He had a twofold nature, and the one

He had a twofold nature, and the one
Was of a higher order, with the souls
Who shine along the path of centuries
In full and perfect brightness, standing forth
In their own loftiness, the beacon-lights
By which the world is guided and upborne
From its forever downward tendency, —
By which it gathers beauty and is formed
To the one true refinement, that of thought
And chastened feeling, — with such better souls
Communing in an equal fellowship,
As clear in intellect, as brightly clear
In every high conception, and as warm
In all emotions, where the heart of man
Ascends and widens, and with outspread wings
Shadows all human hearts in kindness, lending
Its inspiration unto all who feel
The glow of its benignity, and dwell
Blessed in its steady sunshine. As a rock
Lifts its blue forehead from a mountain ridge,
And heaves a cloudless summit into heaven,
For ever smiling in the softened beam
Of an eternal noonday; — to the world
Of living things, who watch it far below
With a mute look of wonder, as a throne
On which the gods are dwelling, — to that world,
Soaring in unstained purity, it seems
The centre of devotion, and the fane
Where the heart bows in awe, and offers up
Its deepest adoration: — so these souls
Are to the humbler spirits, who go on
Mincing along the track they draw, upreared
To a commanding loftiness, and set
As idols on their pedestals to fill
The crowd with wonder. Men are made to bend
Before the mighty, and to follow on
Submissive where the great may lead, — the great
Whose might is not in crowns and palaces,
In parchment rolls or blazoned heraldry,
But in the power of thought, the energy
Of unsupported mind, whose steady will
No force can daunt, no tangled path divert
From its right-onward purpose. Few are they,
And well that they are few, who in the blaze
Of genius kindled, like a baleful star,
To such a flame as terrifies, and bears
Ruin when rushing onward, — who in wrath
Are launched along the path where nations go,
The highway of the battle, and the field
Where power is won, and thrones are emptied. Few
The spirits who originate and bend
All meaner hearts to wonder and obey,
As if their look were death, their word were fate;
As if they held the balance and the sword
To measure out their happiness, and give
To each his stated portion, and avenge
All such as dare to murmur. Few are they,
And if they were not, earth would be the list
Of an eternal conflict, the abode
Of ever-warring fiends, who in the train
Of a controlling spirit, in the march
Of a high conqueror's madness, still athirst
For a new field of bloodshed, never tired
Of the hot harvest of a passionate war,
Where the deep feelings of a nation's rage,
And the awakened thoughts of long revenge,
Are blended with those passions which arise
From the uprooted evils of an age
Of ever-growing tyranny, the sense
That chains are broken, prison-gates unbarred,
And the more galling servitude of mind,
The bowing of the spirit to the weight
Of a corrupted priesthood, and a court,
Which robs to show unto their famished eyes
Their earnings, with a splendid mockery
Of pageants, and false justice, and the pomp
Of a bedizened soldiery, the tools
Who forge and link their fetters, — the glad sense
That this deep charm is scattered, that this weight
Is from their long-bowed shoulders shoved away,
And, like the waking from a painful dream,
Has left them in the wonder and the joy
Of lightness and deliverance, — who go on,
As tigers in bloodthirstiness, to slake
Their longing in the plunder and the waste
Of those who dare not, like themselves, be free,
At least who dare not cast the spell aside
That binds them to the altar and the throne,
And palsies all their vigor, and subdues
All their due might of soul; for men know not
The force that sleeps within them, till the sound
Of a loud warning wakes them from the sleep
Of a long night of darkness, — they know not
How they may rush upon the coward foe,
Whose power was in delusion, and the maze
Of falsehoods sanctified by time, and made
Sacred by being hallowed to the use
Of an unmeaning worship, feared the more,
The more it is unmeaning: they know not
How they have only to come forth, and say,
" Ye shall not be our masters, ye shall not
Riot, as ye were wont, in our best blood,
And feed upon our toil, and in our sweat
Bathe as in perfumed waters " ; how at once
By firm resolve, and union, and the act
That lingers not one moment, they are free,
And lords of those who were their lords. O slaves!
How long will ye be silent, and await
The task-word of a master, and bow down
To his unfeeling ministers, and bear
His manacles and stripes, and see your loves
And little ones torn from you with a dumb
And quivering terror, and with fruitless tears
Water the bitter bread of toil, and fill
The cup of want and sorrow? Ye are strong,
And Nature has been kind to you; — your hands
Might work an awful vengeance, could your minds
Throw off the sottishness of servitude,
And concentrate their energies, and feel
Intensely their just power and rights. The heart
Sinks when want presses on it, and the world
Turns from the claims it urges, and will hear
None of the earnest words by which it pleads
For right and justice only, — then he feels
Lost in that darkest wilderness, the crowd,
Who know not, care not, when or how he die,
Who pass him by as if he were a thing
Fit only for the grave, and if he beg
One single act of mercy, he has then
Resigned all nobler feelings, and come down
To such a sense of wretchedness, it weighs
Like a cold rock upon him, and the strength
And light and action of his soul are gone,
And he can only linger on his way,
The scorn of those who prosper, and the hate
Of his own better spirit, which will seek
Death or forgetfulness, its only cure.
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