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And shall his bounty be dispensed in vain,
Showered equally on city and on field,
And neither hope nor steadfast promise yield
In these usurping times of fear and pain?
Such doom awaits us. Nay, forbid it Heaven !
We know the arduous strife, the eternal laws
To which the triumph of all good is given,
High sacrifice, and labour without pause,
Even to the death: else wherefore should the eye
Of man converse with immortality?
PALAFOX. Ah! where is Palafox? Nor tongue nor pen Reports of him, his dwelling or his grave! Does yet the unheard-of vessel ride the wave? Or is she swallowed up, remote from ken Of pitying human nature? Once again Methinks that we shall hail thee, champion brave, Redeemed to baffle that imperial slave, And through all Europe cheer desponding men With new-born hope. Unbounded is the might Of martyrdom, and fortitude, and right. Hark, how thy country triumphs! Smilingly The Eternal looks upon her sword that gleams, Like his own lightning, over mountains high, On rampart, and the banks of all her streams.
HONOUR. Say, what is honour? 'Tis the finest sense Of justice which the human mind can frame, Intent each lurking frailty to disclaim, And guard the way of life from all offence
Suffered or done. When lawless violence
A kingdom doth assault, and in the scale
Of perilous war her weightiest armies fail,
Honour is hopeful elevation-whence
Glory, and triumph. Yet with politic skill
Endangered states may yield to terms unjust,
Stoop their proud heads, but not unto the dust,
A foe's most favourite purpose to fulfil;
Happy occasions oft by self-mistrust
Are forfeited; but infamy doth kill.
AUSTRIA. The martial courage of a day is vain, An empty noise of death the battle's roar, If vital hope be wanting to restore, Or fortitude be wanting to sustain, Armies or kingdoms. We have heard a strain Of triumph, how the labouring Danube bore A weight of hostile corses: drenched with gore Were the wide fields, the hamlets heaped with slain. Yet see, the mighty tumult overpast, Austria a daughter of her throne hath sold ! And her Tyrolean champion we behold Murdered like one ashore by shipwreck cast, Murdered without relief. Oh! blind as bold, To think that such assurance can stand fast!
SCHILL. BRAVE Schill! by death delivered, take thy flight From Prussia's timid region. Go, and rest With heroes mid the islands of the blest, Or in the fields of empyrean light.
A meteor wert thou in a darksome night;
Yet shall thy name, conspicuous and sublime,
Stand in the spacious firmament of time,
Fixed as a star; such glory is thy right.
Alas! it may not be: for earthly fame
Is fortune's frail dependant; yet there lives
A judge, who, as man claims by merit, gives;
To whose all-pondering mind a noble aim, '
Faithfully kept, is as a noble deed :
In whose pure sight all virtue doth succeed.
THE CAPTIVE PATRIOT. Is there a power that can sustain and cheer The captive chieftain, by a tyrant's doom, Forced to descend alive into his tomb, A dungeon dark! where he must waste the year, And lie cut off from all his heart holds dear; What time his injured country is a stage Whereon deliberate valour and the rage Of righteous vengeance side by side appear, Filling from morn to night the heroic scene With deeds of hope and everlasting praise : Say, can he think of this with mind serene And silent fetters? Yes, if visions bright Shine on his soul, reflected from the days When he himself was tried in open light.
In due observance of an ancient rite,
The rude Biscayans, when their children lie
Dead in the sinless time of infancy,
Attire the peaceful corse in vestments white;
And, in like sign of cloudless triumph bright,
They bind the unoffending creature's brows
With happy garlands of the pure white rose;
This done, a sestal company unite
In choral song; and, while the uplifted cross
Of Jesus goes before, the child is borne
Uncovered to his grave. Her piteous loss
The lonesome mother cannot choose but mourn;
Yet soon by Christian faith is grief subdued,
And joy attends upon her fortitude.
Yet, yet, Biscayans! we must meet our foes
With firmer soul, yet labour to regain
Our ancient freedom; else 'twere worse than vain
To gather round the bier these festal shows.
A garland fashioned of the pure white rose
Becomes not one whose father is a slave:
Oh, bear the infant covered to his grave!
These venerable mountains now inclose
A people sunk in apathy and fear.
If this endure, farewell, for us, all good!
The awful light of heavenly innocence
Will fail to illuminate the infant's bier ;
And guilt and shame, from which is no defence.
Descend on all that issues from our blood.
THE OAK OF GUERNICA. Oak of Guernica! Tree of holier power Than that which in Dodona did enshrine (So faith too fondly deemed) a voice divine, Heard from the depths of its aërial bower, How canst thou flourish at this blighting hour! What hope, what joy can sunshine bring to thee, Or the soft breezes from the Atlantic sea, The dews of morn, or April's tender shower?
Stroke merciful and welcome would that be
Which should extend thy branches on the ground,
If never more within their shady round
Those lofty-minded lawgivers shall meet,
Peasant and lord, in their appointed seat,
Guardians of Biscay's ancient liberty.
INDIGNATION OF A HIGH-MINDED
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 demands:
And we can brook the thought that by his hands
Spain may be overpowered, 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 enlightened minds shall bless his sway,
Then, the strained heart of fortitude proves weak;
Our groans, our blushes, our pale cheeks declare
That he has power to inflict what we lack strength to bear.
Avaunt all specious pliancy of mind
In men of low degree, all smooth pretence!
I better like a blunt indifference
And self-respecting slowness, disinclined
To win me at first sight: and be there joined
Patience and temperance with this high reserve,
Honour that knows the path and will not swerve;
Affections which if put to proof are kind;
And piety towards God. Such men of old