An Ode
Soul of England, dost thou sleep,
Lulled or dulled, thy mighty youth forgotten?
Of the world’s wine hast thou drunk too deep?
Hast thou sown more than thy hands can reap?
Turn again thine ear
To that song severe
In thine hour of storm and war begotten!

Here in towered London’s throng,
In her streets, with Time’s new murmur seething,
Milton pacing mused his haughty song;
Here he sleeps out feud, fret, and wrong.
Nay, that spirit august
Tramples death’s low dust,
Still for us is kindled, burning, breathing.

He, on whose earth–darkened sight
Rose horizons of the empyrean
And the ordered spheres’ unhasting flight;
He who saw, where round the heart of Light
Seraphs ardent–eyed
Flamed in circle wide,
Quiring music of their solemn paean,

When through space a trouble ran
(Like a flush on serene skies arisen)
That from this dim spot of earth began–
Rumour of the world’s new marvel, Man,
From whose heart–beat sped
Hope, hazard, and dread
Past earth’s borders to hell’s fiery prison:

He who saw the Anarch’s hate
Tower, winged for woe; the serpent charming
Eve in her imperilled bower; the Gate
Barred, and those two forms that desolate
Mid the radiant spheres
Wept first human tears;
Earlier war in heaven and angels arming:

He who, like his Samson, bowed,
Toiling, hardly–tasked and night–enfolded,
Steered his proud course to one purpose vowed,
As an eagle beats through hailing cloud
Strong–winged and alone,
Seeking skies unknown:
He whose verse, majestically moulded,

Moves like armed and bannered host
Streaming irresistible, or abounding
River in a land’s remoteness lost,
Poured from solitary peaks of frost,
And far histories brings
Of old realms and kings,
With high fates of fallen Man resounding:

This is England’s voice that rang
Over Europe; this the soul unshaken
That from darkness a great splendour sang,
Beauty mightier for the cost and pang;
Of our blood and name
Risen, our spirits to claim,
To enlarge, to summon, to awaken.

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