Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE EXILE'S REVERIES, SELECTION, by JAMES KENNEDY

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First Line: Chased from my calling to this hackneyed trade
Last Line: Patriots drag the felon's chain.
Subject(s): Books; Exiles; Melancholy; Poetry & Poets; Revolutions; Sailing & Sailors; Soldiers; Reading; Dejection; Seamen; Sails

Chased from my calling to this hackneyed trade,
By persecution a poor poet made—
Yet favour court not—scribble not for fame;
To blast oppressors is my only aim.
With pain I started from a private life;
In sorrow left my children and my wife!
But though fair Freedom's foes have turned me out,
At every resting-place I'll wheel about,
And charge the villains!—

PENSIVE, while I stray the shore,
Trace the wood or climb the glen,
Nature's volume turning o'er,
Shunning sanguinary men;

Striving to beguile my care,
Soothe my grief, improve my time,
And disarm the fiend Despair;
Let me weave a web of rhyme.

Random feelings of the heart,
Ravings of a lone exile,
Stranger to the rules of art,
Let me robe in homely style.

Sweet the birds around me sing,
Fair the flow'rs around me blow;
Conscience wears no guilty sting—
Why, then, droop, the child of woe?

Here no rotten-hearted spy,
Spider-like, the snare extends;
Though on grassy couch I lie,
I am guarded by my friends.

Wand'ring tribes betray me not;
Even gypsies laugh at kings:
While the tenants of the cot
Deem them costly, useless things!

Thus they reason—'Do the bees
Lazy glutton drones expel?
And are we less wise than these
Tiny guardians of the cell?

'Do we toil while others reap?
Do we starve while others feast?
Are we sold and shorn like sheep
By the despot and the priest?

'Are we born for them alone?
If by Right Divine they rule,
Yonder idiot on a throne
Reigns by Right Divine a fool.
'Masters of the puppet-show,
Long they've made us dance at will;
Should we down the curtain throw,
Farewell to their magic skill.

'Have the jugglers nerves more strong?
Are their numbers more than ours?
Nay, they could not triumph long,
If deprived of borrowed pow'rs.

'Should the sansculottes come here,
We may gain, but cannot lose;
Freedom's friends we do not fear;
Tyrants only are our foes.'

While I wander here unseen,
Fancy, with her magic wand,
Conjures up the direful scene
Passing in a sister land.

Gallia starts to mental view
(Ah! her laurels reek with blood)
Trampling on a reptile crew,
Blasters of the public good.

Truth and Reason, robed in charms,
Cheering like the morn, advance;
Freedom's trumpet sounds to arms!
Slav'ry shrinks abashed from France.

Quaking, see the German Lords,
Scourges of the human race,
Pour on Gaul their savage hordes!
Ruin marks the backward chase.

Vaunted Mistress of the Deep!
Freedom—Liberty—thy boast;
Is thy Genius fast asleep?
Is thy ancient spirit lost?

Swelling with infuriate rage,
Hast thou joined the mad crusade?
What could tempt thee war to wage?
Were thy reptiles, too, afraid?

Yes! with guilt thy scourges stung,
Seem to court a sim'lar fate;
Loud the false alarm is rung,
Crimps and spies pervade the state.

Justice flies the judge's seat;
Innocence no shield affords;
Should we dare our wrongs repeat,
Truth is beaten down with swords.

Commerce droops and trade declines,
Mis'ry howls along the plain;
Vice wild riots, Virtue pines;
Patriots drag the felon's chain.

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