A poem by Thomas Moore

After a Conversation with Lord John Russell, in which he had intimated some Idea of giving up all political Pursuits.

What! thou, with thy genius, thy youth, and thy name--
Thou, born of a Russell--whose instinct to run
The accustomed career of thy sires, is the same
As the eaglet's, to soar with his eyes on the sun!

Whose nobility comes to thee, stampt with a seal,
Far, far more ennobling than monarch e'er set;
With the blood of thy race, offered up for the weal
Of a nation that swears by that martyrdom yet!

Shalt thou be faint-hearted and turn from the strife,
From the mighty arena, where all that is grand
And devoted and pure and adorning in life,
'Tis for high-thoughted spirits like thine to command?

Oh no, never dream it--while good men despair
Between tyrants and traitors, and timid men bow,
Never think for an instant thy country can spare
Such a light from her darkening horizon as thou.

With a spirit, as meek as the gentlest of those
Who in life's sunny valley lie sheltered and warm;
Yet bold and heroic as ever yet rose
To the top cliffs of Fortune and breasted her storm;

With an ardor for liberty fresh as in youth
It first kindles the bard and gives life to his lyre;
Yet mellowed, even now, by that mildness of truth
Which tempers but chills not the patriot fire;

With an eloquence--not like those rills from a height,
Which sparkle and foam and in vapor are o'er;
But a current that works out its way into light
Thro' the filtering recesses of thought and of lore.

Thus gifted, thou never canst sleep in the shade;
If the stirrings of Genius, the music of fame,
And the charms of thy cause have not power to persuade,
Yet think how to Freedom thou'rt pledged by thy Name.

Like the boughs of that laurel by Delphi's decree
Set apart for the Fane and its service divine,
So the branches that spring from the old Russell tree
Are by Liberty claimed for the use of her Shrine.

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