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Through the year's successive portals ;
Through the bounds which many a star
Marks, not mindless of frail mortals,
When his light returns from far.
Thus when thou with time hast travell'd
Towards the mighty gulf of things,
And the mazy stream unravell’d
With thy best imaginings,-
Think if thou on beauty leanest,
Think how pitiful that stay,
Did not virtue give the meanest
Charms superior to decay.
Duty, like a strict preceptor,
Sometimes frowns, or seems to frown;
Choose her thistle for thy sceptre,
While thy brow youth’s roses crown.
Grasp it,-if thou shrink and tremble,
Fairest damsel of the green,
Thou wilt lack the only symbol
That proclaims a genuine queen;
And ensures those palms of honour
Which selected spirits wear,
Bending low before the Donor,
Lord of heaven's unchanging year!
Character of the Happy warrior. Who is the happy warrior ? Who is he That every man in arms should wish to be? It is the generous spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought ; Whose high endeavours are an inward light, That make the path before him always bright: Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn ; Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, But makes his moral being his prime care ;
CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY WARRIOR.
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear, and Bloodshed—miserable train !
Turns his necessity to glorious gain;
In face of these doth exercise a power
Which is our human nature's highest dower;
Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
Of their bad influence, and their good receives ;
By objects, which might force the soul to abate
Her feeling, rendered more compassionate :
Is placable, because occasions rise
So often that demand such sacrifice;
More skilful in self-knowledge ; even more pure,
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress ;
Thence also more alive to tenderness.
'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
Upon that law as on the best of friends :
Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
To evil for a guard against worse ill,
And what in quality or act is best
Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
He fixes good on good alone, and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows;
Who, if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means, and there will stand
On honourable terms, or else retire,
And in himself possess his own desire ;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
For wealth, or honours, or for worldly state ;
Whom they must follow ; on whose head must fall,
Like showers of manna, if they come at all;
Whose powers shed round him in the common strife,
Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a lover, and attired
With sudden brightness, like a man inspired ;
And, though the
heat of conflict keeps the law
In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw;
Or if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need.
He who though thus endued as with a sense
And faculty for storm and turbulence,
Is yet a soul whose master-bias leans
To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes ;
Sweet images ! which, wheresoe'er he be,
Are at his heart; and such fidelity
It is his darling passion to approve;
More brave for this, that he hath much to love.
'Tis, finally, the man who lifted high,
Conspicuous object in a nation's eye,
Or left unthought of in obscurity,
Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
Prosperous or adverse to his wish or not,
Plays in the many games of life that one
Where what he most doth value must be won;
Whom neither shape of danger can dismay,
Nor thought of tender happiness betray;
Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
Looks forward, persevering to the last,
From well to better, daily self-surpast :
Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth
For ever, and to noble deeds give birth,
Or he must go to dust without his fame,
And leave a dead unprofitable name,
Finds comfort in himself and in his cause ;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause :
This is the happy warrior; this is he
Whom every man in arms should wish to be.
Born A.D. 1771, died A.D. 1832.
From the Lady of the Lake, Canto VI.
The minstrel came once more to view
The eastern ridge of Ben-venue,
For, ere he parted, he would say
Farewell to lovely Loch-Achray.
Where shall he find, in foreign land,
So lone a lake, so sweet a strand ?
There is no breeze upon the fern,
No ripple on the lake ;
Upon her eyrie nods the erne,
The deer has sought the brake.
The small birds will not sing aloud,
The springing trout lies still ;
So darkly glooms yon thunder cloud,
That swathes, as with a purple shroud,
Benledi's distant hill.
It is the thunder's solemn sound
That mutters deep and dread,
Or echoes from the groaning ground
The warrior's measured tread.
It is the lightning's quivering glance
That on the thicket streams ;
Or do they flash on spear and lance,
The sun's retiring beams ?
I see the Moray's silver star
Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war
up the lake comes winding far !
To hero boune for battle strife,
Or bard of martial lay, 'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life,
One glance at their array.
Their light-arm’d archers far and near
Survey'd the tangled ground;
Their centre ranks, with pike and spear,
A twilight forest frown'd;
Their barbed horsemen, in the rear,
The stern battalia crown'd.
No cymbal clash’d, no clarion rang,
Still were the pipe and drum;
Save heavy tread and armour's clang,
The sullen march was dumb.
There breathed no wind their crests to shake,
Or wave their flags abroad;
Scarce the frail aspen seem'd to quake,
That shadow'd o'er their road.
Their vaward scouts no tidings bring,
Can rouse no lurking foe,
Nor spy a trace of living thing,
Save when they stirr'd the roe;
The host moves like a deep sea-wave,
Where rise no rocks its pride to brave,
High-swelling, dark, and slow.
The lake is pass’d, and now they gain
A narrow and a broken plain,
Before the Trosach's rugged jaws;
And here the horse and spearmen pause,
While to explore the dangerous glen
Dive through the pass the archer-men.
At once there rose
wild a yell
Within that dark and narrow dell,
As all the fiends from heaven that fell
Had peal'd the banner-cry of hell.
Forth from the pass in tumult driven,
Like chaff before the wind of heaven,
The archery appear;
For life! for life! their flight they ply,
And shriek, and shout, and battle-cry,
And plaids and bonnets waving high,
And broad-swords flashing to the sky,
Are maddening in the rear.