1830 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Reginald Heber

Robert Southey, "Ode on the Portrait of Bishop Heber" 1830 ca.; Works (1837) 3:298-99.



Large, England, is the debt
Thou owest to Heathendom;
To India most of all, where Providence,
Giving thee thy dominion there in trust,
Upholds its baseless strength.
All seas have seen thy red-cross flag
In war triumphantly display'd;
Late only has thou set that standard up
On pagan shores in peace!
Yea, at this hour the cry of blood
Riseth against thee from beneath the wheels
Of that seven-headed Idol's car accurst;
Against thee, from the widow's funeral pile
The smoke of human sacrifice
Ascends, even now, to Heaven!

The debt shall be discharg'd; the crying sin
Silenced; the foul offence
For ever done away.
Thither our saintly Heber went,
In promise and in pledge
That England, from her guilty torpor roused,
Should zealously and wisely undertake
Her aweful task assign'd:
Thither, devoted to the work, he went,
There spent his precious life,
There left his holy dust.