Ay--down to the dust with them, slaves as they are,
From this hour let the blood in their dastardly veins,
That shrunk at the first touch of Liberty's war,
Be wasted for tyrants, or stagnate in chains.
On, on like a cloud, thro' their beautiful vales,
Ye locusts of tyranny, blasting them o'er--
Fill, fill up their wide sunny waters, ye sails
From each slave-mart of Europe and shadow their shore!
Let their fate be a mock-word--let men of all lands
Laugh out with a scorn that shall ring to the poles,
When each sword that the cowards let fall from their hands
Shall be forged into fetters to enter their souls.
And deep, and more deep, as the iron is driven,
Base slaves! let the whet of their agony be,
To think--as the Doomed often think of that heaven
They had once within reach--that they might have been free.
Oh shame! when there was not a bosom whose heat
Ever rose 'bove the zero of Castlereagh's heart.
That did not, like echo, your war-hymn repeat,
And send all its prayers with your Liberty's start;
When the world stood in hope--when a spirit that breathed
The fresh air of the olden time whispered about;
And the swords of all Italy, halfway unsheathed,
But waited one conquering cry to flash out!
When around you the shades of your Mighty in fame,
FILICAJAS and PETRARCHS, seemed bursting to view,
And their words and their warnings, like tongues of bright flame
Over Freedom's apostles, fell kindling on you!
Oh shame! that in such a proud moment of life
Worth the history of ages, when, had you but hurled
One bolt at your tyrant invader, that strife
Between freemen and tyrants had spread thro' the world--
That then--oh! disgrace upon manhood--even then,
You should falter, should cling to your pitiful breath;
Cower down into beasts, when you might have stood men,
And prefer the slave's life of prostration to death.
It is strange, it is dreadful:--shout, Tyranny, shout
Thro' your dungeons and palaces, "Freedom is o'er;"--
If there lingers one spark of her light, tread it out,
And return to your empire of darkness once more.
For if such are the braggarts that claim to be free,
Come, Despot of Russia, thy feet let me kiss;
Far nobler to live the brute bondman of thee,
Than to sully even chains by a struggle like this!