Written late in the Evening, December 15, 1806
Location: Enligsh-Language Poetry from Wales 1789–1806, rhif / no. 59How dismal sounds the whistling of the wind,
That mournful, murm’ring tells a gale is near,
The ills it whispers fill my boding mind,
And my heart sinks with many an anxious fear.
The shiv’ring hind forsakes his evening toil,
And hails the blessings of a shelt’ring home;
There, while the whistling gusts his roof assail,
Wonders how riches lur’d mankind to roam.
His flocks and herds, safe shelter’d from the storm,
No fears of loss his peaceful wind annoy,
Stranger to schemes that restless mortals form,
His is a bliss beyond what Kings enjoy.
Not so, the toll-worn mariner who bears
The keenest fury of the piercing blast;
Hopeless his treach’rous habitation steers,
And thinks each moment it will prove his last.
Vainly he wishes for the cheerful blaze,
Round which his distant treasures sportive play;
Driven on the furious wave’s expanded maze,
No gleam of hope, of comfort, or of day.
O curst ambition, thy gigantic head,
When first it rear’d its horrid form to view,
Innumerable ills around it spread;
Thousands to misery, death, and ruin drew,
Destructive war and slav’ry owe thee birth,
Thou worst of ills that wretched mortals know,
Full many a hapless head is bow’d to earth,
Oppress’d by slav’ry, heavy chains, and woe.
How many a wretched being frantic raves,
Upon devoted Afric’s distant shore:
How many tears are wasted o’er the waves,
That lead to realms bedew’d with Afric’s gore.
Say, can the fiends that torture human kind,
E’er hope for pardon at the throne of grace,
Can they expect that mercy e’er to find,
Themselves ne’er granted to a helpless race?
Do they suppose that when the Judge of Right
Opens the books which has their actions in,
Their souls will stand before him, spotless, white?
No, they’ll be blacker than the Ethiop’s skin.
Britain! knock off the chains thou hast forg’d,
Wipe out the stain that has our isle disgrac’d,
Give pity, mercy, freedom, to the scourg’d,
Nor let thy character in blood be trac’d.
December, 1806 Mary.