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FRENCH REVOLUTION

AS IT APPEARED TO ENTHUSIASTS AT ITS COMMENCEMENT. REPRINTED FROM "THE FRIEND"

          OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
          For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
          Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
          Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
          But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
          In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
          Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
          The attraction of a country in romance!
          When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
          When most intent on making of herself                       10
          A prime Enchantress--to assist the work,
          Which then was going forward in her name!
          Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
          The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
          (As at some moment might not be unfelt
          Among the bowers of paradise itself)
          The budding rose above the rose full blown.
          What temper at the prospect did not wake
          To happiness unthought of? The inert
          Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!                  20
          They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
          The playfellows of fancy, who had made
          All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
          Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred
          Among the grandest objects of the sense,
          And dealt with whatsoever they found there
          As if they had within some lurking right
          To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,
          Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
          Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,          30
          And in the region of their peaceful selves;--
          Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
          Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
          And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
          Were called upon to exercise their skill,
          Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
          Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
          But in the very world, which is the world
          Of all of us,--the place where in the end
          We find our happiness, or not at all!                       40
                                                              1805.


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