« PreviousContinue »
They seek, are sought; to daily battle led,
Shrink not, though far out-numbered by their Foes:
For they have learnt to open and to close
The ridges of grim War; and at their head
Are Captains such as erst their Country bred
Or fostered, self-supported Chiefs, like those
Whom hardy Rome was fearful to oppose,
Whose desperate shock the Carthaginian fed.
In one who lived unknown a Shepherd's life
Redoubted Viriatus breathes again;
And Mina, nourished in the studious shade,
With that great Leader vies, who, sick of strife
And bloodshed, longed in quiet to be laid
In some green Island of the western main.
The power of Armies is a visible thing, Formal, and circumscribed in time and place; But who the limits of that power can trace Which a brave People into light can bring, Or hide, at will,—for Freedom combating, By just revenge enflamed? No foot can chase, No eye can follow to a fatal place That power, that spirit, whether on the wing Like the strong wind, or sleeping like the wind Within its awful caves.-From year to year Springs this indigenous produce far and near; No craft this subtle element can bind, Rising like water from the soil, to find In every nook a lip that it may cheer.
Here pause: the Poet claims at least this praise
That virtuous Liberty hath been the scope
Of his pure song, which did not shrink from hope
In the worst moment of these evil days ;
From hope, the paramount duty that Heaven lays,
For its own honour, on man's suffering heart.
Never may from our souls one truth depart,
That an accursed thing it is to gaze
On prosperous Tyrants with a dazzled eye;
Nor, touched with due abhorrence of their guilt
For whose dire ends tears flow, and blood is spilt,
And justice labours in extremity,
Forget thy weakness, upon which is built,
O wretched Man, the throne of Tyranny !
Now that all hearts are glad, all faces bright,
Our aged Sovereign sits ;-to the ebb and flow
Of states and kingdoms, to their joy or woe
Insensible;~he sits deprived of sight,
And lamentably wrapped in twofold night,
Whom’ no weak hopes deceived,—whose mind ensued,
Through perilous war, with regal fortitude,
Peace that should claim respect from lawless Might.
Dread King of Kings, vouchsafe a ray divine
To his forlorn condition ! let thy grace
Upon his inner soul in mercy shine;
Permit his heart to kindle, and embrace,
(l'hough were it only for a moment's space)
The triumphs of this hour; for they are THINE!