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From SECTION V
"Hence commerce springs, the venal interchange
Of all that human art or Nature yield;
And natural kindness hasten to supply
Forever stifled, drained, and tainted now.
45 No solitary virtue dares to spring,
The doors of premature and violent death To pining famine and full-fed disease, 50 To all that shares the lot of human life, Which, poisoned body and soul, scarce drags the chain
That lengthens as it goes and clanks behind.
"Commerce has set the mark of selfishness, The signet of its all-enslaving power 55 Upon a shining ore, and called it gold: Before whose image bow the vulgar great,
"Since tyrants, by the sale of human life, 65 Heap luxuries to their sensualism, and fame
"The harmony and happiness of man 80 Yields to the wealth of nations; that which lifts
95 After the ruin of their hearts, can gild
The struggling nature of his human heart,
60 That grinds them to the dust of misery.
The vainly rich, the miserable proud,
And with blind feelings reverence the
His nature to the heaven of its pride,
Blighting all prospect but of selfish gain,
Even as the slaves by force or famine driven,
Beneath a vulgar master, to perform
Scarce living pulleys of a dead machine,
To their wide-wasting and insatiate pride,
These puppets of his schemes he moves at
And statesmen boast Of wealth! The wordy eloquence, that lives
The frightful waves are driven,-when his
Is murdered by the tyrant, or religion
man, Whose life is misery, and fear, and care; Whom the morn wakens but to fruitless toil;
Who ever hears his famished offspring's
Whom their pale mother's uncomplaining
Forever meets, and the proud rich man's
120 Of thousands like himself;-he little heeds. The rhetoric of tyranny; his hate
Is quenchless as his wrongs; he laughs to
The vain and bitter mockery of words,
Feeling the horror of the tyrant's deeds, 125 And unrestrained but by the arm of power, That knows and dreads his enmity.
That all within it but the virtuous man
"The iron rod of penury still compels
Her wretched slaves to bow the knee to 170 The price prefixed by Selfishness, to all wealth, But him of resolute and unchanging will;
Whom, nor the plaudits of a servile crowd, Nor the vile joys of tainting luxury, Can bribe to yield his elevated soul 175 To Tyranny or Falsehood, though they wield
And poison, with unprofitable toil, 130 A life too void of solace to confirm
The very chains that bind him to his doom.
Has gifted man with all-subduing will.
In unremitting drudgery and care!
"Yet every heart contains perfection's germ:1
Were but a weak and inexperienced boy,
The wisest of the sages of the earth,
That ever from the stores of reason drew
150 Science and truth, and virtue's dreadless 225
160 Of some corrupted city his sad life,
Pining with famine, swoln with luxury,
155 Untainted passion, elevated will,
Him, every slave now dragging through the filth
But mean lust
Has bound its chains so tight about the earth,
1 See Godwin's An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 1, 5 (p. 218b, 35 ff.).
"There is a nobler glory, which survives 215 Until our being fades, and, solacing
With blood-red hand the sceptre of the world.
All human care, accompanies its change;
220 Imbues his lineaments with dauntlessness,
Its sweetest, last, and noblest title-death; ―The consciousness of good, which neither gold,
Nor sordid fame, nor hope of heavenly
Can purchase; but a life of resolute good,
Reason's rich stores for its eternal weal.
"But hoary-headed Selfishness has felt Its death-blow, and is tottering to the
A brighter morn awaits the human day, When every transfer of earth's natural gifts
Shall be a commerce of good words and works;
When poverty and wealth, the thirst of fame,
Then in her triumph spoke the Fairy Queen :
"I will not call the ghost of ages gone
45 And those events that desolate the earth
Space, matter, time, and mind. Futurity
55 And 'midst the ebb and flow of human things,
Show somewhat stable, somewhat certain still,
A lighthouse o'er the wild of dreary waves.
"The habitable earth is full of bliss; Those wastes of frozen billows that were hurled
60 By everlasting snowstorms round the poles,
Where matter dared not vegetate or live,
And fragrant zephyrs there from spicy
65 Ruffle the placid ocean-deep, that rolls Its broad, bright surges to the sloping sand, Whose roar is wakened into echoings sweet To murmur through the Heaven-breathing groves
And melodize with man's blest nature there.
Those deserts of immeasurable sand, Whose age-collected fervors scarce allowed A bird to live, a blade of grass to spring, Where the shrill chirp of the green lizard's lové
Broke on the sultry silentness alone, 75 Now teem with countless rills and shady woods, Cornfields and pastures and white cottages;
And where the startled wilderness beheld A savage conqueror stained in kindred blood,
A tigress sating with the flesh of lambs 80 The unnatural famine of her toothless
Whilst shouts and howlings through the desert rang,
Sloping and smooth the daisy-spangled 120 And Autumn proudly bears her matron lawn,
Kindling a flush on the fair cheek of
Whose virgin bloom beneath the ruddy
Reflects its tint, and blushes into love.
Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles
"All things are recreated, and the flame Of consentaneous2 love inspires all life: The fertile bosom of the earth gives suck
110 To myriads, who still grow beneath her
"The lion now forgets to thirst for blood: 125 There might you see himporting in the
1 A fabulous serpent, or lizard, whose breath or look was fatal.
Beside the dreadless kid his claws are sheathed,
His teeth are harmless, custom's force has made
His nature as the nature of a lamb.
130 Poisons no more the pleasure it bestows:
145 "Man, where the gloom of the long polar night
Lowers o'er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,
Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost
Rewarding her with their pure perfectness: The balmy breathings of the wind inhale Her virtues, and diffuse them all abroad: Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere, 115 Glows in the fruits, and mantles on the stream:
Basks in the moonlight's ineffectual glow, Shrank with the plants, and darkened with the night;
No storms deform the beaming brow of
His chilled and narrow energies, his heart,
Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride
The foliage of the ever-verdant trees;
But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair, 155 Whose habits and enjoyments were his
His life a feverish dream of stagnant woe,
160 His death a pang which famine, cold and
Long on the mind, whilst yet the vital spark
Clung to the body stubbornly, had brought: All was inflicted here that Earth's revenge Could wreak on the infringers of her law; 165 One curse alone was spared-the name 200 of God.
"Here now the human being stands adorning
This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind;
Blessed from his birth with all bland impulses,
"Nor where the tropics bound the realms
Which gently in his noble bosom wake
With a broad belt of mingling cloud and
Which from the exhaustless lore of human
Where blue mists through the unmoving 205 Dawns on the virtuous mind, the thoughts atmosphere
Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed 170 Unnatural vegetation, where the land Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,
Was man a nobler being; slavery
Or he was bartered for the fame of power, 175 Which, all internal impulses destroying, Makes human will an article of trade; Or he was changed with Christians for their gold,
And dragged to distant isles, where to the sound
Of the flesh-mangling scourge, he does the work
180 Of all-polluting luxury and wealth,
Which doubly visits on the tyrants' heads
185 Where kings first leagued against the rights
And priests first traded with the name of
Her snowy standard o'er this favored clime:
"Even where the milder zone afforded
A seeming shelter, yet contagion there, Blighting his being with unnumbered ills, 190 Spread like a quenchless fire; nor truth till late
There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,
195 The mimic of surrounding misery,
The bloodhound of religion's hungry zeal.
Availed to arrest its progress, or create
In time-destroying infiniteness, gift
210 Swift as an unremembered vision, stands
And horribly devours his mangled flesh,
Flee from the form of man; but gather round,
And prune their sunny feathers on the hands
Which little children stretch in friend'y
His terrible prerogative, and stands
Peace cheers the mind, health renovates
1 In Africa, the source of the British slave trade. 230 Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,
215 Kindled all putrid humors in his frame, All evil passions, and all vain belief, Hatred, despair, and loathing in his mind, The germs of misery, death, disease, and crime.
That in the woods their sweet lives sing