Henry James Pye

(20 February 1745 – 11 August 1813 / London, England)

Ode To Liberty - Poem by Henry James Pye

O liberty! celestial maid!
Where has thy vagrant fancy stray'd?
Dost thou from Andes' rifted brow
See boundless empires spread below,
See Orellana pour his stream
Through forests vast, where yet the beam
Of garish day could never come
To penetrate the twilight gloom?
Dost thou thy glowing bosom lave
In shining Plata's sea-broad wave?
Or dost thou listen to the roar,
Where the collected waters pour
Their dreadful course, and foaming sweep
Down Niagara's horrid steep?
And shall thy form no more be seen
On Albion's hills and pastures green?
Wilt thou no more Plinlimmon scale,
Or sport in Cluyd's fertile dale?
Wilt thou Ierne's plains forsake,
And quit Kilarney's lovely lake?
Shall we thy footsteps trace no more
On Caledonia's mountains hoar?—
Ah! nor proud Delphi's rising glade,
Nor Pisa's consecrated shade,
Nor Pindus' mount, nor Academe,
Nor fam'd Eurotas' trophied stream,
Could for an hour thy steps detain
When Grecia bow'd to Vice's reign:
Nor could alas! the softest gale
That blows o'er rich Campania's vale,
Tempt thee to breathe the Latian air
When Luxury exulted there.
Far from bright Phœbus' genial light
Thy wings indignant shaped their flight
To Scandanavia's frozen plain,
Eternal Winter's drear domain;
Where strong with toil each stubborn hord
Joyful thy holy form ador'd:
Though, where their tribes the earth o'er-ran,
Fell desolation led the van,
Though Horror midst their armies stood,
And drench'd their fatal paths with blood;
Yet theirs the unextinguish'd flame
That glows at Freedom's sacred name,
Theirs the firm breast that joys to bleed
For Independence' godlike meed.
But say, does Albion hapless groan
Beneath a Tyrant's bloody throne?
Say, do her dauntless Patriots feel
The fatal ax, and torturing wheel?—
O'er her no cruel Tyrant reigns,
No patriot blood her scaffold stains.
'Tis Luxury's insidious hand
Spreading Corruption through the land;
'Tis Indolence whose powers controul
Each nobler purpose of the soul;
'Tis noisy Faction's selfish aim,
Disguis'd beneath thy specious name.
These are the fiends whose fatal rage
In every clime, and every age,
Have overturn'd each noble pile
Rear'd by thy hands with useless toil:
But where in hardship's rugged school
Mankind have learn'd themselves to rule,
Pale Slavery there may shake in vain
Her iron rod, and galling chain:
No force the fearless soul can bind,
Or bow the unconquerable mind.
Scorn'd is the Tyrant's harsh decree
When inborn Virtue bids be free.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 27, 2010



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