Ode, Inscribed to William H. Channing

Original Text: 
Poems< (1846: London: Chapman, 1847). PS 1624 .A1 Robarts Library
2The evil time's sole patriot,
3I cannot leave
4My honied thought
5For the priest's cant,
6Or statesman's rant.
7If I refuse
8My study for their politique,
9Which at the best is trick,
10The angry Muse
11Puts confusion in my brain.
12But who is he that prates
13Of the culture of mankind,
14Of better arts and life?
15Go, blindworm, go,
16Behold the famous States
17Harrying Mexico
19Or who, with accent bolder,
20Dare praise the freedom-loving mountaineer?
23The jackals of the negro-holder.
24The God who made New Hampshire
25Taunted the lofty land
26With little men; --
27Small bat and wren
28House in the oak: --
29If earth-fire cleave
30The upheaved land, and bury the folk,
31The southern crocodile would grieve.
33Freedom praised, but hid;
34Funeral eloquence
35Rattles the coffin-lid.
37O glowing friend,
38That would indignant rend
39The northland from the south?
40Wherefore? to what good end?
42Would serve things still; --
43Things are of the snake.
44The horseman serves the horse,
46The state may follow how it can,
49The wrinkled shopman to my sounding woods,
50Nor bid the unwilling senator
51Ask votes of thrushes in the solitudes.
52Every one to his chosen work; --
53Foolish hands may mix and mar;
54Wise and sure the issues are.
55Round they roll till dark is light,
56Sex to sex, and even to odd; --
57The over-god
58Who marries Right to Might,
59Who peoples, unpeoples, --
60He who exterminates
61Races by stronger races,
62Black by white faces, --
63Knows to bring honey
65Grafts gentlest scion
66On pirate and Turk.
68Like stolen fruit;
69Her last noble is ruined,
70Her last poet mute;
71Straight into double band
72The victors divide;
73Half for freedom strike and stand; --
74The astonished Muse finds thousands at her side.

Notes

1] William Henry Channing (1810-84), minister and reformer for the abolition of slavery. Back to Line
18] The United States and Mexico went to war in 1846-48. Back to Line
21] Contoocook: belongiong to the Merrimack river in New Hampshire. Back to Line
22] Agiochook: the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Back to Line
32] palters: is evasive, mumbles. Back to Line
36] boots: value has Back to Line
41] Boston Bay: the "Boston Tea Party" took place here on December 16, 1773, when men disguised as Mohawk Indians dumped, into the bay, tea chests being exported by the East India Company to America, an act of defiance against the English crown. Bunker Hill: place in Charlestown, Massachusetts, where, on June 17, 1775, the first important battle of the American Revolutionary War occurred. Back to Line
47] Mountain Olympus, mythic home of the gods of ancient Greece, and of Zeus (Jove), who presided over them all. Back to Line
48] implore: corrected by Emerson from earlier "invite". Back to Line
64] Yahweh, god of the monotheistic Israelites, filled the body of a lion killed by Samson with honey (Judges 14:5-10). Back to Line
67] Russia occupied Poland at this time, which was subject to a local uprising in 1846. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002