Page images
PDF
EPUB

Perpetual emptiness! unceasing change !
No single volume paramount, no code,
No master spirit, no determined road;
But equally a want of books and men !

It is not to be thought of that the flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world's praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flow'd, 'with pomp of waters unwithstood'-
Road by which all might come and go that would,
And bear out freights of worth to foreign lands ;
That this most famous stream in bogs and sands
Should perish, and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible knights of old :
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakspeare spake — the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held. In everything we're sprung
Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold.

WHEN I have borne in my memory what has tamed
Great nations, how ennobling thoughts depart
When men change swords for ledgers, and desert
The student's bower for gold, some fears unnamed
I had, my country!- am I to be blamed ?
But when I think of thee, and what thou art,
Verily, in the bottom of my heart,
Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed.
But dearly must we prize thee ; we who find
In thee a bulwark of the cause of men ;
And I, by my affection, was beguiled.
What wonder if a poet now and then,
Among the many movements of his mind,
Felt for thee as a lover or a child.

THERE is a bondage which is worse to bear
Than his who breathes, by roof, and floor, and wall,
Pent in a tyrant's solitary thrall :
'Tis his who walks about in the open air,
One of a nation who, henceforth, must wear
Their fetters in their souls. For who could be
Who, even the best, in such condition, free
From self-reproach, reproach which he must share
With human nature ? Never be it ours
To see the sun how brightly it will shine,
And know that noble feelings, manly powers,
Instead of gathering strength must droop and pine,
And earth, with all her pleasant fruits and flowers,
Fade, and participate in man's decline.

Indignation of a high-minded Spaniard. We can endure that he should waste our lands, Despoil our temples, – and by sword and flame Return us to the dust from which we came ; Such food a Tyrant's appetite deniands : And we can brook the thought that by his hands Spain may be o’erpower'd, and he possess, For his delight, a solemn wilderness, Where all the brave lie dead. But when of bands, Which he will break for us, he dares to speak, – Of benefits, and of a future day When our enlighten'd minds shall bless his sway, Then, the strain'd heart of fortitude proves weak: Our groans, our blushes, our pale cheeks declare That he has power t’inflict what we lack strength to bear

1811.
HERE pause; the Poet claims at least this praise
That virtuous liberty hath been the scope
Of his pure song, which did not shrink from hope
In the worst moment of these evil days ;
From hope, the paramount duty that Heaven lay,
For its own honour, on man's suffering heart.
Never may from our souls one truth depart,

“How many ? Seven in all,' she said, And wondering look'd at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell.'
She answer'd, ' Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

Two of us in the churchyard lie,
My sister and my brother ;
And, in the churchyard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother.'

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven !- I pray you tell,
Sweet maid, how this may be ?

Then did the little maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree.'

"You run about, my little maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the churchyard laid,
Then ye are only five.'

'Their graves are green, they may be seen,' The little maid replied, "Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, And they are side by side.

My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit-
I sit and sing to them.

And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair,

I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

The first that died was little Jane; In bed she moaning lay, Till God released her of her pain ; And then she went away. So in the churchyard she was laid ; And all the summer dry, Together round her grave we played, My brother John and I. And when the ground was white with snow, And I could run and slide, My brother John was forced to go, And he lies by her side.'

'How many are you, then,' said I,
'If they two are in heaven?'
The little maiden did reply,
O master! we are seven.

‘But they are dead : those two are dead ! Their spirits are in Heaven !' 'Twas throwing words away : for still The little maid would have her will, And said, 'Nay, we are seven !'

THE GREEN LINNET.

BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed Their snow-white blossoms on my head, With brightest sunshine round me spread

Of spring's unclouded weather,

« PreviousContinue »