1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode.

The Times (5 September 1791).

M.


An allegorical ode in the manner of William Collins, signed "M." The allegorical figure not named in the title is Rebellion: "I know thee, hated Demon, by | Thy pale wan cheek and haggard eye; | Thy dark, calm thinking soul; | No smile to gild the tepid hour, | Thy joy — monopoly of power, | Thy rage without controul." The poet follows the example of Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France in linking recent events to Cromwell and the civil war in Britain. The Times, which supported the younger Pitt's policies, had until recently made Burke an object of ridicule.



Hence spirit of malignance dire,
Anarch of yore — th' Arch Fiend thy Sire,
Revenge thy dearest food;
Where're is seen the boon of fates,
Ease, happiness, or peace, creates,
A fever in thy blood.

I know thee, hated Demon, by
Thy pale wan cheek and haggard eye;
Thy dark, calm thinking soul;
No smile to gild the tepid hour,
Thy joy — monopoly of power,
Thy rage without controul.

Within thy black and horrid den,
In forest drear and savage glen,
Washed by unpitying seas;—
Thou dwell'st — a brooding bird of night,
When driven from the realms of right,
Dark foe to human ease.

In a relaxed and evil hour,
When Cromwell spread thy dreadful pow'r,
Arts, Science, Commerce fled;
Blind crouds the Saint-like Fiend adored,
The Gospel was thy two-edged sword,
And virtue's hopes were dead.

At length shone Heaven's all-searching beam;
The Demon flew to earth's extreme,
The nation breathed anew;
Where sanguine murder lately glared,
A blooming garden soon appeared,
Whose flowers salute the view.

Too far this scene of bliss was fair,
The Fiend just bursting with despair,
Rolled her fell orbs around;
Mother of guilt, thrice pale she grew,
With ire inflamed at every view,
And tore the passive ground.

In Gallia now she sees aspire
A flame, and instant fans the fire
To faction's fatal blaze;
The mask of Liberty she wears,
Alarms with visionary fears,
And sheds deceitful rays.

Ah, doubly chain the tyrant fell!
Heap Alps on Alps, in deepest hell,
Destroy her feudal power;
So shall the tears of Gallia cease,
And every groan be hushed to peace,
In that auspicious hour.

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