The March of Intellect.

It came—and its step was as light as the breath1
Of the gentlest zephyr that fawns on the ev’n2
It came with a stillness as silent as death,3
But it breath’d a benignity soothing as heaven ;4
It started—it gaz’d, as by stealth, far abroad,5
It mark’d the deep bondage of vassaliz’d man,6
It shrunk and recoil’d, and it marvell’d if God7
Had sketch’d such a doom in the primitive plan.8
It came—there was whisp’rings abroad in on earth,9
Deep mutter’d to deep in a mystified tone,10
Frowns, curses, and threats were heard issuing forth,11
And tortures and shackles were forging anon :12
It smil’d on the fetters—it triumph’d in scorn,13
It spurn’d the frail arm rear’d only to bind,14
Its march-hymn afar on the echoes was borne,15
Proclaiming the hast’ning redemption of mind !16
It comes—and its whispers to thunders have grown17
All nature elastic bends under its tread ;18
O’er ocean and earth its fire-chariots have flown, 19
And the lip of the mighty is quivering with dread ;20
Corruption, convuls’d, sees her nostrums turn weak,21
And nods to Oppression, in speechless despair,22
As the engines roll on, that shall speedily break23
The chains they had destin’d the millions to wear.24
It will come—and the great ones of earth shall turn pale ;25
The yoke of the bondsman, enfeebled shall shake ;26
All tyrants shall join in one desolate wail,27
And empires’ foundations will tremble and quake ;28
Thrones shall crash, and the sceptre, beclotted with blood,29
Will shiver to shreds in the hands of its lord :30
And a voice, fierce and awful, will echo aloud,31
That “ Freedom, the Birthright of Mind, is restor’d.”32