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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Walter Savage Landor 1775–1864

An Invocation


WE are what suns and winds and waters make us;

The mountains are our sponsors, and the rills

Fashion and win their nursling with their smiles.

But where the land is dim from tyranny,

There tiny pleasures occupy the place

Of glories and of duties; as the feet

Of fabled faeries when the sun goes down

Trip o’er the grass where wrestlers strove by day.

Then Justice, call’d the Eternal One above,

Is more inconstant than the buoyant form

That burst into existence from the froth

Of ever-varying ocean: what is best

Then becomes worst; what loveliest, most deform’d.

The heart is hardest in the softest climes,

The passions flourish, the affections die.

O thou vast tablet of these awful truths,

That fillest all the space between the seas,

Spreading from Venice’s deserted courts

To the Tarentine and Hydruntine mole,

What lifts thee up? what shakes thee? ’t is the breath

Of God. Awake, ye nations! spring to life!

Let the last work of his right hand appear

Fresh with his image, Man.