1814.13 - "On the Present State of Spain"

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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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1814.13
On the Present State of Spain
“O.”
The Monthly Magazine, XXXVIII (August, 1814), p. 44

Written at Madrid, June 1, 1814.

[Under the unfortunate issue of the Spanish revolution, the following thoughts, dictated on the spot by actual circumstances—the reestablishment of an unlimited monarchy—of the inquisition—of the religious (rather irreligious) orders—of the convents, &c.—are submitted to the readers of the Monthly Magazine.][1]

Now the wide-wasting flame unfetter'd rages,
    And Virtue, Freedom, and Religion, wasted
        By its black ravages, retire in sadness
            And weep (not for themselves) but human
                              kind!
Now the heart easing hope that future ages
    Would wake to liberty and joy, is blasted;
        While Melancholy takes the place of Gladness,
            Sickened at the ruins that she leaves
                              behind.

Slavery's slow poison, torturing and degrading,
    Begins to work—men, to barbarians sinking,
        Bow their mean heads, and wear the fasten'd
                              fetter,
            Gloom darkening sits on sober Reason's brow,
And man, man's noblest privilege invading,
    Wrests that best right of man—the right of
                              thinking,
        And chains him down to misery!—'twere better
            To sleep in dust than be degraded so.

O why did Liberty's delightful beaming
    Thus break deceitful on our eager vision?
        O why did Heaven allow that Bliss should ever
            Thus flatter with its radiance—thus depart?
Was it to leave these eyes in sorrow streaming,
    To subject us to Folly's loose derision,
        To teach us that fair Freedom's reign shall
                             never
            Lighten the heavy anguish of our heart?

Fell Superstition from her den now rising,
    (Slavery's prime handmaid!) arm'd with knotted
                              scourges,
        Furious and fierce, for human victims roaming,
            Rushes to make devoted man her prey;
New horrors for the sons of Truth devising,
    Wild as the whirlwind—restless as the surges,
        Fiery as hell, with blood and madness foaming,
            Sweeps peace, and hope, and happiness, away.

Sad, sad reverse! O when shall dawn that morrow
    Which to-day's gloominess shall chase from nature;
        When shall th' inquiring eye of Expectation
            See that dread hour when God shall interpose,
When Heaven shall ease the heaving breast of sorrow,
    Confound the daring of that sinful creature,
        (Usurper, tyrant over His creation,)
            Who hurls the thunderbolt at Folly's foes!

Come, blissful period!—for, till then despairing,
    Sad sighs will break our rest!—but no!—th' Almighty
        Will hear our prayers—his holy arm shall scatter
            The vain opposers of His sacred will.
Peace; Peace, my soul! none but th' Almighty fearing,
    March nobly on! thy conscience shall requite thee;
        Virtue and He thy guardians—'tis no matter!
            All shall be well—ye doubts, ye cares, be
                              still!


Notes

1. [The Monthly Magazine's note]: "Of course we feel obliged to the author for thinking of our Journal at Madrid, particularly in the honourable association of ideas here indicated."

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September 2004

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