Page images
PDF
EPUB

Oh then her tender bloom might seem the shadow of the

rose, Or dying gleam of sunset skies, scarce tinging stainless

snows; And clustering round her brow serene, her golden tresses

lay, As sun-bright clouds on summer lakes are hung at close

of day.

Yet-yet once more I saw her face, and then she seemed

to sleep In bright and beautiful repose ; but, ah ! too still and

deep; Far, far too deep for lovely dreams for youthful, yes ! too

long, O'er which the morn may vainly break, with all its light

and song.

John Malcolm, Esq.

PREPARATION FOR THE BATTLE OF

WATERLOO.

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then

Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men ;
A thousand hearts beat happily ; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage bell ;
But hush ! hark ! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell !

Did ye not hear it ?-No; it was the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance ! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet
But, hark lthat heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat,

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm ! arm ! it is—it is the cannon's opening roar !

Within a window'd niche of that high ball,
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain ; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death's prophetic ear ;
And when they smiled because they deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,

And roused the vengeance blood alone can quell:
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and checking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated :-who could guess

If ever morn should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise ?

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar ;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused

up the soldier ere the morning star : While thronged the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering, with white lips - The foe! They come !

they come !"

And wild and high the Camerons' gathering rose !
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard, too, have her Şaxon foes :-
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill ! But, with the breath which fills

Their mountain pipe, so fills the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils

The stirring memory of a thousand years ;
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears !

And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with nature's tear drops, as they pass,
Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave, Alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass,
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass

Of living valour, rolling on the foe
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.

Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in beauty's circle proudly gay,
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn the marshalling in arms,—the day,
Battle's magnificently-stern array !
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent
The earth is covered thick with other day,

Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent, Rider and horse,-friend, foe-in one red burial blent !

Byron.

THE WAR POEM.

Hark, how the church-bell's thundering harmony
Stuns the glad ear! Tidings of joy are come,
Good tidings of great joy.-Two gallant ships
Met on the element;—they met they fought
A desperate fight.-Good tidings of great joy !
The English guns ploughed up the hostile deck;
Old England triumphed.—Yet another day
Of glory for the rumour of the waves
For those who fell.—'Twas in their country's cause
They have their passing paragraphs of praise
And are forgotten.

There was one who died
In that day's glory; whose obscurer name
No proud historian's page will chronicle...
Peace to his honest soul I-I read his name,
'Twas in the list of slaughter,-and blessed God
The sound was not familiar to my ear.
But it was told me after, that this man
Was one, whom lawful violence had forced
From his own home- and wife and little ones,
Who by his labour lived ; that he was one

« PreviousContinue »