Written In The Year 1779, When The Combined
When the keen axe remorseless laid
The woods of Edgecombe low,
Lest now their leafy skreen should aid
The approaches of the foe;
Astonish'd from their dark retreats
The frantic Dryads rove,
And Echo shrieks of woe repeats
Through all the wasted grove:
‘Must we,’ they cry, ‘so long who dwelt
‘On this wave-cinctur'd steep,
‘Who each rude blast unshrinking felt
‘That heaves the Atlantic deep,
‘Must we forsake these solemn shades
‘To distant regions driven,
‘Or view expos'd our forest glades
‘To every beam of heaven?—
‘But ah! what horrid scenes are these!—
‘Lo Bourbon's hostile train
‘Here spread their canvas to the breeze,
‘And darken half the main:
‘Britannia's bloody cross no more
‘Aloft triumphant flies,
‘For see by this insulted shore
‘The Gallic lilies rise!
‘Speed then, oh speed your eager toil!
‘And on this lofty steep
‘Tear every sapling from the soil
‘And launch them on the deep.
‘To you we sisters of the wood
‘At once our charge resign,
‘Ye sea-green daughters of the flood,
‘Old Ocean's Nereid line.
‘So shall they to this threaten'd place
‘A barrier firm extend,
‘And shores their shade was wont to grace,
‘Their thunder shall defend.’
Now the brown woods their leafy load resign
And rage the tempests with resistless force?
Mantled with snow the silver mountains shine,
And icy fetters chain the rivulet's course.
No pleasing object charms our wearied view,
No waving verdure decks the dreary glade,
Save that o'er yonder tomb the mournful yew
Projects an awful solitary shade.
Short is the Spring, and short the Summer hour,
And short the time that fruitful Autumn reigns;
But tedious roll the days when Winter's power
Asserts it's empire o'er our wasted plains.
As swiftly wears our Spring of life away,
As swiftly will our jolly Summer go;
But, ah! when Winter clouds our chearless day,
Again the vernal breezes never blow!
Mark this, and boast your fancied worth no more,
Ye great, ye proud, ye learned, and ye brave!
With hasty lapse some circling years are o'er,
And lo, ye slumber in the silent grave!
Why views the sage fair Pleasure's transient charm,
And all her votaries gay with scowling eye?
Alike he stoops to Fate's superior arm,—
Alike he suffers, and alike must die!
Say, what avails it then with brow severe
The silken bands of Luxury to despise;
To bring by thought the day of horror near,
And view the tempest ere the clouds arise?
Better with laughing nymphs in revels gay
To give the hours to Venus, wine, and song;
And, since the rapid moments never stay,
To catch some pleasures as they glide along.
Deluded man! whom empty sounds beguile,
What transports here await thy anxious soul?
Know, love abhors the venal harlot's smile,
And hell-born fury rages in the bowl.
Seek Virtue to be blest; but seek her far,
Far from those gloomy sons of letter'd pride,
Who 'gainst the passions wage eternal war,
And, foes to Nature, Nature's dictates chide.
Let mirth, not madness, crown the temperate feast;
Let love and beauty joys refin'd impart:
Though mere sensation charm the groveling breast,
'Tis mutual passion fires the generous heart.
The various blessings bounteous Heaven bestows
With gratitude and charity repay,
Relieve thy suffering friend, or share his woes,
But from his failings turn thine eyes away.
So, when the wintry storms of death are past,
In brighter skies, and ether more serene,
Thy wither'd boughs shall bud again, to last
For ever blooming, and for ever green.
The dewy morn her saffron mantle spreads
High o'er the brow of yonder eastern hill;
Each blooming shrub a roseate fragrance sheds,
And the brisk sky-lark sings his carol shrill.
Not all the sweets that scent the morning air,
Not all the dyes that paint the vernal year,
Can from my breast divert it's weighty care,
Can from my pale cheeks charm the trickling tear.
Here, where the willows to the rivulet bend,
That winds it's channel thro' the enamell'd mead,
I'll o'er the turf my waining form extend,
And rest on sedges dank my listless head.
In vain the stream o'er pebbles glide along,
And murmurs sweetly-lulling as it flows;
In vain the stock-dove chaunts her gurgling song,
Inviting slumber soft and calm repose.
How at the fragrant hour of rising morn
Would eager transport throb in ev'ry vein,
To hear the swelling shout and jocund horn
Invite the hunter to the sportive plain!
But, ah, the gay delights of youth are fled!—
In sighs and tears my fading life I wear;
So the pale lily hangs it's drooping head,
When frosts untimely blast the opening year.
Philosophy, thou guardian of the heart,
O come in all thy rigid virtue dress'd!
With manly precept ease my killing smart,
And drive this tyrant from my wounded breast.
Oft would my eyes, disdaining balmy sleep,
The awful labors of thy sons explore,
Fathom with restless toil each maxim deep,
And hang incessant o'er the sacred lore:
Alas! oppos'd to love how weak, how frail
Is all the reasoning of the unfeeling sage!
No forceful arm can o'er his power prevail,
No lenient hand the wounds he gives assuage.
Yes, tyrant, yes; thou must retain thy power,
Till my torn bosom yields to stronger Death:
Still must I love, even in that fatal hour,
And call on Delia with my latest breath.
And when all pale my lifeless limbs extend,
And fate has seal'd the irrevocable doom,
May then my memory find a faithful friend,
To write these votive numbers on my tomb:
‘Here rests a youth, who Love and Sorrow's slave,
‘Gave up his early life to pining care,
‘Till worn with woe he sought, in this calm grave,
‘A safe retreat from comfortless Despair.’
So, when the stone lays o'er my clay-cold head,
If chance fair Delia to the place draw near,
With one sad sigh she may lament me dead,
And bathe the senseless marble with a tear.
The War-Elegies Of Tyrtæus, Imitated: Elegy I.
Not mine to sing the racer's rapid flight,
Or the athletic wrestler's sinewy force,
Not tho' his limbs are strung with giant might,
His active steps outstrip the whirlwind's course;
Her richest boons tho' lavish fortune shower,
His form tho' faultless, tho' divine his face,
Tho' deck'd in all the pride of regal power,
Tho' eloquence his every accent grace.
Not all the gifts of glory and of fame,
All genius, and all industry can yield,
If the firm bosom feel not valor's flame,
Can form the hero of the martial field.
If while he sees pale slaughter stalk around
And stain with purple gore the dewy plain,
He shrink inglorious from the threaten'd wound,
Nor in the radiant van of war remain.
This is true glory—this the noblest pride,
The brightest trophy blooming youth can wear;
This real merit in a people's eyes,
Before the rest the battle's rage to dare.
Disdaining even the thought of flight or fear,
His life, his soul, by steady valor steel'd,
He calls to glorious death the lagging rear;
Such is the hero of the martial field.
Now rushing on th'embattled foe amain
He turns his scatter'd ranks to shameful flight,
Now throws his eagle eye across the plain,
Guides the loud storm, and rules the waves of fight.
If in the battle's front he press the ground,
His friends, his parents, and his country's pride,
His manly bosom pierced with many a wound,
His snowy vest with purple glory dyed,
The mingled tear of youth and age is shed,
His funeral rites assembled senates grace,
The trophied banner o'er his tomb is spread,
And fame eternal waits his honor'd race.
Ne'er shall his glory fade, his name be lost,
(Tho' dead, his worth, his mem'ry, ne'er shall die,)
Who falls contending with the adverse host
For every public, every social tie.
But should he 'scape the long long sleep of death
What grateful crowds the godlike victor hail,
What strains of conquest sung with rapt'rous breath,
What shouts triumphant float on ev'ry gale.
Him every age and rank, alike revere,
Around his brows perennial laurels bloom,
'Till blest with ease thro' many a rolling year
He sink in silence to the peaceful tomb.
To guard, to grace the veteran, all contend,
Where e'er he goes his presence reverence draws,
To him warm youth, and firmer manhood bend,
And even the hoary senior bows applause.
Such is the fame that crowns th'heroic deed,
Such the reward of those who nobly dare;
Then snatch from glory's hand th'immortal meed,
Nor linger in the manly toil of war.
Ode To Liberty
O liberty! celestial maid!
Where has thy vagrant fancy stray'd?
Dost thou from Andes' rifted brow
See boundless empires spread below,
See Orellana pour his stream
Through forests vast, where yet the beam
Of garish day could never come
To penetrate the twilight gloom?
Dost thou thy glowing bosom lave
In shining Plata's sea-broad wave?
Or dost thou listen to the roar,
Where the collected waters pour
Their dreadful course, and foaming sweep
Down Niagara's horrid steep?
And shall thy form no more be seen
On Albion's hills and pastures green?
Wilt thou no more Plinlimmon scale,
Or sport in Cluyd's fertile dale?
Wilt thou Ierne's plains forsake,
And quit Kilarney's lovely lake?
Shall we thy footsteps trace no more
On Caledonia's mountains hoar?—
Ah! nor proud Delphi's rising glade,
Nor Pisa's consecrated shade,
Nor Pindus' mount, nor Academe,
Nor fam'd Eurotas' trophied stream,
Could for an hour thy steps detain
When Grecia bow'd to Vice's reign:
Nor could alas! the softest gale
That blows o'er rich Campania's vale,
Tempt thee to breathe the Latian air
When Luxury exulted there.
Far from bright Phœbus' genial light
Thy wings indignant shaped their flight
To Scandanavia's frozen plain,
Eternal Winter's drear domain;
Where strong with toil each stubborn hord
Joyful thy holy form ador'd:
Though, where their tribes the earth o'er-ran,
Fell desolation led the van,
Though Horror midst their armies stood,
And drench'd their fatal paths with blood;
Yet theirs the unextinguish'd flame
That glows at Freedom's sacred name,
Theirs the firm breast that joys to bleed
For Independence' godlike meed.
But say, does Albion hapless groan
Beneath a Tyrant's bloody throne?
Say, do her dauntless Patriots feel
The fatal ax, and torturing wheel?—
O'er her no cruel Tyrant reigns,
No patriot blood her scaffold stains.
'Tis Luxury's insidious hand
Spreading Corruption through the land;
'Tis Indolence whose powers controul
Each nobler purpose of the soul;
'Tis noisy Faction's selfish aim,
Disguis'd beneath thy specious name.
These are the fiends whose fatal rage
In every clime, and every age,
Have overturn'd each noble pile
Rear'd by thy hands with useless toil:
But where in hardship's rugged school
Mankind have learn'd themselves to rule,
Pale Slavery there may shake in vain
Her iron rod, and galling chain:
No force the fearless soul can bind,
Or bow the unconquerable mind.
Scorn'd is the Tyrant's harsh decree
When inborn Virtue bids be free.
The solemn hand of sable-suited night
Enwraps the silent earth with mantle drear;
Thick gathering clouds obscure fair CYNTHIA's light;
Nor shines one star the dusky scene to chear.
O'er the sad mansion, hid in aweful gloom,
The Æthiop darkness spreads her ebon sway;
Save that alone from yonder studious room
The wasting taper sheds a trembling ray.
Now, while the tenants of this sacred dome
Turn the grave page, or sink to soft repose,
Along the Gothic cloisters let me roam,
And, deep in thought, the tedious moments lose.
Now breathes the whistling wind a mournful song,
And pattering drops the drizzly tempest tell;
While Echo stalks the gloomy vaults among,
Sadly-responsive to the midnight bell.
And hark!—the staring owl with boding strain
Shrieks notes of terror from the learned grove.
Ah horrid sounds! full well ye soothe my pain!
Full well your music greets despairing love!
No longer now around the social bowl
I join the festive laugh, or sprightly lay;
But pour in ceaseless sighs my lovesick soul,
Till fades the lamp at bright AURORA's ray.
How at the fragrant hour of rising morn
Would eager transport throb in ev'ry vein,
To hear the swelling shout and jocund horn
Invite the hunter to the sportive plain!
But, ah, the gay delights of youth are fled!—
In sighs and tears my fading life I wear;
So the pale lilly hangs its drooping head,
When frosts untimely blast the ripening year.
Philosophy, thou guardian of the heart,
O come in all thy rigid virtue dressed!
With manly precept ease my killing smart,
And drive this tyrant from my wounded breast.
Oft would my eyes, disdaining balmy sleep,
The aweful labors of thy sons explore,
Fathom with restless toil each maxim deep,
And hang incessant o'er the sacred lore:
Alas! opposed to love how weak, how frail
Is all the reasoning of the unfeeling sage!
No forceful arm can o'er his power prevail;
No lenient hand the wounds he gives asswage.
Yes, tyrant, yes; thou must retain thy power,
Till my torn bosom yields to stronger Death:
Still must I love, even in that fatal hour,
And call on DELIA with my latest breath.
And when all pale my lifeless limbs extend,
And fate has sealed the irrevocable doom,
May then my memory find a faithful friend,
To write these votive numbers on my tomb:
'Here rests a youth, who, Love and Sorrow's slave,
'Gave up his early life to pining care,
'Till worn with woe he sought, in this calm grave,
'A safe retreat from comfortless Despair.'
So, when the stone lies o'er my clay-cold head,
If chance fair DELIA to the place draw near,
With one sad sigh she may lament me dead,
And bathe the senseless marble with a tear.
The Fading Gleam Of Parting Day
The fading gleam of parting day
Forsakes the western sky,
Now shines Diana's chaster ray
With virgin majesty;
Her face with milder glory bright
Pales o'er the dusky shades of night,
And brings the varied scene to view:
The glassy lake, the bubbling stream,
Again reflect the borrow'd beam,
And take the silver hue.
From the deep shade of yonder trees
The screaming night-birds call,
While floats in Zephyr's balmy breeze
The distant water-fall;
Sad Philomela's warbling throat
Pours forth the sweetly-mournful note,
And charms the lay-resounding grove,
Where, trembling at the gentle gale,
The bending fir, and poplar pale,
In rushing murmurs move.
What joyful sounds arise!—
These strains of rural music sink,
And shrill-ton'd clarions rend the skies,
The air a voice of triumph chears—
Behold, an awful form appears
On Cherwell's sedgy brink!
His azure length of robe behind
Loosely wantons in the wind,
Glowing like the vernal morning
Beams benign his eye-balls shed,
Ceres' wealth his brows adorning
Shades his venerable head.
Say, heav'nly Vision, what these notes portend;
Sits white-wing'd Vict'ry on Britannia's arms?
Does proud Iberia to our legions bend,
Or flies the Gaul at Granby's dread alarms,
Or stalks on India's sun-burnt plains afar
The force of Conflict keen, and giant rage of War?
‘Far hence, he cried, the tumult's roar
‘To distant climes shall fly,
‘Mirth revels now on Albion's shore,
‘And blithe Festivity.
‘Ye Muses, twine each fragrant flower
‘To crown with roseate braids the hour
‘Which gave to George a blooming Heir;
‘Ye guardians of this favour'd isle,
‘With graceful pleasure kindly smile,
‘Ye Nymphs your wreaths prepare.
‘Come happy babe! delight the lands
‘Which time shall make thy own;
‘Come happy babe! whom Heav'n commands
‘To fill a future throne.
‘And when the sacred lore of truth
‘Shall gently form thy ripening youth,
‘May ev'ry grateful Briton find
‘The soul of George's godlike race,
‘With lovely Charlotte's softer grace,
‘Attemper'd in thy mind.
‘For thee on Afric's burning coast
‘Aloft the British ensign waves;
‘For thee by rattling tempests tost
‘Their navies awe the Gallic pride,
‘On every realm, whose hostile side
‘The boundless ocean laves;—
‘With nobler skill and fiercer fire
‘Strike the rapture-breathing lyre!
‘Hark!—on Cambria's cloud-topt mountains
‘Music winds her streams along:
‘As they flow, the crystal fountains
‘Listen to the jocund song!
‘Lo! glorious shades and halcyon days appear
‘Fair as the Morn in saffron mantle dight,—
‘But sounds divine ill suit the human ear,
‘And fleeting visions mock the mortal sight.’
He said: and rushing from my wond'ring eyes,
On rapid light'ning borne, he sought his native skies.
Ode On The Birth Of The Prince Of Wales
The fading beam of parting day
Forsakes the western sky,
Now shines Diana's gentler ray
With virgin majesty;
Her face with milder glory bright
Illumes the dusky shades of night,
And brings the varied scene to view.
The glassy lake, and bubbling stream,
Again reflect the borrow'd beam,
And take a silver hue.
From the deep shade of yonder trees
The screaming night-birds call,
While floats on Zephyr's balmy breeze
The distant waterfall:
Sad Philomela's warbling throat
Pours to the moon her plaintive note
And charms the lay-resounding grove,
Where, trembling at the gentle gale,
The verdant beech, and poplar pale,
With rustling murmurs move.
What dreadful sounds arise?—
These notes of rural music sink
And shrill-ton'd clarions rend the skies;
The air a voice of triumph chears,
And lo! a form divine appears
On Cherwell's sedgy brink.
His azure length of robe behind
Loosely wantons in the wind;
Glowing like the vernal morning
Beams benign his eye-balls shed;
Ceres' wealth his brows adorning
Shades his venerable head.
Say heavenly vision what these notes portend?
Sits white-wing'd Victory on Britannia's arms?
Does proud Iberia to her legions bend,
Or flies the Gaul at Granby's dread alarms,
Or stalks on India's sun-burn'd coasts afar
The force of conflict keen, and giant rage of war?
‘Far hence,’ he cried, ‘the tumult's roar
‘To distant realms shall fly:
‘Mirth revels now on Albion's shore
‘With blythe festivity.
‘Ye Muses twine each fragant flower
‘To crown the day, to crown the hour,
‘Which gave to George a blooming heir;
‘Ye Guardians of this favor'd isle
‘On this your future monarch smile,
‘Ye Nymphs your wreaths prepare.
‘Come happy child! delight the land
‘Where time shall fix thy throne:
‘O come, and take from Freedom's hand
‘A sceptre all her own:
‘And when the sacred lore of truth
‘Display'd, shall form thy ripening youth,
‘May every joyful Briton find
‘The soul of George's godlike race,
‘With lovely Charlotte's softer grace,
‘Attemper'd, in thy mind.
‘For thee on Afric's sultry coast
‘The British ensign proudly waves;
‘For thee by distant tempests tost
‘Our navies awe the Gallic pride
‘On every shore, whose hostile side
‘The boundless Ocean laves.—
‘With nobler skill, and fiercer fire,
‘Strike the rapture-breathing lyre.—
‘Hark!—from Cambria's cloud-top'd mountains
‘Music winds her stream along,
‘As they flow the crystal fountains
‘Listen to the jocund song,
‘Lo radiant forms and glorious shades appear,
‘Fair as the morn in saffron mantle dight;
‘But strains divine ill suit the human ear,
‘And fleeting visions mock the mortal sight.’—
He said, and rushing from my wondering eyes,
On volley'd lightening borne, he sought his native skies.
O Happiness! thou wish of every mind,
Whose form, more subtle than the fleeting air,
Leaves all thy votaries wandering far behind,
Eludes their search, and mocks their anxious care
What distant region holds thy fair retreat,
Where no keen look thy footsteps may surprise?
In what lone desert hast thou fix'd thy seat,
Far from the curious search of mortal eyes?
Amid the jocund race, say, art thou found,
Who pass in mirth the dreary hours of night;
Or in the dance with pliant sinews bound,
Till fades the taper at Aurora's light?
Ah no! when Reason reassumes her sway,
And the tamed blood in calmer current flows,
These joys, like fairy visions, melt away,
And leave the bosom press'd with serious woes.
Or, dost Thou dwell with regal pomp and power,
Rever'd and honor'd by the wise and great?
Ten thousand cares on scepter'd splendor lower,
And bend the weary monarch with their weight.
Or, shall we seek Thee through the ranks of war,
Where bold Ambition leads her daring train;
While the shrill clarion, sounding from afar,
Calls the slow warrior to the purple plain?
Alas not there!—though conquest grace his sword,
Though proudly wave his banners in the air,
By legions guarded, the victorious Lord
Shall find no arms to shield his heart from care.
Dost Thou reside in the gay youth's fond breast,
Who bends obedient to the power of love;
Who, by the fair one he adores caress'd,
May all the joys of mutual transport prove?—
With passion fraught, though smiling now serene,
In soft endearments flow each tender hour;
Too soon, alas! must change the blissful scene,
When time's cold blast shall blow on beauty's flower.
And oft, amid the blooming days of youth,
Inconstancy asserts her fickle reign;
Or pale-ey'd Jealousy, with venom'd tooth,
Cankers the golden links of Hymen's chain.
All calm and safe the tide of love appears,
The youthful poet's ever darling theme;
The venturous pilot there no quicksands fears,
But launches boldly down the flattering stream,
Till on his bark the warring surges break,
And every billow seems to threaten fate:
The voice of Prudence then begins to speak,
But ah, the voice of Prudence speaks too late!
Is bliss sincere then no where to be found,
The vain creation of the Enthusiast's mind?
Or, if she deign to dwell on mortal ground,
Where may we hope her fair abode to find?
The sweets of pleasure, and the pomp of power,
In Luxury's enchanting semblance dress'd,
She slights with deepest scorn; nor will reside
But in the precincts of the virtuous breast.
The virtuous breast, in conscious honour bold,
Will want and pain and death itself despise:
Will from each trying woe, like heated gold,
With greater splendor, greater merit rise.
There she has ever fix'd her firmest throne;
There scorn'd the bolts by rage and malice hurl'd;
And, found by wisdom, and by worth alone,
Mock'd the vain labors of a vicious world.
October And May
ADDRESSED TO SAMUEL JAMES ARNOLD, Esq.
: 'Behold, with mild and matron mien,
'With sober eye, and brow serene,
'October sweep along;
'Bright are her groves with vivid dyes,
'Refulgent beam her cloudless skies,
'And sweet her red-breast's song.
'Her temper bland, no passions sway,
'The same to-morrow as to-day,
'Her tints so soft, so warm,
'That Painting, with enraptur'd view,
'Hangs o'er each variegated hue,
'And copies every charm.
'Then let the Muse's thrilling lyre
'To Painting join its silver wire,
'And hail October's fame;
'Nor let that peevish vixen May,
'Whose frowns and tears deform the day,
'Her notes for ever claim.'
Why, faith! there's truth in what you say:
Yet poets love the young and gay;—
Though fickle May is teasing,
Though frowns and tears obscure her smiles,
In spite of all her pouting wiles
The little vixen's pleasing.
Then when she smiles, she smiles so sweet,
Such colours and such perfumes meet,
Such health is in her hue;
Such odours from her bosom breathe,
That poets give to her the wreath,
Who smell, as well as view.
Besides, you painters have the art,
Charms artificial to impart,
And make the wrinkle sleek.
Though red the blushing hawthorn shine,
To me it looks like deep carmine
Upon a faded cheek.
See how the hawthorn snowy blooms;
Its scent the passing gale perfumes:
Mark how the lilac blows—
Profuse while Flora o'er the meads,
Where'er the laughing goddess treads,
Her fragrant burden throws.
'But Spring's gay landscape shows too bright
'Masses of vegetable white,
'And light unvaried green;'—
Can then the artist's partial eye
No charm in Nature's works descry,
Unless he paint the scene?
The rugged brow, the form uncouth,
Will more than beauty or than youth
The painter's skill engage;
But will from youth and beauty's charms
The painter fly, and in his arms
Clasp ugliness and age?
Light ills, whence comic laughter flows,
And tragedy's severer woes,
Are favourites of the Muse;
But days replete with ease and joy,
Unting'd by aught of pain's alloy,
In real life we choose.
Say, can the robin's plaintive note
Mate Philomela's warbling throat
Which nightly charms the grove;
Or full and sweet, the feather'd throng,
Who loudly chant the matin song
Of ecstacy and love?
And bounding see in sportive dance,
Frolic the summer months advance,
Led on by youthful May;
While on October's solemn state
The hours of dreary winter wait,
The heralds of decay.
The frowning brow, the tearful eye
Of blooming May shall swiftly fly,
And every cloud be past;
While on October's richest hue
Doubtful we throw an anxious view,
And fear each smile her last.
But you, my friend, whose gifted mind,
In friendly union fondly join'd,
The sister arts inspire;
Who know alike with skilful hand
The glowing pencil to command,
And strike the sacred lyre,
Will now mild Autumn's various dyes,
His mellow tints, and purple skies,
With plastic hand pourtray;
Now taste the fragrant breath of Spring,
Her sylvan chorus join, and sing
The ambrosial sweets of May.
Ode To Beauty
Enchanting power! whose influence blest
O'er Nature reigns with pleasing sway,
Whose mild command each gentler breast
Enraptur'd glories to obey:
O give my ravish'd sense to trace
In every form thy polish'd grace,
Whether thy footsteps deign to tread
The level of the enamel'd mead,
Whether thou joy'st to haunt the dale,
Or drink the mountain's ambient gale,
Or, with a more ambitious aim,
To animate the human frame,
Bid the bright eye resistless charm,
The snowy bosom swell, or shape the ivory arm.
When at the Eternal's dread command
From Chaos rose this fabric fair,
He bade thy ornamenting hand
O'er all creation spread it's care.
By thee was Earth's maternal breast
Involv'd in verdure's radiant vest,
Heaven's spacious arch thy tints embue
With the deep azure's dazzling hue,
O'er the bleak hill thy order bade
The forest spread luxuriant shade,
Thy fingers through the irriguous mead
The river's shining current lead
Till it's increasing waters gain
The unconfin'd expanse of Ocean's vast domain.
Glows not a shrub with vivid bloom
Mid the recesses of the vale;
Sheds not a flower it's rich perfume
To scent the pinions of the gale;
Waves not a beech it's leafy bough
To shade the mountain's hoary brow;
Bends not an osier dank to lave
It's branches in the passing wave.
Down the rude cliff's tremendous side
Pours not a stream it's whitening tide,
Nor arch'd by silver poplars, cool
Spreads it's smooth breast the lucid pool,
But every Muse shall read thy care,
Shall trace thy vagrant step, and mark thy pencil there.
But in the lovely Virgin's eye
And polish'd form, and blooming face,
Thy fairest lustre we descry,
And gaze upon thy purest grace.
Ah say! can all the mingled flowers
Whose roseate leaves, the circling hours
On earth's green bosom lavish fling,
When genial Zephyr breathes the spring,
Please like the maid whose charms inspire
The glowing wish of young desire?
Though blush with varied dyes the trees,
Though sweets ambrosial load the breeze,
Flies every bloom, fades every green,
Till female Beauty deign to crown the enchanting scene.
Beneath the spicy forest's shade
The Indian breathes his amorous vow,
Where ice eternal binds the glade
Thy power the frozen Zemblians know;
For there thy beam with heavenly light
Has chear'd the gloom of polar night.
Where to the Eunuch's servile care
Luxury commits the imprison'd fair,
There o'er the desolated plains
Stern Slavery unresisted reigns,
But where Love's gentle rights are known
Which mutual freedom gives alone,
There Courage dwells, ingenuous Shame,
And Virtue's holy meed, and Glory's ardent flame.
But though the smiling Landscape spread
It's richest views on every side,
Though waves each oak it's solemn head
In all the pomp of leafy pride:
What pleasure shall these scenes impart,
How soothe to rest the laboring heart,
If malice fell, or black despair,
Or keen remorse inhabit there?
And say can all the charms that lie
In Hebe's cheek, or Helen's eye,
Delight, if scorn, or cold disdain,
Or changes desultory reign,
Or Jealousy's tormenting sway,
Usurp the power of Love, or cloud his golden ray.
'Tis in the conscious mind alone
That Beauty shews her purest beam,
There stands secure her lasting throne
Not idly borne on Fancy's stream:
Though the rude blast, and wintry storm,
The blooming Landscape's charms deform,
Though withering time, or pale disease,
Bid the wan cheek no longer please,
Yet if within the feeling breast
Soft pity dwell a welcome guest,
If smiling Peace, and Meekness sweet,
And Constancy there fix their seat;
Then shall thy charms despise the rage
Of winter's dreary frown, and mock the force of age.
The Eighth Olympic Ode Of Pindar
Olympia! Mother of heroic Games!
Queen of true Prophecy! beneath whose grove
While the red victims pile the aspiring flames,
The Augurs search the high behests of Jove:
Thence try to know on whom he'll deign to smile
Of those, who, by the means of glorious toil,
Seek on the dusty cirque with generous pain,
Virtue's immortal meed, and honor'd rest to gain.
For to the supplications of the Good
He ever deigns a favoring ear to give,
O Pisa's woody shades, o'er Alpheus' flood
That wave, my wreath-bestowing Song receive;
Eternal Fame, and endless Honors shine,
On him whose brows thy sacred Leaves entwine.—
For different pleasures, different bosoms glow,
And various ways to bliss the indulgent Gods bestow.
Timosthenes, what fair renown
Was on thy almost infant actions shed,
When genial Jove resolv'd with Fame to crown
Thine and thy Brother's youthful head!
While shouting Nemea owns thy conquering name,
And Pisa's groves Alcimedon proclaim:
Lovely shone his form, and face;
Nor did his deeds that form disgrace,
When, Victor in the glorious strife,
He bade the listening woods around
Ægina's sea-girt shores resound;
Whose regions gave him life.
There sacred Themis sits, belov'd of Jove,
Her favorite people's ever-watchful guard,
The crouded coasts where various nations move
To judge with skill, and sway in peace, is hard;
By Heaven's decree, amidst the briny flood
This isle, to every stranger sacred, stood
A column firm.—O ne'er may rolling time,
Or black misfortune, change the hospitable clime!
Here Doria's warlike race their reign begun;
Here, after Æacus, their empire rose,
Whom potent Neptune, and Latona's son,
The friend, and partner of their labor, chose,
What time with social care, those heavenly powers
Crown'd Ilion's sacred seat with strengthen'd towers:
For even then the hostile Fates decreed
Her ample Fanes should fall, her hardy Warriors bleed.
When the massy work was rais'd,
Three azure Dragons on the new-made wall
With fury sprung—the people saw amaz'd
Two on the ground expiring fall;
The third with horrid roars the summit gain'd,
When Phœbus thus the fatal sign explain'd:
‘O Æacus, the insulting foe
‘Shall lay the haughty turrets low,
‘Which thou hast rear'd with mortal hands:
‘Ilion, I see thy fate decreed;
‘And in this omen plainly read
‘Immortal Jove's commands.
‘Nor shall without thy race these bulwarks fall,
‘Thy sons at first shall shake the new-form'd state;
‘The hostile Gods thy grandson's offspring call,
‘To seal it's doom, and close the work of fate.’
Thus spoke the God, and straight o'er Xanthus' tide
His skilful hands the heavenly coursers guide,
Till midst the warrior race his chariot stood
Of Amazonian Dames, by Isther's frozen flood.
Immortal Neptune's golden horses now
To sea-beat Isthmus bear his rapid car:
There Æacus on Corinth's lofty brow
They leave, spectator of the sportive war.—
No bliss alike charms all.—The votive lays
Shall envy blast, that chant Melesias' praise?
Whose infant sinews, courting fair renown,
Add to his other wreaths the fam'd Nemean crown.
After, with manly sinews strong,
He in the great Pancratium won the prize:—
To teach, must surely to the skill'd belong,
Experience fools alone despise:
Full well the Hero knows above the rest
To form with precepts sage the manly breast;
To point the surest path that leads
To glorious acts, and daring deeds,
And future wreaths of fame prepare;
And well his Pupil's fair renown,
Who now has won the thirtieth crown,
Rewards his Teacher's care.
By fortune favor'd, nor by manhood less,
Four striplings in the strife he overcame,
Bade infamy their vanquish'd limbs oppress,
And sent them home with foreheads veil'd in shame;
While to his Grandsire's hoary head he brings
Triumphant joy, whence health, whence vigor springs;
For he whom Fortune fans with prosperous breath,
Forgets the pains of Age, and near approach of Death.
Mnemosyne, awake the silver Lyre,
Lo! the Blepsiadæ demand the song:
Well their brave brows the flowery bands require,
To whom now six Olympic Crowns belong.
Nor will the Muse forget the honor'd head
Though sunk to earth, and number'd with the dead.
The virtuous actions of the Good and Brave,
Shall rouze the sleeping dust, and pierce the silent grave.
Iphion 'midst the infernal seats
The pleasing news from Hermes' daughter hears;
He to Callimachus the tale repeats,
Who drinks it with exulting ears,
That Jove's supreme behest had deign'd to grace
With Pisa's sacred meed their happy race.
Still may he good on good bestow,
No pallid sickness let them know,
Nor Nemesis their social band
By cursed Discord e'er disjoin;
But happy may they ever shine,
To bless their native land!
The Ninth Olympic Ode Of Pindar
The Lay Archilochus prepar'd, the meed
Of every Victor on Olympia's sand,
Might have sufficed, thrice chanted, to proceed
Brave Epharmostus and his social band;
But from her bow let each Aonian maid
The glittering shafts of harmony prepare,
The heights of sacred Elis to invade,
Her shady forests, and her pastures fair;
Seats sacred still to thunder-bearing Jove,
Which Pelops gain'd, the dower of Hippodamia's love.
To Pythia too one dulcet arrow send.—
Nor does the Poet humble lays require
That sings the Chiefs for Glory who contend.—
To princely Opus now the silver lyre
Awake, and chant her sons athletic worth.
Opus, where Themis, with her daughter, reigns,
Divine Eunomia.—Mindful of his birth,
He decks the capital of Locris' plains
With every flower on Alpheus' brink that grows,
And every blooming wreath Castalia's cirque bestows.
My votive voice, in soothing lays,
Shall sing the much-lov'd city's praise;
And, swifter than the courser scours the plain,
Or the wing'd galley cleaves the yielding main,
Will send the Messenger of Fame
Through all the admiring world, her honors to proclaim.
If haply my assiduous hand
Shall cull the flowers that deck the Graces' Land.
For every bliss that crowns mankind,
Must from the Powers Superior rise;
And every plan's by them design'd,
That forms the Valiant or the Wise.
Favor'd by them, Alcides' nervous arm
Repell'd the Monarch of the briny flood;
Nor did the silver bow his heart alarm,
But, firmly, angry Phœbus' rage he stood;
Nor could stern Pluto's rod his breast dismay,
Which drives the dying to his drear abodes:—
Rash Muse, desist! nor urge the impious lay;
Hateful's the wisdom that blasphemes the Gods.—
'Tis madness, strength absurdly thus to boast,
And mortal might compare with Heaven's triumphant Host.
Let War and Disord, with the ills they bring,
Be banish'd distant from the Ethereal Train:
Fair Protogenia's new-rais'd city sing,
Where, from Parnassus to the level plain,
Deucalion and his Mate, descending first,
By Jove's command the rising dome design'd;
While from the stones their living offspring burst,
To fill the nations, and renew mankind.—
Let strains like these their pleas'd descendants hear,
Old wine delights the taste, new numbers charm the ear.
Of old o'er earth's involved head,
The congregated waters spread,
And o'er the wasted country urg'd their course;
Till Jove, relenting, check'd their ruthless force,
And bade their native beds again
The raging waves absorb, and spare the ravag'd plain.
From Pyrrha and Deucalion then
Your sires arose, a hardy race of men.
Thence your honor'd lineage springs,
The offspring of a a God's embrace;
And hence, for ever native Kings,
With glory reigns the warlike race.
Opus, thy daughter erst Olympic Jove
To shady Mænalus from Elis bore;
And there compressing with impetuous love,
Restor'd her to her plighted Lord once more,
Her womb then teeming with the heavenly child;
Lest fate his days without a son should claim.
The Hero on the foster'd Infant smil'd,
Pleas'd with his form, and gave his grandsire's name,
And subjects brave bestow'd, and fair domains;
Whence Opus' lofty walls, and Locris' hardy swains.
Drawn by his virtues, to whose friendly towers,
From Argos, Thebes, and Pisa's fertile plain,
And fair Arcadia, croud the social powers,
Menoetius, chief among the warrior train
He lov'd, from Actor and Ægina sprung:
Whose son when wrong'd Atrides call'd to arms,
Was nobly found the vengeful train among;
Who, when the Greeks from Telephus' alarms
Found shameful safety on the friendly flood
With Peleus' godlike son, the threatening storm withstood.
From hence the skilful well might find
The impatience of Patroclus' mind:
Achilles, therefore, with parental care,
Advis'd him ne'er alone to tempt the war.—
O could I soar on daring wings,
Where, in her rapid car, the Muse exulting sings;
(For ample power, and eager will,
Attend with duteous care her footsteps still
Thy social worth, and Isthmian prize,
Lampromachus, should grace my lay.
When Fame beheld two trophies rise
Congenial, in one rolling day.
Twice, Epharmostus, too, thy matchless might
Fair Corinth saw, twice Nemea's hallow'd ground:
Argos thy manly brows with glory dight,
And Attica thy youthful forehead crown'd:
What praise thou met'st in Marathon's fam'd course!
Now, scorning with the beardless youth to run,
Match'd with the veteran race, thy rapid force,
Temper'd with skill, the silver goblet won;
Shout with exulting voice the friendly train,
To see the loveliest youth the fairest trophies gain.
Lycæan Jove's high feast with wonder glow'd
As bold Parrhasia's sons thy form behold;
Her prize Pellene on thy strength bestow'd,
A guard from warring winds, and wintry cold.
Iolaus' tomb, and fair Eleusis' plain
Wash'd by the briny wave, thy deeds attest.
Though men by labor strive applause to gain,
Yet native merit ever shines the best;
Nor shall the wreaths attain'd by toil and care,
With heaven-descended might, and inborn worth compare.
Not every path extends the same,
But various are the roads to Fame;
With different eye the same pursuits we view,
Nor all one wish with equal zeal pursue;
But his great fame shall highest soar,
Who climbs the arduous heights of Science' sacred lore.
By which inspir'd, I now proclaim
My Hero's heaven-born strength, and native Fame;
Who, conqueror on Oïlia's plain,
Bade the bright wreath of Victory twine,
Great Ajax, round thy votive fane,
And graced with wreaths the hallow'd shrine.
The Tenth Olympic Ode Of Pindar
O Muse, awake the Olympic Lay,
Which to Archestratus' brave Son we owe;
The meed I promis'd to bestow,
Oblivion's icy hand had wip'd away:
And thou, O Truth, the favorite Maid
Of thundering Jove, vouchsafe thy aid
To quell their slanderous falshoods, who pretend
I e'er with wilful aim deceiv'd a trusting Friend.
Full many an hour has roll'd away
Since shame has made my cheeks with crimson glow,
So long the promis'd meed to owe:
But now the song, with interest, I'll repay;
And, as where Ocean's billows roar,
They clear from stain the pebbled shore,
So shall the breath of this my friendly strain,
To listening crouds assert my spotless faith again.
Where, gently fann'd by Zephyr's balmy breeze,
Fair Truth o'er Locris' colony presides;
Her Guardian, sweet Calliope, she sees,
While warlike Mars the generous care divides.—
Bold Cycnus, in the hard-fought field,
Forced Hercules at first to yield;
Agesidamus, so thy might
Was wavering in the Olympic fight,
Till, as Achilles' friendly tongue
Patroclus' fainting limbs new strung;
Brave Ilas' words thy drooping spirits fire,
Thy slumbering virtues rouse, and god-like deeds inspire.
When Emulation warms the breast,
The Youth (Heaven aiding) matchless Fame shall gain;
But few the envied Prize obtain
By slothful luxury and lazy rest.
Now custom bids my Muse proclaim
Jove's Festival and solemn Game,
With which Alcides honor'd Pelops' Shrine,
When Neptune's baffled sons confess'd his power divine.
When his triumphant arm had laid,
O blameless Cteatus! thy glory low;
And bold Eurytas felt the blow,
O'ercome by stratagem in Cleon's glade;
From proud Augeas to obtain
The promis'd meed of toil and pain;
And wreak on Molion's sons the fatal day,
When stretch'd on Elis' plains his slaughter'd army lay.
Soon did the faithless King his fraud repay,
He saw his country's fairest hopes expire;
Saw his exulting cities fall a prey
To vengeful slaughter, and consuming fire;
Saw desolation's iron reign
Extend o'er all his fair domain—
Vain are the endeavours to withstand
The vengeance of a mightier hand;
Awhile he rashly tried to oppose
The forceful entry of his shouting foes;
Till, seeing fell destruction round him wait,
He sought amid the press, a voluntary fate.
On Pisa's plains the son of Jove
Assembled, with their spoils, his conquering band;
And bade for ever sacred stand
To his eternal Sire this hallow'd grove:
Bade sacred fences straight surround
The Altis' consecrated ground;
Whilst round, the festive seats with splendor gleam,
And crown the verdant brink of Alpheus' honored stream.
Alpheus, who, with the imperial train
Of high Olympus, shares the sacrifice;
Where the Saturnian summits rise,
With site conspicuous from the trophied plain:—
There, erst when Oenomaus sway'd,
In snow was wrapp'd the unnoticed glade.
On the first rites propitious smil'd the Fates;
And Time, on whom even Truth for confirmation waits:
He, rolling on with never-ceasing course,
To the succeeding race of men declares,
How the rich spoils of war's resistless force,
The godlike Hero 'midst his army shares;
And bids the festive games still chear
Again each fifth revolving year.—
Who in the contests, now ordain'd,
The first Olympic wreath obtain'd?
Whose coursers in the rattling car,
Or limbs exerted in the sportive war,
Or feet inur'd to urge the rapid race,
Snatch'd from their baffled foes the matchless olive's grace?
On the long Stadium's even course,
Oeonus, great Licymnius' valiant son,
The Prize with active footsteps won,
Who brought from Midia's plains his friendly force:
Resplendent with the wrestler's oil,
Fair Victory crown'd the Tegean's toil:
While brave Doryclus, from Tirynthe's shore,
The Cæstus' manly prize from all his rivals bore.
Conspicuous on his conquering car,
The Muse Mantinian Semus' Coursers sings;
Phrastor the unerring javelin flings;
While, by Eniceus' sinews hurl'd, afar
Beyond the rest the Discus flies.—
Resound the shores with friendly cries;
While lovely Luna pours her argent light
Full-orb'd, and chears with rays the gloomy shades of night.
The echoing woods, and vaulted temples round,
Ring with the jocund shouts, and festive strain.
Following their great example, we resound
Their glories who the Olympic Olive gain:
And in the far-resounding verse
The manly Victor's praise rehearse,
And tune the Hymn to awful Jove;
Who, 'mid the sapphire plains above,
Bids the bright-gleaming lightning fly,
And darts the thunder thro' the trembling sky.
Breath'd to soft flutes sweet sounds the lingering lay,
Which, form'd on Dirce's brink, though long deferr'd, we pay.
As grateful comes the long-hop'd air;
As to the expecting sire whom age and pain
To second childhood bend again,
The happy offspring of a legal heir:
The joyful tidings straight impart
New vigor to his sinking heart;
For wealth itself the dying breast offends,
When to a stranger's hand the envied gift descends.
So he who at dread Pluto's gate
Arrives unsung;—though worth and fair renown
His every word and action crown,
What shining honor shall that worth await?
Thy ears, the lyre, and dulcet flute,
Agesidamus! shall salute;
O'er thy fair fame distil mellifluous lays,
And all Pieria's Choir afford thee ample praise.
And on his country too we must bestow
The faithful tribute of a votive verse;
On Locris' race the honied stream shall flow,
While their victorious son my lays rehearse;
Whom, by Olympia's awful shrine,
My eyes beheld, with strength divine,
In the stern conflict bear away
The envied trohpies of the day.
Lovely his form, while youth's soft grace
Shed smiling beauty o'er his face;
Youth's bloom divine, which, join'd to potent Love,
The ruthless arm of Death from Ganymedes drove.
Beauty. Part I.
A POETICAL ESSAY.
The various powers by Nature's hand combin'd
To fill with harmony the raptur'd mind;
Whose forms, as diff'rent lustre they impart,
Or strike the senses, or exalt the heart,
My daring Muse unfolds;—resolv'd to trace
The glorious theme thro' ev'ry path of space;
Till borne aloft on Truth's triumphant wings
Boldly she rise, and soaring as she sings,
By Fancy urg'd, she shape her vent'rous flight
To those blest regions of supreme delight,
Where Beauty pours her noblest, brightest ray,
Amidst the mansions of eternal day.
Daughters of Albion; ye whose eyes dispense
The mildest beams of virgin innocence,
Whose charms by all the Graces are design'd,
Each the fair emblem of a fairer mind,
To you I dedicate this votive lay:—
With kind applause the pleasing labour pay:
Crown with your myrtle wreaths my artless lyre,
Nor scorn the numbers which yourselves inspire:
So shall my Muse the Poet's bay disclaim,
And prize your smiles, beyond the breath of Fame.
Come, sacred Nature! Nymph divinely bright!
Unfold thy prospects to my eager sight,
O'er flow'ry lawns, with thee, O, let me rove,
And tread the devious lab'rinth of the grove.
Come in the garb of simple grandeur dress'd,
And by thy precepts form my docile breast;
Clear ev'ry mist, and give my eyes to see,
That Beauty only is deriv'd from thee.
Teach me that ev'ry art in ev'ry age
Is but a transcript from thy perfect page,
Where imitation ever charms us most,
And the best model, is the noblest boast.
When the discerning sons of Greece and Rome
Bent the proud arch, and swell'd the stately dome,
E'er gothic structures idly pleas'd the heart,
With all the nice perplexities of art,
The glorious architects rever'd thy name,
And following Nature, found the road to fame.
While Gallic artists proud to shine alone
Amidst a new creation of their own,
Boast too refin'd a taste to suffer thee
To guide a riv'let, or to rear a tree;
But art, expence, and labour have combin'd,
To draw th' attention of the trifling mind,
That senseless crowds may view with ideot stare,
The watry column, and the spruce parterre.
Yet tho' Le Notre bade on ev'ry side
The dazzling garden spread its flow'ry pride,
While the unvaried lawn, and vista'd shade,
In lines, and squares were regularly laid;
Tho' proud Versailles, thro' marble fountains, play
Her tortur'd waters to the face of day,
Such scenes, which only charm us by surprize,
O! may I never view, but to despise:
My wand'ring footsteps rather deign to lead
Thro' the dark forest, or th' enamel'd mead;
Where winding streams divide the verdant vale,
And artless music floats in ev'ry gale.
Ye Nymphs of Pindus! who have still possess'd
From earliest infancy my raptur'd breast,
And thou, celestial Fancy, matchless maid!
Descend propitious to your vot'ry's aid,
Bear me to happier regions far away,
From whence Hyperion darts his ev'ning ray,
Where Beauty's native form was ne'er defac'd
By servile ignorance, and barb'rous taste,
But thro' luxuriant fields, and fragrant groves,
In innocence the peaceful savage roves:
Where lofty mountains lift their piny heads,
Where its green lap the vast savannah spreads,
Or where the congregated waters sweep
With foaming lapse, down Niagara's steep,
Can all the pride of tasteless artists vie
With objects vast as these!—in Reason's eye?
Where Beauty dwells amidst the spacious plains,
Dress'd in her richest pomp, for Nature reigns.
But say, to scenes of humbler grace unknown,
Dwells Beauty with magnificence alone?
And from Britannia's pleasing prospects hurl'd,
Deigns she alone to bless the western world?
Not so,—her lovely form is here display'd
In ev'ry leaf that forms the summer shade,
And ev'ry blooming flower, that paints the vernal glade.
Who stretch'd upon the green hill's breezy brow
Can see the various landscape spread below,
The village spire—the wreathing smoke ascend,
The forest wave, the thymy downs extend,
The shining river roll its silver stream
Thro' woods, impervious to the solar beam,
Or 'midst the meads in smooth mæanders glide,
While bending oziers stoop to kiss the tide,
Till in th' horizon faintly ting'd with blue,
The distant mountains close the pleasing view,
And not in ev'ry tint of Nature's hand,
See Beauty's form, and own her mild command?
When from the East the glorious orb of day
Pours on the burnish'd cliff a golden ray,
While pearly dew-drops, sprinkled by the morn,
Shine in the turf, or glitter on the thorn;
When splendid in meridian light array'd,
His piercing beams the woodland gloom pervade,
When wrap'd in misty ev'ning's silent reign,
Th' encreasing darkness steals across the plain,
Or when in virgin state, the Delian Queen
Drives her bright chariot thro' the blue serene,
While scatter'd round in fair confusion lie
The inferior glories of the vaulted sky:
When gently o'er the flower-empurpled vale,
The vernal zephyrs breathe a genial gale,
When as fierce summers sultry rays descend,
With blushing fruit the loaded branches bend,
When autumn crowns the hills with waving corn,
And pours profusion from his twisted horn,
While deep'ning shade on shade, the woods are seen
From the full crimson, to the faded green:
Or when the trees their leafy honours yield,
And chearless russet clads the dreary field;
When the cascade by wintry fetters tied,
Must cease to murmur, and the stream to glide;
While blows the storm, or falls the delug'd rain,
Or fleecy snows o'erspread the whiten'd plain,
And Nature, tho' her meanest garb she wears,
Majestic ev'n in misery appears.
In ev'ry season, ev'ry hour, I trace
Imperial Beauty! thy transcendent grace;
Behold each scene thy lovely form display,
And wond'ring, own thy universal sway.
Blest is the youth! on whose high-favour'd head
The sacred Nine their happy influence shed;
Inspir'd by them, his raptur'd eyes explore
The choicest objects of thy charming store.
For him their strains the sylvan warblers breathe,
For him fair Maia twines her flow'ry wreath,
Fragrant for him the morning breezes blow,
The poplar trembles, and the fountains flow,
Each charm of Nature strongly strikes his breast,
And Beauty shines supreme, by young ey'd Fancy dress'd.
Beauty. Part Ii
Of all that Nature's rural prospects yield,
The chrystal fountain and the flow'ry field,
Enough, my Muse!—the force of Beauty trace
Now in each feature of the female face,
For there she boasts superior powers, that move
The melting soul to extasy and love.
O! whisper to my heart, Aonia's choir,
Harmonious numbers, and seraphic fire!
Resistless Queen of Paphos, aid my strain,
With all the Loves and Graces in thy train.
Ye sportive Nymphs, and laughing Pleasures join,
Adorn each thought, and polish ev'ry line.
With such assistance shall my song rehearse
The fairest subject in the sweetest verse.
Britannia! happy land! thy sea-girt coast
The tend'rest ornament of love can boast:
From other regions exil'd, here alone
Fair Delicacy rears her sacred throne:
Honor and Modesty her lineage claim,
Her nurse was Decency, her tutor Fame,
Desire attends where'er her footsteps move,
Unalter'd bliss, and never-fading love.
O! keep her rules for ever in your view,
Ye Nymphs of Albion, for I sing to you:
Tho' your bright charms can kindle fiercer flames
Than those of fam'd Circassia's lovely dames,
With stedfast course pursue her perfect plan,
Whose dictates please us more than Beauty can.
Let Gallia's sunburn'd maids their cheeks incrust
With the false varnish of a crimson dust;
On artificial locks, which tow'ring rise
A monstrous pile, and seem to threat the skies,
Let them, with taste capricious, powder spread,
To ape the honours of a hoary head:
So Caledonia's fir-crown'd hills appear,
When big with snow descends th' inclement year:
Let them, each soft endearment laid apart,
With open impudence attack the heart:
Form'd as you are each Beauty to display,
And mock the painter's tint, and poet's lay,
Ne'er may this modest ornament be lost,
Your first perfection, and your fairest boast,
Which can your eyes with force resistless arm,
Point ev'ry glance, and double ev'ry charm.
Ne'er may your skill such foreign arts employ,
To raise that passion which they must destroy:
Still let your skins, with native lustre, shew
The white rose, blended with its blushing foe;
Still let your hair, with unaffected grace,
In glossy ringlets decorate your face:
With powers like these can pomp and splendor vie,
The sparkling di'mond, or the Tyrian dye:
When youth and beauty deck the blooming maid,
The purple sickens, and the di'monds fade.
Adorn'd with charms that ev'ry art despise,
Victorious Love exults, and triumphs in her eyes.
Not all the blossoms Nature's fingers fling
O'er the gay plains, when Zephyr breathes the spring,
Please like the Nymph, whose winning smiles inspire
Love's gentle flame, and kindle warm desire;
Pale is each flower, and faded ev'ry green,
If female Beauty heighten not the scene.
When newly form'd, and plac'd in Eden's shade,
Our waking Sire the blushing fields survey'd,
Awhile he view'd the land with fond delight,
Awhile the fair creation charm'd his sight;
But soon the pleasing novelty was o'er,
And soon the fair creation charm'd no more:
Heaven saw the dull stagnation of his breast,
And, pitying, sent him Eve, to make him blest;
With her, distress he rather wish'd to share,
To live by toil, and taste the bread of care,
Than with his careless limbs on roses thrown,
To prove the joys of Paradise alone:
With her thro' dreary wastes he chose to go,
Friend to her grief, and partner of her woe:
Chear'd by the flame of love, the desart smil'd,
And more than Eden bloom'd upon the wild.
May the curs'd wretch! from female charms who roves
To monstrous pleasures, and unseemly loves;
Who from kind Nature's lucid fountain flies
To the polluted pools of guilty joys,
Far from the social haunts of man be driv'n,
And left to conscience, and avenging Heaven.
But hail! ye favour'd train! supremely blest
With the rich treasure of a feeling breast,
Who fir'd by transports, exquisitely fine,
Submissive kneel at Beauty's brightest shrine,
Whether the sprightly virgin claim your care,
Or arm'd with majesty, the haughtier fair,
Or the sweet nymph, whose melting eyes proclaim
Her bosom, form'd for Love's imperial flame,
Where as we gaze, the torch of young Desire
Lights in our breasts a sympathetic fire:
Hail, happy train! form'd only to receive
The fairest joys the hand of Heaven can give,
Joys, which alone th' exalted soul can prove,
The burning extasies of mutual love.
Far from your paths be hate, and fell disdain,
Pale jealousy, and sorrow's weeping train:
To crown your hours, may love with friendship join,
And smiling peace her roseate garlands twine,
And every golden moment take its flight,
Wing'd with soft ease, and pregnant with delight,
Till time proclaims their destin'd period run,
And death concludes the bliss which love begun.
Ye stoic tribe, who o'er the mind preside
With useless sway, and impotence of pride:
Who form your empty rules, with childish art,
To force each gen'rous passion from the heart,
With eager zeal your air-built schemes pursue,
And talk of feelings which ye never knew:
So may the wretch of lights and colours dream,
Whose eye-balls never drank the solar beam;
Love shall superior to your efforts rise,
Elude your labours, and your toils despise:
Love, whose fierce rays in every climate shine,
The Arctic Circle, or the scorching Line:
Inspir'd by Love, beneath the spicy shade,
The am'rous Indian wooes the sable maid:
Love's sacred power the frozen Zemblians know
'Midst icy rocks, and mountains form'd of snow,
For there his glowing beam with genial light
Has pierc'd the gloom, and chear'd the polar night.
Where eastern luxury (those joys unknown
Which spring from mutual liberty alone,)
Commits, relentless, to the Eunuch's care,
With barb'rous dignity, th' imprison'd fair,
O'er the deserted shores and barren plains,
Pale Tyranny in all her horrors reigns;
No dauntless Patriots there the Despot awe,
His will is reason, and his sentence law:
While the mean slaves, a cruel, coward train,
Bow to the rod, and kiss the galling chain:
But where, with gentle sway, Love's friendly hand
Has stretch'd its influence o'er a happy land,
There in the shade of each inspiring grove,
By science led, the warbling Muses rove;
There all the gen'rous passions fix their seat,
And ev'ry bosom burns with patriot heat,
There manly courage dwells, ingenuous shame,
And Virtue's conscious worth, and Freedom's glorious flame.
Yes, yes, my friend, I quit the fond pretence
To cool reflection, and unbiass'd sense;
Your hands have torn away the thin disguise
Which hid my follies from my partial eyes.
Mad since I am, why should conceited pride,
Deny that weakness which it cannot hide?
Why blush to own the follies of my mind,
When kept in countenance by half mankind?
Who from the paths of Truth and Sense will stray
Where Reason lights, and Virtue guards the way,
After those meteors treacherous beams to rove,
Ambition, Avarice, Vanity, or Love.
Nor while the soul contending passions goad
E'er once regret they left the safer road,
Proud of their shame, and happy in their woe,
Will foil the skill of Battie and Monro.
Mistaken Curio, form'd alone to please
In the calm circle of domestic ease,
Must quit the placid joys of private life
For public honors won in public strife:
No listening Senate's plausive notes attend
The gay companion, and the faithful friend.
He'll shew the world combin'd with Stanhope's wit
The flow of Townshend, and the fire of Pitt.
Now with success he gets the Election o'er
And gives St. Stephen's one pert blockhead more;
Pretends with schemes of Wisdom fraught to rise,
Declaims on libels, pensions, and excise,
And, while loud laughter bursts on every side,
Pours forth his nonsense with a patriot pride,
Till mark'd at length by public ridicule
A brainless Coxcomb, and a babbling fool,
To all mankind poor Curio stands confess'd
The senate's scandal, and the nation's jest.
Mark yon starv'd wretch who views with eager eye
The heaps of useless gold that round him lie!—
That man when Fortune less profusely gave
Enjoy'd her scanty gifts, nor wish'd to save,
What she bestow'd with chearful hand he spent,
Nor wanted millions while he had content;
His pleasures lessen as her smiles increase,
Till wealth immense completely blasts his peace;
Now to himself each comfort he denies
That public care to poverty supplies,
Lets his drear mansion totter o'er his head,
And 'mid profusion dies for want of bread.
Lo Sylvius! once beyond description blest,
Calm were his joys, and peaceful was his breast,
His youth he spent remote from Camps and Courts
In rural labors, and in rural sports,
High forests rose obedient to his hand,
And waving plenty crown'd his fertile land,
With good old Port his social vaults were stor'd,
And frequent sirloins smoak'd upon his board.
But ah! when fifty winters should have shed
A wiser influence o'er his hoary head,
What time Britannia bade her happy plains
Pour forth in arm'd array their native swains,
His heart began with childish zeal to doat
On the bright honors of a scarlet coat;
The homely garb he wore must now give place
To the silk sash, and regimental lace,
The queue adorns his back with pendent pride,
And the broad falchion dangles by his side.
When thus equip'd, a Country Squire no more,
Sylvius must learn to dance, and game, and whore,
In every vice, with every rake he vies,
Scorn'd by the gay, and pitied by the wise,
Plung'd in excess, and deaf to prudence' call,
His lands are mortgag'd, and his forests fall,
Till seiz'd at last by penury and shame,
A jail rewards him for his martial flame.
Oh Hammond! form'd by Nature to dispense
The charms of courtly ease, and manly sense,
Each Grace that bursts spontaneous from the mind
By learning temper'd, and by taste refin'd,
Though many a tedious year has roll'd away
Since Death's stern mandate stopp'd thy plaintive lay,
Though many a tuneful Bard to Britain dear,
Has paid thy shrine the tribute of a tear,
Let not thy shade this votive verse disdain
Though late I sing, and humbly flows my strain.
In vain for thee contending Muses wove
The choicest garlands of the Aonian grove,
In vain thy heart, by ancient lore inspir'd,
With holy Freedom's purest flame was fir'd,
On one disdainful maid for ever hung
The Poet's fancy, and the Patriot's tongue,
And talents form'd a troubled state to guide,
Fell a sad sacrifice to female pride.
Since in such garbs of horror often dress'd
The Fury Passions rend the human breast,
Since now by Vice, and now by Folly led,
To some vain Idol still we bow the head,
O blame not, if my vagrant Fancy chuse
The sweet delirium of the harmless Muse.
Though far below proud Glory's towering height
Humbly she wing her unambitious flight,
Yet oft her friendly voice with placid lay
Has cheer'd the sad, and charm'd the tedious day,
Driven every dark idea from my breast,
And sooth'd my troubled soul to peaceful rest.
Oft has she stopp'd her own discordant lyre
To mark how real Genius wak'd the wire,
When Greece and Rome resistless pour'd along
The fervid energy of glowing song,
Or Albion's Bards the genuine laurel claim,
And more than emulate their masters' fame.
Then as the lines in varied measures flow,
I melt with sorrow, or with transport glow:
Now if the lay some mournful theme rehearse,
I sigh responsive to the plaintive verse,
Now, wak'd to fury by the martial strain,
My active Fancy views the tented plain,
Hears shouting squadrons join with eager force,
Arms clash with arms, and horse encounter horse,
Till fir'd with ardent rage and fierce delight,
She breaks from reason's rein, and joins the ideal fight.
Here some grave Man whose head with prudence fraught
Was ne'er disturb'd by one eccentric thought,
Who without meaning rolls his leaden eyes,
And being stupid, fancies he is wise,
May with sagacious sneers my case deplore,
And urge the use of rest, and Hellebore.
When in my heart contending passions roll,
When rage, or malice, swell my guilty soul,
If e'er I prostitute my venal lays
To pour in Folly's ears the balm of praise,
If ever party zeal should warp my youth
From the strict rules of Justice, and of Truth,
And urge me with intemperance of rage
To stain the boasted candor of my page,
Here let my friend! your keenest censures fall,
And strike with Reason if you strike at all;
To censure's honest scourge my faults I'll trust,
Nor deem you cruel, while I know you just.
But if you too severely deem a crime
The love of numbers, and a thirst for rhime,
(Happy beyond the race of man is he
Who boasts a heart from greater foibles free,)
O let me still the sweet delusion prove,
Still keep the Folly which so much I love,
Nor ever try, with useless Wisdom, kind,
To tear this favorite Error from my mind.
The Thirteenth Olympic Ode Of Pindar
Whilst I rehearse the illustrious House's Praise,
Thrice Victor in Olympia's sportive war,
To friends and strangers open; let my lays
The fame of happy Corinth bear afar:
Which as a gate to Neptune's Isthmus stands,
Proud of her blooming youth and manly bands;
There, fair Eunomia, with her sister train
Blest Peace and Justice, hold their steady reign;
Who wealth and smiling ease on mortals shower,
From Themis' genial care drawing their natal hour.
But bloated insolence and fell disdain
Far from their peaceful seats they drive away.
Now lovely deeds inspire my sounding strain,
And honest boldness swells my rising lay;
When native worth the generous bosoms feel,
'Tis hard the shining virtues to conceal.
Corinth, on thee the blooming hours bestow
The envied wreaths from manly deeds that flow,
And teach thy dædal sons with careful heart,
First to explore the way of many a useful art.
Who bade the bullock sacred bleed
To Bacchus in the Dithyrambic Rite?
Who first with reins the generous steed
Directed in his rapid flight?
And bade the sculptur'd bird of Jove
The temple's massy roofs above,
For ever fix'd on either end,
His ornamental wings extend?
While the sweet Muse her silver sounds inspires,
And Mars with glorious flame the warriors bosom fires.
Olympia's honor'd Patron! potent Jove!
Whose sovereign mandates o'er the world extend,
O with propitious ear my strain approve,
And, to fair Corinth's virtuous sons a friend,
On Xenophon let gales propitious breathe,
And take with hand benign the victor wreath
He won: surpassing, when on Pisa's shore,
What mortal valor had perform'd before;
The Stadic Course re-echo'd his renown,
And with knit limbs he gain'd the Pentathletic Crown.
And twice conspicuous on the trophied Course
The Isthmian Parsley graced his Victor brow;
Nor Nemea's Cirque contemn'd the Hero's Force.—
And where the sacred waves of Alpheus flow
His father Thessalus the Olive wore
By swiftness gain'd, and since on Pythia's shore,
One sun beheld his might, 'mid wondering eyes
Obtain the Stadic, and Diaulic Prize;
And the same month, to grace his lovely brow,
The third triumphal Wreath did Attica bestow.
Seven times Hellotia crown'd his force,
And since on Isthmus sea-encircled plain,
Victors in Neptune's sacred course,
He and his Sire the Prize obtain.
The swelling joy, the sounding song,
Still follow as they go along;
What wreaths! what honors! too, they bore
From Pythia's, and from Nemea's shore!—
He who recounts their various crowns, as well
May number all the sands where ocean's billows swell.
Some medium though will every praise beseem,—
Which 'tis the first of wisdom still to know.—
While, with no alien voice, the much-lov'd theme
The fame of Corinth from my lips shall flow;
And I her Chiefs, and prudent Sires rehearse,
No sounds fallacious shall disgrace my verse:
There Sisyphus arose, whose wiles could shine
With matchless force and lustre near divine;
Medea there, whom Venus' flames inspire
The Grecian ship to save, and cheat her cruel sire.
When warr'd the Greeks on Phrygia's hostile strand,
On either side her sons embattled stood,
Though to bear Helen from the ill-fated land;
Her warriors with the Atridæ cross'd the flood;
Yet some, who those with vengeful spears repell'd
From Corinth's race their honor'd lineage held,
For Lycian Glaucus to the Achaian host
Trembling before his lance, would often boast
His sire's abode, and wealth, and wide domain,
Where fair Pirene's waves enrich the fertile plain.
Who by the silver fountain's side
Much labor found, and much affliction knew,
While winged Pegasus he tried
Medusa's offspring to subdue;
Till, sleeping on his native plains,
Minerva gave the golden reins;
‘Awake, Æolian King! awake!
‘This sacred gift with transport take;
‘Shew it to Neptune, potent God of steeds,
‘While at his hallow'd Shrine the votive bullock bleeds.’
The Ægis-bearing Maid Minerva spoke,
While midnight slumbers clos'd his heavy eyes;
Straight from the dull embrace of sleep he broke,
And seiz'd with eager hand the glittering prize:
Cæranus' son he sought, the neighbouring Seer,
And pour'd the wond'rous tidings in his ear;
That, as in awful Pallas' holy Fane,
Sleep o'er his temples spread her leaden reign,
Before him stood confess'd the warlike Maid,
And by his side at once the golden bridle laid.
The wondering Augur bade him straight obey
Each mystic mandate of the dream divine;
To Neptune first the votive bullock pay,
Then to equestrian Pallas rear a shrine:
Beyond his hopes the Gods with savoring will
The object of his wishes soon fulfil;
For brave Bellerophon, with joyful look,
The sacred present of the Immortals took;
Threw it with ease about his arching head,
And peaceful in his hand the ethereal courser led.
Now, shining in refulgent arms,
The winged Pegasus his limbs bestrode;
And, seeking war's severe alarms,
To Amazonia's plains he rode;
And, 'midst the chilling reign of frost,
O'ercame the Female Archer-Host.
His arms Chimæra's flames subdue;
The dauntless Solymi he slew.—
I pass the death his cruel fate decreed,
When Jove's eternal stalls receiv'd the immortal Steed.
While thus the shafts of harmony I throw,
Let me not aim too wide with erring hand;
The Muses now command the strain to flow
To Olygæthidæ's triumphant band;
Recount the early praise and young renown,
On Isthmus' and on Nemea's Cirque they won;
In verse concise stupendous deeds display,
And with an oath confirm the wonderous lay;
On either course alike their skill was fam'd,
For sixty Victor Wreaths the Herald's voice proclaim'd.
How oft their brows the Olympic Olive graced,
To Fame already have my numbers given;
What future crowns shall on their heads be placed,
Though we may hope, is only known to Heaven:
Yet if new strifes their genius bids them prove,
We trust the event to Mars, and mighty Jove.
Oft from Parnassus' heights the meed they bore
And Argos' fields, and Thebes' resounding shore;
And in Lycæan Jove's imperial Fane
Recorded stand their toils on fair Arcadia's plain.
Pellene's fields, and Sycion's coast;
Megara, and the Æacides' domain;
Eleusis's cirque, and, Freedom's boast,
Fair Marathon's triumphant plain;
Proud Ætna, and Eubœa green,
Have their victorious trophies seen.
Through Grecia's realms their large amount
Of wreaths, in vain the Muse would count.—
Assist, immortal Jove! my soaring lays,
And crown with honor'd ease my calm-revolving days.
The Sixth Olympic Ode Of Pindar
The skilful Architect whose dædal hand
Contrives the far-resplendent dome to raise,
Bids the bright porch on shapely columns stand,
That rich with gold and polish'd marble, blaze.—
So we superbly pour along
In conscious dignity the opening Song.
To him Olympia's Wreath who wears,
Who guards the Thunderer's sacred Fane,
And every social blessing shares,
With Syracusa's happy train;
Each friendly voice shall notes of triumph blow,
And each unenvious hand, a votive Wreath bestow.
In this thrice-honor'd State by fortune placed
The happy son of Sostratus behold!
Nor is the Warrior, or the Seaman graced
Till Danger and till Toil their worth unfold.
But Fame's eternal Pæans wait
The virtuous labors of the brave and great.—
To thee, Agesias, shall belong
Those genuine Praises, which of old
Adrastus with no flattering tongue
On Amphiaraus, sacred Seer! bestow'd:
What time the fatal earth with yawning womb,
Him and his fiery steeds clos'd living in the tomb.
Now seven funeral pyres begun
To shed a lurid blaze around,
When Talaus' sorrowing son
Pour'd to the Theban host this mournful sound:
‘O how I languish to behold
‘The bravest of my warrior train,
‘Who Fate's eternal mysteries can unfold,
‘Or spread destruction o'er the embattled plain!
To him, the Syracusan Youth belong
Such praise, to whom I tune the Olympic Song.
No Son of Discord, I proclaim
His Worths, his Triumphs are the same:
And with an oath confirm the unerring strain,
Form'd by the favoring help of all Aonia's train.
Come then, O Phintis! to the shining Car
With speed, with speed, the rapid Coursers join;
That whirling o'er the purest paths afar
We reach his Ancestor's high-honor'd line.
Above the rest my Coursers know
When Pisa's Olive decks the Hero's brow,
To bear him o'er the sounding road
Where, far from dark oblivion's cell,
Bright Honor holds her high abode,
And Fame and Glory ever dwell.
Now wide the Gates of Harmony display,
For to Eurota's shores I guide the sounding Lay.
To fair Pitana sing, who whilom bore
Evadne, beauteous in her hair that flows.
Compress'd by Neptune on the silent shore,
With strictest care she hid her virgin throes;
But when the circling moons her pain
Maturely brought, she bade her female train,
To Æpytus' parental hands
With silent care the Child convey;
Phasana's turrets who commands,
Where Alpheus pours his silver-winding way:
On whose enamell'd banks she learn'd to prove,
In great Apollo's arms, the blushing Rites of Love.
As o'er Heaven's eternal field
Roll'd the hours in circling pace,
Time to Æpytus reveal'd
The produce of the stolen embrace;
Now to Pytho's sacred Shrine
Eager the anxious Monarch goes,
To listening Phœbus and the powers divine
The impious deed impatient to disclose.
Mean time her zone with purple texture graced
Beside the silver urn Evadne placed
Veil'd by the bow'ring grove from sight,
And gave the heaven-born child to light,
While on his birth the God with golden hair
Invokes the auspicious Fates, and chaste Lucina's care.
Not long, Iamus, on the lonely glade
Unnoticed, unprotected, didst thou lie:—
For by the Gods command, lo through the shade!
Two watchful Dragons dart with azure eye,
And from the Bees transparent hoard
Thy little breast with dulcet nurture stor'd.
And now by rocky Pytho taught
The wandering King, return'd again,
From all his train domestic sought
The fruit of fair Evadne's pain;
For shining Phœbus from his sacred Shrine
Proclaim'd Evadne's Love, and own'd the Boy divine.
And openly declar'd his future worth
Above mankind in mystic lore should shine,
And ne'er be wanting in the happy birth
Of glorious sons.—Thus spake the voice divine!
Five days were pass'd the mother's pain,
Unfound the Infant by the careful train.
Far from the reach of every eye,
Deep in the irriguous rushes laid,
While purple violets growing by,
With dewy leaves his body shade:
His mother's voice at length the place proclaim'd,
And from his fragrant couch the heavenly Infant named.
As the gently circling hours
Still their fostering influence shed,
And opening Manhood's roseate flowers
Kindly crown'd his blooming head;
Descending then to Alpheus' shores,
While round his head the night-winds blow,
He calls the God who rules where Ocean roars,
And Phœbus dreadful with his silver bow:
Desiring public Fame, and fair Renown,
Might with their verdant Wreaths his Temples crown.—
Soon each paternal voice divine
Own'd him as sprung from Heavenly Line;
‘Rise, Son, and this propitious sound pursue,
‘Till Pisa's crowded plains rise to thy raptur'd view.’
The Hero straight the voice obey'd; and now
Cronius, thy cliffs and rocky heights they scale;
There the kind Gods the twofold Art bestow
Of Augury, that never knew to fail;
There, many a dreadful labor done,
At length when great Alcmena's Son
Arriv'd, and bade the awful Shrine
Sacred to potent Jove arise,
And first began those Rites divine,
Where Courage wins the Olympic Prize;
He rais'd the crouded Fane's prophetic fame,
Whilst Grecia's shouting Sons Iamus' Worth proclaim.
Hence endless Fame, and happy Fortunes wait
On the Iamidæ's exulting race.—
Those who in Virtue's rugged ways are great
The most conspicuous paths of life shall grace,
Still glorious deeds the Hero speak
Though Envy burst her venom'd cheek,
And teach her offspring to despise
The Man, on Pisa's trophied plain
Whose Coursers know the Olympic Prize
In the twelve-turn'd Course to gain.—
Grateful, Agesias! to the powers divine
Were all the fervent vows of thy maternal line.
Who beneath the sacred shade
Which Cyllene's mountains shed,
Honors due for ever paid
To Hermes' venerable head;
To him who cleaves the yielding skies,
The Herald of the ethereal train,
Who in the Olympic strife appoints the prize,
And guards Arcadia's happy-peopled plain.
He and his thundering Sire to thee decreed,
O son of Sostratus! the glorious meed.—
A sudden thought I raptur'd feel,
Which, as the whetstone points the steel,
Brightens my sense, and bids me warbling raise
To the soft-breathing flute, the kindred notes of praise.
From fair Arcadia too my line I bring,
From Stymphalus the bright Metopa came,
Mother of warlike Thebes, whose silver spring
I drink, and votive songs of triumph frame.
Bid your compeers now Æneas raise
Their voices to Parthenian Juno's praise;
Then shall be known if we avoid
The long-borne Adage of Disgrace
Which ancient Malice has employ'd
To stigmatise Bœotia's race;
To thee the secrets of the Muse belong,
And well thou know'st to guide the far-resounding song.
To Syracusa's and Ortygia's praise,
Tell them aloud to swell the exulting strain;
Whose plains with blameless sceptre Hiero sways,
Performing sacred Rites to Ceres' Fane,
To her lov'd Daughter, Pluto's Love,
And him the King of Gods, Ætnean Jove.
Him the sounding Lyre, and Song,
Know, and honor as their friend;
Ne'er may time that rolls along
To his blessings give an end,
Still may he, Fortune's friend, with chearful voice
In bold Agesias' worth, and votive hymns rejoice.
Stymphalus' maternal walls,
And Aracadia's fleecy glades
Leaving:—here his fortune calls
To Sicilia's fragrant shades;
Either country claims him now;—
When the midnight tempests roar,
And raging loud the stormy whirlwinds blow,
Two anchors best the shatter'd vessel moor.
On each may Heaven it's guardian care bestow!—
And thou who rul'st where Ocean's torrents flow,
Amphitrite's honor'd mate,
Through the rocks and shoals of Fate
Propitious guide Agesias' bark along,
And grace with livelier flowers my rapture-breathing Song.
Written In A Seat At Stoke Park,
Not with more joy from the loud tempest's roar,
The dangerous billow, and more dangerous shore,
Escap'd,—the wave-worn sailor's grateful hand
Grasps the dear refuge of his native land;
Than I from proud Augusta's walls retreat,
To the dear refuge of that humble seat.
Though lowly be the roof, can I demand
The loftiest mansion grandeur ever plann'd,
When yon fair dome, magnificently great,
Opes wide to me its hospitable gate;
When these bright scenes, in rural grace array'd,
Invite my footsteps to their friendly shade?
Here, while once more my raptur'd fancy woos,
Far from tumultuous din, the sylvan Muse;
Or when the day-star hides his radiant light,
In calm and peaceful sleep I wear the night;
How does my bosom turn with keen disgust
From those foul paths of plunder and of lust;
Where the stern ministers of rigid law
With iron scourge the harden'd ruffian awe;
Where fear alone can blunt fell murder's knife,
And gaols and gibbets watch o'er human life.
As o'er yon silver lake I throw my sight,
Beyond imperial Windsor's tower-crown'd height,
Where, in the softening tint of heavenly blue,
Thy distant uplands, Berkshire! bless my view:
In waking dreams my fancy wings her flight,
Delightful region! to thy western site,
Where Isis' waves divide thy rural reign
From the green borders of Oxonia's plain;
And gently rising from the vale below,
Rears lovely Faringdon her breezy brow.
There the mild code of Albion's legal sway,
I whilom saw a generous race obey;
Saw the free yeoman and the sturdy swain,
Guided, not gall'd, by influence' lenient rein;
Not to the magistrate's stern mandate bend,
But feel the judge still temper'd by the friend.
Why, driven by wild ambition's veering gale,
Why did I quit, alas! my native vale,
'Mid senates and 'mid camps in vain to find
Joys that could rival those I left behind,
Where, grasping at expense I ill could bear,
I saw my farms and woodlands melt to air?—
Yet,—when, by vengeance arm'd, the Gallic host
With bloody inroad threaten'd Albion's coast;
Her veteran warriors o'er the Atlantic main,
Stemming rebellion's bloody surge in vain;
Her recreant fleet swept from her guardian flood;
Manly and firm, while every Briton stood,
Array'd in arms the impending storm defied,
And frown'd confusion on invasion's pride;—
Could I, long train'd in peace, my sword now yield,
When war's loud clarion call'd me to the field?
Or when two factions, whose contention hurl'd
The throne of Britain from the western world,
We saw at length in treacherous compact meet,
To make destruction's horrid work complete;
While patriot George, in Freedom's happy hour,
Appeal'd to England from her Senate's power;
While virtuous youth a people's suffrage won,
And Chatham's soul reviv'd in Chatham's son:
Then as on me, with kind and partial view,
Their favouring eyes the Berkshire yeomen threw;
Rejecting those, who, dup'd by faction's slave,
Turn'd 'gainst themselves the sacred trust they gave;
Could I refuse of Fame the proudest bough,
That e'er can twine around a Briton's brow?—
Friends and companions of my earliest youth,
The ingenuous days of unsuspecting truth;
Who knew to read each feeling of a heart,
That scorn'd the flatt'ring suppliant's servile art;
Of trust conferr'd by you, is still impress'd
The fond remembrance on this grateful breast;—
The proud remembrance!—that no selfish aim
Stain'd the fair wreath you gave of public fame:
That when my hands restor'd the splendid load
Of delegated power your choice bestow'd,
I won the noblest trophy man could raise,
My conduct sanction'd by your fav'ring praise.
But say, did all who led their native swains,
Waste while they guarded their paternal plains?
All whom their country chose with partial eye,
The sacred trust with mortgag'd manors buy?
Say, must of Prudence' voice, the warning sound,
In warm debates and shouts of war be drown'd?
I feel the just reproof—but, ah! how few
The golden path that Prudence points pursue!
Who know to join in Wisdom's sacred band,
The head retentive with the liberal hand;
Who safe their barks from Avarice' quicksands keep,
And the dire vortex of Profusion's deep.
When such I view, who, with forejudging care,
Know how to scatter, and know when to spare;
Who by no selfish passion led aside,
Or the false glare of ostentatious pride;
No pleasure e'er in vain expense can find,
While lavish for the good of human kind;
Whose time, whose care, whose bounties now are given
Free and extensive as the rains of Heaven;
Now like the lucid streams that silent flow,
Sooth by their healing power domestic woe:
Such worth I bless as God's best, noblest boon,
And in the glorious portrait hail Colquhoun!
Such, Prudence! when thy form; with aching breast
I mourn my wand'rings from thy wise behest;
But from thy shape in worldly garb array'd,
I cannot mourn my youthful footsteps stray'd;
Nor, though the frowns of Fortune I endure,
Lament each cause that made, that kept me poor.
I can't regret the promise that I gave
To smooth a parent's passage to the grave;
Less, that my heart fulfill'd the vow it made,
And sav'd his memory from the curse of trade:
I can't regret the happy hour that led
Not wealth, but beauty, to my bridal bed;
Not bart'ring for a plain and portion'd wife,
The dearest bliss that sweetens human life.
Though more than fifty winters tame the blood
Now circling through my veins in calmer flood;
Yet would I rather now, with wearying stroke,
Hew the hard rock, or fell the stubborn oak,
Than buy of wealth and pow'r the envied charms,
By clasping age or foulness in my arms.
But when I see, in youth and vigour warm,
A sordid wretch fly Beauty's angel form;
And sacrifice, for wild Ambition's flight,
To coldness and disgust each tedious night,
I turn from him with Scorn's indignant smile,
Meanest of mean, and vilest of the vile,
'Mid scenes less infamous to seek relief
In the loose pandar, and the midnight thief.
Nor can I much regret the idle days
When Fancy led me through her fairy maze;
Majestic Science, when I gravely woo'd,
Or sported with the Muse in frolic mood:
Though, as 'mid visionary scenes I stray'd,
I saw life's real prospects round me fade;
While with unclouded conscience I can see
A life from guilt, if not from folly free.
Ne'er did my hopes, my soul, my fortune lie
On the fleet courser or the rolling dye:
And though from early youth's first dawning hour,
Still tremblingly alive to beauty's power,
Ne'er did my art seduce a trusting maid,
Ne'er has my purse in shameful forfeit paid
A wife dishonour'd and a friend betray'd.
Then let me not with sorrowing eye pursue
Past scenes, which long have vanish'd from my view;
But ere of life the fleeting shadows close,
Thankful receive what Fortune yet bestows.
And you, my gen'rous friend, whose princely seat
Gives me from noise and strife a short retreat;
Where I can breathe again the fragrant air,
While days of leisure sweeten months of care;
Spring's blushing flowers, and Summer's fruits behold,
And Autumn's stores of vegetable gold;
Accept these votive numbers, nor refuse
The heartfelt offering of a grateful Muse;
Thanks from a heart, which, while it boasts with pride,
A line to patriots, nobles, kings, allied;
Is prouder yet in sterling worth to shine,
Stamp'd by the friendship of a mind like thine.
But now in public rapture's general sound,
Be private joy and private sorrows drown'd;
Behold aloft, on Windsor's stately brow,
Of Britain's isles the Imperial banner flow;
While shouting Berkshire hails Britannia's Lord,
In peace, in triumph, and in health restor'd.—
Dear and parental fields! while swelling Fame
To earth's remotest regions wafts his name;
Tells when Oppression shook her iron mace
In horrid menace o'er the human race,
His dauntless arm and energetic mind
The guardian Ægis rear'd, and sav'd mankind:
You shall behold him in your verdant seat,
From toils of empire and of war retreat
To the mild charities of social life,
The generous offspring, and the faithful wife;
Shall see sons brave, and daughters chaste and fair,
A duteous circle round the royal pair;
See private worth by sceptred greatness shown,
And bliss domestic flourish round a throne.
Beauty. Part Iii.
Ye pleasing visions, and fantastic dreams,
Of hallow'd mountains, of poetic streams,
And shades for ever sacred to the song
Of Græcian Phœbus, and the Thespian throng,
O! melt into the winds, nor longer spread
Your sweet delusions round my raptur'd head:
But thou, celestial Truth, my prayer attend,
And be my Muse, my Guardian, and my Friend:
While I from Fancy's fairy realms depart,
To search the nobler regions of the heart,
Deign, heavenly Guide, my numbers to inspire,
And wake to bolder strains the breathing lyre.
The flow'ry landscape, and the blooming fair,
Bright as they are, no more demand my care,
Direct my eyes from Nature's pleasing roll,
To read the moral Beauty of the soul,
To trace her form by matter unconfin'd,
Thro' each divine perfection of the mind,
And there behold her sovereign hand dispense,
The powers of bliss to each attending sense.
Say, if we roam where all the Graces lead,
Thro' the cool thicket, or th' enamel'd mead?
Tho' Nature in her vernal pride appear,
Or laughing Summer deck the purple year,
What scenes of pleasure can the bosom share
Deform'd by passion, or disturb'd by care?
Or what delightful hopes does love impart,
When jaundic'd jealousy infects the heart?
'Tis in the mind that Beauty stands confess'd,
In all the noblest pride of glory dress'd,
Where virtue's rules the conscious bosom arm,
There to our eyes she spreads her brightest charm:
There all her rays, with force collected, shine,
Proclaim her worth, and speak her race divine.
Ye sages, who creation's depth explore,
And hang incessant o'er the pleasing lore,
Who view the earth, in stated periods, run
Her course mysterious round the central sun,
Who view five diff'rent orbs direct their flight
Round the same chearing fount of heat and light;
Who rushing forward, urg'd by force divine,
See distant suns on distant systems shine,
Till all the wisdom reas'ning man can boast,
Amidst the boundless fields of space is lost.
Vast as it is! does this stupendous whole
With half that wonder strike th' astonish'd soul?
With half that veneration fill the mind?
As those brave chiefs, the patrons of mankind,
Who mov'd by pity for the public weal,
Despis'd the tyrant's axe, the bigot's wheel,
Repell'd the cruel force of factious hate,
Or bravely fell, to save a sinking state?
Ye warrior kings! Ambition's fav'rite train,
Who hunt false glory thro' th' embattled plain;
Tho' varnish'd speciously your martial rage
Beams forth too brightly from th' historian's page,
Tho' lays divine record each impious name,
And worlds misjudging, call th' oppression, fame;
The honest man, from power at distance plac'd,
By freedom guarded, and by virtue grac'd,
More true rewards from reason's hand shall find,
Than ye, the storms and earthquakes of mankind.
Tho' half the globe, by error drawn aside,
Scorn modest merit, while they kneel to pride;
Fair reason dares assert the fair pretence
To endless fame, of peaceful innocence,
Will snatch the wreath from proud ambition's sword,
And honor Shenstone more than Prussia's Lord.
So when some torrent, swell'd by hasty rains,
Rolls from the hills, and hides the neighb'ring plains,
The meads around one liquid mirror lie,
A glorious object to the stranger's eye,
But worthier praises to the stream belong,
Which winds its waves the humbler vales among,
Improves the fields that grace its sedgy sides,
And pours fair plenty where its current glides.
O! would the royal race but learn to know
From what blest source their future praise must flow,
Enroll'd with Titus in the lists of fame
Succeeding times should sanctify each name:
The smiles of freedom o'er a realm to spread,
To bid fair science lift her lovely head,
To strike dread terror thro' the guilty breast,
To raise the humble, and relieve th' oppress'd,
With lenient hand to stop the heart-felt sigh,
And wipe the tear from pale affliction's eye,
These! these are charms! to which compar'd the globe,
The crown, the scepter, and the purple robe,
The arm'd array, the courtier's idle state,
And all the low ambition of the great,
Meet with our childhood's toys an equal lot,
A moment's transport, and the next forgot.
Virtue alone, on active wings, shall rise
From earth's mean pomp, and seek her native skies:
She of superior lustre nobly proud,
Contemns the suffrage of the fickle croud,
Mocks envy's darts, and scandal's pois'nous breath,
Great, tho' defam'd, and conqu'ror, ev'n in death.
For freedom arm'd, on Chalgrave's fatal plain,
Lo! glorious Hampden number'd with the slain:
O! while with mournful sighs you view his tomb,
Own him more blest in that untimely doom,
Than impious Cromwell; tho' his stronger fate
Grac'd him with all the gorgeous pomp of state,
Who, base deserter of his country's cause,
Despis'd her senates, and revers'd her laws;
Chang'd regal power for arbitrary sway,
Fought to enslave, protected to betray,
And clos'd the horrid scene of social strife
With the sad off'ring of his sov'reign's life.
Thrice happy train! whom freedom leads afar,
To hurl on foreign foes the bolts of war:
Rancour to you shall ne'er impute the guilt
Of royal blood, in civil discord spilt,
But the victorious band shall justly claim
The wreath of glory, and immortal fame;
While on the youthful warrior's fatal bier
His sorrowing country pours the pensive tear:
Secure those chiefs of honor's lasting meed,
Who fight like Granby, or like Wolfe who bleed.
Are there so mean, who boast of worth that springs
From venal statesmen, and deluded kings?
Who without blushing own, their hands have sold
Their fame, their truth, their liberty for gold?
Who break each tye of public, private life,
For sounding titles, or a portion'd wife,
Proud on their breasts a glitt'ring mark to bear,
Which honor hates, and virtue scorns to wear:
Tho' the misdeeming vulgar's dazzled sight
Awhile may bless these meteors spurious light,
Short is their joy!—let fortune hide her head,
Such pride is tarnish'd, and such glory fled:
While that unfading worth, which builds alone
On Virtue's solid base, a lasting throne,
And, by no random censures kept in awe,
Is clear'd by Conscience, and by Virtue's law;
On fortune's smiles can look with coolness down,
Can bear, without a pang, her keenest frown:
The threats of want, of death, unmov'd can hear,
And fearing God, disclaim all other fear,
Shine forth alike, oppress'd, or grac'd by power,
In courts, in camps, in exile, or the tower.
Thus far, O Beauty! has my daring tongue,
In humble lays, thy various merits sung:
Still as the theme, impetuous I pursue,
The fleeting goal flies farther from my view;
Ev'n in the breast by virtue's dictates arm'd,
Thy light is sickly, and thy shape deform'd;
The stormy passions all their rage employ
To cloud that lustre which they can't destroy.
Then Wisdom, come! unfold thy mystic page,
Rich with the spoils of ev'ry clime, and age,
Thy aweful volume let my eyes explore,
Till vanquish'd Nature yield up all her store.
And thou, Morality, whose sacred art
By virtuous precepts forms the human heart,
Teach me whate'er experience yet has found,
In all its curious search, and ample round;
And shew my wav'ring mind a certain course
To trace bright Beauty to her perfect source.
In vain you try to solve the thorny maze,
And guide my feet thro' error's devious ways,
Lost and bewilder'd midst her paths I rove,
Uncertain how to turn, or where to move.
But from the regions of celestial day,
Behold! a form etherial wings her way!
Meek-eye'd Religion, hail!—for well I know
Thy mild demeanor, and thy placid brow.
'Tis thine alone the wand'ring thought to bring
To fair perfection's bright, unsully'd spring:
'Tis thine, with firm, tho' modest look, to gaze
Upon th' empyreal heav'n, and sapphire blaze.
But hold, my Muse! nor rashly thus aspire,
With verse so mean, to join th' angelic choir,
Who glorify in ceaseless strains above,
The First Great Cause of harmony and love:
The awful praises of whose hallow'd Name
No heart can image, and no tongue proclaim,
Enough for thee his glorious works to trace
In earth, and skies, and man's imperial race;
To view in ev'ry clime, and ev'ry hour,
Th' omnipotent, and omnipresent Power,
To see all Nature's charms derive their force
From this eternal, universal Source,
And in mysterious silence wrap'd, to own
That Beauty's perfect grace is found in Him alone.
Lenore, A Tale
LENÓRE wakes from dreams of dread
At the rosy dawn of day,
‘Art thou false, or art thou dead?
‘William wherefore this delay?’
Join'd with Frederick's host he sought
On Praga's bloody field, the foe,
Since no tidings had been brought
Of his weal, or of his woe.
Tir'd of war, the royal foes
Bid the storm of battle cease,
And in mutual compact close
Terms of amity, and peace;
Either host with jocund strain,
Drum, and cymbals chearing sound,
Seek their peaceful homes again,
All with verdant garlands crown'd.
Young and old, on every side
Croud the way, their friends to meet,
Many a mother, many a bride,
Sons, and husbands, fondly greet.
Pale and chearless mid the rest
Ah! the sad Lenore see!
None to clasp thee to his breast,
Not a glowing kiss for thee.
Now amid the warlike train
Running swift, with tearful eye,
All she asks, but all in vain.—
See the lingering rear pass by!—
Now she rends with frantic hand
Tresses of her raven hair,
Falling breathless on the sand,
Agonizing in despair.
Lo! with grief her mother wild.—
'Pitying heaven! look down with grace.—
'O my child! my dearest child!'
And clasps her in a fond embrace.
‘Ah my mother all is o'er;
‘Desart now the world will prove.—
‘Heaven no mercy has in store.
‘Ah my lost, my slaughter'd love!’
'Aid her Heaven! her grief appease.—
'Breathe my child a fervent prayer.
'Ever just are Heaven's decrees,
'Heaven is ever prompt to spare.'
‘Prayers alas! are useless all,
‘Heaven to me no mercy shews,
‘Vainly I for aid should call,
‘Unregarded are my woes.’
'Aid Lord! O aid! His parent sight
'Watchful guards each duteous child;
'Soon shall his high-honor'd rite
'Soothe to peace thy sorrows wild.'—
‘Ah! the pangs my heart that rive
‘Holy rites would soothe in vain;
‘Can they bid the dead revive?—
‘Bid my William breathe again?’
'Hear my child! in foreign lands
'Far away his troth he plights,
'Binds his faith by newer bands,
'Thee for newer loves he slights.—
'Unregarded let him rove,
'Short his visions of delight,
'Perjuries of treacherous love
'Heaven with vengeance will requite.'
‘Mother, time returns no more;
‘I am wretched, lost, forlorn;
‘Every hope but death is o'er,
‘Woe the hour that I was born!
‘Wrap me deep in night, and shade,
‘Far the light of life remove,
‘Heaven's mercy is no more display'd,
‘O my Love, my murder'd love!’
'God of Mercy! Hear! O hear!
'Frantic sorrow makes her wild;
'Judge not in thy wrath severe,
'Spare, O spare thy tortur'd child.
'O my child, forget thy woe,
'Lift to heaven thy sorrowing eye
'Endless blessings there to know,
'Bridal joys that never die.'
‘Mother, what is endless bliss?
‘Endless pain, what, Mother?—Tell
‘All my Heaven was William's kiss,
‘William's loss is all my hell.
‘Far the light of life remove,
‘Night and horror shroud my head.
‘Can I live to mourn my love?
‘Can I joy when William's dead?’
Thus the frenzy of despair
Thro' her swelling veins was driven,
Thus her madd'ning accents dare
War against the will of heaven;
Frantic thro' the live-long day
Her breast she beat, her hands she wrung,
Till Sol withdrew his golden ray,
And heaven's high arch with stars was hung.
Thro' the stillness of the night
Hark!—a horse—he this way bends.—
Now she hears the rider 'light,
Now his foot the step ascends.
Hark?—the tinkling gate bell rung
Now her listening senses hear.—
Accents from a well-known tongue
Thro' the portal reach her ear.
'Rise my love—the bar remove—
'Dost thou wake or dost thou sleep?
'Think'st thou of thy absent love?—
'Dost thou laugh or dost thou weep?'—
‘William! Thou?—From sorrow's power
‘I have learn'd to weep, and wake.
‘Whence in midnight's gloomy hour,
‘Whence his course does William take?’
'We can only ride by night.—
'From Bohemia's plains I come,
'Late, ah late I come, but dight
'To bear thee to my distant home.'—
‘William! William! hither haste.
‘Thro' the hawthorn blows the wind,
‘In my glowing arms embraced
‘Rest, and warmth, my love shall find.’
'Thro' the hawthorn let the winds
'Keenly blow with breath severe,
'The Courser paws, the spur he finds,
'Ah! I must not linger here.
'Lightly on the sable steed
'Come, my love,—behind me spring.
'Many a mile o'erpast with speed,
'To our bride-bed shall thee bring.'
‘Many a mile o'er distant ground
‘Ere our nuptial couch we reach?—
‘The iron bells of midnight sound,
‘Soon the midnight fiends will screech.’—
'See how clear the moon's full ray,
'Soon the dead's swift course is sped,
'Long, O long ere dawn of day
'We shall reach the bridal bed.'
‘Who shall tend thy nuptial bower
‘Who thy nuptial couch shall spread?’
'Silent, cold, and small, our bower,
'Form'd of planks our nuptial bed.
'Yet for me, for thee there's space—
'Lightly on the courser bound,
'Deck'd is now our bridal place,
'Guests expecting wait around.'
Won by fond affection's charm
On the horse she lightly sprung,
Roud her love, her lilly arm
Close the love-sick virgin flung.
On they press their rapid flight
Swifter than the whirlwind's force,
Struck from flints a sparkling light
Marks the steed's unceasing course.
On the left, and on the right,
Heaths, and meads, and fallow'd grounds,
Seem receding from their sight;
How each bridge they pass resounds.
'Fears my Love?—The moon shines clear,
'Swift the course of death is sped.
'Does my Love the dead now fear?'—
‘No, ah! no!—Why name the dead?’
Hark! The solemn dirge, and knell!
Croaking round the raven flies,—
Hear the death song!—hear the bell—
See a grave fresh opened lies.
See the sad funereal rite,
See the coffin and the bier,
Hear the shriek of wild affright,
Groans of lamentation hear!
'While sounds the dirge, while death-bells ring,
'The corpse interr'd at midnight see.—
'Home my blooming bride I bring,
'You our bridal guests must be.—
'Sexton come, come with thy choir,
'Songs of love before us sing;
'O'er the couch of fond desire
'Priest thy nuptial blessings fling.'
Down the sable bier was laid,
Hush'd the knell, and hush'd the dirge.
All his voice at once obey'd.
All their flight behind him urge.
On the steed still speeds his flight,
Swifter than the whirlwind's force;
Struck from flints the flashing light
Distant marks his rapid course.
To the left, and to the right,
As they pass with lightning speed,
Mountains vanish from their sight,
Streams, and woods, and towns recede.
'Fears my love?—The moon shines clear.—
'Swift the course of death is sped,—
'Does my Love the dead now fear?'—
‘Leave, ah leave at peace the dead.’
Wheels, and racks, and gibbets, see
By the pale moon's trembling glance;
Crowding sprites, with horrid glee,
Round the seats of terror dance:
'Come, ye goblins! hither come,
'Hither let your footsteps tread,
'Follow to our distant home,
'Dance around our bridal bed.'
Soon they hear, and follow fast,
Loudly murmuring as they move,
Like the shrill autumnal blast
Whistling thro' the wither'd grove.
Far the steed now speeds his flight,
Swifter than the whirlwind's force,
Struck from flints the flashing light
Distant marks his rapid course.
Far, shewn by the moon's pale light,
Far the distant landscape flies.
Far, receding from their sight,
Fly the clouds, the stars, the skies.
'Fears my Love?—The moon shines clear.—
'Swift the course of death is sped.
'Does my Love the dead now fear?'—
'Leave! O leave at rest, the dead.
'Crows the cock—dark courser hear—
'Soon the sand will now be run.
'Now I scent the morning air,
'Sable steed thy toil is done;—
'Now our labour is compleat;
'Swift's the passage of the dead;
'We have reach'd our destin'd seat,
'Open now the nuptial bed.'
'Gainst an iron-grated door
Fierce with loosen'd rein he drives;
The ponderous bars resist no more,
Even a touch their hinges rives.
Over tombs with clattering sound
Now they urge their destin'd way;
Scatter'd grave-stones gleam around
In the wan moon's glimmering ray.
Turn, O instant turn, the eye,
See a ghastly wonder shewn!—
The horseman's flesh, like tinder dry,
Drops piecemeal from each naked bone.
From the skull now falls the hair,
Drear the death-like Phantom stands,
A skeleton expos'd and bare,
Scythe and hour-glass in his hands.
See the black steed wildly rear—
Sparkling streams of horrid light
From his snorting nostrils glare,
Down he sinks to endless night.—
On the breeze loud shrieks are borne,
Groan the graves with boding breath;
Lenore's heart by tortures torn,
Vibrates now 'tween life and death.
Hand and hand in fatal ring
By the pale moon's fading ray,
Demons round them dance, and sing,
Howling forth this dreadful lay.—
'Patient bear th' heart-rending blast,
'Wage not impious war with Heaven,
'Here on earth thy days are past.
'Mercy to thy soul be given!'
The Triumph Of Fashion
In that bless'd season, when descending snows,
In robes of virgin white, the fields inclose;
When Beaux, and Belles, their rural seats forego,
For the gay seats of Almack's and Soho:
When to his consort's wish the sportsman yields,
And quits, for Grosvenor-Square, the frostbound fields;
What time stout Labor waking rears his head,
And jaded Luxury just thinks of bed;
Tir'd with the toilsome pleasures of the day,
Stretch'd on my couch with weary limbs I lay:
Then, as disorder'd slumbers clos'd my eyes,
This strange fantastic vision seem'd to rise.
Methought my footsteps trod a spacious plain,
Of size, assembled nations to contain:
Expos'd to sight, nor screen'd by sheltering wood,
Full in the midst a spacious building stood.
In various ornaments, on every part,
Had Architecture lavish'd all her art;
Here Grecian columns Gothic structures bear,
Gay China spreads her painted arches there;
The artist's skill, to charm the roving view,
Had mix'd old orders, and invented new.
High in the dome, on massy pillars rear'd,
Rich with refulgent gems, a throne appear'd,
Where, deck'd in all the pomp of regal state,
'Mid gazing crouds, a female figure sat;
And, while ten thousand tongues her power proclaim,
The vaulted roofs re-echo Fashion's name.
Round her a train of busy nymphs are seen,
Dressing with skilful hands their haughty queen:
Some plait her robes, her washes some prepare,
Some paint her cheeks, and some adorn her hair;
Still through perpetual change their labors run,
One moment alters, what the last had done.
Numbers each art to gain her favor try,
And watch the varying motions of her eye;
At her command employ their utmost skill,
And yield their minds, and bodies, to her will;
Lay health, and fame, and fortune, all aside,
To follow blindly where her mandates guide.
Let but the worshipp'd Goddess give the word,
No toil seems difficult, no scheme absurd.
Pale Sickness tries each art that can avail,
To make her faded features yet more pale;
While rosy Health's capricious fingers spread,
On her fresh blooming cheeks, a foreign red.
The weakly stripling, fainting with the pace,
Urges o'er hill, and dale, the breathless chace;
While the stout brawny youth, in languid strains,
Of tender frame, and shatter'd nerves, complains.
Nobles, whose sires for freedom bravely stood,
Or seal'd her sacred charter with their blood,
Glory their country's honor to have sold,
And prostitute their dearest rights for gold;
In Britain's cause while patriot Porters cry,
And Butchers bellow, Wilkes and Liberty!
As at this motley scene, in wild amaze,
On every side with wondering eyes I gaze,
Sudden, methought, I heard the clarion's notes;
Loud on the wind the martial clamour floats!—
The embattled legions glitter from afar,
And threaten Fashion's dome with fatal War.
Panting with rage to break her tyrant laws,
Here sprightly Wit his light-arm'd cohorts draws;
Reason, and Sense, with Virtue by their side,
In close array, their firm battalions guide;
And Beauty leads in graceful order on,
Her radiant files, that glitter in the sun.
The Goddess saw, and through the enamel'd red
A flush of rage her glowing features spread:
Then, frowning, thus: ‘Do these allies prepare
‘To wage with troops like mine unequal war?—
‘Soon shall my veterans o'er the purpled plain,
‘With force superior, drive the rebel train.
‘Though Wit, and Sense, their various bands combine,
‘And Virtue's powers with Beauty's squadrons join,
‘The boldst of their tribe shall mourn, too late,
‘The rash resolve that tempts them to their fate,
‘And bids them urge a host to warlike deeds,
‘Which Dulness marshals, and which Folly leads.’
She spoke, and while her voice the war defy'd,
Assembling myriads croud on every side;
Undaunted to the field of death they go,
And frown amazement on the approaching foe:
With dreadful shock the encount'ring armies meet,
And the plain trembling, rocks beneath their feet.
Ye Nymphs of Pindus! string my feeble lyre,
And in my bosom wake Mæonian Fire!
So shall my song, in equal strains, relate,
The bleeding horrors of this field of fate.
First Wit's impetuous train the fight began;
Full on the foe, with active force they ran.
The hardy sons of Dulness bear the shock,
Sustain the onset, and their ardor mock.
Secure from wounds they fight, no hostile reed
Can make the sacred sons of Dulness bleed:
Conceit, (whose tenfold shield's the surest fence
'Gainst all the fire of Wit, and force of Sense;
In which, when held before the warrior's heart,
No weapon finds a vulnerable part,
But from it's temper'd verge the arrows bound,
Nor leave a mark, but blunted strew the ground.)
Conceit, propitious hovering o'er their heads,
Before this favorite band her buckler spreads;
Behind it's ample round they safely lie,
And scorn the shafts of Satire, as they fly.
Weak are the attempts of Reason to sustain
The shatter'd force of Wit's defeated train;
Alike his baffled legions quickly yield,
And still victorious Dulness keeps the field.
But different far the martial scene appears,
Where her triumphant banner Beauty rears.
Folly, and Vice, in vain their powers oppose,
Wide o'er the field her car exulting goes;
Before her bands the hostile legions fly,
And round her shining chariot myriads die:
Even Dulness learns to tremble at the sight,
Draws off her conquering sons, and shuns the fight.
The trembling Goddess, seis'd with deep dismay,
Beheld the fatal fortune of the day:
Yet one remaining band some hopes afford,
To snatch the victory from her rival's sword.
From various regions drawn, a troop she had,
Of forms uncouth, in dress fantastic clad,
The truest slaves of Fashion's potent reign,
The keenest foes to Beauty's gallant train.
A thousand arms they wield, and arts they know,
Destructive all to their triumphant foe:
Here Affectation, dress'd in fell grimace,
Distorts each feature of a lovely face;
Here Milliners and Mantua-makers join
Their cruel skill, to hide each form divine;
Above the rest, here dire Friseurs prepare
Their horrid engines, and provoke the war:
Ten thousand puffs advanc'd with dreadful power
Against the adverse host their powder shower;
The rising dust obscures the doubtful fight,
And hides the struggling armies from the sight;
Wide o'er the foe the gathering mist extends,
Full on their fronts the snowy cloud descends.
No more, by artful braidings unconfin'd,
The flaxen hair flows wanton in the wind;
No more the auburn tresses loosely break,
In curls luxuriant, o'er the snowy neck;
Alike the sable locks their lustre lose,
And golden ringlets, sung by many a Muse.
O'er the fair train the clouds of powder fall,
And universal whiteness covers all.
Her alter'd legions Beauty scarcely knows,
And shrinks astonish'd from her shouting foes.
So when on fam'd Pharsalia's spacious stage
The world beheld her rival chiefs engage,
While Rome's luxurious youth, on Pompey's side,
Shining in arms, the strokes of death defied,
Cæsar no more against each dauntless breast,
But to their eyes, his glittering spears address'd:
Those who could death in freedom's cause embrace,
Struck with the terrors of a mangled face,
From the disputed field inglorious fly,
To 'scape the horrors of deformity.
Now Fashion's breast with eager transport beats,
While Beauty slowly from the field retreats:
But soon her warriors blast the short delight,
Assume fresh courage, and renew the fight.
Each wily stratagem is us'd in vain
To vanquish, or destroy, the lovely train;
Though every dress to hide their charms they wear,
Distort their features, and deform their hair;
To every dress superior still they rise,
Still darts the living lightning from their eyes:
Folly beholds her fainting squadrons yield,
And baffled Dulness quits at length the field.
Now, Fashion, shame had veil'd thy haughty head,
And Beauty reign'd triumphant in thy stead:
But, lo! auxiliar armies bend their way,
To rescue from her force the hard-fought day.
These foreign aids, in four divisions drawn,
With steady footsteps march across the lawn.
Two dress'd in sable garbs their squadrons spread,
Two like Britannia's legions clad in red.
Amidst their ranks four frowning kings appear,
And four fair queens their beauteous foreheads rear.
The embattled warriors round, a dreadful fight,
Pant for the conflict, and demand the fight.
‘Now haughty foes!’ (exulting Fashion cries)
‘Now learn my potent empire to despise!—
‘Though the disastrous shock of former arms
‘Had left ye blooming in your native charms;
‘No rouge had spread, no powder fall'n to shroud
‘Your dazzling lustre in a dusty cloud;
‘Not all your vaunted power should ever boast
‘One laurel ravish'd from yon veteran host.
‘Elate in arms, and foremost in the field,
‘See mighty Pam his massy halberd wield!—
‘Where-e'er, by victory led, the hero goes,
‘What daring arm, undaunted, shall oppose?
‘Or who, with fearless eye, the plain explores
‘Where dreadful march yon sable Matadores?
The Goddess said.—Impatient to engage,
Onward the legions rush with shouts of rage.
In vain fair Beauty calls her faithless band,
And bids each chief the fierce attack withstand;
The apostate warriors yield without a blow,
Throw down their useless arms, and kneel before the foe.
In triumph now to Fashion's ample fane
The jocund victors march across the plain;
And Beauty, hapless victim of the war!
Is chain'd a captive to her rival's car.
Now joy tumultuous swell'd the Goddess' breast,
And thus her voice the conquering train address'd:
‘Hail, happy chiefs! whose steady zeal alone
‘Has sav'd from ruin Fashion's tottering throne,
‘Whose arms have taught my strongest foes to yield,
‘And chas'd resistance from yon sanguine field:
‘For this exploit, your ever-honor'd band,
‘As guards perpetual, round my dome shall stand.
‘And sounding Fame, who at my palace gates,
‘Obedient on my will, for ever waits,
‘Shall with her trumpets teach the echoing wind
‘To bear this happy tale to all mankind,
‘That in each clime where-e'er my awful sway,
‘And high behests, the race of man obey,
‘Your sacred names, to all my sons endear'd,
‘Shall, as my own, be worshipp'd and rever'd.
‘Sense, Virtue, Wit, and Prudence, all combin'd,
‘No more shall win the reverence of mankind,
‘Courage, and Worth, no longer honor boast,
‘But Glory follow whom you favor most:
‘O'er Beauty, Pam shall reign despotic still,
‘Cupid resign his arrows to Spadille,
‘And all who bow to Fashion's dread awards,
‘Confess the universal power of Cards.’
The Art Of War. Book V.
Pallas, whose hand can through each devious road
Conduct your steps to Victory's bright abode,
Teach you success in every hour to find,
And for each season form the Hero's mind,
Shall now in verse the prudent art disclose,
To guard your peaceful quarter's calm repose.
When hoary Winter bids each freezing wind
Range o'er the regions free and unconfin'd,
When foe to Zephyr, Boreas' raging blast
Lays the rich field and smiling orchard waste,
No more the trees when leaves and fruitage grace,
But icicles and snow usurp their place,
When biting frosts the harden'd rivulet chain,
And the sad herds forsake the barren plain,
Then the cold Camp upon the mountain's brow
Shrinks as the cutting winds tempestuous blow;
Awhile the warriors to the season yield,
Stop their exploits, and quit the ice-bound field;
Though either side alike breathe martial fire,
From Winter's freezing powers they both retire;
Scatter'd in towns, from War they respite take,
And for warm roofs their canvas walls forsake.
The soldier train'd with hardy limbs to bear,
The rage of battle, and the force of War,
Should in the winter taste of quiet's joys,
For constant toil the strongest frame destroys.
Here warlike Art it's nicest care supplies,
To guard his sacred rest from quick surprise;
Ready and form'd for fight a numerous train
The insulting offers of the foe restrain,
O'er all the front the well-fenced posts extend,
And by their force the lengthen'd line defend;
Each narrow pass that Nature's hands have barr'd
From the bold foe must strong detachments guard;
Some leader fam'd, in whom the chief confides,
Protects the approach, and o'er the chain presides,
While round the swift dragoon and fleet hussar,
Prevent with watchful eyes each wile of War,
With constant care distress the harrass'd foes,
Hang o'er their march, and all their schemes disclose,
Report each fresh design, each movement new,
Distress their Camps, and baffle every view.
When each detail is settled in your breast
That prudence could foresee or skill suggest,
And all your cares and troubles seem as o'er,
One new contingency may give you more;
When cold Orion binds the whiten'd fields,
And o'er the flood a transient passage yields,
The wakeful chief her joys bids Quiet cease,
And Danger courts amidst the smiles of Peace.
'Tis not enough your host secure may lie,
It's discipline severe, it's spirit high,
You must with care replace the generous train
Who nobly perish'd on the ensanguin'd plain,
Conquest is bought with blood, and every shade
Whose corse on honor's field was bleeding laid,
Will a supply of dauntless hearts demand,
To assert the glory of the daring band;
Then to these prudent precepts bend your mind,
And succour firm in new-rais'd levies find.
As by the watchful fisher's wily hand
The river's silent inmates are trepann'd,
So the false lustre of deceitful gold
Lures the poor laborer from the farm or fold;
Ignorant of what excites contending kings,
Chance to the intrepid band his footsteps brings,
Where courage firm, and discipline severe,
Change to a soldier's fire a peasant's fear.
Success in War from numerous troops may flow,
Your force alone may check the timid foe.—
Of perfect limbs, and from a generous breed,
With careful glance select the martial steed,
From offer'd numbers cull'd with cautious hand,
Young, vigorous, docile, like your warrior band.
Let bounteous Ceres still with laughing eye,
Your crouded Camp with constant food supply,
The splendid arts of victory all are cross'd,
Unless more useful arts subsist your host.
This Camp, this People, by your motions sway'd,
Twice every day shall dire disease invade,
Whose force, if not allay'd by prudent care,
With cruel fangs shall thin the ranks of War;
Useless the sons of Galen find their skill,
Unless your plenteous stores abundance fill:
Should this important duty 'scape your mind,
Soon 'mid your fainting legions shall you find,
Drawn from the barren rocks that form her cave,
Her horrid pinions squalid Famine wave;
A thousand ills her fatal steps attend,
Seditious cries the ambient ether rend,
Weakness and Fear, and Misery's tainting breath,
Pallid Despair, inxorable Death;
Then 'mid the Camp where dying myriads groan,
Say will you fight deserted and alone?
Prevent the evil, and with careful eye,
Observe that plenteous marts your host supply,
So shall your arms amidst repose prepare
For future triumphs, and successful War.
While the bold chief, intent on new alarms,
With care arrays his levied force for arms,
Each generous leader now at ease reclines,
And 'midst his laurel wreaths the myrtle twines,
His faithful consort full of blushing charms
Forgets the pains of absence in his arms;
Ah happy hours! ah moments doubly dear!
Purchas'd by many a pang, and many a tear,
What joy an end of gushing grief to know,
Dried by the hand whose dangers made it flow!
To hear his glorious deeds with new delight,
Pride of the War, and honor of the fight,
To feel that heart which danger ne'er could move
Pant 'midst the charming agonies of Love!
With kisses sweet in amorous rapture press'd,
To stop that voice which steel'd the soldier's breast,
Rous'd him to gallant deeds with martial breath,
And taught the way to Victory, or death!
While on his faithful partner's breast reclin'd,
Rests the brave head to peaceful thoughts resign'd,
Pleas'd with his presence round him jocund move
The beauteous pledges of connubial love:
His hands victorious now endearing seize,
Or with their infant arms embrace his knees,
And burn to tread the thorny path that leads
To martial honors and immortal deeds:
A thousand little arts they smiling try,
While every motion charms a parent's eye,
That rears the buckler with a feeble hand,
This tries in vain to wield the shining brand,
Or lift the helmet, while their breasts aspire
To trace the glorious footsteps of their sire.
Thus tender Hymen knows with gentle power
On faithful hearts unnumber'd joys to shower,
When fond esteem in every look's express'd,
And mutual passion fires each feeling breast,
Joys to those trifling tribes of youth unknown,
Who pay their vows to Change's fickle throne,
Chaste is the bliss that fires the hero's heart,
And pure that love where weakness has no part:
He knows the bonds of softness to despise,
And swift to arms at Honor's mandate flies.
Amidst these joys that sense and duty guide,
Where healthful Rest, and Temperance preside,
To shameful sloth no wiles luxurious charm,
Relax his courage, and unnerve his arm,
Ready for War when Glory's call requires,
Stung with new rage, and warm'd by fiercer fires.
Before the Winter ends his slow career,
And opening flowrets paint the vernal year,
To posts advanced the eager Generals haste,
The scheme's projected, and the encampment traced,
The roads to march the assembling troops are plan'd
By skilful engineers with cautious hand,
While the slow work the impatient chief pursues,
And with strict eye the growing labor views;
Each various art with prudent arm prepares,
That asks his present or his future cares;
Sage Diffidence the mother of Success,
Bids him his thoughts to every scheme address,
Chases soft slumber from his closing eyes,
And to his toil a constant zeal supplies.
The foe, she cries, with ceaseless ardor view,
Mark what he does, and what he means to do,
His Camp in every part with spies surround,
Watch every motion, catch each trifling sound,
Be to your mind his every look display'd,
Learn his design, and even his thoughts pervade:
Spare not the dross that tempts mankind to sin,
The certain knowledge of his schemes to win.
With stranger eyes still prove your favorite plan,
And with severest care your actions scan.
Deem not yon hills whose summits high extend
From sudden rage your quarters can defend,
Nor the bold troops who guard yon river's brink
With shining arms a certain barrier think.
The monstrous Alps which seem'd with lengthen'd chain
A bulwark firm to Rome's superb domain,
Yield to Italia's plains a vain relief,
Scal'd by the ardor of the Punic chief:
In vain their summits to his march oppose
Cliffs rough with rocks, and white with endless snows,
Through undiscover'd paths he shapes his way,
Surprises, fights, and wins the glorious day.
Vendome depending on the mountain's guard,
Whose heights fair Lombardy thy frontier barr'd,
Saw brave Eugene by ways then unexplor'd,
With daring troops the rapid Adige ford,
Strike with undaunted speed the vigorous blow,
And free from Seine's command the exulting Po.
Those torrents mark!—when Winter's power they own,
And o'er their stream an icy bridge is thrown,
Sudden the adverse host with rapid course
May pass the channel and your quarters force,
While your disorder'd troops dispers'd by fright
Shall seek their safety in inglorious flight;
Thus shall one fatal moment veil in shame
Your former deeds, and blast your martial fame.
A quarter forced a thousand ills attend,
A thousand fears your baffled legions bend,
Your troops at once rebellious and dismay'd,
Your influence lost, your orders disobey'd,
Despair and grief to ardent zeal succeed,
In those that follow, and in those that lead,
Each sanguine hope by one sad check you lose,
And ruin's certain if the foe pursues.
Bournonville foil'd, yet in misfortune brave,
Pass'd with his troops the Rhine's majestic wave,
Turenne retreats before his numerous train,
Nor dares attempt the mountains of Lorrain:
Of art regardless, and of fortune sure,
Ere Winter's cold, the German too secure
His scatter'd forces o'er Alsatia spreads,
Nor heeds the danger hanging o'er their heads;
But while he thought the imperial bird might close
Her drowsy eyes secure from following foes,
Sudden Turenne (the opposing mountains cross'd)
O'er the wide champain pours the assembled host;
That day he gain'd by one important blow
An easy Victory o'er a scatter'd foe,
While the astonish'd Chief his host to save,
With speed repasses Rhine's tempestuous wave.
Even Winter's frosts shall aid your rapid course,
And hours of rest assist your daring force;
By care assembled, and by ardor led,
Against the foe dispers'd, your legions head,
By fear dismay'd, disorder'd by surprise,
Without a blow his ruin'd army flies.
To conduct sage her aid let speed unite,
Dispel his forces, and pursue his flight,
Examples drawn from every age unfold,
That favoring fortune still attends the bold.
So to the Saxon race the chief appear'd
O'er Stanislaus his favoring shield who rear'd,
When quitting laurels for the myrtle bough,
Augustus paid to love the tender vow.
While lull'd to ease by Venus' witching charms,
He left his glory for a mistress' arms,
His brow adorn'd with Luxury's soft crown,
Forgetting Poland, War, and fair renown;
With sudden force the Ammon of the north
Resistless pour'd his veteran legions forth,
Disturb'd with arms each Bacchanalian rite,
While Love and hireling legions take their flight,
And the sad sovereign sees his rival place
Another on that throne he us'd to grace.
So when the eagle, favorite bird of Jove,
Wings his bold flight the thundering clouds above,
And on the lessening earth beholds his prey
O'er the steep hills, or through the forests stray,
Swift to his death on soaring wing he flies,
And to his eyry bears the bleeding prize.
The Art Of War. Book Iii.
Your footsteps now the arsenals have trod
Where lie the treasures of the warrior God;
Yet 'midst his ranks to serve is little fame,
Little avails the soldier's ardent flame,
Unless to all the heights of art you climb,
And reach of martial skill the true sublime.
Come to his Temple! lo to you reveal'd
Each mystic rite from common eyes conceal'd,
Far from those paths where creep the vulgar train
March boldly on, and seek the inmost fane.
Deep sink the threatening gulphs on either side,
And the rude path with heroes blood is dy'd,
Firm on a crimson rock, with murky cloud
Enwrap'd, the palace rears her turrets proud
Above the sun amidst the empyreal skies,
Sublime her glittering pinacles arise,
While her foundations sinking deep, remain
On Stygian shores, and Pluto's drear domain.
Pale Discord, cruel Death, the Fury band,
Who of these seats eternal guardians stand,
In vain on you their savage aspects turn,
While in your breast the flames of Glory burn,
Glory shall ope the sounding portals wide,
Conduct your steps, and place you by her side.
Beneath the porch enrich'd with burnish'd gold,
Tuning their silver lyres the Nine behold:
First 'mid their number see Urania stand,
The pictur'd globe, and compass in her hand,
On whose smooth surface drawn with mimic line,
Appear what realms to form the world combine;
Through all the extent her skilful fingers trace
Each different state, it's order, and it's place;
Exact Vauban, and learned Sanson there,
The warrior's guides, her favorite sons appear,
They point the plains extent, the city's force,
The mountain's summit, and the river's course,
The strength or weakness of the fort display,
And guide through paths unseen the warrior's way.
But who is that by Glory's side who sings
The various fate of warriors, and of kings?
Calliope! the listening youth around
Catch from her dulcet breath the enlivening sound,
And equal skill the attentive Pupil draws
From Error's censure, and from Worth's applause.
Morality with form majestic see
Keeping the approach from minds presumptuous free,
Her voice severe those chiefs alone approves
Whom Merit dignifies, and Virtue loves,
Bids Cruelty and Avarice fly afar,
And teaches pity 'mid the rage of War,
Hates Envy's snakes, and crowns with Glory's meed
Their brows alone who for their country bleed.
Approach! Bellona's armed hands discern
On the strong hinge the brazen portal turn,
Which from the vulgar eye those mysteries hide,
Shewn to the favorite train who grace her side.
Deep in the Temple's isle with splendor graced,
On a proud throne's majestic purple placed,
Which Genius on her spreading pinions bears,
In all his pomp the dreadful God appears:
Close by his side intrepid Valor stands,
And Prudence, calm amidst contending bands,
Labor whose wakeful eyelids never close,
And Guile who round her looks malignant throws;
Who as occasion suits at will appears,
And Proteus-like a thousand figures wears;
Imagination, in whose eye confess'd
Beams the rich fire that animates her breast,
Where swift a thousand brilliant projects move,
Which wise Minerva's critic rules approve.
With downcast looks and deep mysterious mien,
Lo! Secresy compleats the mingled scene,
With finger on her mouth, and speaking nod,
She stalks still trusted by the warrior God.
Around the throne eternal laurels blow,
Which on those Demi-Gods his hands bestow,
Those favorite chiefs whose skill in many a field
Has made to Wisdom's efforts Victory yield,
Heroic crown! 'tis thy unfading charms
Which court alone the illustrious chief to arms,
Each selfish passion wings her harpy flight,
While thou and Glory charm him to the fight.
'Midst the bright fane which various trophies grace,
Mars at his will directs the human race;
Between yon brazen columns turn your eyes,
And mark the chiefs in sculptur'd order rise,
In the cut marble frowns each daring son,
On nations trading which his arms had won.
Here shine, so oft compar'd, each glorious name
Mounting by different steps the heights of fame,
With whose renown still rings the earthly ball,
This great by Persia's, that by Pompey's fall;
Miltiades and Cymon grace the shrine,
And Alcibiades thy form divine,
Emilius, Quintus, Fabius, Scipio, there
Partake the triumph, and the incense share,
Villars and Condé, chiefs of newer date,
And royal Henry justly nam'd the Great,
Gustavus slain while Victory graced his side,
And valiant William, Prussia's darling pride,
Illustrious Anhalt, Baden, brave Eugene,
Germania's guardian, and his foe Turenne.
New from the artist's hand, yon sculptur'd head,
The palm fresh blooming o'er his temples spread,
The glorious Saxon see, the boast of France!
Reserv'd in peace for Death's insatiate lance!
Come beardless youths, Experience sage behold,
Long us'd to labor, and in science old,
Silver'd with age her hoary head appears,
Her body bent beneath the weight of years,
Her limbs tho' scarr'd yet mock the strokes of time,
Vers'd in the arts of every age and clime
Her voice examples to the ear supplies,
And speaks of deeds familiar to her eyes.
She'll teach you Scipio's ardor to explore,
Protecting Rome on Libya's distant shore,
Till Carthage calls her veteran troops again,
To meet disgrace on Zama's sultry plain;
While a less daring chief content to shield
From conquering foes Italia's ravag'd field,
Successful there, had thank'd propitious fate,
And guarded, not reveng'd, the insulted state.
Fell Discord while on haughty Rome she frown'd,
With meeds of glory many a warrior crown'd,
Skill'd to advance with speed, with care retreat,
Sertorius see her baffled troops defeat,
Amidst Iberia's hills his well-train'd force,
Checks Rome's adventurous eagle in her course;
So much can Genius by her potent art,
Success to arms in spite of chance impart.
While a young Chief to rasher steps inclin'd,
Leaving the rocks, and sheltering hills behind,
Had in their Camp the numerous foe defied,
And Pompey dar'd with Fortune by his side.
Condé the great, Bellona's favorite son,
Of wasted France secur'd the tottering throne;
The unhappy times a dauntless stroke require,
To check of conquering foes the increasing fire.
In one decisive day for France and Spain,
Courage prevail'd where Prudence had been vain.
While timid measures weakly circumspect
Had tried alone the nation to protect,
The Spanish chief embolden'd by delay,
To proud Lutetia's walls had forced his way.
From Northern climes, the eternal winter's reign,
See the dread squadron plow our frighted main,
Drawn by Germania's wrongs, the navy brings
The brave Gustavus, and the fate of kings;
To him their cause the realms oppress'd confide,
Mars leads his steps, and Pallas guards his side,
His threatening brows on Austria's Tyrant lower,
Resolv'd to curb Vienna's growing power,
While Stralsund's friendly ramparts still afford
A ready harbour to their daring Lord:
Assistance fortune to his ardor lends,
Join'd by each army of his succouring friends,
With sure success he prosecutes the War,
And Victory seems attendant on his car;
With conquering arms he gives Germania laws,
Avenges every injur'd prince's cause,
At once to glory, and to interest true,
Asserts their rights, and then protects them too,
And had not Fate in Victory's mourning arms
Stopp'd by one cruel blow the War's alarms,
His rapid power had shar'd the imperial throne,
And Germany at once two Cæsars known.
Behold of brave Eugene the daring plan
When Gallia's lilies Lombardy o'er-ran,
The opposing Alps the unwearied Hero cross'd,
Turin exulting, view'd the friendly host,
Extended, Marsin! o'er too large a field,
Thy troops at once in every quarter yield;
The rapid chief by this exploit alone,
Forced Italy her feeble prince to own.
Now through Hungaria's realms his march pursue,
On Danube's brink his firm battalions view,
While Belgrade's siege employs his great designs,
The numerous Turk surrounds him in his lines,
With unremitting toil the siege he plies,
Nor heeds the Vizier's daring enterprize;
He lets him now a new approach essay,
And o'er the rapid current urge his way;
Then like the fleeting wind with sudden force
On the stunn'd foe he pours his thundering horse:
Soon to his arms the astonish'd Othmans yield
The walls of Belgrade, and the glorious field.
Illustrious William! from Elysium's shade,
Arise propitious to thy people's aid,
To your brave sons the art of Victory tell,
And teach those lessons which you knew so well.
Your sons by that example mov'd alone,
Shall want no precepts drawn from chiefs unknown;
O glorious Brandenburgh! thy generous fire
A grateful people ever shall admire,
The hapless sorrows of thy realms oppress'd,
With powerful pity touch'd thy feeling breast,
Quitting the crimson borders of the Rhine,
On Elbe's disorder'd brink thy legions shine:
Like tigers fierce the Swedes with barbarous haste
O'er-ran our fields, and laid our country waste,
The wretched native saw with wild amaze,
The harvest ravag'd, and the city blaze,
Wrangle, of easy victory proudly sure,
Amidst his rising laurels slept secure,
Till wak'd at once he saw destruction near,
And in our cause the avenging God appear;
The saving Power impetuous speeds his way,
Comes, views, and conquers, in one glorious day:
In vain the Swede collects his scatter'd force,
And tries to stem this new Alcides' course,
Feherbellin witness of the glorious deed,
Beheld with joy the Gothic army bleed.
Thus whilom 'midst Assyria's haughty band,
The avenging angel drove with furious hand,
Perform'd the will of Heaven's eternal Lord,
And millions fell beneath the ethereal sword.
But William greater in the exulting hour,
With heavenly mercy temper'd victory's power,
Pardon'd of Homberg's zeal the impetuous flight,
Who rashly join'd too soon the dubious fight,
Bade clemency with streams unsullied flow,
Nor took revenge upon the suppliant foe,
But while the yielding troops he knew to spare,
On their arm'd bands he pour'd the rage of War,
Till from his borders driven, the hostile train
Seek shameful safety on the friendly main.
Still new exploits these daring deeds attend,
To him her suppliant looks does Prussia send,
The wintry tempest and the ice-bound wave
But more inflame the ardor of the brave,
Astonish'd Thetis to another shore,
Upon her frozen bosom bears him o'er:
He comes!—where'er they hear his name resound,
The vanquish'd Swedes retire, nor tempt a wound;
With unresisted arms his legions go,
And gain a bloodless conquest o'er the foe.
Impatient youths in search of glory warm,
From this victorious Prince your model form,
Like him pursue with ceaseless toil and pain,
Each different path that leads to Honor's fane,
Your every scheme to Reason's touchstone bring,
And let her prune Imagination's wing;
Each motion of the foe with caution scan,
Mark all he does perform, and all he can.
Strength will be useless found, and courage vain,
Unless fair plenty chear your warlike train.
Charles, who of wavering fate prov'd each succcess,
The height of fame, the depth of sad distress,
Would ne'er with tears have mourn'd his ruin'd host,
And in one day nine years of Victory lost,
Had not 'mid desert wilds the artful Czar
Call'd pale-eyed famine to the aid of War.
The thunder treasur'd 'gainst your foe with care,
To use with speed, not rashness, still prepare.
Your plan with cool and stedfast step pursue,
Think nothing done while aught remains to do,
Nor deem perform'd your destin'd task unless
Each different project's crown'd with full success.
Thus when from Chaos in confusion hurl'd,
The Almighty Fiat form'd the smiling world,
Mov'd by his plastic breath the atoms join'd,
And took the perfect shape his will design'd.
The Art Of War. Book Ii.
When fatal Discord from the realms of night,
Wings to this bleeding world her baleful flight,
Wakes with infernal cries her serpent brood,
Sheds through the troubled air a fiery flood,
And bids invidious rage and fury dart
Their rankling poisons through each monarch's heart,
Justice and Peace from mortal councils driven,
Forsake the earth, and seek their native Heaven;
Remorseless Vengeance every nation guides,
And brutal force in Themis' seat presides;
Satiate with blood, yet thirsting still for more,
Proud of her first success, with savage roar,
The monster urges to the dangerous plain
Destructive War, and all her hellish train.
Then shine around the opening stores of Mars,
The ramparts guarded threaten future Wars;
On every anvil new-form'd weapons gleam,
And loads the darken'd sky a sulphurous steam;
The spacious cities, whilom seats of ease,
With pleasure gay, and every art of peace,
Now swarm with crowding troops and glittering arms,
All look destruction, and all breathe alarms,
While the shrill clarion chides the winter's stay,
Whose tedious hours the promis'd War delay.
The season form'd to fan more pleasing fires,
Parent of blooming hopes and young desires,
When smiling Graces every flower combine,
The blooming wreaths of Love and Peace to twine,
Tempts only now to scenes of blood and death
The daring Warrior urg'd by Glory's breath.
Soft floats the air, and pours the melting snow
In silver torrents from the mountain's brow;
O'er the fair vales the crystal currents glide,
And smiling herbage waits on every tide;
Verdant with rising corn the hills appear,
And laughing Flora decks the vernal year;
The warrior bands with vengeful arms supplied,
The fatal ministers of regal pride,
For glory eager, and of courage proud,
With wings of speed to Honor's standard croud;
For the warm roof the tent it's covering spreads;—
The approaching War each trembling neighbour dreads;
The affrighted hind reluctant quits the soil,
And strangers reap the produce of his toil.
Now on the destin'd spot the martial train
Drawn up in dread array possess the plain;
The full battalions on the appointed place,
With ready hands the growing city trace;
Here stretch the streets, and there the palace gate
Spreads to receive the guardians of the state;
Without or wood, or stone, with skilful hands
By soldiers rear'd, the canvas city stands;
Who, as the War requires, with ease pull down,
Bear off, and raise anew, the moving town.
It asks no vulgar mind, or trifling care,
To chuse the station and the Camp prepare:
Your troops in certain safety would you place,
The different ground with skill and prudence trace:
Here craggy mountains seem to pierce the sky,
There narrow dells and spacious champains lie;
Each, as occasion points or chance directs,
Assists your purpose, and your Camp protects;
On these selected well, and fix'd with care,
Depends the fortune of th' approaching War.
The hardy troops whose steady march you lead,
The substance form of War, yourself the head;
Since from your thoughts their ev'ry motion flows,
Act while they rest, and watch o'er their repose;
To you each look the ardent warriors send,
Wait on your words, and on your skill depend;
With ceaseless care their confidence retain,
Nor let the Soldier trust your power in vain.
Does your bold heart in bloody fields delight,
Resolv'd to try the dubious chance of fight?
Chuse for your daring Camp the extended field,
Whose space shall room for every movement yield;
Small troops advanc'd before your army send,
Let woods, and rivers near, your Post defend:
Protect the neighbouring towns with watchful eye,
Whose plenteous marts your valiant troops supply;
Let your brave bands at equal distance drawn,
Rang'd in two lines, divide the verdant lawn;
Your foot the centre guard with steady ranks,
While your new-form'd dragoons protect the flanks;
The infantry with firm resistless force
Your body make, your arms the rapid horse.
Uncrouded squadrons there their files extend,
Active to charge, or ready to defend;
But in it's proper place each corps employ,
Or ground unfit will all their power destroy.
Mounted on fiery steeds, the Centaur train,
Who rush like lightning o'er the level plain,
Where swells in craggy heights the uneven ground,
Or gloomy forests spread, are useless found,
While the brave foot in all alike remain,
The wood, the marsh, the mountain, or the plain,
March o'er the extended field, or hollow dale,
Climb the steep cliff, the strong entrenchment scale,
Ready with equal vantage to engage,
Where'er the doubtful battle chance to rage.
As when in spring, the clouds together driven,
With scowling vapours blot the face of Heaven,
And thunder, wind, and rain, with stormy blast,
Lay the green hopes of future harvests waste;
So with their heavy fire in close array,
They ruin pour on all who check their way.
If to your breast her aid discretion lend,
Your army's flanks with strictest care defend;
A friendly village, an impervious wood,
A deep morass, or silver-winding flood,
Shall every weaker part from fear protect,
And teach the foe such ramparts to respect.
The bull provok'd, with horns protended stands,
Runs on his foe, and spurns with rage the sands,
With ready front each bold attack receives,
Nor to the assault his side defenceless leaves.
The important precept fix within your heart,
The prudent chief conceals each weaker part;
Secure from wounds, save in the unguarded heel,
The Grecian hero mock'd the force of steel;
Such are your flanks, protect them from the foe,
Nor rashly tempt like him a mortal blow.
By adverse fortune if your schemes are cross'd,
While growing numbers swell the opposing host,
To your thin ranks let Art her succour lend,
Let Nature's works your strengthen'd Camp defend;
Place your battalions on the mountain's brow,
'Midst gloomy woods, or where rude torrents flow.
Nor this enough; some passage unexplor'd
Should from your post a safe retreat afford;
Free to retire, or ready to advance,
Then shall you scorn the shifting power of chance,
O'ercome by talents while your foes remain
To waste with useless rage their force in vain.
Learn in the field of Mars with prudent care,
To range your bands in every form of War;
With fire your line sustain, between the space
Of different corps, your thundering engines place,
Whose brazen wombs with dreadful flash impart
Despair and terror to the assailant's heart.
Behind these fierce volcanos let your band
Of cuirass'd horse in dreadful order stand:
If fire and steel their force in vain combine,
But still your foes advance and pierce your line,
Swift to your eager squadrons give the word,
And let them bathe in blood each shining sword.
Thus to the experienced leader's sage command
It's ready aid affords the docile land,
Still offers safety to his eagle sight,
And wisdom fixes fortune's transient flight.
Valor's a common gift, but Prudence rare,
Varro the daring Soldier's praise may share.
But the form'd Hero shines in Fabius' care.
As where aloft the cliffs of Athos rise,
And rush with azure summits to the skies,
In vain the embattled tempest pours from far,
Against his sides the elemental War,
Smiles 'midst an air serene his lofty brow,
And mocks the thunder as it roars below;
So the cool chief despising fortune's frown,
Looks from his well-fenc'd Camp undaunted down,
Beholds his foe in useless schemes engage,
And waste in vain attempts his fruitless rage.
If Genius in your breast has fix'd her throne,
And Mars propitious mark'd you for his own,
Whatever ground your legions tread, you'll find
Castles, and forts, by nature's hand design'd;
Folly may see, but Wisdom's happy skill
Turns each obedient to the Warrior's will.
Thus Sparta's hero in that glorious day,
When Xerxes' millions forced at length their way,
Oppos'd his scanty troops with daring force,
To stop of Persia's sons the unskilful course,
And Grecia's arms, in many a conflict tried,
Check'd for a while the Median Tyrant's pride.
Thus, when the imperial conflict wafting o'er
From Italy to pale Epirus' shore,
The senate's darling champion rush'd to join
The mighty hero of the Julian line;
Dyrrachium's mountains well your guarded straits
Had turn'd to Pompey's side the doubting fates,
For on your heights the chief secure had stood,
And worn the victor wreath unsoil'd with blood;
But Rome's luxurious youth inflam'd with rage,
Of toil impatient, panting to engage,
Forced him to quit his post's impervious aid,—
The error Mars with tenfold vengeance paid,
And for the fault of one unguarded hour,
Gave up the vanquish'd world to Cæsar's power.
O thou whose skill could like the Roman's shine!
Shield of the empire, guardian of the Rhine!
Whose well-fenced Camps could give to fortune law,
Command success, and keep Turenne in awe,
Say, shall my Muse forget thy glorious name?—
Let Mars assist me while I chant thy fame!
Ye youthful Warriors, mark the great campaign,
Whose conduct guarded fair Germania's plain,
Admire each scene, each field with wonder view,
Survey his Camps, his rapid march pursue,
See his strong posts the fire of Gallia brave,
Restrain her ardor, and his country save.
Think not his force unmov'd he kept, nor deem
Though the large Camp a spacious city seem,
That War no sudden change requires, but learn
To watch the subtle foe at every turn;
With movement quick the former ground forsake,
Prevent his march, and each advantage take,
Safely retire, advance with rapid course,
And still by new attempts employ his force.
When to decamp the General gives command,
In lengthen'd column moves each separate band,
Four different corps they form, the ready horse,
On either flank protect the army's course;
While in the centre, rang'd in long array,
The steady foot pursue their toilsome way:
The distant foe who views the warrior train
Wind o'er in deepen'd files the spacious plain,
As glides the serpent arm'd with glittering scales,
In shining volumes o'er the Libyan vales,
The dreadful scene surveys with wild affright,
While slaughter leads the van, and claims the fight.
When form'd for War, your legions cross the plain,
Would you the smiles of fierce Bellona gain,
Before your front advanced, strong parties send,
Sustain their ardor, and their force defend;
These like the fiery cloud whose chearing light
Through the drear wild conducted Israel's flight,
Mid scenes unknown shall guide your watchful eyes,
And guard your doubtful march from quick surprize.
But should of fatal War the uncertain chance
Demand to right, or left, a swift advance,
March by your flanks embattled on the plain,
While parallel your equal lines remain.
To adverse fate must victors sometimes yield,
Turenne has fail'd, and Condé lost the field;
When forced the day to stronger arms to leave,
Still may the subtle chief his foes deceive,
Applauding worlds his merit shall admire,
Who knows without confusion to retire.
First march your baggage off to safeguards near,
While a bold train protects the lagging rear,
And, while the light-arm'd foot the mountains scale,
Secure the heavier forces pass the vale,
Till freed from danger of insulting foes,
Glorious, yet safe, the harrass'd troops repose.
O'er fair Germania's hills, with ceaseless haste,
And thorny forests Varus heedless past,
His troops neglecting, headstrong, rash, and vain,
Marching unform'd, encamping on the plain,
Till 'mid rude dells, and craggy mountains lost,
Arminius' schemes destroy'd his wilder'd host;
Augustus' tears their cruel fate deplore,
Varus, he cries, my slaughter'd troops restore!—
With wiser counsel, and more helpful care,
He should have cried, imprudent chief beware!
To seize the mountains heights thy power employ,
Nor let a barbarous host my troops destroy.
The Art of War which empire's sway extends,
On these first principles alone depends;
In advantageous posts your Camps prepare,
Advance with caution, and retire with care
Ye Warrior Chiefs who o'er our troops preside,
Learn from my verse your various parts to guide,
Let Practice prove what Theory has shewn;
And would ye sit on Glory's envied throne,
Your Camp like Fabius form, secure and slow,
And learn your Marches from his Punic foe.
The Art Of War. Book Iv.
When Vice triumphant rul'd the iron age,
And Justice left her seat to savage rage,
'Gainst the rude neighbour prompt at rapine's call,
The rising city rear'd the embattled wall,
While shew'd the citadel it's strengthen'd tower,
To guard the monarch from rebellious power;
Then on the cliff, or by the foaming flood,
With dreadful site the well-fenced rampart stood;
Each narrow pass by threatening works was barr'd,
And frequent forts the spacious frontier guard:
As the sharp fangs that arm the lion's jaw,
With threaten'd fate the Moor affrighted awe,
So where the borders of the realm extend,
If bulwarks strong the lengthening lines defend,
In vain combine of numerous foes the force,
The guarded frontier checks their daring course.
War, first of Arts, that savage nation knew,
By slow degrees to full perfection grew;
Grecia and Rome to fortify their power,
Thicken'd the wall alone, or rear'd the tower,
With missile weapons from whose threatening height,
Against the foe beneath they waged the fight;
From the light sling the leaden ball was thrown,
The arrow shot, or roll'd the ponderous stone.
When now the assailing troops the town inclose,
And deals the weighty ram it's thundering blows,
Descending dreadful from the lofty tower
On the machines a sulphurous stream they shower,
While numerous darts the approaching warrior wound,
And pierce the temper'd buckler's ample round,
Till various schemes the assailant's labors foil,
And force the wearied chief to quit his toil.
I shall not here my lengthen'd song employ
To tell of Priam's fate, and burning Troy.
With reverence due my eyes those scenes explore,
Proud Ilion's ashes, and Scamander's shore,
But tales that Virgil's glowing lines display,
Would ill agree with my severer lay.
Strong Syracusa's ramparts to destroy
See brave Marcellus every scheme employ,
While Archimedes' arts his labor foil,
Burn his machines, and mock his fruitless toil,
Repair each work, each tottering wall sustain,
And curb the force of Rome's imperious train.
Marseilles secur'd by many a strengthen'd tower
Mock'd dauntless Cæsar and his veteran power;
Wearied at length, but sure of fortune's aid,
He bid the sea their floating works invade.—
Thus check'd the siege long, bloody, and severe,
Of Rome's experienced chiefs the bold career.
In later times the powers infernal strove
To wrest the thunder from the hands of Jove,
These new machines have chang'd the face of War.—
The shell from brazen engines thrown afar
Reaches with curve immense the distant wall,
It's ponderous force redoubled by the fall,
Bursts 'mid the astonish'd train with horrid sound,
And cruel deaths unnumber'd scatters round:
Meanwhile the cannon with it's thundering breath
Sends forth terrific roars, and instant death;
Soon as the flash alarms our dazzled eyes,
Swift to the mark the iron bullet flies,
Lays in the dust the strongest bulwark low,
And gives a passage to the assailing foe.
This wonderous art reserv'd for modern days,
Whose power in sieges Mars has deign'd to praise,
Is form'd by sable grains in tubes confin'd,
Of smoulder'd charcoal, salt, and sulphur join'd.
Once to the world this fatal secret known,
Inventive Art to new defence has flown;
No more to guard the town from hostile fears
She builds the bulwark, and the turret rears,
'Gainst force which all that checks it's way destroys,
New skill she uses, and new arts employs.
Vauban, belov'd by Mars, whose forming hand,
The best defence of modern ramparts plann'd,
O that your glorious shade could now declare
The wonderous artifice, the ceaseless care,
Which in proud Gallia's perfect forts conspire
To check Germania's arms, and Britain's fire;
How with strong works you each attack defied,
And to the cruel art new force supplied.
Now the low works hid by the sheltering ground
Despise the thundering cannon's dreadful sound,
Strength to the wall the frequent buttress lends,
While the vast ditch in front the approach defends.
The angle here projects, and there retires,
And bastion bastion guards with flanking fires.
In the deep foss before the curtain placed,
The ravelin see with threatening cannon graced,
These second works prepar'd with skill profound,
Form a new rampart, and dispute the ground.
Round all these labors at a larger space
The extended outworks rise, and guard the place,
The trenches sink before, where give their aid
The cover'd way, and threatening palisade;
And the deep glacis spreads it's fatal green,
Of combat, and of blood the dreadful scene.
What various works has man with plastic skill
Drawn from the arts submissive to his will?
Who but must think where Gallia's bulwarks lower,
Defence has us'd her utmost stretch of power?
Yet deem not so, below observe the mine
With human rage where arts infernal join,
The glacis 'neath your feet the abyss contains,
Where the black dust but waits the whizzing trains
To raise the parting earth with fiery breath,
And strew the neighbouring works with blood and death.
Yet after all the effect of care and toil,
No ramparts now the insulting foe can foil,
For the same art the city which defends,
Assistance equal to the assailant lends:
The attack it's order and it's method knows,
Perils in vain the experienced chief oppose,
He wins his way through every threatening power,
And awes by numerous troops each hostile tower.
Should the bold foe attempt with dauntless face
To force his Camp, and so relieve the place,
Quick his laborious legions ope the ground,
And wide retrenchments all the host surround.
The prudent chief his lines contracts with care,
For works unguarded ill support the War;
The fierce assault unwearied to sustain,
Let for relief a strong reserve remain,
Then in the Camp, if smiling plenty flow,
Mock every effort of the insulting foe.
With care the place's strength and weakness learn,
And all your powers combin'd against it turn;
With cautious step advance, the attack being plann'd,
The line, the rule, the compass in your hand,
Your parallels along the country draw,
And by your winding works the fortress awe.
Now from the thundering engine flies the ball,
The bulwarks tremble, and the ramparts fall,
From their strong posts o'ercome by constant fire,
The steady troops that check'd your march retire,
From flanking shots that sideway bound along,
Soon quit the cover'd way, the hostile throng;
Your conquering steps the sloping glacis tread,
But there untried the faithless verdure dread,
Beneath your feet be sure the wily foe,
With sulphurous blast prepares the fatal blow;
Be cautious then, advance with anxious pain,
Sound well the mines, and spare your valiant train.
Before you push the bold attack too far,
Mind to conclude the subterranean war;
The miner first his useful works askance,
Should to the glacis' verdant base advance.
To save from hidden death each bold brigade,
Assault with fury near the palisade,
And when your troops that bloody region awe,
Swift to the spot your brazen engines draw,
The works shall totter at each fatal blow,
While sinks the crumbling bulwark mined below,
The trench is fill'd, around the warriors bleed,
And to assaults still fresh assaults succeed.
Oft while the troops the fugitives pursue,
The place they enter, and at once subdue;
Thus Gallia's sons by martial ardor fir'd,
Advancing boldly as their foes retir'd,
Seizing with eager hands the favoring hour,
Bent Hainault's capital to Lewis' power.
Observe the soldier, and his rage restrain,
Less fierce the savage of the Libyan plain,
Unless your power confin'd his fury hold,
By plunder lur'd, with savage licence bold,
His sanguine crimes while wrath his bosom warms,
Shall sully all the lustre of your arms.
The cruel chief who lets his troops assuage
In carnage and excess their bloody rage,
Though Conquest lead him o'er her wide domain,
Shall view Disgrace his fairest laurels stain,
While all mankind in mercy's cause combin'd,
His worth forgetting, curse his ruthless mind.
Tilly, who 'neath the imperial eagle fought,
By glorious deeds immortal honor bought,
One bloody cloud eclips'd it's rays divine,
And wip'd his name from memory's hallow'd shrine:
And bleeding Magdeburgh thy cries proclaim
His tarnish'd glory, and his deathless shame.
Ye valiant warriors, if with mournful breath
My voice describes the dreadful scene of death,
'Tis to wake horror for the scene of woe,
And bid your breasts with indignation glow.
Pleas'd with fallacious hopes of sudden peace,
Their watchful guard the hapless inmates cease,
Lull'd by a faithless truce's mean disguise,
The treacherous Tilly seals their wakeful eyes;
Now drowsy Morpheus o'er the unthinking train
Spreads the soft languors of his leaden reign,
On the firm rampart tir'd with constant toil,
The slumbering centries press the dewy soil;
Security and peace the soldier seize,
He quits the trenches for domestic ease;
From Stygian shores the lying fiend appears,
And with deceitful arm the olive rears,
On every side the shouts of joy resound,
And Prudence' voice in festive notes is drown'd.
The watchful Tilly 'mid the dread repose,
Bids his still chiefs their ardent troops dispose,
O'er the strong works with silent step, and slow,
The cruel Austrian mounts, nor meets a foe.
Ah, hapless race! whom empty hope deceives,
Lo! peace to treason's power the city leaves;
Doubling the horror of the midnight shade,
See the funereal wing of death display'd,
Remorseless Rage, and Hell's destructive band
Arm with infernal swords the victor's hand,
Pale Nature groans, and through the thundering skies,
With useless aim the gleaming lightning flies.
Tilly whose hate no mercy could restrain,
Gave to his vengeful troops the loosen'd rein;
Slaughter and rapine rage on every side,
And the sad walls with native blood are dyed.
O'er the fell scene the insatiate chief presides,
Inflames their vengeance, and their ravage guides,
The example fires the mildest of their train,
They force the peaceful house, and sacred fane;
The valiant who oppose, the weak who fly,
Alike with undistinguish'd horror die.
Pierced in the mother's arms the infant's blood
Pours o'er the parent's breast a purple flood,
The father tries in vain the son to save,
But unreveng'd sinks with him to the grave,
Nor age, nor sex their hellish rage disarm,
To Pity deaf, and blind to Beauty's charm.
Feeble with years the hoary priest in vain
Grasps with his mournful arms the hallow'd fane;
Three hundred fathers bent by wasting time,
Slain at the altar's foot increase their crime.
While 'midst the horrid scene our eyes behold
The timid virgin by despair made bold,
By shame impell'd, the dread of danger brave,
And fearless plunge in Elbe's ensanguin'd wave.
But Heavens! what horrid spectacle appears!
What rage unknown each savage bosom sears!—
Why in your hands do baneful torches flame?
Infernal fiends! who blast the Soldier's name!—
See the fierce fires each lofty pile destroy,
The city blazes round, another Troy;
From house to house the shining ruins glide,
And horrid clamors swell on every side;
Who 'scape the flames the shining falchions glean,
While nature trembles 'mid the infernal scene.
So paint our sinking hearts the dread abode,
By torturing fiends, and hellish dæmons trod,
Where furies in gorgonian terrors clad
Chastise the impious, and appal the bad,
Where wretches endless torments undergo,
And fill the measure of eternal woe.
Such, and more dreadful, in those fatal hours
Appear'd, O Magdeburgh! thy shatter'd towers,
As by the conflagration's lurid ray,
Shewn to the sight thy smoaky ruins lay.
The city once of peace the fair retreat,
Of every smiling art the favorite seat,
In the short space of one unhappy night,
Lies a sad desert to the passer's sight,
Where with his crimes fatigu'd the soldier stands,
Proud of the slaughter of his savage hands,
While Elbe's affrighted waves forsake the shore
With corses choak'd, and red with human gore.
Did Fortune's smiles the cruel Tilly crown
For loosing vengeance on the unhappy town?
Devouring flames a useful conquest spoil'd,
And one vast scene of devastation wild
Fair Magdeburgh appears, whose ruins lie
A dreadful prospect to the Victor's eye,
And seem to call the immortal powers to shed
A tenfold vengeance on the Author's head.
The Parsonage Improved
Where gentle Deva's lucid waters glide
In slow meanders thro' the winding vale,
And fertile Cestria's pastures green divide;
Deep in the bosom of a sheltering dale
By uplands guarded from the wintry gale,
In rustic site a lowly village stands,
Not laid in form exact with artful scale,
But scatter'd wide by Chance's careless hands
'Mid woods, and breezy hills, and lawns, and fallow'd lands.
Here by the verdant margin of the flood
'Mid osiers dank the humble cottage lies,
And here emerging from the bowering wood
From chimnies low the curling steams arise,
Here on the heath adorn'd with purple dyes
The open casement drinks the ambrosial air,
While pointing boldly to the ambient skies,
The taper steeple marks the house of prayer,
Where to the holy rite the village race repair.
Here erst a simple fabric might you see,
The peaceful mansion of the Parish Priest:
Though unadorn'd with costly symmetry
No splendid portal woo'd the noble guest,
Yet from his lowly door the gentle breast
Was never by unfeeling menace driven,
While Charity in robe of ermine dress'd
Beheld her scanty offerings freely given;
Nor shall her smallest boon escape the eye of heaven.
Though proud Magnificence with splendid arm
Had here no vast superfluous pomp display'd,
Yet Neatness was at hand with simpler charm,
And each domestic comfort lent it's aid.
Though no extended lawns, no forest-shade
Struck with astonishment the enchanted sight,
Yet the small spot in Beauty stood array'd,
Since all around by Husbandry was dight,
For well such cultur'd scenes the placid sense delight.
Right to the golden sun's meridian ray
Healthful, and gay, the chearful front was placed:
Where no Acanthus twin'd with mimic spray
To crown the column of Corinthian taste;
By the soft tendrils of the vine embraced
O'er the slop'd roof the vivid shoots extend,
Now with festoons of leaves luxuriant graced,
And now, as Autumn's ripening beams descend,
Loaded with swelling fruit, the purple clusters bend.
A Garden trim was placed before the door
Kept by diurnal toil in neat array,
By walls defended from the insults frore
Of Boreas' blast, and Eurus' rude affray;
Against whose height leant many a tender spray,
Where the ripe fruits in blushing order glow,
Matur'd by genial Sol's reflected ray:
Nor did their sides unwelcome walk bestow
When though the sun be bright, right keen the winds might blow.
The gravel'd paths by rule exact design'd
In equal parts the cultur'd plot divide,
Where culinary plants of various kind
From every eye the thick espaliers hide,
Beneath, the border deck'd with Flora's pride
Exhibits to the view unnumber'd dyes,
Where in succession through each changing tide
Attentive art the varying plants supplies,
Still to enchant the smell, and fascinate the eyes.
Here venturing on the verge of Winter's power
The Snowdrop, Aconite, and Crocus grow,
The pallid Primrose hails the vernal hour,
And humbly sweet the azure Violets blow,
The Lilies of the vale their fragrance throw,
In meretricious pride the Tulip blooms,
Their gaudy pomp the rich Carnations show,
And, o'er the rest who regal power assumes,
The Rosier's fragrant bud the passing gale perfumes.
Nor did Pomona's treasure less abound
Alternate as the months their power display;
Here crept the fragrant Strawberry on the ground,
Or wav'd the Cherry on the loaded spray,
Here glow'd the Nectarine in the Summer ray,
Here swell'd the Peach all-tempting to the view,
Nor was the Gooseberry's meaner fruit away,
Or Currant red or rich in golden hue,
Or Pear with sugar'd juice, or Plum of glossy blue.
Nor will the Muse disdain with curious eye,
Beyond the thick espalier's verdant skreen,
Amid the vegetable tribes to pry
That spread their shoots the bordering paths between;
Salubrious viands for the board I ween!—
With various dainties was the ground o'erspread,
The Cabbage yellow, and the Colewort green,
The Asparagus that springs in lowly bed,
And Artichokes that rear aloft the spiny head.
The Bean whose perfume scents the ambient skies,
The twining Pea, the Turnip's juicy root,
The Celery that winter's blast defies,
The Radish warm, the Carrot's vigorous shoot,
The rich Potatoe fam'd Ierne's fruit
Sacred to Venus in the genial hour,
The Leek whose steams the hasty Cambrian suit,
With ample head the swelling Cauliflower,
And Lettuce friendly deem'd to Morpheus' drowsy power.
An Orchard too adjoin'd whose vernal hue
Might shame the costly shrubbery's proudest dyes,
Whose daisy'd sod delights the roving view,
And pasture to the gentle steed supplies;
While the bland influence of Autumnal skies
Ripen'd the ruddy fruit of general use,
Either to crown the board with luscious pies,
Or bid the goblet smile with mantling juice,
Bright as the generous wines that Southern climes produce.
Nor was there wanting ornamental care,
The Arbor, seat of Summer jollity,
Where Eglantines perfum'd the evening air,
And Woodbines sweet, and Jasmins fair to see;
Here sometimes from each scene of tumult free
Would Contemplation lift her eye divine,
And sometimes Mirth excite to social glee,
While bright with amber hue the beer would shine,
Or blush the crystal cup with Lusitania's wine.
Should vagrant Fancy tempt the foot to stray
Beyond the Garden's or the Orchard's bound,
Through green inclosures led the winding way
Which the live fence, and leafy hedge-row mound;
While gently gliding through the enamell'd ground
A silver stream with placid current flows,
Whose shelving bank with vivid alders crown'd
A site convenient to the Angler shews
While the delusive fly with skilful hand he throws.
Pleas'd and contented with his calm abode
The reverend Pastor liv'd in quiet state,
The path heaven mark'd he unrepining trod,
Lov'd by the Poor, respected by the Great:
The Harpy Envy, and the Fury Hate,
Far from his gentle flock he drove away,
Till bent at length by Time's increasing weight
His failing powers with gradual lapse decay,
Secure in happier climes to bloom again for aye.
From those fair seats by Isis' sedgy side
Where Rhedecyna rears her hundred spires,
His holy Successor is soon supplied.
His beating bosom swells with new desires;
For by the blest attainment he acquires
A right from monkish cloisters to remove,
Light a pure flame at Wedlock's sacred fires,
And all the scenes of untried rapture prove,
Which crown the mystic couch of Hymeneal Love.
With eager haste he seeks his new abode,
Keen Hope anticipating each delight;
But o'er the little Empire as he strode
It's vulgar Beauties fade upon his sight,
For forms of elegance had charm'd his sprite.
The alley trim offends his nicer taste,
And each compartment rang'd in angles right,
Nor can he see by Husbandry debas'd
Nature's imperial mien with simple Beauty graced.
Much in his mind he bore each lovely seat
That fair Oxonia's neighbouring plains display,
How would his raptur'd heart with transports beat
Through shady Ditchley's spreading groves to stray,
Or as on Nuneham's breezy heights he lay
To view the bending stream of Isis flow
Through meadows rich in all the pride of May,
Or pace the polish'd scenes of princely Stowe,
Or fill his sated eye on Blenheim's towery brow.
Nor need he wander from the Muses shade
To view improving taste's progressive power:
No more in knots by skill capricious laid
Does tonsile box sage Wickham's arms embower.—
Where pious Laud design'd the hallow'd tower
Throws Art her vesture with a chaster hand;
While, welcome refuge from the sultry hour!
By cooling gales with gentle pinions fann'd
Merton's delightful groves with gloomy foliage stand.
Here Ma'dlen too her splendid dome surveys,
Or venerable shade, in Cherwell's stream.—
O witching Memory assist my lays,
And steep my senses in thy soothing dream!
Here wandering oft by Cynthia's silver beam
My youthful Fancy woo'd the sacred Nine,
Or plied by midnight lamp the graver theme,
Or joy'd with Mirth's convivial sons to join,
Or paid the fervent vow at Friendship's holy shrine.
While thus the powers of Elegance unfold
Their Faery visions to his dazzled view,
With scorn his eyes the homely spot behold;—
Anxious the steps of Nature to pursue,
On humbler scale his eager thoughts renew
Whate'er the sons of genuine taste admire,
Whate'er the hands of Brown and Shenstone drew,
Or Wheatley's sober diction could inspire,
Or wak'd the sounding strings of Mason's heavenly Lyre.
Now the strong laborer with repeated blow
Each old incumbring ornament assails,
The guardian wall, it's sheltering height laid low
Admits the Fury of the eastern gales.—
Ah! what it's strength the buttress now avails
That safely kept the garden's flowery scene!—
Spreads the slight fence it's ineffectual rails
Painted by curious Art of dusky green,
Where oft the sportful lambs, destructive creep between.
The espaliers thick with blushing fruitage gay,
The flowing border stretch'd with careful line,
The vegetable viands, all give way,
And low their heads the orchard-trees recline;
While spread abroad with uniform design
The unvaried grass-plot dank extends around
Chequer'd with ragged clumps of sombre pine,
And sinks the deep Haha it's subtle mound,
That nothing from the plain the garden scene may bound.
Close by the border winds with tortur'd course
The gravel'd path it's undulating way,
Where evergreens that mock stern winter's force,
And flowering shrubs their different dyes display.
The Cypress dark, the Lilac's barren spray,
Succeed each useful plant's superior blow,
And as the owner's eyes the work survey
He sees with joy each fair improvement grow,
And deems his little reign a Blenheim or a Stowe.
Now issuing from the garden to the fields
As Taste capricious bares her active arm,
It's leafy shade the lofty Hedgerow yields,
And quits the lofty fence it's fragrant charm:
Nought can it's vernal sweets the stroke disarm,
Low on the earth it's blooming glory lies,
Where erst the pathway shelter'd lay and warm,
And o'er the scene the scatter'd clumps arise
No guard from wintry winds, no shade from sultry skies.
The brook that gently through the level meads
As Nature's hand directed us'd to wind,
Obedient follows now as Fashion leads
In curves is tortur'd, or in lakes confin'd;
While to the hands of Industry consign'd
No more the bending osiers kiss the tide,
Where oft the silent fisher lay reclin'd;
And from the force of Sol's meridian pride
The Naiad tries in vain her throbbing breast to hide.
The work compleated, now survey the scene
Rich in the dress of ornamental Taste,
Each useful plant of humbler homelier green
By barren elegance is now replaced,
While as if seated on the open waste
Unshelter'd, uninclos'd the house appears:
And by no Arts of Husbandry debas'd,
The frequent weed uncheck'd it's offspring rears,
And the rude common's garb the scanty paddock wears.
Wanting the Scythe that each returning dawn
Rank Vegetation's progress should correct,
Unsightly tufts deform the grassy lawn,
Nor can the corded fence the shrubs protect.
Oft will the Shepherd Boy his charge neglect
And crouding Flocks the rising clumps invade,
Oft 'mid the paths by care domestic deck'd
The steed's unseemly ordure will be laid,
And oft the swine obscene uproot the verdant glade.
And here perchance, bending his beetled brow,
Some angry Critic scornful shall exclaim:
‘What Gothic Wight is this, who dares avow
‘To scorn of British Arts the fairest name,
‘Who wishes to recall with Idiot aim
‘What Elegance has banish'd from our shore,
‘Would blast the rural wreath of Albion's fame
‘The ancient forms of Folly to restore,
‘And bid the spruce Parterre usurp her seats once more?’
Far be such blame! no Briton's eye can see
With greater joy the rural taste arise,
Spread wide in native pomp the untortur'd tree,
And the plain turf succeed the tulips dyes,
As Nature boon her simple charm supplies
Dress'd by the hand of Cultivation fair,
Where Art alone the curious eye descries
By shining every lawn with neater air,
The sod's more glossy green, the gardener's nicer care.
When Grandeur spreads around the extended park
Let lavish Nature plan the bold design,
The polish'd culture shall the boundary mark,
And graced, not cramp'd by Art, the Work shall shine:
No need the rule, the level, and the line,
Should 'midst the shades intrude with formal mien,
The splendid walk, the verdant carpet fine,
The contrast bright of variegated green,
Shall shew that artful care has form'd the extensive scene.
But when scant Fortune checks this flattering joy,
Nor gives to ornament the rural reign,
Why the trim Garden's lowlier charms destroy?—
Why Husbandry's more homely cares disdain?—
If Industry with her assiduous train
With step reluctant from the spot recedes,
What features shall distinguish Taste's domain
From the expanse of pastures, and of meads,
But Culture's looser robe, and more luxuriant weeds?
The Art Of War. Book I.
Illustrious Prince mark'd out by partial Fate
To bear the burthen, and the pomp of state,
To reign of spacious realms the future lord,
To lift the balance, and to wield the sword,
O hear a Soldier train'd to War's alarms,
Inur'd to danger, and grown old in arms,
With voice experienced shew the thorny road
Which leads through scenes of blood to Fame's abode.
Nor arms, nor steeds, nor numerous troops, alone
Sustain the honor of the monarch's throne;
Their use acquire, and every Art that leads
The Warrior's skilful arm to glorious deeds;
My Muse shall here the various portrait trace,
And point the virtues which the Hero grace;
His talents gain'd by toil, his mind serene,
His active courage, and his foresight keen,
Whose powers united in the Warrior's heart
O'erleap the bounded limits of his art.
Yet think me not, malignant bard, inclin'd
To sound pale Discord's clarion to mankind,
That dazzled by false Glory's dangerous fire
I seek Ambition's fury to inspire,
Or wish to see your savage vengeance, hurl'd
With frantic boldness o'er a ravag'd world;
O may my Hero boast the honest fame
That waits Aurelius', Titus', Trajan's name;
Then shine with noblest light triumphant kings,
When Virtue owns the crown that Valor brings,
Droops every trophy, withers every wreath,
That fell Injustice blasts with poisonous breath!
O lovely Peace! and thou thrice happy power,
Whose hands on Prussia's realm each blessing shower,
Far from our fields and tranquil seats, be driven
A Victor King, the heaviest scourge of Heaven!
Could my low voice reach Heaven's eternal throne,
Still should our fields thy blissful influence own,
Still should the labourer in our happy plains
Securely reap the produce of his pains,
And watchful Themis with impartial law
Protect the guiltless, and the vicious awe,
Our vessels give their canvas to the breeze,
And fear no dangers but from stormy feas,
And Pallas o'er our peaceful throne preside,
Her ægis guard us, and her wisdom guide;
But should some neighbouring power with causeless hate
Disturb our quiet, and invade the state,
Ye kings! ye people! rouse to War's alarms,
And Heaven shall aid their cause whom Justice arms.
Fierce God of War! to thee I tune the lay,
Direct my steps, and point the arduous way,
And you, Aonian maids, assist my choice,
To gentle accents melt my rougher voice,
Temper with softer strains my warlike fire,
And tune my trumpet to your peaceful lyre!
My daring mind would paths unusual trace,
And on Parnassus' heights Victoria place,
While on the forehead of the Delian god,
Shall gleam the helmet, and the plumage nod.
My hand nor paints fair Venus' amorous wiles,
Her wanton blushes, and her witching smiles,
Nor shews the hero's limbs inglorious laid
On fragrant roses 'neath the myrtle's shade;
Let Pontus' bard sing Cupid's silken sway,
While listening Graces love the tender lay,
My martial pen more horrid forms designs,
Stern Vulcan working 'midst Ætnéan mines,
Where ponderous blows with dreadful art prepare
Those fell machines, the Thunderbolts of War,
Whose force, when skilful hands their power employ,
O'erturn the bulwark, and the town destroy,
Drive fighting legions to the realms of death,
And rule the fate of empires with their breath.
I'll paint the cruel arm from Bayonne nam'd,
Where savage art a new destruction fram'd,
Their powers combin'd where fire and steel impart,
And point a double wound at every heart.
Amidst the ranks, while death and carnage reign,
Calm moves the hero o'er the crimson plain,
Commands fresh troops the dubious fight to wage,
And shews the fatal tempest where to rage.
But ere I open to the youthful heart
These parts sublime, the mysteries of the art,
First shall my precepts to the pupil's sight
Unfold the easier maxims of the fight:
So, ere the eaglets try the realms of air,
The parent's wings her callow offspring bear,
Till bold by use, aloft they proudly rise,
And sail with dauntless pinion through the skies.
Ye warrior youths, impatient now to tread
The dangerous path of Fate, by Honor led!
Torn from a weeping mother's folding arms,
Untried in Fight, and new to War's alarms,
Think not with novice hand to seize renown,
Or pluck from Victory's brow th' eternal crown;
Disdain not first to learn with ceaseless care,
Each nice detail, the Elements of War;
To forms of art your docile bodies yield,
With ready arm the weighty firelock wield;
Firm in your ranks in death-like silence stand,
And wait with watchful eye your chief's command;
Quick at the word, in equal motions all,
Place in the threatening tube the murderous ball;
With steady footsteps wedg'd in close array,
Your ranks unfloating, rapid rush away;
Now halting, to the allotted time attend,
While by platoons unnumber'd deaths you send;
Calmly, though swift, (false haste will still retard,)
March to the post your duty bids you guard,
Attend each signal of your leader's hand,
Who knows not to obey will ne'er command;
With courage thus 'neath valiant Baden's care,
Pass'd Finck the hard apprenticeship of War.
When train'd for fight the embattled cohorts stand,
The meanest soldier helps to form the band;
These are the limbs, and Discipline the soul
Pervades, informs, and regulates the whole.
So that Versailles her silver streams may play
In watry columns to the face of day,
Marly's strong engines fram'd by nicest skill,
Make Seine's subjected waves obey their will;
Ten thousand various wheels, and pumps unseen,
With blended powers compose the vast machine,
Each movement to the whole assistance lends,
Cord waits on cord, and wheel on wheel depends,
Fail but one rope, one pulley move no more,
The frame's disorder'd, and the scene is o'er.
Thus in the host which glory leads to fame,
Should docile courage every breast inflame;
Valor that leaps o'er order's sacred bound
Is often dangerous, always useless found,
Movements uncertain, rashly quick, or slow,
May blast the laurels budding on your brow.
Deem not the nice details of duty vain,
They're the first steps that lead to Victory's fane;
By service taught, and train'd in valor's school,
Soldier yourself, you'll soldiers learn to rule;
Form'd by degrees by Wisdom's careful hand
The prudent leader of a valiant band,
Your steady thoughts will o'er it's ranks preside,
It's daring march with temper'd ardor guide,
Teach it the various forms of fight to know,
And send unerring slaughter on the foe.
Rang'd in three ranks fair Prussia's hardy race
With dauntless front the adverse legions face;
With deeper files their foes, though brave, in vain
Oppose their ardor, and dispute the plain.
Advance with equal pace the close-wedg'd line,
Let in the front the dreadful bayonet shine,
Attack with ardor, and reserve your fire,
So shall the astonish'd foe at once retire.
Your wasted troops must be supplied with care,
Mown down by slaughter in the field of War;
Chuse manly youths with sinews firm and strong
To share the glories of your veteran throng:
Mars loves the swain whose well-knit limbs can take
The heaviest burthens, nor his ranks forsake,
While feebler frames, by labor worn, and pain,
Shall sink beneath the weight of one campaign.
So proudly waving o'er the mountain's brow,
Braves the tough oak the whirlwinds as they blow,
While by it's sturdy side the wintry blast
Lays with it's rage the slender pine-tree waste.
Thus shall new levies fill your daring train,
Strong as the shaggy brood of Libya's plain.
If to renown your daring hopes aspire,
Of various troops the different use acquire.
To arms with which Thessalia's heroes fought,
Join what their foes the active Centaurs taught;
Let a new Pluvinel your coursers train,
To bear the soldier, and obey the rein,
O'er the wide trench with active limbs to bound,
To pass the rivulet, and to leap the mound.
On your strong beast the weighty cuirass wear,
And let your brows the galling helmet bear,
Learn with exactest art the sword to wield,
For oft rude force to active skill must yield;
This ready weapon gleaming in the hand
Shall terrify or break the hostile band,
Deal with resistless force it's deaths around,
While Mars approving smiles on ev'ry wound;
But from the snorting steed, the uncertain fire,
Breaks your own ranks, nor makes the foe retire.
Teach your brave squadrons to perform with care
The various forms of fight, and modes of War,
To halt at once, to wheel in close array,
Nor from their neighbouring troops to break away:
Let some experienced chief with careful art,
Speed join'd with order, to your line impart;
Teach it on every ground with ease to form;
Swift as the lightning, dreadful as the storm,
Shew it at once from pace sedate and slow,
To rush impetuous on the wond'ring foe;
To drive the adverse troops to rapid flight,
And sweep contending armies from the fight.
First bloom'd the laurel bough on Grecia's soil,
Stern Sparta taught the Warrior's generous toil,
While Thebes the close compacted fight begun,
And bade her phalanx glitter in the sun.
Illustrious chiefs of Greece! your sage command
To heroes rais'd the meanest of your band;
Your skill the want of numerous hosts supplied,
And temperate Valor vanquish'd Persian Pride,
While Marathon and Salamis proclaim
To ages yet unborn the Grecian name.
Wondering, the Macedonian Prince behold,
Proud of his friends, and lavish of his gold,
Wealthy in hopes, of warlike Virtue vain,
He fights, he conquers Persia's trembling train;
Astonish'd Asia shrinks beneath the blow,
And yields her riches to the approaching foe,
While by Euphrates' stream his phalanx stood,
Granicus' waves, and Ganges' distant flood.
At length stern Mavors from the eastern shore,
To Rome's proud walls his bloody banners bore;
A warrior nation frantic for alarms
Learn'd from the God himself the use of arms;
They dare their martial neighbours to the field,
And force opposing destiny to yield;
Italia's states their growing power obey,
Bend to their mandates, and increase their sway:
By deeds like these their eagle used to soar,
Now stretch'd her pinions to each distant shore;
Rome 'gainst her foes their Arts improving turns,
And from each war new means of Victory learns;
Her strengthen'd camps all hostile inroads brave,
And Danube trembled from his farthest wave.
Triumphant thus, her conquering bands subdued
Iberia's swains, Germania's hardy brood;
The painted sons of Britain's sea-girt shore
Lament their savage independence o'er;
The Grecian Arts, the Punic Wiles were vain,
And Pontus' Chiefs, and Gallia's giant Train,
And all a vanquish'd World confess'd her boundless reign.
But when that Discipline, whose copious source
Supplied their legions with resistless force,
Beneath their later Cæsars 'gan to fade,
A thousand barbarous hosts their realms invade,
More ruffian rage than warrior art employ,
Each province ravage, and each town destroy,
Till nodding to her fall, the ruin'd state
Her ancient laws neglected mourns too late.
Now long the glorious Art unheeded lay,
Till Charles victorious call'd it into day:
The nations trembling at his warlike reign,
Beheld the unconquer'd infantry of Spain
Reduced by ceaseless care to order's law,
But doom'd to perish in thy fields, Rocroi.
Bursting those bands which long her sons had chain'd,
Arous'd by vengeance, and by Maurice train'd,
Batavia bravely curb'd despotic sway,
And freedom gain'd by learning to obey;
By this illustrious Chief's example fir'd,
The brave Turenne to glory's heights aspir'd;
While, patroniz'd by Lewis' prudent view,
Gallia from him the Hero's Science drew,
And the bold Warrior bow'd his stubborn heart
To the strict rules of Discipline and Art.
Mean while Eugene, the favorite son of Mars,
Form'd for the fight, and doom'd in future wars
To stand firm bulwark of the imperial throne,
Pass'd in his court unnotic'd and unknown.
From him Dessaw, then new to War's alarms,
First learn'd the toilsome rudiments of Arms:
Thus the same powers on Austria's realms who wait,
Became the guardians of the Prussian state.
Mark how in every age this Art alone
Has fix'd the monarch, and maintain'd his throne;
If of this wonderous pile that mates the skies,
On Discipline the first foundations rise,
Let in your mind it's vast importance live,
Which sage experience knows alone to give;
Woe to the Novice who with frantic heart
Shall think, untaught, to try this dangerous Art.
Thus Phaeton, while headstrong passions fire,
Obtains the burning chariot from his sire,
His hands had ne'er the fiery coursers driven,
Nor knew his eyes the devious paths of Heaven;
He seiz'd the reins, his horses start away,
O'er all the ethereal plains at will they stray,
Till struck the impetuous youth by thunder's force,
The hissing waves receive his blacken'd corse.
Rash youths be warn'd! the dangerous frenzy shun,
Nor tempt the timeless fate of Phaeton:
A ruin'd land shall mourn his hapless Wars
Who guides too soon the fiery steeds of Mars.
The Art Of War. Book Vi.
Thus has Victoria taught me to impart
The rigid precepts of her glorious Art.
We've trac'd the rules of Battle from their source,
The power of Discipline, and Order's force,
How the wise chief the Encampment may secure,
And keep from fierce attacks his quarters sure,
With ceaseless fire the threatening fortress awe,
And bend the city to the Victor's law.
Rising to nobler heights, my closing strain
Shall trace the image of the embattled plain,
Teach those who tempt this ocean's dangerous wave
From rocks and shoals their venturous barks to save,
And lead the warrior youth with helpful care
To scenes of combat, and the rage of War.
Behold the glorious lists, the famous field,
Where oft the victor chief has learn'd to yield,
Lists which the shame of many a warrior tell,
Where William stumbled, and where Marsin fell,
Here oft has fail'd the bold adventurer's soul,
And flag'd his ardor ere he reach'd the goal,
This was the scene of Pompey's, Pyrrhus' fall,
With Crassus, Mithridates, Hannibal,
The bloody vestige of their loss remains
A dreadful object on the crimson'd plains:
Yet in these fields by better genius taught,
Cæsar and Macedonia's Monarch fought,
Here triumph'd Condé, Villars, brave Turenne,
Gustavus, Maurice, Luxemburgh, Eugene.
O valiant youths, by their exploits inspir'd,
Distrust your breasts with flame impetuous fir'd.
Few of the daring train who court renown
Receive from Victory's hands the envied crown,
Some new attempt the conqueror's wish employs,
And one sad day his former fame destroys:
So the bold chief who Ilium's cause sustain'd,
Against a hundred kings the war maintain'd,
Tydides yields, their backs the Grecians turn,
Brave Ajax rages, while the vessels burn,
Patroclus sinks beneath his weighty blow,
And quits Achilles' armour to the foe,
But check'd at once in conquest's bright career,
He vanquish'd falls beneath the Pelian spear.
Such fate alas! Attended Charles's fame,
Nine years of glory, and nine years of shame.
If chiefs like these in combat vers'd have found
Their honors fade as fortune sudden frown'd,
If they have fall'n from fortune's giddy height,
What can ye hope yet novices in fight?—
Scarce wean'd by fierce Bellona's fostering arms,
Young in the field, and new to War's alarms.
But, spite of sage Instruction's prudent force
Like fiery steeds impatient for the course,
Ye break away from Reason's sacred rein,
Ardent to tempt the dangers of the plain.—
Let not the flattering voice of foolish pride,
Nor self opinion's breath your movements guide,
Examine first your breast with strictest care,
And learn what talents, and what strength are there,
Nor take the ambitious hopes that fire your heart,
For the pure flame that Genius' rays impart;
In vain you boast the strength of those who wage
The sportive fight on London's barbarous stage,
Baffling the foe with sinews never tir'd,
By clowns applauded, and by fools admir'd.
Should you excel the giant race who move
The impious battle 'gainst the throne of Jove,
Whose arms to scale Olympus' summit, throw
Proud Ossa's cliffs on Pelion's craggy brow;
Should you with this the dauntless heart combine
Of raging Mars when thundering armies join;
All these are weak the applauding Muse to gain,
And strength, and size, and courage all are vain.
Much more Minerva from the chief requires
Wisdom should guide his breast while Courage fires,
There Valor cool with temperate Ardor lies,—
Swift without rashness, without weakness wise,
His prudent care should o'er his troops preside,
And 'mid the battle's rage their efforts guide,
Check rude Disorder's flight with eager hand,
And aid the fainting, or the o'er-number'd band,
With watchful art before their want prepare
Each needful requisite of doubtful War;
Oppose fresh schemes to every new alarm,
And only yield to Fate's superior arm.
Your senses quick, your judgment clear and just,
Act from yourself, nor aught to Fortune trust,
Resolve in council, cautious, timid, slow,
But verge to rashness when you strike the blow,
Nor tempt the fight for causes slight and vain,
Where slaughter reaps the harvest of the plain.
To you her force the trusting state confides,
Your skill the soldier's generous ardor guides,
Prompt at his leader's nod to arms he flies,
And marks each signal with assiduous eyes;
Give but the word, attentive to command
Pours on the embattled foe the veteran band;
So the fierce Tiger on the Lion flies,
While purple gore his tawny bosom dyes.
Behold the field by morn's sad lustre, spread
With dreadful heaps, the dying, and the dead;
Here of your foes the crimson currents glide,
There swells the blood of friends the horrid tide,
Stretch'd o'er the ground your warriors laid supine,
Remain sad victims on Ambition's shrine,
While the pale mother, and the weeping bride
Your triumphs mourn, and curse your ruthless pride;
Rather than such distress your minds should please,
Rather than shine in fatal spoils like these,
Perish of Victory's meed the tarnish'd crown!
By frantic passion gain'd, not true renown.
Say, who in bleeding trophies would appear,
Or boast a glory which he buys so dear?
No! with parental care your army lead,
Behold with grief the meanest soldier bleed,
They love their leaders, but their tyrants hate,
We owe their lives and welfare to the state.
When Mars permits be each attention shewn,
And spare their blood though lavish of your own.
But when by various wrongs your bosom's steel'd,
Your groaning country calling to the field,
And 'twixt the foe and you the uncertain scale
Of fight must shew whose fortune shall prevail,
Eager for War, and prodigal of blood,
Loose all their ardor like a rushing flood,
Then shall they shew that valor courts applause,
Nor fears to perish in a glorious cause.
The chief, whose breast Bellona's precepts fill,
Ne'er tempts the fight repugnant to his will,
By foresight warn'd, and of his cohorts sure,
He wards each offer'd blow with arm secure,
Soldier in action, though a Chief in care,
He ne'er receives, but meets the shock of War:
Still smiling fortune hears the assailant's call,
The ponderous ram batters the opposing wall,
O'erthrows with dreadful crush the lofty tower,
And gives a passage to the invader's power,
While with faint arms within, the trembling train
The falling bulwarks strive to guard in vain.
Always attack, so shall Bellona kind,
Smile on your banners waving to the wind,
And favoring fortune aid the daring arms,
Whose rapid charge the expecting foe alarms.
But should the fickle power in Prudence' spite
Wing to the adverse host her changing flight,
Meet each distress with brow unruffled still,
And every frown of Fate correct by skill,
With better hopes your downcast legions warm,
And stand unshaken 'midst the threatening storm;
For as the dusky scenes of sable night
Shew with more force the Stars refulgent light,
So 'mid misfortune's gloom with tenfold blaze,
Your glorious fame shall dart unnumber'd rays,
Courage her native worth with pride advance,
And glorious Wisdom triumph over Chance.
If Villars saw his gallant bands retreat,
Denain o'erpaid Malplaquet's sad defeat,
One happy hour may years of loss repay,
As vanquish'd Villars won at last the day.
The fight unnumber'd different forms combine,
When in the plain the embattled armies join
In open combat 'neath their leader's eyes,
Each daring host it's utmost efforts tries:
While the high cliffs, or brooks that flow between,
Of less, but bloodier conflicts are the scene,
When to the Chief strong posts their aid afford,
And the well-chosen ground assists the sword.
See to the field array'd in warlike pride,
The panting troops advance on either side,
The extending front increases as they go,
This, (instant-form'd) attacks at once the foe;
The rapid squadrons swift as thought engage,
And seek the hostile troops who shun their rage,
'Mid the thick clouds which smoak and dust afford
With dreadful lustre gleams the murderous sword;
Slaughter pursues the troops by fear dismay'd,
And hostile carnage dyes each reeking blade;
Here the deserted foot (the equestrian train
Whose ardor should their naked flanks sustain,
Forced from the field to take their rapid course,)
Dread of the approaching foe the fatal force,
Unnumber'd deaths while brazen cannons shower,
Onward impetuous moves the adverse power,
The bayonet shines with dreadful lustre bright,
Sudden the astonish'd foe prepares for flight,
Now fresh battalions rushing to engage,
Attack his fenceless flanks with tenfold rage,
He fears, he faints, he yields, and trembling flies,
While human blood the thirsty herbage dyes;
A thousand murderous tubes with dreadful fire
Pour horrid slaughter as his ranks retire,
Each runs dispers'd as fortune casts his lot,
His post, his colors, and his chief forgot.
Ne'er let the fears of scatter'd troops repose,
Ne'er build a golden bridge for flying foes,
The conquering chief resolv'd no time to lose,
The fugitives with slacken'd rein pursues,
The blest occasion grasps with eager care,
And one illustrious day concludes the War.
Eugene near Hockstet's walls where Gallia's host
On ground unfit Tallard and Marsin post,
Pours on each wing the battle's furious tides,
Their centre pierces, and their force divides;
Disarm'd and vanquish'd, Gallia's haughty race,
In captive crouds the victor's triumph grace;
No more their troops the scatter'd foes combine,
But fly inglorious to the distant Rhine.
Thus in their turn, when in Almanza's field,
The British Lions to the Lily yield,
The gallant Berwick, fortunately brave,
Iberia's throne to happy Bourbon gave.
Now other fights behold!—on yonder brow
That frowns tremendous on the vales below,
Extended see the proud battalions stand,
Veil'd in impervious clouds of dust and sand.
Behold the foe approach, he forms his lines,
Full in his front the powerful phalanx shines,
Unfit the ground the charging horse to bear,
The rapid cuirassiers possess the rear:
The Chief advances first with careful eye,
To mark their station and their force descry,
The skilful conduct of one well-aim'd blow
May give him conquest, and destroy the foe,
Of time, and place, if proper use he makes,
His weakness marks, and each advantage takes.
His daring foot advancing on the right,
Scale 'mid the cannon's rage the mountain's height,
Attack'd, confounded in their strengthen'd post,
Scatter'd and vanquish'd flies their ruin'd host,
The Victor profits by his foes disgrace,
And rush the horse unwearied to the chace.
Thus Friburg's day would Condés glory raise.—
With equal courage, and with equal praise
Thus Saxe before his grateful monarch's eyes,
Offering of foes a bloody sacrifice,
Forced the confederate bands to sudden flight,
And placed his ensigns on their mountains height.
Nought stops the chief whose arms Bellona guides
If in his Camp the foe his legions hides,
Fearing again to meet in open field
The force that taught his troops o'er-match'd to yield,
If faintly brave, and wisely circumspect,
He makes the strengthen'd post his troops protect,
Still will the hero (some new scheme employ'd)
Force him to dare the fight he would avoid,
By various fears his troubled breast alarms,
Turns to the neighbouring towns his threatening arms,
Before three cities now at once appears,
And fills their failing hearts with equal fears,
While trembling each expects the impending blow,
Distress and famine wait the wasting foe,
Forced to the piercing calls of want to yield,
And dare on equal terms the embattled field:
For from it's dam will sooner fly the fawn,
And quit the breast from whence it's life is drawn,
Than the wise chief abandon to your power
The towns which Plenty on his legions pour.
When of your march the swiftness to avoid,
The subtle foe has rapid streams employ'd,
And thinks their waves shall stop your destin'd way,
Reflect how Hannibal obtain'd the day;
On Rhone's high banks while Rome opposing stood,
Feining, he elsewhere fords the dangerous flood,
And joining artful wiles to daring force,
The Consul mock'd who thought to check his course.
O glorious leader of my rival's cause,
Charles! from a foe receive thy just applause,
A foe from envy and from hatred free,
Who pays the tribute due to truth and thee:
The swelling stream of that majestic tide,
Whose waves from France the imperial realms divide,
And on it's guarded brink the embattled band,
In vain the progress of thy arms withstand,
Rhine, troops, and threatening danger, all in vain
Oppose the march, no peril stops Lorrain.
In different corps the soldiers charge the foe,
Strike all at once the unexpected blow,
O'er the swift stream the bridges sudden laid,
Secure thy passage, and thy courage aid,
To thy assailing ardor Gallia yields,
And Austrian legions waste Alsatia's fields.
Say shall the fame of Tholus' day be lost,
When Lewis forced Batavia's strengthen'd post?
Pass'd Rhine thy waves with matchless courage o'er,
And swimming reach'd secure the opposing shore?—
Such are the deeds that Mars delights to bless,
Where courage nobly daring, gives success.
But if to solid fame your breast aspire,
With heavenly Mercy temper Valor's fire,
The bravest chief that graced the Roman state,
In every place and every action great,
When bow'd the world to his triumphant reign,
Preserv'd his foes on fam'd Pharsalia's plain.
At Fontenoy see Lewis, generous foe!
Mild in success, console the captive's woe,
Tempering with God-like mercy martial rage,
His generous hands the prisoners grief assuage,
They bathe with grateful tears the Victor's arms,
His valor bends them, but his mercy charms,
To War's distress his goodness lustre gives,
A Hero conquers, but a God forgives.
Pursue, brave youths, the illustrious chiefs I sing,
So shall exulting fame on eagle's wing,
Chanting with ceaseless voice each deathless name,
To distant regions tell your honest fame.
While listening virtue on her heavenly throne,
Of heroes proud, Astræa deigns to own,
Fond of the chiefs on whom fair Mercy waits,
Shall ope Eternity's stupendous gates;
There in the seats for Innocence design'd,
Their glorious meed the martial Virtues find,
There sit above the rest the truly Great,
Who bless with peaceful arts the happy state,
With laurels deck'd, and shining garments here
Good Kings and virtuous Magistrates appear,
Conquerors how few, but every Chief who draws
His sword for Justice and his Country's cause.
O should you one day take this generous flight,
And scale of Heaven sublime the exalted height,
Think of the Martial Muse, whose voice severe,
To fame heroic urg'd the bold career,
Temper'd with precept, by example fir'd,
And all your heart with Virtue's charms inspir'd.
Carmen Seculare For The Year 1800
Incessant down the stream of Time
And days, and years, and ages, roll,
Speeding through Error's iron clime
To dark Oblivion's goal;
Lost in the gulf of night profound,
No eye to mark their shadowy bound,
Unless the deed of high renown,
The warlike chief's illustrious crown,
Shed o'er the darkling void a dubious fame,
And gild the passing hour with some immortal name.
Yet, evanescent as the fleeting cloud,
Driven by the wild winds o'er the varying skies,
Are all the glories of the great and proud,
On Rumour's idle breath that faintly rise.
A thousand garbs their forms assume,
Woven in vain Conjecture's loom;
Their dyes a thousand hues display,
Sporting in Fancy's fairy ray;
Changing with each uncertain blast,
Till melting from the eyes at last,
The shadowy vapours fly before the wind,
Sink into viewless air, 'nor leave a rack behind.'
But if the raptur'd train whom Heaven inspires
Of glory to record each deathless meed,
Tune to heroic worth their golden lyres,
And give to memory each godlike deed,
Then shall the eternal guerdon wait
The actions of the wise and great;—
While as from black Oblivion's sway
They bear the mighty name away,
And waft it, borne on pinion high,
With joyful carol to the sky,
Sage History, with eye severe,
Tracing aloft their bold career,
Clears the rich tale from Fiction's specious grace,
And builds her sacred lore on Truth's eternal base.
Hence from the splendid tales of old,
That Græcia's mystic story told,
From all that copious Fancy sings
Of fabled demi-gods and kings,
The godlike bard with master hand
Sublime his epic wonder plann'd;
And while fair Fiction's richest dyes
Still fascinate the gazing eyes,
Such precious gems, from Truth's refulgent mine,
Amid the bright materials shine,
That as her cares the gorgeous mass explore,
The Muse of History stamps the Poet's sterling ore.
In frozen climes, 'mid Error's shade,
The northern Muse records the hero's name.
While, as her glowing hand portray'd
The wonders of the warrior's fame,
Led through the mazes of the fight
The royal maid and elfin knight,
O'er the wild scene of magic hue
Her awful mirror History threw;
Till, as before Sol's ardent fire,
The lesser glories of the sky expire,
Faded the Muses' quivering lamp away,
Sunk in the radiant blaze of Truth's meridian ray.
Yet still their votive fingers twine
For Virtue's sons the wreath divine;
Still round the victor's godlike brow
They bid their freshest laurels grow;
And many a chief, of warlike name,
And many a sage, of letter'd fame,
Whom Genius, Worth, and Glory give
In Britain's graver page to live,
By Britain's verse adorn'd shall flourish long,
Her solemn annals grace, and consecrate her song.
Lo, bursting from its scanty source,
Flows through the lowly mead the rippling stream,
No harvests in its waters gleam,
No swelling canvass marks its course:
But as it winds amid the hills,
A thousand congregated rills
Pour in its bed from every side,
And swell the undulating tide,
Till the charm'd eye the expanding deep explores,
While Commerce loads its wave, and Plenty crown its shores.
So through the silent lapse of time,
By Glory's ceaseless currents fed,
Has Britain's power increasing spread,
And roll'd its plenteous waves to every clime.
Mightier in each succeeding age,
She lives through Fame's recording page;
From her scyth'd cars that wide destruction hurl'd
On the proud master of a subject world,
To her bold fleets that o'er the azure main,
Teach Earth's remotest shores to bless her George's reign.
As the wing'd hours, in endless flight,
Urge on their destin'd way,
Fond Hope anticipates a happier day,
While opening ages crowd upon her sight.
Yet still a lingering look is cast
On deeds of ancient glory past.—
Hence dwells the Muse, with partial eye,
On years of crested chivalry—
On England's sons by Egbert join'd;
On Alfred's comprehensive mind,
Who chased Invasion from her coast,
Who boasted yet a prouder boast,
To drive Oppression from her land
By laws which patriot wisdom plann'd?
On Edward's and on Henry's fame,
Mark'd in charactery of Gallic shame;
On the bold warriors of the royal maid
Who high the British trident first display'd—
Hide Britain! hide a guilty age,
Blood-stain'd by wild Sedition's rage,
And on a happier era gaze—
Era of Albion's brighter days,
Now in the blaze of heavenly light that dies,
Sure from its Phœnix nest a form as bright shall rise.
Once more exult Britannia's train,
Triumphant in a female reign,
And all Eliza's fame in Anna blooms again;
Again her victor navies sweep,
By Russel led, the confines of the deep;
While o'er Germania's spacious fields,
Or where her liberal foison Belgium yields,
Unconquer'd Marlbro' bids her thunders fall
On the crush'd helmet of the vanquish'd Gaul.
On fam'd Ramillia's plains he stood,
On Danube's borders, red with hostile blood;
On Oudenard, where George's warlike brand
Proclaim'd the future lords of Albion's land,
The dauntless heroes of the Brunswick line,
Kings of Britannia's choice, true heirs of right divine.
Not great in arms alone—a wreath more fair
Than ever conquest knew to wear,
For ever verdant and for ever young,
Of peace and love domestic sprung,
To concord sacred, and from carnage free,
Shall crown her blest, her proudest victory;
What time she taught the guardian wave that roars
A native rampart round her stormy shores,
To clasp for ever in its fond embrace
The sister nations of Britannia's race,
Ocean's stern regent shouting from his tide,
The realms which God has join'd shall never man divide.
She falls—the queen, the patriot falls—once more
Her eye Britannia turns to Elba's shore;
Again the Saxon steed, whose silver form
Led the brave warrior through the battle's storm,
Waves in her banners wide, and throws
Amazement on her baffled foes,
Happy in mingled folds to join
With each bold tribe of Albion's ancient line,
With Erin's golden harp, and Scotia's threat'ning spine.
Again the battle roars!—again the mind
Of fickle Gaul to proud Iberia join'd,
Shakes the red reins of wild Ambition's car—
Britannia rouses to the naval war,
Prompt to avenge her martial train
Insulted on the wave, her own domain—
While Caledonia's sons misled,
On England's hills rebellion spread;
A transient stain, long wash'd away
By seas of blood, in many a hard fought day.—
With doubtful chance, but unabated rage,
In foreign fields the adverse hosts engage;
On Tournay's plains, the astonish'd foe
Saw Albion's warriors, great in overthrow,
Win in defeat a lasting wreath,
Though stain'd with slaughter, and defac'd by death;
While happier Dettingen bade Victory's wing
Wave o'er Britannia's sons, Britannia's king,
Till Slaughter wearied quits her crimson car,
Yet 'mid a transient peace prepares for future war.
Stung with rekindling rage, from Ganges' shore,
To where Sol's fiery coursers steep
Their glowing bosoms in the Atlantic deep,
Resounds the horrid yell of Discord's roar.
The feather cinctur'd chief, who roves
Through Canada's resounding groves,
Hears Niagara's thundering fall, or laves
In frore Laurentius' sea broad waves—
The blameless tribes of Brama's race,
Who India's spicy forests trace;
The despot lords, and sable bands,
Who tread on Senegal's wide burning sands;
Fair Lusitania's vine clad coast
Rescued from proud Invasion's host,
Germania's broad and rich domain,
Embden's strong towers, and Minden's trophied plain,
Beheld Britannia's ensigns wave,
Potent to conquer, or to save;
While far o'er Ocean's stormy bed,
Wherever Valour fought and Conduct led,
Her ample sails she saw unfurl'd,
Hail'd by surrounding shores, queen of the wat'ry world.
Why clouds the sky? why swells the gathering storm
O'er the soft breezes blown from Zephyr's breath?
'Tis he, the fiend!—I see his ghastly form—
See the terrific arm of death.
High, high he rears his iron dart,
To rive the venerable monarch's heart.
Short triumph!—Glory's amaranthine flowers
Shed heavenly fragrance o'er his parting hours.
Though the funereal cypress shade his bier,
Victoria twines her votive laurels there,
Soothes with her voice his placid breast,
And wafts his spirit to the realms of rest—
While godlike to his grandsire's throne,
Britannia sees her native Prince arise,
Pours the loud pæan to the skies,
Hailing with fond acclaim a Monarch all her own.
Yet fiercer blaz'd awhile the martial flame—
Awhile o'er Gallia's prostrate head,
Her kindred shield Iberia spread,
The lavish purchaser of shame;
Till the united foes o'erborne,
Their honours tarnish'd and their laurels torn,
Yielding the field, the storms of battle cease,
And Europe, joyful, hails the blest return of Peace.
Beneath the olive's fostering shade
Now loves each peaceful art to grow,
Bounty, in seraph garb array'd,
Strikes with her rod the rock, the streams of Science flow.
The marble gives the breathing form,
As nature perfect, and as nature warm;
The canvass to the eye portrays,
With heroes fam'd in earlier days,
Full many a chief of generous worth,
Offspring of Albion's parent earth:
The gallant youth on Abraham's heights who fell,
Where weeping Victory rung his hallow'd knell,
In emulative tints his warriors leads,
'Again for Britain fights, again for Britain bleeds.'
The Muses now their golden lyres
Vibrate responsive to the warbled song,
And Rapture wakes the thrilling wires;
In measur'd cadence to the sound,
Sweet flows the magic strain around,
And charms the listening throng.—
Nor do the softer arts alone,
The genial dew expanding own;
Rais'd by the Monarch's favouring smile,
Severer Science hails the happy isle.
Mathesis with uplifted eye,
Tracing the wonders of the sky,
Now shews the mariner to guide
His vessel through the trackless tide;
Now gazing on the blue profound,
Where whirl the stars in endless round,
Beholds new constellations rise,
New systems crowd the argent skies;
Views with new lustre round the glowing pole,
Wide his stupendous orb the Georgian planet roll;
Seas, where yet the venturous keel
Never plough'd the foaming wave,
Isles, the halcyon gales that feel,
Temper'd by tides the southern shore that lave,
Where smiling Peace and genial Love
Through shades perennial rove;
The bleak inhospitable plains,
Where in dread state antarctic Winter reigns,
Where never yet the solar power
Has warm'd even noontide's sullen hour,
Shot through the frozen sky his vigorous beam,
Unbound the soil, or thaw'd the stream;
In every clime from pole to pole,
Where wind can blow, or billow roll,
Britannia's barks the coast explore,
Waft Science, Peace, and Plenty o'er,
Till Earth's remotest regions share
A wealthy people's stores, a patriot Monarch's care.
Proud o'er the heaving surges of the deep,
See the tall ship in state majestic ride!
Wide spread her swelling sails in ample sweep,
Dread roars the thunder from her lofty side;
Awful she looms, the terror of the main,
And billows rage, and tempests howl in vain—
Yet in the planks unheeded, day by day,
Works the insidious worm his subtle way;
The puny malice of an insect train
Destroys what mountain waves, and winds, assail in vain.
Fell Sedition's rancorous race,
Treachery, with serpent eye,
Sophistry, whose guileful tongue,
Pleads the specious cause of wrong,
Envy, with her Gorgon face,
And smooth Hypocrisy,
These dire fiends united bore
Their poison to the Atlantic shore;
All, with silent hate impress'd,
The offspring lur'd from the fond mother's breast.—
Betray'd—deceiv'd—the thoughtless brood,
Rear'd, like the pelican, with parent blood,
Turn their wild vengeance 'gainst Britannia's heart,
And aim, with fatal rage, the parricidal dart.
Mad to destroy an envied foe,
The Gaul vindictive aids the traitorous blow.—
As when o'er Asian plains pale Eurus flings
Contagion from his hovering wings,
While issue from his noisome breath,
Dark fumes of pestilence and death,
The wretched inmates of the soil,
Stung by insatiate lust of spoil,
Reckless of fate, the tainted plunder seize,
And drink polluted steams of dire disease.
So from the borders of the Atlantic shore,
The faithless race the taint of faction bore.
Each poison rank in Gaul's prolific air,
Sheds wide its seeds, nor asks the planter's care;
Fed by the produce of the region fell,
Unnumber'd monsters thrive, the progeny of hell.
Oppression's black insatiate brood,
And raging Lust, and Murder steep'd in blood,
Mad Anarchy's tumultuous band,
The locusts of a wretched land;
Wild Atheism's blood-shot eye,
Lifted in impious threat against the sky,
Who from the dying wretch, with fiendlike power,
Tears the last comfort of the parting hour—
All drink new vigour from the fatal air,
Raise high their baleful crests, and boast their empire there.
O'er Europe's coasts the black contagion spreads—
From sluggish waves that scarcely roll,
Beneath the torpid influence of the pole,
To summer seas renown'd of yore,
That lave Hesperia and the Grecian shore;
O'er all, the gale malignant poison sheds.
The fatal Siroc for a while
Blows o'er our distant fields, and taints our happy isle.
But soon the guardian angel of the main,
Protective of his favourite reign,
Swells the fresh breeze—before its healing breath
Flies the destructive progeny of death;
Freed from the pest alone Britannia stands,
Bulwark and envy of surrounding lands,
While trembling Europe Gallic rage deplores,
Through her unpeopled walls, round all her ravag'd shores.
Mysterious Heaven!—at thy behest
Ne'er let misdeeming man repine;
'Tis our's to bow with patient breast,
To punish, and to spare, is thine.
What though with giant arm the host,
Murder their joy, and blasphemy their boast,
The favouring angel seem to guide;
Though Fame and Conquest fan their feverish pride;
Though their red feet in impious triumph trod
On the crush'd servants of the living God;
Does not thy voice direct afar
The fury of the elemental war?
Do not the pestilence and storm
The awful mandates of thy will perform?
Whether the thunder's threat'ning power
Tremendous shake the midnight hour,
Or Zephyr's genial breeze of dawn,
Scatter fresh blossoms o'er the vernal lawn;
Whether Hygeia swell the balmy gale,
Or o'er the sky Fate's noisome vapours sail,
Be this on man's submissive soul impress'd,
All waits upon thy will, and what thou will'st is best.
Ye Belgian regions! Lincelle's glorious plain,
And Valentinian's conquer'd towers proclaim
Of Britain's generous sons the warlike fame,
Brave on the embattled field as on the main.—
The strongest arm is weak to save
The treacherous self-devoted slave.—
With torpid gaze, lo! Europe's sons beheld
Wave after wave, with rising force impell'd,
Roll o'er their plains in fatal power,
Their harvests waste, and shake their loftiest tower.
From countless foes, and timid friends,
Britannia's host her sea-girt rock ascends,
And views the storm, that tears surrounding lands,
Break like the idle surge against her wave-worn sands.
In vain the proud vindictive foe
Threatens to deal the homefelt blow—
Lo, from the loom, the farm, the fold,
Her voluntary swains enroll'd,
Quit for the sword life's calm domestic charms;
Each wood the clarion shakes, each valley gleams with arms.
Amaz'd, abash'd, the vaunting host,
That frown'd destruction on her chalky coast,
Flies with its boasted chief to meet disgrace,
'Mid Syria's glowing sands, and Egypt's servile race.
The murky cloud that wraps the skies,
Melts to the winds—With golden gleam
Again Hyperion sheds his radiant beam,
And vernal gales and hours resplendent rise.
Lo! where the sons of havock spoil
Fair Salem's venerable soil,
Profane the consecrated earth,
Scene of a Saviour's hallow'd birth,
By favouring breezes wafted, to the skies
Britannia's red cross banner flies,
Speaks to the impious foe celestial ire,
In voice of thunder, and with breath of fire—
Soon falls the boast of Gallia's demon fame,
In whelming billows sunk, or wrapp'd in sheets of flame.
Scenes portray'd in ancient lore,
Scenes whence England's chiefs of yore,
Raising high the blazon'd shield,
O'er Palestine's religious field
The wreaths of conquest bore;
Acon's bulwarks, Jaffa's towers,
Leading where his mail clad powers,
Richard to the Paynim dart
Dauntless bar'd his lion heart—
Where the venom'd stroke of death,
Aim'd at Edward's bosom, fail'd,
While his faithful consort's breath
From the deep wound the poisonous taint inhal'd;
There, with pious glory bright,
Another Briton braves the fight,
Follow'd by a gallant train
Of naval warriors, from their native main,
Who round their walls a breathing bulwark rise.
Serenely brave the Christian hero stands,
And the proud spoiler of Hesperian lands,
Before the warlike few, dismay'd and vanquish'd, flies.
Excited by the vaunting foe,
Again the Indian Satrap's pride
The force of Britain's arms defied,
And aim'd the fatal blow—
Again decreed her warlike train
Should fall by Murder's arm, or wear Oppression's chain.—
Vain hope! her veteran bands defy
The glowing sand, the sultry sky,
Wind through the deep irriguous vale,
The rampire-crested mountain scale,
Till steep'd in gore, before his captur'd walls,
Breathing revenge in death, the fierce usurper falls.
Glorious and godlike heirs of fame,
With sinewy arm, with daring breast, who brave
The howling tempest and the heaving wave,
And hostile vengeance pour'd in vollied flame,
Ocean, where'er his billows flow,
Records your conquests o'er the foe;
Where by disgrac'd Iberia's shore
Biscaya's turbid waters roar;
Where by the Gaul's insulted coast
Destruction wrecks her scatter'd host;
By Erin's rocks, Batavia's sand,
Hesperia's liberated strand,
Proudly ye ride, while round each sheltering cape
The adverse fleets inglorious speed their way,
Cautious avoid the unequal fray,
Their proudest boast to fly, their triumph to escape.
Spirits of warriors! who of yore,
By yellow Tiber's trophied shore,
Saw heap'd on rich Campania's soil,
A conquer'd world's collected spoil;
And thou, O Julius, whose embattled host
First shook Invasion's scourge on Albion's coast,
Say, when from Cassibellan's agile car,
Flash'd the just vengeance of defensive war;
Say, did ye deem that e'er the painted race,
In distant times, your shore remote should trace,
Chase from your far fam'd towers Oppression's doom,
Restore your wasted fields, protect the walls of Rome.
Sire of the winter drear,
Who lead'st the months in circling dance along,
May Peace and Concord claim the votive song,
That chants the glories of the rising year;
For Albion longs around her generous brow
To bind the olive's sober bough,
Though unappall'd her laurel'd front defies
The fiery blast that flashes through the skies.—
Wooing, O Peace! thy halcyon ray,
Ready she stands for war, nor shuns the ensanguin'd fray;
But on Ierne's kindred sky
She casts Affection's fondest eye.
O! as the era past saw Anna join
Each warrior nation of Britannia's line,
So may the auspicious hours that now ascend,
The sister isles in ceaseless Union blend—
While Ocean's guardian arms around them thrown,
Form to their coasts an adamantine zone;
There, proudly rising o'er the circling main,
Lord of the waves, their patriot King shall reign;
And fam'd through every clime, from pole to pole,
Long as the unfailing stream of Time shall roll,
Religion, Virtue, Glory, shall adorn
The illustrious age of George, the Monarch Briton born!
A POETICAL ESSAY.
By gay Amusement's soul-subduing power
To chear the mournful or the vacant hour,
In fancy's freakful gambols to delight,
Or wage with active limbs the mimic fight,
In earlier times, to breasts mature unknown,
Were cares of playful infancy alone;
Nor did soft dissipation's art assuage
The toils of manhood, or the pains of age.
Not from mankind alone these rules we draw,
Oft warp'd by prejudice from nature's law:
But brutes, who with unbiass'd step pursue
The eternal canons they from instinct drew,
Confirm beyond a doubt this striking truth,
That sports are native attributes of youth.
The lamb frisks wanton o'er the dewy ground,
The kitten hunts its tail in fruitless round;
But o'er the down the ewes all pensive stray,
And grave grimalkin silent waits her prey,
Save when maternal fondness bids her share
The frolick pastimes of her youthful care.
Even so, ere social compact bids arise
Unnumber'd wants, and every want supplies,
Of childhood's joys no evanescent trace
Delights man's sullen solitary race;
For, if his eager footstep haunt the wood,
He urges not the chace for sport but food;
Fierce as the hungry pard, with ravening haste,
Joyless and fell, he prowls the gloomy waste.
And if perchance in polish'd times we find
Pleasure more inmate of the female mind,
Say what forbids our serious thought to draw
The smiling preference from nature's law,
And view the mother's fondness that beguil'd
By kindred sports the sorrows of her child?
Far, far from me be that malignant train,
Who scowl severe on pleasure's silken reign;
Oft may her magic touch with sportive power
Chear the dull languor of the tedious hour;
For hours there are, when the o'er-labor'd sense
Shrinks from the serious toil or thought intense.
Oft to Amusement's visionary sway
The real ills that poison life give way.
In Lydia's plains, so tells the enchanting page
Of Hist'ry's aweful sire the Carian sage,
In Lydia's plains, what time with wasting hand
Remorseless famine ravaged all the land,
And the starv'd native on Pactolus' shore
Ey'd the shrunk wave and curs'd the useless ore,
By sports of art inventive fancy sought
To turn from pinching want the tortur'd thought;
Their fascinating power the mind engag'd,
And hunger for a while unheeded rag'd.
How will Amusement's foes delight to trace
The dreary leisure of the savage race,
Or with imagination's eye pervade
The lonesome refuge of the Indian's shade,
When all the labors of the chace are o'er,
Hunger appeas'd, and sleep can lull no more!
Or let them picture to their aching sight
The lengthen'd horrors of a polar night,
Where, till returning spring dissolves the snow,
No dawning light shall gild the mountain's brow,
Nor can the native ply his needful toil,
Chace the rough bear or turn the ungrateful soil;
Chearless and unemploy'd, condemn'd to wear
In listless apathy the wintry year.
When agriculture to the fertile plain
Lur'd from the barren waste the improving swain,
Soon partial property, with selfish plan,
Her favorites cull'd, and sorted man from man.
Then lusty labor bade the harvest rise
To sate the lazy owner's pamper'd eyes;
Who, deeming useful toil beneath his care,
Pass'd all his hours in indolence and war,
Or sought in peace by dangerous sports to gain
A mimic semblance of the martial plain,
Rov'd 'mid the forest haunts with wild delight,
And wag'd with beasts of prey the unequal fight,
Or with his fellow warriors joy'd to wield
In friendly strife the weapons of the field,
In sportive exercise the javelin threw,
Pois'd the long lance, or bent the twanging yew.
Hence Grecia's chiefs the prize triumphant bore
From Pisa's groves or Isthmus' wave-worn shore,
While garlands of eternal fame inspire
The kindling raptures of a Pindar's lyre,—
Hence in the tournament the mail-clad knight
Provok'd his peers to dare the listed fight,
Urg'd his barb'd courser to the swift career,
And broke in beauty's cause the ashen spear,
While to the warbling harp's responsive string,
Applauding bards the victor's triumph sing.
Nor was the humbler swain, who till'd the ground,
Condemn'd to labor's unremitting round;
For, when the plenteous produce of the soil
Stor'd in full garners pays his annual toil,
Or when their fleecy weight his flocks resign,
Or laughing autumn swells the purple vine,
As pious cares his grateful mind employ,
He consecrates the hallow'd hours to joy;
Stretch'd on the turf the blazing hearth around,
While by the talking eld the bowl is crown'd,
With sinewy limbs the rustic youth contend,
Or to the mark the unerring javelin send,
And from the village maid's approving eyes
The jocund victor gains the fairest prize.
When opulence assum'd his golden reign,—
With luxury and science in his train,
And beauty, man's fastidious empire o'er,—
Join'd in the scenes she only judg'd before,
The vacant hours to gentler toils invite,—
Than the rude image of the bleeding sight;
Each coarse delight to softer joy gives place,
And sports of labor yield to sports of grace.—
Responsive to the lyre's inspiring sound,
In mingled measure now they beat the ground,
Now on the chequer'd field with silent care
Attentive wage the sedentary war.
Even manlier exercise the arts despoil
Of half its danger, and of half its toil:
No more the knight, in shining armour dress'd,
Opposes to the pointed lance his breast;
Scarce does the skilful fencer's bosom feel
The pliant pressure of the bated steel;
For the stupendous quoit or craggy stone,
Afar with emulous contention thrown,
Deliver'd with inferior force is seen
The bowl slow-rolling o'er the shaven green;
Or else, defended from inclement skies,
The ball rebounding from the racket flies;
Or o'er the cloth, impell'd by gentler skill,
The ivory orbs the net insidious sill.
Even in those rougher transports of the chace,
Where nature's genuine form we seem to trace,
And art appears unequal to supply
Assistance to the calls of luxury,
For the wild tenants of the wood and plain
Still their primæval character retain,
Still will their wiles the experienc'd hunter foil,
And still fatigue attend on cold and toil;
Even in the forest-walks has polish'd care
Taught healthful sport a gentler form to wear.
Swoln opulence is not content to stray
In anxious search thro' many a tedious day,
Where constant hopes the eager thought employ,
And expectation doubles every joy:
But the wing'd tribe, by care domestic bred,
Watch'd with attention, with attention fed,
Where'er the sportsman treads in clouds arise,
Prevent his wish, and sate his dazzled eyes;
And each redoubled shot with certain aim
Covers the ensanguin'd field with home-bred game—
Transporting joy! to vulgar breasts unknown,
Save to the poulterer and cook alone;
Who search the crouded coop with equal skill,
As sure to find, almost as sure to kill.
No more the courser with attentive eyes
'Mid the rank grass and tangled stubble pries,
Till, many an hour in watchful silence pass'd,
A moment's frenzy pays his toil at last.
No chearful beagle now, at early dawn,
Explores with tender nose the dewy lawn,
Avows the recent path with carol sweet,
And trails the listening leveret to her seat;
Stretch'd on the couch the lazy sportsmen lie,
Till Sol ascending gilds the southern sky,
And leave the hind, with mercenary care,
To seek the refuge of the lurking hare.
Dullest of all pursuits, why mention here
The chace inglorious of the stall-fed deer?
When even that generous race who justly claim
Toilsome pre-eminence of sylvan fame,
Who joy to lay with sanguine vengeance low
The sheepfold and the henyard's treacherous foe;
Even they who us'd, ere morn's first opening light,
To trace the skulking felon of the night,
With slacken'd vigor now their sports delay,
Till Phoebus pours the orient beams of day.
Nor does the drag, evaporating soon,
Beneath the warmer influence of noon,
Frustrate their hopes; for, bearing in their mind
That well-known adage, 'Those that hide can find,'
Sure of success, the covert they explore,
For foxes turn'd adrift the night before.
But say, is this the pastime of the fields,
Where panting expectation rapture yields?—
Coldly the certain victim we pursue,
And losing doubt we lose the transport too.
If such the texture luxury has thrown
O'er scenes confin'd to ruder man alone,
What shall we find them when the gentler fair
Mix with the band and every pleasure share?—
Not those bold dames who join the rustic train,
Chear the staunch hound, the fiery courser rein;
Or those to point the feather'd shaft who know,
And joy 'to bear, and draw the warrior bow.'
O may Britannia's nymphs such arts despise,
Content alone to conquer with their eyes!
For Omphale as ill the lion's spoil
Becomes, as Hercules the distaff's toil;
But such as haunt the seats of courtly fame,
Where female charms the first attention claim,
And their contending powers the arts employ
To ravish every sense with every joy.—
The splendid theatre's refulgent round,—
With pomp, with elegance, with beauty crown'd.—
Not that I mean whose homelier scenes invite
To tales of grief, of humour, of delight,
Where Shakespear's honied style enthralls the ear,
Wakes the loud laugh, or draws the heart-felt tear—
Shakespear! ador'd in these degenerate days,
To whom we hymns inscribe, and temples raise,
Worship his image, and neglect his plays.—
Ah! who the evening's festal hours will quit
For scenes of tragic woe or comic wit?—
Scenes of a purer polish must engage
The loose attention of a courtly age;
Scenes where satiric point ne'er gives offence,
Or verse disturbs its placid stream with sense;
Where from Hesperian fields the eunuch train
Trill with soft voice the unimpassion'd strain,
In measur'd cadence while the dancers art
Wakes without words the feelings of the heart.
Delightful joys! of universal power,
Suited to every taste and every hour,
Since the loose drama no connexion ties,
And all may judge who trust their ears and eyes.—
See in majestic swell yon festive dome,
Like the Pantheon of imperial Rome,
And where as many fabled forms unite,
Visions of bliss or demons of affright.
Or, sought in vernal hours, that ampler space
Where beauty's steps the eternal circle trace,
And midnight revelry delights her soul
With breezes redolent of tea and roll,
In fragrant steam while thro' the crouded room
The Arabian berry yields its rich perfume,
And 'mid the murmurs of the mingled throng
Unheeded music swells the slighted song;
Or, Lent's delight, the Oratorio dull,
Of yawning connoisseurs and coxcombs full;
When, plays profane deny'd, our ears explore
The pious freaks of Alexander's whore;
The rout repeated with incessant call,
The formal concert, and the mirthless ball.—
Say is this joy?—Yes, to the virgin's heart
First stung by potent love's resistless smart;
Who 'mid the empty croud of silken beaux
Her glance on one distinguish'd fav'rite throws;
Yes, to the insidious wretch whose guilty care
Hunts artless virtue into vice's snare,
Whose every thought and action is address'd
To wound a parent's or a husband's breast,
Or that more gross tho' less pernicious tribe
Who venal beauty's joyless favors bribe;
Yes, to the rural nymph of distant plains
Who three sweet months of charming London gains;
Yes, to the youth escap'd from smoke and trade
To shew the western town his stol'n cockade:—
To these, where passion gently soothes the breast,
Or vice affords their joys a guilty zest;
Or novelty, fair pleasure's youthful queen,
Gives fresh allurements to each splendid scene,
To these, in fancy's varying mirror shown,
Amusement charms with beauties not its own.—
To all the rest, with listless mind who fly
To midnight crouds from languor's leaden eye,
To the full circle run from home-felt care,
Then start to meet the ghastly spectre there,
The night of revel wears as dull away
As to th' o'erlabor'd hind the tedious day.—
Of these our joys how transient then the state,
Since still disgust must on possession wait!
Pleasure we all pursue with eager pace,
Yet lose the quarry when we lose the chace;
Thro' fancy's medium when our view we bend,
Ten thousand charms the ideal form attend;
Shewn plainly to our disappointed eyes
The enchantment breaks, and every beauty flies.—
The sprightly boy who draws in shadowy plan
The future pleasures of the envied man,
His father's hounds in all his brothers views,
And warm a visionary fox pursues;
Or else, like Hecat', mounted on a broom
His fancied racer spurs around the room;
Tho' airy phantoms then his mind employ,
Yet then he feels more true substantial joy
Than all the sports of ripen'd age shall gain
From Meynell's hunt, or fam'd Newmarket's plain.
Yet not alone to rich Augusta's towers,
A nation's wealth where dissipation showers;
Or Bladud's walls, in rising splendor dress'd,
Proud of the healing fount, and frequent guest;
Or those unnumber'd shores where fashion laves
Her jaded limbs in ocean's briny waves;—
Not to these seats, for courtly haunts design'd,
Is pleasure's universal reign confin'd:
Britannia scarcely owns a town so small
As not to boast its periodic ball,
Where, when full-orb'd, Diana pours her light,
And gilds the darkness of the wintry night,
The village beaux and belles their hours employ—
In the full swing of fashionable joy:—
Aside the unfinish'd handkerchief is thrown,
And the fair sempstress adjusts her own;
The apothecary quits the unpounded pill,
Even the attorney drops his venal quill,
And, as his eyes the sprightly dance behold,
Forgets to drain the widow's purse of gold.—
To these 'tis joy.—But even the courtly train,
Anxious the dregs of pleasure's bowl to drain,
When, fully sated with each splendid show
That elegance and grandeur can bestow,
To rural solitude they fly, will there
This faint reflection of amusement share.
When from Southampton's or from Brighton's shore,
Which charm'd when London's revelry was o'er,
The fading beauty of autumnal hours,
Recalls the sportsman to his native bowers,
To tell his neighbours all the toils of state,
Recount of public cares the enormous weight,
And how he slumber'd thro' the long debate;
His wife and daughters quit the Gothic hall
To taste the raptures of the rustic ball.
The high-born misses, insolent and vain,
Scorn while they mingle with the homely train,
Still at the top, in spite of order, stand,
And hardly touch a mean plebeian hand;
While madam, eager 'mid the card-room's strife,
Insults the lawyer's and the curate's wife,
Now smiles contemptuous, now with anger burns,
And domineers and scolds, and cheats by turns;
Pleas'd on the village gentry to retort
Slights she receives from dutchesses at court.
But what are these, by starts alone pursu'd,
These partial errors of the moon?—when view'd
By that assemblage of each rustic grace,
That cynosure of joy, a county race;
Where, with fatigue and dulness in her train,
Provincial pleasure holds her proudest reign?
O that my Muse in equal verse could tell
Each varied object which she knows so well!—
The crowded ordinary's loud repast,
The frequent bumper swallow'd down in haste,
The rattling carriage driven with drunken speed,
The bawling hawker, and the restive steed,
The proffer'd bet with interjection strong,
And the shrill squallings of the female throng;
The sounding hoof, the whip's coercive sound,
As the fleet coursers stretch along the ground,
When the repeated oath and menace loud
Warn from the listed course the pressing croud;
The various horrors of the narrow lane,
As the promiscuous heaps the town regain,
Where coaches, waggons, horsemen, footmen, all
Rush eager to the alehouse, or the ball;
The fragrant toilette of the crouded room,
The stables and the kitchen's mix'd perfume;
The minuet's sober note till midnight drawn,
The gayer dance beyond the hour of dawn,
While the vex'd gamester at his rubber hears
The eternal tune still droning in his ears;
The supper, circling toast, and choral lay,
Protracted far into the solid day;
The interrupted sleep, till noon again
Rouse to the early feast the drowsy train,
And to the bev'rage of the Indian weed
The smoking haunch and mantling bowl succeed.—
Is this Amusement?—Ask the county knight,
Press'd into pleasure in his own despight,
Who, quitting all the placid joys of home
For seven months session in St. Stephen's dome,
Compell'd each office of fatigue to share,
And every quarter fill the Quorum's chair,
Must all these mingled forms of mirth partake,
Drink, dance, and gamble for his country's sake;
Ask him if days in dull committees spent,
Or sleepless nights to oratory lent,
Tho' litigation waste the morning's hours,
Or fancy crown the eve with eastern flowers;
Ask him if months that toils like these employ,
Are half so hard as this oppressive joy.
Yet to the village sons who throng the ground,
Sent forth in numbers from each cottage round,
Who leave awhile untill'd the fertile soil,
And snatch a respite from diurnal toil,
These varied sports a real joy afford,
No art can give the pleasure-sated lord.
Behold the transports of yon festive scene,
Where the wide country on the tented green
Its inmates pours, impatient all to share
The expected pleasures of the annual fair!—
See to the amorous youth and village maid
The pedlar's silken treasury display'd;
The liquorish boy the yellow simnel eyes,
The champion's cudgel wins the envied prize;
The martial trumpet calls the gazers in
Where lions roar, or fierce hyenas grin.—
Responsive to the tabor's sprightly sound
Behold the jingling morrice beat the ground,
The neighing courser sleek and trick'd for sale,
Grains in his paunch and ginger in his tail;
The dwarf and giant painted to the life,
The spirit-stirring drum, and shrill-ton'd fife,
Prelusive to the warlike speech that charms
The kindling heroes of the plain to arms.—
Here bliss unfeign'd in every eye we trace,
Here heart-felt mirth illumines every face,
For pleasure here has never learn'd to cloy,
But days of toil enliven hours of joy.
Joy, how unlike its unsubstantial shade
Which faintly haunts the midnight masquerade,
Where the distorted vizard ill conceals
The deep ennui each languid bosom feels,
And, but for shame, each vot'ry of delight,
Fatigued with all the nonsense of the night,
Would, like Squire Richard, seek with sated eye
Wrestling and backsword for variety.
Nor do I fable—worn with constant care
Of fev'rish riot and fantastic glare,
From splendid luxury our youth resort
To all the roughness of barbarian sport,
And leave each softer elegance of town
To share the pastime of the rustic clown;
Croud to behold, on the forbidden stage,
Christian and Jew in bloody fight engage,
Amusement in a fractur'd shoulder spy,
And gaze with rapture on a batter'd eye.
Nor this alone: reflection's form to shun
To scenes of business indolence will run.
Fatigu'd and cloy'd, of rest impatient still,
What crouds the senate's loaded gall'ry fill!
From Siddons' tears and Jordan's smile they fly
To long harangues, impell'd by novelty;
As pleas'd when dulness lulls, with cadence deep,
Knights, citizens, and burgesses to sleep,
As when, aroused in freedom's hallow'd cause,
Unsullied praise the Son of Chatham draws,
And eloquence, with more than Grecian art,
Decks the pure dictates of a Cato's heart.
Of British politics, ah selfish pride!
Which joys like these to female ears deny'd;
Till beauty's champion, with attentive care,
Turn'd out a Nabob to divert the fair,
And now they hear his chosen band dispense
The cream of opposition eloquence.
But say, what fashionable form appears,
Whose vacant brow reflection's aspect wears?
Who rolls the eye with senseless sapience full,
In trifles wise, and venerably dull?—
I know him well.—In midnight fumes enclos'd
Of the Virginian weed, while Folly doz'd,
Dulness advanc'd with Aldermannic tread
In solemn silence to the ideot's bed,
And in the produce of the stol'n embrace
The father's sense, and mother's wit we trace:
Both with a parent's love their offspring kiss'd,
Presag'd his future fame, and call'd him Whist.
Far from the courtly race, in private bred,
With rural swains his early youth he led,
The chearing solace, by the wintry fire,
Of the fat parson or the drunken squire;
Till, when each livelier game could charm no more,
And dear Quadrille itself became a bore,
Capricious taste, with novel nonsense fraught,
To town this scientific stranger brought,
Taught him the courtly circle's smile to share,
Till fashion bade him reign sole monarch there.
Struck with amaze, his sprightlier rivals fly
The chilling torpor of his gorgon eye:
Spadille no longer rears his sable shield,
Pam drops his halberd and forsakes the field.—
See where around the silent vot'ries sit,
To radiant beauty blind, and deaf to wit;
Each vacant eye appears with wisdom fraught,
Each solemn blockhead looks as if he thought.
Here coward insolence insults the bold,
And selfish av'rice boasts his lust of gold;
Ill-temper vents her spleen without offence,
And pompous dulness triumphs over sense.
Should some intrusive infant in the room
Disturb with jocund voice the general gloom,
The parent's eye, with short-liv'd frenzy wild,
Reproves the frolic of his wiser child.—
O strange extreme of fancy's wayward mood!
Distemper'd pleasure's sickly change of food,
Which, loathing every taste of known delight,
Provokes with trash her blunted appetite.—
Yet, if this stretch of studious thought be joy,
Let schemes of use the anxious mind employ,
Turn Wingate's solid pages, or explore
The untried depth of mathematic lore;
Or else with Herschell's telescopic eye
Trace new-found planets thro' the vaulted sky;
Or, if the cold blood curdling round the heart,
Deny of science this sublimer part,
On politics awake the learn'd debate,
For every Briton knows to mend the state;
Nor strive in serious trifles to excel,
Which childhood even might blush to know too well.
Far from fantastic fashion's giddy range,
Far from the dulness of fastidious change,
Pleasure, by fancy's airy fingers dress'd,
Object of every wish in every breast,
Holds her abode; nor shall o'erweening pride
Her roseate smiles in gloomy accent chide.—
O may I oft partake her genial hour,
Join in her train, and bless her friendly power;
Oft taste the pure unsullied scenes of joy,
Where wit and beauty mingled charms employ;
The free libation of the temperate bowl,
'The feast of reason, and the flow of soul;'
The theatre, where truth, by genius dight,
Holds her broad mirror to the conscious sight;
The heart-felt thrilling of the warbled lay,
The dancing measures of the young and gay;
The manlier sports, where hope, by doubt repress'd,
With expectation fires the panting breast,
And languor on the upland brow inhales
New health and vigor from the morning gales;
The evening walk, when spring adorns the glades,
Or summer's foliage all the forest shades;
The joyous hours, when winter bids retire
To the warm comfort of the social fire;
The honest laugh, which care's stern brow unbends;
The brilliant jest, which shines but ne'er offends;
The tender strain, the hymn to Bacchus roar'd
In choral transport round the festive board;
The catch, which oft in vain the songsters try,
While one is still too low, and one too high,
Till, after many a fruitless effort pass'd,
The harmonious discord is produc'd at last;
Even cards, if cards can e'er the mind engage,
Divested quite of avarice and rage,
Even cards some drowsy interval may chear,
But ne'er in wisdom's borrow'd robe appear;—
And, only source of pleasure's keenest zest,
May some pursuit still animate the breast;
From whence, returning to the sportful hour,
Amusement charms with renovated power.
For let the Muse, in her concluding strain,
This truth impart to pleasure's votive train;—
Urg'd to excess all human bliss must cloy,
And joy perpetual ceases to be joy.
Naucratia; Or Naval Dominion. Part Iii.
Awhile let War his bloody banners fold,
And smiling Peace her gentler triumphs hold.
The generous flame that warm'd Eliza's days,
Shines forth in George's reign with brighter blaze.
Again Britannia's sons, through seas unknown,
Round Earth's vast circle trace a naval zone,
Her Wallis, Byron, Carteret, try once more
The course her Drake, her Ca'ndish led of yore.
And see true Genius, rais'd by native worth
O'er the proud claims of fortune and of birth,
Born to control the rage of winds and seas,
Skill'd to arrest the ravage of disease,
Her Cook behold!—before his eagle eye
The dread of death, the sense of hardship fly;
And o'er his sails Hygeia hovering, flings
Health's genial influence from her silver wings.
From the soft dalliance of the amorous train
Who haunt the islets of the Southern main,
Boldly he ventures to the rugged coast
Clad in the horrors of Antarctic frost,
Where endless winter o'er the iron plains
In all the pomp of desolation reigns:
His course he keeps with persevering soul,
To seek a more inhospitable pole.
For where the northern constellations rise
In the dim zenith of the chilling skies,
Still neighbouring Europe's friendly harbours yield
A near asylum from the frozen field.
Not so the southern regions—drear—unknown—
Rude coasts, where cheerless solitude alone
Reigns death-like in terrific silence, save
Where howling famine prowls the ice-bound wave.
Nought damps the breast pure virtue's flame inspires,
Not the red blaze of wild ambition's fires.
Sent by a Prince benign, whose parent sway
Freedom's true vot'ries glory to obey;
Friend to the human race,—whose generous mind,
His country bless'd,—that blessing o'er mankind
Prompt to extend, bids his expanding sails
Waft peace and plenty on the favouring gales.—
The gallant chief obeys with ready breast
His pious Sovereign's mild and just behest.
O'er oceans wafted, 'mid New Zealand's groves
Bleats the meek flock, the lowing heifer roves;
By guiltless plenty spread, dire feasts no more
The blushing herbage stain with human gore.
On Otaheité's soft and genial fields
Its cheering juice the vine ambrosial yields;
And on the enormous island's region wide,
A continent encircled by the tide,
O'er lands uncultur'd yellow harvests rise,
And infant cities meet the wondering eyes.
There, peopled realms with art and science crown'd,
Sages and kings in future times renown'd,
Truth's moral rules by deep reflection given,
And Faith's illumin'd creed, that opens heaven;
Scenes of warm hope, and ages of delight
Crowd in prophetic prospect on the sight.—
Such were the chiefs that fabling Greece of old
Amid her legendary gods enroll'd,
And taught her sons to pile the votive flame
To Pan's, to Ceres', and to Bacchus' name.
Mourn Virtue, mourn the rash insidious blow
That laid on earth thy faithful votary low!—
Yet as the weeping powers of Mercy pay
Their solemn tribute to their Cook's morai,
And o'er his tomb by guiltless laurels crown'd,
As the slow dirge and swelling hymn resound,
Proud of a son in toil, in danger tried,
Fearless in both, in both by blood undy'd,
Fame to the listening winds her voice shall raise,
And breathe the immortal song of virtuous praise;
While heavenly justice from the empyreal sphere
Sends down its seraphs to his briny bier,
To waft his spirit from the realms of night
To the bless'd mansions of celestial light.
O form'd o'er vice, o'er madness to prevail,
Bless'd source of blameless glory! Science, hail!—
When bleeding Discord rear'd her gorgon head,
And wide o'er earth and ocean ruin spread,
A generous foe to thy fam'd vot'ries gave
A peaceful passage o'er the hostile wave.—
Gallia! though stern Oppression's iron arm
Hung o'er thy plains, blasting each genial charm,
Thy gallant nobles knew with gentlest care
To heal by courtesy the wounds of war.—
Semblance alone of mercy—for beneath,
Writhed the fell serpent in the flowery wreath.—
The showy plumes that valour's crest adorn,
From pining Labour's wretched hands were torn,
And the kind smile that cheer'd the suppliant foe,
Frown'd unrelenting on domestic woe.—
The hour of vengeance comes!—but vengeance dress'd
In such dire horrors, that a rival's breast,—
An envied, injur'd rival's—swells with grief
At ills that pass excess, and mock belief.—
The hour of vengeance comes!—Justice in vain
Tries with numb'd arm the tempest to restrain.
She drops the sword, and Anarchy's wild hand
Waves the red torch of ruin o'er the land.—
Though her strong forts, and stronger hosts oppose
A dreadful barrier to assailing foes,
Domestic fury arm'd with civic rage,
Beyond the inroads of a Vandal age,
Spreading sad desolation's cruel sway,
Sweeps every trace of ancient worth away;
Rears slaughter's pile where slavery's fabric stood,
And stains fair Freedom's cause with blameless blood.—
So Ætna lifts aloft her haughty brow,
And hears the harmless tempest howl below:
Sublimely great, her azure head she shrouds
In the thick umbrage of surrounding clouds,
Her ample base while golden harvests hide,
And the ripe vintage purples o'er her side.—
But ah! the dreadful harbingers of doom
In silent ambush lurk within her womb,
Prompt at the fated moment to ascend,
And with fierce shock her fiery entrails rend;
Pour down the steeps with laughing plenty grac'd,
Lay every hope and every beauty waste,
Till the wide regions to the affrighted eye
One vast extent of smoking ruin lie.
Not to her native seats confin'd alone
Was struggling Gallia's wild convulsive groan;
With maniac rage she lifts her blood-stain'd hand,
And waves confusion o'er each neighbour land.
Europe's astonish'd sons, with trembling awe
Breathless and pale, the impending mischief saw,
And fearful threw their trembling eyes for aid
To shores their coward envy once betray'd.
Did Britain frown malignant on the woes
By fate retorted on her faithless foes?—
No—prone to godlike mercy, lo, she spreads
Her ample buckler o'er their prostrate heads.—
Each former wrong from memory's tablet tore,—
They were oppress'd, and she a foe no more.
Useless her generous aid—the furious bands
Pour like a torrent o'er Batavia's lands.
Iberia, struck with fear, the tempest flies,
And shameful safety by submission buys.
The swarming millions of exhaustless foes,
Nor valour can defeat, no skill oppose,
Vain was her force on foreign regions shewn,
Compell'd perhaps to combat for her own,
But that the guard of her surrounding wave
A potent check to mad invasion gave;
There in her native fortress firm she stood,
And frown'd defiance from her subject flood.
Not the wild frenzy of a transient hour
The trident firm can grasp of naval power.
That sceptre high she waves with sway supreme,
And scorns the phantoms of ambition's dream.—
Behold her veteran chief, victorious Howe,
The faded laurel tear from Gallia's brow;
On her own shores o'erthrown her naval pride,
Her captur'd ships in Britain's harbours ride.—
From brave Cornwallis' sails, in base retreat,
Flies with inglorious speed the numerous fleet.
Safe in the sheltering port, the timid foe
Eludes of Bridport's arm the threat'ning blow;
By peril taught with what resistless might
He knew to hurl the tempest of the fight.
And valiant Jarvis by the Iberian coast
Pours on the faithless foe his scanty host.
Superior squadrons rashly try in vain,
With swarming numbers to usurp the main;
Strict discipline to skill and courage join'd,
A penetrating eye, and ardent mind,
Conceive and execute the bold design,—
His thunder breaks the bold extended line,
And with a dauntless few he bears away
The well earn'd spoils of Britain's proudest day.
Pure source of every joy! mild Concord, bring
Each healing blessing on thy snowy wing;
Teach the wild storm of ruthless war to cease,
And charm the nations to the reign of Peace.
Then happier Commerce to the ambrosial gale
Shall free and fearless spread her welcome sail;
Waft wealth and plenty on each favouring breeze,
And dread no danger but from winds and seas.
Yet must the Muse, though cruel seem her lays,
Her warning voice in strain prophetic raise.
When hush'd to peace the ruder tempests sleep,
And Zephyr gently curls the rippling deep,
Will the skill'd mariner disarm his mind,
Lull'd by the placid swell and silken wind?—
No—long experience points the uncertain skies
Where unexpected whirlwinds sudden rise:
And though amid th'unruffled seas of spring
The flitting halcyon dip his azure wing,
By danger school'd, he stands prepar'd to brave
The loudest fury of the wintery wave.
Foster'd too oft by Peace's laughing reign,
Will luxury corrupt her fair domain:
Too oft with timid eye will Commerce gaze
On the rich stores surrounding wealth displays;
Then chill'd by danger, and by toil dismay'd,
Buy from a foreign force precarious aid.—
So Carthage fell!—in native strength elate
While the bold inmates of her rival state,
A race rapacious, unexhausted stood,
Resistless sons of rapine and of blood.—
War's dreadful clarion by Ambition blown,
The Muse of mercy ever must disown,
Though selfish pride assume the patriot's name,
And worlds, misjudging, call oppression fame:
Yet while by Cruelty or Avarice led,
Arm'd Violence will rear the hydra head;
While warlike hords will gaze with harpy eye
On the rich fields of peace and industry;
Let not her moral strain, seductive, charm
The sword of vengeance from the manly arm;
Or, while of war's destructive band she sings,
Forget what ill from coward softness springs:—
Full well she knows to paint the horrors spread
Terrific o'er the bleeding soldier's head,
When sinking breathless 'neath the hostile wound,
Wild War's insulting tumult raging round,
The last convulsive throe of ebbing life
Hangs on the orphan child and widow'd wife.
But ah! though dread that scene—let fancy trace
The woes degrading of the unwarlike race,
The gentle sons of sentimental fear,
Too weak to guard what manhood holds most dear,
When lust and murder with unbridled sway
Speed o'er their ruin'd seats their fatal way.—
Then to the gallant race who bravely stand
A breathing bulwark to their native land,
Shall not the Muse with care assiduous raise
The deathless guerdon of unblemish'd praise,
And o'er the martyr'd soldier's hallow'd bier
Pour with swoll'n eye affliction's grateful tear?—
Secure those chiefs of glory's purest meed,
Like Hawke who conquer, or like Wolfe who bleed.
Arm'd in her cause, on Chalgrave's fatal plain,
Where sorrowing Freedom mourns her Hambden slain,
Say, shall the moralizing bard presume
From his proud hearse to tear one warlike plume,
Because a Cæsar or a Cromwell wore
An impious wreath, wet with their country's gore?
Oft as the exulting Muse with pride surveys
The pile of fame Britannia's navies raise,
Trembling she sees the glorious fabric stand
On the loose basis of a shifting sand.
Athens and Carthage shine on history's page,
Portentous beacons to a distant age.—
How high their naval power, her annals tell,
Her annals too record how soon they fell.—
So may Britannia fall—yon bleeding shore,
Wasted by black revenge, and drench'd with gore,
Her commerce lost, her shatter'd fleets destroy'd,
Her coasts by predatory war annoy'd;
Her frantic sons by brutal fury stung,
Flames in the eye, and poison on the tongue,
Rushing in wild delirium of disease
With venom'd fang their shrinking foes to seize,
Spreading with hornet rage destruction round,
And satisfied to perish, if they wound.—
Yet, strong in native power, should Peace again
Bless with returning smile her genial plain,
Soon would her renovated fields display
Their freshening treasures to the healing ray;
As spring, emerging from the wintery blast,
Her flowers unfolds, nor heeds the tempest past.
But should the horrors of domestic broil,
Or hostile inroad Britain's bosom spoil;—
Whelm'd in the blood-stain'd wave her naval force,
Or basely poison'd in its vital source;
Though her firm sons in sullen courage stood,
And mark'd invasion's fatal paths with blood;
Though myriads pour'd upon her shores in vain,
But whiten'd with their bones her hostile plain;
Though Fame, where'er she turn'd her wondering eyes,
Beheld new Agincourts, new Creçis rise;
Yet, press'd at home, while on each distant coast
She mourn'd her empire sunk, her commerce lost,
Prone in the dust her vaunted power would lie,
Undone, amid the shouts of victory.
So when the loud tornado's fatal powers
Shake from their base the city's lofty towers,
The ruin'd fragments lie, no more to rise
Beneath the influence bland of brightening skies;
But noisome weeds 'mid the fall'n columns spread,
And the loath'd reptile shrouds his venom'd head.
'Tis not the oak whose hardy branches wave
O'er Britain's cliffs, and all her tempests brave;
'Tis not the ore her iron bowels yield,
The cordage growing on her fertile field,
That form her naval strength.—'Tis the bold race
Laughing at toil, and gay in danger's face,
Who quit with joy, when fame and glory lead,
Their richest pasture and their greenest mead,
The perils of the stormy deep to dare,
And jocund own their dearest pleasures there.
One common zeal the manly race inspires,
One common cause each ardent bosom fires,
From the bold youth whose agile limbs ascend
The giddy mast when angry winds contend,
And while the yard dips low its pointed arm,
Clings to the cord, and sings amidst the storm,
To the experienced chief, who knows to guide
The labouring vessel through the rolling tide;
Or when contending squadrons fierce engage,
Directs the battle's thunder where to rage:—
All, all alike with cool unfeign'd delight
Brave the tempestuous gale, and court the fight.
Britain! with jealous industry maintain
The sacred sources of this generous train,
Daring beyond what fable sings of old,
Yet mild in conquest, and humane as bold;
Now rushing on the foe with frown severe,
Now mov'd to mercy by compassion's tear.—
Fierce as the ruthless elements they brave
When their wrong'd country calls them to the wave;
Mild as the softest breeze that fans thy isle,
When sooth'd by peace and wooing beauty's smile.
A race peculiar to thy happy coast,
But lost by folly once, for ever lost.
Ne'er from the lap of luxury and ease
Shall spring the hardy warrior of the seas.—
A toilsome youth the mariner must form,
Nurs'd on the wave, and cradled in the storm.
This school thy coasts supply—the unwrought ore
Wafted from port to port around thy shore,
The northern mines, that sable stores unfold
To chase from blazing hearths frore winter's cold;—
These nurseries have train'd the daring crew
Through storms and war thy glory to pursue:
These have thy leaders train'd, and naval fame
Reads in their rolls her Cook's immortal name.
O ne'er may Commerce with misdeeming zeal
Weaken this source, her own, her country's weal,
And the canal, by tortur'd streams supplied,
Along our coasts with baleful labour guide,
Then boast, if war insults our chalky shores,
It yields safe conduct to our arms and stores.—
Perish such safety!—ne'er may commerce know
Safe conduct here but from a vanquish'd foe.—
Where mountain forests spread their deep'ning shade,
Where metals lurk beneath the midland glade,
Where mingled art and industry combine,
Weave the rich web, the liquid ore refine,
Let the canal, scoop'd out with plastic care,
To distant marts the useful produce bear;
But never may its stagnate waters lave
The sandy borders of the briny wave,
Or the rude bargeman's vile inglorious race
The generous hero of the sea replace.
O Millbrook! shall my devious feet no more
Pace the smooth margin of thy pebbly shore?
No more my eyes, when even the zephyrs sleep,
View the broad mirror of thy glassy deep,
Where the reflected spire and bordering shade
Inverted shine, by softer tint portray'd;
Or by the dancing moon-beam's silvery gleam
See the bright ripple of the curling stream,
While round the passing bark as eddies play,
A track of trembling radiance marks her way;
Or as the surge with ineffectual roar
Spends its rude force on the surrounding shore,
Behold its harmless vengeance idly beat
With vain and baffled fury at my feet?—
No more along the Channel's azure space
My sight the ship's expanding sail shall trace,
Through whose white folds—clad by the leafy year,
On the green uplands future fleets appear!—
Now through the stagnate pool, by banks confin'd,
Rolls the slow barge, dragg'd by the inglorious hind.—
By vengeance arm'd, ye powers of ocean rise!
And when full orb'd in equinoctial skies
The pale moon hangs, and with malignant pride
Rouses the driving storm, and swells the tide,
Lift high the trident, and with giant blow
Lay of vain man the pigmy labours low,
Chastize the weak presumption that would chain
The briny surge, and subjugate the main.
Though bold, and skill'd in all his native art,
On shore the mariner's incautious heart
Unpractic'd in the devious paths of guile
Falls a sure prey to each insidious wile;
Hence oft the dupe of selfish avarice made,
Hence oft by beauty's venal smile betray'd;
And hence did Faction once with treacherous aim
Lure the brave seaman from the paths of fame;
And Britain saw, amaz'd, her strongest power
On her own head with dreadful aspect lower;
While the base art of Gallic miscreants draws
Her truest patriots from their country's cause.—
Turn—turn the eye, nor view the only stain
That blots the annals of our naval reign;
On one dark tint of shame O cease to gaze,
Lost in surrounding glory's brighter blaze;
As the small spots that cloud the orb of day
Vanish to nothing in his noontide ray!
And see the beams of naval glory rise
Bright in meridian splendour to the skies!
Batavia's fleets, which long our hovering host
Held timid prisoners on their sheltering coast,
The transitory hour of absence seize,
And give their canvas to the freshening breeze.
The buoyant cutter spreads her agile wings,
And to our coast the wish'd-for tidings brings;
The foe's designs while valiant Trollope views,
By turns eludes them, and by turns pursues.
Soon as the bark arrives in Garien's bay,
Where Britain's wave-worn vessels anchoring lay,
Instant aloft the expected signal flies,
All view with beating hearts and ardent eyes;
All see with joy the leading flag display'd,
Bent is each sail, and every anchor weigh'd:
With canvas crowded groans the bending mast,
Loud through the cordage sings the favouring blast,
And as the keels the foaming surge divide,
Before the prow wild roars the whitening tide.
And now their eyes with glance impatient meet
The long hop'd prospect of the adverse fleet.
No squadron this by hands unskilful sped,
A race of seamen by a seaman led.—
Impetuous through the battle's fiery tides
The storm of war heroic Duncan guides.
The opposing line is pierced—when clustering foes
Vindictive round the daring warrior close;
Now on his beam the vollied thunders break
With dreadful peal, and now his stern they rake;—
Calm 'mid the fiery storm of death he stands,
Firm in his conduct, clear in his commands.—
Courage must bend to greater courage still,
Superior numbers to superior skill.
Her masts o'erthrown, and pil'd with dead her deck,
The Belgic leader lies a cumbrous wreck;
The scatter'd squadrons see with haggard eye
Britannia's ensign o'er Batavia's fly.
Dismay'd,—confus'd,—along the stormy main
Vainly they try the friendly coast to gain:
For all whose barks the battle's rage had borne,
Their timbers batter'd, and their cordage torn,
Fall to the victor's power,—while a mean race,
Veiling in coward boasts their own disgrace,
Safe in the shoaly Texel's channel, tell
How Belgium triumph'd, and Britannia fell.
What trophies shall the Muse to Duncan raise,
Whose worth transcends the boldest flight of praise?—
Will all the powers man's genius can display
Give added lustre to the beams of day?
His virtues shine in native worth array'd,
Nor want, nor ask, precarious flattery's aid.
Him to his senate Britain's Monarch calls,
His praise resounding from that senate's walls;
Walls where in woven tints portray'd are seen
The naval triumph of the maiden Queen.
The delegated sons of Britain's choice
In his applauses speak a people's voice;
And while from Caledonia's northern skies,
Prolific parent of the brave and wise,
Bursts the full strain in patriot ardour loud
Of such a son with honest vaunting proud,
England asserts her share of Duncan's fame,
And claims the hero in Britannia's name.
Nor, Onslow, shall the Muse to thee deny
The warrior's meed, the wreath of victory;
Or, gallant Burgess, o'er thy trophied bier
Forget to pour the tributary tear.
Nor the less known, though not less valiant train,
Who, nobly purging faction's recent stain,
Rush'd to the watery field at glory's call,
Unprais'd shall live, nor unlamented fall.—
Ah, gallant race! by bleeding victory crown'd,
Who, while life's current stream'd from every wound,
Cried with exulting, though with parting breath,
‘Now has our faith been prov'd!’ and smil'd in death.
Nor o'er the tombs of those who nobly died
Hang only pageant plumes of funeral pride;
All ranks unite to aid whom all revere,
And wipe the widow's and the orphan's tear:
Not opulence the boon alone bestows,
From humbler hearts the stream benignant flows;
And while the chiefs of Britain's banner'd host
Console the friends of kindred warriors lost,
The meanest soldier of the generous band
His scantier offering brings with liberal hand.
Imperial mistress of the briny plains,
Without a rival, now Britannia reigns.
Where'er in warlike pomp her barks appear,
Abash'd her recreant foes avow their fear,
On Gallia's threat'ning boasts, with scornful frown,
From her white cliffs she looks indignant down;
And while her fleet each clime remote explores,
While wide increasing Commerce spreads her stores
Wealth, science, courage, mingled flowers bestow
To deck the naval crown on George's brow.
Ye laurel'd chiefs, who rais'd his billowy reign!
Ye living heroes, who that power maintain!
Whose actions of renown my voice has sung
In feeble accents with a faltering tongue,
Forgive the daring effort, nor repine,
Though but recorded in a verse like mine.
The proudest Muse who soars on fiction's wings
Dims the bright lustre of the deeds she sings,
The minstrels of the epic song of old,
Who mighty acts of fabled chiefs unfold,
What seeds of fame for others have they sown,
Whose glorious works ennobled but their own?—
Your worth on that eternal base shall live
Nor fiction can destroy nor fiction give;
For History on her adamantine page
Those names displays to Time's remotest age,
Who free and fearless Glory's track pursued
Through every danger, and o'er every flood,
Britannia's thunder on Oppression hurl'd,
And thron'd her empress of the naval world.
Yet though the Muse wake not her sounding strings
With cadence equal to the theme she sings,
Oft tuned to humbler mood, her warbled lay
Has cheer'd the seaman on his watery way;
Now painting to his mind the faithful band
Of love and friendship in his native land,
Hailing with accents partial to the brave
The kind and constant warrior of the wave;
Now chanting slow the melancholy dirge
To Hosier, festering on the hostile surge;
Now striking loud the free heroic lyre
Kindling the blaze of emulative fire,
While the recording sailor's notes repeat
How gallant Russel vanquish'd Gallia's fleet.—
Nor let the sons of letter'd pride despise
Germs whence the vigorous shoots of valour rise:
So Attic freedom own'd Harmodius' strain,
So rous'd Tyrtæus' song the Spartan train.
Never shall Anarchy's mad dæmon tread
Insulting here, o'er Freedom's hallow'd head,
While Freedom's sons in festive carol raise
To George and Liberty their votive lays;
Never shall sink Britannia's naval fire
While rous'd to glory by her Thomson's lyre.—
Responsive to his lay, her Genius long
In act shall realize the raptur'd song
His fancy heard—what time the angelic train
Hail'd the bless'd isle emerging from the main,
With seraph hand their golden viols strung,
And to his ear the hymn prophetic sung.—
‘Long as her native oak's strong limbs defy
‘The furious blasts that rend her stormy sky,
‘Long as her rocky shores the ocean laves,
‘Shall Freedom and Britannia rule the waves.’
Faringdon Hill. Book I
A Poem In Two Books
Now with meridian force the orb of day
Pours on our throbbing heads his sultry ray;
O'er the wide concave of the blue serene
No fleecy cloud or vapory mist is seen;
The panting flocks and herds, at ease reclin'd,
Catch the faint eddies of the flitting wind;
To silence hush'd is every rural sound;
And noontide spreads a solemn stillness round
Alike our languid limbs would now forsake
The open meadow, and the tangled brake;
Here Sol intensely glows, and there the trees
Mix their thick foliage, and exclude the breeze.—
Come let us quit these scenes, and climb yon brow,
Yon airy summit where the Zephyrs blow;
While waving o'er our heads the welcome shade,
Shuts out the sunbeams from the upland glade:
No steep ascent we scale with feverish toil,
No rocks alarm us, and no mountains foil;
But as we gently tread the rising green,
Large, and more large extends the spacious scene;
Till on the verdant top our labour crown'd,
The wide Horizon is our only bound.
What various objects scatter'd round us lie,
And charm on every side the curious eye!—
Amidst such ample stores, how shall the Muse
Know where to turn her sight, and which to choose?—
Here lofty mountains lift their azure heads;
There it's green lap the grassy meadow spreads;
Enclosures here the sylvan scene divide;
There plains extended spread their harvests wide;
Here oaks, their mossy limbs wide stretching, meet
And form impervious thickets at our feet;
Through aromatic heaps of ripening hay,
There silver Isis wins her winding way;
And many a tower, and many a spire between,
Shoots from the groves, and cheers the rural scene.
Still as I look, fresh objects seem to rise;
And lovelier pictures strike my raptur'd eyes,
As young remembrance paints each sylvan glade,
Where full of glee my careless childhood stray'd.
Though other hills perhaps as large a field
To warm description's fairy powers may yield,
As rich a prospect to the sight display,
O'er meads as verdant, and o'er plains as gay;
Yet, when in Memory's fond mirror shewn,
The country smiles with beauties not it's own;
Her fair reflection new delight supplies,
And every floweret blooms with deeper dyes;
The landscape seems to brighten while I gaze,
And Phoebus shines with more than summer rays;
O'er the high woods a livelier verdure reigns,
And more luxuriant harvests deck the plains;
Even when fell winter spreads his mantle drear,
And big with snow descends the inclement year,
Let but her glass reflect the dismal view,
The wither'd trees their wonted charms renew;
The feather'd tribes resume their chearing lay,
And spring her odors, and his beams the day;
December yields to April's milder power,
And vernal blossoms grace the wintry hour.
O sacred Nature! Nymph divinely bright!
Unfold thy various prospects to my sight;
With thee o'er breezy uplands let me rove,
Or tread the devious labyrinth of the grove;
When from the east the glorious orb of day
Shoots o'er the burnish'd cliff his golden ray,
When splendid in meridian light array'd,
His piercing beams the woodland gloom pervade;
When wrap'd in misty evening's sober reign
The increasing darkness steals across the plain;
When o'er the dusky stole of silent night
The Delian Goddess throws her silver light;
When gently o'er the flower-empurpled vale
The vernal Zephyrs breathe a genial gale;
When, as fierce Summer's sultry beams descend,
With blushing fruit the loaded branches bend;
When Autumn crowns the hills with waving corn,
And pours profusion from his twisted horn;
While deepening shade on shade the woods are seen,
From the full crimson to the faded green;
Or when, it's leafy honors swept away,
The scatter'd forest yields to winter's sway;
When the cascade, by icy fetters tied,
Must cease to murmur, and the stream to glide;
While blows the storm, or falls the chilling rain,
Or fleecy snows o'erspread the whiten'd plain;
In every hour and season let me trace,
Enchanting Nature! thy transcendant grace;
With eager eyes thy lovely form survey,
And bless with grateful voice thy boundless sway.
Happy the youth! on whose high honor'd head
The sacred Nine their fostering influence shed,
Though they refuse the lasting wreath, whose bloom
Shall grace his living brow, and deck his tomb;
For the fresh laurel give a sickly flower,
Boast of a day, and glory of an hour;
Yet taught by them his ravish'd eyes explore
The choicest objects of thy charming store:
For him their strains the sylvan warblers breathe,
For him fair Maia twines her flowery wreath;
Fragrant for him the morning breezes blow,
The poplar trembles, and the fountains flow;
Thy various beauties strike his raptur'd breast,
And Nature doubly charms by Fancy dress'd.
Enough has Fancy, frantic with delight,
O'er the gay region stretch'd her vagrant flight;
Let sage Experience now of brow severe
Arrest her soaring in her bold career:
Nor thou, historic Truth, thy aid refuse,
But join the labors of the rural Muse;
With friendly care the pleasing toil divide,
That while she paints the blooming landscape's pride,
Thy voice each storied relick may explain,
And tell the former fortunes of the plain.
First to the north direct your roving eyes,
Where fair Oxonia's verdant hills arise;
There Burford's downs invite the healthful chace,
Or urge the emulous coursers to the race;
While as with agile limbs the ascent they scale,
Rush down the steep, or sweep across the vale,
Exulting Hope, by turns, and chilling Fear
In the pale cheek and eager eye appear;
Each generous fire in every heart is lost,
By fortune favor'd, or by fortune cross'd;
Flies every Virtue, withers every Grace,
And all the selfish Passions take their place.
Emerging from the thicket's bosom, there
See Bamptom's pointed steeple rise in air:
To farther distance now the prospect drawn,
Lo Witney's spire diversifies the lawn!
Whose busy loom to balmy sleep supplies
A guard from wintry cold and freezing skies:
There Whichwood's oaks thick-waving o'er the glade
Yield to the salvage tribe an ample shade:
And in the horizon faintly ting'd with blue
Thy woods, imperial Blenheim! close the view,
Nature between one verdant carpet spreads
Of fruitful pastures and enamel'd meads;
Whose bending reeds, and osier'd banks among,
Fair Isis rolls her virgin waves along;
Her horn while Plenty pours on every side,
And Pales revels where her waters glide.
Hail, lovely Isis! dear parental stream!
The pride of Commerce, and the Poet's theme:
Though, vain of borrow'd pomp, imperious Thame,
Deck'd with the praise which ought to wait thy name,
Triumphant pours his swelling waves along,
Hail'd by the bard, and dignified in song;
Thy silver urn the affluent tide bestows,
And from thy source the plenteous current flows:
Such is the fate that female honors find,
When to a mate unequal fondly join'd.
O had thy stream! like Arethuse of old,
It's virgin waters unpolluted roll'd,
Old Thame through humble vales had pass'd alone,
Sung by no bard, unnoticed, and unknown;
While thine had been confess'd the unrival'd pride,
To waft in commerce with each rising tide,
With foreign spoils Augusta's walls to greet,
And lay the nations tribute at her feet:
Thine been the boast to flow, with current clear,
Through meads to British Freedom ever dear,
Where the bold Barons in a happy hour
Wrested her charter from a tyrant's power;
While grateful bards contended to rehearse
Thy virgin glories in no vulgar verse:
For long as Windsor rais'd her sylvan shade
Or Cooper's swelling hill o'erlook'd the glade,
Sacred to fame thy stream had flow'd along,
In Pope's soft lays, or Denham's sounding song.
Then as thy lucid current gently stray'd
Through fair Etona's academic shade;
While by thy side his silver Lyre he strung,
Gray to thy wave his dulcet notes had sung:
And many a bard in Granta's vale who strays,
And tunes to hoary Cam his votive lays,
Whose youthful Fancy and Invention new
Cull'd the fresh flowers that on thy borders grew,
Had join'd to celebrate thy classic fame,
And half his tribute paid to Isis' name.
And lo! where heathy Cumner's envious height
Hides all thy letter'd triumph from my sight!
Where 'midst fair Rhedicina's gothic towers,
Her hallow'd cloisters, and Pierian bowers,
Isis her silver urn inclines, and views
The votive wreath of every grateful Muse.
No rivulet there from thee their tribute draws,
Usurps thy fame, or shares their just applause:
But gentle Cherwell hears with joy their lays,
And loves the strain that chants a sister's praise;
Pleas'd if the Muse, to grace her head, bestows
One roseate flower that on thy Margin blows.
Nor shall thy reeds in future times complain
Of slighted worth and Thame's usurp'd domain;
That his too favor'd stream with princely waves
The crowded walls of proud Augusta laves;
The votive verse that Pope and Denham raise,
And breathe to him the swelling note of praise;
For him that Gray the strain unequal'd frames,
And sings the moral ode to hoary Thames;
Since fair Oxonia's polish'd sons unite
To vindicate thy classic current's right;
Since every Muse to thee consigns her lays,
And every Science on thy border strays;
And every Grace, and every Art, whose powers
In symmetry have rais'd her dædal towers,
To listening crowds thy parent worth proclaim,
And found their pride on thy maternal name.
Ere yet such scenes of pomp thy channel knows,
While humbly here thy lingering water flows;
While yet thy virgin waves obscurely glide,
Sung by no Muse, nor boast a classic tide;
Say wilt thou here incline thy urn, to heed
The inglorious warbling of my Doric reed?
Though here no city spread her various stores,
No costly villas crown thy peopled shores;
Yet every charm of Peace's rural reign
Attends thy progress through each smiling plain.
The flocks and herds here crowd thy rushy brink,
Graze on thy sides or from thy bosom drink;
And every herb, and every flower that blows
On the green margin where thy current flows;
If a luxuriant bloom they justly boast,
Beyond the produce of another coast;
As in thy glassy wave their charms they see,
Shall own they owe each vivid tint to thee.
Yet glittering spears have here been whilom seen,
And purple war has stain'd thy osiers green;
Here hostile swords have shed a horrid gleam,
And floating corses chok'd thy frighted stream;
While Civil Discord drove with hideous roar
The trembling Naiads from thy widow'd shore.
Ah! ne'er may arms again thy seats invade,
Or shouts of war disturb thy hallow'd shade;
But heaven-born Peace with Plenty in her train
Fix on thy sedgy banks her halcyon reign.
Here too, more fell than war's destructive race,
Has Superstition shewn her gorgon face:
Here where thy chearing stream with gentle waves
These fertile meads and verdant pastures laves,
Where now unwearied Industry resides,
And Toil exulting tills thy fruitful sides;
For Liberty protects the happy swains,
And Property secures what labor gains;
Erst the rich soil, though cultur'd, useless lay,
To monkish ease and luxury a prey,
While distant abbeys with thy wealth were stor'd,
The British subjects of an alien lord.
When bigot John, despotic power to gain,
Found open force and treacherous cunning vain;
His daring nobles fir'd by virtuous pride
His arts eluded, and his force defied;
With Rome's anathemas he arm'd his hand,
And papal thunders shook the trembling land;
Thirsting for lawless sway, he stoop'd to own
His crown dependant on a foreign throne;
To foreign lords ignoble homage gave,
To reign at home a tyrant and a slave.
'Twas then the ravenous monks, a sordid crew,
O'er all the wasted land like locusts flew;
Each rich demesne that to the crown remain'd,
By right, by forfeiture, or conquest gain'd,
Was given to gratify the Church's pride,
And bribe the holy cohorts to his side.
Even 'mid those scenes of devastation wild,
Where William's power the fertile district spoil'd,
The gazing pilgrim saw with strange surprize
Aspiring structures 'midst the desert rise;
And where no trace of man's abode was seen,
No noise disturb'd the tenants of the green,
Save the seas breaking o'er the sounding shore,
Or the faint dashing of the distant oar;
There haughty Beaulieu's gothic arches bend,
And high in air her glittering spires ascend;
While the wild forest's hairy sons around
Start at the unusual anthem's swelling sound.
These fruitful plains, in that unhappy hour
Of papal sway and sacerdotal power,
Were doom'd the new-rais'd abbey to maintain,
And distant Beaulieu rul'd the fair domain.
The famish'd swain beheld with mournful eye
The verdant meadows round him useless lie;
While pamper'd ignorance and priestly pride
The rich productions of the land divide;
Till Henry's haughty soul the bondage broke,
Redeem'd the nation from the servile yoke,
And suffer'd active Industry once more
To dwell, fair Isis! by thy happy shore:
Hence as these blooming fields, (thus heaven decreed,)
A tyrant shackled, so a tyrant freed.
Yet now, as thro' the abbey's mouldering dome
The Muses oft with wandering footsteps roam,
And, while with silver radiance Luna's beam
Shoots through the lengthening isles a trembling gleam,
As pensive Meditation points the way,
By ruin'd piles and nodding towers they stray:
See o'er the impending arch the ivy spread,
And gothic pillars threat the passer's head,
Struck with the awful scene, the astonish'd train
Bewail the fall of Superstition's reign.
Hence many a bard has o'er the ruins hung,
And mourn'd the devastation as he sung;
Has Error's fate in plaintive verse deplor'd,
And wept the day that Reason's rights restor'd.
As bending upward near her scanty source
We backward trace the river's narrowing course,
Her pointed spire see Lechlade proudly rears!
And lowly Cricklade on her banks appears;
Cricklade, where first, when Grecia's letter'd train,
By Slavery exil'd from their native plain,
To fair Hesperia's vales their science bore,
To Gallia's fields, and Albion's distant shore;
Those strains Ilissus' stream was wont to hear
Were pour'd, O Isis, on thy raptur'd ear:
While Grecia's Muse, around whose matron brow
Had twin'd the Athenian olive's fruitful bough,
Forc'd by the rage of Mahomet's savage host
To quit with lingering step Byzantium's coast;
Her drooping forehead with thy osiers bound,
And on thy brink a new Lyceum found;
Till woo'd by princely gifts, these peaceful bowers
She left for Granta's and Oxonia's towers.
And here thy waves, by learning now unknown,
To busy Commerce sacred flow alone,
Where first the loaded raft, and cumberous barge,
Trust to thy placid breast their weighty charge.
Ah, Isis! can the Muse forget that hand,
Whose wanton cruelty thy ruin plann'd?
Or not forgetting, from resentment free,
Recall the hours that threaten'd fate to thee?—
When vain projectors doom'd thy stream to flow
Through meads, neglected, lingering, sad, and slow;
Till the o'er-loaded wave should scarcely force
Through gathering sand, and sedge, it's laboring course;
While in thy stead their plastic power should guide
The stagnate lake by wintry rains supplied.
Perish such schemes! nor by their use be lost
The noblest river, Britain's Isle can boast!—
Let channels, form'd by art, be ever led
Where no fair current wears a native bed;
Then through the obstructing hill, and o'er the vale,
Like Egerton conduct the swelling sail:
Even Isis shall applaud, if from her source,
To where Sabrina pours her amber course,
They bid the smooth canal it's length display,
And feed with copious springs the tedious way:
Till the fraught barge the extended line explores
From Bristol's crowded wharf to London's princely shores.
More westward when we cast our wandering eyes,
Level as ocean's bed the champaign lies:
While, like some promontory's rugged brow,
Proud Badbury's height o'erlooks the plain below,
Where, in yon Saxon camp, the mill its sails
Spreads to the wind, and courts the rising gales.
Beneath how open lies the spacious scene!
No lofty mountains envious intervene;
But o'er the extended lawns our fancies stray,
Till lost in hazy mists they fade away;
By faint degrees the distant prospect dies,
And the blue landscape melts into the skies.
Where gently Cole's pellucid waters glide,
Here Fairford rears her tower with conscious pride;
Whose windows, with historic painting dight,
Attract the curious traveller's wondering sight:
And there, conspicuous 'mid the lawny glade,
Fair Cirencester spreads her ample shade.
Hail happy seat! whose twilight glooms among
Full many a bard has rais'd the tuneful song.
Grows not an oak his hundred arms who spreads
O'er the gay verdure of thy fruitful meads;
Sighs not a grotto to thy murmuring gales,
Nor flows a fountain through thy winding vales,
But seems a classic influence to diffuse,
To Science dear, and haunted by the Muse:
Who oft as morning pours her misty ray,
Or fades the glimmering beam of parting day,
Explores each nodding grove, and every plain,
Sacred to her and all her favorite train.
These scenes could Addison's chaste notes inspire;
Here Pope harmonious struck his silver lyre;
Caught 'midst these solemn shades the glorious plan,
'To vindicate the ways of God to man.'
Arbuthnot here, and Swift, with useful art,
Rear'd Satire's dreaded scourge, or steel'd her dart:
Here Prior the Graces form'd thy softer lay
And taught the moral strain to blameless Gay;
Each pleas'd the Master's praises to engage,
The famed Mæcenas of that happier age.
After such bards, O Bathurst, wilt thou deign
To mark the notes of my inglorious strain?
Shall I presume in these degenerate days
To form one humble verse to Bathurst's praise?
Yes, thou wilt deign my artless notes to hear,
Wilt to my strain inglorious bend thine ear;
And as thy patronage, with noontide ray,
Bade to full vigor shoot the verdant bay,
Taught it the storms of Envy to deride,
And spread it's waving boughs with summer pride;
So thy declining beam with milder power
Shall shed it's influence on the autumnal flower.
O blest old man! on thy thrice happy head
Her choicest gifts has smiling Fortune shed;
Has been for once from taste capricious free,
And true to virtue's cause in favoring thee.
As Anna's hand around thy youthful brow
Thy country's fairest honors taught to grow;
So now, while Justice bids exulting Fame
Tell to succeeding times her Apsley's name,
Marking the source from whence his merit flows,
A fresher wreath thy grateful Prince bestows.
Meantime, disarm'd of all his hostile rage,
Lenient on thee descends the weight of Age;
While still thy soul preserves her wonted power,
To charm the letter'd or the social hour:
No sharp Disease attends his gentle reign,
Nor palsied Indolence nor wasting Pain,
But healthful through the woods thy footsteps stray,
Where thy own oaks their gloomy shade display:
For to thy lot of all mankind is given
That joy peculiar by indulgent heaven,
To see, while round the barbarous hand of taste
Deforms the grove, and lays the forest waste,
O'er each uncultur'd hill, and barren glade,
Thy rising thickets spread unusual shade,
And, in their full luxuriance dress'd, display
Their waving foliage to the face of day.
May thy example Britain's lords inspire!
O may they catch from thee the patriot fire!
Then shall the Dryads, and their sprightly train,
Rove o'er the extent of many a barren plain:
O'er the bleak waste, where dreary heath and skies
Fatigue the sight, the forest then should rise;
Again on Windsor's heights the woods be seen,
And all her sable hills be cloth'd with green;
Her russet mountains send their oaks once more
To waft destruction to some hostile shore.
What tho' Britannia's plains manur'd with care
Refuse the plants of every soil to bear;
What though no olive grow among her vales,
No citron groves perfume her balmy gales;
Though India's spicy forests are denied,
Nor spreads Judea's palm her leafy pride;
Yet her thick woods unnumber'd trees produce,
Sacred at once to ornament and use.
With verdant beech her towering hills are spread,
And Scotia's pine erects her gloomy head;
The shapely fir, that graced Olympus' brow,
Deigns o'er her heights to wave her silver bough;
And, holy Lebanon, thy cedars rise,
Hang o'er her cliffs, nor dread her northern skies;
The elm, and pliant ash, a vigorous train,
Deck with resplendent green the smiling plain;
The bending willow o'er the marshy glade
And shining poplar shed a trembling shade;
And many a hardy plant is wafted o'er,
To grace her forests from the Atlantic shore,
Whose branches, rising from the kindred soil,
Mix with her trees, and pay the planter's toil.
Here too, matur'd by many rolling years,
Above the rest her native oak appears;
Whose giant limbs extend her noblest boast,
Pride of her groves, and bulwark of her coast.
Sure when the Druid train with awful rite
In pious orgies past the dreary night;
While, as their steps the hallow'd trunk surround,
The mystic misletoe their foreheads bound;
They meant to teach their sons succeeding race,
To venerate the groves that deck'd the place.
O ever on Britannia's grateful breast,
Unhurt by time, this image be impress'd!
Still may her heart that sacred tree adore,
Which drives Invasion from her peaceful shore:
So shall each storm of war, whose fatal sway
Speeds o'er her neighbouring realms it's bloody way,
Break like the baffled storm against her coast,
It's force unheeded, and it's fury lost;
As her own oak defies the headlong course
Of warring winds, and mocks the tempest's force.
Nor does fair Albion view with envious eye
The ripe productions of a southern sky.
Let the rich vineyard spread it's purple stores
O'er Gallia's coasts, and Lusitania's shores;
Where with hard hands the tawny peasants press
The swelling grape, a foreign board to bless:
Though 'neath our rougher heaven the docile vine
Around the lofty elm refuse to twine,
Yet has Pomona with no niggard hand
Her blushing orchards scatter'd o'er the land;
Whose ruddy fruits a generous stream produce
Strong as the cluster'd grape's inspiring juice.
Our humble vales the hop's green tendrils grace,
Clasping their stays in many a close embrace;
These to the bearded barley's harvest join'd,
By skill concocted, and with care refin'd,
A liquor yield, that Britain's sons draw forth
Mantling, and bright, the vintage of the north!
Which crowns the humble and the haughty board,
And chears alike the Peasant and the Lord;
Regales o'erwearied Labor at his toil,
And teaches fainting Industry to smile.
The thankful swain beholds the goblet shine,
Nor envies other lands their rosy wine,
Where slavish hinds with skilful hands prepare
The luscious beverage, which they must not share.
Refresh'd with this, Britannia's sons sustain
The keenest labors of the toilsome plain;
Nor, when the hours of work are past, employ
The vacant eve in gay luxurious joy,
Trill the loose air, or beat the echoing ground
To the soft flute, or tabor's sprightly sound;
But with knit limbs on rougher pastime bent,
They strain their sinews to their full extent;
Direct the quoit, or hurl the massy bar,
Or wage with brawny arms the sportive war.
In other realms, to humble swains unknown,
While Honor fires Nobility alone,
Our meanest Peasants share the generous flame,
And learn to glow at Freedom's hallow'd name;
Hence have they, led by Glory's call afar,
With hosts unnumber'd wag'd the unequal war;
Hence Cressy's field, Poitier's victorious fray;
Hence glorious Agincourt, thy wonderous day!
Hence Europe sav'd near Danube's distant flood;
And Blenheim's ramparts red with Gallic blood!
And hence those manly deeds renew'd again
On Abraham's heights, and Minden's trophied plain.
O ne'er may fell Corruption's tainting force
Poison of all our pride this happy source!
To false Refinement with destructive pains
Polish the manly roughness of our swains!
Exil'd from other realms, while here alone
Fair Liberty erects her holy throne,
The exulting train, her glorious gifts who share,
Will scorn of foreign crowds the suppliant air:
Who sees our clowns obsequious, sees the day
That gives our Glory and our Rights away.
In vain would laws guard Freedom's sacred shrine,
If Freedom's sons their native worth resign;
In vain shall Fraud attempt, or Force alarm,
While Valor steels the breast, and Labor nerves the arm.
Alfred. Book Iii.
ARGUMENT. Measures against the Danes.—Prophecy of the future Fortunes of Alfred and his Posterity.
Along the borders of the silver Thone,
With alders dank, and matted sedge o'er-grown,
Led by the guidance of the shepherd swain,
Unseen, and silent, pass the cautious train,
Till, mid the conflux of the mingling streams,
A deep morass the emerging island seems.
Across the ford the guide directs their course,
Each stemming, with his arms, the current's force,
They pass, with toil, the dangerous traject o'er,
For, swoll'n by showers, the angry waters roar.
Then, Alfred, did thy generous bosom know
A pride nor pomp, nor luxury, can bestow,
When thy firm limbs, with nerve superior strung,
And active strength, the endowment of the young,
With abler effort gave thee force to guide,
The old and feeble through the threatening tide.
Nor did that arm, which oft in Glory's field
Had taught the might of giant foes to yield,
Disdain, by many a vigorous stroke, to save
A peasant's household from the whelming wave;
Nor did that voice, which oft, with martial breath,
Had roused the soldier's heart to war and death,
Disdain, with words of mild reproof, to cheer
A woman's weakness, and an infant's fear.—
Then, as Benignity's consoling breast
The real source of patriot zeal express'd,
Fame, from the warrior turns awhile, the eye,
To hail the hero of humanity.
Fix'd on the arid spot, whose scanty bounds
On every side the deep morass surrounds,
The monarch, and his martial friend, with care,
'Gainst close surprise and bold attack prepare;
Exert each art their safety to ensure,
And every pass, with wary eye, secure.
Oft from the isle, beneath the twilight shade,
By Ethelwood attended, Alfred stray'd,
And many a chief conceal'd, of gentle blood,
They found, and tempted o'er the sheltering flood;
Hence of fair Athelney the glorious name
Shall flourish still, the favourite theme of Fame,
The Isle of Nobles live, recorded long
In each historian's page, and poet's song.
Not to inglorious ease can be confined
The sanguine efforts of the hero's mind;
Valour, when devastation spreads around,
Sits not in Safety's rosy fetters bound:
Oft issuing from the marsh, their midnight arms
Harass the scatter'd Danes with new alarms.
Reckless of vanquish'd foes, the victor lay,
To bloated sloth, and foul excess, a prey;
Hence oft the Saxons, from the slumbering horde,
Seize their own flocks to store the genial board;
While Slaughter stalks amid the astonish'd foe,
The vengeance dreadful, though unseen the blow.
Oft too the monarch, stealing from the cares
Of present councils, and of future wars,
Through the lone groves would pace, in solemn mood,
Wooing the pensive charms of Solitude.
While, deep revolving in his fancy's range
Of human deeds, the desultory change,
By Hope encouraged, or by Fear depress'd,
Contending passions shook his mighty breast.
It chanced one stormy morn, as forth he sped,
The rude blast whistling round his listless head,
For equal rise, if care engross the mind,
The breeze of summer, or the wintry wind;
While through the wood, in pensive musing lost,
He stray'd,—his path a lucid streamlet cross'd:
Aside he turn'd, and traced the rivulet's course,
With pace reverted, toward its mountain source.
Onward, with heedless aim, his footsteps move
Along the dell, through many a tangled grove,
Till, issuing sudden from the gloomy shade,
He trod the verdure of a grassy glade,
Where shines the expanded water, clear and bright,
A lucid mirror to the tranquil sight,
Smooth as the chrystal's polish'd surface; save
Where, from the shrubby heights, the sparkling wave,
Dashing from rock to rock in frothy wreath,
Ruffles the border of the lake beneath.
The drooping willows fringe the edge, and seem
To drink fresh verdure from the passing stream.
Here mossy cliffs, with mountain plants o'ergrown,
The wild goat browsing from the pendant stone,
Their rifted sides echoing the sea mew's clang,
With threatening summits o'er the valley hang.
While, from the dell, receding gently, there
The rising upland softly melts to air;
Whose bowering forests round the placid flood,
Wave to the eye, a theatre of wood;
There the bright beech its silver bole displays,
And giant oaks their massy foilage raise,
The trembling poplar's humbler leaf beneath
Whispers responsive to the rude wind's breath;
And, with the woodbine mix'd, and sylvan rose,
In scarlet pride the mountain service glows.
In foaming eddy, where the lucid tide
Pours headlong down the high clift's rugged side,
A grove of dusky pines athwart the glade
Shoot, with projected limbs, a solemn shade;
And as aloft the quivering branches play,
Shut from the soil the garish eye of day.
Deep in the dark recess, with briars o'er-grown,
A cavern opens in the mossy stone:
O'er its dank mouth the flexile ivy grows,
Where an aged yew funereal shadows throws;
Scath'd oaks their knotty branches fling around,
With mystic misseltoe their summits crown'd;
While, echoing to the torrent's distant shock,
Howls the dread whirlwind through the creviced rock.—
Albeit unused to fear, the monarch's breast
Pants, with an awe, unfelt before, impress'd,
And, o'er his better reason, sudden spread
Terrific chills of superstitious dread.
The tempest's voice that usher'd in the day,
In distant murmurs faintly dies away,
The screaming birds their boding carol cease,
And even the torrent's roar seems hush'd to peace.
While, from the rock's deep bosom, notes so sweet,
Of such enchanting strain, the hero greet,
Entranced he stands, the lay divine to hear,
And all Elysium opens on his ear.
The dulcet numbers ceased; with awe-struck breast
Alfred the Genius of the place address'd:
'Whoe'er thou art, whether of mortal line,
Bless'd with celestial gifts, and song divine,
Or some attendant of the angelic host,
The holy guardian of this favour'd coast,
Before whose voice obedient tempests fly,
Whose lays melodious calm the troubled sky;
To me propitious be thy powers inclined,
To me most lost, most wretched, of mankind.'
A hollow murmur check'd him as he spoke,
And, from the rock, a voice tremendous broke.—
'O, King of England! not to man is given
To fathom or arraign the will of Heaven!
Oft in the bright serene of prosperous days,
Unseen, the Demon of Destruction plays;
Oft through Misfortune's drear and bleak abode,
To power and greatness lies the rugged road,
'Tis man's to bow beneath the chastening rod,
Virtue's true meed lies in the hand of God.'
With sudden horror rock'd the trembling ground,
And distant thunder shook the vast profound;
When, from the cave, a venerable form
Stalk'd forth, announced by the preluding storm.
About his limbs a snowy garment roll'd
Floats to the wind in many an ample fold;
His brow serene a rich tiara bound,
And loose his silver tresses stream'd around.
In his right hand a golden harp declared
The sacred function of the Druid bard.—
Soon as the royal chief the vision saw,
To earth he bent, in reverential awe.
'Rise, son of regal dignity,' he said,
'Nor bow to human dust thy laurel'd head!
Mortal like thee, I draw precarious breath,
Subject to pain, to sorrow, and to death.
'Tis thine o'er mighty nations to preside,
Command their armies, and their councils guide;
'Tis mine to look beyond Time's passing date,
And read the page obscure of future fate,
Strike, with bold hand, the free prophetic lyre,
And wake to distant years the warbling wire:
Our powers alike, by power supreme, are given,
Each but the feeble minister of Heaven.—
'Mid famed Cornubia's rocks, wash'd by the main,
Oft have I listen'd to the mystic strain,
What time on old Bellerium's topmost height
Aerial visions swam before my sight,
And lays divine, by voice immortal, sung,
In heavenly cadence o'er my senses hung.
Nor is to me unknown the sacred lore
Of Mona's Druid caves, and Arvon's shore.—
Even now I feel the enthusiast flame arise,
And unborn ages burst upon my eyes;
Visions of distant times before me roll,
And all the Godhead rushes on my soul.'
His eye-balls, as he spoke, with rapture glow'd,
His snowy robes in ampler volume flow'd,
The radiant fillets that his temples bind,
Burst—looser float his tresses to the wind;
His form expands, he moves with firmer tread,
And lambent glories play around his head:—
With rapid hand he strikes the sacred lyre,
To strains of rapture wakes the thrilling wire,
And, to the sound responsive, pours along
The fervid energy of mystic song.
'As the dark clouds whose vapoury mantles spread
A dusky veil round Camelet's dreary head,
Roll down his steepy sides,—and ether blue
Gives all the gorgeous landscape to the view,
So the dim shades o'er future scenes that lie,
Disperse, and Fate lies open to my eye.
As purer skies to transient storms succeed,
And happier hours the auspicious seasons lead,
So yields the gloom that hangs o'er Albion's isle,
To brighter hopes, and prosperous Fortune's smile.
Invasion haunts her rescued plains no more,
But hostile inroad flies the dangerous shore;
Where'er her armies march, her ensigns play,
Fame points the course, and Glory leads the way.
Her fleets o'er Ocean's tributary throne,
Rear vast, and wide, an empire of their own,
Supreme from where the radiant lord of day,
Shoots o'er the glowing wave his orient ray,
To where their fires his burning axles steep
In the blue bosom of the Atlantic deep:
Alike in arts and arms illustrious found,
Proudly she sits with either laurel crown'd.
'Yet what avail the trophies Conquest brings,
If Power oppressive, from her hovering wings,
Baleful she shake?—or what the victor's wreath,
If raised in blood from baleful seeds of death?—
Hail England's favour'd Monarch!—round thy head
Shall Freedom's hands perennial laurels spread;
Fenced by whose sacred leaves, the royal brow
Mocks the vain lightnings aim'd by Faction's blow.
'Beyond the proudest germ of Fame that springs,
Rear'd by the Muse, to grace victorious kings;
Above the forms of Liberty, that raise
The sons of Greece and Rome to deathless praise;
Above the labour'd scenes that sages draw,
Ideal forms of polity and law,
By thee a glorious fabric be design'd,
The noblest effort of a patriot mind.—
On a firm basis shall the structure stand,
Defying Time's, deriding Faction's, hand.—
Not a frail pile that mad Ambition rears
On Folly's hopes, or Guilt's repulsive fears;
Where specious Sophistry persuades the crowd
To adulate the selfish, and the loud;
Or, by some fawning demagogue address'd,
To lift a people's minion o'er the rest,
Bending to idol power the servile knee,
The worst of slaves, yet boasting they are free.
Thy code, arranged by Nature's purest plan,
Shall guard the freedom, and the rights of man,—
Man's real right's—not Folly's maniac dream,
Senseless Equality's pernicious theme;
But that true freedom, where all orders draw
Equal protection from an equal law,
And by that equal law restrain'd alone,
Nor fear the noble proud, or prouder throne.
Nobles, the people's shield, the monarch's arm,
Powerful to aid, but impotent to harm;
A sacred throne on Mercy's basis rear'd,
By Virtue foster'd, by Oppression fear'd;—
To which thy guardian laws shall boast they gave
One power by aught uncheck'd, the power to save.
No tyrant here the public weal can harm,
Unheard his mandate, and unnerved his arm,
While the imperial patriot is endued
With unresisted energy of good.
O happiest state on earth, to mortal given,
Pure right divine, true delegate of Heaven,
To whom its happiest attributes belong,
The bless'd impossibility of wrong.—
Each rank supported, firm, by mutual aid,
Each state in Wisdom's equal balance weigh'd;
Say, can the mighty fabric ever fall,
Raised on the weal, the liberty of all?
Still shall it mock, to Time's remotest hour,
The mine of Treason, and the shock of Power.
'Now, in yon visionary scene, behold
Thy future sons their shadowy forms unfold,
What various glories on thy offspring wait,
And learn of heroes yet unborn, the fate.
Full many an inroad of the hostile Dane
Shall yet, with native gore, die England's plain,
Alternate each shall sink, or each prevail,
As wavering Fortune lifts her dubious scale,
Till the bold sons of either warlike line
Their mingled blood in social compact join.
Even now are moor'd, near Isca's sandy bed,
A Danish host, by valiant Rollo led.
Heaven's awful mandates to the chieftain's sight,
Reveal'd in boding visions of the night,
Warn him to quit Danmonia's fertile shore,
Plough the blue wave, and Gallia's realms explore,
There shall a mighty province long proclaim,
Conquer'd by northern arms, the Norman name.
Their swords the southern regions shall subdue,
And fame, and power, through milder climes pursue,
Fields which Ilissus' hallow'd current laves,
And regions wash'd by Tiber's yellow waves;
Awe the proud tyrant of the turban'd host,
And rule, in peaceful sway, Sicilia's coast,
Reserved, in Heaven's appointed time, again
To lead their squadrons to Britannia's plain,
By victor armies destined to fulfil
Of Alfred's sainted heir the sacred will;
Till Albion views her Alfred's line restored,
And hails Plantagenet her Saxon lord.
'Freedom's perennial scyon, that defies
The ungenial blasts of Hyperborean skies,
Which, when its roots the savage warrior tore
From Græcia's isles, and mild Hesperia's shore,
Struck its strong fibres in the frost-bound glade,
Which black Hercynia's piny forests shade,
To Albion's happier soil transplanted, found
A fostering climate, and congenial ground.
'Even from the change the Norman race shall bring,
The feudal vassal, and the warrior king,
Though one vast army seem to meet the eyes,
Shall public safety, public freedom, rise;
Hence, on Britannia's plains, the rural lord
Grasps, with a freeman's arm, the freeman's sword;
'Mid senates hence, his independent voice
Speaks the free suffrage of a people's choice,
Teaches the servile minion fear to own,
Or crushes factions that besiege the throne.
'Behold, where Thames, through Runny's fertile meads,
Placid, and full, his wave pellucid leads
To England's swains, and England's chiefs, his brow
Prone on the earth, the baffled tyrant bow,
Imperial Freedom, waving in her hand
Her charter, fixing rights by Alfred plann'd,
Careful to foster, with protective wing,
The sacred pandects of a patriot king.
'And see, ascending from his winding shore,
Aloft heroic Honour proudly soar
O'er the plumed host, in blazon'd trophies dight,
Won from the vanquish'd Gaul in many a fight,
A warlike son of thine, by Conquest crown'd,
For knighthood twines the garter's mystic round;
Reviving deeds, of ancient Honour born,
Heroic wreaths by British Arthur worn;
What time, at Freedom's call, his dauntless host,
Against thy sires, defended Albion's coast.
Rears Fame's bright guerdon o'er the waving crest,
Spreads Faith's true cross o'er every pious breast,
While Europe's kings, and Rome's imperial lord,
Sit, glad companions, round the equal board,
And Virtue, to a people's general gaze,
The unsullied wreath of Chivalry displays.
'But many a cloud of horror and dismay
The horizon shades of Albion's brightest day.
Though dress'd in halcyon smiles, with ray serene,
Sol's golden orb may chear the rural scene,
Yet gathering mists, by winds tempestuous driven,
Oft blunt his beam, and hide the face of Heaven;
Nor on this seat of earth, where suns and showers
Alternate mark the seasons and the hours,
Can man expect that years shall wing their flight,
For ever tranquil, and for ever bright,
Till soaring o'er the atmosphere, that flings
Vapour and tempest from its watery wings,
On Faith and Virtue's pinions borne, he rise
To purest ether spread o'er cloudless skies,
And drink, with eagle eye, the empyreal ray,
'Mid the blest mansions of eternal day.
'Lo, died in civil blood, the argent rose,
In rival tint, with guilty crimson glows,
Till, blending o'er the fall'n usurper's tomb,
In friendly wreath the mingled flowrets bloom,
To crown Britannia's native race, who stand
With thee, the avengers of their native land.
For now, even now, rough Cambria's warlike coast
Pours, from a thousand hills, the auxiliar host.—
From Saxon arms receding, though they bore
Their sacred rites to Mona's Druid shore.
Sons of the chiefs who Cæsar's arms withstood,
Of Cassibellan's, and Caradoc's blood,
Sons of the chiefs our glorious Arthur led,
Waving their spears, with Saxon carnage red.
To them shall bow again the British line,
And Tudor's royal stem unite with thine;
Tudor, whose ancient claim from Cadwal springs,
Whom Cambria weeps, the last of British kings;
While Albion views her pristine fame display'd,
Proud of the triumphs of the Briton maid.
'Alas! as down the stream of Time, the eye
Anxious I throw, new horrors I descry.—
To England's fields, what scenes of discord bring
A factious people, a misguided king.—
Hide, blushing Albion!—hide the impious strife
Closed with the offering of a monarch's life,
To mark the hopes which happier hours afford,
Of rescued rights, and regal power restored.
'O, wayward race of man! by woe untamed,
By dark Misfortune's lessons unreclaim'd—
Albion laments again the fatal hour,
When royal frenzy grasps at boundless power.
Temperate,—for sad experience well had shewn,
Her own best rights were buried with the throne;
Temperate, but firm, in law and reason's cause,
Again the sword, reluctant, Freedom draws;
But her true bulwark guards, with jealous eye,
The crown revering, though the tyrant fly.
'At length, where Elbe's parental current flows,
Once more her eye insulted England throws;
Her hopes regard that sacred source, once more,
Whence Saxon freedom bless'd her happy shore;
For there the scyons of thy generous line,
In patriot Virtue's pure regalia, shine:
There, on thy banners, still the Saxon steed
Flies o'er the crimson field in mimic speed.
To ancient rights, which, long as Britain's isle
Flourish'd in Monarchy's paternal smile,
From parent worth and warlike fame begun,
In long succession pass'd from sire to son;
From gods and heroes of a fabling age,
Through chiefs enroll'd on History's sacred page,
Loud Fame announces, with an angel's voice,
Added, in Brunswick's claim, a people's choice.
'And see, best glory of that patriot race,
Her monarch, Briton-born, Britannia grace;
Loved, honour'd, and revered by all, save those
Who, foes to Freedom, to her friends are foes.
But foes in vain—for Anarchy's wild roar
Shall never shake this Heaven-defended shore,
While Freedom's sons gird Freedom's sacred throne,
With loyal Faith's impenetrable zone.
O'er laurels Rome's sweet poet cull'd to grace
The mighty hero of the Julian race,
Shall rise the glory of his honour'd name,
‘Nor oceans bound his sway, nor stars his fame.’—
Ocean but rolls his azure waves to guide
His fleets to empire, o'er his ambient tide;
And far beyond the planets that appear
Circling, in ceaseless course, the earthly sphere,
Beyond the stretch of human eye-sight far,
Improving Science hails the Georgian star.
'My soul, from times remote, reduce the lay;
Of Alfred's prosperous hours the pride display.
Oft through the thick expanse of sable clouds,
Whose gloom the blunted beam of morning shrouds,
The struggling ray of Sol awhile contends,
Yet, when his car the arch of Heaven ascends,
When, from the azure vault, his glories shine,
Sowing the etherial plains with flame divine;
Though harvests rise with vegetative power,
Swells the ripe fruit, and glows the blooming flower,
Remembering still the hours of winter pass'd,
The transient sunshine, and the ungenial blast,
The wary husbandman, with prescient care,
Guards 'gainst the driving storm, and piercing air.
So, when emerging from Misfortune's shade,
Alfred, thy patriot virtues shine display'd,
And tranquil days, with Plenty in their train,
Brighten once more the renovated plain;
When the tumultuous shouts of battle cease,
When thrills the warbling string with notes of peace,
Ne'er let thy active mind in sloth repose,
But jealous watch the blessings Peace bestows.
Be it thy care, by Freedom's ready guard,
Each threatening blow Invasion aims, to ward.
Thy voice shall teach the labourer of the field
The sickle, and the sword, by turns to wield;
By thee array'd, lo! Britain, wide and far,
Trains, 'mid the smiles of Peace, her sons to war.
Now the industrious swain, with rural toil,
‘Drives the keen plough-share, through the stubborn soil,’
And now aside the shining coulter throws,
Grasps the keen sword, and braves his country's foes;
Follows his native lord through War's alarms,
In peace his patron, and his chief in arms.
O, shame to England's glory!—Can it be?—
Too sure the stain my starting eye-balls see.
See where Corruption's black insidious band,
Wrest Freedom's faulchion from the Freeman's hand;
Wrest from the Briton's hand, and bid a host
Of mercenary aliens guard the coast.
Hail, glorious sage! immortal patriot, hail!
Whose fervent words o'er dark mistrust prevail.
I see, once more, Britannia's arms restored,
Once more the indignant Briton grasp the sword,
The rural empire hail its rural band,
And Chatham renovate what Alfred plann'd.
'Albion, in thee, shall own the power that gave
A certain empire o'er the uncertain wave,
Taught her commercial sails the surge to sweep,
Or awe, with warrior prow, the hostile deep.
Far o'er the distant wave, where rising day
Throws, on the sultry coast, its orient ray,
Where, through the shade of many a fragrant grove,
By Ganges' stream the guiltless Bramins rove,
To the lone Pilgrim shall thy vessels bear
Of English charity the fostering care,
Pointing the way where, in succeeding days,
Thy sons an empire o'er the East shall raise,
Mock the vain tear of Ammon's haughty son,
And win a world his armies never won.
Thy barks shall sail through pathless seas that roll,
With sluggish current, round the freezing pole,
With prow adventurous, labouring to explore
A northern passage to the Indian shore.—
O, glorious effort of a daring train!
The attempt illustrious, though the issue vain:
In times remote shall Albion oft pursue,
Successless, yet unfoil'd, this specious view.
Yet, though opposing continents appear,
And icy horrors of the polar year,
To bar her course,—full many a fertile isle,
Adorn'd with lavish Nature's sweetest smile,
Studding the bosom of the southern wave,
Rewards the failing labours of the brave.
'By Conquest crown'd, while Britain's navies ride,
In state imperial, o'er the obedient tide,
While, train'd to arms, her brave and hardy swains
Stand a firm barrier to their native plains,
Scorn'd shall Invasion's idle terrors sleep,
Whelm'd, by her watchful navies, in the deep;
Or, by the scowling tempest wafted o'er,
Destruction meet upon her martial shore.
'And see, by fair Augusta's stately towers,
Pellucid Thames his placid current pours,
Wafting, through many a league of Albion's reign,
The golden produce of her happy plain,
Or, bearing on his refluent tide, the sail
Of Commerce, swell'd by Fortune's favouring gale.
To pile her marts contending nations meet,
The world's productions offering at her feet.
Whate'er of wealth in various regions shines,
Glows in their sands, or lurks within their mines;
Whate'er from bounteous Nature men receive,
Whatever toil can rear, or art can weave,
Her princely merchants bear from every zone,
Their country's stores increasing with their own.
And, as the dewy moisture Sol exhales,
With beam refulgent, from the irriguous vales,
Descends in favouring showers of genial rain,
To fertilize the hill and arid plain,
So wealth, collected by the merchant's hand,
Spreads wide, in general plenty, o'er the land.
'Phantoms of glory, stay!—They fleet along,
Born on the stream of visionary song.—
Hear ye yon shout?—The shout of triumph hear!
It swells, it bursts, on my enraptured ear.—
The hour of vengeance comes! On yon bleak height
The vulture claps his wings, and snuffs the fight.
See o'er the ranks the crimson banners float!
Hark, the loud clarion swells the brazen note!
Denmark's dark raven, cowering, hears the sound,
His flagging pinion droops, and sweeps the ground.'
He ceased.—Amazed the wondering warrior stood,
The mystic numbers chill'd his curdling blood.—
Pale sinks the seer in speechless extacy,
Wild heaves his breast, and haggard rolls his eye;
Till, seizing with his hand the sacred lyre,
His skilful fingers swept again the wire,
Soft o'er his mind the stream of music stole,
And sooth'd the labouring rapture of his soul.
The Progress Of Refinement. Part Iii.
Thus far with cautious Pencil have I traced
The striking forms on History's tablet placed.
Harder the task on Truth's unblemish'd page
To sketch the living features of the age,
Each transient character with care define,
And catch the fleeting shape with ready line;
Contrast the Manners modern times display
With the Refinements of an earlier day;
Remark what each from chance, or custom, draws,
And seek with curious eye the latent cause;
Shew Virtue's sinking worth, or kindling flame,
And give impartial praise, or candid blame.
In Rome, while Rome's meridian power was graced
With the bright æra of Augustan taste,
Tho' Art's skill'd votaries reach'd their utmost goal,
Though social pleasure sooth'd the liberal soul,
Yet rude the joys, and coarse the manners shew,
To those which Europe's modern nations know,
Where sweet Benevolence the expression warms,
Dwells on the tongue, and every accent forms.
Nor is the exterior semblance bright alone,
A specious veil o'er selfish passion thrown;
The gentle bosom real kindness feels,
And o'er the soften'd mind Affection steals;
Pity and Horror watch o'er human life,
And Murder trembling drops his fatal knife.
Even War, terrific War! has learn'd to wear
A milder garb, and features less severe:
The fury of the doubtful conflict o'er,
Though gorged with death, and red with streaming gore,
The valiant captive meets attentive care,
And vanquish'd foes fraternal kindness share;
Humanity still meek and prompt to save,
Heals every wound the bleeding combat gave,
Bids the worst horrors of the battle cease,
And lends Bellona half the charms of peace.
Politeness too it's nicest skill employs,
And gives the last fine touch to human joys,
Sweetly combines with unaffected ease
The care to aid us, and the wish to please.
Far from that pertness whose capricious fit
Deems satire freedom, and ill manners wit,
Mistakes fastidious pride for judgment chaste,
And thinks that censure shews superior taste:
Far from that fulsome flattery Dulness pays
Who servile adulation takes for praise,
The eye on every latent foible draws,
And gives an insult where she means applause.
And far, O far! from that insidious aim
Which screens Deceit beneath Refinement's name,
The selfish smile, the promise insincere,
And all the rules of Fashion's favorite peer.
But that smooth polish, elegant and bright,
Which placing merit in the fairest light,
By soft compliance rude ill-temper veils,
And half reforms the vices it conceals.
Say from what source shall keen enquiry trace
These striking characters of gentler grace?—
Numerous the varied springs whose powers combin'd
Direct and regulate the ductile mind.—
First that blest fountain of serene delight,
Meek-ey'd Religion's mild unsullied rite,
The patient votary's humbled breast imbues
With heavenly Charity's ambrosial dews,
In vain the Infidel's o'erweening pride
Affects her hallow'd dictates to deride,
Exalts the wisdom of the ancient school,
And boasts of moral Virtue's rigid rule;
By Christian Faith the perfect doctrines taught
Shall mock Philosophy's sublimest thought,
In the clear beams of Truth celestial shine,
And speak their Holy Teacher all divine.
Thence even the stubborn Sceptic mildness draws,
And feels their influence though he scorn their laws.
The sacred rights of human Nature known,
From Europe's climes has exil'd Slavery flown,
Who saw of old her sable wing display
A gloomy shade o'er Freedom's brightest day.—
O could my verse forget she still defiles
The sunny regions of the Atlantic isles!
Still dwells amidst the hardier race that try
In fields of blood for British Liberty!
There the sad Libyan bought in shameful trade,
Vanquish'd by foes, or by his chiefs betray'd,
Waits from his cruel lord's remorseless breath
The doom of labor, insult, stripes, and death.
Were such the fatal gifts from home ye brought
Such the dire lessons Parent Europe taught?—
Ah no!—beneath her inimical skies
Blasted at once the venom'd monster dies.
Bold Chivalry employ'd her earliest care
To sooth the rugged brow of frowning War,
Valor's fierce form by Courtesy refin'd,
And bent to Mercy's sway the headstrong mind.
She taught her gallant votaries to forego
Each mean advantage o'er a prostrate foe,
And shew'd her pupils rear'd in Error's gloom,
To shame the polish'd chiefs of Greece and Rome.
Crown'd by success, and deck'd in impious pride,
See in stern pomp the imperious Consul ride,
With each sad victim of uncertain war
Dragg'd in remorseless triumph at his car.
While Kings and Chiefs superior insult know,
And only feel pre-eminence in woe.
O had of Gothic days the rudest knight
Seen these barbarians, falsely deem'd polite,
Shout as the wretched Hero pass'd along,
Scorn'd and affronted by the unfeeling throng,
How had he turn'd aside the indignant eye
As the dire pageant mov'd exulting by,
To curse the hearts that selfish maxims steel,
And execrate the effects of patriot zeal.—
Now view on nearer Poitier's trophied plain
The gentler triumphs of Britannia's train!
Though every taunt swol'n Insolence could give
Warm in the Victor's glowing breast must live,
Yet when aloft o'er England's valiant few
With unexpected pinion Conquest flew,
And Gaul's pale Genius sunk her flagging wing,
And mourn'd her slaughter'd Peers and captive King;
No keen resentment edg'd the British sword,
No biting insult barb'd one cruel word,
But godlike Edward mild in fortune's hour
Sooth'd the sad Monarch fall'n from regal power,
To vanquish'd greatness generous homage paid
And serv'd the prisoner that his sword had made.
Even those destructive tubes whose fiery breath
Spreads wide the scenes of carnage and of death,
Though their dread roar the novice ear affright,
Aid mercy's power and humanize the fight.
Unseen each blow, no warrior treads the plain
Demanding vengeance for a brother slain,
No favorite kill'd awakes Pelides' hate,
No spoils of Pallas urge a Turnus' fate,
From hands unknown the mortal stroke is given,
And every bullet seems a bolt from Heaven.
Yet, to the chiefs of elder time unknown,
Punctilious rage from feudal Honor grown
Provokes for spleenful wrongs the deadly strife,
And claims in private war the forfeit life.—
But though too plainly from this dreadful cause
Society a milder aspect draws,
And practis'd in the School of Fear, or Shame,
Fools grow polite, and Savages are tame;
Let not the applauding Muse provoke to chide
The weeping Orphan, or the widow'd Bride,
Awake the trembling Matron's anxious fears,
Or ope the sacred source of Beauty's tears.
No!—let us turn from fields of death the view,
And the calm scenes of softer Peace pursue.
Their placid sway the gentler sex impart,
Refine the manners, and improve the heart,
From the harsh breast each sterner thought remove,
And tune the yielding soul to joy and love.
No barbarous Jealousy's misjudging care
Severely watches o'er the imprison'd Fair,
No houshold Tyrant fixes Beauty's doom,
To ply the incessant web and servile loom,
Nor does the mind allur'd by Plato's dream,
Verging to Folly's opposite extreme,
It's bosom's Queen in hues ethereal paint
And deem the blooming maid the impassive saint.
Daughters of Love! they shine with native power,
And bless the lone, and grace the social hour,
With spotless truth, and ardent passion, blend
The enchanting mistress, and the faithful friend,
Each fonder joy that lessens grief dispense,
Convince the reason and delight the sense.
With bashful coyness temper fierce desire,
And lead by virtue while by charms they fire.
The potent force of such resistless sway
Inspires the Muse, and governs every lay;
The tender Bard exerts his utmost skill,
And all our strains pathetic warblings fill.
The Drama lays her awful robe aside
Of gloomy horror, and terrific pride,
Content alone the gentle mind to move
With the sad story of distressful love.—
Delightful Art!—though first in shapeless guise
Reviving Genius saw thy form arise,
When the rude bigot on the barbarous stage
Produc'd the mysteries of the holy page;
Soon Avon's towering eagle bore thy name
Beyond the exalted flights of Attic fame.
Though nicer skill succeeding times demand,
Though now correctness prune with cautious hand,
With scorn tho' Gallia view the Gothic school,
Attentive to adopt each ancient rule,
While the deep pathos, and the bold sublime,
Escape her dull harangues, and duller rhyme.
Not all her precepts form'd by critic care
Shewn in the flowing numbers of Voltaire,
Not even the Grecian Muse, who stalks a Queen
With solemn footstep o'er the crouded scene,
And by her numerous Choir attended, sings
The splendid fate of magistrates and kings,
Shall with our Shakespear vie, whose every thought
Drawn from sensation, and by Nature taught,
Defies the slavish rules of scenic art,
And speaks at once conviction to the heart.
Yet now his track no daring bard pursues,
No more the stage is trod by History's Muse;
No Tyrants there the pangs of conscience own,
No Furies haunt the Usurper on his throne;
With softer anguish Tragedy prevails,
And deeds of horror yield to plaintive tales,
While full the sympathetic currents flow
At each affecting scene of humbler woe.
Even Comedy who us'd with jocund grace
To dress in chearful smiles the applauding face,
Oft quits the playful scourge of ridicule,
Spares the pert coxcomb, and the pompous fool,
The winning form of gentle pity wears,
And unsuspected cheats us into tears.
And see in amorous style the Novel dress'd
With sentimental sorrow melts the breast,
Swells the fair bosom with the heaving sigh,
And fills with drops of grief the virgin's eye.
Perhaps too far the enchanting lore imparts
It's keen sensations to unguarded hearts;
The tender scenes by Vice though oft design'd
So rivet to the page the attentive mind,
So oft with glowing tales of Passion sooth
The unexperienced ear of female youth,
That many a Maid rapp'd by their magic power
Steals from her custom'd rest the midnight hour,
To trace through lengthen'd tomes of grief display'd
The monstrous shapes by Folly's hand portray'd;
Whence the perverted Fancy learns to lose
The sweet attractions of the chaster Muse.—
Awake to each fictitious feeling grown,
And mov'd by ills to real life unknown,
The mind, with scenes of fabled woe possess'd,
Will shut to homely grief the senseless breast,
And turn from Want and Pain the offended ear,
To pour for feign'd distress the barren tear.
Wide too her wave has swelling Knowledge spread,
And the full stream surrounding Nations fed.
With unremitting care the sage of old
Each maze of Science labor'd to unfold,
Hung o'er the tedious page with aching sight
Toil'd through the day, and watch'd the wintry night:
But teeming presses now around diffuse
The monthly magazine and daily news,
Where bards on bards in endless train succeed,
And all pretend to judge, who know to read.
Whate'er pursuits the attentive mind employ
Must mark our manners with a strong alloy.
Gaming a feature of the human frame
In various states and various climes the same,
Can the warm'd breast with strong sensation strike,
And rude and courtly bosoms charm alike.
For this old Rome's luxurious youth would slight
The healthful labor, and the sportive fight;
For this among the extended woods that spread
Where the blue German hid his restless head,
The rugged inmates won by lust of play
Dear life, and dearer freedom gave away:
Even in the dusky tribes by Nature placed
Mid the lone horrors of the Atlantic waste,
Where scarce the claim of property obtains,
In savage fury dreadful, Gaming reigns.
Hence though the sons of wealth in this delight
Now waste with wakeful toil the livelong night,
Though on one stake will ample fortunes lie,
And mortgaged manors wait a single die;
Yet here no form peculiar can we trace
No striking character of modern race.
But Cards by dull invention first design'd
To sooth a frantic Monarch's listless mind,
O'er Europe now extend their strong controul,
And almost seem to fascinate the soul:
Of every calling, and of every state,
The grave, the gay, the humble, and the great,
Save the hard sons of wretched labor, fed
By daily drudgery, with daily bread,
How few but give to this unmeaning play
Three tedious hours from every circling day!
Nor let the serious Muse though light they seem,
Beneath her solemn care such trifles deem;
Weak masters though they be, their potent art
Gives a strong tincture to the human heart:
As the fang'd brood hot Libya's sands among
Though by fierce rage or maddening hunger stung,
If the clear stream their form reflected shew,
Loose all their vengeance on the shadowy foe;
So here those powers by Reason unrepress'd
Whose furious whirlwinds shook the human breast,
Bade with deep wounds contending nations bleed,
And urg'd the daring, or the atrocious deed,
In trifling cares their idle force engage,
And waste on mimic forms their harmless rage.—
Yet let not Fashion's modern votaries boast
Of harsher manners through their influence lost:
If life's severer evils they subdue,
And smooth the rugged mind, they weaken too;
If savage Hate they quell, and wild Desire,
They damp the Poet's, and the Patriot's fire,
The fervid glow of Friendship's flame remove,
And almost quench the golden lamp of Love.
Her magic powers as pleasure thus combines,
Each bosom softens and each care refines,
Still sure the scenes of opulence to share,
Spreads Luxury her splendid empire there;
On Europe's lap is pour'd the varied store
Of every climate, and of every shore.
For her Arabia gives her rich perfume,
And labors for her eye the Persian loom;
For her the Indian culls with fainting toil
The spicy harvests of his sultry soil;
In her cool air remov'd from Asian fields
It's luscious juice the ripe Anana yields;
And Industry with busy care supplies
The want of glowing lands, and sultry skies,
While all the fruits that Summer heats afford,
With blush untimely deck December's board;
Spring throws her mantle o'er the freezing hours,
And hoary Winter binds his brow with flowers.
The swelling sail in climes remote unfurl'd,
Wafts home the produce of another world.
No more the bark steer'd by the starry ray,
With prow uncertain plows the watery way;
But guided by that Gem whose mystic power
To Arctic regions points in every hour,
Commerce new oceans ventures to explore,
And launches boldly from the lessening shore,
Dares the dread wonders of the deep unfold,
And toils at once for glory and for gold.
But does not Reason's faithful mirror shew
The future prospect of distress and woe,
And point what dangers modern softness wait
In the sad tale of Rome's declining state?—
Far yet such fears!—unnumber'd checks there lie
To stop the fatal flight of Luxury.
First, a less dangerous form it's power receives
From the strong influence Beauty's empire gives.
Of culinary skill the enormous waste
Offends with dull disgust her nicer taste;
Grandeur must art as well as wealth display,
And appetite to elegance give way.
Foul Gluttony, his beastly empire o'er,
Now snuffs the bleeding Hecatomb no more;
The rosy silk, and glittering gem, adorn
No rich tiara by the tyrant worn;
The flowing muslin in resplendent folds
No bloated son of selfish passion holds;
A nobler end the gifts of Commerce share,
And deck with heighten'd charms the lovely fair;
The snowy lawn's transparent web displays
The panting bosom to the enamor'd gaze;
For them the loom it's dædal labor plies,
For them the gems disclose their various dies,
Rival their glowing cheeks, and emulate their eyes.
Even tho' their smiles the stubborn bosom tame,
They kindle martial valor's generous flame:
Europe of old her free-born daughters gave
To Virtue's champion, not to Passion's slave,
Not only Love's sweet raptures to dispense,
And sooth with wanton blandishment the sense,
But the rough scenes of changeful life to share,
Double each joy, and lighten every care,
While he their choice who fiercest waged the fight,
For Beauty ever graced the boldest knight:
And still amid Refinement's softest reign
The glorious wish their gentle breasts retain.
No lazy Sybarite with wily art
By female manners wins the female heart,
But through the studied garb and air refin'd,
Must beam the symptoms of the manly mind,
For warlike fame their sure attention draws,
And the brave soldier gains their first applause.
Contending Nations too with jealous pride,
And different interest, Europe's shores divide;
Each state, like Greece of old in Freedom's hour,
With greater strength boasts independent power,
And fierce Ambition by incessant storms
In valor's rigid school the hero forms.
Hence though it's sweet allurements Wealth display,
Though Pleasure wide extend her silken sway,
Still Europe may her manly sons behold,
Firm though luxurious, and though gentle bold;
The polish'd noble feels the generous fires
And dauntless courage of his feudal sires,
Her rule severe imperious Honor brings,
And checks the power of arbitrary kings.
Does Honor call?—unsheath'd the avenging sword
Mocks the stern mandate of the regal lord.
Does martial Honor point to bold renown?—
From sumptuous banquets, and from beds of down,
Elate and gay the pamper'd warrior flies
To fatal climates, and ungenial skies;
The extremes of heat and cold unshelter'd braves,
And tempts the furious strife of winds and waves;
Sees all around him crouding legions fall
Pierced by the gleaming steel, or distant ball,
Unmov'd receives the cannon's thundering breath,
And meets with breast unarm'd the shafts of death.
Ah Britain! while with radiance all divine
On thee the unsullied rays of Freedom shine!
While thy bold sons with steady eye pervade
Each form by ancient error sacred made,
The haughty noble's titled boast deride,
And treat with scorn hereditary pride,
Despise fantastic Honor's shadowy name,
Till Sense and Reason ratify her claim,
Dread in my bosom even those Virtues raise,
Anxious I view and tremble while I praise.
Though Rank in other climes may chance to tread
Insulting o'er indignant Merit's head,
Yet curb'd it's visionary fetters hold
The aspiring Slave of plunder, and of gold.
Custom will oft where Prudence yields, prevail,
And Prejudice may save if Wisdom fail:
Should e'er Corruption's dark insidious wave
Sap the firm barriers ancient Freedom gave;
Should Patriot Glory fly the ill-fated land,
And sordid Wealth the sole distinction stand,
What could repel with salutary force
Increasing Luxury's unbridled course?
Thy recreant sons may then lament too late
The happier errors of each neighbouring state;
And Virtue's pure ethereal substance fled,
Wish Honor's fainter semblance in it's stead.
Though Commerce wide her general blessings shower
When moderation bounds her restless power,
Though on our shores she spread with liberal hand
The fair productions of each distant land,
And richer harvests from our cultur'd fields
Rough Industry by her encourag'd yields,
Feeds both the toiling hive, and lazy drones,
The Hind that labors, and the Lord that owns;
Yet when forsaking every manlier thought,
Each firm resource with native vigor fraught,
A feeble state with abject hope relies
But on the uncertain aid her force supplies;
From imposts laid on vice subsistence draws,
And lavish waste encourages by laws;
Disdains each nobler call that charm'd of old,
And rates perfection by the test of gold,
Soon shall corruption with unbounded tide
In sweeping fury o'er the region ride;
While crouding woes the wretched empire wait
That strove by bloated weakness to be great,
Gave her own strength and inborn worth away
For the faint phantom of commercial sway;
Proud to extend a vast precarious reign
On Folly founded, and which Crimes maintain.
Sure, or the scene a gloomy aspect wears
View'd through the medium of prophetic fears,
Or now, even now, the sad contagion spreads,
And dire effects on British manners sheds.
The race who draw their worth from wealth alone,
Nor other rank, nor other merit own,
In high esteem by abject flattery placed,
Debase our morals, and corrupt our taste:
The dread infection flies from sire to son,
And Folly dissipates what Avarice won;
Expence the place of elegance supplies,
And half demolish'd Beauty's empire lies.
The breast that Education never form'd
Bright Science train'd, or sportive Fancy warm'd,
Knows not with mirth unting'd by scorn to please.
Be gay with dignity, and grave with ease,
But vents the jest uncouth with coarse delight,
And deems unmanner'd insolence polite.
While the rude vulgar glad to draw disgrace
On the invidious claims of birth, and place,
Applaud the glare by lavish Ignorance shewn,
And give distinctions chance may make their own.
Ye ancient Lords of Britain's fair domain!
'Tis yours to vindicate Refinement's reign;
Though Wisdom's eye disdain the titled slave
Staining the Honors which his fathers gave,
Yet with a brighter hue shall Virtues shine
That add new lustre to a noble line.—
Say is the pride of birth concentred all
In the old trophy and the banner'd hall?—
Yours be the fairer boast in docile youth
To catch from Learning's voice the lore of Truth,
Drink the pure reasonings of the patriot sage,
And cull each flower that decks the classic page,
Till by the fame of godlike heroes fir'd,
The man shall copy what the boy admir'd.
If leaving these superior aims ye try
In every vice with every fool to vie,
Each fair advantage fortune gives forego
To wage unequal conflict with the foe,
Say can the gazing croud be justly blam'd
Who pay to Wealth the deference Honor claim'd,
When sickly folly taints that generous worth
Which heighten'd grandeur and ennobled birth?
Your happier purpose be it to restore
The fame that waited Britain's Lords of yore,
Ere true Nobility's unblemish'd shape
Was chang'd for manners every knave can ape.
Yours be it Freedom's empire to support
No Faction's slaves, no flatterers of a Court.
Watch with keen eye the encroachments of the throne,
But guard it's rights for they protect your own.
Fly not, discharg'd each due of public care,
To breathe soft Dissipation's summer air,
Where Pleasure's hand prepares the poppied draught,
To drown reflection, and to deaden thought.
No, rather joy the shouting train to meet
Who hail the lord of each paternal seat;
Where your wide forests spread parental shade
View the gay scenes of rural taste display'd;
Let Hospitality's warm hand await
To court the stranger to the friendly gate;
Enforce with steady zeal your Country's laws,
To Justice true, and firm in Virtue's cause;
Curb Vice licentious in her mad career,
And teach oppressive Arrogance to fear;
Redress when injur'd Merit heaves the sigh,
And wipe the tear from pale Affliction's eye:
So shall your fame with purer honor live
Than wealth, than faction, or than rank can give,
While these best titles on each name attend,
The bad man's terror, and the poor man's friend.
Long may ye mock in this secure defence
The vain attempts of wealthy Insolence:
No more shall sense by rudeness be debas'd,
Or Fortune's lavish minions vitiate taste;
Her stores profuse no more shall Commerce fling,
But brood o'er Industry with fostering wing;
While your examples teach her wiser train
To use with prudence, what by care they gain.
And you ye fair! forgive the honest lay
That even your slightest errors dares display,
Nor think satiric rage my arm can move
To wound like Diomed the Queen of Love,
Though I presume to point the fated hour,
Mark'd with the symptoms of your fading power,
And mourn that all those arts which life refine,
Rais'd by your sway, shall with your sway decline.
Oft by the youth neglected now ye stand
Nor meet Attention's fond assiduous hand:
O be it yours to check with just disdain;
This mark of selfish Luxury's domain,
Ah! leave that thirst of riot's endless joy
Whose constant round your empire must destroy:
Beauties from scene to scene that restless fly
Lose all their force, and sate the public eye;
The midnight revel early age o'ertakes,
And the wan cheek the native rose forsakes;
Light Affectation too intent to please
Disfigures more than time or pale disease;
And tyrant Fashion with Procrustes' arm
Shapes to it's wild caprice each tortur'd charm.
For Love's! for Virtue's sake! ah lay aside
The undaunted forehead, and the martial stride!
Again the garb of female softness wear,
And quit the fierceness of the Grenadier:
For can the ornaments your cares combine
When all the toilet's rich materials shine,
Match blushing Modesty's transparent red
O'er the warm cheek in sweet suffusion spread,
Or like the downcast eye's mild lustre move,
Whose lid veils Meekness and whose glance is Love?
In fabled times by Ida's lofty wood,
When rival Goddesses contending stood,
Though Juno conscious of her awful mien
March'd with the state of Jove's imperious Queen,
Though Pallas deck'd her Amazonian charms
In the refulgent glare of radiant arms,
Yet Love prevail'd in Cytherea's eyes,
And smiling Beauty gain'd the golden prize.
From Albion far may heaven's benign decrees
Avert the storms my anxious mind foresees:
Still may she shine with pure Refinement's grace
Secure on Virtue's adamantine base;
Prosperous awhile though private Vice may stand,
No miracle can save a vicious land;
In life's calm paths though fortune oft dispense
Success to Guilt, and pain to Innocence.
Whence Faith with strengthen'd eye beyond the tomb
Sees the dread hour of Justice yet to come,
On public crimes must early vengeance wait,
And speedy ruin wrap an impious state,
Since from the offence the sure correction springs,—
And her own scourge abandon'd Folly brings.
But let not man attempt with bounded skill
To search the depths of Heaven's eternal will,
Inspect the rolls of fate with fruitless care,
And read the future doom of empires there.
Enough, her eye as cool Reflection throws
O'er all the scenes these lengthen'd lays disclose,
To mark each prospect as they move along,
And draw these moral maxims from the song:
That though Refinement know with temperate ray
To wake each bloom of Merit into day,
Urg'd to excess her heighten'd powers destroy
The expanding bud, and blast each promis'd joy,
As storms and sultry gleams o'ercome the flower
Rais'd by the genial sun, and gentle shower.
That Education, while her careful art
Clears from each baneful Prejudice the heart
Must cherish inborn Glory's generous aim,
The source of rising Worth, and future Fame.
That above all, on each ingenuous breast
Be with strong force this sacred Truth impress'd;
No polish'd Manners rival Virtue's price,
No savage Ignorance disgusts like Vice.
Faringdon Hill. Book Ii
The sultry hours are past, and Phœbus now
Spreads yellower rays along the mountain's brow:
The broken clouds unnumber'd tints display,
Drinking the effulgence of departing day;
And to our eyes present a radiant view,
Italia's purpled ether never knew.
The eastern prospect now attracts the sight
Where every shrub reflects the setting light:
With ruddy flash the cottage casement gleams,
And shines the waving wood with golden beams.
Where Isis stream divides yon distant glade,
Lo Nuneham rises 'midst the sombre shade;
While at her feet, as the clear current bends,
The lofty spire of Abingdon ascends.
Hygeia and her Oread train inhale
On Radley's site the pure ethereal gale.
On Cherbury's ramparts, urg'd by peaceful toil,
The shining plowshare turns the fruitful soil,
Where erst the peasant saw with anxious fear
The gleaming falchion and protended spear.
On Hinton's verdant brow the lofty trees
Tremble obedient to the evening breeze:
And Pusey her inverted dome surveys,
In the smooth stream that through her meadows strays.
See Buckland here her lovely scenes display,
Which rude e'er while in rich disorder lay,
Till Taste and Genius with corrective hand
Spread culture's nicest vesture o'er the land,
Rang'd every object in it's fairest light,
And call'd each latent beauty to the sight;
Cloth'd the declining slope with pendant wood,
And o'er the sedge-grown meadow pour'd the flood,
While manly Execution's active arm
Wakes to existence each ideal charm.
In the deep gloom of yon impervious bowers,
There Carswell hides her hospitable towers:
And at our feet where the rich pastures spread,
Lo Wadley rears her renovated head,
As art and active labor, join'd, improve
Each fair extended lawn and rising grove,
New scenes unfolding still on every side
Declare the affluence industry supply'd.
Blush! blush, ye sons of power! who proudly stand
Rich in the ruins of your native land;
Who every virtue, every right have sold,
For royal smiles, or ministerial gold;
Proud on your breasts a glittering badge to bear,
True honor hates, and freedom scorns to wear,
If worth, or shewn in peace, or prov'd in war,
Shed not a livelier lustre than the star?
Blush, ye fell race! who cross'd the briny flood,
Foes to mankind! and prodigal of blood!
With wanton rage to waft pale famine o'er
From Albion's cliffs to sad Bengala's shore:
Where starving myriads on the cruel train
Call'd Justice' awful sword, but call'd in vain;
Till Britain's senate, fir'd with patriot flame,
Resolv'd to vindicate her country's fame,
Bade England's laws to Ganges' banks extend,
And equal rule the Indian's life defend.
Though Grecia's orders grace your marble dome,
Though blooms the fairest landscape where ye roam,
Yet sacred Justice shall your seats pervade,
And Conscience haunt you through the deepest shade:
Whilst him whose wealth the arts of Commerce raise,
Mankind shall honor, and the Muse shall praise.
But if like thine, O Charles! his generous heart,
The smiles of fortune to his friends impart;
If heaven, that gave him affluence, gave him too
A soul to every social duty true;
Virtue with joy shall chant his favor'd name,
And give a wreath beyond the power of fame;
While all who know his worth exulting find
That fortune, blessing him, has blest mankind.
Lo Shellingford, an Stanford, 'midst the train
Of hoary trees that skirt yon level plain,
The lofty tower and pointed spire display
Conspicuous, glittering in the western ray:
And on yon hill it's distant head that rears,
Lockinge aloft thy shining dome appears!
Beneath, what woodland nymph with artful hand
The vaulted grotto's sparry roof has plann'd,
Taught the rude arch with pendant ore to shine,
And rang'd each bright production of the mine?
No sylvan Goddess this retreat can claim,
Form'd by the fancy of a mortal dame;
Who from yon humble vale's irriguous bed
To the high cliff the crystal fountain led;
Thence bade in murmurs soft the lucid wave
Pour it's fair current through the craggy cave;
Where every Naiad 'midst the rocks reclin'd,
Approves what Taste and Wymondesold design'd.
Ye envious trees! why does your leafy pride,
Stretch'd o'er the bending valley, Wantage hide?—
Sure every Muse and every Grace will join
With votive hands the fairest wreath to twine;
Cull with assiduous toil the choicest flowers,
And hang the brightest garland on her towers:
While grateful Liberty shall love the shade,
Her guardian chief where fostering Virtue laid;
And Britain's Genius bless the hallow'd earth
Which gave her patriot king, her Alfred, birth.
That equal laws these happy regions share
Springs, Prince benign! from thy paternal care.
Through the dark mists which Error o'er mankind
Tenfold had spread, and wrap'd the human mind;
At thy command fair Science shot her light,
And chas'd the horrid gloom of Gothic night;
To Isis' brink the wandering Muses led,
And taught each drooping art to lift her head:
Hence with the warrior laurel's blood-stain'd bough
That binds with sacred wreath thy conquering brow,
Wisdom's illustrious Goddess interweaves
With mystic hand her olive's peaceful leaves.
Thine is the gift that here no alien crew,
To venal interest more than justice true,
Judge with unpitying eye misfortune's cause,
With cruel power enforcing cruel laws;
But watchful Themis o'er each freeman rears
That sacred shield, the judgment of his peers,
By which protected Britain's dauntless train
See factions rage, and tyrants frown, in vain.
O dear-bought Freedom! if thy holy flame
Burns in our souls, nor rests an empty name;
If for thy sake the kindling warmth we feel
Unwarp'd by selfish views or party zeal;
May we with wakeful, nay with jealous, eye
Regard this hallow'd source of Liberty;
This once attack'd, on which her rights depend,
May every breast the guardian power defend;
Each patriot tongue assert our injur'd laws,
And pour resistless sounds in Freedom's cause;
Each patriot arm, should eloquence be vain,
Lift the dread falchion on the embattled plain;
May we with more than ancient zeal pursue
Rights, Rome and boasted Athens never knew;
Guard this Palladium with our latest breath,
Or perish with it in a glorious death!
Where from the fertile plains yon hills arise,
Quit the low vales and shoot into the skies,
Carv'd rudely on the pendant sod, is seen
The snow-white courser stretching o'er the green:
The antique figure scan with curious eye,
The glorious monument of victory!
There England rear'd her long dejected head,
There Alfred triumph'd, and invasion bled.
Long had proud Denmark stretch'd the iron hand
Of harsh oppression o'er the groaning land;
The freeborn swains, to mean subjection broke,
In silent sorrow bore the opprobrious yoke:
Their virtuous prince to wilds and forests driven,
No shed to screen him from the inclement heaven,
Hears all around his subjects cries ascend,
And sees them sink unable to defend;
Chas'd by his foes disguis'd he treads the plain,
A wretched exile in his own domain!
Much hardship borne, and many dangers past,
On suffering Virtue Fortune smiles at last:
Arous'd to vengeance by his people's woe
He frowns defiance on the insulting foe;
Leaves every fear and every doubt behind.—
High waves the Saxon banner to the wind!
Fir'd at the sight, the country far and wide
Pours forth her veteran sons on every side;
His trusty bow each hardy yeoman draws,
Or lifts his shining brand in Freedom's cause:
Freedom resounds from each determin'd voice,
Freedom the first, and death the second, choice;
Courage and Conquest o'er their helmets play;
The invader trembled at the dread array;
Onward resistless march'd the impetuous host;
And fell Oppression fled the hostile coast:
The exulting steed in conquering standards flies,
While Denmark's raven screaming quits the skies;
And hence the Victor's jocund hands portray'd
The Saxon ensign on yon verdant glade.
His country freed, discerning Alfred saw
How vain the civil bond of social law;
Of crowds untrain'd how weak the hasty aid,
When force prevails, and barbarous hosts invade.
That policy which guards each modern throne
Was then to Europe's bounded kings unknown;
No artful statesman then with treacherous breast
Arm'd half a people to enslave the rest.
With wiser care a rampart firm he plann'd,
To guard from future foes the happy land,
Bade Liberty her rash assailants brave,
And Freemen vindicate what Freedom gave.
He taught each sturdy laborer of the field
The sickle and the sword by turns to wield:
With chearful industry the generous swains
Till for their wealthy lords the peaceful plains;
Or, rous'd from rural toil by war's alarms,
Beneath their well-known banners rush to arms.
Let other realms where Freedom never smil'd,
O'eraw'd by rigor, or by fraud beguil'd,
See mercenary bands surround the throne,
Or safety seek from alien arms alone:
But shall not England blush for every son
Too proud to guard the rights his sires have won?
Rights, in whose cause full many a warrior stood,
By toil obtain'd, and seal'd with patriot blood!
Though envy frown, though venal millions blame,
Shall she not ever love her Chatham's name,
Who while on distant climes her rage he pour'd,
Prudent at home this best defence restor'd;
Her manly sons array'd with parent care,
Arous'd once more her manly youth to war,
And bade her breezy hills, and fruitful plains,
Send forth in arms again their native swains.
Lives there a man in this exulting isle,
Who sees our orchards bloom, our harvests smile,
Who every breath in perfect freedom draws,
His rights protected by the noblest laws;
Would wish to break the fence by wisdom plann'd,
And wrest the sword from every freeman's hand,
Wish to behold our bare defenceless coasts
Unarm'd, or guarded but by foreign hosts?
Dare thy strong powers O Eloquence employ!
This best internal bulwark to destroy?—
Though every guile of specious Fraud he use,
'Mid listening crowds his Poison to infuse;
Try every Wile his curs'd Designs to hide:—
Superior Truth his Cunning shall deride,
Shall tear each paltry mean Disguise away,
Expose his Rancor to the face of day;
His selfish Views to all mankind impart,
And shew the Traitor graven on his heart.
Now turn your eyes and from the mountain's brow
Direct them to the cultur'd vale below;
How rich the spacious plains that stretch between!
How ripe the harvests, and the meads how green!
The herds in myriads o'er the pastures throng;
And mingled lowings break each rural song.
Where e'er with patient care the laborer's hand
Guides the sharp plow-share through the fertile land,
The farmers see the produce crown their toil,
Eye the rich scene, and bless the happy soil.
Soon shall the yellow wealth whose swelling grains
The stalk low bending hardly now sustains,
Stor'd in the barn with jocund labor, yield
To every rural sport the uncumber'd field.
The pointer then shall o'er the stubbled vale
Range unconfin'd, and catch the tainted gale:
The hound's quick scent, or greyhound's eager view,
O'er the smooth plain the timid hare pursue;
Then swelling on the burthen'd breeze afar,
Shall burst the tumult of the woodland war;
While rush the daring youth with breathless speed
To see the wily fox unpity'd bleed.
Let not the Muse the active toil despise,
Or from the chace avert her angry eyes:
Though gentle Shenstone deem'd the hunter's throat
Drown'd with it's clamorous strain the lyric note:
Though pensive Thomson, indolently laid
Beneath the silver willows trembling shade,
Baiting with cruel art the treacherous hook,
To lure the guiltless inmates of the brook,
Blame, as his hands the barbed weapon draw
From the mute wretches agonizing jaw,
Those, who in manly sport with frantic joy
The rapid tenants of the wood destroy:
Yet has the warbling lyre in many a strain
Describ'd the active pleasures of the plain.
The moral bard of Windsor's royal groves
Sings of the hunter, and his toil approves;
Even he, whose verse to mortal eyes has given
The wrath of angels, and the wars of heaven,
Joyful has listen'd to the hounds, and horn,
Rousing with chearful peal the slumbering morn:
Nor shall with brow averse the rural Muse
To Somerville the Poet's meed refuse,
Whose skilful notes each sylvan pastime trace,
And teach the various mazes of the chace;
Whence livelier thoughts and lighter spirits rise,
Strength knits the limbs and courage fires the eyes,
Glows in the ruddy cheek a purer blood,
And rolls the tide of life a sprightlier flood.
Propitious now on Britain's favor'd isle
Though white-rob'd Peace and jocund Plenty smile;
Though while her wrath on hostile shores is hurl'd,
Unhurt she sits amidst a warring world;
Say, have the tranquil scenes which now we see
Been ever such, and must they ever be?
Ah! may not Civil Discord stalk again
With bloody footsteps o'er her ravag'd plain?
Or fell invasion waste her fenceless coast,
Her guardian Fleet by adverse tempests toss'd?
Then, if our country's bleeding breast demands
The aid of dauntless breasts, and ready hands,
To the stout race who haunt the hill and dale
Will nothing then the hunter's toil avail?—
While round her feeble votary's drooping brow
What verdant wreaths shall letter'd sloth bestow?
In vain may Patriot Zeal the bosom warm,
If pale disease unnerve the willing arm:
While the bold youth whose hardy frame defies
The force of fighting winds and angry skies;
Who braving winter's rage pursues the chace,
The sleety tempest rattling in his face;
Or when the dog-star shoots his sultry rays,
Rages unconquer'd by the scorching blaze;
Shall, if he lead Britannia's rustic train,
To the dread conflict of some bloody plain,
Shrink not, though summer suns their beams unfold,
Or biting frosts intensely pierce with cold,
But Freedom's call with stedfast march pursue
Through noontide's sultry heat, or midnight's chilling dew.
Too much the enervate bards of modern days
Attune to slothful ease their moral lays;
The seats of ancient lore their favorite theme,
Lyceum's shade, and hoary Academe;
Forgetful that the stadium's hardy toil,
The boxer's cæstus, and the wrestler's oil,
Sent Grecia's heroes forth a vigorous train,
Learn'd in the schools and victors on the plain.
The Athenian sage, his Country's pride and shame,
Is known to martial, as to letter'd, fame;
Now did he sooth with truth's divine behest,
Young Alcibiades, thy fervent breast,
Now through the paths of war thy steps he led,
And rear'd his guardian buckler o'er thy head,
And he, whose mind with active virtue fraught,
Practis'd each lesson that his master taught,
Not satisfied of love divine to dream,
By the still margin of Ilissus' stream,
Or in warm Fancy's vivid tints to draw
Ideal forms of Polity and Law;
The illustrious Chief who led his glorious band
O'er barren rocks, and deserts black with sand,
Still undismay'd amid surrounding woes,
Still scattering terror on unnumber'd foes.
Learn'd 'midst the echoing forests to sustain
The toils of war and all her horrid train;
Then taught, descending to the embattled field,
Barbarian rage and Persian wiles to yield.
Let Luxury's vain sons with careless pride
The votaries firm of manly toil deride,
Wrap'd in inglorious sloth, let them despise
The noble thirst of glorious enterprise.
But shall the Muse, whose hand should point the road
Which leads o'er rugged steeps to fame's abode;
Whose voice should loudly chant each Hero's name,
To wake in other minds a kindred flame?—
Shall she inglorious now in siren lays
Lavish on harmless Indolence her praise;
Damp the strong flame that warms the noble breast,
And hush each generous passion into rest?
Shall she to those alone confine the song,
Who creep obscure life's tranquil vale along,
And blame the dauntless few who dare explore
The dangerous rocks of bold Ambition's shore;
Who tempt with venturous prow life's stormy seas,
And toil themselves to buy for others ease;
Unaw'd by tyrant power, or factious hate,
Who tread with blameless feet the paths of state;
Or pluck bight honor's sacred meed afar,
Undaunted, from the frowning front of war?
Well may with pious hand the indignant Muse
To many a Victor's brow the wreath refuse,
Well may she tear the laurel vainly spread
O'er many a King's and many a Warrior's head;
And curse a Cæsar's or a Cromwell's name,
Though erring myriads call their ravage fame.
But shall not they who conquer, or who die,
In the great strife of injur'd Liberty,
A tribute from the peaceful bard expect,
Sung by those Muses whom their swords protect?
Say cannot Greece and Rome their warriors bring,
To whom even Virtue's hand might strike the string?
Say cannot Albion, 'mongst whose sons we find
All that exalts and dignifies mankind;
Say cannot she afford such themes of praise
As well might grace the poet's chastest lays?
She can!—she can!—Her Alfred planning laws,
Her Godlike Hambden bleeding in their cause;
Guiding with uncorrupted hands the state
Her Walsingham in scorn of fortune great;
Her gallant Wolfe triumphant even in death,
While weeping Victory caught his parting breath;
Her Hawke, whose ardor rocks nor shoals could bar,
Nor the dread rage of elemental war,
While his bold fleet the Gaul's design explores,
Destroys his navy, and insults his shores;
Are themes whose force the coldest bard may fire,
To call forth rapture from his sounding lyre,
While Truth shall listen to the warbling strings,
And Reason vindicate what Fancy sings.
Enough, rash Muse! tempt not the arduous height
Which asks the Epic or Pindaric flight:
To the fair vale again reduce the lay,
Ere envious twilight snatch the scene away;
For evening's shades with deepening tint prevail,
And darkness soon shall wrap the misty dale.
Here Coleshill's towers demand their share of fame,
Proud of their site, and their great Artist's name;
There, shelter'd from the storm by bowering trees,
The milder charms of verdant Becket please.
What though her level lawn nor sinks, nor swells,
Forms rising hills, or hollow-winding dells;
Yet every friend to genuine taste, who roves
Or by her shining lakes or through her groves,
Shall see a Grace in every solemn shade,
And own that Beauty crowns each watery glade.
Let Taste capricious strive to charm the heart
With all the nice perplexities of art,
With toil immense a sickly scene produce
Trifling in ornament as void of use,
Bid Britain's hills Arabia's sweets perfume,
Bid in our vales Sabæan roses bloom,
Bid summer's fruits 'mid winter's frosts appear,
Force stubborn Nature and invert the year.
To blend utility with each design
The nobler praise, O Barrington! be thine;
The smooth canal whose ample sheet supplies
Food for the board, and pleasure to the eyes,
O'er the morass in shining volumes laid
Drains the moist surface of the rushy glade,
And where the marsh and frequent slough impede
The shatter'd carriage, and the floundering steed,
There the firm causeys form'd by useful care
O'er the deep vale the thankful traveller bear.
Contract the prospect now, and mark more near
Fair Faringdon her humble turret rear,
Where once the tapering spire conspicuous grew,
Till civil strife the sacred pile o'erthrew:
For as on hapless Stuart's ruin bent,
Against yon walls their lord his thunder sent,
And led with ruthless rage the hostile train,
While his own weeping Lares plead in vain;
The balls invade, with erring fury driven,
The hallow'd structure consecrate to heaven.
Such is alas the baleful fruit that springs
From factious subjects and oppressive kings!
Beneath yon roof by the cold pavement press'd,
My peaceful sires in solemn silence rest.—
Imagination flags her pinions here,
And o'er the marble drops the filial tear;
Here too the Muse prepares the votive verse,
The mournful tribute to a Parent's herse;—
O sacred Name! by every tie endear'd!
Lov'd by your friends, by all who knew rever'd.
How well you bore, to Freedom ever just,
This fertile County's delegated Trust,
The British Senate saw, when firm you stood,
Firm to fair Virtue, and your Country's good;
Friend to the worth from Patriot Zeal that springs,
No dupe to Faction, and no Slave to Kings.
How far your private merits could extend,
How kind a Father, and how warm a Friend,
My faultering voice would strive to sing in vain,
For gushing tears would choke the imperfect strain;
The force of words unequal to impart
The strong sensations of my heaving heart.
Here ever slumbering with the silent dead,
Thy daughter, glorious Hambden! rests her head.
Ah cruel mother! say, why does not here
Thy youthful Hambden press his early bier?
Why does no storied urn his worth proclaim,
Who shar'd his grandsire's virtues with his name?—
Untimely on a distant shore he died,
The wretched victim of a parent's pride.
Ye mourning Loves and Graces, aid the verse,
While I in plaintive notes his woes rehearse;
To these his native fields his wrongs relate,
The hapless story of a Lover's fate.
His youthful form could boast each manly grace,
Health strung his nerves, and beauty deck'd his face;
Ingenuous shame, and truth that scorns disguise,
Glow in his cheek, and sparkle in his eyes:
But ah! when manhood now with genial ray
Began to call his virtues into day,
Love! all controling Love! whose fatal power
Spares the rank weed to crop the blushing flower,
Nip'd all his ripening graces in their bloom,
And early mark'd his merits for the tomb.
An aged swain, whose lowly cottage stood
Where 'midst the valley spreads yon rising wood,
A lovely daughter had, whose matchless form
The frozen heart of sapless age might warm:
With falling snow her polish'd skin could vie,
Her lips the coral sham'd, the jet her eye:
There love and modesty united speak,
And opening roses paint her glowing cheek;
The soft redundance of her hair behind
Flow'd loose, and careless wanton'd in the wind;
Such powerful charms the youthful Hambden fire,
He saw perfection, and he felt desire:
The growing passion every thought employs,
Disturbs his peace, and poisons all his joys.
Maria's image ever in his breast
His daily ease destroys and nightly rest;
From his wan cheek the lively crimson flies,
And smiling health forsakes his sinking eyes:
No more his well-breath'd hounds, at early dawn
Ranging, dash eager o'er the dewy lawn;
Now sad he wanders through the sylvan glades,
And sighs responsive to the lonesome shades,
Each Echo answers to his mournful tale,
And pensive numbers float on every gale.
But, as increasing Love resistless grew,
From his torn bosom vanquish'd Prudence flew;
To fair Maria's feet he sighing came,
Confess'd her empire and avow'd his flame;
Soon his soft words the beauteous virgin move,
And secret Hymen crown'd his eager love.
Now peace and happiness appear to spread
Their flattering pinions o'er his favor'd head;
Love every joy and every charm supplies,
And marks each golden moment as it flies.
Ah hapless pair! the short-liv'd bliss enjoy,
Soon shall impending clouds your calm destroy;
Even now, with more than mortal vengeance red,
The tempest bursts on each devoted head.
Ten quick-revolving moons had roll'd away,
And smiling transport crown'd each happy day;
When various symptoms to the world disclose
Maria soon must feel a mother's throes:
The busy neighbours round the tale proclaim,
And scowling Envy triumphs in her shame.
At length the generous youth, distress'd to hear
Each clownish tongue her reputation tear,
Throws with indignant scorn the veil aside,
And owns the fair Maria for his bride.
Soon as his cruel mother heard the tale,
Swift grows her cheek with trembling anger pale;
In vain his youth, in vain her beauties plead,
Instant revenge pursues the imprudent deed;
No worth could please to peasants when allied,
No charms disarm the force of female pride.—
Say did thy Father such distinctions find,
Amidst the equal race of human kind,
When his keen sword he drew in Freedom's cause,
And bled to vindicate her trampled laws?
While rage and hate the ruthless matron fire,
She bears the fatal tidings to his sire,
Tries every art a father's wrath to move,
Awake his vengeance, and subdue his love.
With savage cruelty they now divide
The hapless Hambden from his weeping bride:
She rends her hair, and beats her breast in vain,
Torn from her arms he seeks the distant main.
It chanc'd that Britain's hardy sons prepare
To pour on haughty Spain their naval war.—
Brief let me be, the winds propitious blew,
Proud o'er the waves the gallant navy flew;
Britain aloft her bloody ensign spread,
Iberia saw, she trembled, and she fled;
While her resistless foes exulting bore
The spoils of India to their native shore.—
Ah gallant youth! nor native shore, nor friend,
Shall e'er to thee their welcome sight extend;
Far on a hostile coast thy body lies,
Wash'd by rude waves, or scorch'd by sultry skies.
When sad Maria heard the tale of woe,
From her full eyes no gushing torrents flow;
No current gives her burthen'd breast relief,
But pale she sullen sits in silent grief;
Till her heart bursting with redoubled sighs,
She calls her much lov'd Hambden's name, and dies.
The haughty parents, then alas too late!
Mourn their unhappy son's disastrous fate;
Grieve for the woes their fatal rage supply'd,
Tear their gray locks, and curse their foolish pride;
Pour tears of anguish o'er Maria's grave,
And weep the victims they refus'd to save.
Turn from these solemn scenes the averted head,
The awful mansions of the silent dead!
To where the green-rob'd Dryads joyful rove
'Midst the thick foliage of yon echoing grove.—
Ah blissful seats! beneath whose pleasing shade
My Childhood and my Youth delighted stray'd;
Here first my eyes beheld the gems that shine
Bright and resplendent from the classic mine;
While as I gaz'd my youthful bosom glow'd,
And from my tongue untutor'd numbers flow'd.
Here far from every selfish passion's reach,
Which the world's dangerous school will often teach,
I pour'd to real Love one artless tear,
And breath'd at Friendship's shrine the vow sincere.
The Muses here their grateful offerings pay,
And dedicate to you their closing lay;
Nor ask a brighter wreath to grace their song,
Than verdant grows these waving woods among.
Blest, happy Regions! seats of joy and ease!
Which still have pleas'd me, and must ever please;
Should e'er a Tyrant's Sway, or Faction's Roar,
Drive Liberty from this her native shore;
Though following her, I'd rather friendless go
Through Afric's burning wastes, or Zembla's snow,
Than haunt these much-lov'd shades and favorite springs,
Robb'd of the joys that independence brings:
Yet should I wander to a fairer plain
Than thought can paint, or youthful fancy feign;
Still should I load with sighs the reckless wind,
Still weep those darling scenes I left behind.
If this be weakness! from my beating heart
O never!—never! may that weakness part!—
Let the proud Stoic with disdainful eyes
The thought of local prejudice despise,
And boast in every soil and every air
Where Virtue florishes, his country there;
But ask the generous train whose bosoms beat
With gentle feelings, as with patriot heat;
Would not to see each long-frequented shade
Low on the earth by hostile vengeance laid,
On Albion's desolated fields to gaze,
See her towers fall, her splendid cities blaze;
Though every friend had left the ruin'd coast,
And weeping Freedom mourn'd her empire lost,
Still with new rage their kindling breasts inspire,
And bid their bosoms glow with fiercer fire.
But far from us such sad events shall be,
If aught the Muse prophetic can foresee;
Still Peace and heavenly Liberty shall smile,
With wonted sweetness on their long-lov'd isle;
Pale Tyranny avoid the hostile shore,
And Faction lift her scorpion scourge no more;
Each freeborn swain still reap with thankful hand,
Secure from wrongs, the produce of his land:
And lovely Faringdon! my voice shall still
Or in thy groves, or on this healthful hill,
In rustic numbers sing the happy plains,
Where Freedom triumphs, and where Brunswick reigns.
The Progress Of Refinement. Part I.
As when the stream by casual fountains fed
First gushes from the cavern's mossy bed,
Dashing from rock to rock, the scanty rill
With no luxuriant herbage clothes the hill;
Yet when increas'd the ampler current flows,
Each bordering mead with deeper verdure glows,
It's lingering waves through painted vallies glide,
And Health and Plenty deck it's verdant side;
Till swell'd by wintry storms and sweeping rains,
If chance it's rising deluge drown the plains,
The stagnate waters choke the sedgy soil,
And the fond hopes of future harvests foil:
So first Refinement in it's infant hour
Sheds o'er the savage tribe an useless power,
Nor can it's feeble energy impart
Or grace or softness to the human heart;
But when in Reason's moderate bounds confin'd
It's plenteous streams invigorate the mind,
The rising Arts their genial influence share,
And all the social Virtues flourish there;
Till Luxury's polluting torrents roll
A flood destructive o'er the enervate soul,
And to the flowers of generous growth succeeds
The baneful progeny of Vice's weeds.
Man, ere by rules of civil compact taught,
(Uncouth his form, and unimprov'd his thought,)
O'er the rude waste a selfish savage goes,
Nor mutual cares, nor mutual kindness knows,
How to subsist his Being's sole employ,
Strength all his art, and rapine all his joy;
And where a steril soil, and frowning heaven,
Are to his race by ruthless Nature given,
Compell'd by chace his scanty food to gain,
Pierc'd by sharp winds, or drench'd by chilling rain,
While from the assailing climate, rigid grown,
The alter'd fibres lose each nicer tone,
Long is the torpid soul by want oppress'd,
And dawning Reason slowly lights the breast.
But when his milder, happier portion, lies
In kindly regions, and more genial skies,
Where balmy sweets the ambient gales dispense,
And native Luxury enchants the sense,
Where Earth disdaining cultivation's care
Bids her free sons the luscious banquet share,
And the thick groves a roof sufficient spread
To shield from dews and heat the slumbering head;
Press'd by no want, in leisure's vacant hours
The expanding Mind perceives her latent powers,
And from the silken air the nerves derive,
To each sensation tremblingly alive,
Pleasures uncheck'd by labor's stern control,
And bear each finer feeling to the soul.
Then as reclining on the fertile soil,
Unknown the want of culture's stubborn toil,
His grazing charge the gentle herdsman tends,
And o'er the vale his eye delighted bends,
Ten thousand lovely images suggest
The dreams of Fancy to his tranquil breast,
The female form his soften'd heart inspires
With milder thoughts and more refin'd desires,
Sweet notes of rural courtship fill the grove,
And flow the tender strains of pastoral love:
Or as his eyes the nightly ether view,
And trace the heavenly concave's cloudless blue,
He learns to know what different signs appear
To guide and regulate the varied year;
Observes the changeful Moon alternate show
Her orb full-beaming, and her waning bow,
And marks the inferior Planets as they roll
In stated periods round the shining pole.
Hence every charm that polish'd Nature knows,
All that eludes or weakens human woes
First dawn'd in regions where the solar beam
Pours with superior force the effulgent stream,
And to our view the infant Arts arise
Beneath the warmth of Asia's fostering skies,
Or on Arabia's happier coasts inhale,
Loaded with sweets, the aromatic gale,
Or with attentive ear the fables learn
Of mystic lore, by Nile's redundant urn;
Till gently wafted by the favoring breeze
O'er the smooth surface of Ionian seas,
The smiling train their lovely offspring bore
To rise and flourish on the Grecian shore.
Inventive Fancy emulous to raise
For Worth deceas'd the monument of praise,
To bid Fame live beyond this transient breath,
And snatch heroic deeds from icy death,
With filial love the frail memorial rear'd,
And the heap'd fragment mark'd the tomb rever'd:
But vain the pious care!—Oblivion's sway
Soon swept each undistinguish'd name away,
The story of renown no breast retains,
And unexplain'd the mouldering pile remains.
Then ripening Genius sought the Muses aid,
And rustic Verse it's opening powers display'd;
Though no soft grace of polish'd diction shine,
Though harsh the cadence, and though rude the line,
Yet strengthen'd Memory felt the useful art
That fix'd the favorite legend in the heart;
The hoary Sage the sure advantage saw,
And in rough strains promulg'd his simple law,
In the short verse the moral rule compress'd,
And early form'd to truth the docile breast.
The infant warblings of the Muses lyre
Subdue the will perverse, and passion dire;
Their gloomy wilds the savage race forsook
As Orpheus sung, and milder manners took,
And charm'd to order by Amphion's lay
The forms of civil life mankind obey.
As bursts the beam of day through clouded skies
At length with light ethereal Letters rise,
To chain the fleeting sound their magic taught,
Portray'd the Idea, and embodied thought;
Blest, happiest, privilege to mortals given!
Which wings the aspiring soul from Earth to Heaven.
Whether progressive skill the art acquir'd,
Or power divine the sacred gift inspir'd;
Whether a mere invention of the Mind
As opening Science civiliz'd mankind,
Or a peculiar mark of heavenly grace
At first bestow'd on Israel's favor'd race
Though Reason doubt;—from morn to setting day
The various tribes of human-kind survey,
And own that all who following Wisdom's plan
Fulfil those duties that distinguish Man;
All who extend their penetrating sight
Beyond the reach of animal delight,
This blessing from one common fountain share,
Though ting'd with ignorance, or refin'd by care:
Even Greece where letter'd Science prosper'd best
It's oriental origin confess'd,
Fix'd by the fabled Author Asia's claim,
And mark'd it's source by Cadmus' mystic name.
As the ripe feed when sown with skilful toil
Soon feels the influence of a friendly soil,
With rapid shoots the planter's care repays,
And high in air it's waving boughs displays;
So Greece beheld the ingenuous Arts expand
In her congenial air, and kindly land,
While Freedom by the insulting despot driven
From Southern climes, and Asia's warmer heaven,
Fix'd with delight her European throne
Oe'r favor'd realms, and regions all her own.
Cheer'd by her sway each slumbering Muse awakes,
And from her smiles superior vigor takes:
Now Poesy with animating fire
Throws her bold fingers o'er the Epic wire,
And Lyric Extasy exulting sings
Borne on the Theban eagle's towering wings,
While the chaste Drama rising by degrees,
By care successive polish'd, learns to please,
From the rude outlines of the mimic art
First shewn by Thespis in his wandering cart,
To the fam'd Bards whose labor'd scenes engage
The dumb attention of the Attic stage.
Soon every Science, every Art succeeds,
Happy to follow where a Sister leads.
Charm'd from her seats on Egypt's watery plain,
And freed from fabling Error's mystic chain,
Through the still gloom of Academus' shade
Philosophy with solemn footstep stray'd;
Bold Imitation still to Nature true
The perfect form from perfect models drew,
For ne'er were equall'd Grecia's lovely race
Or for the faultless shape, or beauteous face.
Music devoid of each capricious art
Touch'd with her sweetest melody the heart:
And Architecture plann'd, in awful state
The Dome with just proportion simply great,
Or nobly plain the Doric pile appear'd,
Or her light column soft Ionia rear'd,
Or Corinth bade her polish'd Temples rise
With ornamental grandeur to the skies.
With force united this illustrious train
Grac'd the loud forum, and the holy fane,
But chiefly were their magic charms combin'd
When the lov'd Drama fix'd the Athenian mind:
Whether the drops of generous pity spring
At the sad fate of Thebes' unhappy King,
Or glows the exulting heart with patriot flame
To hear the tale of Grecia's ancient fame,
On this delightful source of virtuous joy
The lavish Arts their choicest skill employ,
And all their various powers at once convene
To dress in gorgeous pomp the attractive scene.
Encourag'd thus by Freedom's favoring smiles,
While every Muse the listening ear beguiles,
While Wisdom grave, and polish'd Grace combine,
At once to form the Virtues, and refine,
Improvement spreads to life's more humble cares,
And Industry the happy influence shares:
Down the steep cliff, and o'er the craggy brow
Strong Agriculture drives his laboring plow,
And to the currents of the rising gale
Adventurous Commerce trusts her swelling sail;
To the bleak rock the cultur'd glebe succeeds,
Where waves the harvest and the vintage bleeds,
And the fraught vessel with her woven wings
The wealth of nations to Piræus brings.
Rous'd by those honors cull'd by Glory's hand
To dress the Victor on the Olympic sand,
With active toil each ardent stripling tries
To bind his forehead with the immortal prize;
Hence strength and beauty deck the Grecian race,
And manly labor gives them manly grace.—
Yet while the scenes of Nature and of Art
The perfect forms of elegance impart,
While Wisdom's sacred lore the bosom warms,
And brighter Virtue boasts her moral charms,
The bliss in social intercourse that lies
Unknown they lose, or knowing they despise,
Illiberal folly 'midst their mirth we find,
And savage grossness taints the noblest mind,
The genial board licentious sports beguile,
And sages woo the harlot's venal smile.
For the soft Sex whose mild enchanting power
With gentle pleasure cheers the festal hour,
Denied the banquet's temperate joys to share,
Are the mere drudges made of houshold care;
Hence faint the force of that refin'd desire
Which modest Beauty only can inspire.
To other paths diverted passion turns,
And with enthusiast ardor Friendship burns.—
Far be it from the virgin Muse to try
O'er that mysterious scene to throw her eye.
Enough for her, while every manly breast
She sees in Virtue's purest radiance dress'd,
Sees every heart, with patriot Glory warm,
Check the proud war, or perish in the storm,
To cry like Philip on that fatal plain
Where Victory wept the sacred Thebans slain,
Curs'd be the slanderous tongue that worth like this would stain.
Though some prevailing characters we trace
Through every nation of the Grecian race,
Though Superstition, Manners, Speech, the same,
One common origin to all proclaim;
Though when the different states assembled stood
By Pisa's shades, or fair Castalia's flood,
Where each time-hallow'd rite conspir'd to draw
On the full festival religious awe,
By the mix'd forms of mutual converse taught
The separate tribes congenial features caught;
Yet Greece no general bond of empire found
Which all her sons in one firm compact bound,
But each republic as it's fabric rose
Peculiar laws, peculiar customs chose.
Sparta, where royal power's divided sway
Alternate knew to govern and obey,
Where Kings and People equal rule restrain'd,
And rigid Law the only tyrant reign'd,
Saw grave Politeness spread her sober grace,
And Modesty suffuse the warrior's face:
No subtle reasoning mov'd her steady throng,
But every sentence clear, concise, and strong,
In artless guise the speaker's mind convey'd,
And simple language simple truths display'd:
No Luxury debauch'd her frugal train,
For public glory there, was private gain.
While Athens, where alike with frantic zeal
All aim'd by turns to guide the general weal,
For wide her blessings ample Freedom threw,
And every voice an equal suffrage knew;
Athens' beheld her sons forego their claim,
The substance quitting for the shadowy name,
And noisy Faction at Ambition's call
Usurp'd that empire which belong'd to all,
While specious Demagogues seduced the sense
With all the flowery tropes of eloquence,
And the free audience polish'd, and severe,
Mark'd each oration with a critic ear.
In vain might Prudence raise her warning voice
If soft persuasion won the public choice,
In vain it's aims might patriot care pursue
If one mistaken accent censure drew.
Awaken'd thus to every thrill of joy
While arts of elegance their thoughts employ,
Borne by the tide of eloquence along,
Mov'd by a tale, a fable, or a song,
Of their own delegated powers afraid,
Despising laws by their own suffrage made,
The fickle race impatient of control
Rush headlong onward to Corruption's goal:
What patriot sage to turn the current tries
Is doom'd to exile, or by poison dies,
And him they raise who impudent and loud
Inflames the passions of the giddy croud:
And though Invasion with remorseless hand
Spread flame and carnage o'er the groaning land,
The Theatre employs their sole debate,
And more they prize the Drama than the state:
If the fond scene present some favorite theme,
Lull'd by sweet Fancy's vain delusive dream,
Of Persia check'd and Greece preserv'd they boast
Though conquering Philip ravages their coast,
And Marathon's victorious deeds display
On the dread eve of Chæronea's day.
Of human glory thus how short the date!
Expence and Pride, on Wealth and Freedom wait,
And from her burthen'd lap Profusion throws
The seeds of growing Vice, and future woes.—
The fervent zeal of public spirit dead,
And patriot Virtue's manly influence fled,
The daring bands of freemen who defied
In fields of blood the Median Tyrant's pride,
Purchas'd, betray'd, divided, and o'erthrown,
Bend to a state their sires had hardly known.
Yet Science lov'd to breathe her favorite air,
Though Liberty was fled still linger'd there.
Even of those Chiefs who shar'd the unjust command
Which Philip and his greater son had plann'd,
Some brave descendants felt the Muses charms,
And sooth'd with liberal Arts usurping Arms;
Warm Patronage awhile with partial ray
Supply'd the loss of Freedom's genuine day,
And Genius consecrates to deathless fame
With grateful voice her Philadelphus' name.
Though mad Ambition soon with impious blow
Laid every fence of civil Virtue low,
And sunk in sloth, or petrified by fear,
No daring arm oppos'd her wild career,
Yet ne'er did abject Luxury's domain
O'er Grecia stretch her universal reign,
Or Asiatic Indolence dispense
That blasting torpor to each blunted sense,
Chill'd by whose touch the generous Purpose flies,
Droops Emulation, faded Glory dies,
While the corrupted heart each vice imbibes
That sinks mankind below the bestial tribes.
Religion, Language, Manners, though we find
Give one strong tincture to the Grecian mind,
Yet different Interest each republic draws,
Divided Claims, and independent Laws,
The neighbouring states eternal war alarms,
And ease invaded yields to manlier arms;
Whence strict the rules of discipline remain,
And firm their courage on the embattled plain.
Though by compulsion strong, and stronger art,
Philip could temporary peace impart,
With potent gold a shameful union bought
Which public Wisdom oft had vainly sought,
Short was the race by his Ambition run,
And short the glory of his conquering son;
Then as the spoils of empire to divide
Contending chiefs with impious ardor tried,
And Freedom bade some bolder states unite
To guard with ancient zeal her sacred right,
The doubtful conflict for a time call'd forth
The dormant relics of heroic worth,
Till every weak distinction swept away
By the full tide of Rome's superior sway,
Whate'er the stores of Grecian art supplied,
Serv'd but to swell the happier Victor's pride;
And haughty Luxury asham'd to own
O'er tributary realms a partial throne,
Attends the rising power by Fate design'd
To fix her boundless empire o'er mankind.
Lo! in the regions whence Favonius blows
A hardy race Hesperia's vales disclose:
With sinews firm the rugged offspring rise
And brave the force of less auspicious skies,
For freezing winds had erst Campania known,
And yellow Tiber worn an icy zone.
The sons of Rome ne'er felt the soft control
Of milky kindness stealing o'er the soul,
Nor did their nerves to pleasure's touch awake
Of gentler thoughts the mild impression take;
The rigid texture of their rougher frame
The dangerous glories of the field inflame;
To wage with sure success the bloody fight
Their favorite care, and war their sole delight.
Victors, or vanquish'd, by the example taught
They found new paths to conquest as they fought.
Triumphant Carthage vaunts her powers in vain
And claims the exclusive empire of the main,
Rome to the sea her ductile Genius turns,
And from her foe the means of Victory learns;
Repairs with wiser toil the ruin'd fleet,
And gains superior art from each defeat,
Her naval care with perseverance plies,
Till, by the course of long experience wise,
The watery war her perfect gallies dare,
And Libya's ancient splendor melts to air.
In vain to check these unremitting foes
Their studied Tactics Grecia's sons oppose,
Whose force compelling countless hosts to yield,
With Persia's bleeding Myriads strew'd the field:
The Legions active, disciplin'd, and fierce,
With varied shock the close-wedg'd Phalanx pierce,
And Freedom's noblest sons are doom'd by fate
The servile subjects of a foreign state.
Their country vanquish'd, still the arts remain,
Still learned Athens boasts her polish'd train;
The flowery garlands there they weave to bind
In pleasures roseate wreaths the Roman mind,
The joys of peace the haughty Victors learn,
And Greece exulting triumphs in her turn.
Though first they view with undiscerning eyes
Sculpture's fair grace, and Painting's glowing dyes,
Though Consuls by the piece the marble rate,
And the wrought brass is valu'd by the weight;
Yet soon their hearts the Muses sway confess'd
And powerful numbers sooth'd the warlike breast,
Each swelling bosom caught the generous fire,
And Roman fingers struck the Grecian lyre:
Not with that fierce delight, that sudden glow
Which from the genuine beams of Nature flow,
That burst of Harmony which pour'd along
The full luxuriance of the Epic Song!—
Matur'd by time their ripening Genius rose,
From the harsh lines of Ennius' measur'd prose
To strains on which the Muse enamour'd hung,
And drank each dulcet note from Maro's tongue.
But ne'er shall Imitation's loveliest charm
Like native Grace the raptur'd bosom warm,
This bright and awful as the beam of day,
That like the paler moon's reflected ray.
By no fallacious hues does Nature please,
But boldly gives the manners that she sees,
Not Truth in Fiction's splendid garb arrays,
But with free stroke the living form portrays,
Her Bards divine the real actions sing
Of the stern Hero, or the warrior King,
Or paint the life the amorous Shepherd leads
In the rich verdure of Sicilian meads,
While with the verse their heated Fancy weaves
Each sacred tale Mythology believes:
But Imitation with correcter hand
Fills but the outline that Invention plann'd,
With care retrenches each superfluous part,
Or adds the tinsel ornaments of art,
Describes the manners that she never knew,
And faintly copies what her Mistress drew;
Hence with assiduous step the Latian Muse
The march sublime of elder Greece pursues,
Content to glean with unremitting toil
The scatter'd produce of her happier soil.
And now the improving sons of Rome behold
The scenes of Attic elegance unfold,
Admire the fane by sculptur'd Nature graced,
And catch from every glance congenial taste:
The Capitol by conquering Consuls trod
Receives with friendly rite each marble God,
In bend majestic swells the Parian arch
Through which in solemn pomp the Victors march;
Rome with delight the pleasing toil pursues,
And emulates the beauties that she views,
Exults in arts and artists of her own,
Bids the warm canvass breathe, and animates the stone.
Happy had Rome adorn'd by spoils like these
Been satisfied with Grecian Arts to please!
But Asia's subject regions now disclose
The fatal sources of unnumber'd woes.—
Each delegated chief who us'd of yore
To guide the thundering battle's furious roar,
Bind the green laurel round his conquering brow,
And then return contented to the plow,
Now proudly stretches with rapacious hand
O'er plunder'd provinces his harsh command;
Loaded with wealth the stern Proconsuls come,
And eastern splendor dazzles wondering Rome.
Caught with the lustre of the shining ore
The charms of Poverty can please no more,
The ancient fame of frugal heroes dies,
And venal hopes, and venal passions rise;
The honest boast of Democratic pride
Is drown'd in dark Corruption's swelling tide,
And Freedom's awful rights are basely sold
For the vile barter of barbaric gold.
No more Rome's venerable Senate flings
Dismay and terror o'er usurping kings;
No more the injur'd Nations grateful see
Oppression tremble at her just decree;
No more her sword is drawn in Glory's cause
For rights betray'd, or violated laws:
The Tyrant buys impunity for vice,
And every public outrage has it's price:
Avarice can fix a giddy people's choice,
And servile legions arm at Faction's voice.
In vain a few with steady courage stood,
To stem the torrent of the whelming flood,
The selfish passions with insidious force
Of patriot worth had poison'd every source;
Still lawless power uprear'd her hydra head,
And Freedom was no more though Cæsar bled.
Intent the aims of faction to compleat,
Now smoother Cunning seiz'd Ambition's seat.—
A Youth unmov'd by pity or by rage,
As Manhood firm, yet cold as palsied Age,
Hiding in specious guile his cruel views,
The impious scheme with ceaseless toil pursues.
His wiles, the work of ages to destroy,
Severity and ease by turns employ;
Death's stern decrees, or friendship's milder call,
Allure the timid, or the bold appal:
The enchanting Muses, whose delightful art
Can bend the stubborn purpose of the heart,
His voice invokes to charm the attentive mind,
And hide the fetters that inslave mankind.
The Muses hear!—forgetful that their sway
Was first produced in Freedom's happier day
They hear, and mindless of their ancient worth,
Betray the parent power that gave them birth,
Adore the Author of their country's doom,
And seal the fate of Liberty and Rome.
After a dreadful scene of war and woes,
The brazen gates of two-faced Janus close,
The sad effects of civil discord cease,
And all a restless world is wrapp'd in peace.
By Actium's Victory stopp'd the fatal strife,
No more the dire proscription threatens life,
No more the bloody scroll of Death appears,
But Mercy's snowy garb Augustus wears.
The gentler Arts each harsher care beguile,
And Science grows beneath his fostering smile:
Around his throne the laughing Loves resort,
And own the influence of a peaceful court.
Pleasures refin'd that Grecia never knew
Croud to the sight, and bless the raptur'd view:
To the pert quaintness of Socratic wit,
Or the rude jests that lower manners fit,
To feasts where sage disputes the hours employ,
Or the loose revels of licentious joy,
Succeeds that intercourse of sweet delight,
Though gay not vicious, and though free polite,
Their mingled gifts where ease and mirth dispense,
Ease void of roughness, mirth restrain'd by sense:
And lovely Woman, though not taught to know
That public homage later days bestow,
With modest smiles domestic converse graced,
And soften'd by her looks each ruder taste.
Even Freedom though her sacred power was fled
O'er Manners yet a parting radiance shed,
On the warm heart was Virtue's form impress'd,
And dauntless Courage fir'd the warrior's breast.
The generous youth in Mars' gymnastic field
By manly sports his hardy sinews steel'd,
Curb'd the bold steed, the dusty conflict stood,
Or plung'd his glowing limbs in Tiber's flood,
Science a milder charm to Valor gave,
And Empire seem'd to polish, not enslave,
Rome equal Arms, superior Arts could boast,
And hardly deem'd her ancient Glory lost.
But short the light of Pleasure's transient gleam!
Soon Nature starting from the illusive dream
Shrinks back affrighted as her eyes survey
The horrid form of arbitrary sway.—
Monsters who built on vice their dreadful joy,
Proud of their crimes and happy to destroy,
Seiz'd the vast power that Freedom's sons resign'd,
And shook the rod of vengeance o'er mankind;
Life hung alone upon a tyrant's breath,
And each capricious frown awarded death.
Amid the waste of years though haply shine
A Titus, Trajan, or an Antonine,
The short-liv'd interval more strongly shews
The striking contrast of despotic woes.
What force can free the mind that Vice has chain'd,
Or clear the current if the fountain's stain'd?—
No distant regions happier hopes afford
Beneath the empire of a milder lord;
Fear still beholds where'er her eye she flings,
Subjected states, and tributary kings;
And Power o'ertakes the exile as he goes
O'er Libyan deserts, or through Scythian snows.
Condemn'd the endless scenes of blood to see,
While looks are watch'd, and hardly thought is free,
In Rome's sad inmates, now a wretched race,
No more the marks of ancient worth we trace,
In the dull soul, a stupid, lifeless void,
Rous'd by no action, by no cares employ'd,
Each fading Energy of Virtue dies,
As droops the plant beneath inclement skies.
The cohorts from the frontier distant far
In slothful ease forget the toils of war,
Or from their camp with factious arms o'erawe
The weak remains of Freedom and of Law,
O'er Senates with tumultuous force prevail,
And set the Empire of the world to sale.
The Muse no more with native beauty warms
But tricks with art her meretricious charms:
Science in simple form, and semblance chaste,
Offends the alter'd times degenerate taste.
Each social Charity of private life,
The smiling offspring, and the tender wife,
Now cease the scene domestic to endear:
For who can wish a wretched race to rear
Slaves to a cruel tyrant's fickle gust,
Rods of his power, or minions of his lust?—
To the sweet joys that blushing Beauty gave
Succeeds the traffick of the female slave,
Till sated the perverted Fancy roves
To monstrous pleasures, and unseemly loves.
Debarr'd each just pursuit, the restless mind
Seeks in flagitious deeds relief to find,
In sensual cares grows exquisitely nice,
And only seeks variety of vice.
Their stores the tributary realms supply
To glut even Luxury's insatiate eye;
For Italy, while Rome no rival knew,
Ere yet Byzantium's sister empire grew,
Saw on her shores contending nations meet
To lay their various produce at her feet.
Commerce who independent states can draw
To equal compact by her general law,
Who weighs what nature gives and what denies,
While mutual barter mutual want supplies,
Exulting Rome contemn'd, who saw unfurl'd
Her conquering banners o'er a subject world,
And her proud offspring buoy'd by ancient fame,
Not gain by purchase, but by empire claim.
All that the warmer southern climes dispense
Fair to the eye, and grateful to the sense,
Whatever eastern regions can afford
To grace the mansion, or to deck the board,
In endless heaps the imperial seat supplied,
Her pleasure gratified, or sooth'd her pride,
At the full feast to indolence resign'd,
Lie the soft race on purple beds reclin'd,
And o'er the room in many a crimson fold
The arras hangs with ivory rough and gold:
Of massive plate the attentive slaves produce
The meanest vessels of domestic use,
And in rich mists the cooling odors shed
Ambrosial fragrance round the listless head,
Through the wide dome the fumes of incense roll,
And Grecia's purest vintage crowns the bowl.
A nation's wealth their lavish fancies waste
To furnish viands for one great repast;
And Luxury her bloated form so swells
We scarcely credit what th' Historian tells.
To load the table when the Tyrant fed,
Seas have been drain'd, and Hecatombs have bled;
The Euxine mourn'd her shores despoil'd of fish,
And woods unpeopled form'd one costly dish;
Even when the calls of appetite were o'er,
And Nature's loaded powers could act no more,
With brutal skill were shameful means pursu'd,
That blunted hunger's sickly force renew'd,
In the pall'd taste could false desires excite,
And goad the sated sense to fresh delight.
In constant scenes like these enervate grown,
The slaves of Lust and Gluttony alone,
No joy beyond voluptuous ease they deem,
And small exertions cruel hardships seem,
From Indolence, and Vice their pleasures flow,
And Fear's the only active power they know:
Too selfish e'er to think of public care,
Too weak the weight of manly arms to bear,
A Favorite's nod degenerate legions wait,
And servile Eunuchs regulate the state.
Firm discipline is lost by long neglect,
And mercenary hosts the throne protect.
Weaken'd by Constantine's misjudging pride
Whose vain designs the imperial strength divide,
Open and wide the extended frontier lay,
To each barbarian hord an easy prey:
On every side the ruffian bands contend,
By turns invade them, and by turns defend,
Till lur'd by wealth and splendor's tempting prize,
The warlike tribes such coward chiefs despise,
Against the trembling race their swords employ,
And spread destruction round with savage joy,
Pour o'er each region like a wintry flood,
And Rome's diminish'd empire sets in blood.
Of the long sway of twice six hundred years
Stupendous fabrick! scarce a wreck appears,
Save a poor remnant as the ruin falls
Preserv'd to languish in Byzantium's walls.
Now through the extent of Nature's wide domain
Once more the horrid powers of darkness reign,
Again Chaotic ignorance rears her head,
And o'er mankind her sable veil is spread.
What scatter'd arts survive the general doom
Retreat to wither in the cloister's gloom;
And if by chance from thence some sickly beam
Shoots faintly forth a transitory gleam,
It serves but like the meteor's lurid light
To add new horror to the shades of night.
Ye sylvan muses! as my step invades
The deep recesses of your hallow'd shades,
Say will ye bid your echoing caves prolong
The harsher cadence of your votary's song?
Not anxious now to strike the trembling wire,
Sweetly responsive to your vernal choir;
Or from the treasur'd stores of earth to bring
The fragrant produce of the roseate spring:
Mine the rude task, while summer's fading ray
To yellow autumn yields the shortening day,
And all the variegated woods appear
Clad in the glories of the withering year,
With dogs and fiery weapons to profane
The peaceful sabbath of your rural reign;
Your desolated regions to explore
'Mid the wild tempest, and the season frore;
Destruction on your feather'd race to pour,
And add new horrors to the wintry hour.
'Twas thine, immortal Somerville! to trace
The livelier raptures of the joyful chace,
O'er hills and dales to urge, with eager speed,
The hound sagacious, and the panting steed;
And guide the labors of the enthusiast throng
With all the extatic energy of song.—
Severer care these calmer lays demand,
And Fancy curb'd by sage Instruction's hand:
Yet, for the Muse some scatter'd charms shall gleam
'Mid the rich chaos of this copious theme;
Yet, here shall Glory view with generous aim,
The rising elements of martial fame.
As from the chace Britannia's youth shall learn
The docile steed with ready hand to turn;
O'er the rude crag his bounding steps to guide,
Or press his ardor down the mountain's side,
Till, rushing to the field with fierce delight,
She sends forth other Lindseys to the fight:
So shall the steady train, of careful eye,
Who wound th' aerial offspring as they fly,
Whose limbs unwearied keep the constant way,
From morn's first opening dawn, till parting day,
Manly and firm, an unexhausted race,
With hardy frames the shining phalanx grace;
With steps, by labor unsubdu'd, shall know
Incessant to pursue the fainting foe;
Shall, 'midst the rocks and woods, with active toil
Hang o'er his march, and all his movements foil;
Their close platoons, with cool and certain aim,
Shall send destruction forth in vollied flame:
Or o'er the field dispers'd, each shot they pour
Shall mark some hostile victim's fatal hour.
Of old, ere man with imitative skill,
Taught mimic thunders to obey his will,
Train'd by superior care, the elastic yew
With sinewy arm, our English bowmen drew:
The warlike art exulting Albion saw
Protected by the fostering hand of law;
Attentive senates watch'd, with anxious zeal,
This martial bulwark of the general weal;
The rules they order'd, or the prize they gave,
Compell'd the slothful, and inflam'd the brave;
And oft her archer-sons would trophies wear
From Gallia's cross-bow won, and Scotia's spear.
Nor let the frown of literary pride,
Or false refinement's sneer, my labors chide:
Not all are form'd with unremitting view
Pale study's restless labors to pursue:
Not all their hours are dull enough to waste
In the void round of fashionable taste;
Nor can the gentle airings, which engage
The fainter wish of languor, and of age,
From his pursuits the sanguine votary draw
Of wealth, of joy, of wisdom, or of law,
Till slow disease demands the leach's care,
Sad substitute for exercise and air!
The impatient youth, whom manly vigor fires,
Ruddy with health, and stung by wild desires;
By active sports alone can soothe to rest
The boiling fervors of his panting breast.
Nor shall Britannia's patriots blame the cause,
To woods and fields her wealthier chiefs that draws.
Let Gallia's sons to rural scenes resort
Only when exil'd from a partial court,
Whose dearest hopes a Monarch's favor crown,
Rais'd by his smile, or blasted by his frown;
But Albion's freer lords must try to gain
The unbiass'd suffrage of her rustic train.
And every tie that binds her nobler band,
With dearer love, to their paternal land,
Her yeomen shall behold with grateful eye,
A surer pledge of wealth and liberty.
Come then, ye hardy youths, who wish to save
By generous labor powers that nature gave!
Who fly from languor, hush'd in dread repose
Beneath the leaves of sloth's enchanting rose,
Glad on the upland brow, or echoing vale,
To drink new vigor from the morning gale;—
Come! and the Muse shall shew you how to foil
By sports of skill the tedious hours of toil;
The healthful lessons of the field impart,
And careful teach the rudiments of art.
When the last sun of August's fiery reign
Now bathes his radiant forehead in the main,
The panoply by sportive heroes worn
Is rang'd in order for the ensuing morn;
Forth from the summer guard of bolt and lock
Comes the thick guêtre, and the fustian frock;
With curious skill, the deathful tube is made
Clean as the firelock of the spruce parade:
Yet, let no polish of the sportsman's gun
Flash like the soldier's weapon to the sun,
Or the bright steel's refulgent glare presume
To penetrate the peaceful forest's gloom;
But let it take the brown's more sober hue,
Or the dark lustre of the enamell'd blue.
Let the close pouch the wadded tow contain,
The leaden pellets, and the nitrous grain;
And wisely cautious, with preventive care,
Be the spare flint, and ready turnscrew there;
While the slung net is open to receive
Each prize the labors of the day shall give.
Yet oft the experienc'd shooter will deride
This quaint exactness of fastidious pride;
In some old coat that whilom charm'd the eye,
Till time had worn it into slovenry,
His dusky weapon, all by rust conceal'd,
Through rainy service in the sportive field,
He issues to the plain, secure to kill,
And founds his glory on superior skill.
The night recedes, and mild Aurora now
Waves her gray banner on the eastern brow;
Light float the misty vapors o'er the sky,
And dim the blaze of Phœbus' garish eye;
The flitting breeze just stirs the rustling brake,
And curls the crystal surface of the lake;
The expectant sportsmen, urg'd by anxious haste,
Snatch the refreshment of a short repast,
Their weapons seize, their pointers call around,
And sally forth impatient to the ground.
Here where the yellow wheat away is drawn,
And the thick stubble clothes the russet lawn,
Begin the sport.—Eager and unconfin'd
As when stern Æolus unchains the wind,
The active pointer, from his thong unbound,
Impatient dashes o'er the dewy ground,
With glowing eye, and undulating tail,
Ranges the field, and snuffs the tainted gale;
Yet, 'midst his ardor, still his master fears,
And the restraining whistle careful hears.
So when Britannia's watchful navies sweep,
In freedom's awful cause, the hostile deep,
Though the brave warrior panting to engage,
And loose on England's foes his patriot rage,
The tempest's howling fury deems too slow
To fill his sails, and waft him to the foe;
Yet, 'mid the fiery conflict, if he spy
From the high mast his leader's signal fly,
To the command obedience instant pays,
And martial order martial courage sways.
See how exact they try the stubble o'er,
Quarter the field, and every turn explore;
Now sudden wheel, and now attentive seize
The known advantage of the opposing breeze.—
At once they stop!—yon' careful dog descries
Where close and near the lurking covey lies.
His caution mark, lest even a breath betray
The impending danger to his timid prey;
In various attitudes around him stand,
Silent and motionless, the attending band.
So when the son of Danae and Jove,
Crown'd by gay conquest and successful love,
Saw Phineus and his frantic rout invade
The festive rights by Hymen sacred made,
To the rude Bacchanals his arm outspread
The horrid image of Medusa's head;
Soon as the locks their snaky curls disclose,
A marble stiffness seiz'd his threatening foes;
Fix'd were the eyes that mark'd the javelin thrown,
And each stern warrior rear'd his lance in stone.
Now by the glowing cheek and heaving breast
Is expectation's sanguine wish express'd.—
Ah curb your headlong ardor! nor refuse
Patient to hear the precepts of the Muse.
Sooner shall noisy heat in rash dispute
The reasoning calm of placid sense confute;
Sooner the headlong rout's misguided rage
With the firm phalanx equal combat wage,
Than the warm youth, whom anxious hopes inflame,
Pursue the fleeting mark with steady aim.
By temperate thought your glowing passions cool,
And bow the swelling heart to reason's rule;
Else when the whirring pinion, as it flies,
Alarms your startled ear, and dazzled eyes,
Unguided by the cautious arm of care,
Your random bolts shall waste their force in air.
They rise!—they rise!—Ah yet your fire restrain,
Till the scar'd birds securer distance gain;
For, thrown too close, the shots your hopes elude,
Wide of your aim, and innocent of blood;
But mark with careful eye their lessening flight,
Your ready gun, obedient to your sight,
And at the length where frequent trials shew
Your fatal weapon gives the surest blow,
Draw quick!—yet steady care with quickness join,
Lest the shock'd barrel deviate from the line;
So shall success your ardent wishes pay,
And sure destruction wait the flying prey.
As glory more than gain allures the brave
To dare the combat loud, and louder wave;
So the ambition of the sportsman lies
More in the certain shot than bleeding prize.
While poachers, mindful of the festal hour,
Among the covey random slaughter pour;
And, as their numbers press the crimson'd ground,
Regardless reck not of the secret wound,
Which borne away, the wretched victims lie
'Mid silent shades to languish and to die.
O let your breast such selfish views disclaim,
And scorn the triumph of a casual aim:
Not urg'd by rapine, but of honor proud,
One object single from the scattering croud;
So, when you see the destin'd quarry down,
Shall just applause your skilful labor crown.
If your staunch dogs require no instant toil
To rescue from their jaws the fluttering spoil,
Re-load your fatal piece with prudent zeal,
While glows with recent flame the smoaking steel;
So the black grain shall kindling warmth acquire,
And take the flinty spark with readier fire;
Or if some scatter'd bird, that lay behind,
Sudden should rise, and fleet away on wind,
You check her rapid course, nor murmuring stand,
Your empty weapon useless in your hand.
Now some observant eye has mark'd their flight,
And seen dispers'd the weary'd covey light;
Soon to the spot the ranging pointer drawn,
Explores with tender nose the tainted lawn,
Where, to his nicer sense, their fumes betray
The secret ambush of the fearful prey.
With cautious action now, and stealthful pace,
His careful steps pursue the running race;
Now fix'd he stands, now moves with doubtful tread,
Stopp'd by their pause, or by their motion led,
Till, rooted by the sheltering hedge, his feet
Declare the trembling victim's last retreat.
But as, with beating breasts, on either side
The impatient youths the pleasing task divide,
And in the row between, the lurking game
Lies hid from sight, ah, careful be the aim!
Lest, skreen'd and parted by the thorny mound,
The erring shots should give a fatal wound,
And change the jocund sportsman's verdant wreath
For funeral weeds, for mourning, tears, and death.
In Lydian plains, where rich Pactolus roll'd
Through groves of perfume, and o'er sands of gold,
Crœsus, of Asia's lords the proudest name,
Shar'd every gift of fortune, and of fame;
So wide his empire, and so vast his store,
That avarice and ambition ask'd no more;
Though blest in these, the dearer bliss he knows
With which a parent's happy bosom glows,
For not the fairest image ever dress'd
In the fond wishes of a father's breast,
By flattery swell'd, could mate the virtuous praise
To Atys' worth that truth unbiass'd pays.
At war's loud clarion if the nations bled,
Conquest his armies crown'd if Atys led;
If the rude waves of civil discord broke,
Hush'd was the rising storm if Atys spoke;
His lenient voice bade loud rebellion cease,
And charm'd contending factions into peace:
Nor less his care domestic knew to bring
Joy to his sire, than safety to his king;
Nor was the patriot's glory priz'd above
The dearer charity of filial love.
While prosperous scenes the monarch's thoughts beguile,
Too little warn'd of Fortune's transient smile,
'Mid the dark moments of the boding night
A horrid vision seem'd to meet his sight,
With dying mien his Atys stood confess'd,
Transfix'd by horrid steel his bleeding breast.—
Swift from his couch he starts, while wild despair
Contracts his eye-balls, and uplifts his hair.
In vain the orient morn's reviving power
Chas'd the pale phantoms of the midnight hour;
The recollected scene his peace annoys,
Sinks in his heart, and poisons all his joys;
Around him visionary falchions gleam
In act to realize his dreadful dream;
And if by chance loud rumor wafts from far
Uncertain clamors of intended war,
His laboring breast foretels the fatal deed,
And sees in fancied fights his Atys bleed.
What shall his fears invent, or how control
The generous ardor of the hero's soul?—
His mind to gentler thoughts he tries to move,
And conquer strong renown by stronger love.
The fairest maid of Lydia's glowing dames,
Whose beauteous form the manly youth inflames,
With eastern roses crown'd, is blushing led
In Hymeneal pomp, to Atys' bed.
To cares of empire, and to toils of fight,
Succeed the festal day, and genial night:
Soft Pleasure spreads around her blooming flow'rs,
And wanton Cupid leads the laughing hours.
Amid these joys, from Mysia's subject plain,
Before the throne, behold a suppliant train!
‘O mighty prince!’ they cry, ‘we now repair
‘To claim the aid of thy paternal care;
‘A savage monster of portentous size,
‘Whose cruel strength our utmost force defies,
‘Ranges our fields, spreads devastation round,
‘And roots the unripen'd harvest from the ground.
‘O, let thy youths, to range the woods who know,
‘Attend with faithful dogs, and twanging bow;
‘In his dire haunts the fierce invader brave,
‘Repel his fury, and thy subjects save.
‘Perhaps the prince.’—The eager monarch, here,
Urg'd by the influence of parental fear,
Arrests their speech: ‘My arms, my youths shall go,
‘Your terrors quell, and check this savage foe;
‘But for my son, him other cares employ,
‘And the soft scenes of Hymeneal joy,
‘Nor must the rugged chace, or dubious fight,
‘Mar the sweet transports of the nuptial rite.’
He ceas'd; attentive round the Mysian band,
Pleas'd with the promis'd aid, submissive stand.
Not so the prince, his ardent bosom glows
To burst the silken bands of still repose.
‘Ah! what, my sire,’ he cries, ‘has Atys done?
‘What sad distrust awaits your hapless son,
‘That thus immers'd in sloth you keep him far
‘From fields of glory, and from toils of war?
‘For love's soft raptures though the hero burn,
‘Yet fame and danger claim their wonted turn.
‘How shall I meet, involv'd in this disgrace,
‘The indignant murmurs of your warrior race?
‘How will, with tears of silent scorn, my bride
‘Her alter'd lord's inglorious safety chide!
‘O give my wishes way, or let me hear
‘The hidden source of this injurious fear.’
This earnest prayer the smother'd secret draws,
And the sad Monarch owns the latent cause:
When Atys, smiling:—‘How shall I reprove
‘The fond excesses of paternal love,
‘Though for my undeserving life is shown
‘A nice regard you never paid your own?
‘But shall the heir of Crœsus' martial name
‘Inglorious life prefer to glorious fame?—
‘Life is a bliss, when crown'd by virtue's meed,
‘And death a prize, when honor bids us bleed;
‘Omens and dreams in vain the purpose stay
‘When duty calls, and glory points the way.
‘Or grant some god the vision sent, yet here
‘Vain are your cares, and useless is your fear;
‘Transfix'd by steel my bleeding breast you saw,
‘Not torn and mangled by a bestial jaw;
‘Then let me go, and when you meet your son
‘Clad in the shaggy spoils his arms have won,
‘The shadowy phantoms of the night shall cease
‘To haunt your slumbers, and disturb your peace.’
The Monarch hears, and with reluctant eyes
Gives the consent his boding heart denies;
His brow a placid guise dissembling wears,
While Reason vainly combats stronger fears.
It chanced a youth of Phrygia's royal train,
His hand polluted by a brother slain,
Exil'd by vengeance from his native ground,
In Crœsus' peaceful court a refuge found;
Where oft would Atys' gentler care impart
The balm of friendship to his wounded heart;
To him the wretched king in secret spoke,
While tears and sighs his faltering accents choke;
‘If, brave Adrastus, thy oppressive woes
‘In Sardis' sheltering walls have found repose,
‘If here the expiating rite renew'd
‘Has paid the forfeit for fraternal blood,
‘If pity's tear, if friendship's lenient balm
‘Have tried with studious zeal thy griefs to calm,
‘Go with my son, and by attentive care
‘Partake his labors, and his dangers share.
‘Shield him from peril that my soul alarms,
‘And bring him back in safety to my arms.’
To whom the youth: ‘Oft has my ready breast
‘Panted to ask the office you request,
‘As oft my conscious shame that wish restrain'd,
‘Disgraced by exile, and by murder stain'd:
‘Since you command, your Atys I'll attend,
‘Obey my patron, and protect my friend;
‘Watch o'er his safety in the doubtful strife,
‘Or ransom with my own his dearer life.’
Now to the Mysian fields elate and gay
The eager warriors bend their jocund way,
The echoing hills and forest walks resound
With shouts of men, and chidings of the hound.
Rous'd from his lair, and issuing on the plain,
Forth bursts the monster on the hunter train,
Around the circling youths impatient stand,
And launch their steely darts with ready hand.
Too rashly eager as the Phrygian threw,
With erring aim the pointed jav'lin flew,
In Atys' breast the quivering weapon stood,
And drank with fatal barbs his vital blood.—
The mournful shrieks that rent the ambient air,
The weeping troops, Adrastus' loud despair;
The silent agony, the gushing tide
Of the sad parent, and the widow'd bride,
The plaints they utter, and the woes they feel,
No heart can image, and no tongue reveal.
As the ill-fated youth is borne along,
All pale and bleeding, through the groaning throng,
By the cold corse Adrastus' frantic cries,
Death in his voice, and horror in his eyes;
‘Why have the gods in partial vengeance shed
‘Their choicest curses on my wretched head?
‘Fated the keenest strokes of wrath to prove,
‘And doom'd to murder those whom most I love!
‘O much wrong'd sire, let thy avenging hand
‘Expiate by guilty blood this weeping land:
‘Be on my heart thy instant fury hurl'd,
‘And save from future parricide the world!’
‘Alas, my son!' the wretched King replied,
‘'Tis awful Jove who thus corrects my pride,
‘Which, crown'd by conquest, and with power elate,
‘It's fortune deem'd beyond the reach of fate.
‘Alas! too late repentant, now I find
‘The fleeting happiness of human kind!
‘My hopes, my cares are past! this cruel blow
‘Has laid at once my vain ambition low;
‘The offended gods this chastisement have given,
‘Thou but the fatal instrument of heaven.’
Silent the youth withdrew, till sad were paid
The tributary rites to Atys' shade:
Then, as chill midnight's dreary hours return,
Weeping he sought the monumental urn:
‘Atys!’ he cried, ‘behold Adrastus come
‘A willing victim to thy hallow'd tomb!—
‘This erring hand, the fatal stroke that gave,
‘Shall lay thy murderer breathless on thy grave.’
Then pierced with sudden arm his struggling breast,
And on the blood-stain'd marble sunk to rest.
As more obliquely on autumnal skies
With milder force October's suns arise,
The purple pheasant tempts the youth to rove
With well-train'd spaniels through the faded grove.
See how with emulative zeal they strive,
Thrid the loose sedge, and through the thicket drive!
Not ranging lawless o'er the forest wide,
But close attendant on their master's side;
No babbling voice the bosom falsely warms,
Or swells the panting heart with vain alarms,
Till all at once their choral tongues proclaim
The secret refuge of the lurking game;
Loud on the breeze the chearful clamor floats,
And the high wood re-echoes with their notes.
Swift is their course, no lengthen'd warnings now
Space to collect the scatter'd thoughts allow,
No wary pointer shews the cautious eyes
Where from his russet couch the bird shall rise:
Perhaps light running o'er the mossy ground,
His devious steps your sanguine hopes confound;
Or, by the tangled branches hid from sight,
Sudden he wings his unexpected flight.
No open view along the uncumber'd field
To the cool aim will time and distance yield;
But the nice circumstance will oft demand
The quickest eye-sight and the readiest hand,
Swift as he rises from the thorny brake,
With instant glance the fleeting mark to take,
And with prompt arm the transient moment seize,
'Mid the dim gloom of intervening trees.
His gaudy plumage when the male displays
In bright luxuriance to the solar rays,
Arrest with hasty shot his whirring speed,
And see unblam'd the shining victim bleed;
But when the hen to thy discerning view
Her sober pinion spreads of duskier hue,
The attendant keeper's prudent warning hear,
And spare the offspring of the future year;
Else shall the fine which custom laid of old
Avenge her slaughter by thy forfeit gold.
Soon as the ready dogs their quarry spring,
And swift he spreads his variegated wing,
Ceas'd is their cry, with silent look they wait
Till the loud gun decides the event of fate;
Nor, if the shots are thrown with erring aim,
And proudly soars away the unwounded game,
Will the staunch train pursue him as he flies
With useless speed, and unavailing cries.
And now when cloudy skies and drizzling rains
Swell the full springs, and drench the moisten'd plains,
The extended space of land and ocean cross'd
From the bleak scenes of Hyperborean frost,
With active wing the unwearied Woodcocks fly
To southern climates, and a milder sky,
The osier'd borders of the brook explore,
And with deep bills the forest marshes bore.
Where now matur'd yon slender ashes stand,
Rise from their stools and tempt the woodman's hand,
Where the loose trunks admit the partial ray
Along the border take your cautious way.
Here let your care the shorten'd gun employ,
Lest the thick boughs the purpos'd aim annoy;
Let super-added steel with pressure sure,
From the dank drip the shelter'd pan secure:
And as the silent bird the stems among
Wheels slow his desultory flight along,
With steady eye his wavering motion watch,
And through the parting trees the advantage catch;
Though distant be the shot, the slightest wound
Shall lay the fluttering victim on the ground.
Rous'd by the spaniel, 'midst the forest shade,
Behold the trembling Leveret cross the glade!
If round the extended plains yield ample space,
Or for the rapid course, or chearful chace,
O, sacred be her steps! nor let thy hand
Blast the fair hopes of a congenial band,
Or for a transient pleasure meanly foil
The lengthen'd transport of the hunter's toil;
But where steep hills and spacious woodlands rise,
Or the long flight the frequent copse denies,
Blameless arrest her rapid flight, nor spare
The timid victim for the inglorious snare.
Where shining rills with copious moisture feed
The deeper verdure of the irriguous mead,
Or where between the purple heaths is seen
The mossy bosom of the low ravine,
The fearful Snipes, hid from the searching eye,
'Mid the dank sedge and nodding rushes lie.
With sudden turns oblique, when first they rise,
As from the weaver's arm the shuttle flies
They shape their wavering course: but patient stay
Till, with securer wing, they soar away:
Then as aloft their outstretch'd pinions sail,
Borne on the bosom of the buoyant gale,
The fatal shot sent forth with cautious sight,
Shall bring them wheeling from their towering height.
When winter now, a gloomy tyrant, reigns
In dreadful silence o'er the ravaged plains,
Involves in sheets of snow the bending woods,
And throws his icy mantle o'er the floods,
Close by the harden'd brook, whose sullen stream
No more soft murmuring aids the poet's dream,
Where, 'midst the matted sedge, the emerging flood
With air and life renews the finny brood,
The patient fowler stands with silent aim
To watch the station of the watery game:
Not like the gentle angler, careless laid,
In the cool shelter of the summer shade,
But train'd with hardy sinews to defy
The chilling keenness of a wintry sky;
While here the aquatic Wild-fowl's timid race
With wonted pinion seek the well known place;
Where rushes thick the Widgeon's haunt conceal,
The blue-wing'd Mallard, and the tenderer Teal;
Swift on the various race, in fiery shower,
The scattering shots unseen destruction pour,
With mingled slaughter strew the frost-bound flood,
And dye the sullied snow with gushing blood.
Such are the sports that fertile Albion yields,
Such the wing'd inmates of her milder fields;
But bounteous Nature, with diffusive hand,
Spreads wide her various produce o'er the land,
Each different region marks with nurturing care,
And bids a race congenial flourish there.
A tribe peculiar by her power is plac'd
On the drear mountain, and the howling waste,
Which art and industry would rear in vain,
Or in the shelter'd vale, or cultur'd plain.
Hence wandering far from England's gentler scene,
Her spacious champains, and her pastures green,
The hardy youth will Cambria's cliffs explore,
Or climb the heights of Caledonia hoar,
The Grouse and sable Heath-cock to pursue
Where moors unbounded tire the sated view,
And sullen silence reigns, save where the tide
Pours in swoln torrents from the mountain's side;
While summer suns in full effulgence shed
Their burning fervors on the throbbing head.
Thus has my verse in humble strains reveal'd
The various pleasures of the sportive field,
And shewn the different labors of the day
As the revolving seasons roll away:
But vainly shall preceptive rules impart
A perfect knowledge of this manly art;
Practice alone can certain skill produce,
And theory confirm'd by constant use.
As well the stripling of the gay parade,
Proud of his silken sash and smart cockade,
Though taught by wise instructors to explore
The martial depth of mathematic lore,
Might hope to drive Victoria's crimson car
Triumphant o'er the bleeding ranks of war,
Ere the long march, the early toil, and late,
The frequent scenes of danger and of fate,
The fervor of the glowing breast allay,
Change ardor's blaze for valor's temperate ray,
And teach the mind, unruffled and serene,
To keep her powers 'mid horrors wildest scene.
The hardy youth who pants with eager flame
To send his leaden bolts with certain aim,
Must ne'er with disappointed hopes recoil
From cold and heat, from hunger and from toil,
Must climb the hill, must tread the marshy glade,
Or force the passage through the opposing shade,
Must range untam'd by Sol's meridian power,
And brave the force of winter's keenest hour,
Till industry and time their work have wrought,
And honor crown the skill that labor taught.
Yet some, these harsher rudiments to spare,
And equal art with easier toil to share,
Or watch with careful aim and ready sight
The swallow-wheeling in her summer flight,
Or on some lofty cliff, whose chalky steep
Hangs with rude brow impending o'er the deep,
Where gulls and screaming sea-mews haunt the rock,
Pour fire incessant on the mingled flock.
But vain their hopes—presented to the eye
In such diversive lines the objects fly,
The dazzled sight unnumber'd marks pursues,
And shifts it's aim, uncertain which to chuse;
Decision quick and calm, the shooter's boast,
By frequent change, is check'd, confus'd, and lost,
And, guarded by irresolute delay,
Utouch'd shall future coveys fleet away.
More hurtful still to try with distant blow
To bring the percher from th' aerial bough.
How shall his thoughts the level that prepare
With all the caution of mechanic care,
Exact and steady as the sage's eye
Through Galileo's tube surveys the sky,
With ready view the transient object seize,
Swift as the motion of the rapid breeze,
Pursue the uncertain mark with swift address,
And catch the fleeting moment of success?
Ere yet the Muse her lay preceptive end
Ye eager youths these friendly rules attend:
'Tis not enough, that cautious aim, and sure,
From erring shots your brave compeers secure,
That prudence guard those ills which erst might flow
From the wing'd javelin, and the sounding bow;
For on the gun unnumber'd dangers wait,
And various forms of unexpected fate.
Drawn thro' the thorny hedge, the uncertain lock
May give with sudden spring, a deadly shock;
Or the loose spark the rapid flash may raise,
And wrap the sulphurous dust in instant blaze.
'Tis hence the military race prepare
The novice youth with such assiduous care,
And teach him with punctilious art to wield
The weighty fire-lock in the embattled field.
Though some may deem the attention urg'd too far,
As the mere pomp and circumstance of war;
When closely wedg'd the firm battalions stand,
Rank press'd on rank, and band impelling band,
Did not fastidious zeal with cautious plan
Define each act, and every motion scan,
Oft would the bullets 'mid the battles roar
The thirsty herbage die with friendly gore,
And oft the dangerous weapon's kindling breath
Change fields of exercise, to fields of death.
Behold yon' eager race who o'er the plain,
With stimulating heel and loosen'd rein,
Their panting coursers urge to leave behind
The rapid currents of the northern wind,
Though, as with headlong rage they rush along,
Impending dangers seem to wait the throng;
Though accident with more apparent face
Seem to attend the ardor of the chace;
Yet, 'mid these calmer sports, with ghastly mien
The pallid form of slaughter lurks unseen;
And while the hunter checks his bold career
To pour on Russel's tomb the sorrowing tear,
The sportive train who haunt the fatal glades
Where hoary Camus flows by Granta's shades,
Shall weep the unexpected blow that gave
Their much-lov'd Cotton to a timeless grave.
Lamented youth! when erst on Warley's plains
We led in radiant arms our rustic swains,
What time Britannia, friendless and forlorn,
Her shores expos'd, her naval trophies torn,
Bold in her native vigor dar'd oppose
Rebellious subjects, and combining foes;
In vain thy generous bosom burn'd to stand
The manly bulwark of an injur'd land,
Or nobly bleeding by the hostile ball,
In freedom's, and in Albion's cause to fall;
Doom'd by relentless fate, to press the ground,
The unhappy victim of a casual wound.
Votaries of rural joy! with mine while flow
Your kindred streams of sympathetic woe,
By salutary care, ah! learn to shun
The hidden dangers of the unguarded gun!
And, as in fields of pleasure you acquire
The soldier's manly toil and steady fire,
His cautious use of arms attentive heed,
Careful by no inglorious wound to bleed,
Nor lavish life, but in the sacred cause
Of Britain's injur'd rights, and violated laws.
Alfred. Book Vi.
ARGUMENT. Consequences of the Battle of Eddington.—The Danes blockaded on Ashdown.—Circumstances attending the Surrender and Conversion of Guthrum, Chief of the Danes.—Second Prophecy of the future Fortune of Alfred, and of the British Islands.— Homage from the united Army to Alfred.—Conclusion.
Soon as the Morn, in rosy mantle dight,
Spread o'er the dewy hills her orient light,
The victor monarch ranged his warrior train,
In martial order on the embattled plain;
Ready to front again the storm of fight,
Or urge the advantage, and pursue the flight;
But not the horizon's ample range could show
A trace, a vestige, of the vanquish'd foe.
Now, from the exulting host, in triumph peal'd,
The shouts of conquest shake the echoing field;
While, to the sheltering convent's hallow'd walls,
A softer voice the laurel'd hero calls;
Where, from the bloody scene of fight removed,
Trembling, 'mid hope and fear for all she loved,
Elsitha, prostrate on the earth, implored
Blessings on Albion's arms, and Albion's lord.
Sweet were the warrior's feelings, when he press'd
His lovely consort to his beating breast;
Sweet too, Elsitha, thine—with conquest crown'd,
To see the mighty chief, in arms renown'd,
Though loud the chearing shouts of conquest rise,
And war's triumphant clangor rends the skies,
Forego the scenes of public joy awhile,
To share the bliss of Love's domestic smile.
Yet such, alas! of human joy the state,
Some grief on Fortune's brightest hours must wait;
Amid the victor laurel's greenest wreath,
Twines the funereal bough of pain and death.
Elsitha's eye, among the conquering train,
Seeks many a friend, and near ally, in vain.
Leofric, her brother's heir, whose ardent breast
Her influence, mild and bland, had oft repress'd;
Would Indignation's angry frown reprove,
Or warn him from the dangerous smiles of Love;
Leofric, who, when the dawn awoke her fears,
Dried, with consoling voice, her gushing tears,
Mangled, and lifeless, from the combat borne,
Refutes, at eve, the promised hope of morn.
And, as her heart the painful image draws,
Of youthful Donald bleeding in her cause,
The royal warrior, beautiful and brave,
A timeless victim of the silent grave,
O'er her swoll'n breast a softer sorrow steals,
Her heart a warmer sense of pity feels,
While tears, as pure as seraph eyes might shed,
Flow o'er his memory, and embalm him dead.
Even Alfred, when his firmer looks survey
The field of fate, in morning's sober ray,
See Victory's guerdon, though with safety fraught,
By blood of kindred heroes dearly bought.
Though myriads saved from slavery and death,
Their spirits waft to Heaven with grateful breath:
Yet chiefs of noble race, and nobler worth,
Glory and grace of Albion's parent earth,
Extended pale and lifeless in his sight,
Check the tumultuous tide of full delight;
And as the hymns of praise ascend the air,
His bosom bows in penitence and prayer,
O'er the red sword Contrition's sorrows flow,
Though Freedom steel'd its edge, and Justice sped the blow.
But when he views, along the tented field,
With trailing banner, and inverted shield,
Young Donald, borne by Scotia's weeping bands,
In deeper woe the generous hero stands.
'O, early lost,' with faultering voice he cried,
'In the fresh bloom of youth and glory's pride;
Dear, gallant friend! while memory here remains,
While flows the tide of life through Alfred's veins,
Ne'er shall thy virtues from this breast depart,
Ne'er Donald's worth be blotted from this heart.—
Yet the stern despot of the silent tomb,
Who spreads o'er youth and age an equal doom,
Shall here no empire boast,—his ruthless dart
That pierced, with cruel point, thy manly heart,
Snatch'd from his iron grasp, by hovering Fame,
Graves, in eternal characters, thy name.
All who the radiance of thy morn have seen,
Shall augur what thy noon-tide ray had been,
If Fate's decree had given thy rising sun
Its full career of glory to have run;
But oft are Valour's fires, that early blaze,
Quench'd in the crimson cloud their ardours raise.—
'Ah, wretched Gregor! how can words relate,
To thy declining age, thy Donald's fate?
For while of such a son the untimely doom
Drags thy gray hairs in sorrow to the tomb,
Each tale of praise, that tries to soothe thy care,
But wounds thy heart, and plants new horrors there.—
On me, on England's cause, the curse shall fall,
On me the wretched sire shall frantic call;
Who from his arms his soul's last solace led,
On distant plains to mingle with the dead.
Then O, my valiant friends, whose ears attest
Of Donald's dying voice the sad bequest,
With yours my dearest care shall be combined
To smooth the tempests of your monarch's mind;
With you protect, from War's, from Faction's rage,
The feeble remnant of his waning age.
As round our isle the azure billow roars,
From all the world dividing Britain's shores,
Within its fence be Britain's nations join'd
A world themselves, yet friends of human-kind.'
He ceased,—the words applauding Scotia hails,
And low the spear in filial homage vails,
Homage to Alfred, and to England's train,
Eternal friendship vows, and equal reign,
While swells in shouts of transport to the wind,
'Never shall man divide, whom Heaven has join'd!'
And now the light-arm'd foot, and agile horse,
Whose speed pursued the invader's flying force,
Returning from the chase, to Alfred show
The distant refuge of the scatter'd foe.
Through woods and heaths they urge the swift career,
Pale Terror hanging on their trembling rear;
Nor thought of rest, nor hope of safety find,
And hear the victor's shouts in every wind,
Till distant Ashdown's verdant height they scale,
Tremendous frowning o'er Berochia's vale,
On the proud summit of whose rampired steep
Hangs the strong mound, o'er trenches broad and deep;
Where erst her wing Rome's towering eagle spread,
In haughty triumph o'er the Briton's head.
The Monarch hears, and bids his troops prepare
Their flight to follow, and renew the war,
Resolved to sweep from Albion's rescued coast,
The last remains of Scandinavia's host.
'To-day in peace the social hours employ,
In moderate triumph, and in temperate joy:
Let the skill'd Leech the wounded warrior tend,
The generous soldier mourn his parted friend;
Let holy priests, with orison sincere,
Chant the sad requiem o'er the hero's bier;
But when the morrow's dawn first gilds the plain,
Let war's stern duties reassume their reign;
Beneath its banners, let each different band,
Prompt to obey, in silent order stand,
The trumpet's signal waiting, to pursue
The distant squadrons, and the fight renew.'
The chiefs fulfil their king's behest,—the day
In joy, by grief attemper'd, wears away.
For Valour mourns, mid Conquest's chearful cries,
Of friendship, and of blood, the sever'd ties.
But sheath'd in radiant arms, by morn's first light,
The ardent warriors claim the promised fight.
The clarion blows—silent the steady throng
In close compacted order move along;
Each rank, each file, prepared with martial care,
Instant to form the threatening front of war,
Should, from the hollow vale, or mountain's crest,
The ambush'd foe their toilsome march molest.
Twice dewy morn unveil'd her eyelids gray,
Twice blush'd the dappled west with setting day,
While onward still the unwearied victors pass'd,
Till Ashdown's verdant summits rose at last.
The scene of former fame as Alfred hails,
Omen of hope in every breast prevails.
There, on the summit of the embattled brow,
In eve's red beam, the Danish banners glow;
For Guthrum, gathering courage from despair,
The relics of the war collected there.
Close round the camp his host the Briton draws,
And with his mail-clad foot the fortress awes.
While a selected troop, by Edgar led,
Their wakeful guard wide o'er the champaign spread,
Scouring, with rapid steeds, the extended lawn,
In distant circle, till the approach of dawn.
Now sinks of twilight dim the last faint gleam,
And Hesper yields to Luna's brighter beam.
For with full orb the effulgent Queen of Night
Shed, through a cloudless sky, her silver light.—
O'er the broad downs her rays their lustre throw,—
A flood of radiance gilds the vale below.
There the high trees, in splendour keen array'd,
Cast every deep recess in darker shade;
Their leafy summits waving to the sight,
Seem a vast flood of undulating light.—
When, issuing from the camp, a warlike train,
Their bright arms glittering, speed across the plain.
The alarm is instant given,—the Saxon horse
Close on their passage, and oppose their course.
Hemm'd and surrounded by a mightier host,
Useless is flight, and hope from combat lost.
Urging their swift career, with rested lance,
As on each side the circling troops advance,
A voice exclaims, 'Ye English chiefs, forbear!—
Those who nor fight, nor fly, in pity spare.
From yon fenced camp, where morning's rising ray
Shall scenes of carnage and of death display,
This youth, from Guthrum sprung, whose arms nor feel
Valour's firm nerve, nor grasp the warrior's steel,
His royal sire, beneath my guidance, sends
To seek protection from his distant friends.
Your vigilance has marr'd his vain design,
To you, ourselves, our weapons, we resign,
If we must fall, opposed in arms who stood,
Stain not your swords with unoffending blood.'
'Well may the race, in Murder's livery dyed,
Such fate expect,' the gallant Edgar cried.—
'Though mid the thunder of the battle's storm,
Where Horror stalks abroad in ghastly form,
The victor's falchion, with vindictive blow,
May strike a flying, or a yielding foe,
Yet cool, in peaceful parle, the English sword
An unresisting bosom never gored;
Ne'er have our warriors wreak'd their impious rage
On woman, helpless infancy, or age;
To Alfred's tent, devoid of terror, go,
Who in a suppliant, ne'er beholds a foe.'
Straight to the circling camp which Albion's race,
Round Denmark's steep and guarded fortress, trace,
Brave Edgar bids his bands their captives bring,
The royal youth presenting to the king:
Trembling before the monarch's feet he kneels,
Who all the man, and all the parent feels.
'Dismiss thy fears,' with voice benign he said,
His hand extending to the youth dismay'd;
'That mercy which I trembling ask of Heaven,
To mortal suffering ever shall be given.
Such pity as, I trust, my child would know,
From the brave bosom of a generous foe;
Such, bless'd by Providence, my conquering sword
Shall, to the offspring of my foe, afford.
Cursed be the coward rage that sees offence,
Howe'er derived, in weeping innocence!—
Let every doubt, and every terror end,
And in your father's foe, embrace a friend.'
Contending passions struggling in the breast,
Low sinks the youth, by fear and hope depress'd.
Edgar, as prompt to succour and to spare,
As the dread front of bleeding war to dare,
Caught the faint stripling ere he reach'd the ground,
And from his head the shining helm unbound.
Though on the lips was Death's pale ensign spread,
Though from the cheek the blooming rose was fled,
Though on the liquid radiance of the eyes,
The sable lash a silken curtain lies,
Yet o'er the brows, which, with the forehead, show
Like jet encircled in a bed of snow,
Flows in loose ringlets to the fresh'ning air
The soft redundance of the ambrosial hair,
And charms, of more than mortal grace, betray'd
The form and features of a beauteous maid.
Soon as that form struck Edgar's starting eyes,
'My Emma here?' the youth enraptured cries:
'And do these looks once more her beauties trace?
These arms now clasp her in their fond embrace?—
Look up, my love, and with thy fragrant breath
My bosom free from anguish worse than death.'
Waked by the well-known voice, her eye unseal'd,
Through the dark lid returning life reveal'd,
Again their beams reviving pleasure speak,
Again the tint of health illumes her cheek,
And, leaning on young Edgar's raptured breast,
A silent tear her blushing love confess'd.
'Dear beauteous maid,' he cried, 'from me receive
Each tender care that love, that truth can give:
To thee their thanks shall England's chieftains bring,
And bless the charms that rescued England's king.
Love, love of thee, thy faithful Edgar gave
To Guthrum's power a voluntary slave.
Love form'd the spell that drew me to remain
Mid the rude sons of Riot's desperate reign,
Where one soft glance from lovely Emma's eye,
O'erpaid the galling pangs of slavery.
Hence 'twas my hap—to Heaven's protecting power
May grateful Albion consecrate the hour!—
To warn my sovereign, with prophetic breath,
From the abode of danger and of death.
Hence, too, my voice his faithful followers drew
To save Elsitha from a ruffian crew,
Of whose dire cruelty the mildest doom
Is the swift mercy of an instant tomb.'
'Bless'd be thy aid! the lovely cause be bless'd!
For ever partner of Elsitha's breast.—
'Mine, mine,' the royal matron cries, 'the care
To soothe the sorrows of the weeping fair,
From me the Danish maid shall ever prove
At once a parent's and a sister's love.'
Sweet tears of joy now fill the virgin's eye,
Her gentle bosom breathes the grateful sigh,
While a kind glance her looks on Edgar stole
Spoke the soft language of her inmost soul.
Soon the report to Guthrum rumour brings,
For evil tidings fly on eagle wings,
That, by the radiance of the moon betray'd,
The hostile camp detain'd the captive maid.
A herald to the English king he sent
To ask safe conduct to the royal tent.—
The solemn pledge of safety given, he sought
The British host, with splendid ransome fraught;
Where, as along the martial files he pass'd,
Each soldier's eye a glance of triumph cast,
To view the tyrant of the wasted land,
Sad, and unarm'd, an humble suppliant stand.
Yet still was grief by rage indignant drown'd,
Still on his rugged brow defiance frown'd.—
But when the chief his blushing daughter saw
Respect from all, and kind attention draw;
Saw his benignant foes employ their care,
To soothe each terror of the anxious fair,
A kindly beam of fond affection stole,
Unfelt before, across his stubborn soul.
Struggling, he scarce restrain'd the swelling sigh,
Scarce check'd the tear that trembled in his eye;
The stifled pang his faltering voice suppress'd,
He show'd the gold, and silence told the rest.
'Think not,' the Monarch cried, 'our mercy sold;
The mercenary price of proffer'd gold;
Treasures, by plunder gain'd, the lawless spoil
Of England's ruin'd towns, and wasted soil;—
Can these the indignant owners' vengeance bribe,
Panting to force them from your vanquish'd tribe?
Soon as the orient beams of morn are shed
Shall, o'er your camp, war's furious storm be sped.
Nor think yon feeble mounds your heads can shield,
When kindling fury calls us to the field;
When wrongs beyond the strength of man to bear,
Harden each heart, and sharpen every spear.
Look forth on yonder field, and trembling see
Superior numbers, fired by victory.
Numbers, increasing still with every hour,
Croud from the regions round, and swell our power;
Determined each to make your slaughter'd host
A dreadful landmark on the English coast,
And paint Invasion's image on your shore,
In the dire blazonry of Danish gore.
Mistake me not—we do not wish to gain
By threats, a prize our swords must soon obtain.
But anxious to withhold the fatal blow,
To spare a vanquish'd, though a cruel, foe.
Pitying I view the horrors that await,
Your fortress forced, and mercy ask'd too late;
When, by retentive sway no longer bound,
The insatiate fiends of havoc stalk around.
'In safety to your camp return, and there
Weigh well your state in council,—and prepare
Once more the dread award of war to try,
Or trust a generous victor's clemency.—
For this sweet maid, whom Fortune's changeful hour
Has given a captive to my happier power,
Whether you yield to Concord's gentler charms,
Or dare the stern arbitrement of arms,
I pledge my faith her beauties to restore,
Free, and unransomed, to her native shore;
Or, if she fear o'er ocean's wave to roam,
I am her parent, and my realm her home.'
'Enough! enough!' the Danish chief replies,
The bursting shower now gushing from his eyes;
'Firm 'gainst your conquering numbers had I stood,
And, lost to hope, bought glory with my blood,
Smiling elate in death, while round me rose
A dreadful monument of bleeding foes;
But mercy, pure as thine, O, England's lord!
Subdues the stubborn breast that scorns thy sword.
'Go to my camp, declare the conflict o'er,
That Alfred sways, and we resist no more;
Tell them, the sanguine toils of battle cease,—
Here I remain, a hostage of the peace.'
The Danes, with doubting eye and sullen breast,
Receive, in silence deep, their king's behest,
Yet unresolved, or at his will to yield,
Or try again the fortune of the field.
But when the morn's returning light display'd,
Far as the eye the spacious scene survey'd,
Gleams of refulgent arms on every side,
And myriads crowding still to swell the tide,
Hope from resistance sunk,—and bending low
Their banners, trail'd in dust, submission show,
Slow issuing on the plain, the yielding band,
By their piled arms, in anxious silence stand.
To whom the victor thus:—'Dismiss your fear,
Nor vengeance shall ye feel, nor insult hear;
The galling taunts a captive's ear that brave,
Tarnish the brightest trophies valour gave.
To those who wish from Albion's realms to fly,
Who pant for Scandinavia's bleaker sky,
My friendly barks shall yield free conduct o'er,
Shall land in safety on their native shore;
But all who here have ties congenial form'd,
Whose bosoms Albion's milder scenes have charm'd,
Beneath our sway protected may remain,
May freely cultivate the wasted plain;
For much, alas! of our unhappy soil,
Ravaged by war, demands the labourer's toil;
So by your care shall plenty be restored,
Your ploughs repair the ruin of your sword.
Though your remorseless priests, the conflict o'er,
Their bloody idols sate with human gore,
Our holy faith, with lenient precept, shows
The light of pity to repentant foes.—
Demons of Hell grasp Persecution's rod,
Mercy's the darling attribute of God.'
First ran a murmur through the attentive crowd,
Then shouts of joy their glad assent avow'd.
A few, by early ties to Denmark bound,
Cross'd the blue ocean to their natal ground;
But most, from infancy inured to roam,
War their employment, and a camp their home,
Unknown the wish, which turns with fond delight,
To woods and fields that charm'd the infant sight,
While barren moors, in memory's tablet drawn,
Eclipse of cultured care the greenest lawn,
In fertile England fix, nor wish to try
A harsher region, or a ruder sky,
Her laws adopting, happy to obey
The mild decrees of Alfred's parent sway;
Abjure the Pagan lore, whose fiend-like breath
Taught horrid rites of cruelty and death,
For that pure faith, with angel meekness fraught,
To unresisting foes which kindness taught.
From the brave hand his conquest that achieved
The holy cross the Danish chief received,
Wash'd, by the sacred lymph, from sin's foul ban,
No longer Guthrum now, but Athelstan.
Circling a mount, high rising from the plain,
The honour'd tomb of ancient heroes slain,
The minstrel train around, in choral lays
The exulting peal of peace and triumph raise,
While loud the thrilling harp's melodious wire
Vibrates responsive to the vocal choir.
When, issuing from the rest, with awful gait,
Slow moves a sacred troop, in solemn state,
A snowy garb each form majestic wears,
Each on his arm a golden viol bears.
Alfred with wonder, mid the hallow'd band
Conspicuous, sees Cornubia's Druid stand;
Him who, 'mid Athelney's surrounding shade,
Of distant times the glorious scenes display'd;
On the green summit of the grassy mound
Aloft he stands, and views the region round.
Again his heart mysterious strains inspire,
Again his accents breathe prophetic fire,
Which bursting boldly from his struggling breast,
In notes like these the attentive king address'd.
'Alfred, lo! now confirm'd my mystic strain,
Conquest her ensigns waves o'er Albion's reign;
Crown'd with success thy pious efforts see,
Thy foes are vanquish'd, and thy people free.
Much yet for thee remains;—in ether blue
Where yon bold heights melt from the aching view,
Beneath their base, among the flowery meads,
Her silver current gentle Isis leads.
There, to the Muse, must thy protective power
The solemn shade extend, and rear the tower.
Amid the warrior-laurel's blood-stain'd leaves,
Behold her brighter laurel Science weaves.
Lo! Rhedecyna's princely domes arise,
And shoot their thousand turrets to the skies.
There shall Religion light her holy flame,
And moral Wisdom glow at Virtue's name;
With desultory step shall Study rove,
In rapt attention, through each twilight grove.
There all that lies in volumes famed of old,
All that inquiring ages can unfold,
Whatever toil, or genius, can impart,
To charm, inform, and purify the heart,
Sought, and combined, by Education's hand,
Shall spread instruction round the illumined land.
'There, as from war relieved, thy bosom woos,
In Science' awful shade, the moral Muse,
The hallow'd form of Themis shall arise,
Her ample volume opening to thine eyes.
There shalt thou read the sacred code, whose zeal,
On private happiness, rears public weal.
In vain their guard constituent powers may draw,
And public Freedom's bold invader awe,
If fraud oppressive, or litigious strife,
Invade the humbler walks of private life;
Too oft the jealous patriot's general plan
Protects the state, regardless of the man,
While rule on rule that laws coercive frame,
Leave individual freedom but a name;
As the rich arms that blazon'd knighthood dress,
Protect the life, but every limb oppress.
Small is the woe to human life that springs
From tyrant factions, or from tyrant kings,
Compared with what it feels from legal pride,
From statutes rashly framed, or ill applied.
One legislator England's sons shall see,
From aught of pride, and aught of error free;
One code behold a patriot mind employ,
To shield from fraud and force domestic joy.
Though through the creviced wall, and shatter'd pane,
Sings the chill blast, or drives the drizzly rain,
The cot, more guarded than the embattled tower,
Stands a firm fortress 'gainst despotic power.
The poorest hind, in independance strong,
Is free from dread, if innocent of wrong,
Firm o'er his roof while holy Freedom rears
That sacred shield, the judgment of his peers.
'Let the stern despot of coercive law,
With racks and wheels, the wretched culprit awe,
Bid torturing flames and axes seal his doom,
Or plunge him living in the dungeon's tomb;
Thine be the glorious privilege to spare
The scourge of Justice, by preventive care.
The friendly decade, link'd in social ties,
Shall check the guilty scyon ere it rise,
The mild reproof shall weaken Passion's flame,
And kindling vice be quench'd by virtuous shame,
While mutual safety binds the blameless throng,
Each man responsive for his neighbour's wrong.
'As from the scanty rill, mid sheltering reeds
That steals, unnoticed, through the irriguous meads,
Swells the full stream Augusta's walls that laves,
Proud Commerce brooding o'er its sea-broad waves.
From the small acorn's orb, as, nursed by years,
Aloft the oak its giant branches rears,
And wide o'er wat'ry regions learns to roam,
Wherever tempests blow, and billows foam;
So, boldly rising from this humble base,
The simple canon of an artless race,
A fabric stands, the wonder of the sage,
The guard and glory of a polish'd age.
Not to thy native coasts confined alone,—
Borne by thy sons to Earth's remotest zone,
Where, in the burning east, the lamp of day
Chears the mild Bramin with its orient ray,
Where its declining radiance warms a clime
Yet wrapp'd from notice in the womb of time;
Mid boundless tracts, beneath the rigid poles,
Where scarce the foliage bursts, the current rolls,
Where the wild savage treads the dreary coasts,
Rude as their cliffs, and sullen as their frosts;
Or where, embosomed in the southern tide,
Bloom isles and continents yet undescried,
By British arms, and British virtues borne,
Shall arts of cultured life the waste adorn;
The patriot dictates of an Alfred's mind
Spread peace and freedom wide o'er human kind.
'Now learn events, yet unreveal'd that lie
In the dark bosom of futurity.—
As my delighted eyes, in yon firm line,
With friendly folds see Albion's banners join,
I view them, in prophetic vision shewn,
United subjects of a mighty throne;
See Cambria's, Caledonia's, Anglia's name
Blended, and lost in Britain's prouder fame.
And ye, fair Erin's sons, though Ocean's tide
From Britain's shores your kindred shores divide,
That tide shall bear your mingled flags unfurl'd,
A mutual barrier from an envying world;
While the same waves that hostile inroad awe,
The sister isles to closer compact draw,
Waft Friendship's intercourse, and Plenty's stores,
From Shannon's brink, to Humber's distant shores.
Each separate interest, separate right shall cease,
Link'd in eternal amity and peace,
While Concord blesses, with celestial smiles,
The favour'd empire of the British Isles.
'But come, victorious bands! with common toil
Sketch the white courser on the pendent soil.
O'er many a rood the chalky outline drawn
Pourtrays the Saxon ensign on the lawn,
Which, from the extended vale, the curious eye
In times remote, with wonder shall descry—
The lasting monument of victory.
When in revolving age's lapse, once more
We hail the argent steed from Elba's shore,
This in your brave descendants' shields shall shine,
The patriot kings of Othbert's mighty line;
Othbert, of Roman race; who led his train
From Tiber's brink to cold Germania's plain.
This, drawn in silver blazonry, shall grace
The stoutest warriors of Britannia's race;
Mid fiery horrors, yet to war unknown,
Horrors by fiends to future battle shewn;
Mid flames more dreadful than the lightning's glare,
Peals that with louder thunder rend the air
Than Jove's dread bolts, the honour'd badge they bear.
'Oft then, with festal joy, the rustic crew
Shall, the worn outline which you trace, renew;
And, as in yon deep foss and threatening mound,
By which the upland summit now is crown'd,
Then smooth'd by time, by flocks successive trod,
And softly clad in verdure's velvet sod,
With sinewy arm they hurl the massy bar,
Speed the swift race, or wage the sportive war;
Little they reck, though faithful annals tell,
That here Invasion fought, Invasion fell.
'Nor Vinitagia, shall thy humble towers,
Though the dark shade thy lowly walls embowers,
Be shrowded from the Muse's favouring eye,
Or miss the votive strain of melody.
For all who fame in arms, or arts revere,
All to whom Freedom's sacred cause is dear,
All who enjoy a sovereign's temper'd sway,
Which temperate freedom glories to obey,
Shall love, shall venerate the hallow'd earth,
Which gave their first of kings, their Alfred, birth.
'Yet o'er the scene, with dawning splendour bright,
One cloud of sorrow throws funereal night;
Deep in the vale, where yon green summit stands,
Conspicuous rising mid the level lands,
There shall thy son, thy Edward, yield his breath,
And tread the inevitable road of death.—
Restrain thy tears,—for not in youth's fresh bloom
Sinks he, untimely, to the silent tomb.
In lapse of age possessor of thy crown,
Mature in years, in virtue, in renown,
He falls in peace, a people's general groan
His holy passport to a heavenly throne.
'There shall, in Time's remote and distant day,
A voice to Alfred's name devote the lay.
If not like hallow'd poets, who of old
In verse divine of gods and heroes told;
Or those pourtraying truth in fiction's dye,
The fairy bards of Gothic minstrelsy;
Yet while his tongue shall chaunt, in humble strain,
The real glories of an Alfred's reign,
If not by Genius, fired by patriot zeal
For Freedom's favourite seat, for Albion's weal;
For him, though no perennial laurel bloom,
Living to grace his brow, or shade his tomb;
Yet Truth approving, sure may give one flower,
Faint though its tint, and short its transient hour.
'O, would that bard sublime, whose seraph fire
Shall call forth rapture from the epic wire,
Whose daring Muse shall soar, with eagle flight,
Beyond of Grecian song the proudest height,
Drink, with undazzled look, the etherial beams
From the pure fount whence light immortal streams,
Fill, with the magic of his mighty hand,
That outline his creative fancy plann'd,
Then should a monument eternal rise,
Worthy of Alfred's glory, to the skies.
But scorning earthly deeds, and earthly fame,
His bosom burning with celestial flame,
To sapphire fields aloft he wings his flight,
Lost in the blaze of empyréan light.'
Now on the summit of the upland lawn,
In martial pride, beneath their banners drawn,
Stood the united host.—With thrilling clang
At once a thousand harps symphonious rang,
Proclaiming, while war's brazen clarions cease,
'Pride, pomp, and circumstance, of glorious peace.'
Brave Caledonia bows the conquering sword,
And Cambria's prince owns his superior lord.
All hail the godlike hero, first who reigns
Unrivall'd monarch of Britannia's plains;
While Erin's joyful shouts applauding, join
The strains fraternal of the British line.—
The king, surrounded by his victor bands,
In all the pride of conscious virtue stands;
The sounds of homage that around him roll,
Swell not the placid current of his soul.—
Though by the chiefs of shouting hosts adored,
A conquering nation stooping to his sword;
While, with a stronger arm than shook the field,
His clemency compels their souls to yield:
Though myriads burn his purpose to fulfil,
Their rein his wisdom, and their spur his will;
Though conscious Rectitude, with inward voice,
The impulse seconds, and confirms his choice;
In specious colours painting to his mind,
The power unlimited to bless mankind.
Uncheck'd by human barriers, to impart
Wide, the pure dictates of a patriot heart,
Spread peace and justice o'er a smiling land,
Crush stern Oppression with a giant hand;
Yet in Truth's faithful mirror stands reveal'd,
A charge too vast for mortal man to wield.
Convinced, of public care the unnumber'd dyes
From human rights and human crimes that rise,
No single heart can judge, or arm secure,
However active, and however pure;
That the bright lure of arbitrary sway
May tempt the firmest foot from Virtue's way;
With careful hand around his throne he draws
The sacred bulwark of unbiass'd laws.
Or, if awhile his fervid pulse might beat
With the wild frenzy of Ambition's heat,
Sudden the visionary vapours fly
From the mild lustre of Elsitha's eye.
To the soft charities of social life
He turns, from lust of power, and rage of strife;
Feels the true duty of the royal mind,
His first, his purest bliss, to bless mankind.
Scorning the base degenerate power that craves
A hard-wrung homage, from a horde of slaves,
His generous thoughts to nobler fame aspire,
His bosom glows with more celestial fire;
Happy to form, by Virtue's sovereign sway,
A gallant race of freemen to obey,
Respect by deeds of goodness to impart,
And fix his empire o'er the willing heart;
While patriot worth this godlike mandate taught,
'Free be the Briton's action as his thought.'
Such the true pride of Alfred's royal line,
Such of Britannia's kings the right divine.
As in his mind revolving thus, he stood,
The thoughts congenial of the wise and good,
Along the blue serene, with distant voice,
Again Heaven's thunder consecrates his choice;
While Britain's throne applauding angels saw
Rear'd on the base of Liberty and Law.