THE savage haunted forest rises round:
The drear—lorn deserts far more widely spread.
Stern winter reigns: night low’rs in gloom profound:
Roar the wild winds: Affrighted sleep is fled.
This solitary CAVE is cold and dank;
The hungry WOLF an entrance strives to find:
All SOCIAL JOYS afar—a horrid blank
Seems to involve the outcast of mankind.
Poor—miserable ACHMED! what remains
Of all those comforts once enjoy’d by thee?
Indignant memory of my former chains,
With Health, Content, sweet Peace and Liberty!
These blessings triumph o’er the wintry glooms,
And render night more fair than slavery’s day:
SPRING shall adorn these rocks with lovelier blooms,
Than ART’s fantastic rose-walks can display.
I’d rather rove along the broken shades
Of old torn trees, in SUMMER’s sultry hours,
Than mid the artificial groves and glades
Of tasteless pomp—its founts—its jasmine bowers.
The shaggy mountain, rising vast and rude,
When the last sun-beam paints its rocky brow;
Or more sublime, in twilight solitude,
Dead’ns the proud dome, and sinks its turrets low.
Nor let th’ autumnal fruitage art obtains,
Presume to vie with all these wilds produce;
As well might vinous draughts that fire the brains,
Rival SHIRABEH’s soul-inspiring juice.
Let the gaunt WOLF howl eager as he stalks,
I heed him not,—I know his coward dread:
He’ll not molest me in my lonely walks,
More than the WILD-GOAT on the mountain’s head.
The only foe I’d shun is faithless MAN!
Who drove me hither, would destroy me here:
Yet such, O NATURE, is thy wond’rous plan,
I love—whom sad experience bids me fear.
No individual’s sword, or ranc’rous hate,
Could for a moment raise my soul’s alarm:
I’ve met my equals in the field of FATE,
And felt those wounds that yet my courage warm.
But ’tis from MEN—degenerate MEN! combined,
As mutual guards from violence and wrong!
Yet, prompt to aid th’ OPPRESSORS of mankind,
A bigot multitude—a sordid throng.
Dead to all sense of freedom, dead to shame:
Lost to each manly sentiment of heart:
No mental energies their souls inflame,
To act a firm—disinterested part.
They hate not TYRANNY, but long to share
Its meanest portion, and in turn oppress:
And at his nod, whose sanguine TAJE* they wear,
Attack life, liberty, or happiness.
Such form the mass of MAN, self-fetter’d slaves
The thoughtless herd at first creates, then craves
Absurd protection of th’ unfeeling great.
Thus, when the poor deluded GAURE* surveys
His miserable dwelling wrapt in flame,
He sees his ALL consume:—adores the blaze;
And, prostrate, praises mighty AZAR’s* name!
Approach ye great, awhile your pomp resign,
Learn what is MAN in NATURE’s simple reign;
Say, have ye known a LIBERTY like mine,
And will you still bear DESPOTISM’s chain?
Yes! LUXURY, PRIDE, and servile lust of POWER,
Rose in the HOROSCOPE* that mark’d your natal hour.