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The New Zealand Survey

The Crystal Palace. — A Poem in Two Cantos

page break“New Zealand Survey”: Page 86.

The Crystal Palace.
A Poem in Two Cantos

Canto First.

Imagination; Past; PoetryA picture is a poem without words,”
I’ve heard it said, or somewhere have it read;
But here, I see it,—aye, and something more!
I see in this, th’ imaginary past
Of strange romantic story, as a dream
Brought to reality, as with the wand
Which necromancers in their arts employ,
To conjure up some spell;—a palace great,
Of iron pillars rear’d, inlaid with glass;
And of dimensions spacious. vaulting high
Its roof o’er lofty trees, as one would take
A child within the shelter of his cloak!

Imagination; ArtsImagination well might conjure scenes
Of fairy temples, amid flowery lawns,
Or ample orchard lands, with jets de eau,
And statues tastefully arranged around
Enliven’d by the songsters of the grove;
But this surpasses all that fancy sought
Of pleasure, from realities apart;
For this contains them all within itself
Eclipsing quite the visionary scenes
page 87“New Zealand Survey”: Page 87. Of fairy lore!—Another era this
Of palaces and temples fit to charm
The unpoetic mind—nay more amaze
The driest prosy intellect that lived
In generatiens past, though much inclined
To doubt of aught yet quite untangible.

Religion; Future; History; PhilosophyIn this I see the hand of Providence
Marking the course of great events to come;
Aye such events, that will an aspect give
Unto the history of the world, which have
Been never dreamed of by the wisest sage
Deep read in politics; and who has conn’d
Th’ economy of nations, or the affairs
Of man, as he’s connected with the world.

Religion; HonourGod’s ways are on the waters! who can mark
His foot-prints? or upon the passing winds
Discern His movements? How He hastes along
Appointing, to His servants, each his task
To be performed, and that with ready mind!
For in their hearts alone His will’s declared;
And blest indeed is he who thus receives
Some great appointment of importance full
To all mankind, bespeaking one esteem’d
As worthy of that trust on him imposed!—
Nation; Peace; LibertyAnd well may Britain as a nation rise
To show obedience ready, and rejoice
At being so distinguished as the scene
Of much that’s good; but more to be employ’d
As Heav’n’s great Herald, in proclaiming peace
And concord to the nations far and near,
Aye, ev’n though ’twere with her artillery’s force
page 88“New Zealand Survey”: Page 88. When belching forth a chastisement on such
That will prove stubborn to a milder call!—
Nay more, along with freedom’s precepts she
Would teach,—as lessons worthy to be conn’d—
She sets th’ example, as to shew a proof
That such may be accomplished, no hard task
Ev’n for the least capacity, when will
To acquiescence is subdued, which ope’s
The way for ’tendant blessings in their train.

Britannia may in gratitude be glad
To think that hitherto she has enjoyed
The confidence of Heaven, when still engaged
In high commissions on her trust enjoined
Of various import; and more grateful prove
Since enterprise and nobleness unite
In ALBERT, father of her future kings
In whom she owns much greatness to her name
Thus added, lust’rous as the morning star
That leads the brighter glories of the day!—
So he, by this ingenuous mode devised,
Displays a genuine aptness for good deeds,
As Heav’n had writ His orders on his soul,
And left them for fulfilment in due time;
While prompt to execute at once that will
That must not be despised, he proves his worth,—
Society; Friendship; Civilisation; Science; ChangeA mean to gather strangers from afar,
A happy mean indeed! to aid the bonds
Of mutual friendship;—Brethren long apart,
Who to each other strangers had become,
Are thus together brought with happy art
Again to interchange kind looks, and words
page 89“New Zealand Survey”: Page 89. Of social feelings, and to sympathise
With either’s trials, as a proof that they
Are brethren!—children of one common sire:—
Nay more, to see and learn how each has sped
Since that great parting made on Shinar’s plain,
In the advancement of his lot on earth
Where’er’tis cast,—(beneath the torrid clime
Or genial temp’rate, or the frigid zones)—
To civ’lizations goal, or to the heights
Of truth and science, as his means could aid;
Or where each has made failure, when he sees
The progress of another, so that all
May prove instructors of a neighbour, while
They’re emulously striving to excel
In either’s estimation; yet with all
Those social feelings envy can’t destroy.

The representatives of nations great—
And Perception; Custom; Changebarb’rous powers, who scarce have gained a name
Among the various princes of the earth,
Who on a brother’s welcome scarce presume—
They’ve come as fond to see and learn what they
Could ne’er conceive, while in old habits pent
Beyond improvement’s reach! They well may look
Upon our ALBERT, as the harbinger
Of better times; of social intercourse,
A centre of attraction, as would move
The Planets with attendants round the Sun!
A way of Providence revealed to shed
An influence on the world, as would the dawn
That brightens, till ’tis lost in the full light
Of morning’s sun! page 90“New Zealand Survey”: Page 90. And, lo! that motely group
Of varied hue and visage,—which bespeak
Them distant strangers to Britannia’s shores
And to each other, though partaking all
Of either’s kindred feelings—now see things
In their true colours, such as they before
Ne’er dreamed of—that Imagination; Liberty; Perception; Customthey long had been deceived
By their wild fancies, when they thought themselves
Reposit’ries of wisdom; and they knew
All worthy to be known! Thus prejudice
Like a huge serpent of volum’nous length
Around its devotees had twined itself
In strangling folds, and long withstood th’ attempt
By philanthropic aid, to be expell’d
As riddance much desired—while they themselves,
As slaves would hug their chains, in ignorance
Of freedom’s blessings,—would such aid contemn
Declaring vengeance at the first essay!—
But now the serpent has a mortal wound;
’Tis sickening to death!—Change; Science; Philosophy; FutureSoon must fly off
Such shackles, which impede advancement in
The progress of the intellectual march
To civ’lization’s height. Fresh ideas
Impregnate now their souls with nobler thoughts,
All which may prove like seed cast in the soil,
Though some time dormant, yet at length to spring
The source of future good!—So long shut up
In their dominions, where barbaric pride
Admitted no improvement, there, they look’d
Upon themselves as super-excellent
And needed no dictation; now they see
page 91“New Zealand Survey”: Page 91. How worthless their pretensions, and how far
In ev’ry thing important, they have lagg’d
So sluggishly behind. They feel impressed
With the importance of the claims of truth,
And freedom to their serfs in bondage held
Like malefactors—or degenerate slaves,
Which proves their wisdom, has been all a LIE!

So China claiming kindred with high Heaven
As the celestial empire, and who look’d
Upon all others as barbarian, quite
Unworthy of regard; she comes to shew
Through pompous representatives her pride,
As to herself presumptively she’d claim
Supremacy,—but silent now she stands
Outwitted, dazzled by a greater light
Like Mercury unseen beside the Sun!
She sees how far behind she has been left
Though boasting of her age—aye, Empire; Nationlong before
The era Britain was to human ken
Brought forth in savage rudeness, as to claim
A mere existence ’mid the stormy deep,
Disjoined from all the world. When China rose
To being in the nameless hazy past,
And started on her course her race to run
To gain perfections prize, determined quite
To leave all else behind, herself she deem’d
Then first; and as fatigued, she fell asleep
And dreamed her progress great, securely hugg’d!—
Now waked, she feels how much she’s self deceived
And much has yet to learn!—
So other lands

page 92“New Zealand Survey”: Page 92. That send their wares and representatives
To gain applause,—Nation; History; Peace; Prosperity; Liberty; Morality; Societythey come to read a page
Of British hist’ry, that they thence might draw
Instructive lessons on the arts of peace,
Of freedom, and of enterprise, conjoin’d;
With a high tone of morals, which pervade
Society as attendant, seen from high
To low degree, compared with all they know
Among their own,—as on an ample sheet
In characters both legible and plain
Laid forth before them. Now they feel impressed
With the necessity of some great change,—
If such they could accomplish,—to amend
What long contentedly they have allow’d
As very best; while studious to conceive
How to adopt what long they have contemn’d;
Or to erase those errors upon which
They’ve blindly doated as their country’s pride.

Empire; Peace; CivilisationBritannia may feel glad to look around
Upon her offspring spreading o’er the world,—
As would a matron on her children smile
With innate satisfaction, when she sees
Them blooming round her, all in roseate health,
And holding by th’ instructions they’ve received
Through her maternal guidance,—going on
Improving as in years they grow, until
They shew a disposition to outshine
Their parents knowledge in the useful arts
Of peace and civilization!—Sure ’tis thus
Her children do her honor, glad to shew
Such guidance and instructions were bestow’d
page 93“New Zealand Survey”: Page 93. To good advantage, thus imparting joy!—
Empire; Nation; FutureSo may this colony, New Zealand, though
The youngest of her progeny, yet prove
In its importance not the least, and shew
Itself full worthy of Britannia’s care!
And when to full maturity ’t has grown
In after-ages, as a nation great,
May the descendants of that gifted line
Of Anglo Saxons found be to retain
That parents best instructions who gave birth;
And by her stand, should sad reverses fall
Her lot amid the changes of the world,
Her honors still sustaining through all time.

Nation; Liberty; Oppression; SocietyHow Tyranny is here put to the blush
To see a happy people who possess
A nobleness of soul,—ev’n ’mongst the poor;—
Which quite outshines that of their pompous peers
In outward splendour clad;—while among whom
All freedom circulates, as through one’s veins
Flows the life giving fluid in good health
Imparting joyous vigour through the frame;—
Such freedom that appreciated can be
Best by its daily use—becoming part
And parcel of existance—and exempt
From aught that tends to turn it to abuse:—
Liberty; Oppression; Society; GovernmentAnd among whom their Queen can walk at large—
Save but for equipage and princely show
Becoming dignity—without that dread
Which calls for great precautions of defence,
As despots use ’mid their degraded serfs:—
Nay, more, receive a welcome that resounds
page 94“New Zealand Survey”: Page 94. Through heaven’s expanse, in a full burst of joy
From hearts delighted by her presence, which
But gives the barb’rous lord the greater pain!—
A chastisement inflicted, as deserved,
Upon his sordid soul, too blind to see
The best foundation of his power should stand
Upon his people’s welfare and their love!—
At seeing such a contrast with himself
’Mong those he rules, how envy makes him sigh,
While here a lesson from a thousand tongues
Is taught him, loud as deaf’ning shouts of joy
Can well exclaim—“Go! make thy people free
And then shalt thou be happy in their weal!”

Custom; Religion; Past; Future; Liberty; Oppression; Arts; GovernmentAnd Superstition fain would hide the head
Convinced of folly in its rigid rites
Of formal services, and outward show,
Where mammon more is served than Him who claims
The humble heart’s devotion as his due.
Come from a sterile soil, where stunted views
Of holy life but grovel upon earth,
And never can expand to heav’nly heights,
Nor peace nor charity extend to all
Who differ may in conscience from his rule;
He finds some strange misgivings in his heart,
As there, some voice for first to him reveal’d,
A deep impression makes, as ’twould declare
That with his former ideas of truth
Were mingled much of error!—such bestirs
Reflections on the history of the past
With sighings for the future, while he strives
To raze what habit long has rooted deep!

page 95“New Zealand Survey”: Page 95.

And lo! the Idolater, who nothing knew
Beyond his range of vision where he lived,
Or heard from vague traditions of his sires,
While serving his imaginary god,
In ignorance of Him who rules o’er all.
Now hither drawn by some attractive force,
He sees great statues, as a numerous race
Of other gods, ridiculous to his mind,
Yet all demanding admiration, due
To those who made them, for such skill and art
In workmanship; which shews that they are all
But things of man’s invention, to preserve
The mem’ry of originals pourtray’d
In their construction;—and still more amazed
To find no rev’rence paid them, and the while
Their sculptors give their hearts to One unseen;
Such cannot but in him enquiries raise
Concerning whom his soul desires to serve!

The evangelic Convert, who must pay
In secret his devotions to his God,
And must live where hot persecution’s ire
Is like the simoon’s pestilential blast
Upon his heart; where inquisition’s power,
With sly suspicion, ever on the watch,
Would scare his pious efforts to do good,
Or openly confess to sacred truths!
But here, he feels as breathing purer air,
Regaling, and of vivifying force
Upon his soul expanding into praise!
And meeting with congenial souls who can
A fellow feeling share in his desires,
page 96“New Zealand Survey”: Page 96. Those ardent longings for that blessing which
His heart holds dear,—A freedom God to serve!
He finds protection here, t’express the full
O’erflowings of his heart; the while his soul
Yearns deeply for his native land enslaved;
And prays that time may speedily arrive,
When Truth shall reign, and set his brethren free!

Change; History; GovernmentBut can such various foreigners return
Each to his home, without some idea fresh,
By observation drawn from what to him
Is novel, worthy imitation? While
Through self-examination, as recurrs
To him his by-gone history, he discerns
Much that needs mending, and much to be chang’d
From present state of things, to introduce
A healthier atmosphere in what concerns
Th’ affairs domestic and political,
As all true patriots would, who have at heart
The welfare of their country. Nation; Change; Future; Imagination; PerceptionAlthough such
Desires may be but embryo—scarcely form’d
To thought upon their minds, yet these may grow,
By more reflection cherish’d, to the seeds
Of wond’rous revolutions; yet a work,
Though each should in himself the task begin,
Which future generations must complete;—
When in their country’s history must arise
Another era worthy to be known
Through time, recorded as another birth;—
A fresh advancement to’ard perfection’s height!—
A hast’ning of that time “when shall rejoice
The wilderness, and blossom as the rose!”

page 97“New Zealand Survey”: Page 97.

Canto Second.

Poetry; Imagination; ChangeOf Fame’s proud temple poets oft have sung
According as their minds have been impress’d
By fancy’s sunbeam tissues, which pourtray’d,
In all its loveliness, the holy Fane;
As if each would his part of prophecy
In hierogliphic lore pronounce, though that,
In its reality, he but conceived
A shrine of treasured virtues and good deeds.
So is not this Fame’s temple, where transformed
To something real, in sublimity,
Are various thoughts? as one a structure rears
Of gross materials, wherewithall to match
Some preconceived design; a building fair
Of mystic structure, active minds have plann’d
As emblematic of some charming scene,
Which gladly they’d enjoy; and where converse
With those of worth, whose kindred one would claim,
Or there admire their works! Religion; Technology; Future; Change; Civilisation; Society; JoySo here displayed
Are num’rous products of the human mind,
All proving immortality in man!
In such an active principle evolves
A struggling strife to rise to something great!
Thus stern endeavours to achieve a name
Cause many works to be produced, ordained
By providence to benefit the race
Of man, in his progression from a low
To higher state of being, upon earth.
Such works, results of lab’ring thoughts, while hands
page 98“New Zealand Survey”: Page 98. Mould stubborn things the idea to match—
Ev’n the objects pattern drawn upon the soul,
From which must be wrought out the full design!
Thus from the mind,—emblem of deity,—
Though finite, aiming yet at mighty deeds,
Proceeds the fiat, that must guide the means,
When giving forth its efforts in some shape
Of awkward rudeness first; yet such in time
Must have improvement’s polish, shewing much
Of man’s advancement with the age; and course
Of civ’lization and the arts of life:
As what in one age is conceived, descends
To other generations to receive
Some fresh addition or improvement new,
As way marks that bespeak man’s progress, in
The march of intellect, or how far advanced
From degradations (into which he fell)
Upon the road that leads to perfect bliss.

Religion; Work; SocietyThus geniuses, however much or small
Their toils may have appreciated been,
They’ve had their share alloted them to do:—
As certain implements have each their use
In hands of skillful artizans,—so they
Are means which Providence employs to bring
About some distant blessing for mankind:
And when such is obtained, what is it? but
A prelude of some others yet to come!
Imagination; Society; Religion; Change; Future; TechnologyWhatever scheme on which the mind’s engaged
In active labour to unfold its web
Of intricacies, while the attempt is made,
With failure often meeting, yet that scheme
page 99“New Zealand Survey”: Page 99. Before the mind’s eye pictured, faileth not,
As urged by a directing Providence,
To stamp determination on the soul
To conquer ev’ry difficulty met!
Yet ev’ry difficulty has its charm—
A spirit stirring influence—which prompts,
As one would blandly whisper—“Try again!”
Though first inventions have been duly prized
In th’ author’s estimation, and in that
Of others, at such novelties entranced,
Who with their usefulness felt greatly blest,
And thought they’d reach’d perfection; yet must rise
Some others in their kind—may not of quite
Original conception—yet acute
To see where vast improvements might be made
So as t’ extend th’ invention far beyond
The author’s first design: He happy felt
To serve a present need, nor further saw
What future might demand!—Why instance one?
Since many offer to support the creed!
For Technology; Change; Future; Work; Music and Songindustry’s progression will declare,
How the rude mattock primitively used
To till the ground, has moulded been to ploughs,
Thus bringing bestial labour to assist
In time of need! The sickle too must yield
To other strange contrivances to reap
The ripened grain, where much of toil is saved!
In means of war, the sling was reckoned once
A grand discovery to assist the arm
In hurling stones against a coming foe;
Next came the archer, and with his long bow
page 100“New Zealand Survey”: Page 100. Displaced the missle sling;—the which again
To fiery ammunition must give way!
And the first matchlock, formidable once,
Must to the Minie rifle yield its palm;
While the great battering ram must now retire
To let the booming ordnance do its work!
See the rude wain, or sled, how it has grown
To light spring chariots or the railway train!
The spinning wheel, was once esteem’d a grand
Contrivance o’er the distaff and the pirn;
But such, by Arkwright’s ingenuity,
And dauntless perseverance in his aim,
Must superseded be; while much improved
His spinning jenny, since, has been by those
Whose skill by practice has much aided been!
The simple loom, the ancient matron’s care,
In which she wove fine fabrics for attire,
Which now would reckon’d be of coursest kind;
That mode of toil how varied, and become
More complex as new fabrics will require—
And which machinery offers much to do,
As handicraft could not demands supply!
The oaten reed Arcadian shepherds play’d
Well pleased with its rude harmony of sounds,
(The subject too of much inventive thought)
That now is silent—drown’d by the full choir
Of various sweet toned instruments, of late
Invented, all by skill’d musicians prized;
From the shrill octave with its lofty strain
To the deep diapasan’s hoarsest bass.
And see the first steam-engine Watt produced
page 101“New Zealand Survey”: Page 101. For mere coal-heaving; was it not itself
A more completion of those rude attempts,
Made ere his day, to turn to some account
Shrewd observations on the force of steam?
The problem solved, how much improved upon,
And much transformed his work, as ’tis employed
In many other parts of human toil!
But why enum’rate more?—Let these suffice
To shew Change; Technology; Religion; Futureprogression’s nature, in the arts
Of life, so beneficial for mankind!—
Yea, all revealing to th’ mind
The ways of Providence,—how He pourtrays
On this, or other mind of chosen ones
Some problem to be solved, if not in full,
Yet partly, as their finitude can reach!—
Thus such inventions shewn, either for power
Concentrated, much weakness to assist;
Or such as would out-strip the lightning’s speed;
Bespeak great blessings, making due descent
In course of time, and calculated all
For lessening oppressions griefs and groans
And aiding to the happiness of man!

Besides, Nation; Past; Future; Custom; Religion; Peace; Technologyhow much the works of industry
Must have increased, and those, how much improved,
As one age on another has advanced;
So the barbarian here is skill displays
According as necessities would urge,
Though somewhat rude compared to what is shewn
By the sage artizan, yet much is seen
That might surpass th’ adept would means allow,
As proof that he’s a unit of our race!—
page 102“New Zealand Survey”: Page 102. In such, see him, a living type of what
Our earliest progenitors have been!
While in our skill we mostly have improved
On what they had projected in their day!

Here ev’ry nation that existence claims
Would fain make known th’ advancement each has made
In all those arts becoming social life;
And what that industry has most engaged
Its subjects as their bond of common weal,
Displaying what proficiency they’ve gained
In all their undertakings worthy praise!
While some who their deficiency must own
In handicraft—or some productive skill—
Would substitute such produce of their clime,
Whose rarity and richness might delight,
As something own’d, and worth the world’s esteem:
Much like some one of innate virtue void,
Who would of his ancestral greatness boast!—
Contemplating gigantic means of power,
And various things of great utility,—
But for which now, how mis’rable were man!—
Well pleased, one can’t but be induced t’ exclaim,
Society; Religion; Work; Love; NationWELL DONE! Ye benefactors of mankind;
Whatever be the countries of your birth,
You well deserve the thanks of ev’ry age!
For well ye have fulfilled your trust,—improved
That talent once alloted to your care
By Him who chose you as a means to shew
Mankind His mercy, when He looked upon
Their toils multifarious; and suggested how
Such might be eased; a proof of love divine,
page 103“New Zealand Survey”: Page 103. Though earthly, pointing to infinitude!

Technology; Arts; Religion; SadnessHow varied other works around display’d
Of ornament, whose elegance bespeak
Much cultivated taste of those who such
Devised, or patronised, as others would
Man’s sternness for utility; thus Art,
Like a sweet sister Grace, as handmaid to
Broad shoulder’d Industry of rougher mould,
Her trust fulfils, endeavoring to smooth
Th’ asperities still left our nature’s face;
And clothes that nakedness which oft appears
As the result of man’s primeval sin!—
While multiplying much of beauty left,
As worthy admiration, tending all
To cheer from melancholy’s painful glooms!
Thus all proclaim the greatness of those minds
While lab’ring, guided by the prompting muse,
In giving needful birth to noble deeds,
Enlarging happiness among mankind!

Empire; Science; Religion; FutureMay Britain ever glory at the call
Of Heav’n upon her, as an instrument
For spreading truth and science through the world!
Of sacred truths a blest repository
She proves—and whence proceed to ev’ry land
Such treasures rich; and an example meet
She sets surrounding nations; while t’ engage
In such like undertakings with good will
She shews that nought she loses! Well she may
Be styled a “Nation of Philanthrophists,”
As shewn through all gradations of her sons;
As prompt to raise the fallen, help the weak,
page 104“New Zealand Survey”: Page 104. And sympathise with fugitives in woe;
While th’ humble copper mite, from Sunday schools,
With coins of gold, from treasures of the great,
Unite in one grand purpose, with their prayers,—
“That God will bless each effort to advance
His kingdom on the earth, and bless mankind!”

Alas for such exceptions that prevail
’Mong many proud of being “British born!”
As tares among the rip’ning wheat that grows
To mar the beauties of abundant grain;—
Or like the blight amid an orchard full
Of fruit trees in luxuriant display
Of promising abundance; or disease
’Mongst a community who would presume
On general health;—such as to teach proud man
His frailty—all the emblem of this truth,
“On earth there’s no perfection—and no good,
Without that blessing which descends from Heaven!”

Future; ImaginationOh! may this means its best effects produce
Where Paxton’s genius of construction well
Has been developed to Britannia’s joy!—
Although, alas, ’tis destined like a dream
To disappear as it had never been:
Yet for the grand conception of the scheme
May future generations rise to bless
PRINCE ALBERT’S mem’ry, and his enterprise!
And may results upon the world yet crown
The bright achievements of Victoria’s reign!

end of the poem.