Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel
Aspirations - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel
And I would have wise lovers of mankind,
Dwelling through all the land in colonies;
Gendering new necessities of life,
Desires entwined with all the nobler growth
Of reason, mutual reverence, and love;
Arousing men with sturdier enterprise
To stir the virtues of a virgin soil;
Fostering civil arts of mutual peace,
That ask for interchange of services.
So shall they cherish honourable trade
In all the wealth of Ethiopia;
Ebony, amber, gold, and ivory;
A care to barter these for what is wrought
By fiery familiars of the brain
Yonder in Europe, in our world sublime
Of godlike labour, triumph, and despair;
In realms more wonderful than Africa!
For in our Europe and America,
Sun, ocean, earth, are vassals unto man;
For whom he moulds huge organs all inform'd
With a blind emanation from the soul -
Wheel within wheel of giant enginery,
Thunderously storming, wailing, murmuring,
Cow'd slaves of his creative human will;
Eager to mangle the slight taskmaster,
If God plunge him along their whirling limbs. . . .
But with a gauntlet of stern iron crush out,
England! the foul snake coil'd voluminous
About this desolate land, feeding on blood!
Forbid, stamp out, the accursed trade in men:
Nor dare neglect the mission of the strong,
To bind the oppressor, and to help the poor!
Then shall these glorious immemorial rivers,
And inland seas, mine eyes have first beholden,
The Lord's highways of holiness and peace,
Alive with white-wing'd ministers of heaven,
Waft sunnier glory to the jubilant shores
Of Ethiopia, and the Maurian's land
Lift up her dark deliver'd hands to God!
I may not see it! Like Israel's leader, I
Am but a pioneer to bring the people
Out of their bondage: as on Pisgah's height,
May but behold the promised land from far. . . .
I have flung wide the portals of the night:
Children of hope and morning, enter ye!
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