Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Poem written in London, Reflecting on Cleveland

Completed on the Monument in London when alone

Upon the Monument this summer day,
With London’s ceaseless commerce all around,
How, at this height, there comes a murmuring sound,
As of the waves of ocean in their play
Along our Cleveland coast. Domes, towers, and spires 5
Of numerous churches crowd upon the scene,
Innumerable chimneys smoke between
Here and the neighbouring hills,—most of their fires
Fed from our northern coalfields. Father Thames
Bears on his bosom goods of every land. 10
How pleasant ’t is to calmly take one’s stand
And view yon busy crowd, whose very names
In a few years will mostly be forgot:
They lived—they died! such is the common lot.

I blame not those, but give them honest praise, 15
Who strive with industry of hand or brain
To earn all needful comforts. I would fain
Banish both Want and Crime; have sought to raise
Mankind to truest manhood. I can ne’er
Rest in content with such a state of things 20
As Earth has ever known since first the wings
Of Time flew o’er it. We need never fear
That we shall fail in bringing forth, to bless
Our children’s children, bright and happy days,
If we walk steadfastly in Virtue’s ways, 25
And learn that to ensure true happiness
We must aspire beyond mere worldly toys,
And seek in Light and Goodness all our joys

Here every virtue exalts mankind,
Here every sin that stains the soul, is found; 30
Knowledge and ignorance alike abound;
Here numbers roll in wealth; and here we find
In pinching poverty too many pine:
Her every art and science flourishes;
Here stolid Ignorance ever nourishes 35
Its baneful brood, who readily combine
In evil actions. These surely is a cause
For every deviation from the right;
And ’t is our duty manfully to fight
To bring all men obedient to the laws 40
Of the Most High: and London then will be
From ignorance, want, and crime, entirely free.

George Markham Tweddell
pp. 66, 67 & 68 [in Miscellaneous Sonnets]

No comments:

Post a Comment