To the CHAPEL BELL.
"Lo I, the man who erst the Muse did ask Her deepest notes to swell the Patriot's meeds, Am now enforst a far unfitter task For cap and gown to leave my minstrel weeds," For yon dull noise that tinkles on the air Bids me lay by the lyre and go to morning prayer.
Oh how I hate the sound! it is the Knell, That still a requiem tolls to Comfort's hour; And loth am I, at Superstition's bell, To quit or Morpheus or the Muses bower. Better to lie and dose, than gape amain, Hearing still mumbled o'er, the same eternal strain.
Thou tedious herald of more tedious prayers Say hast thou ever summoned from his rest, One being awakening to religious awe? Or rous'd one pious transport in the breast? Or rather, do not all reluctant creep To linger out the hour, in listlessness or sleep?
I love the bell, that calls the poor to pray Chiming from village church its chearful sound, When the sun smiles on Labour's holy day, And all the rustic train are gathered round, Each deftly dizen'd in his Sunday's best And pleas'd to hail the day of piety and rest.
Or when, dim-shadowing o'er the face of day, The mantling mists of even-tide rise slow, As thro' the forest gloom I wend my way, The minster curfew's sullen roar I know; I pause and love its solemn toll to hear, As made by distance soft, it dies upon the ear.
Nor not to me the unfrequent midnight knell Tolls sternly harmonizing; on mine ear As the deep death-fraught sounds long lingering dwell Sick to the heart of Love and Hope and Fear Soul-jaundiced, I do loathe Life's upland steep And with strange envy muse the dead man's dreamless sleep.
But thou, memorial of monastic gall! What Fancy sad or lightsome hast thou given? Thy vision-scaring sounds alone recall The prayer that trembles on a yawn to heaven; And this Dean's gape, and that Dean's nosal tone, And Roman rites retain'd, tho' Roman faith be flown.
The RACE of BANQUO.
Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly! Leave thy guilty sire to die. O'er the heath the stripling fled, The wild storm howling round his head. Fear mightier thro' the shades of night Urged his feet, and wing'd his flight; And still he heard his father cry Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly.
Fly, son of Banquo! Fleance, fly Leave thy guilty sire to die. On every blast was heard the moan The anguish'd shriek, the death-fraught groan; Loathly night-hags join the yell And see—the midnight rites of Hell.
Forms of magic! spare my life! Shield me from the murderer's knife! Before me dim in lurid light Float the phantoms of the night— Behind I hear my Father cry, Fly, son of Banquo—Fleance, fly!
Parent of the sceptred race, Fearless tread the circled space: Fearless Fleance venture near— Sire of monarchs—spurn at fear.
Sisters with prophetic breath Pour we now the dirge of Death!
MUSINGS on a LANDSCAPE
Poussin! most pleasantly thy pictur'd scenes Beguile the lonely hour; I sit and gaze With lingering eye, till charmed FANCY makes The lovely landscape live, and the rapt soul From the foul haunts of herded humankind Flies far away with spirit speed, and tastes The untainted air, that with the lively hue Of health and happiness illumes the cheek Of mountain LIBERTY. My willing soul All eager follows on thy faery flights FANCY! best friend; whose blessed witcheries With loveliest prospects cheat the traveller O'er the long wearying desart of the world. Nor dost thou FANCY with such magic mock My heart, as, demon-born, old Merlin knew, Or Alquif, or Zarzafiel's sister sage, Whose vengeful anguish for so many a year Held in the jacinth sepulchre entranced Lisvart and Perion, pride of chivalry. Friend of my lonely hours! thou leadest me To such calm joys as Nature wise and good Proffers in vain to all her wretched sons; Her wretched sons who pine with want amid The abundant earth, and blindly bow them down Before the Moloch shrines of WEALTH and POWER, AUTHORS of EVIL. Oh it is most sweet To medicine with thy wiles the wearied heart, Sick of reality. The little pile That tops the summit of that craggy hill Shall be my dwelling; craggy is the hill And steep, yet thro' yon hazels upward leads The easy path, along whose winding way Now close embowered I hear the unseen stream Dash down, anon behold its sparkling foam Gleam thro' the thicket; and ascending on Now pause me to survey the goodly vale That opens on my vision. Half way up Pleasant it were upon some broad smooth rock To sit and sun me, and look down below And watch the goatherd down that high-bank'd path Urging his flock grotesque; and bidding now His lean rough dog from some near cliff to drive The straggler; while his barkings loud and quick Amid their trembling bleat arising oft, Fainter and fainter from the hollow road Send their far echoes, till the waterfall, Hoarse bursting from the cavern'd cliff beneath, Their dying murmurs drown. A little yet Onward, and I have gain'd the upmost height. Fair spreads the vale below: I see the stream Stream radiant on beneath the noontide sky. Where the town-spires behind the castle towers Rise graceful; brown the mountain in its shade, Whose circling grandeur, part by mists conceal'd, Part with white rocks resplendant in the sun, Should bound mine eyes; aye and my wishes too, For I would have no hope or fear beyond. The empty turmoil of the worthless world, Its vanities and vices would not vex My quiet heart. The traveller, who beheld The low tower of the little pile, might deem It were the house of GOD: nor would he err So deeming, for that home would be the home Of PEACE and LOVE, and they would hallow it To HIM. Oh life of blessedness! to reap The fruit of honorable toil, and bound Our wishes with our wants! delightful Thoughts That sooth the solitude of maniac HOPE, Ye leave her to reality awak'd, Like the poor captive, from some fleeting dream Of friends and liberty and home restor'd, Startled, and listening as the midnight storm Beats hard and heavy thro' his dungeon bars.
The story of the following ballad was related to me, when a school boy, as a fact which had really happened in the North of England. I have adopted the metre of Mr. Lewis's Alonzo and Imogene—a poem deservedly popular.
Who is she, the poor Maniac, whose wildly-fix'd eyes Seem a heart overcharged to express? She weeps not, yet often and deeply she sighs, She never complains, but her silence implies The composure of settled distress.
No aid, no compassion the Maniac will seek, Cold and hunger awake not her care: Thro' her rags do the winds of the winter blow bleak On her poor withered bosom half bare, and her cheek Has the deathy pale hue of despair.
Yet chearful and happy, nor distant the day, Poor Mary the Maniac has been; The Traveller remembers who journeyed this way No damsel so lovely, no damsel so gay As Mary the Maid of the Inn.
Her chearful address fill'd the guests with delight As she welcomed them in with a smile: Her heart was a stranger to childish affright, And Mary would walk by the Abbey at night When the wind whistled down the dark aisle.
She loved, and young Richard had settled the day, And she hoped to be happy for life; But Richard was idle and worthless, and they Who knew him would pity poor Mary and say That she was too good for his wife.
'Twas in autumn, and stormy and dark was the night, And fast were the windows and door; Two guests sat enjoying the fire that burnt bright, And smoking in silence with tranquil delight They listen'd to hear the wind roar.
"Tis pleasant," cried one, "seated by the fire side "To hear the wind whistle without." "A fine night for the Abbey!" his comrade replied, "Methinks a man's courage would now be well tried "Who should wander the ruins about.
"I myself, like a school-boy, should tremble to hear "The hoarse ivy shake over my head; "And could fancy I saw, half persuaded by fear, "Some ugly old Abbot's white spirit appear, "For this wind might awaken the dead!"
"I'll wager a dinner," the other one cried, "That Mary would venture there now." "Then wager and lose!" with a sneer he replied, "I'll warrant she'd fancy a ghost by her side, "And faint if she saw a white cow."
"Will Mary this charge on her courage allow?" His companion exclaim'd with a smile; "I shall win, for I know she will venture there now, "And earn a new bonnet by bringing a bough "From the elder that grows in the aisle."
With fearless good humour did Mary comply, And her way to the Abbey she bent; The night it was dark, and the wind it was high And as hollowly howling it swept thro' the sky She shiver'd with cold as she went.
O'er the path so well known still proceeded the Maid Where the Abbey rose dim on the sight, Thro' the gate-way she entered, she felt not afraid Yet the ruins were lonely and wild, and their shade Seem'd to deepen the gloom of the night.
All around her was silent, save when the rude blast Howl'd dismally round the old pile; Over weed-cover'd fragments still fearless she past, And arrived in the innermost ruin at last Where the elder tree grew in the aisle.
Well-pleas'd did she reach it, and quickly drew near And hastily gather'd the bough: When the sound of a voice seem'd to rise on her ear, She paus'd, and she listen'd, all eager to hear, Aud her heart panted fearfully now.
The wind blew, the hoarse ivy shook over her head, She listen'd,—nought else could she hear. The wind ceas'd, her heart sunk in her bosom with dread For she heard in the ruins distinctly the tread Of footsteps approaching her near.
Behind a wide column half breathless with fear She crept to conceal herself there: That instant the moon o'er a dark cloud shone clear, And she saw in the moon-light two ruffians appear And between them a corpse did they bear.
Then Mary could feel her heart-blood curdle cold! Again the rough wind hurried by,— It blew off the hat of the one, and behold Even close to the feet of poor Mary it roll'd,— She felt, and expected to die.
"Curse the hat!" he exclaims. "Nay come on and first hide "The dead body," his comrade replies. She beheld them in safety pass on by her side, She seizes the hat, fear her courage supplied, And fast thro' the Abbey she flies.
She ran with wild speed, she rush'd in at the door, She gazed horribly eager around, Then her limbs could support their faint burthen no more, And exhausted and breathless she sunk on the floor Unable to utter a sound.
Ere yet her pale lips could the story impart, For a moment the hat met her view;— Her eyes from that object convulsively start, For—oh God what cold horror then thrill'd thro' her heart, When the name of her Richard she knew!
Where the old Abbey stands, on the common hard by His gibbet is now to be seen. Not far from the road it engages the eye, The Traveller beholds it, and thinks with a sigh Of poor Mary the Maid of the Inn.
In Finland there is a Castle which is called the New Rock, moated about with a river of unfounded depth, the water black and the fish therein very distateful to the palate. In this are spectres often seen, which foreshew either the death of the Governor, or some prime officer belonging to the place; and most commonly it appeareth in the shape of an harper, sweetly singing and dallying and playing under the water.
It is reported of one Donica, that after she was dead, the Devil walked in her body for the space of two years, so that none suspected but that she was still alive; for she did both speak and eat, though very sparingly; only she had a deep paleness on her countenance, which was the only sign of death. At length a Magician coming by where she was then in the company of many other virgins, as soon as he beheld her he said, "fair Maids, why keep you company with the dead Virgin whom you suppose to be alive?" when taking away the magic charm which was tied under her arm, the body fell down lifeless and without motion.
The following Ballad is founded on these stories. They are to be found in the notes to The Hierarchies of the blessed Angels; a Poem by Thomas Heywood, printed in folio by Adam Islip, 1635.
High on a rock, whose castled shade Darken'd the lake below, In ancient strength majestic stood The towers of Arlinkow.
The fisher in the lake below Durst never cast his net, Nor ever swallow in its waves Her passing wings would wet.
The cattle from its ominous banks In wild alarm would run, Tho' parched with thirst and faint beneath The summer's scorching sun.
For sometimes when no passing breeze The long lank sedges waved, All white with foam and heaving high Its deafening billows raved;
And when the tempest from its base The rooted pine would shake, The powerless storm unruffling swept Across the calm dead lake.
And ever then when Death drew near The house of Arlinkow, Its dark unfathom'd depths did send Strange music from below.
The Lord of Arlinkow was old, One only child had he, Donica was the Maiden's name As fair as fair might be.
A bloom as bright as opening morn Flush'd o'er her clear white cheek, The music of her voice was mild, Her full dark eyes were meek.
Far was her beauty known, for none So fair could Finland boast, Her parents loved the Maiden much, Young EBERHARD loved her most.
Together did they hope to tread The pleasant path of life, For now the day drew near to make Donica Eberhard's wife.
The eve was fair and mild the air, Along the lake they stray; The eastern hill reflected bright The fading tints of day.
And brightly o'er the water stream'd The liquid radiance wide; Donica's little dog ran on And gambol'd at her side.
Youth, Health, and Love bloom'd on her cheek, Her full dark eyes express In many a glance to Eberhard Her soul's meek tenderness.
Nor sound was heard, nor passing gale Sigh'd thro' the long lank sedge, The air was hushed, no little wave Dimpled the water's edge.
Sudden the unfathom'd lake sent forth Strange music from beneath, And slowly o'er the waters sail'd The solemn sounds of Death.
As the deep sounds of Death arose, Donica's cheek grew pale, And in the arms of Eberhard The senseless Maiden fell.
Loudly the youth in terror shriek'd, And loud he call'd for aid, And with a wild and eager look Gaz'd on the death-pale Maid.
But soon again did better thoughts In Eberhard arise, And he with trembling hope beheld The Maiden raise her eyes.
And on his arm reclin'd she moved With feeble pace and slow, And soon with strength recover'd reach'd
Yet never to Donica's cheek Return'd the lively hue, Her cheeks were deathy, white, and wan, Her lips a livid blue.
Her eyes so bright and black of yore Were now more black and bright, And beam'd strange lustre in her face So deadly wan and white.
The dog that gambol'd by her side, And lov'd with her to stray, Now at his alter'd mistress howl'd And fled in fear away.
Yet did the faithful Eberhard Not love the Maid the less; He gaz'd with sorrow, but he gaz'd With deeper tenderness.
And when he found her health unharm'd He would not brook delay, But press'd the not unwilling Maid To fix the bridal day.
And when at length it came, with joy They hail'd the bridal day, And onward to the house of God They went their willing way.
And as they at the altar stood And heard the sacred rite, The hallowed tapers dimly stream'd A pale sulphureous light.
And as the Youth with holy warmth Her hand in his did hold, Sudden he felt Donica's hand Grow deadly damp and cold.
And loudly did he shriek, for lo! A Spirit met his view, And Eberhard in the angel form His own Donica knew.
That instant from her earthly frame Howling the Daemon fled, And at the side of Eberhard The livid form fell dead.
Divers Princes and Noblemen being assembled in a beautiful and fair Palace, which was situate upon the river Rhine, they beheld a boat or small barge make toward the shore, drawn by a Swan in a silver chain, the one end fastened about her neck, the other to the vessel; and in it an unknown soldier, a man of a comely personage and graceful presence, who stept upon the shore; which done, the boat guided by the Swan left him, and floated down the river. This man fell afterward in league with a fair gentlewoman, married her, and by her had many children. After some years, the same Swan came with the same barge into the same place; the soldier entering into it, was carried thence the way he came, left wife, children and family, and was never seen amongst them after.
Now who can judge this to be other than one of those spirits that are named Incubi? says Thomas Heywood. I have adopted his story, but not his solution, making the unknown soldier not an evil spirit, but one who had purchased happiness of a malevolent being, by the promised sacrifice of his first-born child.
Bright on the mountain's heathy slope The day's last splendors shine And rich with many a radiant hue Gleam gayly on the Rhine.
And many a one from Waldhurst's walls Along the river stroll'd, As ruffling o'er the pleasant stream The evening gales came cold.
So as they stray'd a swan they saw Sail stately up and strong, And by a silver chain she drew A little boat along,
Whose streamer to the gentle breeze Long floating fluttered light, Beneath whose crimson canopy There lay reclin'd a knight.
With arching crest and swelling breast On sail'd the stately swan And lightly up the parting tide The little boat came on.
And onward to the shore they drew And leapt to land the knight, And down the stream the swan-drawn boat Fell soon beyond the sight.
Was never a Maid in Waldhurst's walls Might match with Margaret, Her cheek was fair, her eyes were dark, Her silken locks like jet.
And many a rich and noble youth Had strove to win the fair, But never a rich or noble youth Could rival Rudiger.
At every tilt and turney he Still bore away the prize, For knightly feats superior still And knightly courtesies.
His gallant feats, his looks, his love, Soon won the willing fair, And soon did Margaret become The wife of Rudiger.
Like morning dreams of happiness Fast roll'd the months away, For he was kind and she was kind And who so blest as they?
Yet Rudiger would sometimes sit Absorb'd in silent thought And his dark downward eye would seem With anxious meaning fraught;
But soon he rais'd his looks again And smil'd his cares eway, And mid the hall of gaiety Was none like him so gay.
And onward roll'd the waining months, The hour appointed came, And Margaret her Rudiger Hail'd with a father's name.
But silently did Rudiger The little infant see, And darkly on the babe he gaz'd And very sad was he.
And when to bless the little babe The holy Father came, To cleanse the stains of sin away In Christ's redeeming name,
Then did the cheek of Rudiger Assume a death-pale hue, And on his clammy forehead stood The cold convulsive dew;
And faltering in his speech he bade The Priest the rites delay, Till he could, to right health restor'd, Enjoy the festive day.
When o'er the many-tinted sky He saw the day decline, He called upon his Margaret To walk beside the Rhine.
"And we will take the little babe, "For soft the breeze that blows, "And the wild murmurs of the stream "Will lull him to repose."
So forth together did they go, The evening breeze was mild, And Rudiger upon his arm Did pillow the sweet child.
And many a one from Waldhurst's walls Along the banks did roam, But soon the evening wind came cold, And all betook them home.
Yet Rudiger in silent mood Along the banks would roam, Nor aught could Margaret prevail To turn his footsteps home.
"Oh turn thee—turn thee Rudiger, "The rising mists behold, "The evening wind is damp and chill, "The little babe is cold!"
"Now hush thee—hush thee Margaret, "The mists will do no harm, "And from the wind the little babe "Lies sheltered on my arm."
"Oh turn thee—turn thee Rudiger, "Why onward wilt thou roam? "The moon is up, the night is cold, "And we are far from home."
He answered not, for now he saw A Swan come sailing strong, And by a silver chain she drew A little boat along.
To shore they came, and to the boat Fast leapt he with the child, And in leapt Margaret—breathless now And pale with fear and wild.
With arching crest and swelling breast On sail'd the stately swan, And lightly down the rapid tide The little boat went on.
The full-orb'd moon that beam'd around Pale splendor thro' the night, Cast through the crimson canopy A dim-discoloured light.
And swiftly down the hurrying stream In silence still they sail, And the long streamer fluttering fast Flapp'd to the heavy gale.
And he was mute in sullen thought And she was mute with fear, Nor sound but of the parting tide Broke on the listening ear.
The little babe began to cry And waked his mother's care, "Now give to me the little babe "For God's sake, Rudiger!"
"Now hush thee, hush thee Margaret! "Nor my poor heart distress— "I do but pay perforce the price "Of former happiness.
"And hush thee too my little babe, "Thy cries so feeble cease: "Lie still, lie still;—a little while "And thou shalt be at peace."
So as he spake to land they drew, And swift he stept on shore, And him behind did Margaret Close follow evermore.
It was a place all desolate, Nor house nor tree was there, And there a rocky mountain rose Barren, and bleak, and bare.
And at its base a cavern yawn'd, No eye its depth might view, For in the moon-beam shining round That darkness darker grew.
Cold Horror crept thro' Margaret's blood, Her heart it paus'd with fear, When Rudiger approach'd the cave And cried, "lo I am here!"
A deep sepulchral sound the cave Return'd "lo I am here!" And black from out the cavern gloom Two giant arms appear.
And Rudiger approach'd and held The little infant nigh; Then Margaret shriek'd, and gather'd then New powers from agony.
And round the baby fast and firm Her trembling arms she folds, And with a strong convulsive grasp The little infant holds.
"Now help me, Jesus!" loud she cries. And loud on God she calls; Then from the grasp of Rudiger The little infant falls.
And now he shriek'd, for now his frame The huge black arms clasp'd round, And dragg'd the wretched Rudiger Adown the dark profound.
Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.
The words of Agur.
The Title of the following Poem will probably remind the Reader of Akenside's Hymn to the Naiads, but the manner in which I have treated the subject fortunately precludes comparison.
HYMN to the PENATES.
Yet one Song more! one high and solemn strain Ere PAEAN! on thy temple's ruined wall I hang the silent harp: there may its strings, When the rude tempest shakes the aged pile, Make melancholy music. One Song more! PENATES! hear me! for to you I hymn The votive lay. Whether, as sages deem, Ye dwell in the inmost Heaven, the COUNSELLORS Of JOVE; or if, SUPREME OF DEITIES, All things are yours, and in your holy train JOVE proudly ranks, and JUNO, white arm'd Queen.
And wisest of Immortals, aweful Maid ATHENIAN PALLAS. Venerable Powers! Hearken your hymn of praise! tho' from your rites Estranged, and exiled from your altars long, I have not ceased to love you, HOUSEHOLD GODS! In many a long and melancholy hour Of solitude and sorrow, has my heart With earnest longings prayed to rest at length Beside your hallowed hearth—for PEACE is there!
Yes I have loved you long. I call on you Yourselves to witness with what holy joy, Shunning the polished mob of human kind, I have retired to watch your lonely fires And commune with myself. Delightful hours That gave mysterious pleasure, made me know All the recesses of my wayward heart, Taught me to cherish with devoutest care Its strange unworldly feelings, taught me too The best of lessons—to respect myself!
Nor have I ever ceas'd to reverence you DOMESTIC DEITIES! from the first dawn Of reason, thro' the adventurous paths of youth Even to this better day, when on mine ear The uproar of contending nations sounds, But like the passing wind—and wakes no pulse To tumult. When a child—(for still I love To dwell with fondness on my childish years, Even as that Persian favorite would retire From the court's dangerous pageantry and pomp, To gaze upon his shepherd garb, and weep, Rememb'ring humble happiness.) When first A little one, I left my father's home, I can remember the first grief I felt, And the first painful smile that cloathed my front With feelings not its own: sadly at night I sat me down beside a stranger's hearth; And when the lingering hour of rest was come, First wet with tears my pillow. As I grew In years and knowledge, and the course of Time Developed the young feelings of my heart, When most I loved in solitude to rove Amid the woodland gloom; or where the rocks Darken'd old Avon's stream, in the ivied cave Recluse to sit and brood the future song, Yet not the less, PENATES, loved I then Your altars, not the less at evening hour Delighted by the well-trimm'd fire to sit, Absorbed in many a dear deceitful dream Of visionary joys: deceitful dreams— Not wholly vain—for painting purest joys, They form'd to Fancy's mould her votary's heart.
By Cherwell's sedgey side, and in the meads Where Isis in her calm clear stream reflects The willow's bending boughs, at earliest dawn In the noon-tide hour, and when the night-mists rose, I have remembered you: and when the noise Of loud intemperance on my lonely ear Burst with loud tumult, as recluse I sat, Pondering on loftiest themes of man redeemed From servitude, and vice, and wretchedness, I blest you, HOUSEHOLD GODS! because I loved Your peaceful altars and serener rites. Nor did I cease to reverence you, when driven Amid the jarring crowd, an unfit man To mingle with the world; still, still my heart Sighed for your sanctuary, and inly pined; And loathing human converse, I have strayed Where o'er the sea-beach chilly howl'd the blast, And gaz'd upon the world of waves, and wished That I were far beyond the Atlantic deep, In woodland haunts—a sojourner with PEACE.
Not idly fabled they the Bards inspired, Who peopled Earth with Deities. They trod The wood with reverence where the DRYADS dwelt; At day's dim dawn or evening's misty hour They saw the OREADS on their mountain haunts. And felt their holy influence, nor impure Of thought—or ever with polluted hands Touched they without a prayer the NAIAD'S spring; Yet was their influence transient; such brief awe Inspiring as the thunder's long loud peal Strikes to the feeble spirit. HOUSEHOLD GODS, Not such your empire! in your votaries' breasts No momentary impulse ye awake— Nor fleeting like their local energies, The deep devotion that your fanes impart. O ye whom YOUTH has wilder'd on your way, Or VICE with fair-mask'd foulness, or the lure Of FAME that calls ye to her crowded paths With FOLLY's rattle, to your HOUSEHOLD GODS Return! for not in VICE's gay abodes, Not in the unquiet unsafe halls of FAME Does HAPPINESS abide! O ye who weep Much for the many miseries of Mankind, More for their vices, ye whose honest eyes Frown on OPPRESSION,—ye whose honest hearts Beat high when FREEDOM sounds her dread tocsin;— O ye who quit the path of peaceful life Crusading for mankind—a spaniel race That lick the hand that beats them, or tear all Alike in frenzy—to your HOUSEHOLD GODS Return, for by their altars VIRTUE dwells And HAPPINESS with her; for by their fires TRANQUILLITY in no unsocial mood Sits silent, listening to the pattering shower; For, so SUSPICION sleep not at the gate Of WISDOM,—FALSEHOOD shall not enter there.
As on the height of some huge eminence, Reach'd with long labour, the way-faring man Pauses awhile, and gazing o'er the plain With many a sore step travelled, turns him then Serious to contemplate the onward road, And calls to mind the comforts of his home, And sighs that he has left them, and resolves To stray no more: I on my way of life Muse thus PENATES, and with firmest faith Devote myself to you. I will not quit To mingle with the mob your calm abodes, Where, by the evening hearth CONTENTMENT sits And hears the cricket chirp; where LOVE delights To dwell, and on your altars lays his torch That burns with no extinguishable flame.
Hear me ye POWERS benignant! there is one Must be mine inmate—for I may not chuse But love him. He is one whom many wrongs Have sicken'd of the world. There was a time When he would weep to hear of wickedness And wonder at the tale; when for the opprest He felt a brother's pity, to the oppressor A good man's honest anger. His quick eye Betray'd each rising feeling, every thought Leapt to his tongue. When first among mankind He mingled, by himself he judged of them, And loved and trusted them, to Wisdom deaf, And took them to his bosom. FALSEHOOD met Her unsuspecting victim, fair of front, And lovely as Apega's sculptured form, Like that false image caught his warm embrace And gored his open breast. The reptile race Clung round his bosom, and with viper folds Encircling, stung the fool who fostered them. His mother was SIMPLICITY, his sire BENEVOLENCE; in earlier days he bore His father's name; the world who injured him Call him MISANTHROPY. I may not chuse But love him, HOUSEHOLD GODS! for we were nurst In the same school.
PENATES! some there are Who say, that not in the inmost heaven ye dwell, Gazing with eye remote on all the ways Of man, his GUARDIAN GODS; wiselier they deem A dearer interest to the human race Links you, yourselves the SPIRITS OF THE DEAD. No mortal eye may pierce the invisible world, No light of human reason penetrate That depth where Truth lies hid. Yet to this faith My heart with instant sympathy assents; And I would judge all systems and all faiths By that best touchstone, from whose test DECEIT Shrinks like the Arch-Fiend at Ithuriel's spear, And SOPHISTRY'S gay glittering bubble bursts, As at the spousals of the Nereid's son, When that false  Florimel, by her prototype Display'd in rivalry, with all her charms Dissolved away.
Nor can the halls of Heaven Give to the human soul such kindred joy, As hovering o'er its earthly haunts it feels, When with the breeze it wantons round the brow Of one beloved on earth; or when at night In dreams it comes, and brings with it the DAYS And JOYS that are no more, Or when, perchance With power permitted to alleviate ill And fit the sufferer for the coming woe, Some strange presage the SPIRIT breathes, and fills The breast with ominous fear, and disciplines For sorrow, pours into the afflicted heart The balm of resignation, and inspires With heavenly hope. Even as a Child delights To visit day by day the favorite plant His hand has sown, to mark its gradual growth, And watch all anxious for the promised flower; Thus to the blessed spirit, in innocence And pure affections like a little child, Sweet will it be to hover o'er the friends Beloved; then sweetest if, as Duty prompts, With earthly care we in their breasts have sown The seeds of Truth and Virtue, holy flowers Whose odour reacheth Heaven.
When my sick Heart, (Sick  with hope long delayed, than, which no care Presses the crush'd heart heavier;) from itself Seeks the best comfort, often have I deemed That thou didst witness every inmost thought SEWARD! my dear dead friend! for not in vain, Oh early summon'd in thy heavenly course! Was thy brief sojourn here: me didst thou leave With strengthen'd step to follow the right path Till we shall meet again. Meantime I soothe The deep regret of Nature, with belief, My EDMUND! that thine eye's celestial ken Pervades me now, marking no mean joy The movements of the heart that loved thee well!
Such feelings Nature prompts, and hence your rites DOMESTIC GODS! arose. When for his son With ceaseless grief Syrophanes bewail'd, Mourning his age left childless, and his wealth Heapt for an alien, he with fixed eye Still on the imaged marble of the dead Dwelt, pampering sorrow. Thither from his wrath A safe asylum, fled the offending slave, And garlanded the statue and implored His young lost Lord to save: Remembrance then Softened the father, and he loved to see The votive wreath renewed, and the rich smoke Curl from the costly censer slow and sweet. From Egypt soon the sorrow-soothing rites Divulging spread; before your  idol forms By every hearth the blinded Pagan knelt, Pouring his prayers to these, and offering there Vain sacrifice or impious, and sometimes With human blood your sanctuary defil'd: Till the first BRUTUS, tyrant-conquering chief, Arose; he first the impious rites put down, He fitliest, who for FREEDOM lived and died, The friend of humankind. Then did your feasts Frequent recur and blameless; and when came The solemn  festival, whose happiest rites Emblem'd EQUALITY, the holiest truth! Crown'd with gay garlands were your statues seen, To you the fragrant censer smok'd, to you The rich libation flow'd: vain sacrifice! For nor the poppy wreath nor fruits nor wine. Ye ask, PENATES! nor the altar cleans'd With many a mystic form; ye ask the heart Made pure, and by domestic Peace and Love Hallowed to you.
Hearken your hymn of praise, PENATES! to your shrines I come for rest, There only to be found. Often at eve, Amid my wanderings I have seen far off The lonely light that spake of comfort there, It told my heart of many a joy of home, And my poor heart was sad. When I have gazed From some high eminence on goodly vales And cots and villages embower'd below, The thought would rise that all to me was strange Amid the scene so fair, nor one small spot Where my tir'd mind might rest and call it home, There is a magic in that little word; It is a mystic circle that surrounds Comforts and Virtues never known beyond The hallowed limit. Often has my heart Ached for that quiet haven; haven'd now, I think of those in this world's wilderness Who wander on and find no home of rest Till to the grave they go! them POVERTY Hollow-eyed fiend, the child of WEALTH and POWER, Bad offspring of worse parents, aye afflicts, Cankering with her foul mildews the chill'd heart— Them WANT with scorpion scourge drives to the den Of GUILT—them SLAUGHTER with the price of death Buys for her raven brood. Oh not on them GOD OF ETERNAL JUSTICE! not on them Let fall thy thunder!
HOUSEHOLD DEITIES! Then only shall be Happiness on earth When Man shall feel your sacred power, and love Your tranquil joys; then shall the city stand A huge void sepulchre, and rising fair Amid the ruins of the palace pile The Olive grow, there shall the TREE OF PEACE Strike its roots deep and flourish. This the state Shall bless the race redeemed of Man, when WEALTH And POWER and all their hideous progeny Shall sink annihilate, and all mankind Live in the equal brotherhood of LOVE. Heart-calming hope and sure! for hitherward Tend all the tumults of the troubled world, Its woes, its wisdom, and its wickedness Alike: so he hath will'd whose will is just.
Meantime, all hoping and expecting all In patient faith, to you, DOMESTIC GODS! I come, studious of other lore than song, Of my past years the solace and support: Yet shall my Heart remember the past years With honest pride, trusting that not in vain Lives the pure song of LIBERTY and TRUTH.
[Footnote 1: Hence one explanation of the name Penates, because they were supposed to reign in the inmost Heavens.]
[Footnote 2: This was the belief of the ancient Hetrusci, who called them Consentes and Complicces]
Oft, tho' Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity Resigns her charge, while Goodness thinks no ill Where no ill seems. MILTON.]
[Footnote 4: One of the Ways and Means of the Tyrant Nabis. If one of his Subjects refused to lend him money, he commanded him to embrace his Apega; the statue of a beautiful Woman so formed as to clasp the victim to her breast, in which a pointed dagger was concealed.]
Then did he set her by that snowy one, Like the true saint beside the image set, Of both their beauties to make paragone And trial whether should the honour get: Streightway so soone as both together met, The enchaunted damzell vanish'd into nought; Her snowy substance melted as with heat, Ne of that goodly hew remayned ought But the emptie girdle which about her wast was wrought. SPENCER.]
[Footnote 6: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. PROVERBS.
Qua non gravior mortalibus addita cura, SPES ubi longa venit. STATIUS.]
[Footnote 7: It is not certainly known under what form the Penates were worshipped. Some assert, as wooden or brazen rods shaped like trumpets: others, that they were represented as young men.]
[Footnote 8: The Saturnalia.]