I Fear No Snow
I Fear No Snow
I Fear No Snow
I am a man.
The snow no longer bothers me.
I am beneath it all,
My soul is not inside of me.
It leaves me when I fall.
As I lay here silently,
wating for the trumpet,
It will blow!
I do not any longer fear the snow.
Copyright © 2006 charles hice
Is There A Poem For The Time/ When Everything Is Going Wrong?
IS THERE A POEM FOR THE TIME /WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG?
Is there a poem for the time
When everything is going wrong?
When chaos threatens?
When one cannot do right
No matter how one tries?
Is there a poem for life in decline
For old age and sickness
For hurting those one loves
When one wants to do the opposite?
Is there a poem for the time
When nothing is going right
And one has to try despite oneself
To be alright with others?
Is there a time when inside all one is says
‘I may not be able to get out of this after all?
And if there is a poem-
Can it be of real help
Just a little?
- quotes about poetry
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- quotes about old age
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You're the songs of my love
I come to you and rock you like a Hurricane
But my long tall Sally would never say die
Killing me softly is just more than words
But my long tall Sally would never say goodbye
Sally, can’t you see, without you
I have nothing at all
To me, you are the heaven and hell
There’s no one like you, who can love me tender
Give me earth, wind and fire, I’ll still run to you
Throw me into the ring of fire, I’ll still loving you
Many years of madness, I’ve been waiting for a girl like you
To come into my life
Girl, you drive me crazy
The more you say it, the more I hate it
Sally, when love and hate collide
Sorry seem to be the hardest word
Are you leaving me for another man?
Unfortunately, nothing else matters
I was made for loving you
If you leave me now
Heaven knows, everything I do, I’ll do it for you
Sally, don’t leave me now
Open your eyes
My way home is through you
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps
I will survive
Whether it’s a total eclipse of the heart
Or another great gig in the sky
It’s the power of love that matters
And love conquers all
Sally, if you leave me now
I would like to wish
How I wish you were here
Anyway, thanks for the memories
Thank you for loving me
Since I don’t have you
I rather be a soldier of fortune
Fighting and dreaming of you
Till death do us part.
Republic Of Singapore
- quotes about Thanksgiving
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When I Fall In Love The Second Time Around
when i fall in love again
happiness rains on my cheeks
and my mouth becomes
a well full of water and my tongue
becomes a garden
blooming with red roses
music comes out from my breaths
rushing to your bosom
my eyes become two suns
making the bright days for me
my eyelashes become the clouds
and at night the stars hang there
the green grasses of hope
spread before my feet
where my promises lay
my fingers turn into ten rivers
and my hands and arms become
long and wide blue oceans
my love for you is immeasurable
your arms cannot embrace it
your eyes glimpse on the length of eternity
Sonnet 23 - Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead
Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead,
Wouldst thou miss any life in losing mine?
And would the sun for thee more coldly shine
Because of grave-damps falling round my head?
I marvelled, my Beloved, when I read
Thy thought so in the letter. I am thine—
But . . . so much to thee? Can I pour thy wine
While my hands tremble ? Then my soul, instead
Of dreams of death, resumes life's lower range.
Then, love me, Love! look on me—breathe on me!
As brighter ladies do not count it strange,
For love, to give up acres and degree,
I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange
My near sweet view of Heaven, for earth with thee!
It Aint Easy When You Fall
You used to float just like a boat upon the tide
You used to run when things were done you used to hide
You talk of ships you talk of boats you talk of games
And now youre down you aint around its such a shame
Cause you got something to give
Something to hold onto
Why dont you live
And you just forget about fixing up fate
Maybe youd stop pick yourself up
Now its too late oh
It aint easy when you fall
It aint easy when you fall
It aint easy when you fall
No it aint no good at all
You didnt know this world aint slow you gotta move
You made no sound I watched you drown I watched you loose
Your loneliness you knew it best but its a drag
Cause in the end I lost a friend I feel so sad
Cause you had something to give
Something to hold onto
Why did you live
If you just forgot about fixing up fate
Youd be here youd be near
Now its too late oh
It aint easy when you fall
It aint easy when you fall
It aint easy when you fall
No it aint no good at all
It aint easy when you fall
Waiting For the Snow
Waiting for the Snow
When the leaves turn golden
And the geese fly south
Where will I be?
When the wind turns cold
And the bear is in hiding
Where will I be?
When the streams are frozen
And the rabbits’ color turning
Where will I be?
When the leaves begin to fall
And the northern cardinals stay
Where will I be?
When the nuts fall down
And squirrels store walnuts
Where will I be?
When the corn is harvested
And the deer seek shelter
Where will I be?
When the grass is brown
And the pheasants are flying
Where will I be?
I will be riding before the wind
And winging t’ward the sun
Flying from the snow
I will be waiting for spring
And sleeping till then
Hiding from the snow
I will be hiding till I’m white
And searching the ground for food
Waiting for the snow
I will be looking for berries
And singing merrily
Waiting for the snow
I will be saving acorns
And jumping form tree to tree
Waiting for the snow
I will be searching fields for corn
And hiding in thickets
Waiting for the snow
I will be hiding under grass
And calling out loud
Waiting for the snow
I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)
Shattered dreams, worthless years,
Here am I encased inside a hollow shell,
Life began, then was done,
Now I stare into a cold and empty well
The many sounds that meet our ears
the sights our eyes behold,
Will open up our merging hearts,
And feed our empty souls
I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever,
I believe when I fall in love this time it will be forever
Without despair we will share,
And the joys of caring will not be replaced,
What has been must never end
And with the strength we have won't be erased
When the truths of love are planted firm,
They won't be hard to find,
And the words of love I speak to you
will echo in your mind
I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever,
I believe when I fall in love this time it will be forever
I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever,
I believe when I fall in love with you it will be forever
I'm so glad that I found someone to believe in again,
I'm so glad that I found someone to believe in again
God surely answered my prayer,
God surely answered by prayer,
You know God surely answered my prayer,
You know God surely answered my prayer,
God always will answer your prayers,
Believe in one who will answer my prayer,
Thank you God
Come on, let's fall in love,
You're the woman I've been waiting for,
Come on, let's fall in love,
You're the girl that I really adore,
Come on, let's fall in love...
I’ll Catch You When You Fall
You wanted so much to be a star;
wide eyed you looked at what could be,
so you started on your climb.
Not looking back at the misery,
you were leaving behind.
However, one day when your star should stall,
I will be here to catch you when you fall.
Friends have all told me that
you’ve turned your back on us here,
but I bet when you hear,
some distant train whistle blow
you stop for a moment
and something in your memory will recall,
that I’ll still be here to catch you when you fall.
You have moved on and upwards,
new friends you have by the score,
while your star is burning bright.
But what will happen when it begins to dim,
how many new friends will you have then,
and how many time will they come to call?
I’ll still be here to catch you when you fall.
Everyday I see your face on the TV.
Your false smile seems to have faded a little.
Isn’t the stardom what you thought it was going to be?
So on nights when your pillow is damp with tears.
Do you remember what you left behind,
and do you remember and recall what I said.
I’ll be there to catch you when you fall.
Leaving all your glad rags behind,
you closed the door on your dream.
Wandering aimless around for years,
not sure what you were going to do.
You wrote me a letter and asked if you could call.
I wrote back to you simply saying, come home,
I am still here to catch when you fall.
30 July 2007
THE BOY went out from the ranges grim,
And the breath of the mountains went with him;
With a song in his heart and a smile on his face,
And a light in his eyes for a foremost place:
And the good green earth, and the salt sea spray,
And the soft blue skies, they were his that day;
And, like Eden, ringed with a golden fire—
Afar rose the Land of His Heart’s Desire.
The boy went down to the city’s strife,
And his face was lost in the surge of life;
But a Power that he did not understand
Had nerved his brain and his fighting hand.
And he strove and failed, and he rose and won—
And he failed again ere the fight was done;
But he battled on when the days were dire
To win to the Land of His Heart’s Desire.
And there, in the heart of the stress and din,
’Mid want and labour and wealth and sin,
The strong man struggled with shining eyes,
And forced a passage, and grasped the prize.
And he cried to the Power who had lent the fire:
“Lo! Fame is the Land of My Heart’s Desire!
Give the cup to me with a beaded brim.”
And the Power that he knew not gave it him.
But the air is keen on the Cliffs of Fame,
And the shafts that fly have a deadly aim!
With a foothold scarce, and a sleepless dread
For the gulfs below and the heights o’erhead,
He cried to the Power who had steeled his hand:
“I am outcast yet from my Fairyland!
For Fame is a land where no strength may tire,
But Love is the Land of My Heart’s Desire!”
Then there came to the man all his dream of Love,
With the brow of snow and the eyes of a dove,
With the glint of the sun on her wavy hair,
And her soul as pure as her face was fair.
Like a living lily to him she came,
Till his eyes were wet and his soul was flame,
And she called to him, with an outstretched hand,
And they entered into the Promised Land.
But there came a day when he asked his soul,
“Is this the land, and is this the goal?”
In his heart there lay what his lips denied—
The pang of a hunger unsatisfied.
“For Fame,” he said, “and for Love I wrought;
They are not the things that I should have sought:
’Tis to boundless power that my dreams aspire—
And Wealth is the Land of My Heart’s Desire!”
Then the Power that he did not understand
Gave him ships and houses and gold and land,
And the man’s power grew with each passing year;
But his thoughts were vexed with a sleepless fear,
And his hair grew gray with the iron strain
Of the dread of loss and the lust of gain,
And he bowed his head on his hands and said.
“All things are mine, but my heart is dead!”
And he thought of the boy from the ranges grim
With the breath of the mountains over him,
With a song in his heart and a smile on his face,
And a light in his eyes for a foremost place,
And the good green earth and the salt sea spray,
And the soft blue skies that were his that day,
When, like Eden, ringed with a golden fire,
Afar rose the Land of His Heart’s Desire.
Then clear on his startled ear there fell
A voice like the sound of a silver bell:
“To each is the work that he best can do,
But you turned from the work when it called to you.
And you sought instead for the vulgar praise,
For the lips of love, and for prosperous days.
And with all that the world can give you here,
You have lost the thing that you hold most dear.
For who hears the word that the Gods inspire—
In his work finds the Land of His Heart’s Desire.”
The Songs Of The Dead Men To The Three Dancers
I. TO DESIRE
(Here a dancer enters and dances.)
Who is she that is fragrant and desirable,
Clothed but enough to wake wantonness,
And proud of her polished lithe body and her narrowing of
kohl-darkened eyelids with arrows between them?
Ah, ah, ah! Goddess of the world,
Young serpent in the veins of the rock,
In the mountain of jewels a young serpent, in the veins of a
man a sweet viper all emerald: ah Goddess
Are we proof to the hilt, are you pleased with us
When the splendor of your undulant insolence
Pricks the dark entrails of death, his foregathered grow hot for
you, the skeleton stands up to be amorous?
Ah, ah, ah! Goddess of the flesh
Will you think it a gift lacking grace
That the gates of the grave have been battered before you, the
iron doors to us dead in the deepest abysm?
For who has gone down to the dead or has touched them?
Did Jesus of Nazareth when he lay in deep hell
For three days and since lived as they say and has failed us?
No man nor no woman has gone down to us dead
Living until now, but the proof is here now, ah beautiful torture
us again and again.
We are fleshless, we tremble to your flesh,
Dear Goddess to taste of the dew
On your arms when you dance or to lip at the glitter of your
burnished thighs or the breast of your barrenness.
In the book of your triumphs with no term
Inscribe a more wonderful deed,
That you quickened the dead, that you lifted the flesh of the
fleshless, ah Goddess, ah! dancing, us dead men.
(The dancer goes out.)
II. TO DEATH
(A second dancer enters and dances.)
Was it lovely to lie among violets ablossom in the valleys of
love on the breast of the south?
It was lovely but lovelier now
To behold the calm head of the dancer we dreaded, his curls are
as tendrils of the vineyard, O Death
Sweet and more sweet is your dancing.
Like the swoon of fulfilment of love in some lonelier vale among
flowers is the languor that flushes us,
O why did we fear him, for Death
Is a beautiful youth and his eyes are sleepy, the lids droop heavily
with wine when he wakens,
And his breast is more smooth than a dove's.
Fair Garda, gay water with olives engarlanded, lake of blue
laughter in a bay of the Alps
It is better for our spirits to be here
In the desolate hollows of darkness beholding the beauty of our
dancer than at rest on your hills
Of anemones and jonquils immingled.
And gay from the glacier womb, boy-throated for gladness to
shout where the snow-crags throng
Ran foaming the rivulet Rhone,
When the mountains were sprung for his passage, the ridges of
granite were splintered; and lovely the lake was
Under the vineyards of Vaud,
And at evening empurpling the peaks of the Chablais were
painted on the sleep and deep shadow of its waters
When the sundown was flame on la Dole.
But the best of the course is the last broad slumber, O river of
France to forget and go down
Slow-gliding and sultrily stagnant
Past Aries to the Gulf of the Lion and that azure and beautiful
grave in the waves of the south
That are warmest and best . . . and an end . . .
(The dancer has gone out.)
III. TO VICTORY
(A third dancer enters and dances.)
Use us again, you in the world only of goddesses worshipful
now or adored,
How did we bow, even in dream, visions betraying us, unto some
other and base
Power when your splendor there
Struck on the gates? Use us again, awfully beautiful. Blood will
reblossom from death
Burning to minister
All its revived fire at your feet, only to merit an eye-glance, or
flash of your hand's
Pounding of guns clear you a path, trample the ports of decision
and triumph on the slain.
Men when they fall in it
Gayly they die, scattering for flowers rosy and white at your
feet the red blood and pale brains
Towering in steel, terribly armed, which of the daughters of
heaven is so hotly desired?
None has embraced you yet,
All of us burn, beautifully mad, frantic with lust of your beauty
and with thirst of your mouth's
Holy and white, under the steel, hide the sweet limbs of our
longing desire in a deep
Emperors and lords gave her in vain cities of gold and whole
nations of blood, for she took
Gifts, but rejected them.
Neither a king's bribe nor a bold armorer's hammer prevails to
unrivet the steel
Belt of her maidenhood,
Yet shall our prayer surely be heard. Goddess of glory revoke our
exemption of death,
Twice let us die for you.
Use us again, though but an hour: surely the prayer is as humble
as the gift would be great,
(The dancer goes out.)
Here's Breath For You - Upon Purchase & Buyer's Remorse - A Letter Poem To A Literature Professor
Not to worry.
I am the man most pursued in last night's dream.
That emaciated thing at my back keeps tracking me.
I remain just out of reach. Classic. Even there,
as here, I am escaping something, a life time of
practice in this 'Kingdom of the Canker'.
It was no banker who followed me last night
but a starved lacklove rejected by 'Canker' and, well,
by me. Who'd want that part, all start and no finish?
Replenishment has often enough meant hiding out
and a demand that it keep at least 5 arm lengths away.
I will try, I tell it, to look at it but I find its presence
most disturbing, its handful of leaves continually
proffered leaves me in a quandary. What do they
mean, this offering, though my father was a lumberjack?
Perhaps this is a track of sorts to follow for an end
to the mystery. I am stumped.
Again, not to worry.
After a life time (now almost 60 years) of identity crises,
which is a low grade fever in the personality, such is poetry.
I am very weary of it as I now move into yet another identity,
OLD MAN. And who gives a damn in that new
'Kingdom of the Cracked & Crank'? Invisibility awaits, or worse,
Do I become that thing which follows me in my sleep,
leprously white, pale wanderer of the empty pockets,
eyes dark and full of something deeply known?
I am not yet ready to know such things though the
dream indicates that I am for it is very near.
How can I expect the culture to pretend to be interested,
it having pushed the thing even farther away than I ever
could? And since this has turned too goddamned
confessional I do confess that I am beginning to lose
heart for it, all this pushing, this running away, which is
perhaps good news to the very few who know me truly.
I sit on the cultural dunce stool in my corner of the room
reading, reading, tracing, tracing the chase of 'logos'
through time. No rhyme or reason can I make with my
earnest forefinger. Still malingering shadows of what is
in those dark eyes just over there dim my creased page.
I pull at curtains to close out tighter whatever daylight those
eyes may bring to my knowing. I am such a monk.
I live hard unto myself, sacrifice daily goats on the altar
to the blood thirsty deity in me and who dwells just outside my door.
Grace, yet, daily unfolds, usually in the coffee cup, first sip,
and morning prayer without too much buyer's remorse which,
I am convinced, is what that first squall of the just born infant
is about...'So much for corporeality...desiring only the womb.
I could not read the fine print of the contract writ small in
capillaries, that upon me there will be a vice, a clutch of
alien air, a fall into too much light and clouds of Mercurochrome.
I regret me I regret me I regret me...'
One adjusts. Continually. The persona is adaptation
appearing to be solid but sleep reveals the neutrality
of the animal. Dreams tell us otherwise when we remember
them as it takes an ego to witness, to remember.
They reveal that we are caught up into something
so much greater than flush and stir. It's a wonder we make
do as much as we do and still call ourselves by name,
our family a species of animal, 'homo sapiens'.
I regret self pity. I'd reject it if I could
but it adheres, last resort of old coots born
honestly into it no matter the copious Mercurochrome baths,
the smelling salts obviating the needed nipple.
What is all this singing bathed in tears born of tremendous desire
and fear? Whose arms would hold fast and safe, embracement
against the brace of all us we fallen stars who do burn out brightly
or, more like me, privately in quarters counting days as if each is
the last until that dread thing finally comes in, after a life time of
daily threats and close escapes, with hopeful relief? Hopefully
there will be no buyer's remorse for purchase of Death.
''Here, '' I'll try to say 'ponst that day',
(one must become Shakespearean in such company,
last payment on the installment plan) ,
''Here's breath for you. I tried to use it well.''
Today the Market reports a run on Mercurochrome.
Birth goes on. I am for rebirth, a dirth of days
makes me suddenly Hindu, foregoing gurus and
bindu point. I've made my own here.
Still, methinks I'll have your ear for a little while longer,
a handful of leaves only for my thanks, one foot well
into 'Cracked and Crank', the drunk tank a memory
worn out. Doubt is my companion.
Love, too. No remorse there.
Buys me time, aftershave and
loads underwear for the trickles ahead.
Thank the gods for all that.
Oh. And one last good cigar.
The Duellist - Book I
The clock struck twelve; o'er half the globe
Darkness had spread her pitchy robe:
Morpheus, his feet with velvet shod,
Treading as if in fear he trod,
Gentle as dews at even-tide,
Distill'd his poppies far and wide.
Ambition, who, when waking, dreams
Of mighty, but fantastic schemes,
Who, when asleep, ne'er knows that rest
With which the humbler soul is blest,
Was building castles in the air,
Goodly to look upon, and fair,
But on a bad foundation laid,
Doom'd at return of morn to fade.
Pale Study, by the taper's light,
Wearing away the watch of night,
Sat reading; but, with o'ercharged head,
Remember'd nothing that he read.
Starving 'midst plenty, with a face
Which might the court of Famine grace,
Ragged, and filthy to behold,
Gray Avarice nodded o'er his gold.
Jealousy, his quick eye half-closed,
With watchings worn, reluctant dozed;
And, mean Distrust not quite forgot,
Slumber'd as if he slumber'd not.
Stretch'd at his length on the bare ground,
His hardy offspring sleeping round,
Snored restless Labour; by his side
Lay Health, a coarse but comely bride.
Virtue, without the doctor's aid,
In the soft arms of Sleep was laid;
Whilst Vice, within the guilty breast,
Could not be physic'd into rest.
Thou bloody man! whose ruffian knife
Is drawn against thy neighbour's life,
And never scruples to descend
Into the bosom of a friend;
A firm, fast friend, by vice allied,
And to thy secret service tied,
In whom ten murders breed no awe,
If properly secured from law:
Thou man of lust! whom passion fires
To foulest deeds, whose hot desires
O'er honest bars with ease make way,
Whilst idiot beauty falls a prey,
And to indulge thy brutal flame
A Lucrece must be brought to shame;
Who dost, a brave, bold sinner, bear
Rank incest to the open air,
And rapes, full blown upon thy crown,
Enough to weigh a nation down:
Thou simular of lust! vain man,
Whose restless thoughts still form the plan
Of guilt, which, wither'd to the root,
Thy lifeless nerves can't execute,
Whilst in thy marrowless, dry bones
Desire without enjoyment groans:
Thou perjured wretch! whom falsehood clothes
E'en like a garment; who with oaths
Dost trifle, as with brokers, meant
To serve thy every vile intent,
In the day's broad and searching eye
Making God witness to a lie,
Blaspheming heaven and earth for pelf,
And hanging friends to save thyself:
Thou son of Chance! whose glorious soul
On the four aces doom'd to roll,
Was never yet with Honour caught,
Nor on poor Virtue lost one thought;
Who dost thy wife, thy children set,
Thy all, upon a single bet,
Risking, the desperate stake to try,
Here and hereafter on a die;
Who, thy own private fortune lost,
Dost game on at thy country's cost,
And, grown expert in sharping rules,
First fool'd thyself, now prey'st on fools:
Thou noble gamester! whose high place
Gives too much credit to disgrace;
Who, with the motion of a die,
Dost make a mighty island fly--
The sums, I mean, of good French gold
For which a mighty island sold;
Who dost betray intelligence,
Abuse the dearest confidence,
And, private fortune to create,
Most falsely play the game of state;
Who dost within the Alley sport
Sums which might beggar a whole court,
And make us bankrupts all, if Care,
With good Earl Talbot, was not there:
Thou daring infidel! whom pride
And sin have drawn from Reason's side;
Who, fearing his avengeful rod,
Dost wish not to believe a God;
Whose hope is founded on a plan
Which should distract the soul of man,
And make him curse his abject birth;
Whose hope is, once return'd to earth,
There to lie down, for worms a feast,
To rot and perish like a beast;
Who dost, of punishment afraid,
And by thy crimes a coward made,
To every generous soul a curse
Than Hell and all her torments worse,
When crawling to thy latter end,
Call on Destruction as a friend,
Choosing to crumble into dust
Rather than rise, though rise you must:
Thou hypocrite! who dost profane,
And take the patriot's name in vain;
Then most thy country's foe, when most
Of love and loyalty you boast;
Who, for the love of filthy gold,
Thy friend, thy king, thy God hast sold,
And, mocking the just claim of Hell,
Were bidders found, thyself wouldst sell:
Ye villains! of whatever name,
Whatever rank, to whom the claim
Of Hell is certain, on whose lids
That worm, which never dies, forbids
Sweet sleep to fall, come, and behold,
Whilst envy makes your blood run cold,
Behold, by pitiless Conscience led,
So Justice wills, that holy bed
Where Peace her full dominion keeps,
And Innocence with Holland sleeps.
Bid Terror, posting on the wind,
Affray the spirits of mankind;
Bid Earthquakes, heaving for a vent,
Rive their concealing continent,
And, forcing an untimely birth
Through the vast bowels of the earth,
Endeavour, in her monstrous womb,
At once all Nature to entomb;
Bid all that's horrible and dire,
All that man hates and fears, conspire
To make night hideous as they can,
Still is thy sleep, thou virtuous man!
Pure as the thoughts which in thy breast
Inhabit, and insure thy rest;
Still shall thy Ayliffe, taught, though late,
Thy friendly justice in his fate,
Turn'd to a guardian angel, spread
Sweet dreams of comfort round thy head.
Dark was the night, by Fate decreed
For the contrivance of a deed
More black than common, which might make
This land from her foundations shake,
Might tear up Freedom by the root,
Destroy a Wilkes, and fix a Bute.
Deep Horror held her wide domain;
The sky in sullen drops of rain
Forewept the morn, and through the air,
Which, opening, laid its bosom bare,
Loud thunders roll'd, and lightning stream'd;
The owl at Freedom's window scream'd,
The screech-owl, prophet dire, whose breath
Brings sickness, and whose note is death;
The churchyard teem'd, and from the tomb,
All sad and silent, through the gloom
The ghosts of men, in former times,
Whose public virtues were their crimes,
Indignant stalk'd; sorrow and rage
Blank'd their pale cheeks; in his own age
The prop of Freedom, Hampden there
Felt after death the generous care;
Sidney by grief from heaven was kept,
And for his brother patriot wept:
All friends of Liberty, when Fate
Prepared to shorten Wilkes's date,
Heaved, deeply hurt, the heartfelt groan,
And knew that wound to be their own.
Hail, Liberty! a glorious word,
In other countries scarcely heard,
Or heard but as a thing of course,
Without, or energy, or force:
Here felt, enjoy'd, adored, she springs,
Far, far beyond the reach of kings,
Fresh blooming from our mother Earth:
With pride and joy she owns her birth
Derived from us, and in return
Bids in our breasts her genius burn;
Bids us with all those blessings live
Which Liberty alone can give,
Or nobly with that spirit die
Which makes death more than victory.
Hail, those old patriots! on whose tongue
Persuasion in the senate hung,
Whilst they the sacred cause maintain'd.
Hail, those old chiefs! to honour train'd,
Who spread, when other methods fail'd,
War's bloody banner, and prevail'd.
Shall men like these unmention'd sleep
Promiscuous with the common heap,
And (Gratitude forbid the crime!)
Be carried down the stream of time
In shoals, unnoticed and forgot,
On Lethe's stream, like flags, to rot?
No--they shall live, and each fair name,
Recorded in the book of Fame,
Founded on Honour's basis, fast
As the round earth to ages last.
Some virtues vanish with our breath;
Virtue like this lives after death.
Old Time himself, his scythe thrown by,
Himself lost in eternity,
An everlasting crown shall twine
To make a Wilkes and Sidney join.
But should some slave-got villain dare
Chains for his country to prepare,
And, by his birth to slavery broke,
Make her, too, feel the galling yoke,
May he be evermore accursed,
Amongst bad men be rank'd the worst;
May he be still himself, and still
Go on in vice, and perfect ill;
May his broad crimes each day increase,
Till he can't live, nor die in peace;
May he be plunged so deep in shame,
That Satan mayn't endure his name,
And hear, scarce crawling on the earth,
His children curse him for their birth;
May Liberty, beyond the grave,
Ordain him to be still a slave,
Grant him what here he most requires,
And damn him with his own desires!
But should some villain, in support
And zeal for a despairing court,
Placing in craft his confidence,
And making honour a pretence
To do a deed of deepest shame,
Whilst filthy lucre is his aim;
Should such a wretch, with sword or knife,
Contrive to practise 'gainst the life
Of one who, honour'd through the land,
For Freedom made a glorious stand;
Whose chief, perhaps his only crime,
Is (if plain Truth at such a time
May dare her sentiments to tell)
That he his country loves too well:
May he--but words are all too weak
The feelings of my heart to speak--
May he--oh for a noble curse,
Which might his very marrow pierce!--
The general contempt engage,
And be the Martin of his age!
Edinburgh After Flodden
News of battle!-news of battle!
Hark! 'tis ringing down the street:
And the archways and the pavement
Bear the clang of hurrying feet.
News of battle? Who hath brought it?
News of triumph? Who should bring
Tidings from our noble army,
Greetings from our gallant King?
All last night we watched the beacons
Blazing on the hills afar,
Each one bearing, as it kindled,
Message of the opened war.
All night long the northern streamers
Shot across the trembling sky:
Fearful lights, that never beckon
Save when kings or heroes die.
News of battle! Who hath brought it?
All are thronging to the gate;
'Warder-warder! open quickly!
Man-is this a time to wait?'
And the heavy gates are opened:
Then a murmur long and loud,
And a cry of fear and wonder
Bursts from out the bending crowd.
For they see in battered harness
Only one hard-stricken man,
And his weary steed is wounded,
And his cheek is pale and wan.
Spearless hangs a bloody banner
In his weak and drooping hand-
God! can that be Randolph Murray,
Captain of the city band?
Round him crush the people, crying,
'Tell us all-oh, tell us true!
Where are they who went to battle,
Randolph Murray, sworn to you?
Where are they, our brothers-children?
Have they met the English foe?
Why art thou alone, unfollowed?
Is it weal, or is it woe?'
Like a corpse the grisly warrior
Looks from out his helm of steel;
But no word he speaks in answer,
Only with his armèd heel
Chides his weary steed, and onward
Up the city streets they ride;
Fathers, sisters, mothers, children,
Shrieking, praying by his side.
'By the God that made thee, Randolph!
Tell us what mischance hath come!'
Then he lifts his riven banner,
And the asker's voice is dumb.
The elders of the city
Have met within their hall-
The men whom good King James had charged
To watch the tower and wall.
'Your hands are weak with age,' he said,
'Your hearts are stout and true;
So bide ye in the Maiden Town,
While others fight for you.
My trumpet from the Border-side
Shall send a blast so clear,
That all who wait within the gate
That stirring sound may hear.
Or, if it be the will of heaven
That back I never come,
And if, instead of Scottish shouts,
Ye hear the English drum,-
Then let the warning bells ring out,
Then gird you to the fray,
Then man the walls like burghers stout,
And fight while fight you may.
'T were better that in fiery flame
The roofs should thunder down,
Than that the foot of foreign foe
Should trample in the town!'
Then in came Randolph Murray,-
His step was slow and weak,
And, as he doffed his dinted helm,
The tears ran down his cheek:
They fell upon his corslet,
And on his mailèd hand,
As he gazed around him wistfully,
Leaning sorely on his brand.
And none who then beheld him
But straight were smote with fear,
For a bolder and a sterner man
Had never couched a spear.
They knew so sad a messenger
Some ghastly news must bring:
And all of them were fathers,
And their sons were with the King.
And up then rose the Provost-
A brave old man was he,
Of ancient name and knightly fame,
And chivalrous degree.
He ruled our city like a Lord
Who brooked no equal here,
And ever for the townsmen's rights
Stood up 'gainst prince and peer.
And he had seen the Scottish host
March from the Borough-muir,
With music-storm and clamorous shout
And all the din that thunders out,
When youth's of victory sure.
But yet a dearer thought had he,
For, with a father's pride,
He saw his last remaining son
Go forth by Randolph's side,
With casque on head and spur on heel,
All keen to do and dare;
And proudly did that gallant boy
Dunedin's banner bear.
Oh, woeful now was the old man's look,
And he spake right heavily-
'Now, Randolph, tell thy tidings,
However sharp they be!
Woe is written on thy visage,
Death is looking from thy face:
Speak, though it be of overthrow-
It cannot be disgrace!'
Right bitter was the agony
That wrung the soldier proud:
Thrice did he strive to answer,
And thrice he groaned aloud.
Then he gave the riven banner
To the old man's shaking hand,
Saying-'That is all I bring ye
From the bravest of the land!
Ay! ye may look upon it-
It was guarded well and long,
By your brothers and your children,
By the valiant and the strong.
One by one they fell around it,
As the archers laid them low,
Grimly dying, still unconquered,
With their faces to the foe.
Ay! ye well may look upon it-
There is more than honour there,
Else, be sure, I had not brought it
From the field of dark despair.
Never yet was royal banner
Steeped in such a costly dye;
It hath lain upon a bosom
Where no other shroud shall lie.
Sirs! I charge you keep it holy,
Keep it as a sacred thing,
For the stain you see upon it
Was the life-blood of your King!'
Woe, woe, and lamentation!
What a piteous cry was there!
Widows, maidens, mothers, children,
Shrieking, sobbing in despair!
Through the streets the death-word rushes,
Spreading terror, sweeping on-
'Jesu Christ! our King has fallen-
O great God, King James is gone!
Holy Mother Mary, shield us,
Thou who erst did lose thy Son!
O the blackest day for Scotland
That she ever knew before!
O our King-the good, the noble,
Shall we see him never more?
Woe to us and woe to Scotland,
O our sons, our sons and men!
Surely some have 'scaped the Southron,
Surely some will come again!'
Till the oak that fell last winter
Shall uprear its shattered stem-
Wives and mothers of Dunedin-
Ye may look in vain for them!
But within the Council Chamber
All was silent as the grave,
Whilst the tempest of their sorrow
Shook the bosoms of the brave.
Well indeed might they be shaken
With the weight of such a blow:
He was gone-their prince, their idol,
Whom they loved and worshipped so!
Like a knell of death and judgment
Rung from heaven by angel hand,
Fell the words of desolation
On the elders of the land.
Hoary heads were bowed and trembling,
Withered hands were clasped and wrung:
God had left the old and feeble,
He had ta'en away the young.
Then the Provost he uprose,
And his lip was ashen white,
But a flush was on his brow,
And his eye was full of light.
'Thou hast spoken, Randolph Murray,
Like a soldier stout and true;
Thou hast done a deed of daring
Had been perilled but by few.
For thou hast not shamed to face us,
Nor to speak thy ghastly tale,
Standing-thou, a knight and captain-
Here, alive within thy mail!
Now, as my God shall judge me,
I hold it braver done,
Than hadst thou tarried in thy place,
And died above my son!
Thou needst not tell it: he is dead.
God help us all this day!
But speak-how fought the citizens
Within the furious fray?
For, by the might of Mary,
'T were something still to tell
That no Scottish foot went backward
When the Royal Lion fell!'
'No one failed him! He is keeping
Royal state and semblance still;
Knight and noble lie around him,
Cold on Flodden's fatal hill.
Of the brave and gallant-hearted,
Whom ye sent with prayers away,
Not a single man departed
From his monarch yesterday.
Had you seen them, O my masters!
When the night began to fall,
And the English spearmen gathered
Round a grim and ghastly wall!
As the wolves in winter circle
Round the leaguer on the heath,
So the greedy foe glared upward,
Panting still for blood and death.
But a rampart rose before them,
Which the boldest dared not scale;
Every stone a Scottish body,
Every step a corpse in mail!
And behind it lay our monarch
Clenching still his shivered sword:
By his side Montrose and Athole,
At his feet a southern lord.
All so thick they lay together,
When the stars lit up the sky,
That I knew not who were stricken,
Or who yet remained to die,
Few there were when Surrey halted,
And his wearied host withdrew;
None but dying men around me,
When the English trumpet blew.
Then I stooped, and took the banner,
As ye see it, from his breast,
And I closed our hero's eyelids,
And I left him to his rest.
In the mountains growled the thunder,
As I leaped the woeful wall,
And the heavy clouds were settling
Over Flodden, like a pall.'
So he ended. And the others
Cared not any answer then;
Sitting silent, dumb with sorrow,
Sitting anguish-struck, like men
Who have seen the roaring torrent
Sweep their happy homes away,
And yet linger by the margin,
Staring idly on the spray.
But, without, the maddening tumult
Waxes ever more and more,
And the crowd of wailing women
Gather round the Council door.
Every dusky spire is ringing
With a dull and hollow knell,
And the Miserere's singing
To the tolling of the bell.
Through the streets the burghers hurry,
Spreading terror as they go;
And the rampart's thronged with watchers
For the coming of the foe.
From each mountain-top a pillar
Streams into the torpid air,
Bearing token from the Border
That the English host is there.
All without is flight and terror,
All within is woe and fear-
God protect thee, Maiden City,
For thy latest hour is near!
No! not yet, thou high Dunedin!
Shalt thou totter to thy fall;
Though thy bravest and thy strongest
Are not there to man the wall.
No, not yet! the ancient spirit
Of our fathers hath not gone;
Take it to thee as a buckler
Better far than steel or stone.
Oh, remember those who perished
For thy birthright at the time
When to be a Scot was treason,
And to side with Wallace, crime!
Have they not a voice among us,
Whilst their hallowed dust is here?
Hear ye not a summons sounding
From each buried warrior's bier?
'Up!'-they say-'and keep the freedom
Which we won you long ago:
Up! and keep our graves unsullied
From the insults of the foe!
Up! and if ye cannot save them,
Come to us in blood and fire:
Midst the crash of falling turrets,
Let the last of Scots expire!'
Still the bells are tolling fiercely,
And the cry comes louder in;
Mothers wailing for their children,
Sisters for their slaughtered kin.
All is terror and disorder,
Till the Provost rises up,
Calm, as though he had not tasted
Of the fell and bitter cup.
All so stately from his sorrow,
Rose the old undaunted Chief,
That you had not deemed, to see him,
His was more than common grief.
'Rouse ye, Sirs!' he said; 'we may not
Longer mourn for what is done:
If our King be taken from us,
We are left to guard his son.
We have sworn to keep the city
From the foe, whate'er they be,
And the oath that we have taken
Never shall be broke by me.
Death is nearer to us, brethren,
Than it seemed to those who died,
Fighting yesterday at Flodden,
By their lord and master's side.
Let us meet it then in patience,
Not in terror or in fear;
Though our hearts are bleeding yonder,
Let our souls be steadfast here.
Up, and rouse ye! Time is fleeting,
And we yet have much to do;
Up! and haste ye through the city,
Stir the burghers stout and true!
Gather all our scattered people,
Fling the banner out once more,-
Randolph Murray! do thou bear it,
As it erst was borne before:
Never Scottish heart will leave it,
When they see their monarch's gore!'
'Let them cease that dismal knelling!
It is time enough to ring,
When the fortress-strength of Scotland
Stoops to ruin like its King.
Let the bells be kept for warning,
Not for terror or alarm;
When they next are heard to thunder,
Let each man and stripling arm.
Bid the women leave their wailing,-
Do they think that woeful strain,
From the bloody heaps of Flodden
Can redeem their dearest slain?
Bid them cease,-or rather hasten
To the churches, every one;
There to pray to Mary Mother,
And to her anointed Son,
That the thunderbolt above us
May not fall in ruin yet;
That in fire, and blood, and rapine,
Scotland's glory may not set.
Let them pray,-for never women
Stood in need of such a prayer!
England's yeomen shall not find them
Clinging to the altars there.
No! if we are doomed to perish,
Man and maiden, let us fall;
And a common gulf of ruin
Open wide to whelm us all!
Never shall the ruthless spoiler
Lay his hot insulting hand
On the sisters of our heroes,
Whilst we bear a torch or brand!
Up! and rouse ye, then, my brothers,
But when next ye hear the bell
Sounding forth the sullen summons
That may be our funeral knell,
Once more let us meet together,
Once more see each other's face;
Then, like men that need not tremble,
Go to our appointed place.
God, our Father, will not fail us
In that last tremendous hour,-
If all other bulwarks crumble,
HE will be our strength and tower:
Though the ramparts rock beneath us,
And the walls go crashing down,
Though the roar of conflagration
Bellow o'er the sinking town;
There is yet one place of shelter,
Where the foeman cannot come,
Where the summons never sounded
Of the trumpet or the drum.
There again we'll meet our children,
Who, on Flodden's trampled sod,
For their king and for their country
Rendered up their souls to God.
There shall we find rest and refuge,
With our dear departed brave;
And the ashes of the city
Be our universal grave!'
The Triumph Of Woman
Glad as the weary traveller tempest-tost
To reach secure at length his native coast,
Who wandering long o'er distant lands has sped,
The night-blast wildly howling round his head,
Known all the woes of want, and felt the storm
Of the bleak winter parch his shivering form;
The journey o'er and every peril past
Beholds his little cottage-home at last,
And as he sees afar the smoke curl slow,
Feels his full eyes with transport overflow:
So from the scene where Death and Anguish reign,
And Vice and Folly drench with blood the plain,
Joyful I turn, to sing how Woman's praise
Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise,
Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod,
And freed the nation best-belov'd of God.
Darius gives the feast: to Persia's court,
Awed by his will, the obedient throng resort,
Attending Satraps swell the Prince's pride,
And vanquish'd Monarchs grace their Conqueror's side.
No more the Warrior wears the garb of war,
Sharps the strong steel, or mounts the scythed car;
No more Judaea's sons dejected go,
And hang the head and heave the sigh of woe.
From Persia's rugged hills descend the train.
From where Orontes foams along the plain,
From where Choaspes rolls his royal waves,
And India sends her sons, submissive slaves.
Thy daughters Babylon to grace the feast
Weave the loose robe, and paint the flowery vest,
With roseate wreaths they braid the glossy hair.
They tinge the cheek which Nature form'd so fair,
Learn the soft step, the soul-subduing glance,
Melt in the song, and swim adown the dance.
Exalted on the Monarch's golden throne
In royal state the fair Apame shone;
Her form of majesty, her eyes of fire
Chill with respect, or kindle with desire.
The admiring multitude her charms adore,
And own her worthy of the crown she wore.
Now on his couch reclin'd Darius lay,
Tir'd with the toilsome pleasures of the day;
Without Judaea's watchful sons await
To guard the sleeping pageant of the state.
Three youths were these of Judah's royal race,
Three youths whom Nature dower'd with every grace,
To each the form of symmetry she gave,
And haughty Genius curs'd each favorite slave;
These fill'd the cup, around the Monarch kept,
Serv'd as he spake, and guarded whilst he slept.
Yet oft for Salem's hallowed towers laid low
The sigh would heave, the unbidden tear would flow;
And when the dull and wearying round of Power
Allowed Zorobabel one vacant hour,
He lov'd on Babylon's high wall to roam,
And stretch the gaze towards his distant home,
Or on Euphrates' willowy banks reclin'd
Hear the sad harp moan fitful to the wind.
As now the perfum'd lamps stream wide their light,
And social converse chears the livelong night,
Thus spake Zorobabel, "too long in vain
"For Sion desolate her sons complain;
"In anguish worn the joyless years lag slow,
"And these proud conquerors mock their captive's woe.
"Whilst Cyrus triumph'd here in victor state
"A brighter prospect chear'd our exil'd fate,
"Our sacred walls again he bade us raise,
"And to Jehovah rear the pile of praise.
"Quickly these fond hopes faded from our eyes,
"As the frail sun that gilds the wintry skies,
"And spreads a moment's radiance o'er the plain,
"Soon hid by clouds that dim the scene again.
"Opprest by Artaxerxes' jealous reign
"We vainly pleaded here, and wept in vain.
"Now when Darius, chief of mild command,
"Bids joy and pleasure fill the festive land,
"Still shall we droop the head in sullen grief,
"And sternly silent shun to seek relief?
"What if amid the Monarch's mirthful throng
"Our harps should echo to the chearful song?
"Fair is the occasion," thus the one replied,
"And now let all our tuneful skill be tried.
"Whilst the gay courtiers quaff the smiling bowl,
"And wine's strong fumes inspire the madden'd soul,
"Where all around is merriment, be mine
"To strike the lute, and praise the power of Wine.
"And whilst" his friend replied in state alone
"Lord of the earth Darius fills the throne,
"Be yours the mighty power of Wine to sing,
"My lute shall sound the praise of Persia's King."
To them Zorobabel, on themes like these
"Seek ye the Monarch of Mankind to please;
"To Wine superior or to Power's strong arms,
"Be mine to sing resistless Woman's charms.
"To him victorious in the rival lays
"Shall just Darius give the meed of praise;
"The purple robe his honor'd frame shall fold,
"The beverage sparkle in his cup of gold;
"A golden couch support his bed of rest,
"The chain of honor grace his favor'd breast;
"His the soft turban, his the car's array
"O'er Babylon's high wall to wheel its way;
"And for his wisdom seated on the throne,
"For the KING'S COUSIN shall the Bard be known."
Intent they meditate the future lay,
And watch impatient for the dawn of day.
The morn rose clear, and shrill were heard the flute,
The cornet, sackbut, dulcimer, and lute;
To Babylon's gay streets the throng resort,
Swarm thro' the gates, and fill the festive court.
High on his throne Darius tower'd in pride,
The fair Apame grac'd the Sovereign's side;
And now she smil'd, and now with mimic frown
Placed on her brow the Monarch's sacred crown.
In transport o'er her faultless form he bends,
Loves every look, and every act commends.
And now Darius bids the herald call
Judaea's Bard to grace the thronging hall.
Hush'd is each sound--the attending crowd are mute,
The Hebrew lightly strikes the chearful lute:
When the Traveller on his way,
Who has toil'd the livelong day,
Feels around on every side
The chilly mists of eventide,
Fatigued and faint his wearied mind
Recurs to all he leaves behind;
He thinks upon the well-trimm'd hearth,
The evening hour of social mirth,
And her who at departing day
Weeps for her husband far away.
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it renovate his soul;
Then shall sorrow sink to sleep,
And he who wept, no more shall weep;
For his care-clouded brow shall clear,
And his glad eye shall sparkle thro' the tear.
When the poor man heart-opprest
Betakes him to his evening rest,
And worn with labour thinks in sorrow
Of the labor of to-morrow;
When sadly musing on his lot
He hies him to his joyless cot,
And loathes to meet his children there,
The rivals for his scanty fare:
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it renovate his soul;
The generous juice with magic power
Shall cheat with happiness the hour,
And with each warm affection fill
The heart by want and wretchedness made chill.
When, at the dim close of day,
The Captive loves alone to stray
Along the haunts recluse and rude
Of sorrow and of solitude;
When he sits with moveless eye
To mark the lingering radiance die,
And lets distemper'd Fancy roam
Amid the ruins of his home,--
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it renovate his soul;
The bowl shall better thoughts bestow,
And lull to rest his wakeful woe,
And Joy shall bless the evening hour,
And make the Captive Fortune's conqueror.
When the wearying cares of state
Oppress the Monarch with their weight,
When from his pomp retir'd alone
He feels the duties of the throne,
Feels that the multitude below
Depend on him for weal or woe;
When his powerful will may bless
A realm with peace and happiness,
Or with desolating breath
Breathe ruin round, and woe, and death:
Oh give to him the flowing bowl,
Bid it humanize his soul;
He shall not feel the empire's weight,
He shall not feel the cares of state,
The bowl shall each dark thought beguile,
And Nations live and prosper from his smile.
Husht was the lute, the Hebrew ceas'd the song;
Long peals of plaudits echoed from the throng;
Each tongue the liberal words of praise repaid,
On every cheek a smile applauding play'd;
The rival Bard advanced, he struck the string,
And pour'd the loftier song to Persia's King.
Why should the wearying cares of state
Oppress the Monarch with their weight?
Alike to him if Peace shall bless
The multitude with happiness;
Alike to him if frenzied War
Careers triumphant on the embattled plain,
And rolling on o'er myriads slain,
With gore and wounds shall clog his scythed car.
What tho' the tempest rage! no sound
Of the deep thunder shakes his distant throne,
And the red flash that spreads destruction round,
Reflects a glorious splendour on the Crown.
Where is the Man who with ennobling pride
Beholds not his own nature? where is he
Who but with deep amazement awe allied
Must muse the mysteries of the human mind,
The miniature of Deity.
For Man the vernal clouds descending
Shower down their fertilizing rain,
For Man the ripen'd harvest bending
Waves with soft murmur o'er the plenteous plain.
He spreads the sail on high,
The rude gale wafts him o'er the main;
For him the winds of Heaven subservient blow,
Earth teems for him, for him the waters flow,
He thinks, and wills, and acts, a Deity below!
Where is the King who with elating pride
Sees not this Man--this godlike Man his Slave?
Mean are the mighty by the Monarch's side,
Alike the wife, alike the brave
With timid step and pale, advance,
And tremble at the royal glance;
Suspended millions watch his breath
Whose smile is happiness, whose frown is death.
Why goes the Peasant from that little cot,
Where PEACE and LOVE have blest his humble life?
In vain his agonizing wife
With tears bedews her husband's face,
And clasps him in a long and last embrace;
In vain his children round his bosom creep,
And weep to see their mother weep,
Fettering their father with their little arms;
What are to him the wars alarms?
What are to him the distant foes?
He at the earliest dawn of day
To daily labor went his way;
And when he saw the sun decline,
He sat in peace beneath his vine:--
The king commands, the peasant goes,
From all he lov'd on earth he flies,
And for his monarch toils, and fights, and bleeds, and dies.
What tho' yon City's castled wall
Casts o'er the darken'd plain its crested shade?
What tho' their Priests in earnest terror call
On all their host of Gods to aid?
Vain is the bulwark, vain the tower;
In vain her gallant youths expose
Their breasts, a bulwark, to the foes.
In vain at that tremendous hour,
Clasp'd in the savage soldier's reeking arms,
Shrieks to tame Heaven the violated Maid.
By the rude hand of Ruin scatter'd round
Their moss-grown towers shall spread the desart ground.
Low shall the mouldering palace lie,
Amid the princely halls the grass wave high,
And thro' the shatter'd roof descend the inclement sky.
Gay o'er the embattled plain
Moves yonder warrior train,
Their banners wanton on the morning gale!
Full on their bucklers beams the rising ray,
Their glittering helmets flash a brighter day,
The shout of war rings echoing o'er the vale:
Far reaches as the aching eye can strain
The splendid horror of their wide array.
Ah! not in vain expectant, o'er
Their glorious pomp the Vultures soar!
Amid the Conqueror's palace high
Shall sound the song of victory:
Long after journeying o'er the plain
The Traveller shall with startled eye
See their white bones then blanched by many a winter sky.
Lord of the Earth! we will not raise
The Temple to thy bounded praise.
For thee no victim need expire,
For thee no altar blaze with hallowed fire!
The burning city flames for thee--
Thine altar is the field of victory!
Thy sacred Majesty to bless
Man a self-offer'd victim freely flies;
To thee he sacrifices Happiness,
And Peace, and Love's endearing ties,
To thee a Slave he lives, to thee a Slave he dies.
Husht was the lute, the Hebrew ceas'd to sing;
The shout rush'd forth--for ever live the King!
Loud was the uproar, as when Rome's decree
Pronounc'd Achaia once again was free;
Assembled Greece enrapt with fond belief
Heard the false boon, and bless'd the villain Chief;
Each breast with Freedom's holy ardor glows,
From every voice the cry of rapture rose;
Their thundering clamors burst the astonish'd sky,
And birds o'erpassing hear, and drop, and die.
Thus o'er the Persian dome their plaudits ring,
And the high hall re-echoed--live the King!
The Mutes bow'd reverent down before their Lord,
The assembled Satraps envied and ador'd,
Joy sparkled in the Monarch's conscious eyes,
And his pleas'd pride already doom'd the prize.
Silent they saw Zorobabel advance:
Quick on Apame shot his timid glance,
With downward eye he paus'd a moment mute,
And with light finger touch'd the softer lute.
Apame knew the Hebrew's grateful cause,
And bent her head and sweetly smil'd applause.
Why is the Warrior's cheek so red?
Why downward droops his musing head?
Why that slow step, that faint advance,
That keen yet quick-retreating glance?
That crested head in war tower'd high,
No backward glance disgrac'd that eye,
No flushing fear that cheek o'erspread
When stern he strode o'er heaps of dead;
Strange tumult now his bosom moves--
The Warrior fears because he loves.
Why does the Youth delight to rove
Amid the dark and lonely grove?
Why in the throng where all are gay,
His wandering eye with meaning fraught,
Sits he alone in silent thought?
Silent he sits; for far away
His passion'd soul delights to stray;
Recluse he roves and strives to shun
All human-kind because he loves but One!
Yes, King of Persia, thou art blest;
But not because the sparkling bowl
To rapture lifts thy waken'd soul
But not because of Power possest,
Not that the Nations dread thy nod,
And Princes reverence thee their earthly God,
Even on a Monarch's solitude
Care the black Spectre will intrude,
The bowl brief pleasure can bestow,
The Purple cannot shield from Woe.
But King of Persia thou art blest,
For Heaven who rais'd thee thus the world above
Has made thee happy in Apame's love!
Oh! I have seen his fond looks trace
Each angel feature of her face,
Rove o'er her form with eager eye,
And sigh and gaze, and gaze and sigh.
Lo! from his brow with mimic frown,
Apame takes the sacred crown;
Her faultless form, her lovely face
Add to the diadem new grace
And subject to a Woman's laws
Darius sees and smiles applause!
He ceas'd, and silent still remain'd the throng
Whilst rapt attention own'd the power of song.
Then loud as when the wintry whirlwinds blow
From ev'ry voice the thundering plaudits flow;
Darius smil'd, Apame's sparkling eyes
Glanc'd on the King, and Woman won the prize.
Now silent sat the expectant crowd, alone
The victor Hebrew gaz'd not on the throne;
With deeper hue his cheek distemper'd glows,
With statelier stature, loftier now he rose;
Heavenward he gaz'd, regardless of the throng,
And pour'd with awful voice sublimer song.
Ancient of Days! Eternal Truth! one hymn
One holier strain the Bard shall raise to thee,
Thee Powerful! Thee Benevolent! Thee Just!
Friend! Father! All in All! the Vines rich blood,
The Monarch's might, and Woman's conquering charms,--
These shall we praise alone? Oh ye who sit
Beneath your vine, and quaff at evening hour
The healthful bowl, remember him whose dews,
Whose rains, whose sun, matur'd the growing fruit,
Creator and Preserver! Reverence Him,
O thou who from thy throne dispensest life
And death, for He has delegated power.
And thou shalt one day at the throne of God
Render most strict account! O ye who gaze
Enrapt on Beauty's fascinating form,
Gaze on with love, and loving Beauty, learn
To shun abhorrent all the mental eye
Beholds deform'd and foul; for so shall Love
Climb to the Source of Virtue. God of Truth!
All-Just! All-Mighty! I should ill deserve
Thy noblest gift, the gift divine of song,
If, so content with ear-deep melodies
To please all profitless, I did not pour
Severer strains; of Truth--eternal Truth,
Unchanging Justice, universal Love.
Such strains awake the soul to loftiest thoughts,
Such strains the Blessed Spirits of the Good
Waft, grateful incense, to the Halls of Heaven.
The dying notes still murmur'd on the string,
When from his throne arose the raptur'd King.
About to speak he stood, and wav'd his hand,
And all expectant sat the obedient band.
Then just and gen'rous, thus the Monarch cries,
"Be thine Zorobabel the well earned prize.
"The purple robe of state thy form shall fold,
"The beverage sparkle in thy cup of gold;
"The golden couch, the car, and honor'd chain,
"Requite the merits of thy favor'd strain,
"And rais'd supreme the ennobled race among
"Be call'd MY COUSIN for the victor song.
"Nor these alone the victor song shall bless,
"Ask what thou wilt, and what thou wilt, possess."
"Fall'n is Jerusalem!" the Hebrew cries.
And patriot anguish fills his streaming eyes,
"Hurl'd to the earth by Rapine's vengeful rod,
"Polluted lies the temple of our God,
"Far in a foreign land her sons remain,
"Hear the keen taunt, and drag the captive chain:
"In fruitless woe they wear the wearying years,
"And steep the bread of bitterness in tears.
"O Monarch, greatest, mildest, best of men,
"Restore us to those ruin'd walls again!
"Allow our race to rear that sacred dome,
"To live in liberty, and die at Home."
So spake Zorobabel--thus Woman's praise
Avail'd again Jerusalem to raise,
Call'd forth the sanction of the Despot's nod,
And freed the Nation best belov'd of God.
Mogg Megone - Part II.
'Tis morning over Norridgewock, -
On tree and wigwam, wave and rock.
Bathed in the autumnal sunshine, stirred
At intervals by breeze and bird,
And wearing all the hues which glow
In heaven's own pure and perfect bow,
That glorious picture of the air,
Which summer's light-robed angel forms
On the dark ground of fading storms,
With pencil dipped in sunbeams there, -
And, stretching out, on either hand,
O'er all that wide and unshorn land,
Till, weary of its gorgeousness,
The aching and the dazzled eye
Rests, gladdened, on the calm blue sky, -
Slumbers the mighty wilderness!
The oak, upon the windy hill,
Its dark green burthen upward heaves -
The hemlock broods above its rill,
Its cone-like foliage darker still,
Against the birch's graceful stem,
And the rough walnut-bough receives
The sun upon its crowded leaves,
Each colored like a topaz gem;
And the tall maple wears with them
The coronal, which autumn gives,
The brief, bright sign of ruin near,
The hectic of a dying year!
The hermit priest, who lingers now
On the Bald Mountain's shrubless brow,
The gray and thunder-smitten pile
Which marks afar the Desert Isle,
While gazing on the scene below,
May half forget the dreams of home,
That nightly with his slumbers come, -
The tranquil skies of sunny France,
The peasant's harvest song and dance,
The vines around the hillsides wreathing
The soft airs midst their clusters breathing,
The wings which dipped, the stars which shone
Within thy bosom, blue Garonne!
And round the Abbey's shadowed wall,
At morning spring and even-fall,
Sweet voices in the still air singing, -
The chant of many a holy hymn, -
The solemn bell of vespers ringing, -
And hallowed torchlight falling dim
On pictured saint and seraphim!
For here beneath him lies unrolled,
Bathed deep in morning's flood of gold,
A vision gorgeous as the dream
Of the beautified may seem,
When, as his Church's legends say,
Borne upward in ecstatic bliss,
The rapt enthusiast soars away
Unto a brighter world than this:
A mortal's glimpse beyond the pale, -
A moment's lifting of the veil!
Far eastward o'er the lovely bay,
Penobscot's clustered wigwams lay;
And gently from that Indian town
The verdant hillside slopes adown,
To where the sparkling waters play
Upon the yellow sands below;
And shooting round the winding shores
Of narrow capes, and isles which lie
Slumbering to ocean's lullaby, -
With birchen boat and glancing oars,
The red men to their fishing go;
While from their planting ground is borne
The treasure of the golden corn,
By laughing girls, whose dark eyes glow
Wild through the locks which o'er them flow.
The wrinkled squaw, whose toil is done,
Sits on her bear-skin in the sun,
Watching the huskers, with a smile
For each full ear which swells the pile;
And the old chief, who nevermore
May bend the bow or pull the oar,
Smokes gravely in his wigwam door,
Or slowly shapes, with axe of stone,
The arrow-head from flint and bone.
Beneath the westward turning eye
A thousand wooded islands lie, -
Gems of the waters! - with each hue
Of brightness set in ocean's blue.
Each bears aloft its tuft of trees
Touched by the pencil of the frost,
And, with the motion of each breeze,
A moment seen, - a moment lost, -
Changing and blent, confused and tossed,
The brighter with the darker crossed,
Their thousand tints of beauty glow
Down in the restless waves below,
And tremble in the sunny skies,
As if, from waving bough to bough,
Flitted the birds of paradise.
There sleep Placentia's group, - and there
Pere Breteaux marks the hour of prayer;
And there, beneath the sea-worn cliff,
On which the Father's hut is seen,
The Indian stays his rocking skiff,
And peers the hemlock-boughs between,
Half trembling, as he seeks to look
Upon the Jesuit's Cross and Book.
There, gloomily against the sky
The Dark Isles rear their summits high;
And Desert Rock, abrupt and bare,
Lifts its gray turrets in the air, -
Seen from afar, like some stronghold
Built by the ocean kings of old;
And, faint as smoke-wreath white and thin,
Swells in the north vast Katahdin:
And, wandering from its marshy feet,
The broad Penobscot comes to meet
And mingle with his own bright bay.
Slow sweep his dark and gathering floods,
Arched over by the ancient woods,
Which Time, in those dim solitudes,
Wielding the dull axe of Decay,
Alone hath ever shorn away.
Not thus, within the woods which hide
The beauty of thy azure tide,
And with their falling timbers block
Thy broken currents, Kennebec!
Gazes the white man on the wreck
Of the down-trodden Norridgewock, -
In one lone village hemmed at length,
In battle shorn of half their strength,
Turned, like the panther in his lair,
With his fast-flowing life-blood wet,
For one last struggle of despair,
Wounded and faint, but tameless yet,
Unreaped, upon the planting lands,
The scant, neglected harvest stands:
No shout is there, - no dance, - no song:
The aspect of the very child
Scowls with a meaning sad and wild
Of bitterness and wrong.
The almost infant Norridgewock
Essays to lift the tomahawk;
And plucks his father's knife away,
To mimic, in his frightful play,
The scalping of an English foe:
Wreathes on his lip a horrid smile,
Burns, like a snake's, his small eye, while
Some bough or sapling meets his blow.
The fisher, as he drops his line,
Starts, when he sees the hazels quiver
Along the margin of the river,
Looks up and down the rippling tide,
And grasps the firelock at his side.
For Bomazeen from Tacconock
Has sent his runners to Norridgewock,
With tidings that Moulton and Harmon of York
Far up the river have come:
They have left their boats, - they have entered the wood,
And filled the depths of the solitude
With the sound of the ranger's drum.
On the brow of a hill, which slopes to meet
The flowing river, and bathe its feet, -
The bare-washed rock, and the drooping grass,
And the creeping vine, as the waters pass, -
A rude and unshapely chapel stands,
Built up in that wild by unskilled hands,
Yet the traveller knows it a place of prayer,
For the holy sign of the cross is there:
And should he chance at that place to be,
Of a Sabbath morn, or some hallowed day,
When prayers are made and masses are said,
Some for the living and some for the dead,
Well might that traveller start to see
The tall dark forms, that take their way
From the birch canoe, on the river-shore,
And the forest paths, to that chapel door;
And marvel to mark the naked knees
And the dusky foreheads bending there,
While, in coarse white vesture, over these
In blessing or in prayer,
Stretching abroad his thin pale hands,
Like a shrouded ghost, the Jesuit stands.
Two forms are now in that chapel dim,
The Jesuit, silent and sad and pale,
Anxiously heeding some fearful tale,
Which a stranger is telling him.
That stranger's garb is soiled and torn,
And wet with dew and loosely worn;
Her fair neglected hair falls down
O'er cheeks with wind and sunshine brown;
Yet still, in that disordered face,
The Jesuit's cautious eye can trace
Those elements of former grace
Which, half effaced, seem scarcely less,
Even now, than perfect loveliness.
With drooping head, and voice so low
That scarce it meets the Jesuit's ears, -
While through her clasped fingers flow,
From the heart's fountain, hot and slow,
Her penitential tears, -
She tells the story of the woe
And evil of her years.
'O father, bear with me; my heart
Is sick and death-like, and my brain
Seems girdled with a fiery chain,
Whose scorching links will never part,
And never cool again.
Bear with me while I speak, - but turn
Away that gentle eye, the while, -
The fires of guilt more fiercely burn
Beneath its holy smile;
For half I fancy I can see
My mother's sainted look in thee.
'My dear lost mother! sad and pale,
Mournfully sinking day by day,
And with a hold on life as frail
As frosted leaves, that, thin and gray,
Hang feebly on their parent spray,
And tremble in the gale;
Yet watching o'er my childishness
With patient fondness, - not the less
For all the agony which kept
Her blue eye wakeful, while I slept;
And checking every tear and groan
That haply might have waked my own,
And bearing still, without offence,
My idle words, and petulance;
Reproving with a tear, - and, while
The tooth of pain was keenly preying
Upon her very heart, repaying
My brief repentance with a smile.
'O, in her meek, forgiving eye
There was a brightness not of mirth,
A light whose clear intensity
Was borrowed not of earth.
Along her cheek a deepening red
Told where the feverish hectic fed;
And yet, each fatal token gave
To the mild beauty of her face
A newer and a dearer grace,
Unwarning of the grave.
'Twas like the hue which Autumn gives
To yonder changed and dying leaves,
Breathed over by his frosty breath;
Scarce can the gazer feel that this
Is but the spoiler's treacherous kiss,
The mocking-smile of Death!
'Sweet were the tales she used to tell
When summer's eve was dear to us,
And, fading from the darkening dell,
The glory of the sunset fell
On wooded Agamenticus, -
When, sitting by our cottage wall,
The murmur of the Saco's fall,
And the south-wind's expiring sighs,
Came, softly blending, on my ear,
With the low tones I loved to hear:
Tales of the pure, - the good, - the wise, -
The holy men and maids of old,
In the all-sacred pages told; -
Of Rachel, stooped at Haran's fountains,
Amid her father's thirsty flock,
Beautiful to her kinsman seeming
As the bright angels of his dreaming,
On Padan-aran's holy rock;
Of gentle Ruth, - and her who kept
Her awful vigil on the mountains,
By Israel's virgin daughters wept;
Of Miriam, with her maidens, singing
The song for grateful Israel meet,
While every crimson wave was bringing
The spoils of Egypt at her feet;
Of her, - Samaria's humble daughter,
Who paused to hear, beside her well,
Lessons of love and truth, which fell
Softly as Shiloh's flowing water;
And saw, beneath his pilgrim guise,
The Promised One, so long foretold
By holy seer and bard of old,
Revealed before her wondering eyes!
'Slowly she faded. Day by day
Her step grew weaker in our hall,
And fainter, at each even-fall,
He sad voice died away.
Yet on her thin, pale, lip, the while,
Sat Resignation's holy smile:
And even my father checked his tread,
And hushed his voice, beside her bed:
Beneath the calm and sad rebuke
Of her meek eye's imploring look,
The scowl of hate his brow forsook,
And in his stern and gloomy eye,
At times, a few unwonted tears
Wet the dark lashes, which for years
Hatred and pride had kept so dry.
'Calm as a child to slumber soothed,
As if an angel's hand had smoothed
The still, white features into rest,
Silent and cold, without a breath
To stir the drapery on her breast,
Pain, with its keen and poisoned fang,
The horror of the mortal pang,
The suffering look her brow had worn,
The fear, the strife, the anguish gone, -
She slept at last in death!
'O, tell me, father,
Walk on the earth, and look on us,
And lay upon the living's head
Their blessing or their curse?
For, O, last night she stood by me,
As I lay beneath the woodland tree!'
The Jesuit crosses himself in awe, -
'Jesu! what was it my daughter saw?'
came to me last night.
The dried leaves did not feel her tread;
She stood by me in the wan moonlight,
In the white robes of the dead!
Pale, and very mournfully
She bent her light form over me.
I heard no sound, I felt no breath
Breathe o'er me from that face of death:
Its blue eyes rested on my own,
Rayless and cold as eyes of stone;
Yet, in their fixed, unchanging gaze,
Something, which spoke of early days, -
A sadness in their quiet glare,
As if love's smile were frozen there, -
Came o'er me with an icy thrill;
O God! I feel its presence still!'
The Jesuit makes the holy sign, -
'How passed the vision, daughter mine?'
'All dimly in the wan moonshine,
As a wreath of mist will twist and twine
And scatter, and melt into the light, -
So scattering, - melting on my sight,
The pale, cold vision passed;
But those sad eyes were fixed on mine
Mournfully to the last.'
'God help thee, daughter, tell me why
That spirit passed before thine eye!'
'Father, I know not, save it be
That deeds of mine have summoned her
From the unbreathing sepulchre,
To leave her last rebuke with me.
Ah, woe for me! my mother died
Just at the moment when I stood
Close on the verge of womanhood,
A child in everything beside;
And when my wild heart needed most
Her gentle counsels, they were lost.
'My father lived a stormy life,
Of frequent change and daily strife;
And - God forgive him! - left his child
To feel, like him, a freedom wild;
To love the red man's dwelling-place.
The birch boat on his shaded floods,
The wild excitement of the chase
Sweeping the ancient woods,
The camp-fire, blazing on the shore
Of the still lakes, the clear stream where
The idle fisher sets his wear,
Or angles in the shade, far more
Than that restraining awe I felt
Beneath my gentle mother's care,
When nightly at her knee I knelt,
With childhood's simple prayer.
'There came a change. The wild, glad mood
Of unchecked freedom passed.
Amid the ancient solitude
Of unshorn grass and waving wood,
And waters glancing bright and fast,
A softened voice was in my ear,
Sweet as those lulling sounds and fine
The hunter lifts his head to hear,
Now far and faint, now full and near -
The mumur of the wind-swept pine.
A manly form was ever nigh,
A bold, free hunter, with an eye
Whose dark, keen glance had power to wake
Both fear and love, - to awe and charm
'Twas as the wizard rattlesnake,
Whose evil glances lure to harm -
Whose cold and small and glittering eye,
And brilliant coil, and changing dye,
Draw, step by step, the gazer near,
With drooping wing and cry of fear,
Yet powerless all to turn away,
A conscious, but a willing prey!
'Fear, doubt, thought, life itself, erelong
Merged in one feeling deep and strong.
Faded the world which I had known,
A poor vain shadow, cold and waste;
In the warm present bliss alone
Seemed I of actual life to taste.
Fond longings dimly understood,
The glow of passion's quickening blood,
And cherished fantasies which press
The young lip with a dream's caress, -
The heart's forecast and prophecy
Took form and life before my eye,
Seen in the glance which met my own,
Heard in the soft and pleading tone,
Felt in the arms around me cast,
And warm heart-pulses beating fast.
Ah! scarcely yet to God above
With deeper trust, with stronger love,
Has prayerful saint his meek heart lent,
Or cloistered nun at twilight bent,
Than I, before a human shrine,
With heart, and soul, and mind, and form,
Knelt madly to a fellow-worm.
'Full soon, upon that dream of sin,
An awful light came bursting in.
The shrine was cold at which I knelt,
The idol of that shrine was gone;
A humbled thing of shame and guilt,
Outcast, and spurned and lone,
Wrapt in the shadows of my crime,
With withering heart and burning brain,
And tears that fell like fiery rain,
I passed a fearful time.
'There came a voice - it checked the tear -
In heart and soul it wrought a change; -
My father's voice was in my ear;
It whispered of revenge!
A new and fiercer feeling swept
All lingering tenderness away;
And tiger passions, which had slept
In childhood's better day,
Unknown, unfelt, arose at length
In all their own demoniac strength.
'A youthful warrior of the wild,
By words deceived, by smiles beguiled,
Of crime the cheated instrument,
Upon our fatal errands went.
Through camp and town and wilderness
He tracked his victim; and, at last,
Just when the tide of hate had passed,
And milder thoughts came warm and fast,
Exulting, at my feet he cast
The bloody token of success.
'O God! with what an awful power
I saw the buried past uprise,
And gather, in a single hour,
Its ghost-like memories!
And then I felt - alas! too late -
That underneath the mask of hate,
That shame and guilt and wrong had thrown
O'er feelings which they might not own,
The heart's wild love had known no change;
And still that deep and hidden love,
With its first fondness, wept above
The victim of its own revenge!
There lay the fearful scalp, and there
The blood was on its pale brown hair!
I thought not of the victim's scorn,
I thought not of his baleful guile,
My deadly wrong, my outcast name,
The characters of sin and shame
On heart and forehead drawn;
I only saw that victim's smile, -
The still, green places where we met, -
The moonlit branches, dewy wet;
I only felt, I only heard
The greeting and the parting word, -
The smile, - the embrace, - the tone which made
An Eden of the forest shade.
'And oh, with what a loathing eye,
With what a deadly hate, and deep,
I saw that Indian murderer lie
Before me, in his drunken sleep!
What though for me the deed was done
And words of mine had sped him on!
Yet when he murmured, as he slept,
The horrors of that deed of blood,
The tide of utter madness swept
O'er brain and bosom, like a flood.
And, father, with this hand of mine -'
'Ha! what didst thou?' the Jesuit cries,
Shuddering, as smitten with sudden pain,
And shading, with one thin hand, his eyes,
With the other he makes the holy sign.
'- I smote him as I would a worm; -
With heart as steeled, with nerves as firm:
He never woke again!'
'Woman of sin and blood and shame,
Speak, - I would know that victim's name.'
'Father,' she gasped, 'a chieftain, known
As Saco's Sachem, - Mogg Megone!'
Pale priest! What proud and lofty dreams,
What keen desires, what cherished schemes,
What hopes, that time may not recall,
Are darkened by that chieftain's fall!
Was he not pledged, by cross and vow,
To lift the hatchet of his sire,
And, round his own, the Church's foe,
To light the avenging fire?
Who now the Tarrantine shall wake.
For thine and for the Church's sake?
Who summon to the scene
Of conquest and unsparing strife,
And vengeance dearer than his life,
The fiery-souled Castine?
Three backward steps the Jesuit takes, -
His long, thin frame as ague shakes;
And loathing hate is in his eye,
As from his lips these words of fear
Fall hoarsely on the maiden's ear, -
'The soul that sinneth shall surely die!'
She stands, as stands the stricken deer,
Checked midway in the fearful chase,
When bursts, upon his eye and ear,
The gaunt, gray robber, baying near,
Between him and his hiding-place;
While still behind, with yell and blow,
Sweeps, like a storm, the coming foe.
'Save me, O holy man!' - her cry
Fills all the void, as if a tongue,
Unseen, from rib and rafter hung,
Thrilling with mortal agony;
Her hands are clasping the Jesuit's knee,
And her eye looks fearfully into his own; -
'Off, woman of sin! - nay, touch not me
With those fingers of blood; - begone!'
With a gesture of horror, he spurns the form
That writhes at his feet like a trodden worm.
Ever thus the spirit must,
Guilty in the sight of Heaven,
With a keener woe be riven,
For its weak and sinful trust
In the strength of human dust
And its anguish thrill afresh
For each vain reliance given
To the failing arm of flesh.
Thy forests, Windsor! and thy green retreats,
At once the Monarch's and the Muse's seats,
Invite my lays. Be present, sylvan maids!
Unlock your springs, and open all your shades.
Granville commands; your aid O Muses bring!
What Muse for Granville can refuse to sing?
The groves of Eden, vanish'd now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song:
These, were my breast inspir'd with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water, seem to strive again;
Not Chaos like together crush'd and bruis'd,
But as the world, harmoniously confus'd:
Where order in variety we see,
And where, tho' all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a checquer'd scene display,
And part admit, and part exclude the day;
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges, nor can quite repress.
There, interspers'd in lawns and opening glades,
Thin trees arise that shun each other's shades.
Here in full light the russet plains extend;
There wrapt in clouds the blueish hills ascend.
Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desart fruitful fields arise,
That crown'd with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are born,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Tho' Gods assembled grace his tow'ring height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those Gods appear.
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crown'd,
Here blushing Flora paints th' enamel'd ground,
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell, a Stuart reigns.
Not thus the land appear'd in ages past,
A dreary desart and a gloomy waste,
To savage beasts and savage laws a prey,
And kings more furious and severe than they;
Who claim'd the skies, dispeopled air and floods,
The lonely lords of empty wilds and woods:
Cities laid waste, they storm'd the dens and caves,
(For wiser brutes were backward to be slaves):
What could be free, when lawless beasts obey'd,
And ev'n the elements a Tyrant sway'd?
In vain kind seasons swell'd the teeming grain,
Soft show'rs distill'd, and suns grew warm in vain;
The swain with tears his frustrate labour yields,
And famish'd dies amidst his ripen'd fields.
What wonder then, a beast or subject slain
Were equal crimes in a despotick reign?
Both doom'd alike, for sportive Tyrants bled,
But that the subject starv'd, the beast was fed.
Proud Nimrod first the bloody chace began,
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man:
Our haughty Norman boasts that barb'rous name,
And makes his trembling slaves the royal game.
The fields are ravish'd from th' industrious swains,
From men their cities, and from Gods their fanes:
The levell'd towns with weeds lie cover'd o'er;
The hollow winds thro' naked temples roar;
Round broken columns clasping ivy twin'd;
O'er heaps of ruin stalk'd the stately hind;
The fox obscene to gaping tombs retires,
And savage howlings fill the sacred quires.
Aw'd by his Nobles, by his Commons curst,
Th' Oppressor rul'd tyrannic where he durst,
Stretch'd o'er the Poor and Church his iron rod,
And serv'd alike his Vassals and his God.
Whom ev'n the Saxon spar'd, and bloody Dane,
The wanton victims of his sport remain.
But see, the man who spacious regions gave
A waste for beasts, himself deny'd a grave!
Stretch'd on the lawn, his second hope survey,
At once the chaser, and at once the prey:
Lo Rufus, tugging at the deadly dart,
Bleeds in the forest, like a wounded hart.
Succeeding Monarchs heard the subjects cries,
Nor saw displeas'd the peaceful cottage rise.
Then gath'ring flocks on unknown mountains fed,
O'er sandy wilds were yellow harvests spread,
The forests wonder'd at th' unusual grain,
And secret transport touch'd the conscious swain.
Fair Liberty, Britannia's Goddess, rears
Her chearful head, and leads the golden years.
Ye vig'rous swains! while youth ferments your blood,
And purer spirits swell the sprightly flood,
Now range the hills, the thickest woods beset,
Wind the shrill horn, or spread the waving net.
When milder autumn summer's heat succeeds,
And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds,
Panting with hope, he tries the furrow'd grounds;
But when the tainted gales the game betray,
Couch'd close he lies, and meditates the prey:
Secure they trust th' unfaithful field, beset,
Till hov'ring o'er 'em sweeps the swelling net.
Thus (if small things we may with great compare)
When Albion sends her eager sons to war,
Some thoughtless Town, with ease and plenty blest,
Near, and more near, the closing lines invest;
Sudden they seize th' amaz'd, defenceless prize,
And high in air Britannia's standard flies.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breath'd beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare:
(Beasts, urg'd by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man each other to undo.)
With slaught'ring guns th' unweary'd fowler roves,
When frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves;
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely woodcocks haunt the wat'ry glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Strait a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
Oft', as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clam'rous plovers feel the leaden death:
Oft', as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand;
With looks unmov'd, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork, and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply,
The bright-ey'd perch with fins of Tyrian dye,
The silver eel, in shining volumes roll'd,
The yellow carp, in scales bedrop'd with gold,
Swift trouts, diversify'd with crimson stains,
And pykes, the tyrants of the watry plains.
Now Cancer glows with Phoebus' fiery car;
The youth rush eager to the sylvan war,
Swarm o'er the lawns, the forest walks surround,
Rouze the fleet hart, and chear the opening hound.
Th' impatient courser pants in ev'ry vein,
And pawing, seems to beat the distant plain;
Hills, vales, and floods appear already cross'd,
And e'er he starts, a thousand steps are lost.
See! the bold youth strain up the threat'ning steep,
Rush thro' the thickets, down the valleys sweep,
Hang o'er their coursers heads with eager speed,
And earth rolls back beneath the flying steed.
Let old Arcadia boast her ample plain,
Th' immortal huntress, and her virgin-train;
Nor envy, Windsor! since thy shades have seen
As bright a Goddess, and as chaste a Queen;
Whose care, like hers, protects the sylvan reign,
The Earth's fair light, and Empress of the main.
Here, as old bards have sung, Diana stray'd,
Bath'd in the springs, or sought the cooling shade;
Here arm'd with silver bows, in early dawn,
Her buskin'd Virgins trac'd the dewy lawn.
Above the rest a rural nymph was fam'd,
Thy offspring, Thames! the fair Lodona nam'd;
(Lodona's fate, in long oblivion cast,
The Muse shall sing, and what she sings shall last.)
Scarce could the Goddess from her nymph be known,
But by the crescent and the golden zone.
She scorn'd the praise of beauty, and the care,
A belt her waist, a fillet binds her hair,
A painted quiver on her shoulder sounds,
And with her dart the flying deer she wounds.
It chanc'd, as eager of the chace, the maid
Beyond the forest's verdant limits stray'd,
Pan saw and lov'd, and burning with desire
Pursu'd her flight, her flight increas'd his fire.
Not half so swift the trembling doves can fly,
When the fierce eagle cleaves the liquid sky;
Not half so swiftly the fierce eagle moves,
When thro' the clouds he drives the trembling doves;
As from the God she flew with furious pace,
Or as the God, more furious, urg'd the chace.
Now fainting, sinking, pale, the nymph appears;
Now close behind, his sounding steps she hears;
And now his shadow reach'd her as she run,
His shadow lengthen'd by the setting sun;
And now his shorter breath, with sultry air,
Pants on her neck, and fans her parting hair.
In vain on father Thames she call'd for aid,
Nor could Diana help her injur'd maid.
Faint, breathless, thus she pray'd, nor pray'd in vain;
'Ah Cynthia! ah tho' banish'd from thy train,
'Let me, O let me, to the shades repair,
'My native shades there weep, and murmur there.
She said, and melting as in tears she lay,
In a soft, silver stream dissolv'd away.
The silver stream her virgin coldness keeps,
For ever murmurs, and for ever weeps;
Still bears the name the hapless virgin bore,
And bathes the forest where she rang'd before.
In her chaste current oft' the Goddess laves,
And with celestial tears augments the waves.
Oft' in her glass the musing shepherd spies
The headlong mountains and the downward skies,
The watry landskip of the pendant woods,
And absent trees that tremble in the floods;
In the clear azure gleam the flocks are seen,
And floating forests paint the waves with green.
Thro' the fair scene rowl slow the ling'ring streams,
Then foaming pour along, and rush into the Thames.
Thou too, great father of the British floods!
With joyful pride survey'st our lofty woods;
Where tow'ring oaks their spreading honours rear,
And future navies on thy shores appear.
Not Neptune's self from all his streams receives
A wealthier tribute, than to thine he gives.
No seas so rich, so gay no banks appear,
No lake so gentle, and no spring so clear.
Not fabled Po more swells the poet's lays,
While thro' the skies his shining current strays,
Than thine, which visits Windsor's fam'd abodes,
To grace the mansion of our earthly Gods:
Nor all his stars a brighter lustre show,
Than the fair nymphs that grace thy side below:
Here Jove himself, subdu'd by beauty still,
Might change Olympus for a nobler hill.
Happy the man whom this bright Court approves,
His Sov'reign favours, and his Country loves:
Happy next him, who to these shades retires,
Whom Nature charms, and whom the Muse inspires;
Whom humbler joys of home-felt quiet please,
Successive study, exercise, and ease.
He gathers health from herbs the forest yields,
And of their fragrant physic spoils the fields:
With chymic art exalts the min'ral pow'rs,
And draws the aromatic souls of flow'rs:
Now marks the course of rolling orbs on high;
O'er figur'd worlds now travels with his eye:
Of ancient writ unlocks the learned store,
Consults the dead, and lives past ages o'er:
Or wand'ring thoughtful in the silent wood,
Attends the duties of the wise and good,
T'observe a mean, be to himself a friend,
To follow nature, and regard his end;
Or looks on heav'n with more than mortal eyes,
Bids his free soul expatiate in the skies,
Amid her kindred stars familiar roam,
Survey the region, and confess her home!
Such was the life great Scipio once admir'd,
Thus Atticus, and Trumbal thus retir'd.
Ye sacred Nine! that all my soul possess,
Whose raptures fire me, and whose visions bless,
Bear me, oh bear me to sequester'd scenes,
The bow'ry mazes, and surrounding greens;
To Thames's banks which fragrant breezes fill,
Or where ye Muses sport on Cooper's hill.
(On Cooper's hill eternal wreaths shall grow,
While lasts the mountain, or while Thames shall flow)
I seem thro' consecrated walks to rove,
I hear soft music die along the grove;
Led by the sound, I roam from shade to shade,
By god-like Poets venerable made:
Here his first lays majestic Denham sung;
There the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue.
O early lost! what tears the river shed,
When the sad pomp along his banks was led?
His drooping swans on ev'ry note expire,
And on his willows hung each Muse's lyre.
Since fate relentless stop'd their heav'nly voice,
No more the forests ring, or groves rejoice;
Who now shall charm the shades, where Cowley strung
His living harp, and lofty Denham sung?
But hark! the groves rejoice, the forest rings!
Are these reviv'd? or is it Granville sings?
'Tis yours, my Lord, to bless our soft retreats,
And call the Muses to their ancient seats;
To paint anew the flow'ry sylvan scenes,
To crown the forests with immortal greens,
Make Windsor-hills in lofty numbers rise,
And lift her turrets nearer to the skies;
To sing those honours you deserve to wear,
And add new lustre to her silver star.
Here noble Surrey felt the sacred rage,
Surrey, the Granville of a former age:
Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance,
Bold in the lists, and graceful in the dance:
In the same shades the Cupids tun'd his lyre,
To the same notes, of love, and soft desire:
Fair Geraldine, bright object of his vow,
Then fill'd the groves, as heav'nly Myra now.
Oh would'st thou sing what Heroes Windsor bore,
What Kings first breath'd upon her winding shore,
Or raise old warriours, whose ador'd remains
In weeping vaults her hallow'd earth contains!
With Edward's acts adorn the shining page,
Stretch his long triumphs down thro' ev'ry age,
Draw Monarchs chain'd, and Cressi's glorious field,
The lillies blazing on the regal shield:
Then, from her roofs when Verrio's colours fall,
And leave inanimate the naked wall,
Still in thy song should vanquish'd France appear,
And bleed for ever under Britain's spear.
Let softer strains ill-fated Henry mourn,
And palms eternal flourish round his urn,
Here o'er the martyr-King the marble weeps,
And fast beside him, once-fear'd Edward sleeps:
Whom not th' extended Albion could contain,
From old Belerium to the northern main,
The grave unites; where ev'n the Great find rest,
And blended lie th' oppressor and th' opprest!
Make sacred Charles's tomb for ever known,
(Obscure the place, and un-inscrib'd the stone)
Oh fact accurst! what tears has Albion shed,
Heav'ns, what new wounds! and how her old have bled?
She saw her sons with purple deaths expire,
Her sacred domes involv'd in rolling fire,
A dreadful series of intestine wars,
Inglorious triumphs, and dishonest scars.
At length great Anna said 'Let Discord cease!'
She said, the World obey'd, and all was Peace!
In that blest moment, from his oozy bed
Old father Thames advanc'd his rev'rend head.
His tresses drop'd with dews, and o'er the stream
His shining horns diffus'd a golden gleam:
Grav'd on his urn, appear'd the Moon that guides
His swelling waters, and alternate tydes;
The figur'd streams in waves of silver roll'd,
And on their banks Augusta rose in gold.
Around his throne the sea-born brothers stood,
Who swell with tributary urns his flood:
First the fam'd authors of his ancient name,
The winding Isis and the fruitful Tame:
The Kennet swift, for silver eels renown'd;
The Loddon slow, with verdant alders crown'd;
Cole, whose clear streams his flow'ry islands lave;
And chalky Wey, that rolls a milky wave:
The blue, transparent Vandalis appears;
The gulphy Lee his sedgy tresses rears;
And sullen Mole, that hides his diving flood;
And silent Darent, stain'd with Danish blood.
High in the midst, upon his urn reclin'd,
(His sea-green mantle waving with the wind)
The God appear'd: he turn'd his azure eyes
Where Windsor-domes and pompous turrets rise;
Then bow'd and spoke; the winds forget to roar,
And the hush'd waves glide softly to the shore.
Hail, sacred Peace! hail long-expected days,
That Thames's glory to the stars shall raise!
Tho' Tyber's streams immortal Rome behold,
Tho' foaming Hermus swells with tydes of gold,
From heav'n itself tho' sev'n-fold Nilus flows,
And harvests on a hundred realms bestows;
These now no more shall be the Muse's themes,
Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams.
Let Volga's banks with iron squadrons shine,
And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine,
Let barb'rous Ganges arm a servile train;
Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign.
No more my sons shall dye with British blood
Red Iber's sands, or Ister's foaming flood;
Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain;
The shady empire shall retain no trace
Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chace;
The trumpet sleep, while chearful horns are blown,
And arms employ'd on birds and beasts alone.
Behold! th' ascending Villa's on my side,
Project long shadows o'er the crystal tyde.
Behold! Augusta's glitt'ring spires increase,
And temples rise, the beauteous works of Peace.
I see, I see where two fair cities bend
Their ample bow, a new White-ball ascend!
There mighty nations shall enquire their doom,
The world's great Oracle in times to come;
There Kings shall sue, and suppliant States be seen
Once more to bend before a British Queen.
Thy trees, fair Windsor! now shall leave their woods,
And half thy forests rush into my floods,
Bear Britain's thunder, and her Cross display,
To the bright regions of the rising day;
Tempt icy seas, where scarce the waters roll,
Where clearer flames glow round the frozen Pole;
Or under southern skies exalt their sails,
Led by new stars, and borne by spicy gales!
For me the balm shall bleed, and amber flow,
The coral redden, and the ruby glow,
The pearly shell its lucid globe infold,
And Phoebus warm the ripening ore to gold.
The time shall come, when free as seas or wind
Unbounded Thames shall flow for all mankind,
Whole nations enter with each swelling tyde,
And seas but join the regions they divide;
Earth's distant ends our glory shall behold,
And the new world launch forth to seek the old.
Then ships of uncouth form shall stem the tyde,
And feather'd people croud my wealthy side,
And naked youths and painted chiefs admire
Our speech, our colour, and our strange attire!
Oh stretch thy reign, fair Peace! from shore to shore,
'Till Conquest cease, and slav'ry be no more;
'Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves,
Peru once more a race of Kings behold,
And other Mexico's be roof'd with gold.
Exil'd by thee from earth to deepest hell,
In brazen bonds shall barb'rous Discord dwell:
Gigantic Pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care,
And mad Ambition, shall attend her there:
There purple Vengeance bath'd in gore retires,
Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
There hateful Envy her own snakes shall feel,
And Persecution mourn her broken wheel:
There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,
And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain.
Here cease thy flight, nor with unhallow'd lays
Touch the fair fame of Albion's golden days:
The thoughts of Gods let Granville's verse recite,
And bring the scenes of opening fate to light.
My humble Muse, in unambitious strains,
Paints the green forests and the flow'ry plains,
Where Peace descending bids her olives spring,
And scatters blessings from her dove-like wing.
Ev'n I more sweetly pass my careless days,
Pleas'd in the silent shade with empty praise;
Enough for me, that to the list'ning swains
First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains.
The Campaign, A Poem, To His Grace The Duke Of Marlborough
While crowds of princes your deserts proclaim,
Proud in their number to enrol your name;
While emperors to you commit their cause,
And Anna's praises crown the vast applause;
Accept, great leader, what the Muse recites,
That in ambitious verse attempts your fights.
Fir'd and transported with a theme so new,
Ten thousand wonders opening to my view
Shine forth at once; sieges and storms appear,
And wars and conquests fill the' important year:
Rivers of blood I see, and hills of slain,
And Iliad rising out of one campaign.
The haughty Gaul beheld, with towering pride,
His ancient bounds enlarg'd on every side;
Pyrene's lofty barriers were subdued,
And in the midst of his wide empire stood;
Ausonia's states, the victor to restrain,
Opposed their Alps and Apennines in vain,
Nor found themselves, with strength of rocks immur'd,
Behind their everlasting hills secur'd;
The rising Danube its long race began,
And half its course through the new conquests ran;
Amaz'd and anxious for her soverign's fates,
Germania trembled through a hundred states;
Great Leopold himself was seiz'd with fear;
He gaz'd around, but saw no succour near;
He gaz'd, and half-abandon'd to despair.
His hopes on heaven, and confidence in pray;
To Britain's queen the nations turn their eyes,
On her resolves the western world relies,
Confiding still, amidst its dire alarms,
In Anna's conncils, and in Churchill's arms.
Thrice happy Britain, from the kingdoms rent,
To fit the guardian of the continent!
That sees her bravest son advanc'd so high,
And flourishing so near her prince's eye;
Thy favourites grow not up by fortune's sport,
Or from the crimes or follies of a court;
On the firm basis of desert they rise,
From long-try'd faith and friendship's holy tyes:
Their soverign's well-distinguish'd smiles they share,
Her ornaments in peace, her strength in war;
The nation thanks them with a public voice,
By showers of blessings heaven approves their choice;
Envy itself is dumb, in wonder lost,
And factions strive who shall applaud them most.
Soon as soft vernal breezes warm the sky,
Britannia's colours in the zephyrs fly;
Her chief already has his march begun,
Crossing the provinces himself had won,
Till the Moselle, appearing from afar,
Retards the progress of the moving war.
Delightful stream, had nature bid her fall
In distant climes far from the perjur'd Gaul;
But now a purchase to the sword she lies;
Her harvests for uncertain owners rise,
Each vineyard doubtful of its master grows,
And to the victor's bowl each vintage flows.
The discontented shades of slaughter'd hosts,
That wander'd on her banks, her heroes ghosts
Hop'd, when they saw Britannia's arms appear,
The vengeance due to their great deaths was near.
Our godlike leader, ere the stream he past,
The mighty scheme of all his labours cast,
Forming the wondrous year within his thought;
His bosom glow'd with battles yet unfought.
The long laborious march he first surveys,
And joins the distant Danube to the Maese,
Between whose floods such pathless forests grow,
Such mountains rise, so many rivers flow:
The toil looks lovely in the hero's eyes,
And danger serves but to enhance the prize.
Big with the fate of Europe, he renews
His dreadful course, and the proud foe pursues!
Infected by the burning Scorpion's heat,
the sultry gales round his chas'd temples beat,
Till on the borders of the Maine he finds
Defensive shadows, and refreshing winds.
Our British youth, with in-born freedom bold,
Unnumber'd scenes of servitude behold,
Nations of slaves, with tyranny debas'd,
(Their maker's image more than half defac'd)
Hourly instructed, as they urge their toil,
To prize their queen, and love their native soil.
Still to the rising sun they take their way
Through clouds of dust, and gain upon the day.
When now the Neckar on its friendly coast
With cooling streams revives the fainting host,
That chearfully his labours past forgets,
The mid-night watches, and the noon-day heats.
O'er prostrate towns and palaces they pass
(Now cover'd o'er with woods, and hid in grass),
Breathing revenge; whilst anger and disdain
Fire every breast, and boil in every vein:
Here shatter'd walls, like broken rocks, from far
Rise up in hideous views, the guilt of war,
Whilst here the vine o'er hills of ruin climbs,
Industrious to conceal great Bourbon's crimes.
At length the fame of England's hero drew
Eugenio to the glorious interview.
Great souls by instinct to each other turn,
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn:
A sudden friendship, while with stretch'd-out rays
They meet each other, mingling blaze with blaze,
Polish'd in courts, and harden'd in the field,
Renown'd for conquest, and in council skill'd,
Their courage dwells not in a troubled flood
Of mounting spirits, and fermenting blood;
Lodg'd in the soul, with virtue over-rul'd,
Inflam'd by reason, and by reason cool'd,
In hours of peace content to be unknown,
And only in the field of battle shown:
To souls like these, in mutual fiendship join'd,
Heaven dares intrust the cause of human-kind.
Britannia's graceful sons appear in arms,
Her harrass'd troops the hero's presence warms,
Whilst the high hills and rivers all around
With thundering peals of British shouts resound:
Doubling their speed, they march with fresh delight,
Eager for glory, and require the fight.
So the stanch hound the trembling deer pursues,
And smells his footsteps in the tainted dews,
The tedious track unraveling by degrees:
But when the scent comes warm in every breeze,
Fir'd at the near approach he shoots away
On his full stretch, and bears upon his prey.
The march concludes, the various realms are past;
Th' immortal Schellenberg appears at last:
Like hills th' aspiring ramparts rise on high,
Like valley's at their feet the trenches lie;
Batteries on batteries guard each fatal pass,
Threatening destruction; rows of hollow brass,
Tube behind tube, the dreadful entrance keep,
Whilst in thier wombs ten thousand thunders sleep,
Great Churchill owns, charm'd with the glorious sight,
His march o'er-paid by such a promis'd fight.
The western sun now shot a feeble ray,
And faintly scatter'd the remains of day:
Ev'ning approach'd; but oh what host of foes
Were never to behold that evening close!
Thickening their ranks, and wedg'd in firm array,
The close-compacted Britons win their way;
In vain the cannon their throng'd war defac'd
With tracts of death, and laid the battle waste;
Still pressing forward to the fight, they broke
Through flames of sulphur, and a night of smoke,
Till slaughter'd legions fill'd the trench below,
And bore their fierce avengers to the foe.
High on the works the mingling hosts engage;
The battle, kindled into tenfold rage,
With showers of bullets and with storms of fire
Burns in full fury; heaps on heaps expire,
Nations with nations mix'd confus'dly die,
And lsot in one promiscuous carnage lie.
How many generous Britons meet their doom,
New to the field, and heroes in the bloom!
Th' illustrious youghts, that left their native shore
To march where Britons never march'd before
(O fatal love of fame! O glorious heat
Only destructive to the brave and great!)
After such toils o'ercome, such dangers past,
Stretch'd on Bavarian ramparts breathe their last.
But hold, my Muse, may no complaints appear
Nor blot the day with an ungrateful tear:
While Marlborough lives, Britannia's stars dispense
A friendly light, and shine in innocence.
Plunging through seas of blood his fiery steed
Where-e'er his friends retire, or foes succeed;
Those he supports, these drives to sudden flight,
And turns the various fortune of the fight.
Forbear, great man, renown'd in arms, forbear
To Brave the thickest terrors of the war,
Nor hazard thus, confus'd in crowds of foes,
Britannia's safety, and the world's repose;
Let nations anxious for thy life abate
This scorn of danger, and contempt of fate:
Thou liv'st not for thyself; thy Queen demands
Conquest and peace from thy victorious hands;
Kingdoms and empires in thy fortunes join,
And Europe's destiny depends on thine.
At length the long-disputed pass they gain
By crowded armies fortify'd in vain;
The war breaks in, the fierce Bavarians yield,
And see their camp with British legions fill'd.
So Belgian mounds bear on their shatter'd sides
The sea's whole weight increas'd with swelling tides;
But if the rushing wave a passage finds,
Enrag'd by watery moons, and warring winds,
The trembling peasant sees his country round
Cover'd with tempests, and in oceans drown'd.
The few surviving foes disperst in flight,
(Refuse of swords,a nd gleanings of a fight)
In every rustling wind the victor hear,
And Marlborough's form in every shadow fear,
Till the dark cope of night with kind embrace
Befriends the rout, and covers their disgrace.
To Donavert, with unresisted force,
The gay victorious army bends its course.
The growth of meadows, and the pride of fields,
Whatever spoils Bavaria's summer yields
(The Danube's great increase), Britannia shares,
The food of armies and support of wars:
With magazines of death, destructive balls,
And cannon doom'd to batter Landau's walls,
The victor finds each hidden cavern stor'd,
And turns their fury on their guilty Lord.
Deluded prince! how is thy greatness crost,
And all the gaudy dream of empire lost,
That proudly set thee on a fancy'd throne,
And made imaginary realms thy own!
Thy troops, that now behind the Danube join,
Shall shortly seek for shelter from the Rhine,
Nor find it there! Surrounded with alarms,
Thou hop'st the assistance fo the Gallic arms;
The Gallic arms in safety shall advance,
And crowd thy standards with the power of France,
While, to exalt thy doom, th' aspiring Gaul
Shares thy destruction, and adorns thy fall.
Unbounded courage and compassion join'd,
Tempering each other in the victor's mind,
Alternately proclaim him good and great,
And make the Hero and the Man compleat,
Long did he strive th' obdurate foe to gain
By proffer'd grace, but long he strove in vain;
Till, fir'd at length, he thinks it vain to spare
His rising wrath, and gives a loose to war.
In vengeance rous'd, the soldier fills his hand
With sword and fire, and ravages the land,
A thousand villages to ashes turns,
In crackling flames a thousand harvests burns.
To the thick woods the wolly flocks retreat,
And mixt with bellowing herds confus'dly bleat:
Their trembling lofds the common shade partake,
And cries of infants sound in every brake:
The listening soldier fixt in sorrow stands,
Loth to obey his leader's just commands:
The leader grieves, by generous pity sway'd,
To see his just commands so well obey'd.
But now the trumpet terrible from far
In shriller clangors animates the war;
Confederate drums in fuller concert beat,
And echoing hills the loud alarm repeat:
Gallia's proud standards, to Bavaria's join'd,
Unfurl their gilded lilies in the wind;
the daring prince his blasted hopes renews,
And, while the thick embattled host he views
Stretched out in deep array, and dreadful length,
His hearts dilates, and glories in his strength.
The fatal day its mighty course began,
That the griev'd world had long desir'd in vain;
States that their new captivity bemoan'd,
Armies of martyrs that in exile groan'd,
Sighs from the depth of gloomy dungeons heard,
And prayers in bitterness of soul preferr'd,
Europe's loud cries, that Providence assail'd,
And Anna's ardent vows at length prevail'd;
The day was come when heaven design'd to show
His care and conduct of the world below.
Behold in awful march and dread array
The long extended squadrons shape thier way!
Death, in approaching terrible, imparts
An anxious horror to the bravest hearts;
Yet do their beating breasts demand the strife,
And thirst of glory quells the love of life.
No vulgar fears can British minds control:
Heat of revenge, and noble pride of soul,
O'erlook the foe, advantag'd by his post,
Lessen his nmbers,a nd contract his host;
Though fens and floods possest the middle space,
That unprovok'd they would have fear'd to pass;
Nor fens nor floods can stop Britannia's bands,
When her proud foe rang'd on their borders stands.
But O, my Muse, what numbers wilt thou find
To sing the furious troops in battle join'd!
Methinks I hear the drums tumultuous sound
The victor's shouts and dying groans confound,
The dreadful burst of cannon rend the skies,
And all the thunder of the battle rise.
'Twas then great Marlborough's mighty soul was prov'd,
That, in the shock of charging hosts unmov'd,
Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,
Examin'd all the dreadful scenes of war:
In peaceful thought the field of death survey'd,
To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,
Inspir'd repuls'd battalions to engage,
And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.
So when an angel by divine command
With rising tempests shaks a guilty land,
Such as of late o'er pale Britannia past,
Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
And, pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.
But see the haughty houshold troops advance!
The dread of Europe, and the pride of France.
The war's whole art each private soldier knows,
And with a General's love of conquest glows;
Proudly he marches on, and void of fear
Laughs at the shaking of the British spear:
Vain insolence! with native freedom brave,
The meanest Briton scorns the highest slave;
Contempt and fury fire their souls by turns,
Each nation's glory in each warrior burns:
Each fights, as in his arm th' important day
And all the fate of his great monarch lay:
A thousand glorious actions, that might claim
Truimphant laurels, and immortal fame,
Confus'd in crouds of glorious actions lie,
And troops of heroes undistinguish'd die.
O Dormer, how can I behold thy fate,
And not the wonders of thy youth relate!
How can I see the gay, the brave, the young,
Fall in the cloud of war, and lie usung!
In joys of conquest he resigns his breath,
And, fill'd with England's glory, smiles in death.
The rout begins, the Gallic squadrons run,
Compell'd in crouds to meet the fate they shun;
Thousands of fiery steeds with wounds transfix'd,
Floatting in gore, with their dead masters mixt,
'Midst heaps of spears and standards driven around,
Lie in the Danube's bloody whirl-pools drown'd
Troops of bold youths, born on the distant Soane,
Or sounding borders of the rapid Rhone,
Or where the Seine her flowery fields divides,
Or where the Loire through winding vineyards glides,
In heaps the rolling billows sweep away,
And into Scythian seas their bloated corps convey.
From Blenheim's towers the Gaul, with wild affright,
Beholds the various havock of the fight;
His waving banners, that so oft had stood
Planted in fields of death and streams of blood,
So wont the guarded enemy to reach,
And rise triumphant in the fatal breach,
Or pierce the broken foe's remotest lines,
The hardy veteran with tears resigns.
Unfortunate Tallard! Oh, who can name
The pangs of rage, of sorrow, and of shame,
That with mixt tumult in thy bosom swell'd,
When first thou saw'st thy bravest troops repell'd,
Thine only son pierc'd with a deadly wound,
Chok'd in his blood, and gasping on the ground,
Thyself in bondage by the victor kept!
The chief, the father, and the captive, wept.
An English Muse is touch'd with generous woe,
And in th'unhappy man forgets the foe!
Greatly distrest! they loud complaints forbear,
Blame not the turns of fate, and chance of war;
Give thy brave foes their due, nor blush to own
The fatal field by such great leaders won,
The field whence fam'd Eugenio bore away
Only the second honours of the day.
With floods of gore that from the vanquish'd fell
The marshes stagnate, and the rivers swell.
Mountains of slain lie heap'd upon the ground,
Or midst the roarings of the Danube drown'd;
Whole captive hosts the conqueror detains
In painful bondage, and inglorious chains;
Ev'n those who 'scape the fetters and the sword,
Nor seek the fortunes of a happier lord,
Their raging King dishonours, to compleat
Marlborough's great work, and finish the defeat.
From Memminghen's high domes, and Augsburg's walls,
The distant battle drives th' insulting Gauls;
Freed by the terror of the victor's name
The rescued States his great protection claim;
Whilst Ulme th' approach of her deliverer waits,
And longs to open her obsequious gates.
The hero's breast still swells with great designs,
In every thought the towering genius shines;
If to the foe his dreadful course he bends,
O'er the wide continent his march extends;
If sieges in his labouring thoughts are form'd
Camps are assaulted, and an army storm'd:
If to the sight of his active soul is bent
The fate of Europe turns on its event.
What distant land, what region, can afford
An action worthy his victorious sword?
Where will he next the flying Gaul defeat,
To make the series of his toils compleat?
Where the swoln Rhine rushing with all its force
Divides the hostile nations in its course,
While each contracts its bounds, or wider grows,
Enlarg'd or straighten'd as the river flows,
On Gallia's side a mighty bulwark stands,
That all the wide-extended plain commands;
Twice, since the war was kindled, has it try'd
The victor's rage, and twice has chang'd its side;
As oft whole armies, with the prize o'erjoy'd,
Have the long summer on its walls employ'd.
Hither our mighty chief his arms directs,
Hence future triumphs from the war expects;
And though the dog-star had its course begun,
Carries his arms still nearer to the sun:
Fixt on the glorious action, he forgets
The change of seasons, and increase of heats;
No toils are painful that can danger show,
No climes unlovely, that contain a foe.
The roving Gaul, to his own bounds restrain'd,
Learns to incamp within his native land,
But soon as the victorious host he spies,
From hill to hill, from stream to stream he flies:
Such dire impressions in his heart remain
Of Marlboroough's sword, and Hochsset's fatal plain:
In vain Britannia's mighty chief besets
Their shady coverts, and obscure retreats;
They fly the conqueror's approaching fame,
That bears the force of armies in his name.
Austria's young monarch, whose imperial sway
Sceptres and thrones are destin'd to obey,
Whose boasted ancertry so high extends,
That in the pagan gods his lineage ends,
Comes from afar, in gratitude to own
The geat supporter of his father's throne:
What tides of glory to his bosom ran,
Clasp'd in th' embrace of the godlike man!
How were his eyes with pleasing wonder fixt
To see such fire with so much sweetness mixt,
Such easy greatness, such a graceful port,
So turn'd and finish'd for the camp or court!
Achilles thus was form'd with every grace,
And Nireus shone but in the second place;
Thus the great father of almighty Rome
(Divinely flusht with an immortal bloom
That Cytherea's fragrant breath bestow'd)
In all the charms of his bright mother glow'd.
The royal youth by Marlborough's presence charm'd,
Taught by his counsels, by his actions warm'd,
On Landau with redoubled fury falls,
Discharges all his thunder on its walls,
O'er mines and caves of death provokes the fight,
And leans to conquer in the hero's fight.
The British chief, for mighty toils renown'd,
Increas'd in titles, and with conquests crown'd,
To Belgian coasts his tedious march renews,
And the long windings of the Rhine pursues,
Clearing its borders from usurping foes,
Amd blest by rescued nations as he goes.
Treves fears no more, freed from its dire alarms;
And Traerbach feels the terror of his arms:
Seated on rocks her proud foundations shake,
While Marlborough presses to the bold attack,
Plants all his batteries, bids his cannon roar,
And shows how Landau might have fall'n before.
Scar'd at his near approach, great Louis fears
Vengeance reserv'd for his declining years,
Forgets his thirst of universal sway,
And scarce can teach is subjects to obey;
His arms he finds on vain attempts employ'd,
Th' ambitious projects for his race destroy'd,
The works of ages sunk in one campaign,
And lives of millions sacrific'd in vain.
Such are th' effects of Anna's royal cares:
By her, Britannia, great in foreign wars,
Ranges through nations, wheresoe'er disjoin'd,
Without the wonted aid of sea and wind,
By her th' unfetter'd Ister's states are free,
And taste the sweets of English liberty:
But who can tell the joys of those that lie
Beneath the constant influence of her eye!
Whilst in diffusive showers her bounties fall
Like heaven's indulgence, and descend on all,
Secure the happy, succour the distrest,
Make every subject glad, and a whole people blest.
Thus would I fain Britannia's wars rehearse,
In the smooth records of a faithful verse;
That, if such numbers can o'er time prevail,
May tell posterity the wondrous tale.
When actions, unadorn'd, are faint and weak,
Cities and countries must be taught to speak;
Gods may descend in factions from the skies,
And rivers from their oozy beds arise;
Fiction may deck the truth wth spurious rays,
And round the hero cast a borrow'd blaze.
Marlborough's exploits appear divinely bright,
And proudly shine in their own native light;
Rais'd of themselves, their genuine charms they boast,
And those who paint them truest praise them most.
Amours de Voyage, Canto II
Is it illusion? or does there a spirit from perfecter ages,
Here, even yet, amid loss, change, and corruption abide?
Does there a spirit we know not, though seek, though we find, comprehend not,
Here to entice and confuse, tempt and evade us, abide?
Lives in the exquisite grace of the column disjointed and single,
Haunts the rude masses of brick garlanded gaily with vine,
E'en in the turret fantastic surviving that springs from the ruin,
E'en in the people itself? is it illusion or not?
Is it illusion or not that attracteth the pilgrim transalpine,
Brings him a dullard and dunce hither to pry and to stare?
Is it illusion or not that allures the barbarian stranger,
Brings him with gold to the shrine, brings him in arms to the gate?
I. Claude to Eustace.
What do the people say, and what does the government do?--you
Ask, and I know not at all. Yet fortune will favour your hopes; and
I, who avoided it all, am fated, it seems, to describe it.
I, who nor meddle nor make in politics,--I who sincerely
Put not my trust in leagues nor any suffrage by ballot,
Never predicted Parisian millenniums, never beheld a
New Jerusalem coming down dressed like a bride out of heaven
Right on the Place de la Concorde,--I, nevertheless, let me say it,
Could in my soul of souls, this day, with the Gaul at the gates shed
One true tear for thee, thou poor little Roman Republic;
What, with the German restored, with Sicily safe to the Bourbon,
Not leave one poor corner for native Italian exertion?
France, it is foully done! and you, poor foolish England,--
You, who a twelvemonth ago said nations must choose for themselves, you
Could not, of course, interfere,--you, now, when a nation has chosen----
Pardon this folly! The Times will, of course, have announced the occasion,
Told you the news of to-day; and although it was slightly in error
When it proclaimed as a fact the Apollo was sold to a Yankee,
You may believe when it tells you the French are at Civita Vecchia.
II. Claude to Eustace.
Dulce it is, and decorum, no doubt, for the country to fall,--to
Offer one's blood an oblation to Freedom, and die for the Cause; yet
Still, individual culture is also something, and no man
Finds quite distinct the assurance that he of all others is called on,
Or would be justified even, in taking away from the world that
Precious creature, himself. Nature sent him here to abide here;
Else why send him at all? Nature wants him still, it is likely;
On the whole, we are meant to look after ourselves; it is certain
Each has to eat for himself, digest for himself, and in general
Care for his own dear life, and see to his own preservation;
Nature's intentions, in most things uncertain, in this are decisive;
Which, on the whole, I conjecture the Romans will follow, and I shall.
So we cling to our rocks like limpets; Ocean may bluster,
Over and under and round us; we open our shells to imbibe our
Nourishment, close them again, and are safe, fulfilling the purpose
Nature intended,--a wise one, of course, and a noble, we doubt not.
Sweet it may be and decorous, perhaps, for the country to die; but,
On the whole, we conclude the Romans won't do it, and I sha'n't.
III. Claude to Eustace.
Will they fight? They say so. And will the French? I can hardly,
Hardly think so; and yet----He is come, they say, to Palo,
He is passed from Monterone, at Santa Severa
He hath laid up his guns. But the Virgin, the Daughter of Roma,
She hath despised thee and laughed thee to scorn,--The Daughter of Tiber,
She hath shaken her head and built barricades against thee!
Will they fight? I believe it. Alas! 'tis ephemeral folly,
Vain and ephemeral folly, of course, compared with pictures,
Statues, and antique gems!--Indeed: and yet indeed too,
Yet, methought, in broad day did I dream,--tell it not in St. James's,
Whisper it not in thy courts, O Christ Church!--yet did I, waking,
Dream of a cadence that sings, Si tombent nos jeunes héros, la
Terre en produit de nouveaux contre vous tous prêts à se battre;
Dreamt of great indignations and angers transcendental,
Dreamt of a sword at my side and a battle-horse underneath me.
IV. Claude to Eustace.
Now supposing the French or the Neapolitan soldier
Should by some evil chance come exploring the Maison Serny
(Where the family English are all to assemble for safety),
Am I prepared to lay down my life for the British female?
Really, who knows? One has bowed and talked, till, little by little,
All the natural heat has escaped of the chivalrous spirit.
Oh, one conformed, of course; but one doesn't die for good manners,
Stab or shoot, or be shot, by way of graceful attention.
No, if it should be at all, it should be on the barricades there;
Should I incarnadine ever this inky pacifical finger,
Sooner far should it be for this vapour of Italy's freedom,
Sooner far by the side of the d----d and dirty plebeians.
Ah, for a child in the street I could strike; for the full-blown lady----
Somehow, Eustace, alas! I have not felt the vocation.
Yet these people of course will expect, as of course, my protection,
Vernon in radiant arms stand forth for the lovely Georgina,
And to appear, I suppose, were but common civility. Yes, and
Truly I do not desire they should either be killed or offended.
Oh, and of course, you will say, 'When the time comes, you will be ready.'
Ah, but before it comes, am I to presume it will be so?
What I cannot feel now, am I to suppose that I shall feel?
Am I not free to attend for the ripe and indubious instinct?
Am I forbidden to wait for the clear and lawful perception?
Is it the calling of man to surrender his knowledge and insight,
For the mere venture of what may, perhaps, be the virtuous action?
Must we, walking our earth, discerning a little, and hoping
Some plain visible task shall yet for our hands be assigned us,--
Must we abandon the future for fear of omitting the present,
Quit our own fireside hopes at the alien call of a neighbour,
To the mere possible shadow of Deity offer the victim?
And is all this, my friend, but a weak and ignoble refining,
Wholly unworthy the head or the heart of Your Own Correspondent?
V. Claude to Eustace.
Yes, we are fighting at last, it appears. This morning as usual,
Murray, as usual, in hand, I enter the Caffè Nuovo;
Seating myself with a sense as it were of a change in the weather,
Not understanding, however, but thinking mostly of Murray,
And, for to-day is their day, of the Campidoglio Marbles;
Caffè-latte! I call to the waiter,--and Non c'è latte,
This is the answer he makes me, and this is the sign of a battle.
So I sit: and truly they seem to think any one else more
Worthy than me of attention. I wait for my milkless nero,
Free to observe undistracted all sorts and sizes of persons,
Blending civilian and soldier in strangest costume, coming in, and
Gulping in hottest haste, still standing, their coffee,--withdrawing
Eagerly, jangling a sword on the steps, or jogging a musket
Slung to the shoulder behind. They are fewer, moreover, than usual,
Much and silenter far; and so I begin to imagine
Something is really afloat. Ere I leave, the Caffe is empty,
Empty too the streets, in all its length the Corso
Empty, and empty I see to my right and left the Condotti.
Twelve o'clock, on the Pincian Hill, with lots of English,
Germans, Americans, French,--the Frenchmen, too, are protected,--
So we stand in the sun, but afraid of a probable shower;
So we stand and stare, and see, to the left of St. Peter's,
Smoke, from the cannon, white,--but that is at intervals only,--
Black, from a burning house, we suppose, by the Cavalleggieri;
And we believe we discern some lines of men descending
Down through the vineyard-slopes, and catch a bayonet gleaming.
Every ten minutes, however,--in this there is no misconception,--
Comes a great white puff from behind Michel Angelo's dome, and
After a space the report of a real big gun,--not the Frenchman's!--
That must be doing some work. And so we watch and conjecture.
Shortly, an Englishman comes, who says he has been to St. Peter's,
Seen the Piazza and troops, but that is all he can tell us;
So we watch and sit, and, indeed, it begins to be tiresome.--
All this smoke is outside; when it has come to the inside,
It will be time, perhaps, to descend and retreat to our houses.
Half-past one, or two. The report of small arms frequent,
Sharp and savage indeed; that cannot all be for nothing:
So we watch and wonder; but guessing is tiresome, very.
Weary of wondering, watching, and guessing, and gossiping idly,
Down I go, and pass through the quiet streets with the knots of
National Guards patrolling, and flags hanging out at the windows,
English, American, Danish,--and, after offering to help an
Irish family moving en masse to the Maison Serny,
After endeavouring idly to minister balm to the trembling
Quinquagenarian fears of two lone British spinsters,
Go to make sure of my dinner before the enemy enter.
But by this there are signs of stragglers returning; and voices
Talk, though you don't believe it, of guns and prisoners taken;
And on the walls you read the first bulletin of the morning.--
This is all that I saw, and all that I know of the battle.
VI. Claude to Eustace.
Victory! Victory!--Yes! ah, yes, thou republican Zion,
Truly the kings of the earth are gathered and gone by together;
Doubtless they marvelled to witness such things, were astonished, and so forth.
Victory! Victory! Victory!--Ah, but it is, believe me,
Easier, easier far, to intone the chant of the martyr
Than to indite any paean of any victory. Death may
Sometimes be noble; but life, at the best, will appear an illusion.
While the great pain is upon us, it is great; when it is over,
Why, it is over. The smoke of the sacrifice rises to heaven,
Of a sweet savour, no doubt, to Somebody; but on the altar,
Lo, there is nothing remaining but ashes and dirt and ill odour.
So it stands, you perceive; the labial muscles that swelled with
Vehement evolution of yesterday Marseillaises,
Articulations sublime of defiance and scorning, to-day col-
Lapse and languidly mumble, while men and women and papers
Scream and re-scream to each other the chorus of Victory. Well, but
I am thankful they fought, and glad that the Frenchmen were beaten.
VII. Claude to Eustace.
So, I have seen a man killed! An experience that, among others!
Yes, I suppose I have; although I can hardly be certain,
And in a court of justice could never declare I had seen it.
But a man was killed, I am told, in a place where I saw
Something; a man was killed, I am told, and I saw something.
I was returning home from St. Peter's; Murray, as usual,
Under my arm, I remember; had crossed the St. Angelo bridge; and
Moving towards the Condotti, had got to the first barricade, when
Gradually, thinking still of St. Peter's, I became conscious
Of a sensation of movement opposing me,--tendency this way
(Such as one fancies may be in a stream when the wave of the tide is
Coming and not yet come,--a sort of noise and retention);
So I turned, and, before I turned, caught sight of stragglers
Heading a crowd, it is plain, that is coming behind that corner.
Looking up, I see windows filled with heads; the Piazza,
Into which you remember the Ponte St. Angelo enters,
Since I passed, has thickened with curious groups; and now the
Crowd is coming, has turned, has crossed that last barricade, is
Here at my side. In the middle they drag at something. What is it?
Ha! bare swords in the air, held up? There seem to be voices
Pleading and hands putting back; official, perhaps; but the swords are
Many, and bare in the air. In the air? they descend; they are smiting,
Hewing, chopping--At what? In the air once more upstretched? And--
Is it blood that's on them? Yes, certainly blood! Of whom, then?
Over whom is the cry of this furor of exultation?
While they are skipping and screaming, and dancing their caps on the points of
Swords and bayonets, I to the outskirts back, and ask a
Mercantile-seeming bystander, 'What is it?' and he, looking always
That way, makes me answer, 'A Priest, who was trying to fly to
The Neapolitan army,'--and thus explains the proceeding.
You didn't see the dead man? No;--I began to be doubtful;
I was in black myself, and didn't know what mightn't happen,--
But a National Guard close by me, outside of the hubbub,
Broke his sword with slashing a broad hat covered with dust,--and
Passing away from the place with Murray under my arm, and
Stooping, I saw through the legs of the people the legs of a body.
You are the first, do you know, to whom I have mentioned the matter.
Whom should I tell it to else?--these girls?--the Heavens forbid it!--
Quidnuncs at Monaldini's--Idlers upon the Pincian?
If I rightly remember, it happened on that afternoon when
Word of the nearer approach of a new Neapolitan army
First was spread. I began to bethink me of Paris Septembers,
Thought I could fancy the look of that old 'Ninety-two. On that evening
Three or four, or, it may be, five, of these people were slaughtered
Some declared they had, one of them, fired on a sentinel; others
Say they were only escaping; a Priest, it is currently stated,
Stabbed a National Guard on the very Piazza Colonna:
History, Rumour of Rumours, I leave to thee to determine!
But I am thankful to say the government seems to have strength to
Put it down; it has vanished, at least; the place is most peaceful.
Through the Trastevere walking last night, at nine of the clock, I
Found no sort of disorder; I crossed by the Island-bridges,
So by the narrow streets to the Ponte Rotto, and onwards
Thence by the Temple of Vesta, away to the great Coliseum,
Which at the full of the moon is an object worthy a visit.
VIII. Georgina Trevellyn to Louisa ----.
Only think, dearest Louisa, what fearful scenes we have witnessed!--
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
George has just seen Garibaldi, dressed up in a long white cloak, on
Horseback, riding by, with his mounted negro behind him:
This is a man, you know, who came from America with him,
Out of the woods, I suppose, and uses a lasso in fighting,
Which is, I don't quite know, but a sort of noose, I imagine;
This he throws on the heads of the enemy's men in a battle,
Pulls them into his reach, and then most cruelly kills them:
Mary does not believe, but we heard it from an Italian.
Mary allows she was wrong about Mr. Claude being selfish;
He was most useful and kind on the terrible thirtieth of April.
Do not write here any more; we are starting directly for Florence:
We should be off to-morrow, if only Papa could get horses;
All have been seized everywhere for the use of this dreadful Mazzini
Mary has seen thus far.--I am really so angry, Louisa,--
Quite out of patience, my dearest! What can the man be intending?
I am quite tired; and Mary, who might bring him to in a moment,
Lets him go on as he likes, and neither will help nor dismiss him.
IX. Claude to Eustace.
It is most curious to see what a power a few calm words (in
Merely a brief proclamation) appear to possess on the people.
Order is perfect, and peace; the city is utterly tranquil;
And one cannot conceive that this easy and nonchalant crowd, that
Flows like a quiet stream through street and market-place, entering
Shady recesses and bays of church, osteria, and caffè,
Could in a moment be changed to a flood as of molten lava,
Boil into deadly wrath and wild homicidal delusion.
Ah, 'tis an excellent race,--and even in old degradation,
Under a rule that enforces to flattery, lying, and cheating,
E'en under Pope and Priest, a nice and natural people.
Oh, could they but be allowed this chance of redemption!--but clearly
That is not likely to be. Meantime, notwithstanding all journals,
Honour for once to the tongue and the pen of the eloquent writer!
Honour to speech! and all honour to thee, thou noble Mazzini!
X. Claude to Eustace.
I am in love, meantime, you think; no doubt you would think so.
I am in love, you say; with those letters, of course, you would say so.
I am in love, you declare. I think not so; yet I grant you
It is a pleasure indeed to converse with this girl. Oh, rare gift,
Rare felicity, this! she can talk in a rational way, can
Speak upon subjects that really are matters of mind and of thinking,
Yet in perfection retain her simplicity; never, one moment,
Never, however you urge it, however you tempt her, consents to
Step from ideas and fancies and loving sensations to those vain
Conscious understandings that vex the minds of mankind.
No, though she talk, it is music; her fingers desert not the keys; 'tis
Song, though you hear in the song the articulate vocables sounded,
Syllabled singly and sweetly the words of melodious meaning.
I am in love, you say; I do not think so, exactly.
XI. Claude to Eustace.
There are two different kinds, I believe, of human attraction:
One which simply disturbs, unsettles, and makes you uneasy,
And another that poises, retains, and fixes and holds you.
I have no doubt, for myself, in giving my voice for the latter.
I do not wish to be moved, but growing where I was growing,
There more truly to grow, to live where as yet I had languished.
I do not like being moved: for the will is excited; and action
Is a most dangerous thing; I tremble for something factitious,
Some malpractice of heart and illegitimate process;
We are so prone to these things, with our terrible notions of duty.
XII. Claude to Eustace.
Ah, let me look, let me watch, let me wait, unhurried, unprompted!
Bid me not venture on aught that could alter or end what is present!
Say not, Time flies, and Occasion, that never returns, is departing!
Drive me not out yet, ye ill angels with fiery swords, from my Eden,
Waiting, and watching, and looking! Let love be its own inspiration!
Shall not a voice, if a voice there must be, from the airs that environ,
Yea, from the conscious heavens, without our knowledge or effort,
Break into audible words? And love be its own inspiration?
XIII. Claude to Eustace.
Wherefore and how I am certain, I hardly can tell; but it is so.
She doesn't like me, Eustace; I think she never will like me.
Is it my fault, as it is my misfortune, my ways are not her ways?
Is it my fault, that my habits and modes are dissimilar wholly?
'Tis not her fault; 'tis her nature, her virtue, to misapprehend them:
'Tis not her fault; 'tis her beautiful nature, not ever to know me.
Hopeless it seems,--yet I cannot, though hopeless, determine to leave it:
She goes--therefore I go; she moves,--I move, not to lose her.
XIV. Claude to Eustace.
Oh, 'tisn't manly, of course, 'tisn't manly, this method of wooing;
'Tisn't the way very likely to win. For the woman, they tell you,
Ever prefers the audacious, the wilful, the vehement hero;
She has no heart for the timid, the sensitive soul; and for knowledge,--
Knowledge, O ye Gods!--when did they appreciate knowledge?
Wherefore should they, either? I am sure I do not desire it.
Ah, and I feel too, Eustace, she cares not a tittle about me!
(Care about me, indeed! and do I really expect it?)
But my manner offends; my ways are wholly repugnant;
Every word that I utter estranges, hurts, and repels her;
Every moment of bliss that I gain, in her exquisite presence,
Slowly, surely, withdraws her, removes her, and severs her from me.
Not that I care very much!--any way I escape from the boy's own
Folly, to which I am prone, of loving where it is easy.
Not that I mind very much! Why should I? I am not in love, and
Am prepared, I think, if not by previous habit,
Yet in the spirit beforehand for this and all that is like it;
It is an easier matter for us contemplative creatures,
Us upon whom the pressure of action is laid so lightly;
We, discontented indeed with things in particular, idle,
Sickly, complaining, by faith, in the vision of things in general,
Manage to hold on our way without, like others around us,
Seizing the nearest arm to comfort, help, and support us.
Yet, after all, my Eustace, I know but little about it.
All I can say for myself, for present alike and for past, is,
Mary Trevellyn, Eustace, is certainly worth your acquaintance.
You couldn't come, I suppose, as far as Florence to see her?
XV. Georgina Trevellyn to Louisa ----.
. . . . . . To-morrow we're starting for Florence,
Truly rejoiced, you may guess, to escape from republican terrors;
Mr. C. and Papa to escort us; we by vettura
Through Siena, and Georgy to follow and join us by Leghorn.
Then---- Ah, what shall I say, my dearest? I tremble in thinking!
You will imagine my feelings,--the blending of hope and of sorrow.
How can I bear to abandon Papa and Mamma and my Sisters?
Dearest Louise, indeed it is very alarming; but, trust me
Ever, whatever may change, to remain your loving Georgina.
P.S. by Mary Trevellyn.
. . . . . . . 'Do I like Mr. Claude any better?'
I am to tell you,--and, 'Pray, is it Susan or I that attract him?'
This he never has told, but Georgina could certainly ask him.
All I can say for myself is, alas! that he rather repels me.
There! I think him agreeable, but also a little repulsive.
So be content, dear Louisa; for one satisfactory marriage
Surely will do in one year for the family you would establish
Neither Susan nor I shall afford you the joy of a second.
P.S. by Georgina Trevellyn.
Mr. Claude, you must know, is behaving a little bit better;
He and Papa are great friends; but he really is too shilly-shally,--
So unlike George! Yet I hope that the matte is going on fairly.
I shall, however, get George, before he goes, to say something.
Dearest Louise, how delightful to bring young people together!
Is it Florence we follow, or are we to tarry yet longer,
E'en amid clamour of arms, here in the city of old,
Seeking from clamour of arms in the Past and the Arts to be hidden,
Vainly 'mid Arts and the Past seeking one life to forget?
Ah, fair shadow, scarce seen, go forth! for anon he shall follow,--
He that beheld thee, anon, whither thou leadest must go!
Go, and the wise, loving Muse, she also will follow and find thee!
She, should she linger in Rome, were not dissevered from thee!
Book Ninth [Residence in France]
EVEN as a river,--partly (it might seem)
Yielding to old remembrances, and swayed
In part by fear to shape a way direct,
That would engulph him soon in the ravenous sea--
Turns, and will measure back his course, far back,
Seeking the very regions which he crossed
In his first outset; so have we, my Friend!
Turned and returned with intricate delay.
Or as a traveller, who has gained the brow
Of some aerial Down, while there he halts
For breathing-time, is tempted to review
The region left behind him; and, if aught
Deserving notice have escaped regard,
Or been regarded with too careless eye,
Strives, from that height, with one and yet one more
Last look, to make the best amends he may:
So have we lingered. Now we start afresh
With courage, and new hope risen on our toil.
Fair greetings to this shapeless eagerness,
Whene'er it comes! needful in work so long,
Thrice needful to the argument which now
Awaits us! Oh, how much unlike the past!
Free as a colt at pasture on the hill,
I ranged at large, through London's wide domain,
Month after month. Obscurely did I live,
Not seeking frequent intercourse with men,
By literature, or elegance, or rank,
Distinguished. Scarcely was a year thus spent
Ere I forsook the crowded solitude,
With less regret for its luxurious pomp,
And all the nicely-guarded shows of art,
Than for the humble book-stalls in the streets,
Exposed to eye and hand where'er I turned.
France lured me forth; the realm that I had crossed
So lately, journeying toward the snow-clad Alps.
But now, relinquishing the scrip and staff,
And all enjoyment which the summer sun
Sheds round the steps of those who meet the day
With motion constant as his own, I went
Prepared to sojourn in a pleasant town,
Washed by the current of the stately Loire.
Through Paris lay my readiest course, and there
Sojourning a few days, I visited
In haste, each spot of old or recent fame,
The latter chiefly, from the field of Mars
Down to the suburbs of St. Antony,
And from Mont Martre southward to the Dome
Of Genevieve. In both her clamorous Halls,
The National Synod and the Jacobins,
I saw the Revolutionary Power
Toss like a ship at anchor, rocked by storms;
The Arcades I traversed, in the Palace huge
Of Orleans; coasted round and round the line
Of Tavern, Brothel, Gaming-house, and Shop,
Great rendezvous of worst and best, the walk
Of all who had a purpose, or had not;
I stared and listened, with a stranger's ears,
To Hawkers and Haranguers, hubbub wild!
And hissing Factionists with ardent eyes,
In knots, or pairs, or single. Not a look
Hope takes, or Doubt or Fear is forced to wear,
But seemed there present; and I scanned them all,
Watched every gesture uncontrollable,
Of anger, and vexation, and despite,
All side by side, and struggling face to face,
With gaiety and dissolute idleness.
Where silent zephyrs sported with the dust
Of the Bastille, I sate in the open sun,
And from the rubbish gathered up a stone,
And pocketed the relic, in the guise
Of an enthusiast; yet, in honest truth,
I looked for something that I could not find,
Affecting more emotion than I felt;
For 'tis most certain, that these various sights,
However potent their first shock, with me
Appeared to recompense the traveller's pains
Less than the painted Magdalene of Le Brun,
A beauty exquisitely wrought, with hair
Dishevelled, gleaming eyes, and rueful cheek
Pale and bedropped with overflowing tears.
But hence to my more permanent abode
I hasten; there, by novelties in speech,
Domestic manners, customs, gestures, looks,
And all the attire of ordinary life,
Attention was engrossed; and, thus amused,
I stood 'mid those concussions, unconcerned,
Tranquil almost, and careless as a flower
Glassed in a green-house, or a parlour shrub
That spreads its leaves in unmolested peace,
While every bush and tree, the country through,
Is shaking to the roots: indifference this
Which may seem strange: but I was unprepared
With needful knowledge, had abruptly passed
Into a theatre, whose stage was filled
And busy with an action far advanced.
Like others, I had skimmed, and sometimes read
With care, the master pamphlets of the day;
Nor wanted such half-insight as grew wild
Upon that meagre soil, helped out by talk
And public news; but having never seen
A chronicle that might suffice to show
Whence the main organs of the public power
Had sprung, their transmigrations, when and how
Accomplished, giving thus unto events
A form and body; all things were to me
Loose and disjointed, and the affections left
Without a vital interest. At that time,
Moreover, the first storm was overblown,
And the strong hand of outward violence
Locked up in quiet. For myself, I fear
Now, in connection with so great a theme,
To speak (as I must be compelled to do)
Of one so unimportant; night by night
Did I frequent the formal haunts of men,
Whom, in the city, privilege of birth
Sequestered from the rest, societies
Polished in arts, and in punctilio versed;
Whence, and from deeper causes, all discourse
Of good and evil of the time was shunned
With scrupulous care; but these restrictions soon
Proved tedious, and I gradually withdrew
Into a noisier world, and thus ere long
Became a patriot; and my heart was all
Given to the people, and my love was theirs.
A band of military Officers,
Then stationed in the city, were the chief
Of my associates: some of these wore swords
That had been seasoned in the wars, and all
Were men well-born; the chivalry of France.
In age and temper differing, they had yet
One spirit ruling in each heart; alike
(Save only one, hereafter to be named)
Were bent upon undoing what was done:
This was their rest and only hope; therewith
No fear had they of bad becoming worse,
For worst to them was come; nor would have stirred,
Or deemed it worth a moment's thought to stir,
In anything, save only as the act
Looked thitherward. One, reckoning by years,
Was in the prime of manhood, and erewhile
He had sate lord in many tender hearts;
Though heedless of such honours now, and changed:
His temper was quite mastered by the times,
And they had blighted him, had eaten away
The beauty of his person, doing wrong
Alike to body and to mind: his port,
Which once had been erect and open, now
Was stooping and contracted, and a face,
Endowed by Nature with her fairest gifts
Of symmetry and light and bloom, expressed,
As much as any that was ever seen,
A ravage out of season, made by thoughts
Unhealthy and vexatious. With the hour,
That from the press of Paris duly brought
Its freight of public news, the fever came,
A punctual visitant, to shake this man,
Disarmed his voice and fanned his yellow cheek
Into a thousand colours; while he read,
Or mused, his sword was haunted by his touch
Continually, like an uneasy place
In his own body. 'Twas in truth an hour
Of universal ferment; mildest men
Were agitated, and commotions, strife
Of passion and opinion, filled the walls
Of peaceful houses with unquiet sounds.
The soil of common life was, at that time,
Too hot to tread upon. Oft said I then,
And not then only, 'What a mockery this
Of history, the past and that to come!
Now do I feel how all men are deceived,
Reading of nations and their works, in faith,
Faith given to vanity and emptiness;
Oh! laughter for the page that would reflect
To future times the face of what now is!'
The land all swarmed with passion, like a plain
Devoured by locusts,--Carra, Gorsas,--add
A hundred other names, forgotten now,
Nor to be heard of more; yet, they were powers,
Like earthquakes, shocks repeated day by day,
And felt through every nook of town and field.
Such was the state of things. Meanwhile the chief
Of my associates stood prepared for flight
To augment the band of emigrants in arms
Upon the borders of the Rhine, and leagued
With foreign foes mustered for instant war.
This was their undisguised intent, and they
Were waiting with the whole of their desires
The moment to depart.
Born in a land whose very name appeared
To license some unruliness of mind;
A stranger, with youth's further privilege,
And the indulgence that a half-learnt speech
Wins from the courteous; I, who had been else
Shunned and not tolerated, freely lived
With these defenders of the Crown, and talked,
And heard their notions; nor did they disdain
The wish to bring me over to their cause.
But though untaught by thinking or by books
To reason well of polity or law,
And nice distinctions, then on every tongue,
Of natural rights and civil; and to acts
Of nations and their passing interests,
(If with unworldly ends and aims compared)
Almost indifferent, even the historian's tale
Prizing but little otherwise than I prized
Tales of the poets, as it made the heart
Beat high, and filled the fancy with fair forms,
Old heroes and their sufferings and their deeds;
Yet in the regal sceptre, and the pomp
Of orders and degrees, I nothing found
Then, or had ever, even in crudest youth,
That dazzled me, but rather what I mourned
And ill could brook, beholding that the best
Ruled not, and feeling that they ought to rule.
For, born in a poor district, and which yet
Retaineth more of ancient homeliness,
Than any other nook of English ground,
It was my fortune scarcely to have seen,
Through the whole tenor of my school-day time,
The face of one, who, whether boy or man,
Was vested with attention or respect
Through claims of wealth or blood; nor was it least
Of many benefits, in later years
Derived from academic institutes
And rules, that they held something up to view
Of a Republic, where all stood thus far
Upon equal ground; that we were brothers all
In honour, as in one community,
Scholars and gentlemen; where, furthermore,
Distinction open lay to all that came,
And wealth and titles were in less esteem
Than talents, worth, and prosperous industry,
Add unto this, subservience from the first
To presences of God's mysterious power
Made manifest in Nature's sovereignty,
And fellowship with venerable books,
To sanction the proud workings of the soul,
And mountain liberty. It could not be
But that one tutored thus should look with awe
Upon the faculties of man, receive
Gladly the highest promises, and hail,
As best, the government of equal rights
And individual worth. And hence, O Friend!
If at the first great outbreak I rejoiced
Less than might well befit my youth, the cause
In part lay here, that unto me the events
Seemed nothing out of nature's certain course,
A gift that was come rather late than soon.
No wonder, then, if advocates like these,
Inflamed by passion, blind with prejudice,
And stung with injury, at this riper day,
Were impotent to make my hopes put on
The shape of theirs, my understanding bend
In honour to their honour: zeal, which yet
Had slumbered, now in opposition burst
Forth like a Polar summer: every word
They uttered was a dart, by counter-winds
Blown back upon themselves; their reason seemed
Confusion-stricken by a higher power
Than human understanding, their discourse
Maimed, spiritless; and, in their weakness strong,
Meantime, day by day, the roads
Were crowded with the bravest youth of France,
And all the promptest of her spirits, linked
In gallant soldiership, and posting on
To meet the war upon her frontier bounds.
Yet at this very moment do tears start
Into mine eyes: I do not say I weep--
I wept not then,--but tears have dimmed my sight,
In memory of the farewells of that time,
Domestic severings, female fortitude
At dearest separation, patriot love
And self-devotion, and terrestrial hope,
Encouraged with a martyr's confidence;
Even files of strangers merely seen but once,
And for a moment, men from far with sound
Of music, martial tunes, and banners spread,
Entering the city, here and there a face,
Or person, singled out among the rest,
Yet still a stranger and beloved as such;
Even by these passing spectacles my heart
Was oftentimes uplifted, and they seemed
Arguments sent from Heaven to prove the cause
Good, pure, which no one could stand up against,
Who was not lost, abandoned, selfish, proud,
Mean, miserable, wilfully depraved,
Hater perverse of equity and truth.
Among that band of Officers was one,
Already hinted at, of other mould--
A patriot, thence rejected by the rest,
And with an oriental loathing spurned,
As of a different caste. A meeker man
Than this lived never, nor a more benign,
Meek though enthusiastic. Injuries
Made 'him' more gracious, and his nature then
Did breathe its sweetness out most sensibly,
As aromatic flowers on Alpine turf,
When foot hath crushed them. He through the events
Of that great change wandered in perfect faith,
As through a book, an old romance, or tale
Of Fairy, or some dream of actions wrought
Behind the summer clouds. By birth he ranked
With the most noble, but unto the poor
Among mankind he was in service bound,
As by some tie invisible, oaths professed
To a religious order. Man he loved
As man; and, to the mean and the obscure,
And all the homely in their homely works,
Transferred a courtesy which had no air
Of condescension; but did rather seem
A passion and a gallantry, like that
Which he, a soldier, in his idler day
Had paid to woman: somewhat vain he was,
Or seemed so, yet it was not vanity,
But fondness, and a kind of radiant joy
Diffused around him, while he was intent
On works of love or freedom, or revolved
Complacently the progress of a cause,
Whereof he was a part: yet this was meek
And placid, and took nothing from the man
That was delightful. Oft in solitude
With him did I discourse about the end
Of civil government, and its wisest forms;
Of ancient loyalty, and chartered rights,
Custom and habit, novelty and change;
Of self-respect, and virtue in the few
For patrimonial honour set apart,
And ignorance in the labouring multitude.
For he, to all intolerance indisposed,
Balanced these contemplations in his mind;
And I, who at that time was scarcely dipped
Into the turmoil, bore a sounder judgment
Than later days allowed; carried about me,
With less alloy to its integrity,
The experience of past ages, as, through help
Of books and common life, it makes sure way
To youthful minds, by objects over near
Not pressed upon, nor dazzled or misled
By struggling with the crowd for present ends.
But though not deaf, nor obstinate to find
Error without excuse upon the side
Of them who strove against us, more delight
We took, and let this freely be confessed,
In painting to ourselves the miseries
Of royal courts, and that voluptuous life
Unfeeling, where the man who is of soul
The meanest thrives the most; where dignity,
True personal dignity, abideth not;
A light, a cruel, and vain world cut off
From the natural inlets of just sentiment,
From lowly sympathy and chastening truth;
Where good and evil interchange their names,
And thirst for bloody spoils abroad is paired
With vice at home. We added dearest themes--
Man and his noble nature, as it is
The gift which God has placed within his power,
His blind desires and steady faculties
Capable of clear truth, the one to break
Bondage, the other to build liberty
On firm foundations, making social life,
Through knowledge spreading and imperishable,
As just in regulation, and as pure
As individual in the wise and good.
We summoned up the honourable deeds
Of ancient Story, thought of each bright spot,
That would be found in all recorded time,
Of truth preserved and error passed away;
Of single spirits that catch the flame from Heaven,
And how the multitudes of men will feed
And fan each other; thought of sects, how keen
They are to put the appropriate nature on,
Triumphant over every obstacle
Of custom, language, country, love, or hate,
And what they do and suffer for their creed;
How far they travel, and how long endure;
How quickly mighty Nations have been formed,
From least beginnings; how, together locked
By new opinions, scattered tribes have made
One body, spreading wide as clouds in heaven.
To aspirations then of our own minds
Did we appeal; and, finally, beheld
A living confirmation of the whole
Before us, in a people from the depth
Of shameful imbecility uprisen,
Fresh as the morning star. Elate we looked
Upon their virtues; saw, in rudest men,
Self-sacrifice the firmest; generous love,
And continence of mind, and sense of right,
Uppermost in the midst of fiercest strife.
Oh, sweet it is, in academic groves,
Or such retirement, Friend! as we have known
In the green dales beside our Rotha's stream,
Greta, or Derwent, or some nameless rill,
To ruminate, with interchange of talk,
On rational liberty, and hope in man,
Justice and peace. But far more sweet such toil--
Toil, say I, for it leads to thoughts abstruse--
If nature then be standing on the brink
Of some great trial, and we hear the voice
Of one devoted,--one whom circumstance
Hath called upon to embody his deep sense
In action, give it outwardly a shape,
And that of benediction, to the world.
Then doubt is not, and truth is more than truth,--
A hope it is, and a desire; a creed
Of zeal, by an authority Divine
Sanctioned, of danger, difficulty, or death.
Such conversation, under Attic shades,
Did Dion hold with Plato; ripened thus
For a Deliverer's glorious task,--and such
He, on that ministry already bound,
Held with Eudemus and Timonides,
Surrounded by adventurers in arms,
When those two vessels with their daring freight,
For the Sicilian Tyrant's overthrow,
Sailed from Zacynthus,--philosophic war,
Led by Philosophers. With harder fate,
Though like ambition, such was he, O Friend!
Of whom I speak. So Beaupuis (let the name
Stand near the worthiest of Antiquity)
Fashioned his life; and many a long discourse,
With like persuasion honoured, we maintained:
He, on his part, accoutred for the worst,
He perished fighting, in supreme command,
Upon the borders of the unhappy Loire,
For liberty, against deluded men,
His fellow-countrymen; and yet most blessed
In this, that he the fate of later times
Lived not to see, nor what we now behold,
Who have as ardent hearts as he had then.
Along that very Loire, with festal mirth
Resounding at all hours, and innocent yet
Of civil slaughter, was our frequent walk;
Or in wide forests of continuous shade,
Lofty and over-arched, with open space
Beneath the trees, clear footing many a mile--
A solemn region. Oft amid those haunts,
From earnest dialogues I slipped in thought,
And let remembrance steal to other times,
When, o'er those interwoven roots, moss-clad,
And smooth as marble or a waveless sea,
Some Hermit, from his cell forth-strayed, might pace
In sylvan meditation undisturbed;
As on the pavement of a Gothic church
Walks a lone Monk, when service hath expired,
In peace and silence. But if e'er was heard,--
Heard, though unseen,--a devious traveller,
Retiring or approaching from afar
With speed and echoes loud of trampling hoofs
From the hard floor reverberated, then
It was Angelica thundering through the woods
Upon her palfrey, or that gentle maid
Erminia, fugitive as fair as she.
Sometimes methought I saw a pair of knights
Joust underneath the trees, that as in storm
Rocked high above their heads; anon, the din
Of boisterous merriment, and music's roar,
In sudden proclamation, burst from haunt
Of Satyrs in some viewless glade, with dance
Rejoicing o'er a female in the midst,
A mortal beauty, their unhappy thrall.
The width of those huge forests, unto me
A novel scene, did often in this way
Master my fancy while I wandered on
With that revered companion. And sometimes--
When to a convent in a meadow green,
By a brook-side, we came, a roofless pile,
And not by reverential touch of Time
Dismantled, but by violence abrupt--
In spite of those heart-bracing colloquies,
In spite of real fervour, and of that
Less genuine and wrought up within myself--
I could not but bewail a wrong so harsh,
And for the Matin-bell to sound no more
Grieved, and the twilight taper, and the cross
High on the topmost pinnacle, a sign
(How welcome to the weary traveller's eyes!)
Of hospitality and peaceful rest.
And when the partner of those varied walks
Pointed upon occasion to the site
Of Romorentin, home of ancient kings,
To the imperial edifice of Blois,
Or to that rural castle, name now slipped
From my remembrance, where a lady lodged,
By the first Francis wooed, and bound to him
In chains of mutual passion, from the tower,
As a tradition of the country tells,
Practised to commune with her royal knight
By cressets and love-beacons, intercourse
'Twixt her high-seated residence and his
Far off at Chambord on the plain beneath;
Even here, though less than with the peaceful house
Religious, 'mid those frequent monuments
Of Kings, their vices and their better deeds,
Imagination, potent to inflame
At times with virtuous wrath and noble scorn,
Did also often mitigate the force
Of civic prejudice, the bigotry,
So call it, of a youthful patriot's mind;
And on these spots with many gleams I looked
Of chivalrous delight. Yet not the less,
Hatred of absolute rule, where will of one
Is law for all, and of that barren pride
In them who, by immunities unjust,
Between the sovereign and the people stand,
His helper and not theirs, laid stronger hold
Daily upon me, mixed with pity too
And love; for where hope is, there love will be
For the abject multitude, And when we chanced
One day to meet a hunger-bitten girl,
Who crept along fitting her languid gait
Unto a heifer's motion, by a cord
Tied to her arm, and picking thus from the lane
Its sustenance, while the girl with pallid hands
Was busy knitting in a heartless mood
Of solitude, and at the sight my friend
In agitation said, ''Tis against 'that'
That we are fighting,' I with him believed
That a benignant spirit was abroad
Which might not be withstood, that poverty
Abject as this would in a little time
Be found no more, that we should see the earth
Unthwarted in her wish to recompense
The meek, the lowly, patient child of toil,
All institutes for ever blotted out
That legalised exclusion, empty pomp
Abolished, sensual state and cruel power
Whether by edict of the one or few;
And finally, as sum and crown of all,
Should see the people having a strong hand
In framing their own laws; whence better days
To all mankind. But, these things set apart,
Was not this single confidence enough
To animate the mind that ever turned
A thought to human welfare? That henceforth
Captivity by mandate without law
Should cease; and open accusation lead
To sentence in the hearing of the world,
And open punishment, if not the air
Be free to breathe in, and the heart of man
Dread nothing. From this height I shall not stoop
To humbler matter that detained us oft
In thought or conversation, public acts,
And public persons, and emotions wrought
Within the breast, as ever-varying winds
Of record or report swept over us;
But I might here, instead, repeat a tale,
Told by my Patriot friend, of sad events,
That prove to what low depth had struck the roots,
How widely spread the boughs, of that old tree
Which, as a deadly mischief, and a foul
And black dishonour, France was weary of.
Oh, happy time of youthful lovers, (thus
The story might begin,) oh, balmy time,
In which a love-knot, on a lady's brow,
Is fairer than the fairest star in Heaven!
So might--and with that prelude 'did' begin
The record; and, in faithful verse, was given
The doleful sequel.
But our little bark
On a strong river boldly hath been launched;
And from the driving current should we turn
To loiter wilfully within a creek,
Howe'er attractive, Fellow voyager!
Would'st thou not chide? Yet deem not my pains lost:
For Vaudracour and Julia (so were named
The ill-fated pair) in that plain tale will draw
Tears from the hearts of others, when their own
Shall beat no more. Thou, also, there may'st read,
At leisure, how the enamoured youth was driven,
By public power abased, to fatal crime,
Nature's rebellion against monstrous law;
How, between heart and heart, oppression thrust
Her mandates, severing whom true love had joined,
Harassing both; until he sank and pressed
The couch his fate had made for him; supine,
Save when the stings of viperous remorse,
Trying their strength, enforced him to start up,
Aghast and prayerless. Into a deep wood
He fled, to shun the haunts of human kind;
There dwelt, weakened in spirit more and more;
Nor could the voice of Freedom, which through France
Full speedily resounded, public hope,
Or personal memory of his own worst wrongs,
Rouse him; but, hidden in those gloomy shades,
His days he wasted,--an imbecile mind.
Don Juan: Canto The Seventh
O Love! O Glory! what are ye who fly
Around us ever, rarely to alight?
There's not a meteor in the polar sky
Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight.
Chill, and chain'd to cold earth, we lift on high
Our eyes in search of either lovely light;
A thousand and a thousand colours they
Assume, then leave us on our freezing way.
And such as they are, such my present tale is,
A non-descript and ever-varying rhyme,
A versified Aurora Borealis,
Which flashes o'er a waste and icy clime.
When we know what all are, we must bewail us,
But ne'ertheless I hope it is no crime
To laugh at all things- for I wish to know
What, after all, are all things- but a show?
They accuse me--Me--the present writer of
The present poem--of--I know not what--
A tendency to under-rate and scoff
At human power and virtue, and all that;
And this they say in language rather rough.
Good God! I wonder what they would be at!
I say no more than hath been said in Dante's
Verse, and by Solomon and by Cervantes;
By Swift, by Machiavel, by Rochefoucault,
By Fenelon, by Luther, and by Plato;
By Tillotson, and Wesley, and Rousseau,
Who knew this life was not worth a potato.
'Tis not their fault, nor mine, if this be so-
For my part, I pretend not to be Cato,
Nor even Diogenes.--We live and die,
But which is best, you know no more than I.
Socrates said, our only knowledge was
'To know that nothing could be known;' a pleasant
Science enough, which levels to an ass
Each man of wisdom, future, past, or present.
Newton (that proverb of the mind), alas!
Declared, with all his grand discoveries recent,
That he himself felt only 'like a youth
Picking up shells by the great ocean--Truth.'
Ecclesiastes said, 'that all is vanity'--
Most modern preachers say the same, or show it
By their examples of true Christianity:
In short, all know, or very soon may know it;
And in this scene of all-confess'd inanity,
By saint, by sage, by preacher, and by poet,
Must I restrain me, through the fear of strife,
From holding up the nothingness of life?
Dogs, or men!--for I flatter you in saying
That ye are dogs--your betters far--ye may
Read, or read not, what I am now essaying
To show ye what ye are in every way.
As little as the moon stops for the baying
Of wolves, will the bright muse withdraw one ray
From out her skies- then howl your idle wrath!
While she still silvers o'er your gloomy path.
'Fierce loves and faithless wars'--I am not sure
If this be the right reading--'tis no matter;
The fact's about the same, I am secure;
I sing them both, and am about to batter
A town which did a famous siege endure,
And was beleaguer'd both by land and water
By Souvaroff, or Anglice Suwarrow,
Who loved blood as an alderman loves marrow.
The fortress is call'd Ismail, and is placed
Upon the Danube's left branch and left bank,
With buildings in the Oriental taste,
But still a fortress of the foremost rank,
Or was at least, unless 'tis since defaced,
Which with your conquerors is a common prank:
It stands some eighty versts from the high sea,
And measures round of toises thousands three.
Within the extent of this fortification
A borough is comprised along the height
Upon the left, which from its loftier station
Commands the city, and upon its site
A Greek had raised around this elevation
A quantity of palisades upright,
So placed as to impede the fire of those
Who held the place, and to assist the foe's.
This circumstance may serve to give a notion
Of the high talents of this new Vauban:
But the town ditch below was deep as ocean,
The rampart higher than you'd wish to hang:
But then there was a great want of precaution
(Prithee, excuse this engineering slang),
Nor work advanced, nor cover'd way was there,
To hint at least 'Here is no thoroughfare.'
But a stone bastion, with a narrow gorge,
And walls as thick as most skulls born as yet;
Two batteries, cap-a-pie, as our St. George,
Case-mated one, and t' other 'a barbette,'
Of Danube's bank took formidable charge;
While two and twenty cannon duly set
Rose over the town's right side, in bristling tier,
Forty feet high, upon a cavalier.
But from the river the town 's open quite,
Because the Turks could never be persuaded
A Russian vessel e'er would heave in sight;
And such their creed was, till they were invaded,
When it grew rather late to set things right.
But as the Danube could not well be waded,
They look'd upon the Muscovite flotilla,
And only shouted, 'Allah!' and 'Bis Millah!'
The Russians now were ready to attack:
But oh, ye goddesses of war and glory!
How shall I spell the name of each Cossacque
Who were immortal, could one tell their story?
Alas! what to their memory can lack?
Achilles' self was not more grim and gory
Than thousands of this new and polish'd nation,
Whose names want nothing but- pronunciation.
Still I 'll record a few, if but to increase
Our euphony: there was Strongenoff, and Strokonoff,
Meknop, Serge Lwow, Arsniew of modern Greece,
And Tschitsshakoff, and Roguenoff, and Chokenoff,
And others of twelve consonants apiece;
And more might be found out, if I could poke enough
Into gazettes; but Fame (capricious strumpet),
It seems, has got an ear as well as trumpet,
And cannot tune those discords of narration,
Which may be names at Moscow, into rhyme;
Yet there were several worth commemoration,
As e'er was virgin of a nuptial chime;
Soft words, too, fitted for the peroration
Of Londonderry drawling against time,
Ending in 'ischskin,' 'ousckin,' 'iffskchy,' 'ouski:
Of whom we can insert but Rousamouski,
Scherematoff and Chrematoff, Koklophti,
Koclobski, Kourakin, and Mouskin Pouskin,
All proper men of weapons, as e'er scoff'd high
Against a foe, or ran a sabre through skin:
Little cared they for Mahomet or Mufti,
Unless to make their kettle-drums a new skin
Out of their hides, if parchment had grown dear,
And no more handy substitute been near.
Then there were foreigners of much renown,
Of various nations, and all volunteers;
Not fighting for their country or its crown,
But wishing to be one day brigadiers;
Also to have the sacking of a town,--
A pleasant thing to young men at their years.
'Mongst them were several Englishmen of pith,
Sixteen call'd Thomson, and nineteen named Smith.
Jack Thomson and Bill Thomson; all the rest
Had been call'd 'Jemmy,' after the great bard;
I don't know whether they had arms or crest,
But such a godfather's as good a card.
Three of the Smiths were Peters; but the best
Amongst them all, hard blows to inflict or ward,
Was he, since so renown'd 'in country quarters
At Halifax;' but now he served the Tartars.
The rest were jacks and Gills and Wills and Bills;
But when I've added that the elder jack Smith
Was born in Cumberland among the hills,
And that his father was an honest blacksmith,
I've said all I know of a name that fills
Three lines of the despatch in taking 'Schmacksmith,'
A village of Moldavia's waste, wherein
He fell, immortal in a bulletin.
I wonder (although Mars no doubt's a god
Praise) if a man's name in a bulletin
May make up for a bullet in his body?
I hope this little question is no sin,
Because, though I am but a simple noddy,
I think one Shakspeare puts the same thought in
The mouth of some one in his plays so doting,
Which many people pass for wits by quoting.
Then there were Frenchmen, gallant, young, and gay:
But I'm too great a patriot to record
Their Gallic names upon a glorious day;
I'd rather tell ten lies than say a word
Of truth;--such truths are treason; they betray
Their country; and as traitors are abhorr'd
Who name the French in English, save to show
How Peace should make John Bull the Frenchman's foe.
The Russians, having built two batteries on
An isle near Ismail, had two ends in view;
The first was to bombard it, and knock down
The public buildings and the private too,
No matter what poor souls might be undone.
The city's shape suggested this, 't is true;
Form'd like an amphitheatre, each dwelling
Presented a fine mark to throw a shell in.
The second object was to profit by
The moment of the general consternation,
To attack the Turk's flotilla, which lay nigh
Extremely tranquil, anchor'd at its station:
But a third motive was as probably
To frighten them into capitulation;
A phantasy which sometimes seizes warriors,
Unless they are game as bull-dogs and fox-terriers.
A habit rather blamable, which is
That of despising those we combat with,
Common in many cases, was in this
The cause of killing Tchitchitzkoff and Smith;
One of the valorous 'Smiths' whom we shall miss
Out of those nineteen who late rhymed to 'pith;'
But 'tis a name so spread o'er 'Sir' and 'Madam,'
That one would think the first who bore it 'Adam.'
The Russian batteries were incomplete,
Because they were constructed in a hurry;
Thus the same cause which makes a verse want feet,
And throws a cloud o'er Longman and John Murray,
When the sale of new books is not so fleet
As they who print them think is necessary,
May likewise put off for a time what story
Sometimes calls 'murder,' and at others 'glory.'
Whether it was their engineer's stupidity,
Their haste, or waste, I neither know nor care,
Or some contractor's personal cupidity,
Saving his soul by cheating in the ware
Of homicide, but there was no solidity
In the new batteries erected there;
They either miss'd, or they were never miss'd,
And added greatly to the missing list.
A sad miscalculation about distance
Made all their naval matters incorrect;
Three fireships lost their amiable existence
Before they reach'd a spot to take effect:
The match was lit too soon, and no assistance
Could remedy this lubberly defect;
They blew up in the middle of the river,
While, though 't was dawn, the Turks slept fast as ever.
At seven they rose, however, and survey'd
The Russ flotilla getting under way;
'Twas nine, when still advancing undismay'd,
Within a cable's length their vessels lay
Off Ismail, and commenced a cannonade,
Which was return'd with interest, I may say,
And by a fire of musketry and grape,
And shells and shot of every size and shape.
For six hours bore they without intermission
The Turkish fire, and aided by their own
Land batteries, work'd their guns with great precision:
At length they found mere cannonade alone
By no means would produce the town's submission,
And made a signal to retreat at one.
One bark blew up, a second near the works
Running aground, was taken by the Turks.
The Moslem, too, had lost both ships and men;
But when they saw the enemy retire,
Their Delhis mann'd some boats, and sail'd again,
And gall'd the Russians with a heavy fire,
And tried to make a landing on the main;
But here the effect fell short of their desire:
Count Damas drove them back into the water
Pell-mell, and with a whole gazette of slaughter.
'If' (says the historian here) 'I could report
All that the Russians did upon this day,
I think that several volumes would fall short,
And I should still have many things to say;'
And so he says no more--but pays his court
To some distinguish'd strangers in that fray;
The Prince de Ligne, and Langeron, and Damas,
Names great as any that the roll of Fame has.
This being the case, may show us what Fame is:
For out of these three 'preux Chevaliers,' how
Many of common readers give a guess
That such existed? (and they may live now
For aught we know.) Renown 's all hit or miss;
There's fortune even in fame, we must allow.
'Tis true the Memoirs of the Prince de Ligne
Have half withdrawn from him oblivion's screen.
But here are men who fought in gallant actions
As gallantly as ever heroes fought,
But buried in the heap of such transactions
Their names are rarely found, nor often sought.
Thus even good fame may suffer sad contractions,
And is extinguish'd sooner than she ought:
Of all our modern battles, I will bet
You can't repeat nine names from each Gazette.
In short, this last attack, though rich in glory,
Show'd that somewhere, somehow, there was a fault,
And Admiral Ribas (known in Russian story)
Most strongly recommended an assault;
In which he was opposed by young and hoary,
Which made a long debate; but I must halt,
For if I wrote down every warrior's speech,
I doubt few readers e'er would mount the breach.
There was a man, if that he was a man,
Not that his manhood could be call'd in question,
For had he not been Hercules, his span
Had been as short in youth as indigestion
Made his last illness, when, all worn and wan,
He died beneath a tree, as much unblest on
The soil of the green province he had wasted,
As e'er was locust on the land it blasted.
This was Potemkin--a great thing in days
When homicide and harlotry made great;
If stars and titles could entail long praise,
His glory might half equal his estate.
This fellow, being six foot high, could raise
A kind of phantasy proportionate
In the then sovereign of the Russian people,
Who measured men as you would do a steeple.
While things were in abeyance, Ribas sent
A courier to the prince, and he succeeded
In ordering matters after his own bent;
I cannot tell the way in which he pleaded,
But shortly he had cause to be content.
In the mean time, the batteries proceeded,
And fourscore cannon on the Danube's border
Were briskly fired and answer'd in due order.
But on the thirteenth, when already part
Of the troops were embark'd, the siege to raise,
A courier on the spur inspired new heart
Into all panters for newspaper praise,
As well as dilettanti in war's art,
By his despatches couch'd in pithy phrase;
Announcing the appointment of that lover of
Battles to the command, Field-Marshal Souvaroff.
The letter of the prince to the same marshal
Was worthy of a Spartan, had the cause
Been one to which a good heart could be partial--
Defence of freedom, country, or of laws;
But as it was mere lust of power to o'er-arch all
With its proud brow, it merits slight applause,
Save for its style, which said, all in a trice,
'You will take Ismail at whatever price.'
'Let there be light! said God, and there was light!'
'Let there be blood!' says man, and there's a seal
The fiat of this spoil'd child of the Night
(For Day ne'er saw his merits) could decree
More evil in an hour, than thirty bright
Summers could renovate, though they should be
Lovely as those which ripen'd Eden's fruit;
For war cuts up not only branch, but root.
Our friends the Turks, who with loud 'Allahs' now
Began to signalise the Russ retreat,
Were damnably mistaken; few are slow
In thinking that their enemy is beat
(Or beaten, if you insist on grammar, though
I never think about it in a heat),
But here I say the Turks were much mistaken,
Who hating hogs, yet wish'd to save their bacon.
For, on the sixteenth, at full gallop, drew
In sight two horsemen, who were deem'd Cossacques
For some time, till they came in nearer view.
They had but little baggage at their backs,
For there were but three shirts between the two;
But on they rode upon two Ukraine hacks,
Till, in approaching, were at length descried
In this plain pair, Suwarrow and his guide.
'Great joy to London now!' says some great fool,
When London had a grand illumination,
Which to that bottle-conjurer, John Bull,
Is of all dreams the first hallucination;
So that the streets of colour'd lamps are full,
That Sage (said john) surrenders at discretion
His purse, his soul, his sense, and even his nonsense,
To gratify, like a huge moth, this one sense.
'T is strange that he should farther 'damn his eyes,'
For they are damn'd; that once all-famous oath
Is to the devil now no farther prize,
Since John has lately lost the use of both.
Debt he calls wealth, and taxes Paradise;
And Famine, with her gaunt and bony growth,
Which stare him in the face, he won't examine,
Or swears that Ceres hath begotten Famine.
But to the tale:--great joy unto the camp!
To Russian, Tartar, English, French, Cossacque,
O'er whom Suwarrow shone like a gas lamp,
Presaging a most luminous attack;
Or like a wisp along the marsh so damp,
Which leads beholders on a boggy walk,
He flitted to and fro a dancing light,
Which all who saw it follow'd, wrong or right.
But certes matters took a different face;
There was enthusiasm and much applause,
The fleet and camp saluted with great grace,
And all presaged good fortune to their cause.
Within a cannon-shot length of the place
They drew, constructed ladders, repair'd flaws
In former works, made new, prepared fascines,
And all kinds of benevolent machines.
'Tis thus the spirit of a single mind
Makes that of multitudes take one direction,
As roll the waters to the breathing wind,
Or roams the herd beneath the bull's protection;
Or as a little dog will lead the blind,
Or a bell-wether form the flock's connection
By tinkling sounds, when they go forth to victual;
Such is the sway of your great men o'er little.
The whole camp rung with joy; you would have thought
That they were going to a marriage feast
(This metaphor, I think, holds good as aught,
Since there is discord after both at least):
There was not now a luggage boy but sought
Danger and spoil with ardour much increased;
And why? because a little--odd--old man,
Stript to his shirt, was come to lead the van.
But so it was; and every preparation
Was made with all alacrity: the first
Detachment of three columns took its station,
And waited but the signal's voice to burst
Upon the foe: the second's ordination
Was also in three columns, with a thirst
For glory gaping o'er a sea of slaughter:
The third, in columns two, attack'd by water.
New batteries were erected, and was held
A general council, in which unanimity,
That stranger to most councils, here prevail'd,
As sometimes happens in a great extremity;
And every difficulty being dispell'd,
Glory began to dawn with due sublimity,
While Souvaroff, determined to obtain it,
Was teaching his recruits to use the bayonet
It is an actual fact, that he, commander
In chief, in proper person deign'd to drill
The awkward squad, and could afford to squander
His time, a corporal's duty to fulfil:
Just as you 'd break a sucking salamander
To swallow flame, and never take it ill:
He show'd them how to mount a ladder (which
Was not like Jacob's) or to cross a ditch.
Also he dress'd up, for the nonce, fascines
Like men with turbans, scimitars, and dirks,
And made them charge with bayonet these machines,
By way of lesson against actual Turks:
And when well practised in these mimic scenes,
He judged them proper to assail the works;
At which your wise men sneer'd in phrases witty:
He made no answer; but he took the city.
Most things were in this posture on the eve
Of the assault, and all the camp was in
A stern repose; which you would scarce conceive;
Yet men resolved to dash through thick and thin
Are very silent when they once believe
That all is settled:--there was little din,
For some were thinking of their home and friends,
And others of themselves and latter ends.
Suwarrow chiefly was on the alert,
Surveying, drilling, ordering, jesting, pondering;
For the man was, we safely may assert,
A thing to wonder at beyond most wondering;
Hero, buffoon, half-demon, and half-dirt,
Praying, instructing, desolating, plundering;
Now Mars, now Momus; and when bent to storm
A fortress, Harlequin in uniform.
The day before the assault, while upon drill--
For this great conqueror play'd the corporal--
Some Cossacques, hovering like hawks round a hill,
Had met a party towards the twilight's fall,
One of whom spoke their tongue--or well or ill,
'Twas much that he was understood at all;
But whether from his voice, or speech, or manner,
They found that he had fought beneath their banner.
Whereon immediately at his request
They brought him and his comrades to head-quarters;
Their dress was Moslem, but you might have guess'd
That these were merely masquerading Tartars,
And that beneath each Turkish-fashion'd vest
Lurk'd Christianity; which sometimes barters
Her inward grace for outward show, and makes
It difficult to shun some strange mistakes.
Suwarrow, who was standing in his shirt
Before a company of Calmucks, drilling,
Exclaiming, fooling, swearing at the inert,
And lecturing on the noble art of killing,--
For deeming human clay but common dirt,
This great philosopher was thus instilling
His maxims, which to martial comprehension
Proved death in battle equal to a pension;--
Suwarrow, when he saw this company
Of Cossacques and their prey, turn'd round and cast
Upon them his slow brow and piercing eye:-
'Whence come ye?'--'From Constantinople last,
Captives just now escaped,' was the reply.
'What are ye?'--'What you see us.' Briefly pass'd
This dialogue; for he who answer'd knew
To whom he spoke, and made his words but few.
'Your names?'--'Mine's Johnson, and my comrade's Juan;
The other two are women, and the third
Is neither man nor woman.' The chief threw on
The party a slight glance, then said, 'I have heard
Your name before, the second is a new one:
To bring the other three here was absurd:
But let that pass:--I think I have heard your name
In the Nikolaiew regiment?'--'The same.'
'You served at Widdin?'--'Yes.'--'You led the attack?'
'I did.'--'What next?'--'I really hardly know.'
'You were the first i'the breach?'--'I was not slack
At least to follow those who might be so.'
'What follow'd?'--'A shot laid me on my back,
And I became a prisoner to the foe.'
'You shall have vengeance, for the town surrounded
Is twice as strong as that where you were wounded.
'Where will you serve?'--'Where'er you please.'--'I know
You like to be the hope of the forlorn,
And doubtless would be foremost on the foe
After the hardships you've already borne.
And this young fellow--say what can he do?
He with the beardless chin and garments torn?'
'Why, general, if he hath no greater fault
In war than love, he had better lead the assault.'
'He shall if that he dare.' Here Juan bow'd
Low as the compliment deserved. Suwarrow
Continued: 'Your old regiment's allow'd,
By special providence, to lead to-morrow,
Or it may be to-night, the assault: I have vow'd
To several saints, that shortly plough or harrow
Shall pass o'er what was Ismail, and its tusk
Be unimpeded by the proudest mosque.
'So now, my lads, for glory!'--Here he turn'd
And drill'd away in the most classic Russian,
Until each high, heroic bosom burn'd
For cash and conquest, as if from a cushion
A preacher had held forth (who nobly spurn'd
All earthly goods save tithes) and bade them push on
To slay the Pagans who resisted, battering
The armies of the Christian Empress Catherine.
Johnson, who knew by this long colloquy
Himself a favourite, ventured to address
Suwarrow, though engaged with accents high
In his resumed amusement. 'I confess
My debt in being thus allow'd to die
Among the foremost; but if you'd express
Explicitly our several posts, my friend
And self would know what duty to attend.'
'Right! I was busy, and forgot. Why, you
Will join your former regiment, which should be
Now under arms. Ho! Katskoff, take him to
(Here he call'd up a Polish orderly)
His post, I mean the regiment Nikolaiew:
The stranger stripling may remain with me;
He's a fine boy. The women may be sent
To the other baggage, or to the sick tent.'
But here a sort of scene began to ensue:
The ladies,--who by no means had been bred
To be disposed of in a way so new,
Although their haram education led
Doubtless to that of doctrines the most true,
Passive obedience,--now raised up the head,
With flashing eyes and starting tears, and flung
Their arms, as hens their wings about their young,
O'er the promoted couple of brave men
Who were thus honour'd by the greatest chief
That ever peopled hell with heroes slain,
Or plunged a province or a realm in grief.
Oh, foolish mortals! Always taught in vain!
Oh, glorious laurel! since for one sole leaf
Of thine imaginary deathless tree,
Of blood and tears must flow the unebbing sea.
Suwarrow, who had small regard for tears,
And not much sympathy for blood, survey'd
The women with their hair about their ears
And natural agonies, with a slight shade
Of feeling: for however habit sears
Men's hearts against whole millions, when their trade
Is butchery, sometimes a single sorrow
Will touch even heroes- and such was Suwarrow.
He said,--and in the kindest Calmuck tone,--
'Why, Johnson, what the devil do you mean
By bringing women here? They shall be shown
All the attention possible, and seen
In safety to the waggons, where alone
In fact they can be safe. You should have been
Aware this kind of baggage never thrives:
Save wed a year, I hate recruits with wives.'
'May it please your excellency,' thus replied
Our British friend, 'these are the wives of others,
And not our own. I am too qualified
By service with my military brothers
To break the rules by bringing one's own bride
Into a camp: I know that nought so bothers
The hearts of the heroic on a charge,
As leaving a small family at large.
'But these are but two Turkish ladies, who
With their attendant aided our escape,
And afterwards accompanied us through
A thousand perils in this dubious shape.
To me this kind of life is not so new;
To them, poor things, it is an awkward scrape.
I therefore, if you wish me to fight freely,
Request that they may both be used genteelly.'
Meantime these two poor girls, with swimming eyes,
Look'd on as if in doubt if they could trust
Their own protectors; nor was their surprise
Less than their grief (and truly not less just)
To see an old man, rather wild than wise
In aspect, plainly clad, besmear'd with dust,
Stript to his waistcoat, and that not too clean,
More fear'd than all the sultans ever seen.
For every thing seem'd resting on his nod,
As they could read in all eyes. Now to them,
Who were accustom'd, as a sort of god,
To see the sultan, rich in many a gem,
Like an imperial peacock stalk abroad
(That royal bird, whose tail's a diadem),
With all the pomp of power, it was a doubt
How power could condescend to do without.
John Johnson, seeing their extreme dismay,
Though little versed in feelings oriental,
Suggested some slight comfort in his way:
Don Juan, who was much more sentimental,
Swore they should see him by the dawn of day,
Or that the Russian army should repent all:
And, strange to say, they found some consolation
In this--for females like exaggeration.
And then with tears, and sighs, and some slight kisses,
They parted for the present--these to await,
According to the artillery's hits or misses,
What sages call Chance, Providence, or Fate
(Uncertainty is one of many blisses,
A mortgage on Humanity's estate)--
While their beloved friends began to arm,
To burn a town which never did them harm.
Suwarrow,--who but saw things in the gross,
Being much too gross to see them in detail,
Who calculated life as so much dross,
And as the wind a widow'd nation's wail,
And cared as little for his army's loss
(So that their efforts should at length prevail)
As wife and friends did for the boils of job,--
What was't to him to hear two women sob?
Nothing.--The work of glory still went on
In preparations for a cannonade
As terrible as that of Ilion,
If Homer had found mortars ready made;
But now, instead of slaying Priam's son,
We only can but talk of escalade,
Bombs, drums, guns, bastions, batteries, bayonets, bullets,--
Hard words, which stick in the soft Muses' gullets.
Oh, thou eternal Homer! who couldst charm
All cars, though long; all ages, though so short,
By merely wielding with poetic arm
Arms to which men will never more resort,
Unless gunpowder should be found to harm
Much less than is the hope of every court,
Which now is leagued young Freedom to annoy;
But they will not find Liberty a Troy:--
Oh, thou eternal Homer! I have now
To paint a siege, wherein more men were slain,
With deadlier engines and a speedier blow,
Than in thy Greek gazette of that campaign;
And yet, like all men else, I must allow,
To vie with thee would be about as vain
As for a brook to cope with ocean's flood;
But still we moderns equal you in blood;
If not in poetry, at least in fact;
And fact is truth, the grand desideratum!
Of which, howe'er the Muse describes each act,
There should be ne'ertheless a slight substratum.
But now the town is going to be attack'd;
Great deeds are doing- how shall I relate 'em?
Souls of immortal generals! Phoebus watches
To colour up his rays from your despatches.
Oh, ye great bulletins of Bonaparte!
Oh, ye less grand long lists of kill'd and wounded!
Shade of Leonidas, who fought so hearty,
When my poor Greece was once, as now, surrounded!
Oh, Caesar's Commentaries! now impart, ye
Shadows of glory! (lest I be confounded)
A portion of your fading twilight hues,
So beautiful, so fleeting, to the Muse.
When I call 'fading' martial immortality,
I mean, that every age and every year,
And almost every day, in sad reality,
Some sucking hero is compell'd to rear,
Who, when we come to sum up the totality
Of deeds to human happiness most dear,
Turns out to be a butcher in great business,
Afflicting young folks with a sort of dizziness.
Medals, rank, ribands, lace, embroidery, scarlet,
Are things immortal to immortal man,
As purple to the Babylonian harlot:
An uniform to boys is like a fan
To women; there is scarce a crimson varlet
But deems himself the first in Glory's van.
But Glory's glory; and if you would find
What that is--ask the pig who sees the wind!
At least he feels it, and some say he sees,
Because he runs before it like a pig;
Or, if that simple sentence should displease,
Say, that he scuds before it like a brig,
A schooner, or--but it is time to ease
This Canto, ere my Muse perceives fatigue.
The next shall ring a peal to shake all people,
Like a bob-major from a village steeple.
Hark! through the silence of the cold, dull night,
The hum of armies gathering rank on rank!
Lo! dusky masses steal in dubious sight
Along the leaguer'd wall and bristling bank
Of the arm'd river, while with straggling light
The stars peep through the vapours dim and dank,
Which curl in curious wreaths:--how soon the smoke
Of Hell shall pall them in a deeper cloak!
Here pause we for the present--as even then
That awful pause, dividing life from death,
Struck for an instant on the hearts of men,
Thousands of whom were drawing their last breath!
A moment--and all will be life again!
The march! the charge! the shouts of either faith!
Hurra! and Allah! and- one moment more,
The death-cry drowning in the battle's roar.