Milton! I think thy spirit hath passed away From these white cliffs and high-embattled towers; This gorgeous fiery-coloured world of ours Seems fallen into ashes dull and grey, And the age changed unto a mimic play Wherein we waste our else too-crowded hours: For all our pomp and pageantry and powers We are but fit to delve the common clay, Seeing this little isle on which we stand, This England, this sea-lion of the sea, By ignorant demagogues is held in fee, Who love her not: Dear God! is this the land Which bare a triple empire in her hand When Cromwell spake the word Democracy!
ON THE MASSACRE OF THE CHRISTIANS IN BULGARIA
Christ, dost Thou live indeed? or are Thy bones Still straitened in their rock-hewn sepulchre? And was Thy Rising only dreamed by her Whose love of Thee for all her sin atones? For here the air is horrid with men's groans, The priests who call upon Thy name are slain, Dost Thou not hear the bitter wail of pain From those whose children lie upon the stones? Come down, O Son of God! incestuous gloom Curtains the land, and through the starless night Over Thy Cross a Crescent moon I see! If Thou in very truth didst burst the tomb Come down, O Son of Man! and show Thy might Lest Mahomet be crowned instead of Thee!
I wandered through Scoglietto's far retreat, The oranges on each o'erhanging spray Burned as bright lamps of gold to shame the day; Some startled bird with fluttering wings and fleet Made snow of all the blossoms; at my feet Like silver moons the pale narcissi lay: And the curved waves that streaked the great green bay Laughed i' the sun, and life seemed very sweet. Outside the young boy-priest passed singing clear, 'Jesus the son of Mary has been slain, O come and fill His sepulchre with flowers.' Ah, God! Ah, God! those dear Hellenic hours Had drowned all memory of Thy bitter pain, The Cross, the Crown, the Soldiers and the Spear.
Rome! what a scroll of History thine has been; In the first days thy sword republican Ruled the whole world for many an age's span: Then of the peoples wert thou royal Queen, Till in thy streets the bearded Goth was seen; And now upon thy walls the breezes fan (Ah, city crowned by God, discrowned by man!) The hated flag of red and white and green. When was thy glory! when in search for power Thine eagles flew to greet the double sun, And the wild nations shuddered at thy rod? Nay, but thy glory tarried for this hour, When pilgrims kneel before the Holy One, The prisoned shepherd of the Church of God.
Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach Thy hand, For I am drowning in a stormier sea Than Simon on Thy lake of Galilee: The wine of life is spilt upon the sand, My heart is as some famine-murdered land Whence all good things have perished utterly, And well I know my soul in Hell must lie If I this night before God's throne should stand. 'He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase, Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name From morn to noon on Carmel's smitten height.' Nay, peace, I shall behold, before the night, The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame, The wounded hands, the weary human face.
How steep the stairs within King's houses are For exile-wearied feet as mine to tread, And O how salt and bitter is the bread Which falls from this Hound's table, - better far That I had died in the red ways of war, Or that the gate of Florence bare my head, Than to live thus, by all things comraded Which seek the essence of my soul to mar.
'Curse God and die: what better hope than this? He hath forgotten thee in all the bliss Of his gold city, and eternal day' - Nay peace: behind my prison's blinded bars I do possess what none can take away, My love and all the glory of the stars.