To Horror

Robert Southey 1774 (Bristol) – 1843 (London)

Dark HORROR, hear my call!
 Stern Genius hear from thy retreat
 On some old sepulchre's moss-cankered seat,
Beneath the Abbey's ivied wall
 That trembles o'er its shade;
Where wrapt in midnight gloom, alone,
 Thou lovest to lie and hear
 The roar of waters near,
And listen to the deep dull groan
 Of some perturbed sprite
Borne fitful on the heavy gales of night.

Or whether o'er some wide waste hill
 Thou mark'st the traveller stray,
 Bewilder'd on his lonely way,
When, loud and keen and chill,
The evening winds of winter blow
Drifting deep the dismal snow.

Or if thou followest now on Greenland's shore,
 With all thy terrors, on the lonely way
Of some wrecked mariner, when to the roar
 Of herded bears the floating ice-hills round
 Pour their deep echoing sound,
 And by the dim drear Boreal light
Givest half his dangers to the wretches sight.

 Or if thy fury form,
  When o'er the midnight deep
  The dark-wing'd tempests sweep
 Watches from some high cliff the encreasing storm,
  Listening with strange delight
 As the black billows to the thunder rave
  When by the lightnings light
 Thou seest the tall ship sink beneath the wave.

 Dark HORROR! bear me where the field of fight
  Scatters contagion on the tainted gale,
  When to the Moon's faint beam,
 On many a carcase shine the dews of night
  And a dead silence stills the vale
Save when at times is heard the glutted Raven's scream.

Where some wreck'd army from the Conquerors might
Speed their disastrous flight,
 With thee fierce Genius! let me trace their way,
And hear at times the deep heart-groan
Of some poor sufferer left to die alone,
 His sore wounds smarting with the winds of night;
And we will pause, where, on the wild,
 The Mother to her frozen breast,
On the heap'd snows reclining clasps her child
 And with him sleeps, chill'd to eternal rest!

Black HORROR! speed we to the bed of Death,
 Where he whose murderous power afar
 Blasts with the myriad plagues of war,
Struggles with his last breath,
 Then to his wildly-starting eyes
 The phantoms of the murder'd rise,
 Then on his frenzied ear
Their groans for vengeance and the Demon's yell
In one heart-maddening chorus swell.
Cold on his brow convulsing stands the dew,
And night eternal darkens on his view.

HORROR! I call thee yet once more!
Bear me to that accursed shore
Where round the stake the impaled Negro writhes.
Assume thy sacred terrors then! dispense
The blasting gales of Pestilence!
Arouse the race of Afric! holy Power,
Lead them to vengeance! and in that dread hour
When Ruin rages wide
I will behold and smile by MERCY'S side.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Robert Southey

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. more…

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"To Horror" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 13 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/31912/to-horror>.

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