Love is departed, and in agony
The infatuated spirit must deplore
That after love no other joy can be.
My soul's an atom in the world of mind,
Hurled from its center by some adverse storm;
The attraction's gone, its movements that confined
The impulse fled, that urged it to perform
Its destined office. Wandering through the void,
Each due attrition, each excitement dead,
Its moral aim and action seem destroyed,
And its existence, like its functions, fled.
Love was the parent orb from whence it drew
Its moral being, hope its active force;
But Love's dear sun shall never shine anew;
Nor Hope again direct my wandering course!
My life is nothing to mankind!—To me
Tis worse than nothing! 'Tis all agony!
During his lifetime, Robert Southey was known as one of the “Lake Poets, ”
which included William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. While
a student at Oxford, he planned (but never realized) with Coleridge a utopian
community, which Coleridge called “Pantisocracy, ” to be established in
Pennsylvania, and wrote Joan of Arc, an epic poem celebrating democracy and
liberty. His sequence, Poems on the Slave Trade, expresses Southey's passionate
objection to England's involvement in the capture and selling into servitude
of native Africans. In 1813, he was appointed poet laureate.
I am innocent of this Blood, See ye to it!
Hold your mad hands! for ever on your plain
Must the gorged vulture clog his beak with blood?
For ever must your Niger's tainted flood
Roll to the ravenous shark his banquet slain?
Hold your mad hands! what demon prompts to rear
The arm of Slaughter? on your savage shore
Can hell-sprung Glory claim the feast of gore,