with shame, —a gift
I found Earth's life,—not that insipid boon
Which some proclaim it, ere the mortal scene they shun.
"But thou hadst no soul-harrowing shame to meet
In every neighbour's eye: men did not point
At thee the finger,—and, anon, repeat
The damning whisper, or the subtle hint,
Wherever thou wert seen. What mystic dint
Invisible of Sorrow's sting could pierce
Thy heart,—and make the world seem so disjoint
That thou must flee it, hither to immerse
Thy soul in gloom? Roman, where lay thy life's fell
"Pontalba!—for thy sorrow-notes reveal
Too truly, reverend mourner, who thou art"—
The thoughtful Roman answered:—"to unseal
"My secret I will haste. Within the heart
I ever wore this canker: that depart
I must, or late, or soon,—must yield my breath,
Unknowing of what joy or aftersmart
The soul inherits in the realm of Death,—
Or whether he the spirit's flame extinguisheth.
"Strong pain corporeal hurried me to take
My fatal step more early than, perchance,
I, otherwise, had sped from Life's heart-ache:
Yet, ease returned, long ere the severance
Was made 'tween clay and spirit: but, the advance
Begun towards Death, retreat more terrible
Appeared than forward march; —the
Of Life's huge load, a second time!—the spell
Half-broken to repair!—farewell, and yet farewell!—
"I could not face such horror, for I knew
That I should hourly see my funeral urn,
And that more bitterly it would imbue
Life's joy with sorrow, if I should return
When I had well-nigh reached the portal stern.
Oh, tell me, mourning sire,—if Death with thee
Was not the great Smile-queller: the thought borne
For ever uppermost, that strangled Glee
Even in its birth,—or made its breath an agony!"
"I know not that it was,"—the sire replied:
"It is my nation's habit to avert
Despondency of thought in the gay tide
Of revelry; and when to share the sport
Men cease, by age enfeebled, they resort
Still to the scene of mirth, to dissipate
Dull thoughts by seeing sprightly youth exert
Its agile limbs or jocund wit: sires sate
Their minds beholding sons their spirits recreate."—
"Thy answer seemeth strange,"—the Roman said:
"To me, beholding what I could not share
For ever multiplied the heart's dim dread
Of the approaching tomb: joys of the fair
And young ceased to be gladsome: for the glare
O' the funeral torch gleamed on my mental sight.
Death—Death—was present with me everywhere,
Smirching the face of Nature with his blight,
Bereaving the warm heart of solace or delight."—
"But why didst thou not mingle in the strife
Of public act or counsel?"—asked the soul
Of the gray Gallic sire;—"for thee Earth's life
"Had countless remedies for this strange dole.
Oh! had thy lot beneath the restless rule
Of him who swayed my fatherland been cast,
The fever of the times had warmed thy cool
O'er-meditative brain, until Death's vast
Reality had quelled the Shade whose slave thou
"Thou speakest, Spirit, as if strifeful Rome
Were some Arcadian grove,"—replied the ghost
Of Atticus;—"albeit, within her womb
"Myriads with greed of fame or gold engrossed,
Resembled some insatiate wolvish host—
Ever in open cry for prey. In fear
Of its heart-tortures, public care I thrust
Far from me; nor discern I, in this drear
Gloom-region, that its slaves than I aught happier
"Pontalba! for man's soul no genuine good
There is: no state enfranchiseth the mind
From tyranny of Evil's monster brood.
If in society men strive to find
Relief from megrim dullness,—'mong their kind
They soon engender hate, even without
Design, and wish they never had repined
At solitude, although with dread or doubt
They wrestled till compelled to shun their own
"And what sayst thou of thine own fitful race?
Life's pulse beats not less healthfully in the veins
Of the most feverous tenants of Earth's space
Than it doth beat in theirs. Pleasures to pains,
By very eagerness, they turn: each drains
The joy-cup of the hour as if the world
Had not another for his draught. Contains
Not this woe-clime,—whom Pleasure's zest
Legions, from thy own land by mad self-murder
"There is no human state exempt from woe.
If the lone thinker with a dread profound
Of death be haunted,—they who love the show
And strife of crowds carry within some wound
From rival or proud tyrant who hath frowned
Upon their peace; and if dull solitude
Be irksome,—Pleasure's gay and guilty round
As surely leads to madness. 'Tis a crude
Abortion of a world; and Mind must be at feud
"For ever with the Powers to whom it owes
Existence—if volition they possess;
And if Necessity all Essence bows
Beneath its sceptre, at our wretchedness
We cannot but repine."—
"Whence this excess
"Of perverse discontent?"—a voice began:—
And lo! a crowded audience bodiless
I saw,—while through the host this murmur
'Meek Menedemus hear—the sage Eretrian!' 
"Whence this excess of perverse discontent?"—
The sage repeated:—"dost thou, then, forget,
"Illustrious Roman! thy so late assent
To consolable thoughts, when thee I met
Nursing, as now, this vain, unwise regret?
Alas, we all are too much prone to cling
To sorrow in this clime, and think our debt
To justice never will be paid. Yet spring
High hopes within me—thoughts of rescue
"O Atticus, I grieve that we the call
Fraternal of imperial spirits slighted,
Nor joined their descant in the mystic hall:
Yet, in their souls on whom hope hath alighted,
For Sorrows' host in dreary realm benighted,
Compassion may be felt, till they renew
Their invitation. Not for ever blighted,
Brothers, is this our essence: hopes congrue
With deep discursive reason thus my mind to
"It is not by unalterable law
That Evil's tyranny Man's spirit quelleth:
Brothers, in us, in all, a might to awe
The moral curse o' the universe indwelleth.
O when the sheen of Brotherhood unveileth
Its glory, how our happy race will ponder
And muse upon the Past, until it failed
Their souls to tell—for ecstasy of wonder—
What first could rend Man's heart from brother-
"When selfishness, by Love and Truth dispelled
From human spirits, ceaseth to mislead
With falsest sense of interest,—and 'tis held
A fiction foul that Nature hath decreed
Man only can be moved to generous deed
Of enterprise by personal reward;
When Brotherhood returns, and hearts do feed
On richest bliss, toiling in disregard
Of self, and viewing their toil's fruit by brethren
"When Strength and Health their happiness derive
From knowledge that the produce of their toil
Is shared by Feebleness and Age; when live
The men of Mind to kindle a heart-smile
Where'er they move,—disdaining to defile
Their names with titles, or their hands with gold,
And yearning every moment to beguile
Mankind to deeds of love and goodness bold,
Until the sun a world of mercy doth behold;
"Think ye that then the curse of Evil's reign
Mankind shall know? Suffering will disappear;
For love and sympathy shall vanquish pain,
And gentlest pity shall the lorn heart cheer
Till sorrow's stream for joy's abounding tear
Is changed. 'Twill be a holy, gladsome scene—
Too holy for mad Pleasure to be there!
A world of Love and Truth and Peace serene—
A world of brother-hearts, whose joys are evergreen!
"A world in which thy Death-fear, noble one!
Can no more haunt the soul. Who will fear Death
When, with fraternal love Man's course begun,
Hath been continued? When to yield his breath
The hour is come, with this exalted faith
In gladness Man can die—'A world I leave
'Of happy brothers!—love fraternal hath
'Increased my bliss; and after-hearts shall cleave
'To me through time, and with their songs my memory
"'And if our thought surviveth mortal clay
'My loving spirit for a world of love
'Is fitted: if I think no more,—decay
'Itself is welcome; since around, above,
'Bliss, still progressing, is with Essence wove;
'And men, succeeding men, shall still proclaim
'The bliss is but begun!'—Thus men shall prove
Superior to death-dread, on earth: the flame
Of Brother-love, 'bove selfish fears exalting them!"—
With visages of hope the mystic crowd
Stood, in expressive silence, as the soul
Of Menedemus ceased. Then, one who glowed
With nobler thought than when the venomed bowl,
To 'scape from hated Rome's renewed control,
He, fearing vengeance, in fair Capua took,—
Rash Vibius Virius,  thus began to
The good Eretrian's theme:――
Meek sage!—but, henceforth, we this gloom shall
"For who can list thee tell of blooming bliss,
And brother-love for ever verdurous,
Nor long to quit a dreary clime like this?
'Tween Earth and Hades link mysterious
We inly feel; and bliss analogous
To Earth's shall surely be our heritage:―
Yet, till kings cease their feuds calamitous,
And nations wear no more the conqueror's badge,
Dost thou not dream―this reign of Mercy to presage?
And, until monarch-spirits, in our clime,
Disown their lofty claims, what can make known,
By mystic sign, in penal land of crime,
That Hades' crowds shall soon behold begun
The reign of Brotherhood? O that the boon
"Behold who cometh!" cried the host;
The spirit of thy friend, illustrious one!―
The friend o' the bards most noble and robust
Of thy great land, ―Varus, ―the
"Hail, Atticus!"―the herald cried,―" and ye
"Grief-brothers, who still nurse, in gloomiest land,
Your sorrow! Once again, high destiny
Of human spirits to search out, the band
Of heroes, sages, bards, and kings, divanned
In emblematic grandeur, ye conjure
To lend your aid! Brothers, full soon the brand
Of slavery shall, on earth, be known no more!
Brothers, full soon bliss shall pervade this climature!
"Take hope―take heart! Monarchs, themselves, display
Zeal for equality and brotherhood!
O haste to leave your gloom, and, swift, away
Pursue with me your spirit-course, the Good
And Great to join in converse! "―
Like a flood
Of rapture burst the choral song―'We come!'
From myriads hope-inspired;―and ere I viewed
From darkness their departure, out of gloom
I passed―woke by that thrilling song's exordium.
NOTES TO BOOK THE EIGHTH.
1.―Page 211, Stanza 1.
Winged by the thrill of organ minstrelsy
So suddenly renewed within a gaol,
The opening of an organ, in the gaol-chapel (which adjoined
the "day-room " apportioned to me and my fellow-offenders), gave occasion
to this and some of the following stanzas. In the scanty catalogue
of prison-events, it was one, to me, too exciting to be passed by, either
unfelt or uncommemorated.
2.―Page 212, Stanza 4.
That matchless marshalry of chords reveals,
Luther! thy free-born majesty:
The evidence that the unequalled "Old Hundredth" is Martin
Luther's composition may be questionable: I have yielded to the wish for
having it regarded as his, in the stanza.
3.―Page 213, Stanza 8.
Oh, that death-vaunt still gives
Us strength; and with it, brave one, thy great deed revives!
"Play the man, Master Ridley: we shall this day light up a
candle that will never be extinguished in England!"―Latimer's words to
his fellow-martyr at the stake.
4.―Page 214, Stanza 12.
He quaintly termed 'rebellious needleman,'
I quote from Mr. Carlyle's magnificent unrhymed, unmetred
Epic:―"Nor is our England without her missionaries. She has her Paine:
rebellious staymaker; unkempt; who feels that he, a single Needleman, did
by his 'Common Sense' Pamphlet, free America:― at he can and will
free all this world; perhaps even the other.―"The French Revolution: a
History:" vol. 2, chap. iii.
5.―Page 215, Stanza 17.
And wilds 'peopled with wolves thy old inhabitants?'
"Peopled with wolves thy old inhabitants."―Pt. ii. of Hen.
4. The quotation was tempting―for a rhyme; but I almost feel as if
I had committed a mortal sin in thus literalising, in its application,
Shakspere's sublime and sinewy figure.
6.―Page 216, Stanza 20.
Music's full tongue
Telling to millions what Mozart in death
Enraptured heard, but could not the boon-sounds bequeath;
Mozart's last words―"Now I begin to see what might be
done in music!"
7.―Page 216, Stanza 22.
O how I miss the septuagenarian!
My venerable fellow-"conspirator" and fellow-prisoner (for
the first year) John Richards, whose seventy-first birthday occurred on
the first Christmas-day we passed in the gaol.
8.―Page 219, Stanza 33.
Ne'er laughed but once, and then, in Cynic scorn,
To see the thistles by the ass for lettuce torn.
Cicero, Pliny, and others commemorate the grandfather of
Crassus, who never laughed but once,―namely,―when he saw an ass eat
thistles, and then his exclamation was, "Similes habent labra lactucas,"―Like
lips like lettuces.
9.―Page 219, Stanza 34.
on each conferred
By the high deities, for wondrous skill
And filial piety.
The stories of Agamedes and Trophonius, architects of the
vestibule to the temple of Delphi,―and of Biton and Cleobis, sons of
Cydippe, priestess of Juno at Argos,―are told by Plutarch, in his Morals.
10.―Page 220, Stanza 37.
Most like that theme which breathes her spirit's pain―
The 'Mater dolorosa'
Pergolesi's Stabat Mater (I never heard Rossini's) is
the "theme " to which I allude. I never heard it performed but once; yet
its pathetic power left an indelible impression on my memory.
11.―Page 221, Stanza 42.
to shun the fiendish vengeance spread
For their rackt tribe, stalked by on Darkness' strand.―
The suicidal massacre of the Jews of York, to escape from the horrid
persecution of the Christian citizens, on the 11th of March, 1189, is
related at considerable length (from Roger Hoveden, Matthew Paris, and
William Newburgh), by Drake, in his Hist. and Antiq. of York ; Book I,
12.―Page 222, Stanza 46.
While an my peace no feminine fiend did seize,
Dishonouring my children, and my own
Hoar age covering with shame,―
The brief account of M. de Pontalba, and his suicide, in
Winslow's "Anatomy of Suicide," is so absorbingly, horrifically
interesting that I transcribe it:
"M. de Pontalba was one of the great proprietors of France.
His son had been a page of Napoleon's and afterwards a distinguished
officer, aide-de-camp to Marshal Ney, and a protégé
of the Duke of Elchingen. He married the daughter of Madame
d'Almonaster, and for some time they lived happily; but on the death of
her mother, Madame de Pontalba began to indulge in such extravagances that
even the enormous fortune of the Pontalbas was unequal to it. This
led to some remonstrance on the part of her husband, on the morning after
which she disappeared from the hotel, and neither he nor his children had
any clue to her retreat. At last, after an interval of some months,
a letter arrived from her to her husband, dated New Orleans, in which she
announced that she meant to apply for a divorce; but for eighteen months
nothing more was heard of her, except by her drafts for money. At
last she returned, but only to afflict her family. Her son was at
the Military Academy of St. Cyr. She induced him to elope, and the
boy was plunged in every species of debauchery and expense. This
afflicted, in the deepest manner, his grandfather, who revoked a bequest
he had made him of about Ł4,000 a year, and seemed to apprehend from him
nothing but future ruin and disgrace. The old man, eighty-two years
of age, resided in his chateau of Mont Levéque,
whither, in October, 1834, Madame de Pontalba went to attempt a
reconciliation with the wealthy senior. The day after her arrival
she found she could make no impression on her father-in-law, and was about
to return to Paris, when old M. de Pontalba, observing a moment when she
was alone in her apartment, entered it with a brace of double-barrelled
pistols, locked the door, and, approaching his astonished daughter-in-law,
desired her to recommend herself to God, for that she had but few minutes
to live; but he did not even allow her one minute―he fired immediately,
and two balls entered her left breast. She started up and fled to
a closet, her blood streaming about, and exclaiming that she would
submit to any terms, if he would spare her.―'No, no! You must die!' he
exclaimed, and fired his second pistol. She had instinctively
covered her heart with her hand; the hand was miserably fractured by the
balls, but it saved her heart. She then escaped to another closet,
where a third shot was fired at her without effect; and at last she rushed
in despair to the door, and while M. de Pontalba was discharging his last
barrel at her, she succeeded in opening it. The family, alarmed by
the firing, arrived, and she was saved. The old man, on seeing that
she was beyond his reach, returned to his apartment, and blew out his
brains. It seemed clear that he had resolved to make a sacrifice of
the short remnant of his own life, in order to release his son and his
grandson from their unfortunate connexion with Madame de Pontalba.
But he failed―none of her wounds were mortal; and within a month after,
Madame de Pontalba, perfectly recovered, in high health and spirits,
radiant, and crowned with flowers, was to be seen at all the fętes
and concerts of the capital."―Pp. 292―294.
13.―Page 223, Stanza 49
retreat more terrible
Appeared than forward march;
It is a well-known relation that when Pomponius Atticus (the
friend of Cicero) had subdued a fever by fasting, or medicine, in his 77th
year, he refused to take food, from an unwillingness to prolong life.
14.―Page 225, Stanza 58.
'Meek Menedemus hear―the sage Eretrian'
Menedemus is another of the suicides of antiquity who are
described as escaping from life by refusing food. False accusation
of treason is stated to have been the desperate provocative with this
Socratic philosopher of Eretria.
15.―Page 227, Stanza 67.
Rash Vibius Virius, thus began to' extol
Livy (lib. 26, caps. 13, 14) tells how Vibius Virius advised
the Capuans to revolt to Hannibal, and, when the city was retaken by the
Romans, took poison to escape the vengeance of the victors.
16.―Page 228, Stanza 69.
Of thy great land,―Varus,―the thoughtful herald-ghost!―
Quintilius Varus: I have, for the sake of introducing another
character, asserted what is merely probable,―rom Horace de
Arte Poetic[a] (438) the 18th Ode of Book I, and also the 24th. It
is more generally believed that Q. Varus the poet, and Q. Varus the
commander of the Roman armies in Gaul, who slew himself because overcome
by the craft of Arminius, were different persons.