Ecclesiastical Sonnets - Part III. - XI - Sacheverel

A poem by William Wordsworth

A sudden conflict rises from the swell
Of a proud slavery met by tenets strained
In Liberty's behalf. Fears, true or feigned,
Spread through all ranks; and lo! the Sentinel
Who loudest rang his pulpit 'larum bell,
Stands at the Bar, absolved by female eyes
Mingling their glances with grave flatteries
Lavished on 'Him', that England may rebel
Against her ancient virtue. high and low,
Watchwords of Party, on all tongues are rife;
As if a Church, though sprung from heaven, must owe
To opposites and fierce extremes her life,
Not to the golden mean, and quiet flow
Of truths that soften hatred, temper strife.

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