Page images
PDF
EPUB

xv.

ON THE FINAL SUBMISSION OF THE TYROLESE. It was a moral end for which they fought; Else how, when mighty Thrones were put to

shame, Could they, poor Shepherds, have preserved

an aim, A resolution, or enlivening thought? Nor hath that moral good been vainly sought; 5 For in their magnanimity and fame Powers have they left, an impulse, and a claim Which neither can be overturned nor bought. Sleep, Warriors, sleep! among your hills

repose! We know that ye, beneath the stern control 10 Of awful prudence, keep the unvanquished

soul : And when, impatient of her guilt and woes, Europe breaks forth; then, Shepherds! shall

ye rise For perfect triumph o'er your Enemies.

1809.

XVI.

Hail, Zaragoza ! If with unwet eye
We can approach, thy sorrow to behold,
Yet is the heart not pitiless nor cold;
Such spectacle demands not tear or sigh.
These desolate remains are trophies high
Of more than martial courage in the breast
Of peaceful civic virtue: they attest
Thy matchless worth to all posterity.
Blood flowed before thy sight without remorse ;
Disease consumed thy vitals; War upheaved 10
The ground beneath thee with volcanic force :

Dread trials ! yet encountered and sustained Till not a wreck of help or hope remained, And law was from necessity received.

1809.

XVII.

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 5
Invades a Realm, so pressed that 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-

II
A Foe's most favourite purpose to fulfil:
Happy occasions oft by self-mistrust
Are forfeited; but infamy doth kill.

1809. (?)

XVIII.

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 6
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 ! 10
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!

1809.

XIX. 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 crossing a dark night: 5 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 10 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.

1809.

xx. Call not the royal Swede unfortunate, Who never did to Fortune bend the knee; Who slighted fear; rejected stedfastly Temptation; and whose kingly name and state Have “perished by his choice, and not his fate!”

5 Hence lives He, to his inner self endeared ; And hence, wherever virtue is revered, He sits a more exalted Potentate, Throned in the hearts of men. Should Heaven

ordain That this great Servant of a righteous cause 10 Must still have sad or vexing thoughts to

endure, Yet may a sympathising spirit pause,

Admonished by these truths, and quench all

pain In thankful joy and gratulation pure.'

1809.

XXI.

LOOK now on that Adventurer who hath paid
His vows to Fortune; who, in cruel slight
Of virtuous hope, of liberty, and right,
Hath followed wberesoe'er a way was made
By the blind Goddess,-ruthless, undismayed;
And so hath gained at length a prosperous
height,

6
Round which the elements of worldly might
Beneath his haughty feet, like clouds, are laid.
O joyless power that stands by lawless force!
Curses are his dire portion, scorn, and hate, 10
Internal darkness and unquiet breath;
And, if old judgments keep their sacred course,
Him from that height shall Heaven precipitate
By violent and ignominious death.

1809.

XXII.

Is there a power that can sustain and cheer
The captive chieftain, by a tyrant's doom,
Forced to descend into his destined tomb
A dungeon dark! where he must waste the

year,
And lie cut off from all his heart holds dear; 5
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 :- 10

* See Note to Sonnet vii, page 130.

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.

1809.

XXIII.

1810. 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

5 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. 10 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.

XXIV.

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 6
With happy garlands of the pure white rose :
Then do a festal company unite
In choral song; and, while the uplifted cross
Of Jesus goes before, the child is borne 10

« PreviousContinue »