Yet more,—for once believe religion’s flattering tale;
Thou hast a soul, aye, and a God,—but be not therefore humbled :
Thy Maker's self was glad to live and die-a man;
The brightest jewel in his crown is voluntary manhood :
By deep dishonour and great price, bought he that envied freedom,
But thou wast born an heir of all, thy Master scarce could earn.
O climax unto pride, O triumph of humanity,
O triple crown upon thy brow, most high and mighty Self!
Arise, thou Lord of all, thou greater than a God !-
How saidst thou, wretched being ?-cast thy glance within ;
Regard that painted sepulchre, the hovel of thy heart.
Ha! with what fearful imagery swarmeth that small chamber;
The horrid eye of murder scowling in the dark,
The bony-hand of avarice, filching from the poor,
The lurid fires of lust, the idiot face of folly,
The sickening deed of cruelty, the foul fierce orgies of the drunken,
Weak contemptible vanity, stubborn stolid unbelief,
Envy's devilish sneer, and the vile features of ingratitude, -
Man, hast thou seen enough? or are these full proof
That thou art a miracle of mercy, and all thy dignity is dross?

Well said the wisdom of earth, O mortal, know thyself;
But better the wisdom of heaven, O man, learn thou thy God:
By knowledge of self thou art conusant of evil, and mailed in panoply to

meet it; By knowledge of God cometh knowledge of good, and universal love is at

thy heart Every creature knoweth its capacities, running in the road of instinct, And reason must not lag behind, but serve itself of all proprieties: The swift to the race, and the strong to the burden, and the wise for right

direction ; For self-knowledge filleth with acceptance its niche in the temple of

utility: But vainly wilt thou look for that knowledge, till the clue of all truth is

in thy hand, For the labyrinth of man's heart windeth in complicate deceivings: Thou canst not sound its depths with the shallow plumb-line of reason,

Till religion, the pilot of the soul, have lent thee her unfathomable coil: Therefore, for this grand knowledge, and knowledge is the parent of do

minion, Learn God, thou shalt know thyself; yea, and shalt have mastery of all





thee, savage monarch-man, proud monopolist of reason ; Shame upon Creation's lord, the fierce ensanguined despot: What, man! are there not enough, hunger, and diseases and fatigue, And yet must thy goad or thy thong add another sorrow to existence ? What! art thou not content thy sin hath dragged down suffering and

death On the poor dumb servants of thy comfort, and yet must thou rack them

with thy spite ? The prodigal heir of creation hath gambled away his all,Shall he add torment to the bondage that is galling his forfeit serfs ? The leader in nature's pæan himself hath marred her psaltery, Shall he multiply the din of discord by overstraining all the strings? The rebel hath fortified his stronghold, shutting in his vassals with

himShall he aggravate the woes of the besieged by oppression from within ? Thou twice deformed image of thy Maker, thou hateful representative of

Love, For very shame be merciful, be kind unto the creatures thou hast

ruined; Earth and her million tribes are cursed for thy sake ; Earth and her million tribes still writhe beneath thy cruelty: Liveth there but one among the million that shall not bear witness

against theę, A pensioner of land or air or sea, that hath not whereof it will accuse


From the elephant toiling at a launch, to the shrew mouse in the harvest

field, From the whale which the harponeer bath stricken, to the minnow

canght upon a pin, From the albatross wearied in its flight, to the wren in her covered nest, From the death-moth and lace-winged dragon-fly, to the lady-bird and the

gnat, The verdict of all things is unanimous, finding their master cruel: The dog, thy humble friend, thy trusting, honest friend; The ass, thine uncomplaining slave, drudging from morn 10 even; The lamb, and the timorous hare, and the laboring ox at plough ; The speckled trout, basking in the shallow, and the partridge, gleaning in

the stubble, And the stag at bay, and the worm in thy path, and the wild bird pining

in captivity, And all things that minister alike to thy life and thy comfort and thy

pride, Testify with one sad voice that man is a cruel master.

VERILY, they are all thine: freely mayst thou serve thee of them all : They are thine by gift for thy needs, to be used in all gratitude and

kindness : Gratitude to their God and thine,—their Father and thy Father, Kindness to them who tcil for thee, and help thee with their all : For meat, but not by wantonness of slaying: for burden, but with limits

of humanity; For luxury, but not through torture; for draught, but according to the

strength : For a dog cannot plead his own right nor render a reason for ex

emption, Nor give a soft answer unto wrath, to turn aside the undeserved lash; The galled ox cannot complain, nor supplicate a moment's respite; The spent horse hideth his distress, till he panteth out his spirit at the

goal; Also, in the winter of life, when worn by constant toil, If ingratitude forget his services, he cannot bring them to remem

brance ;

Behold, he is faint with hunger; the big tear siandeth in his ey'e;
His skin is sore with stripes, and he tottereth beneath his burden;
His limbs are stiff with age, his sinews have lost their vigour,
And pain is stamped upon his face, while he wrestleth unequally with


Yet once more mutely and meekly endureth he the crushing blow;
That struggle hath cracked his heart-strings,—the generous brute is

dead! Liveth there no advocate for him ? no judge to avenge his wrongs? No voice that shall be heard in his defence ? no sentence to be passed on

his oppressor ? Yea, the sad eye of the tortured pleadeth pathetically for him: Yea, all the justice in heaven is roused in indignation at his woes: Yea, all the pity upon earth shall call down a curse upon the cruel : Yea, the burning malice of the wicked is their own exceeding punish.

ment. The Angel of Mercy stoppeth not to comfort, but passeth by on the

other side,

And hath no tear to shed when a cruel man is damned.

« ElőzőTovább »