William Wordsworth

Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 3: Miscellaneous Sonnets; Memorials of Various Tours; Poems to National Independence and Liberty; The Egyptian Maid; The River Duddon Series; The White Doe and Other Narrative Poems; Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Second Edition)

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Editor’s NoteX

obligations of civil to religious liberty

  • 1Ungrateful Country, if thou e'er forget
  • 2The sons who for thy civil rights have bled!
  • 3How, like a Roman, Sidney bowed his head,
  • 4And Russel's milder blood the scaffold wet;
  • 5But these had fallen for profitless regret
  • 6Had not thy holy Church her champions bred,
  • 7And claims from other worlds inspirited
  • 8The star of Liberty to rise. Nor yet
  • 9(Grave this within thy heart!) if spiritual things
  • 10Be lost, through apathy, or scorn, or fear,
  • 11Shalt thou thy humbler franchises support,
  • 12However hardly won or justly dear:
  • 13What came from heaven to heaven by nature clings,
  • 14And, if dissevered thence, its course is short.

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Editor’s Note
p. 389. X. Obligations of Civil to Religious Liberty: Algernon Sidney, son of the Earl of Leicester, and Lord William Russell, son of the Duke of Bedford, were both tried before Chief Justice Jeffries for implication in the Rye House Plot, and beheaded in 1683.
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