Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE POET'S TERROR AT THE BALIFFS OF EXETER, FR. FREEDOM: A POEM, by ANDREW BRICE



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE POET'S TERROR AT THE BALIFFS OF EXETER, FR. FREEDOM: A POEM, by            
First Line: While perils imminent by slender thread
Last Line: Exhaust, and tide of every art'ry frore.
Subject(s): Depressions, Economic; Milton, John (1608-1674); Recessions


WHILE perils imminent by slender thread,
Like pointed dagger o'er my caskless head
Vibrissant, menace thus immediate fate,
Each distant buzz my harrassed soul confounds,
Their terrible irruption waiting. As
When, in a city sacked, victorious Rage
And Plunder range licentious; when mad Lust
Loose roams and hot Pollution every porch
Attacks; when mangling Slaughter prances through
The blood-gurged street; retired to close recess
The fainting virgin cowers at every noise
Remote, and her dishevelled tresses twist
The sanguinary hand already feels;—
So me, continual scared, each airy puff
In dreadful undulations from afar,
Or fluttering insect's nigh bombylious whirr,
With killing panic strikes, the shoulder-grasp
Avoidless as proclaiming. Pestered ears
Vain 'twere to dam, the terror to exclude,
Arresting every sense. My shrinking backThe clap by instinct shuns, and eyeballs
make
Spontaneous retrospection; heart too warns,
Faint-throbbing constant, or to arms or flight.
To flight? Ah! where, at heel (I shuddering tell!)
Since the fierce terriers I ween pursue
Close as my shadow? Where I wistly glance
Direct, my path their apparitions skim,
Along the roof or glide, or whizzing flit
Beside my ears, me round or circling hem.
Like eager bulldog Brooks's spectrum shoots,
Ope-mouthed, his grinders frothed with blood, and things
Slavering of viscous foam. And Townsend seems,
With knobbed battoon uplift (huge Gazite's hand,
Monster less horrible! such weaver's beam
Might burthen) rushing on. Stern Rogers glares,
With aspect like Medusa's snake-locked front
Petrific, to a marbled Niobe
Me staring. Rice him (countenance imbossed
With boil-volcanoes, wherein Tophet-flames
Glow quenchless, worm perennial gnawing) backs.
Behind them Kent perhorrid lurks, conjoined
With Tucker, surly as on Russian snows
The cub-robbed bear, more vigilant to spring
Than libbard on his prey. On drivelled wall
Dried spawls fortuitous foul represent,
In fresco vile, cursed Elliot's phizz, than which
Not rough-carved lion at the prow, not masque
For th' island dev'l-got witch-teemed monster wrought,
Not Angelo's Doompiece famed (where demons vie
Deformed visage), one so hideous shows.
And thousand bums minacious perdue seem
In every chink; while peals of hell-rung bans,
Ructant from Savery's throat and Newton's (sounds
Of desolation as if to denounce
Inthralment endless!) sorely terebrate
My sense auricular. Oh, torturing fear!
Anticipation of what pains, 'tis sung,
The damned endure! Ixion's twirlèd wheel,
Th' impendent threat'ning rock, the greedy beak
Which the fresh-growing liver ceaseless digs,
The plenty-mockèd thirst of Pelops' sire,
Frustrated labour of the Belides,
Vain toil of Sisyphus, and biting rods
By wood Alecto thrown, are felt in thee!
Yet torments light with those conferred, I doubt,
The upper hell, where Valglin sways, possess.
Horror on horror! see! behind his grates
The steeled perdition, giant-cruelty,
Whose guilt-engrossing, transmigrated soul
A thousand alligators erst had taught
Larger voration! See! he whets his tusk
Scurvied with prisoners' blood, his orbs and rolls
That sparkle fiery malice, breathing fierce
Expectance of my coming! Hark! he clinks
The gyves excessive! Lo! and baleful damps
My nostril from his mirksome vault infest!
Distracting vision! which my frighted balls
Of light their strained cords burst to start from, then
Deep in their sockets shrink; crazed my whole frame
Of nature feels, unhinged and ev'ry bone
Clatt'ring within the flabby lean, their pith
Exhaust, and tide of every art'ry frore.





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