They worshipt Freedom for her sake;
We faint unless the wanton ear
Be tickled with the loud “hear, hear,”
To which the slight-built hustings shake;
For where he is, the citizen,
Deep-hearted, moderate, firm, who sees
His path before him? not with these
Shadows of statesmen, clever men!
Uncertain of ourselves we chase
The clap of hands; we jar like boys:
And in the hurry and the noise
Great spirits grown akin to base.
A sound of words that change to blows!
A sound of blows on armed breasts!
And individual interests
Becoming bands of armed foes!
A noise of hands that disarrange
The social engine! fears that waste
The strength of men, lest overhaste
Should fire the many wheels of change!
Ill fares a people passion-wrought,
A land of many days that cleaves
In two great halves when each one leaves
The middle road of sober thought!
Not he that breaks the dams, but he
That thro’ the channels of the state
Convoys the people’s wish, is great;
His name is pure, his fame is free:
He cares, if ancient usage fade,
To shape, to settle, to repair,
With seasonable changes fair,
And innovation grade by grade:
Or, if the sense of most require
A precedent of larger scope,
Not deals in threats, but works with hope,
And lights at length on his desire:
Knowing those laws are just alone
That contemplate a mighty plan,
The frame, the mind, the soul of man,
Like one that cultivates his own.
He, seeing far an end sublime,
Contends, despising party-rage,
To hold the Spirit of the Age,
Against the Spirit of the Time.
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