On a mild spring day in England, crocuses shine back at the sun and violas show shy faces to the wet, green garden. Songbirds are pairing and singing in the hedgerow trees.
Across a continent, there is revolution stirring. The people of the Middle East are waking from years in the thrall of autocratic leaders. Despots have been shaken from power, although some cling on in violent desperation. Tonight there is bloodshed in Libya. There are reports of anti tank weapons being fired at pro democracy demonstrators. "Economical" weapons that can kill three men with one shell. Hundreds are dead. There may be worse to come.
Over two hundred years ago, William Wordsworth was a young man caught up in the idealism and the excitement of the early days of the French Revolution. Later, by the spring of 1798, he had witnessed and fled the bloodshed of The Terror. He had learned that idealism can come with a terrible cost. His poem, written that spring, could have been written today.
Lines Written in Early Spring
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreathes;
And `tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breaths.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature`s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?