To Horror

Dark HORROR, hear my call!

Stern Genius hear from thy retreat

On some old sepulchre's moss-cankered seat,

Beneath the Abbey's ivied wall

That trembles o'er its shade;

Where wrapt in midnight gloom, alone,

Thou lovest to lie and hear

The roar of waters near,

And listen to the deep dull groan

Of some perturbed sprite

Borne fitful on the heavy gales of night.



Or whether o'er some wide waste hill

Thou mark'st the traveller stray,

Bewilder'd on his lonely way,

When, loud and keen and chill,

The evening winds of winter blow

Drifting deep the dismal snow.



Or if thou followest now on Greenland's shore,

With all thy terrors, on the lonely way

Of some wrecked mariner, when to the roar

Of herded bears the floating ice-hills round

Pour their deep echoing sound,

And by the dim drear Boreal light

Givest half his dangers to the wretches sight.



Or if thy fury form,

When o'er the midnight deep

The dark-wing'd tempests sweep

Watches from some high cliff the encreasing storm,

Listening with strange delight

As the black billows to the thunder rave

When by the lightnings light

Thou seest the tall ship sink beneath the wave.



Dark HORROR! bear me where the field of fight

Scatters contagion on the tainted gale,

When to the Moon's faint beam,

On many a carcase shine the dews of night

And a dead silence stills the vale

Save when at times is heard the glutted Raven's scream.



Where some wreck'd army from the Conquerors might

Speed their disastrous flight,

With thee fierce Genius! let me trace their way,

And hear at times the deep heart-groan

Of some poor sufferer left to die alone,

His sore wounds smarting with the winds of night;

And we will pause, where, on the wild,

The Mother to her frozen breast,

On the heap'd snows reclining clasps her child

And with him sleeps, chill'd to eternal rest!



Black HORROR! speed we to the bed of Death,

Where he whose murderous power afar

Blasts with the myriad plagues of war,

Struggles with his last breath,

Then to his wildly-starting eyes

The phantoms of the murder'd rise,

Then on his frenzied ear

Their groans for vengeance and the Demon's yell

In one heart-maddening chorus swell.

Cold on his brow convulsing stands the dew,

And night eternal darkens on his view.



HORROR! I call thee yet once more!

Bear me to that accursed shore

Where round the stake the impaled Negro writhes.

Assume thy sacred terrors then! dispense

The blasting gales of Pestilence!

Arouse the race of Afric! holy Power,

Lead them to vengeance! and in that dread hour

When Ruin rages wide

I will behold and smile by MERCY'S side.

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