Helen Maria Williams

(1761 - 15 December 1827 / England)

Ode To Peace - Poem by Helen Maria Williams

I.

She comes, benign enchantress, heav'n born PEACE!
With mercy beaming in her radiant eye;
She bids the horrid din of battle cease,
And at her glance the savage passions die.
'Tis Nature's festival, let earth rejoice,
And pour to Liberty exulting songs,
In distant regions, with according voice,
Let Man the vict'ry bless, its prize to Man belongs.


II.

Resistless Freedom! when she nerves the arm,
No vulgar triumph crowns the hero's might;
She, she alone can spread a moral charm
O'er war's fell deeds, and sanctify the fight.
O, GALLIA ! in this bright immortal hour,
How proud a trophy binds thy laurel'd brow!
Republic, hail! whose independent power
All earth contested once, all earth confesses now.


III.

Protecting spirits of the glorious dead!
Ah, not in vain the hero's noble toil,
Ah, not in vain the patriot's blood is shed,
That blood shall consecrate his native soil.
Illustrious names! to hist'ry's record dear,
And breath'd when some high impulse fires the bard,
For you shall virtue pour the glowing tear,
And your remember'd deeds shall still your country guard.


IV.

And thou, lov'd BRITAIN , my parental Isle!
Secure, encircled by thy subject waves,
Thou, land august, where Freedom rear'd her pile,
While gothic night obscur'd a world of slaves;
Thy genius, that indignant heard the shock
Of frantic combat, strife unmeet for thee,
Now views triumphant, from his sea-girt rock,
Thee unsubdued alone, for thou alone wert free!


V.

O, happy thy misguided efforts fail'd,
My Country! when with tyrant-hosts combin'd--
O, hideous conquest, had thy sword prevail'd,
And crown'd the impious league against mankind!
Thou nurse of great design, of lofty thought,
What homicide, had thy insensate rage
Effac'd the sacred lesson thou hast taught,
And with thy purest blood inscrib'd on glory's page.


VI.

Ah, rather haste to Concord's holy shrine,
Ye rival nations, haste with joy elate;
Your blending garlands round her altar twine,
And bind the wounds of no immortal hate:
Go--breathe responsive rituals o'er the sod
Where Freedom martyrs press an early grave;
Go--vow that never shall their turf be trod
By the polluting step of tyrant or of slave.


VII.

And from your shores the abject vices chase,
That low Ambition generous souls disdain,
Corruption blasting every moral grace,
Servility that kneels to bless his chain;
O, Liberty, those demons far remove,
Come, nymph severely good, sublimely great!
Nor to the raptur'd hope of mortals prove
Like those illusive dreams that pass the iv'ry gate.


VII.

New Age! that roll'st o'er man thy dawning year,
Ah, sure all happy omens hail thy birth,
Sure whiter annals in thy train appear,
And purer glory cheers the gladden'd earth:
Like the young eagle, when his stedfast glance
Meets the full sun-beam in his upward flight,
So thou shalt with majestic step advance,
And fix thy dauntless eye on Liberty and Light.


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Read poems about / on: freedom, hero, august, alone, happy, peace, ode, birth, hate, war, remember, nature, power, joy, hope, sea, sun, light, dream



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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