Ode on converting a sword into a pruning hook

Recited on Primrose Hill, at a Meeting of ANCIENT BRITISH BARDS, Residents in London, Sept. 22, 1793, being the Day whereon the Autumnal Equinox occurred, and one of the four grand solemn Bardic Days(1).
Gwir, yn erbyn y Byd
Motto of the Ancient Bards of Britain.
In English - Truth, against all the World!
"And they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more." ISAIAH, ch. ii. ver. 4.
FELL weapon, that in ruthless hand
Of warrior fierce, of despot king,
Hast long career'd o'er ev'ry land,
Hast heard th'embattled clangors ring;
Wrench'd from the grasp of lawless Pride,
With reeking gore no longer dy'd,
I bear thee now to rural shades,
Where nought of Hell-born War invades;
Where plum'd AMBITION feels her little soul;
And hiding from the face of day
That dawns from HEAV'N, and drives away
Those fiends that love eternal Night,
She, with rude yell, blasphemes the SONS of LIGHT(2),
That bid her deathful arm no more the world control.

I saw the Tyrant on her throne,
With wrathful eyes and venom'd breath,
Enjoy the world's unceasing groan,
And boast, unsham'd, her fields of death;
When through the skies her banners wav'd,
When, drunk with blood, her legions rav'd,
Her Priest invok'd the Realms above,
Dar'd at thy throne, thou GOD of LOVE,
Call for the thunders of thy mighty will,
To storm around the guiltless head,
To strike a peaceful brother dead(3);
Whilst blasphemies employ'd his tongue,
The gorgeous Temple with loud echoes run;
I felt my shudd'ring soul with deepest horror chill.

I saw the Victor's dreadful day,
He, through the world, in regal robe,
Tore to renown his gory way;
With carnage zon'd th'affrighted globe:
Whilst from huge towns involv'd in flame
The Monster claim'd immortal fame,
What lamentable shrieks arose,
In all th'excess of direst woes!
Loud was the Sycophant's applauding voice:
Together throng'd the sceptred band,
Hymn'd by the Fiends of ev'ry land:
How mourn'd my soul to hear the tale
Of sad Humanity's unpity'd wail!
And each Imperial dome with horrid shouts rejoice!

But hear from HEAV'N the dread command,
It gives to speed that awful hour,
When from OPPRESSION'S trembling hand
Must fall th'insulting rod of pow'r;
Long vers'd in mysteries of war,
She scyth'd her huge triumphant car(4);
Her lance with look infuriate hurl'd;
Bade fell Destruction sweep the world;
She wing'd her CHURCHILL's name(5) from pole to pole:
Now brought before th'eternal throne,
Where Truth prevails, all hearts are known,
She, self-comdemn'd, with horrid call,
Bids on her head the rocks and mountains fall,
To shield her from the wrath whose venging thunders roll.

Thou, strength of Kings, with aching breast,
I raise to Thee the mournful strain;
Thou shalt no more this earth molest,
Or quench in blood thy thirst again.
Come from rude War's infernal storm,
And fill this hand in alter'd form,
To prune the peach, reform the rose,
Where in th'expanding bosom glows
With warmest ardours, ev'ry wish benign:
Mine is thy day so long foretold
By HEAVEN's illumin'd Bards of old,
To feel the rage of Discord cease,
To join with Angels in the SONGS OF PEACE,
That fill my kindred soul with energies divine.

Dark ERROR's code no more enthrals,
Its vile infatuations end;
Aloud the trump of Reason calls;
The nations hear! the worlds attend!
Detesting now the craft of Kings,
Man from his hand the weapon flings;
Hides it in whelming deeps afar,
And learns no more the skill of war;
But lives with NATURE on th'uncity'd plain:
Long has this earth a captive mourn'd,
But days of old are now return'd(6);
We PRIDE's rude arm no longer feel;
No longer bleed beneath Oppression's heel;
For TRUTH to LOVE and PEACE restores the world again.

The dawn is up, the lucid morn,
I carol in its golden skies;
The Muse, on eagle-pinions borne,
Through Rapture's realm prophetic flies;
The battle's rage is heard no more,
Hush'd is the storm on ev'ry shore;
See Lambs and lions in the mead
Together play, together feed,
Crop the fresh herbage of perennial Spring:
From eyes that bless the glorious day
The scalding tears are wip'd away;
Raise high the song! 'tis HEAV'N inspires!
In chorus joining with seraphic lyres,
We crown the PRINCE OF PEACE, he reigns th' ETERNAL KING!

Duw a phob Daioni.

(1) The four grand solemn Bardic days are, of ancient usage,
the two equinoxes, and the two solstices: the new and full moons
moons are also, subordinately, solemn Bardic days: these are the
conspicuous days, we may say holidays, of NATURE, and were,
doubtless, observed long before the institution of any other solemn,
sabbatical, or festival, days: this, and many other usages of the
Ancient British Bards, bear the stamp of, and are obviously re-
tained from, remotest antiquity; these customs are not known
to have been discontinued or suspended in any age whatever, but
have always, to the present day, been observed. This is a matter
of no less curiosity than of wonder that it should not have been
long ago noticed; but the Ancient British Bardism has for ages been
in the hands of those who ranked not with the higher classes,
and is retained only in those very sequestered and mountainous
places that are seldom, if ever, visited by literary men. Bardism
has also been for time immemorial under some degree of perse-
cution; its regular professors are known in Glamorgan by the
nick-name of Gwyr Cwm y felin, and generally supposed to be
infidels, conjurors, and we know not what. The North Walian
BARDS, as they call themselves, but improperly, of whose meet-
ings we sometimes of late meet with accounts, know nothing at
all of the ancient and genuine Bardism.

(2) Blasphemes the Sons of Light.] The renovated state of reli-
gion, and of every thing else, promised to the world in the Chris-
tian prophecies, is entirely subversive of all the present establish-
ments in Church and State, and will, of course, whenever any
thing of it appears in the world, if it is to be a thing of this
world, be opposed with might and main by the priesthoods, &c.
of every country; for this reason, the morning of the glorious
day will be overcast with clouds, and very stormy.

(3) Strike a peaceful brother dead.] What can we conceive so
horrid as the blasphemous idea of wheedling the ALMIGHTY to
become a party in the diabolical contentions and throat-cutting
matches of the great men of this, little less than, infernal
world. {?}

(4) Scyth'd her huge triumphant car.] Alluding to the war-chariots
of the Ancient Britons, that were on all sides armed with
long and sharp scythes, as history tells us, which made terrible
havoc, when they were furiously driven into the ranks of their

(5) Her Churchill's name.] Churchill, the warring Duke of
Marlborough, was, in private life, a most execrable character;
and such are the characters of too many {all} great warriors.

(6) Days of old are now returned.] The Ancient of days in the
Prophet Daniel may, with some plausibility, be supposed to mean
no more than the restoration of the primeval state of Innocence,
Peace, and Benevolence.