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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1793.1
An Ode on the Restoration of Freedom to France
Anon
The Gentleman's and London Magazine, January, 1793, p. 48


Unfold, father Time, thy long records unfold,
Of noble achievements accomplish'd of old;
When men by the standard of Liberty led,
Undauntedly conquer'd, or chearfully bled:
But now 'mid the triumphs these moments reveal
Their glories all fade, and their lustre turns pale,
While France rises up and proclaims the decree,
That tears off their chains, and bids millions be free.


As spring to the fields, or as dew to the flow'rs;
To the earth parch'd with heat, as the soft dropping show'rs,
As health to the wretch that lies languid and wan,
Or rest to the weary, is Freedom to man:
Where Freedom the light of her countenance gives,
There only he triumphs, there only he lives;
Then seize the glad moment and hail the decree,
That tears off their chains, and bids millions be free.


Too long had oppression and terror entwin'd,
Those tyrant-formed chains that enslav'd the free mind;
While dark superstition with nature at strife,
For ages had lock'd up the fountains of life;
But the daemon is fled, the delusion is past,
And reason and virtue have triumph'd at last;
Then seize the glad moment and hail the decree,
That tears off their chains, and bids millions be free.


France, we share in the rapture thy bosom that fills,
While the genius of Liberty bounds o'er thine hills;
Redundant henceforth may thy purple juice flow,
Prouder wave thy green woods, and thine olive trees grow!
While the hand of philosophy long shall entwine,
Blest emblem, the laurel, the myrtle, the vine;
And heav'n thro' all ages confirm the decree,
That tears off their chains, and bids millions be free.


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September 2004

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