Page images
PDF
EPUB

TOBIAS SMOLLET.

THE TEARS OF SCOTLAND.

Written in 1746. MOURN, hapless Caledonia, mourn

Thy banish'd peace, thy laurels torn! Thy sons, for valour long renown'd, Lie slaughter'd on their native ground; Tly hospitable roofs no more Invite the stranger to the door; In smoky ruins sunk they lie, The monuments of cruelty. The wretched owner sees afar His all become the prey of war; Bethinks him of his babes and wife, Then smites his breast, and curses life! Thy swains are famish'd on the rocks Where once they fed their wanton flocks: Thy ravish'd virgins shriek in vain; Thy infants perish on the plain.

What boots it then, in every clime
Through the wide spreading waste of time,
Thy martial glory, crown'd with praise,
Still shone with undiminish'd blaze ?
Thy towering spirit now is broke,
Thy neck is bended to the yoke.
What foreign arms could never quell
By civil rage, and rancour fell.
The rural pipe and merry lay
No more shall cheer the happy day:
No social scenes of gay delight
Beguile the dreary winter night:
No strains, but those of sorrow flow,
And nought be heard but sounds of woe,
While the pale phantoms of the slain
Glide nightly o'er the silent plain.,

O baneful cause! oh, fatal morn,
Accurs'd to ages yet unborn!
The sons against their fathers stood,
The parent shed his children's blood.
Yet, when the rage of battle ceas'd,
The victor's soul was not appeas'd;
The naked and forlorn must feel
Devouring flames, and murdering steel!
The pious mother, doom'd to death,
Forsaken wanders o'er the heath,
The bleak wind whistles round her head,
Her helpless orphans cry for bread;
Bereft of shelter, food, and friend,
She views the shades of night descend,
And stretch'd beneath the inclement skies,
Weeps o'er her tender babes and dies.
While the warm blood bedews my veins,
And unimpair'd remembrance reigns,
Resentment of my country's fate,
Within my filial breast shall beat;
And, spite of her insulting foe,
My sympathizing yerse shall flow :
‘Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banish'd peace, thy laurels torn.

THOMAS GRAY.

ELEGY.
Written in a Country Church-Yard.
THE

IE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds. Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. The breezy call of incense-breathing morn, The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her ev'ning care ; . No children run to lisp their sire's return, Or climb his knees the envy'd kiss to share. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team afield ! How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud! impute to these the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes lier ample page,
Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
· To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbad; nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbad to wade thro' slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;

[ocr errors]

The struggling pangs of conscious Truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous Shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride.
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rliymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply,
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

[ocr errors]

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind ? :
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ;
E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who mindful of th' unhonor'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“ Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn,
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreaths its old fantastic root so high,
His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.

« PreviousContinue »