ODE TO LIBERTY.
1 THE sable queen of shades retires,
2 Encircled with her fading fires;
3 Yok'd to her iron car, the dragons fly,
4 With slow wing blackening many a league of sky.
5 Go, melancholy goddess, go,
6 Nurse of despondency and woe.
7 'Tis time: the cock's shrill clarion calls
8 The dawn, and strikes the prowling wolf with fear,
9 And bids the phantoms disappear,
10 That glimmer 'midst yon mouldering walls:
11 They startle at the sound,
12 And gliding o'er the trackless ground,[Page 85]
13 Loth, to their marble mansions haste away.
14 No more their livid lightnings play:
15 The terrors of aërial tumults cease,
16 Hush'd to serenity and smiling peace.
17 For, lo! in heaven's ambrosial bowers,
18 Wak'd by the stationary hours,
19 Parent of day, the morn unveils her eyes,
20 And vermeil blushes streak the orient skies:
21 How nature triumphs at the sight,
22 Renew'd in all her beauty bright!
23 Her fragrant groves their incense yield;
24 The zephyrs, from her humid stores, diffuse
25 The sweetness of mellifluous dews;
26 And pleasure paints the lillied field.
27 Here, gilt with splendid rays,
28 The spires and lofty turrets blaze;
29 There the canals reflect a pleasing gleam;
30 While dancing down the pebbly stream
31 The silver radiance chears the feather'd throng,
32 Woods, hills, and dales re-echo with their song.
33 Thus, like the morn, will fairest Freedom come,
34 In majesty divine,
35 With dawning glory to disperse the gloom
36 Of dire Oppression; and illume the mind
37 To darkness and despondency confin'd.
38 Arise, O Liberty! 'tis thine
39 The charms of nature to refine;[Page 86]
40 With blooming hope and harmony to please,
41 To crown with plenty, and to bless with ease,
42 To light up awful Virtue's living ray,
43 And pour the flood of intellectual day.
44 Place me in Afric's desert lands,
45 Where Thirst sits gaping on the sands;
46 If there auspicious Freedom fix her seat,
47 'Midst burning blasts, I'll hail the rude retreat;
48 Soon shall the wild, more polish'd grown,
49 Admire new beauties, not her own:
50 Sage Industry shall dig the well
51 Capacious, yawning many a fathom deep;
52 While lowing herds, and bleating sheep,
53 Stand frequent in the cooling cell:
54 Soon shall the mantling vine
55 Be taught around the palm to twine;
56 And social arts the stranger Naiads wake,
57 That sleep beneath the distant lake,
58 Curious to view young Commerce gayly roam,
59 And bring full harvests to his barren home.
60 Place me beneath the gelid zone,
61 Near winter's adamantine throne,
62 Where farthest ocean foams with icy roar
63 Along the bleak, inhospitable shore:
64 If Freedom to the smoky dome
65 With fur-cloath'd mortals deign to roam;[Page 87]
66 Thro' snowy wastes the dome I'll seek:
67 What hinders to enjoy the freezing year!
68 For Property will there appear;
69 And chearful Health, with rosy cheek,
70 Pursue the panting prey;
71 Or, mindful of the lengthen'd day,
72 Sit chaunting on the mountain's chrystal brow,
73 Where hanging torrents shine below;
74 Nor will Cimmerian Sleep forget to bring
75 Safe slumbers, waving at his downy wing.
76 Come then, Celestial, let thy wish'd return
77 This happier clime serene;
78 This happier clime, if Rome thy absence mourn,
79 No more with smiles of pleasure entertains,
80 Nor Baia's groves, nor rich Campania's plains:
81 Heartless we view the splendid scene
82 Of turrets, and the painted green;
83 Heartless the music of the groves we hear,
84 As when, new harness'd out by Wrath and Fear,
85 Night's chariot moves in storms; and thunders hurl'd
86 Roll their broad terrors round the groaning world.