Page images
PDF
EPUB

The azure sea upswelled upon the sight.
Fair prospect, such as Britain only shows! 15
But not a living creature could be seen
Through its wide circuit, that, in deep repose,
And, even to sadness, lonely and serene,
Lay hushed; till—through a portal in the sky
Brighter than brightest loop-hole, in a storm, 20
Opening before the sun's triumphant eye—
Issued, to sudden view, a glorious Form!
Earthward it glided with a swift descent:
Saint George himself this Visitant must be;
And, ere a thought could ask on what intent 25
He sought the regions of humanity,
A thrilling voice was heard, that vivified
City and field and flood;—aloud it cried—

"Though from my celestial home,

Like a Champion, armed I come; 30

On my helm the dragon crest,

And the red cross on my breast;

I, the Guardian of this Land,

Speak not now of toilsome duty;

Well obeyed was that command— 35

Whence bright days of festive beauty;

Haste, Virgins, haste!—the flowers which summer gave Have perished in the field;

But the green thickets plenteously shall yield Fit garlands for the brave, 40

That will be welcome, if by you entwined;

Haste, Virgins, haste; and you, ye Matrons grave,

Go forth with rival youthfulness of mind,
And gather what ye find

Of hardy laurel and wild holly boughs— 45

To deck your stern Defenders' modest brows! Such simple gifts prepare,

Though they have gained a worthier meed;

And in due time shall share Those palms and amaranthine wreaths 50

Unto their martyred Countrymen decreed, In realms where everlasting freshness breathes!"

11.

And lo! with crimson banners proudly
streaming,
And upright weapons innocently gleaming,
Along the surface of a spacious plain 55

Advance in order the redoubted Bands,
And there receive green chapletsfrom the hands

Of a fair female train—

Maids and Matrons, dight

In robes of dazzling white; 60

While from the crowd bursts forth a rapturous noise

By the cloud-capt hills retorted;

And a throng of rosy boys

In loose fashion tell their joys; And grey-haired sires, on staffs supported, 65 Look round, and by their smiling seem to say, "Thus strives a grateful Country to display The mighty debt which nothing can repay!"

in. Anon before my sight a palace rose Built of all precious substances,—so pure 70 And exquisite, that sleep alone bestows Ability like splendour to endure: Entered, with streaming thousands, through

the gate, I saw the banquet spread beneath a Dome of

state, A lofty Dome, that dared to emulate 75

The heaven of sable night

With starry lustre; yet had power to throw
Solemn effulgence, clear as solar light,
Upon a princely company below,
While the vault rang with choral harmony, 80
Like some Nymph-haunted grot beneath the

roaring sea. —No sooner ceased that peal, than on the verge Of exultation hung a dirge Breathed from a soft and lonely instrument,

That kindled recollections 85

Of agonised affections;
And, though some tears the strain attended,

The mournful passion ended
In peace of spirit, and sublime content!

IV.

But garlands wither ; festal shows depart, 90 Like dreams themselves; and sweetest sound—

(Albeit of effect profound)

It was—and it is gone!
Victorious England! bid the silent Art
Reflect, in glowing hues that shall not fade, 95
Those high achievements; even as she arrayed
With second life the deed of Marathon

Upon Athenian walls;
So may she labour for thy civic halls:

And be the guardian spaces 100

Of consecrated places,
As nobly graced by Sculpture's patient toil;
And let imperishable Columns rise
Fixed in the depths of this courageous soil;
Expressive signals of a glorious strife, 105

And competent to shed a spark divine
Into the torpid breast of daily life;—
Records on which, for pleasure of all eyes,

The morning sun may shine
With gratulation thoroughly benign! no

V.

And ye, Pierian Sisters, sprung from Jove And sage Mnemosyne,—full long debarred From your first mansions, exiled all too long From many a hallowed stream and grove, Dear native regions where ye wont to rove, n5 Chanting for patriot heroes the reward

Of never-dying song! Now (for, though Truth descending from above The Olympian summit hath destroyed for aye Your kindred Deities, Ye live and move, 120 Spared for obeisance from perpetual love For privilege redeemed of godlike sway) Now, on the margin of some spotless fountain, Or top serene of unmolested mountain, Strike audibly the noblest of your lyres, 125 And for a moment meet the soul's desires! That I, or some more favoured Bard, may hear What ye, celestial Maids! have often sung Of Britain's acts,—may catch it with rapt ear, And give the treasure to our British tongue! 130 So shall the characters of that proud page Support their mighty theme from age to age; And, in the desert places of the earth, When they to future empires have given birth, So shall the people gather and believe 135

The bold report, transferred to every clime; And the whole world, not envious but admiring,

And to the like aspiring,
Own—that the progeny of this fair Isle
Had power as lofty actions to achieve 140

As were performed in man's heroic prime;
Nor wanted, when their fortitude had held
Its even tenor, and the foe was quelled,
A corresponding virtue to beguile
The hostile purpose of wide-wasting Time—145
That not in vain they laboured to secure,

For their great deeds, perpetual memory, And fame as largely spread as land and sea, By Works of spirit high and passion pure!

XL.

FEELINGS OF A FRENCH ROYALIST, ON THE DIS-
INTERMENT OF THE REMAINS OF THE DUKE
D'ENGHIEN.

Dear Reliques! from a pit of vilest mould
Uprisen—to lodge among ancestral kings;
And to inflict shame's salutary stings
On the remorseless hearts of men grown old
In a blind worship; men perversely bold 5
Even to this hour,—yet, some shall now forsake
Their monstrous Idol if the dead e'er spake,
To warn the living; if truth were ever told
By aught redeemed out of the hollow grave:
O murdered Prince! meek, loyal, pious, brave!
The power of retribution once was given: 11
But 'tis a rueful thought that willow bands
So often tie the thunder-wielding hands
Of Justice sent to earth from highest Heaven!

1816.

XLI.

OCCASIONED BY THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO.

(The last six lines intended for an inscription.)

FEBRUARY, 1816.

Intrepid sons of Albion! not by you

Is life despised; ah no, the spacious earth

Ne'er saw a race who held, by right of birth,

So many objects to which love is due:

Ye slight not life—to God and Nature true; 5

But death, becoming death, is dearer far,

« PreviousContinue »