The threefold future

The future of our Lord
was, is and will occur
In the flesh, in the spirit, and when
one him will gloriously see.

by Angelus Silesius.

The future: time's excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart's mouth.

Future, who won't wait for you?
Everyone is going there.
It suffices you to deepen
the absence that we are.


Translated by A. Poulin

by Rainer Maria Rilke.

The Future—never Spoke

672

The Future—never spoke—
Nor will He—like the Dumb—
Reveal by sign—a syllable
Of His Profound To Come—

But when the News be ripe—
Presents it—in the Act—
Forestalling Preparation—
Escape—or Substitute—

Indifference to Him—
The Dower—as the Doom—
His Office—but to execute
Fate's—Telegram—to Him—

by Emily Dickinson.

Past, Present, Future

Tell me, tell me, smiling child,
What the past is like to thee ?
'An Autumn evening soft and mild
With a wind that sighs mournfully.'

Tell me, what is the present hour ?
'A green and flowery spray
Where a young bird sits gathering its power
To mount and fly away.'

And what is the future, happy one ?
'A sea beneath a cloudless sun ;
A mighty, glorious, dazzling sea
Stretching into infinity.'

by Emily Jane Brontë.

Amelioration And The Future, Man's Noble Tasks

Fall, fall, ye mighty temples to the ground:
Not in your sculptured rise
Is the real exercise
Of human nature's brightest power found.
'Tis in the lofty hope, the daily toil,
'Tis in the gifted line,
In each far thought divine,
That brings down Heaven to light our common soil.

'Tis in the great, the lovely, and the true;
'Tis in the generous thought,
Of all that man has wrought,
Of all that yet remains for man to do.

by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

A Song Of The Future.

Sail fast, sail fast,
Ark of my hopes, Ark of my dreams;
Sweep lordly o'er the drowned Past,
Fly glittering through the sun's strange beams;
Sail fast, sail fast.
Breaths of new buds from off some drying lea
With news about the Future scent the sea:
My brain is beating like the heart of Haste:
I'll loose me a bird upon this Present waste;
Go, trembling song,
And stay not long; oh, stay not long:
Thou'rt only a gray and sober dove,
But thine eye is faith and thy wing is love.

by Sidney Lanier.

Sonnet Xlii: My Future

My future will not copy fair my past -
I wrote that once; and thinking at my side
My ministering life-angel justified
The word by his appealing look upcast
To the white throne of God, I turned at last,
And there, instead, saw thee, not unallied
To angels in thy soul! Then I, long tried
By natural ills, received the comfort fast,
While budding, at thy sight, my pilgrim's staff
Gave out green leaves with morning dews impearled.
I seek no copy now of life's first half:
Leave here the pages with long musing curled,
And write me new my future's epigraph,
New angel mine, unhoped for in the world!

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

AND, O beloved voices, upon which
Ours passionately call because erelong
Ye brake off in the middle of that song
We sang together softly, to enrich
The poor world with the sense of love, and witch,
The heart out of things evil,--I am strong,
Knowing ye are not lost for aye among

The hills, with last year's thrush. God keeps a niche
In Heaven to hold our idols; and albeit
He brake them to our faces and denied
That our close kisses should impair their white,
I know we shall behold them raised, complete,
The dust swept from their beauty,--glorified
New Memnons singing in the great God-light.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Past And Future.

MY future will not copy fair my past
On any leaf but Heaven's. Be fully done,
Supernal Will ! I would not fain be one
Who, satisfying thirst and breaking fast
Upon the fulness of the heart, at last
Saith no grace after meat. My wine hath run
Indeed out of my cup, and there is none
To gather up the bread of my repast
Scattered and trampled ! Yet I find some good
In earth's green herbs, and streams that bubble up
Clear from the darkling ground, -- content until
I sit with angels before better food.
Dear Christ ! when thy new vintage fills my cup,
This hand shall shake no more, nor that wine spill.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Sonnet 42 - 'My Future Will Not Copy Fair My Past'

XLII

'My future will not copy fair my past'—
I wrote that once; and thinking at my side
My ministering life-angel justified
The word by his appealing look upcast
To the white throne of God, I turned at last,
And there, instead, saw thee, not unallied
To angels in thy soul! Then I, long tried
By natural ills, received the comfort fast,
While budding, at thy sight, my pilgrim's staff
Gave out green leaves with morning dews impearled.
I seek no copy now of life's first half:
Leave here the pages with long musing curled,
And write me new my future's epigraph,
New angel mine, unhoped for in the world!

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Past And Future

Past is the past! But no, it is not past,
In us, in us, it quickens, wants, aspires;
And on our hearts the unknown dead have cast
The hunger and the thirst of their desires.

Unknown the pangs, the peace we too prepare!
What shakes this bosom shall reverberate
Through ages unconceived: in that deep lair
The unguessed, unhoped, undreaded issues wait.

Our pregnant acts are all unprophesied.
We dream sublime conclusions; destine, plan,
Build and unbuild; yet turn no jot aside
The something infinite that moves in Man.

We write The End where fate has scarce begun;
And no man knows the thing that he has done.

by Robert Laurence Binyon.

Modern Love Xii: Not Solely That The Future

Not solely that the Future she destroys,
And the fair life which in the distance lies
For all men, beckoning out from dim rich skies:
Nor that the passing hour's supporting joys
Have lost the keen-edged flavour, which begat
Distinction in old times, and still should breed
Sweet Memory, and Hope,--earth's modest seed,
And heaven's high-prompting: not that the world is flat
Since that soft-luring creature I embraced,
Among the children of Illusion went:
Methinks with all this loss I were content,
If the mad Past, on which my foot is based,
Were firm, or might be blotted: but the whole
Of life is mixed: the mocking Past will stay:
And if I drink oblivion of a day,
So shorten I the stature of my soul.

by George Meredith.

Olney Hymn 10: The Future Peace And Glory Of The Church

Hear what God the Lord hath spoken,
'O my people, faint and few,
Comfortless, afflicted, broken,
Fair abodes I build for you.
Thorns of heartfelt tribulation
Shall no more perplex your ways;
You shall name your walls, Salvation,
And your gates shall all be Praise.

'There, like streams that feed the garden,
Pleasures without end shall flow,
For the Lord, your faith rewarding,
All His bounty shall bestow;
Still in undisturb'd possession
Peace and righteousness shall reign;
Never shall you feel oppression,
Hear the voice of war again.

'Ye no more your suns descending,
Waning moons no more shall see;
But your griefs forever ending,
Find eternal noon in me:
God shall rise, and shining o'er ye,
Change to day the gloom of night;
He, the Lord, shall be your glory,
God your everlasting light.'

by William Cowper.

To The People Of The Future

This single link was else respected
By people of the days that gone –
There’s written on its tablet sacred
That Love and Life is one.
But you’re not they, you live like arrows
Of dreams that fly through skies and earth,
And in your flight, unite, my fellows,
The Love and Death.

They said in their pledge eternal
That they are slaves of the bad past,
That they were born in dust infernal,
And will return again to dust.
Your heedless brightness was aroused
By songs of lyre, mad and fine,
Eternity will be your spouse,
The world – a shrine.

All folk were utterly believing
That they must live and love with smiles,
That woman is a child of sinning,
Who’s marked by sins a hundred times.
But different, unearthly sounds
Were brought to you by running years,
And you will take to Snow Crowns
Your gentle friends.

by Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev.

The Future Peace And Glory Of The Church

(Isaiah, ix. 15-20)

Hear what God the Lord hath spoken,
"O my people, faint and few,
Comfortless, afflicted, broken,
Fair abodes I build for you.
Thorns of heartfelt tribulation
Shall no more perplex your ways;
You shall name your walls, Salvation,
And your gates shall all be Praise.

"There, like streams that feed the garden,
Pleasures without end shall flow,
For the Lord, your faith rewarding,
All His bounty shall bestow;
Still in undisturb'd possession
Peace and righteousness shall reign;
Never shall you feel oppression,
Hear the voice of war again.

"Ye no more your suns descending,
Waning moons no more shall see;
But your griefs forever ending,
Find eternal noon in me:
God shall rise, and shining o'er ye,
Change to day the gloom of night;
He, the Lord, shall be your glory,
God your everlasting light."

by William Cowper.

To the People Of the Future

This single link was else respected
By people of the days that gone -
There's written on its tablet sacred
That Love and Life is one.
But you're not they, you live like arrows
Of dreams that fly through skies and earth,
And in your flight, unite, my fellows,
The Love and Death.

They said in their pledge eternal
That they are slaves of the bad past,
That they were born in dust infernal,
And will return again to dust.
Your heedless brightness was aroused
By songs of lyre, mad and fine,
Eternity will be your spouse,
The world - a shrine.

All folk were utterly believing
That they must live and love with smiles,
That woman is a child of sinning,
Who's marked by sins a hundred times.
But different, unearthly sounds
Were brought to you by running years,
And you will take to Snow Crowns
Your gentle friends.


Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, May, 2000

by Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov.

The Doubt Of Future Foes

The doubt of future foes exiles my present joy,
And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten mine annoy;
For falsehood now doth flow, and subjects' faith doth ebb,
Which should not be if reason ruled or wisdom weaved the web.
But clouds of joys untried do cloak aspiring minds,
Which turn to rain of late repent by changed course of winds.
The top of hope supposed the root upreared shall be,
And fruitless all their grafted guile, as shortly ye shall see.
The dazzled eyes with pride, which great ambition blinds,
Shall be unsealed by worthy wights whose foresight falsehood finds.
The daughter of debate that discord aye doth sow
Shall reap no gain where former rule still peace hath taught to know.
No foreign banished wight shall anchor in this port;
Our realm brooks not seditious sects, let them elsewhere resort.
My rusty sword through rest shall first his edge employ
To poll their tops that seek such change or gape for future joy.

by Queen Elizabeth I.

The Future Verdict

How will our unborn children scoff at us
In the good years to come,
The happier ears to come,
Because, like driven sheep, we yielded thus,
Before the shearers dumb.

What are the words their wiser lips will say?
'These men had gained the light;
'These women knew the right;
'They had their chance, and let it slip away.
'They did not, when they might.

'They were the first to hear the gospel preached,
'And to believe therein;
'Yet they remained in sin.
'They saw the promised land they might have reached,
'And dared not enter in.

'They might have won their freedom, had they tried;
'No savage laws forbade;
'For them the way was made.
'They might have had the joys for which they cried
'And yet they shrank, afraid.

'Afraid to face - the martyr's rack and flame?
'The traitor's dungeon? Nay -
'Of what their world would say -
'The smile, the joke, the thinnest ghost of blame!
'Lord! Lord! What fools were they!'

And we - no longer actors of the stage
We cumber now - maybe
With other eyes shall see
This wasted chance, and with celestial rage
Cry 'O what fools were we!'

by Ada Cambridge.

On The Future Of Poetry

Bards of the Future! you that come
With striding march, and roll of drum,
What will your newest challenge be
To our prose-bound community?
What magic will you find to stir
The limp and languid listener?
Will it be daring and dramatic?
Will it be frankly democratic?
Will Pegasus return again
In guise of modern aeroplane,
Descending from a cloudless blue
To drop on us a bomb or two?
I know not. Far be it from me
To darken dark futurity;
Still less to render more perplexed
The last vagary, or the next.
Leave Pindus Hill to those who list,
Iconoclast or anarchist -
So be it. 'They that break shall pay.'
I stand upon the ancient way.
I hold it for a certain thing,
That, blank or rhyming, song must sing;
And more, that what is good for verse,
Need not, by dint of rhyme, grow worse.
I hold that they who deal in rhyme
Must take the standpoint of the time -
But not to catch the public ear,
As mountebank or pulpiteer;
That the old notes are still the new,
If the musician's touch be true -
Nor can the hand that knows its trade
Achieve the trite and ready-made;
That your first theme is Human Life,
Its hopes and fears, its love and strife -
A theme no custom can efface,
Common, but never commonplace;
For this, beyond all doubt, is plain:
The Truth that pleased will please again,
And move men as in bygone years
When Hector's wife smiled through her tears.

by Henry Austin Dobson.

This pictured work, with ancient graces fraught,
(Or so they say) Albertinelli wrought.
He who that touching piece achieved, where meet
The Sisters twain, in Visitation sweet.
Of which the Tuscan city, 'mid her crowd
Of miracles, e'en yet is justly proud.
Oh! matchless line of years, whose generous strife
Reared the reviving arts to perfect life.
Then Petrarch's native lay refined on love;
Then Angelo the impetuous chisel drove;
Then oracles, that stirred young Raphael's breast,
Spoke forth in colours, clear as words, exprest.

Thou too, the pencil's scarce less gifted seer,
Fair is the dream thy hand interprets here.
How sweet yon infant Christ's down-beaming smile
On bright Saint John; who lifts his own the while!
That bliss of young maternity how sweet!
Where mildly mingling Saint and Mother meet.
Nay, more than mother's rapture; to behold
Her Saviour-Son, by prophet-bards foretold.
Or, if adoring meekness e'er had shrine
In human face, Fond Catherine! 'tis in thine.
In that one present joy of all possest;
Heedless of Future; and by Past—unprest.
But Her's, who stands a-near that elder boy,—
Margaret's—I ween is no untroubled joy.
In Her, methinks, the painter's hand hath sought
Meanings to plant of more than common thought.

A look, as if that calm, yet clouded, eye
Had glimpsed the minglings of futurity.
And, 'mid the glories of each final doom,
Foresaw, not less, the sorrows first to come.

by John Kenyon.

Present And Future

Look, as a mother bending o'er her boy,
The sleeping boy that in her bosom lies,
Gazes upon him in a trance of joy
With earnest, infinitely tender eyes,
Lost in her deep love, and aware of nought,
Earth and the sunlight, men and trees and skies
Quite faded out from her impassioned thought;
Yet knows one day it will be otherwise,
When, laid alone within the narrow tomb,
Death leaves her none to love; but in youth's bloom,
Or grown to manhood and to strength, her son
Over the same earth that has closed on her
Rejoicing wanders on,
And strikes fresh tracks of thronged and fruitful life,
Nor frets at the sweet need for change and strife,
With eager mind and glowing heart astir
In ardour ever to pursue
Passions and actions, and adventures new:
So is the Present Age,
So strives she for that Age to come, her child.
Which knows not yet the pain, the sacrifice,
She for its sake endures; it knows not yet,
But must one day, the battles it must wage.
And she, if it within its sleep have smiled,
Is happy in her woes: no vain regret
Saps the sad strength with which she labours still
For that imagined bliss she shall not see,
So dear, so deeply hoped--for though it be.
And ever with unconquerable will,
Bearing her burden, toward one distant star
She moves in her desire; and though with pain
She labour, and the goal she dreams be far,
Proud is she in her passionate soul to know
That from her tears, her very sorrows grow
The joy, the hope, the peace of future men.

by Robert Laurence Binyon.

AUSTRALIA, advancing with rapid winged stride,
Shall plant among nations her banners in pride,
The yoke of dependence aside she will cast,
And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.
Her flag on the tempest will wave to proclaim
’Mong kingdoms and empires her national name;
The Future shall see it, asleep or unfurl’d,
The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing like day on the sky,
Has glimmer’d thro’ darkness, will blazon on high,
A Gem in its glitter has yet to be seen,
When Progress has placed her where England has been;
When bursting those limits above she will soar,
Outstretching all rivals who’ve mounted before,
And, resting, will blaze with her glories unfurl’d,
The empire of empires and boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with Power, will entwine
With Honour and Justice a Mercy divine;
No Despot shall trample—no slave shall be bound—
Oppression must totter and fall to the ground.
The stain of all ages, tyrannical sway,
Will pass like a flash or a shadow away,
And shrink to nothing ’neath thunderbolts hurl’d
From the hand of the terror—the boast of the world.

Australia, advancing with rapid wing’d stride,
Shall plant among nations her banners in pride;
The yoke of dependence aside she will cast,
And build on the ruins and wrecks of the Past.
Her flag in the tempest will wave to proclaim,
’Mong kingdoms and empires her national name,
And Ages shall see it, asleep or unfurl’d
The shelter of Freedom and boast of the world.

by Henry Kendall.

The Future Life

How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
The disembodied spirits of the dead,
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread?

For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.

Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?
That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given?
My name on earth was ever in thy prayer,
Shall it be banished from thy tongue in heaven?

In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind,
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere,
And larger movements of the unfettered mind,
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?

The love that lived through all the stormy past,
And meekly with my harsher nature bore,
And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last,
Shall it expire with life, and be no more?

A happier lot than mine, and larger light,
Await thee there; for thou hast bowed thy will
In cheerful homage to the rule of right,
And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.

For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell,
Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll;
And wrath has left its scar--that fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.

Yet though thou wear'st the glory of the sky,
Wilt thou not keep the same beloved name,
The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye,
Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same?

Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this--
The wisdom which is love--till I become
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?

by William Cullen Bryant.

The Future Of Australia

Sing us the Land of the Southern Sea,
The land we have called our own;
Tell us what harvest there shall be
From the seed that we have sown.

We love the legends of olden days,
The songs of the wind and wave;
And border ballads and minstrel lays,
And the poems Shakespeare gave,

The fireside carols and battle rhymes,
And romaunt of the knightly ring;
And the chant with hint of cathedral chimes,
Of him “made blind to sing.”

The tears they tell of our brethren wept,
Their praise is our fathers' fame;
They sing of the seas our navies swept,
Of the shrines that lent us flame.

But the Past is past, with all its pride,
And its ways are not our ways.
We watch the flow of a fresher tide
And the dawn of newer days.

Sing us the Isle of the Southern Sea,
The land we have called our own;
Tell us what harvest there shall be
From the seed that we have sown.

I see the Child we are tending now
To a queenly stature grown;
The jewels of empire on her brow,
And the purple round her thrown.

She feeds her household plenteously
From the granaries we have filled;
Her vintage is gathered in with glee
From the fields our toil has tilled.

The Old World's outcast starvelings feast,
Ungrudged, on her corn and wine;
The gleaners are welcome, from west and east,
Where her autumn sickles shine.

She clothes her people in silk and wool,
Whose warp and whose woof we spun;
And sons and daughters are hers to rule;
And of slaves, she has not one!

There are herds of hers on a thousand hills!
There are fleecy flocks untold?
No foreign conquest her coffer fills,
She has streams whose sands are gold!

She shall not scramble for falling crowns,
No theft her soul shall soil,
So rich in rivers, so dowered with downs,
She shall have no need of spoil!

But if, wronged or menaced, she shall stand
Where the battle-surges swell,
Be a sword from Heaven in her swarthy hand
Like the sword of La Pucelle!

If there be ever so base a foe
As to speak of a time-cleansed stain,
To say, “She was cradled long ago,
'Mid clank of the convict's chain.”

Ask, as the taunt in his teeth is hurled,
“What lineage sprang SHE from
Who was Empress, once, of the Pagan World
And the Queen of Christendom?”

When the toilsome years of her youth are o'er,
And her children round her throng;
They shall learn from her of the sage's lore,
And her lips shall teach them song.

Then of those in the dust who dwell,
May there kindly mention be,
When the birds that build in the branches tell
Of the planting of the tree

by Mary Hannay Foott.

The Courtship Of The Future

HE.
“What is a kiss?”—Why, long ago,
When pairs, as we, a-wooing sat,
They used to put their four lips. . . . so, . . .
And make a chirping noise. . . . like that.
And, strange to say, the fools were pleased;
A little went a long way then:
A cheek lip-grazed, a finger squeezed,
Was rapture to those ancient men.

Ah, not for us the timid course
Of those old-fashioned bill-and-cooers!
One unit of our psychic force
Had squelched a thousand antique wooers.
For us the god his chalice dips
In fountains fiercer, deeper, dearer,
Than purling confluence of lips
That meet, but bring the Souls no nearer.

Well; 'twas but poverty at worst:
Poor beggars, how could they be choosers!
Not yet upon the world had burst
Our Patent Mutual Blood-Transfusers.
Not yet had Science caught the clue
To joy self-doubling, -squaring, -cubing,—
Nor taught to draw the whole soul through
A foot of gutta-percha tubing.

Come, Lulu, bare the pearly arm;—
Now, where the subtle blue shows keenest,
I hang the duplex, snake-like charm,
(The latest, by a new machinist).
And see, in turn above my wrist
I fix the blood-compelling conduits . . .
Ah, this is what the old world missed,
For all the lore of all its pundits!

I turn the tap—I touch the spring—
Hush, Lulu, hush! our lives are blending.
(This new escapement's quite the thing,

And very well worth recommending.)
Oh circuit of commingling bliss!
Oh bliss of mingling circulation!
True love alone can merge like this
In one continuous pulsation.

Your swift life thrills me through and through:
I wouldn't call the Queen my mother:
Now you are I, and I am you,
And each of us is one another.
Reciprocally influent
The wedded love-tide flows between us:—
Ah, this is what the old fables meant,
For surely, love, our love is venous.

Now, now, your inmost life I know,
How nobler far than mine and grander;
For through my breast your feelings flow,
And through my brain your thoughts meander.
I feel a rush of high desires
With sweet domestic uses blending,
As now I think of angel-choirs,
And now of stockings heaped for mending.

And see—myself! in light enshrined!
An aureole my hat replacing!
Now, amorous yearnings half-defined,
With prudish scruples interlacing.
Next, cloudlike floats a snowy veil,
And—heavens above us!—what a trousseau!..
Come, Lulu, give me tale for tale;
I'll keep transfusing till you do so.

SHE.
Oh, love, this never can be you!
The stream flows turbid, melancholic;
And heavy vapours dull me through,
Dashed with a something alcoholic.
The elective-forces shrink apart,
No answering raptures thrill and quicken;
Strange feelings curdle at my heart,
And in my veins vile memories thicken.

I feel an alien life in mine!
It isn't I! It isn't you, Sir!
This is the mood of Caroline!
Oh, don't tell me! I know the brew, Sir!

Nay, nay,—it isn't “the machine”!
This isn't you—this isn't I, Sir!
It's the old story—you have been
Transfusing elsewhere on the sly, Sir.

by James Brunton Stephens.

A wanderer is man from his birth.
He was born in a ship
On the breast of the river of Time;
Brimming with wonder and joy
He spreads out his arms to the light,
Rivets his gaze on the banks of the stream.

As what he sees is, so have his thoughts been.
Whether he wakes,
Where the snowy mountainous pass,
Echoing the screams of the eagles,
Hems in its gorges the bed
Of the new-born clear-flowing stream;
Whether he first sees light
Where the river in gleaming rings
Sluggishly winds through the plain;
Whether in sound of the swallowing sea--
As is the world on the banks,
So is the mind of the man.

Vainly does each, as he glides,
Fable and dream
Of the lands which the river of Time
Had left ere he woke on its breast,
Or shall reach when his eyes have been closed.
Only the tract where he sails
He wots of; only the thoughts,
Raised by the objects he passes, are his.

Who can see the green earth any more
As she was by the sources of Time?
Who imagines her fields as they lay
In the sunshine, unworn by the plough?
Who thinks as they thought,
The tribes who then roam'd on her breast,
Her vigorous, primitive sons?

What girl
Now reads in her bosom as clear
As Rebekah read, when she sate
At eve by the palm-shaded well?
Who guards in her breast
As deep, as pellucid a spring
Of feeling, as tranquil, as sure?

What bard,
At the height of his vision, can deem
Of God, of the world, of the soul,
With a plainness as near,
As flashing as Moses felt
When he lay in the night by his flock
On the starlit Arabian waste?
Can rise and obey
The beck of the Spirit like him?

This tract which the river of Time
Now flows through with us, is the plain.
Gone is the calm of its earlier shore.
Border'd by cities and hoarse
With a thousand cries is its stream.
And we on its breast, our minds
Are confused as the cries which we hear,
Changing and shot as the sights which we see.

And we say that repose has fled
For ever the course of the river of Time.
That cities will crowd to its edge
In a blacker, incessanter line;
That the din will be more on its banks,
Denser the trade on its stream,
Flatter the plain where it flows,
Fiercer the sun overhead.
That never will those on its breast
See an ennobling sight,
Drink of the feeling of quiet again.

But what was before us we know not,
And we know not what shall succeed.

Haply, the river of Time--
As it grows, as the towns on its marge
Fling their wavering lights
On a wider, statelier stream--
May acquire, if not the calm
Of its early mountainous shore,
Yet a solemn peace of its own.

And the width of the waters, the hush
Of the grey expanse where he floats,
Freshening its current and spotted with foam
As it draws to the Ocean, may strike
Peace to the soul of the man on its breast--
As the pale waste widens around him,
As the banks fade dimmer away,
As the stars come out, and the night-wind
Brings up the stream
Murmurs and scents of the infinite sea.

by Matthew Arnold.

I

Captive on a foreign shore,
Far from Ilion's hoary wave,
Agamemnon's bridal slave
Speaks Futurity no more:
Death is busy with her grave.

II

Thick as water, bursts remote
Round her ears the alien din,
While her little sullen chin
Fills the hollows of her throat:
Silent lie her slaughter'd kin.

III

Once to many a pealing shriek,
Lo, from Ilion's topmost tower,
Ilion's fierce prophetic flower
Cried the coming of the Greek!
Black in Hades sits the hour.

IV

Eyeing phantoms of the Past,
Folded like a prophet's scroll,
In the deep's long shoreward roll
Here she sees the anchor cast:
Backward moves her sunless soul.

V

Chieftains, brethren of her joy,
Shades, the white light in their eyes
Slanting to her lips, arise,
Crowding quick the plains of Troy:
Now they tell her not she lies.

VI

O the bliss upon the plains,
Where the joining heroes clashed
Shield and spear, and, unabashed,
Challenged with hot chariot-reins
Gods!-they glimmer ocean-washed.

VII

Alien voices round the ships,
Thick as water, shouting Home.
Argives, pale as midnight foam,
Wax before her awful lips:
White as stars that front the gloom.

VIII

Like a torch-flame that by day
Up the daylight twists, and, pale,
Catches air in leaps that fail,
Crushed by the inveterate ray,
Through her shines the Ten-Years' Tale.

IX

Once to many a pealing shriek,
Lo, from Ilion's topmost tower,
Ilion's fierce prophetic flower
Cried the coming of the Greek!
Black in Hades sits the hour.

X

Still upon her sunless soul
Gleams the narrow hidden space
Forward, where her fiery race
Falters on its ashen goal:
Still the Future strikes her face.

XI

See toward the conqueror's car
Step the purple Queen whose hate
Wraps red-armed her royal mate
With his Asian tempest-star:
Now Cassandra views her Fate.

XII

King of men! the blinded host
Shout:- she lifts her brooding chin:
Glad along the joyous din
Smiles the grand majestic ghost:
Clytemnestra leads him in.

XIII

Lo, their smoky limbs aloof,
Shadowing heaven and the seas,
Fates and Furies, tangling Threes,
Tear and mix above the roof:
Fates and fierce Eumenides.

XIV

Is the prophetess with rods
Beaten, that she writhes in air?
With the Gods who never spare,
Wrestling with the unsparing Gods,
Lone, her body struggles there.

XV

Like the snaky torch-flame white,
Levelled as aloft it twists,
She, her soaring arms, and wrists
Drooping, struggles with the light,
Helios, bright above all mists!

XVI

In his orb she sees the tower,
Dusk against its flaming rims,
Where of old her wretched limbs
Twisted with the stolen power:
Ilium all the lustre dims!

XVII

O the bliss upon the plains,
Where the joining heroes clashed
Shield and spear, and, unabashed,
Challenged with hot chariot-reins
Gods!-they glimmer ocean-washed.

XVIII

Thrice the Sun-god's name she calls;
Shrieks the deed that shames the sky;
Like a fountain leaping high,
Falling as a fountain falls:
Lo, the blazing wheels go by!

XIX

Captive on a foreign shore,
Far from Ilion's hoary wave,
Agamemnon's bridal slave
Speaks Futurity no more:
Death is busy with her grave.

by George Meredith.

Here I Sit With My Paper…

Here I sit with my paper, my pen my ink,
First of this thing, and that thing,
and t'other thing think ;
I Then my thoughts come so pell and
I mell all into my mind,
That the sense or the subject I never can find :
This word is wrong placed, no
regard to the sense,
The present and future, instead of
past tense,
Then my grammar I want; O dear!
what a bore,
I think I shall never attempt to
write more,
With patience I then my thoughts
must arraign,
Have them all in due order like
mutes in a train,
Like them too must wait in due
patience and thought,
Or else my fine works will all come
to nought.
My wit too 's so copious, it flows
like a river,
But disperses its waters on black
and white never ;
Like smoke it appears independent
and free,
But ah luckless smoke! it all passes
like thee
Then at length all my patience entirely
lost,
My paper and pens in the fire are
tossed ;
But come, try again you must
never despair,
Our Murray's or Entick's are not
all so rare,
Implore their assistance they'll
come to your aid,
Perform all your business without
being paid,
They'll tell you the present tense,
future and past,
Which should come first, and which
should come last,
This Murray will do then to Entick
repair,
To find out the meaning of any
word rare.
This they friendly will tell, and
ne'er make you blush,
With a jeering look, taunt, or an
O fie! tush!
Then straight all your thoughts in
black and white put,
Not minding the if's, the be's, and
the but,
Then read it all over, see how it
will run,
How answers the wit, the retort,
and the pun,
Your writings may then with old
Socrates vie,
May on the same shelf with Demosthenes
lie,
May as Junius be sharp, or as Plato
be sage,
The pattern or satire to all of the
age;
But stop a mad author I mean not
to turn,
Nor with thirst of applause does my
heated brain burn,
Sufficient that sense, wit, and grammar
combined,
My letters may make some slight
food for the mind ;
That my thoughts to my friends I
may freely impart,
In all the warm language that flows
from the heart.
Hark! futurity calls! it loudly
complains,
It bids me step forward and just
hold the reins,
My excuse shall be humble, and
faithful, and true,
Such as I fear can be made but by
few
Of writers this age has abundance
and plenty,
Three score and a thousand, two
millions and twenty,
Three score of them wits who all
sharply vie,
To try what odd creature they best
can belie,
A thousand are prudes who for
Charity write,
And fill up their sheets with spleen,
envy, and spite,
One million are bards, who to
Heaven aspire,
And stuff their works full of bombast,
rant, and fire,
T'other million are wags who in
Grub-street attend,
And just like a cobbler the old writings
mend,
The twenty are those who for pulpits
indite,
And pore over sermons all Saturday
night.
And now my good friends who
come after I mean,
As I ne'er wore a cassock, or dined
with a dean,
Or like cobblers at mending I never
did try,
Nor with poets in lyrics attempted
to vie;
As for prudes these good souls I
both hate and detest,
So here I believe the matter must
rest.
I've heard your complaint my
answer I've made,
And since to your calls all the
tribute I've paid,
Adieu my good friend ; pray never
despair,
But grammar and sense and everything dare,
Attempt but to write dashing, easy,
and free,
Then take out your grammar and
pay him his fee,
Be not a coward, shrink not to a
tense,
But read it all over and make it
out sense.
What a tiresome girl! pray soon
make an end,
Else my limited patience you'll
quickly expend.
Well adieu, I no longer your patience
will try
So swift to the post now the letter
shall fly.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Cassandra. From Schiller

Joy in Ilion's hall resoundeth,
Ere the mighty city fell;
Festive hymns of triumph sounded
With the gold harp's richest swell.
Each stern warrior rests at last
From that strife of direst slaughter;
For the brave Pelides weds
Royal Priam's loveliest daughter.

Troop on troop, with laurel garlands,
Slowly swept the bridal train
Onward to the sacred temple
Where arose the Thymbrian's fane.
By them ran, with long hair streaming,
Ivy‐crownéd Mænades;
One alone, of sorrow dreaming,
Wandered in her wretchedness.

Joyless, while they chant their praises
None to soothe her, none to love
Did Cassandra tread the mazes
Of Apollo's laurel grove;
To the wild wood's deepest shadow
Fled the mystic maiden now,
And she dashed the priestess‐fillet
Wildly from her throbbing brow.

"Everywhere are sounds of gladness,
From each happy heart awoke;
I alone must rove in sadness,
I alone must grief invoke.
Joy illumes my father's features,
Garlanded my sisters stand
Yet I hear the rushing pinions
Of Destruction o'er our land.

"Wildly high a torch is flashing,
But 'tis not from Hymen's hand;
Upward see the red stream dashing,
But 'tis not an altar brand.
Costly viands, festal dances,
Wait the bridegroom and the bride
Yet the Avenger's step advances,
Who will crush them in their pride.

"And they mock my prophet wailing,
And they scorn my words of woe;
Fatal gift and unavailing
Still I've wandered to and fro,
Shunn'd by all the happy round me,
Scorned by all where'er I trod;
Heavily thou hast foredoomed me,
Oh! thou mighty Pythian God!

"Why on me was laid the mission:
Lift the future's mystic shroud?
Why to me the seer's vision
'Mid a spirit‐darkened crowd?
When the mortal arm is weak,
Wherefore give the prophet's power?
Can it turn the stream, or break
Clouds of woe that darkly lower?

"Wherefore lift the pall o'ershading
Dark and dread Futurity?
Ignorance is joy unfading
Knowledge, death and misery.
Oh! recall thy mournful mission
Take the future from my sight:
Fatal is the prophet's vision
To the form that shrines its light.

"Give me back the happy blindness,
Ere my childhood felt thy spell;
Never sang I in joy's wildness
Since I heard thy oracle.
Clear the future lies before me,
But the present veiled away;
Oh! to life and joy restore me
Take thy cruel gift away!

"Never round my perfumed tresses
May the bridal wreath entwine;
'Mid thy temple's drear recesses
Doomed in loneliness to pine.
Never o'er my youth of weeping
Did one happy moment rise
Never aught but sorrow reaping
From thy fatal mysteries.

"See my gay companions round me,
Blessed with all that love can give;
I alone, my youth consuming,
Live to weep, and weep to live.
Vain to me the sun, the skies,
The flowers on the green earth bending;
Who the joys of life would prize
That could know their bitter ending?

"Thou, Polyxena, art happy
In thy love's first deep excess,
Hellas gives her bravest hero
To thy young heart's fond caress.
Proudly is her bosom heaving,
Conscious of her bridegroom's love,
Whilst her dreams of pleasure weaving,
Envies not the Gods above.

"And I, too, have trembled gazing
Upon one my heart adored
In his deep eyes' soft appraising
Reading love's unspoken word.
Bridal vows I'd fain have uttered,
Oh, to him how willingly!
But there stepped a Stygian spectre
Nightly between him and me.

"Pale and hideous phantoms haunt me,
From the realms of Proserpine;
Ghastly shades of gloom confront me,
Everywhere my steps incline;
Even in festive scenes of pleasure,
Stifling bright youth's careless glee
Oh! that I could know the treasure
Of a young heart's gaiety!

"Ha! the murderer's steel is beaming!
The murderer's eye glares wildly bright!
Whither shall I fly the gleaming
Of the Future's lurid light?
All in vain I turn my glances
Still the vision's ghastly hand
Points my doom as it advances:
Death within the stranger's land."

Does the phophet‐maiden falter?
Hark! those wild disordered cries!
Slain before the sacred altar,
Dead the son of Thetis lies.
Eris shakes her wreathed serpents
All the Gods their temples shun
And a thunder‐cloud is resting
Heavily on Ilion!

by Lady Jane Wilde.

A Vision Out West

Far reaching down's a solid sea sunk everlastingly to rest,
And yet whose billows seem to be for ever heaving toward the west
The tiny fieldmice make their nests, the summer insects buzz and hum
Among the hollows and the crests of this wide ocean stricken dumb,
Whose rollers move for ever on, though sullenly, with fettered wills,
To break in voiceless wrath upon the crumbled bases of far hills,
Where rugged outposts meet the shock, stand fast, and hurl them back again,
An avalanche of earth and rock, in tumbled fragments on the plain;
But, never heeding the rebuff, to right and left they kiss the feet
Of hanging cliff and bouldered bluff till on the farther side they meet,
And once again resume their march to where the afternoon sun dips
Toward the west, and Heaven's arch salutes the Earth with ruddy lips.

Such is the scene that greets the eye: wide sweep of plain to left and right:
In front low hills that seem to lie wrapped in a veil of yellow light—
Low peaks that through the summer haze frown from their fancied altitude,
As some small potentate might gaze upon a ragged multitude.
Thus does the battlemented pile of high-built crags, all weather-scarred,
Where grass land stretches mile on mile, keep scornful solitary guard;
Where the sweet spell is not yet broke, while from her wind-swept, sun-kissed dream
Man's cruel touch has not yet woke this Land where silence reigns supreme:

Not the grim silence of a cave, some vaulted stalactited room,
Where feeble candle-shadows wave fantastically through the gloom—
But restful silence, calm repose: the spirit of these sky-bound plains
Tempers the restless blood that flows too fiery through the swelling veins;
Breathes a faint message in the ear, bringing the weary traveller peace;
Whispers, ‘Take heart and never fear, for soon the pilgrimage will cease!
Beat not thy wings against the cage! Seek not to burst the padlocked door
That leads to depths thou canst not gauge! Life is all thine: why seek for more?
Read in the slow sun's drooping disc an answer to the thoughts that vex:
Ponder it well, and never risk the substance for its dim reflex.'

Such is the silent sermon told to those who care to read this page
Where once a mighty ocean rolled in some dim, long-forgotten age.
Here, where the Mitchell grass waves green, the never-weary ebb and flow
Of glassy surges once was seen a thousand thousand years ago:
To such a sum those dead years mount that Time has grown too weary for
The keeping of an endless count, and long ago forgot their score.

But now—when, hustled by the wind, fast-flying, fleecy cloud-banks drift
Across the sky where, silver-skinned, the pale moon shines whene'er they lift,
And throws broad patches in strange shapes of light and shade, that seem to meet
In dusky coastline where sharp capes jut far into a winding-sheet
Of ghostly, glimmering, silver rays that struggle 'neath an inky ledge
Of driving cloud, and fill deep bays rent in the shadow's ragged edge—
Sprung from the gloomy depths of Time, faint shapes patrol the spectral sea,
Primeval phantom-forms that climb the lifeless billows silently,
Trailing along their slimy length in thirst for one another's blood,
Writhing in ponderous trials of strength, as once they did before the flood.

They sink, as, driven from the North by straining oar and favouring gale,
A misty barge repels the froth which hides her with a sparkling veil:
High-curled the sharpened beak doth stand, slicing the waters in the lead;
The low hull follows, thickly manned by dim, dead men of Asian breed:
Swift is her passage, short the view the wan moon's restless rays reveal
Of dusky, fierce-eyed warrior crew, of fluttering cloth and flashing steel;
Of forms that mouldered ages past, ere from recesses of the sea,
With earthquake throes this land was cast in Nature's writhing agony.

As the warm airs of Spring-time chase reluctant snows from off the range,
And plant fresh verdure in their place, so the dimvisioned shadows change;
And glimpses of what yet shall be bid the past fly beyond all ken,
While rising from futurity appear vast colonies of men
Who from the sea-coast hills have brought far-quarried spoils to build proud homes
Of high-piled palaces, all wrought in sloping roofs and arching domes,
Smooth-pillared hall, or cool arcade, and slenderest sky-piercing spire,
Where the late-sinking moon has laid her tender tints of mellow fire,
And golden paves the spacious ways where, o'er the smoothen granite flags,
The lightning-driven car conveys its freight with force that never lags.

A goodly city! where no stain of engine-smoke or factory grime
Blemishes walls that will retain their pristine pureness for all time:
Lying as one might take a gem and set it in some strange device
Of precious metal, and might hem it round with stones of lesser price—
So from encircling fields doth spring this city where, in emerald sheen,
Man hath taught Nature how to bring a mantle of perennial green—
Hewing canals whose banks are fringed by willows bending deeply down
To waters flowing yellow-tinged beneath the moon toward the town—
Filling from mighty reservoirs, sunk in the hollows of the plain,
That flood the fields without a pause though Summer should withhold her rain.
Labour is but an empty name to those who dwell within this land,
For they have boldly learnt to tame the lightning's flash with iron hand:
That Force, the dartings from whose eyes not even gods might brave and live,
The blasting essence of the skies, proud Jupiter's prerogative—
His flashing pinions closely clipt, pent in a cunning-fashioned cage,
Of all his flaming glory stript—these men direct his tempered rage:
A bondman, at their idlest breath with silent energy he speeds,
From dawn of life to hour of death, to execute their slightest needs.

Slow to her couch the moon doth creep, but, going, melts in sparkling tears
Of dew, because we may not keep this vision of the future years:
Swiftly, before the sunrise gleam, I watch it melting in the morn—
The snowy city of my dream, the home of nations yet unborn!

by Barcroft Henry Thomas Boake.

I WAS a laughing child, and gaily dwelt
Where murmuring brooks, and dark blue rivers roll'd,
And shadowy trees outspread their silent arms,
To welcome all the weary to their rest.
And there an antique castle rais'd its head,
Where dwelt a fair and fairy girl: perchance
Two summers she had seen beyond my years;
And all she said or did, was said and done
With such a light and airy sportiveness,
That oft I envied her, for I was poor,
And lowly, and to me her fate did seem
Fraught with a certainty of happiness.
Years past; and she was wed against her will,
To one who sought her for the gold she brought,
And they did vex and wound her gentle spirit,
Till madness took the place of misery.

And oft I heard her low, soft, gentle song,
Breathing of early times with mournful sound,
Till I could weep to hear, and thought how sad.
The envied future of her life had prov'd.
And then I grew a fond and thoughtful girl,
Loving, and deeming I was lov'd again:
But he that won my easy heart, full soon
Turn'd to another:-she might be more fair,
But could not love him better. And I wept,
Day after day, till weary grew my spirit,
With fancying how happy she must be
Whom he had chosen-yet she was not so;
For he she wedded, loved her for a time,
And then he changed, even as he did to me,
Though something later; and he sought another
To please his fancy, far away from home.
And he was kind: oh, yes! he still was kind.
It vex'd her more; for though she knew his love
Had faded like the primrose after spring,
Yet there was nothing which she might complain,
Had cause to grieve her; he was gentle still.
She would have given all the store she had,
That he would but be angry for an hour,
That she might come and soothe his wounded spirit,
And lay her weeping head upon his bosom,
And say, how freely she forgave her wrongs:

But still, with calm, cold kindness he pursued
(Kindness, the mockery of departed love!)
His way-and then she died, the broken-hearted;
And I thanked heaven, who gave me not her lot,
Though I had wish'd it.
Again, I was a wife, a happy wife;
And he I loved was still unchangeable,
And kind, and true, and loved me from his soul;
But I was childless, and my lonely heart
Yearned for an image of my heart's beloved,
A something which should be my 'future' now
That I had so much of my life gone by;
Something to look to after I should go,
And all except my memory be past.
There was a child, a little rosy thing,
With sunny eyes, and curled and shining hair,
That used to play among the daisy flowers,
Looking as innocent and fair as they;
And sail its little boat upon the stream,
Gazing with dark blue eyes in the blue waters,
And singing in its merriment of heart
All the bright day: and when the sun was setting,
It came unbid to its glad mother's side,
To lisp with holy look its evening prayer:
And, kneeling on the green and flowery ground,
At the sweet cottage door-he fixed his eyes

For some short moments on her tranquil face,
As if she was his guiding star to God;
And then with young, meek, innocent brow upraised,
Spoke the slow words with lips that longed to smile,
But dared not. Oh! I loved that child with all
A mother's fondest love; and, as he grew
More and more beautiful from day to day,
The half-involuntary sigh I gave
Spoke but too plain the wish that he were mine-
My child-my own. And in my solitude,
Often I clasped my hands and thought of him,
And looked with mournful and reproachful gaze
To heaven, which had denied me such a one.
Years past: the child became a rebel boy;
The boy a wild, untamed, and passionate youth;
The youth a man-but such a man! so fierce,
So wild, so headlong, and so haughty too,
So cruel in avenging any wrongs,
So merciless when he had half avenged them!
At length his hour had come-a deed of blood,
Of murder, was upon his guilty soul.
He stood in that same spot, by his sweet home,
The same blue river flowing by his feet,
(Whose stream might never wash his guilt away
The same green hills, and mossy sloping banks,
Where the bright sun was smiling as of yore:

With pallid cheek and dark and sullen brow,
The beautiful and lost; you might have deemed
That Satan, newly banished, stood and gazed
On the bright scenery of an infant world.
For, fallen as he was, his Maker's hand
Had stamped him beauteous, and he was so still.
And his eyes turned from off his early home
With something like a shudder; and they lighted
On his poor broken-hearted mother's grave.
And there was something in them of old times,
Ere sin had darkened o'er their tranquil blue,
In that most mournful look-that made me weep;
'For I had gazed on him with fear and anguish
Till now. And, 'weep for her,' my favourite said,
For she was good-I murdered her-I killed
Many that harmed me not.' And still he spoke
In a low, listless voice; and forms came round
Who dragged him from us. I remember not
What followed then. But on another day,
There was a crowd collected, and a cart
Slowly approached to give to shameful death
Its burden; and there was a prayer, and silence,
Silence like that of death. And then a murmur!
And all was over. And I groaned, and turned
To where his poor old father had been sitting;
And there he sate, still with his feeble limbs

And palsied head, and dim and watery eyes,
Gazing up at the place where was his son;
And with a shuddering touch I sought to rouse him,
But could not, for the poor old man was dead.
And then I flung myself upon the ground,
And mingled salt tears with the evening dew;
And thanked my God that he was not my son;
And that I was a childless, lonely wife.
To-morrow I will tell thee all that now
Remains to tell-but I am old and feeble.
And cannot speak for tears.
She rose and went,
But she returned no more. The morrow came,
But not to her;-the tale of life was finished,
Not by her lips, for she had ceased to breath.
But, by this silent warning joined to hers,
How little we may count upon the future,
Or reckon what that future may bring forth!

by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton.

To My Father (Translated From Milton)

Oh that Pieria's spring would thro' my breast
Pour its inspiring influence, and rush
No rill, but rather an o'erflowing flood!
That, for my venerable Father's sake
All meaner themes renounced, my Muse, on wings
Of Duty borne, might reach a loftier strain.
For thee, my Father! howsoe'er it please,
She frames this slender work, nor know I aught,
That may thy gifts more suitably requite;
Though to requite them suitably would ask
Returns much nobler, and surpassing far
The meagre stores of verbal gratitude.
But, such as I possess, I send thee all.
This page presents thee in their full amount
With thy son's treasures, and the sum is nought;
Naught, save the riches that from airy dreams
In secret grottos and in laurel bow'rs,
I have, by golden Clio's gift, acquir'd.
Verse is a work divine; despise not thou
Verse therefore, which evinces (nothing more)
Man's heav'nly source, and which, retaining still
Some scintillations of Promethean fire,
Bespeaks him animated from above.
The Gods love verse; the infernal Pow'rs themselves
Confess the influence of verse, which stirs
The lowest Deep, and binds in triple chains
Of adamant both Pluto and the shades.
In verse the Delphic priestess, and the pale
Tremulous Sybil make the Future known,
And He who sacrifices, on the shrine
Hangs verse, both when he smites the threat'ning bull,
And when he spreads his reeking entrails wide
To scrutinize the Fates envelop'd there.
We too, ourselves, what time we seek again
Our native skies, and one eternal Now
Shall be the only measure of our Being,
Crown'd all with gold, and chanting to the lyre
Harmonious verse, shall range the courts above,
And make the starry firmament resound.
And, even now, the fiery Spirit pure
That wheels yon circling orbs, directs, himself,
Their mazy dance with melody of verse
Unutt'rable, immortal, hearing which
Huge Ophiuchus holds his hiss suppress'd,
Orion, soften'd, drops his ardent blade,
And Atlas stands unconscious of his load.
Verse graced of old the feasts of kings, ere yet
Luxurious dainties destin'd to the gulph
Immense of gluttony were known, and ere
Lyaeus deluged yet the temp'rate board.
Then sat the bard a customary guest
To share the banquet, and, his length of locks
With beechen honours bound, proposed in verse
The characters of Heroes and their deeds
To imitation, sang of Chaos old,
Of Nature's birth, of Gods that crept in search
Of acorns fall'n, and of the thunderbolt
Not yet produc'd from Aetna's fiery cave.
And what avails, at last, tune without voice,
Devoid of matter? Such may suit perhaps
The rural dance, but such was ne'er the song
Of Orpheus, whom the streams stood still to hear
And the oaks follow'd. Not by chords alone
Well-touch'd, but by resistless accents more
To sympathetic tears the Ghosts themselves
He mov'd: these praises to his verse he owes.
Nor Thou persist, I pray thee, still to slight
The sacred Nine, and to imagine vain
And useless, Pow'rs by whom inspir'd, thyself
Art skillfill to associate verse with airs
Harmonious, and to give the human voice
A thousand modulations, heir by right
Indisputable of Arion's fame.
Now say, what wonder is it, if a son
Of thine delight in verse, if so conjoin'd
In close affinity, we sympathize
In social arts and kindred studies sweet?
Such distribution of himself to us
Was Phoebus' choice; thou hast thy gift, and I
Mine also, and between us we receive,
Father and son, the whole inspiring God.
No. Howsoe'er the semblance thou assume
Of hate, thou hatest not the gentle Muse,
My Father! for thou never bad'st me tread
The beaten path and broad that leads right on
To opulence, nor did'st condemn thy son
To the insipid clamours of the bar,
To laws voluminous and ill observ'd,
But, wishing to enrich me more, to fill
My mind with treasure, led'st me far away
From city-din to deep retreats, to banks
And streams Aonian, and, with free consent
Didst place me happy at Apollo's side.
I speak not now, on more important themes
Intent, of common benefits, and such
As Nature bids, but of thy larger gifts
My Father! who, when I had open'd once
The stores of Roman rhetoric, and learn'd
The full-ton'd language, of the eloquent Greeks,
Whose lofty music grac'd the lips of Jove,
Thyself did'st counsel me to add the flow'rs
That Gallia boasts, those too with which the smooth
Italian his degentrate speech adorns,
That witnesses his mixture with the Goth,
And Palestine's prophetic songs divine.
To sum the whole, whate'er the Heav'n contains,
The Earth beneath it, and the Air between,
The Rivers and the restless deep, may all
Prove intellectual gain to me, my wish
Concurring with thy will; Science herself,
All cloud removed, inclines her beauteous head
And offers me the lip, if, dull of heart,
I shrink not and decline her gracious boon.
Go now, and gather dross, ye sordid minds
That covet it; what could my Father more,
What more could Jove himself, unless he gave
His own abode, the heav'n in which he reigns?
More eligible gifts than these were not
Apollo's to his son, had they been safe
As they were insecure, who made the boy
The world's vice-luminary, bade him rule
The radiant chariot of the day, and bind
To his young brows his own all dazzling-wreath.
I therefore, although last and least, my place
Among the Learned in the laurel-grove
Will hold, and where the conqu'ror's ivy twines,
Henceforth exempt from th'unletter'd throng
Profane, nor even to be seen by such.
Away then, sleepless Care, Complaint away,
And Envy, with thy 'jealous leer malign'
Nor let the monster Calumny shoot forth
Her venom'd tongue at me. Detested foes!
Ye all are impotent against my peace,
For I am privileged, and bear my breast
Safe, and too high, for your viperean wound.
But thou my Father! since to render thanks
Equivalent, and to requite by deeds
Thy liberality, exceeds my power,
Sufffice it, that I thus record thy gifts,
And bear them treasur'd in a grateful mind!
Ye too, the favourite pastime of my youth,
My voluntary numbers, if ye dare
To hope longevity, and to survive
Your master's funeral pile, not soon absorb'd
In the oblivious Lethaean gulph
Shall to Futurity perhaps convey
This theme, and by these praises of my sire
Improve the Fathers of a distant age.

by William Cowper.

Past And Future

Our Past—how strangely swift! Its years—mere months!
Months—clipped to weeks! and longest day—an hour!
But oh! how slow the Future; slow to all
Of every age and being. Yon school-urchin,
Fresh from his Christmas-home, as now he bends him
With saddened brow o'er the black greasy slate;
Or strains himself, at stroke of early clock,
His all-unwelcome bedtime, to confront
Cold touch of wiry sheet, ah! not like home's;
How vainly would he pierce the dim half year

To his next holidays; and asks himself,
'And will they—will they—can they ever come?'
Youth too, who sighs for the proud masterdom
Of one and twenty; his great holiday;
When he may satisfy intense desire
With horn and hound and golden racing-cup;
Maturer toys! Or he, young too, who wends him
From Eastern warfare, on some gallant ship,
Home to his bride affianced, whom he hath loved
From their late school-hood; tho' the willing prow
Cut cheerily on; and the still-steady breeze
Stiffen each sail; and that long lively wake
May tell to all but him how fast she goes;
He too (and each in turn) exclaims 'How slow!'
Yea, Middle-Age not less, tho' oft he hath proved
How Time, the crawling tortoise, as he deemed,

Hath, all that while, been Time, the fleet of foot;
Who—having won the Future all too soon—
With sudden turning, as of wheel reversed—
Unwinds that Future back into the Past;
Spite of experience, he too holds the Coming
A long, long tract; blank space interminable,
On which to inscribe his plans; wealth to be won;
Or honours added; or field joined to field;
Or glory achieved thro' arms, or art, or song;
Till, on a day, he finds his head a-whitening;
Yet, even then, his plans all unfulfilled,
May scarce yield credence to his own grey hairs.
So surely is the Future long to All!
Nay, not to All. A certain hill there is,
Not like the mighty Tuscan's obscure wood,
'In the mid-way of this our mortal life,'

But one third further on; which whoso climbs,
Should pensive thought disown him not, there finds
If brief the Past, how brief the Future too.
Thence marks he what scant slip doth lie between
Him and that fated sea, that gulfeth all.
So near, he views distinct the thin surf-line,
Narrowing yet more and more the narrow strand.
And even may hear the onward-stealing wave,
Which pulses, ah! how regular; if faint
As his own pulse, which soon shall cease to beat.

Sad lore to learn! which he, who once hath learned,
Forgets not; but henceforward walks his life
Ghost-beckoned by the Future. Like to him,
(Of such men tell) some second-sighted seer,
For whom the very merriest village bells,
That ever pealed for new-born babe, or bride,
Have yet, within, a haunting under-note,
That saith 'Ere long we toll.' Or yet more like

Yon felon-wretch law doomed; to whom yet mercy
Hath granted some brief respite; if, in sooth,
It be a boon of mercy, that sad leave
To pause awhile, and shudder o'er th' abyss,
And then 'Farewell.'
So 'tis—that every age
Doth make its own believings. Things, so named,
But seemings; and our very solidest facts
Mere shadows from the will; or standing-place
Shapes the whole vision. Sculptor young was he,
And teeming with the thoughts of his own years,
Who first devised yon figure of old Time.
He knew him old; and gave him withered limbs;
Yet sinewy, and strong for work withal;
(For Youth believeth in long working day,)
And those firm wings; for he had far to fly;
And that stout scythe; for he had much to mow;

Then with one forelock, and ('twas Art's caprice)
A chrystal hour-glass in the marble-hand,
The statue stood complete.
And stood around
A group—as young—regarding. Hopes and Fears—
Nay—Fears were none; but gratulating Hopes;
Each for his own glad prospect. While the gayer
Were jeering him. As 'Go thy way, Old Grey-beard!
Thou of the chrystal cone admonitory!
With thy long scythe and longer wings, go mow
All, if thou wilt, the steppes of Tartary;
Or fly thee, if thou choose, from pole to pole;
For what art thou to us? Unless indeed
We clutch—as sooth we will—the jocund moral
Of thy short forelock, and enjoy the Present.'
That Present long had passed. Years were flown by;
And lo! there stood beside that self-same statue

Another group; another yet the same;
A few grey-headed men; the scant remains
Of those who had gazed before. The rest—where were they?
But now, methinks, not only were their locks,
But eye-sights changed,—to which no more appeared
The same—that statue; or had changed, like them.
For that broad chrystal cone, down which, of old,
When shifted to reverse by curious hand,
The sands had seemed to drawl, (like some rich unguent
From forth the narrow neck of golden vase
Dripping reluctantly, when dark-locked beauty
Impatient craves it for her clustering hair,)
They now beheld it dwarfed and tapered down
To minute-glass; through which the glittering grains,
Too swift almost for aged eyes to follow,

Leapt twinklingly; as if in turn to jeer,
With 'Now, good friends! we sure run fast enough!'
So too that scythe, whose length of curvature
Had seemed full fit to sweep uncounted fields,
(And which, or whether plied thro' rough or smooth,
—For rough and smooth to Time are all the same—
Had stirred the heedless ear of youth no more
Than doth the mower's, who, on some sweet June morn,
Steals silently amid the dewy grass,)
Was now a short hooked sickle; fit not less
For its cramped breadth of harvest; and they heard it,
Or thought they heard it, rasping audibly
With brisk sharp rustle 'mid the dry sere stalks;
Themselves as dry and sere!
While each long wing,
Down pointed from spare back to skinny heel,

—Which might have borne strong eagle on his quest
From realm to realm—was clipped and rounded now,
As those which only just suffice to bear
The whirring partridge on from brake to brake;
If swift, yet soon to fall. Or like the plumes
Fan-shaped and hardly fledged; which sculpture hangs
On the sleek shoulders of the little Loves.
They too, as many a maiden's tear attests,
They too, who take short flights—and drop too soon.
But lo! beside that figure of old Time
Stood now another figure; which, whilom,
Had not stood there; or which they saw not then,
When youth is busied more to feel than see.
Figure it was with loosely-folded arms,
And bended brow, and introspective eye,
Which seemed as if it pondered on the Past.
The young, had any such been mingling there,

Might well have marvelled what such form should mean.
But of that gray-haired group, which clustered round,
Not one there was but knew the name—and sighed—
When—asking—it was answered them 'Regret.'

by John Kenyon.

Song Of The Future

'Tis strange that in a land so strong
So strong and bold in mighty youth,
We have no poet's voice of truth
To sing for us a wondrous song.
Our chiefest singer yet has sung
In wild, sweet notes a passing strain,
All carelessly and sadly flung
To that dull world he thought so vain.

"I care for nothing, good nor bad,
My hopes are gone, my pleasures fled,
I am but sifting sand," he said:
What wonder Gordon's songs were sad!

And yet, not always sad and hard;
In cheerful mood and light of heart
He told the tale of Britomarte,
And wrote the Rhyme of Joyous Garde.

And some have said that Nature's face
To us is always sad; but these
Have never felt the smiling grace
Of waving grass and forest trees
On sunlit plains as wide as seas.

"A land where dull Despair is king
O'er scentless flowers and songless bird!"
But we have heard the bell-birds ring
Their silver bells at eventide,
Like fairies on the mountain side,
The sweetest note man ever heard.

The wild thrush lifts a note of mirth;
The bronzewing pigeons call and coo
Beside their nests the long day through;
The magpie warbles clear and strong
A joyous, glad, thanksgiving song,
For all God's mercies upon earth.

And many voices such as these
Are joyful sounds for those to tell,
Who know the Bush and love it well,
With all its hidden mysteries.

We cannot love the restless sea,
That rolls and tosses to and fro
Like some fierce creature in its glee;
For human weal or human woe
It has no touch of sympathy.

For us the bush is never sad:
Its myriad voices whisper low,
In tones the bushmen only know,
Its sympathy and welcome glad.
For us the roving breezes bring
From many a blossum-tufted tree --
Where wild bees murmur dreamily --
The honey-laden breath of Spring.

* * * *

We have our tales of other days,
Good tales the northern wanderers tell
When bushmen meet and camp-fires blaze,
And round the ring of dancing light
The great, dark bush with arms of night
Folds every hearer in its spell.

We have our songs -- not songs of strife
And hot blood spilt on sea and land;
But lilts that link achievement grand
To honest toil and valiant life.

Lift ye your faces to the sky
Ye barrier mountains in the west
Who lie so peacefully at rest
Enshrouded in a haze of blue;
'Tis hard to feel that years went by
Before the pioneers broke through
Your rocky heights and walls of stone,
And made your secrets all their own.

For years the fertile Western plains
Were hid behind your sullen walls,
Your cliffs and crags and waterfalls
All weatherworn with tropic rains.

Between the mountains and the sea
Like Israelites with staff in hand,
The people waited restlessly:
They looked towards the mountains old
And saw the sunsets come and go
With gorgeous golden afterglow,
That made the West a fairyland,
And marvelled what that West might be
Of which such wondrous tales were told.

For tales were told of inland seas
Like sullen oceans, salt and dead,
And sandy deserts, white and wan,
Where never trod the foot of man,
Nor bird went winging overhead,
Nor ever stirred a gracious breeze
To wake the silence with its breath --
A land of loneliness and death.

At length the hardy pioneers
By rock and crag found out the way,
And woke with voices of today
A silence kept for years and tears.

Upon the Western slope they stood
And saw -- a wide expanse of plain
As far as eye could stretch or see
Go rolling westward endlessly.
The native grasses, tall as grain,
Bowed, waved and rippled in the breeze;
From boughs of blossom-laden trees
The parrots answered back again.
They saw the land that it was good,
A land of fatness all untrod,
And gave their silent thanks to God.

The way is won! The way is won!
And straightway from the barren coast
There came a westward-marching host,
That aye and ever onward prest
With eager faces to the West,
Along the pathway of the sun.

The mountains saw them marching by:
They faced the all-consuming drought,
They would not rest in settled land:
But, taking each his life in hand,
Their faces ever westward bent
Beyond the farthest settlement,
Responding to the challenge cry
of "better country farther out".

And lo, a miracle! the land
But yesterday was all unknown,
The wild man's boomerang was thrown
Where now great busy cities stand.
It was not much, you say, that these
Should win their way where none withstood;
In sooth there was not much of blood --
No war was fought between the seas.

It was not much! but we who know
The strange capricious land they trod --
At times a stricken, parching sod,
At times with raging floods beset --
Through which they found their lonely way
Are quite content that you should say
It was not much, while we can feel
That nothing in the ages old,
In song or story written yet
On Grecian urn or Roman arch,
Though it should ring with clash of steel,
Could braver histories unfold
Than this bush story, yet untold --
The story of their westward march.

* * * *

But times are changed, and changes rung
From old to new -- the olden days,
The old bush life and all its ways,
Are passing from us all unsung.
The freedom, and the hopeful sense
Of toil that brought due recompense,
Of room for all, has passed away,
And lies forgotten with the dead.
Within our streets men cry for bread
In cities built but yesterday.
About us stretches wealth of land,
A boundless wealth of virgin soil
As yet unfruitful and untilled!
Our willing workmen, strong and skilled,
Within our cities idle stand,
And cry aloud for leave to toil.

The stunted children come and go
In squalid lanes and alleys black:
We follow but the beaten track
Of other nations, and we grow
In wealth for some -- for many, woe.

And it may be that we who live
In this new land apart, beyond
The hard old world grown fierce and fond
And bound by precedent and bond,
May read the riddle right, and give
New hope to those who dimly see
That all things yet shall be for good,
And teach the world at length to be
One vast united brotherhood.

* * * *

So may it be! and he who sings
In accents hopeful, clear, and strong,
The glories which that future brings
Shall sing, indeed, a wondrous song.

by Banjo Paterson.

Don Juan: Canto The Eighth

The town was taken--whether he might yield
Himself or bastion, little matter'd now:
His stubborn valour was no future shield.
Ismail's no more! The Crescent's silver bow
Sunk, and the crimson Cross glar'd o'er the field,
But red with no redeeming gore: the glow
Of burning streets, like moonlight on the water,
Was imag'd back in blood, the sea of slaughter.

All that the mind would shrink from of excesses;
All that the body perpetrates of bad;
All that we read, hear, dream, of man's distresses;
All that the Devil would do if run stark mad;
All that defies the worst which pen expresses;
All by which Hell is peopl'd, or as sad
As Hell--mere mortals, who their power abuse--
Was here (as heretofore and since) let loose.

If here and there some transient trait of pity
Was shown, and some more noble heart broke through
Its bloody bond, and sav'd perhaps some pretty
Child, or an aged, helpless man or two--
What's this in one annihilated city,
Where thousand loves, and ties, and duties grew?
Cockneys of London! Muscadins of Paris!
Just ponder what a pious pastime war is.

Think how the joys of reading a Gazette
Are purchas'd by all agonies and crimes:
Or if these do not move you, don't forget
Such doom may be your own in aftertimes.
Meantime the taxes, Castlereagh, and debt,
Are hints as good as sermons, or as rhymes.
Read your own hearts and Ireland's present story,
Then feed her famine fat with Wellesley's glory.

But still there is unto a patriot nation,
Which loves so well its country and its King,
A subject of sublimest exultation--
Bear it, ye Muses, on your brightest wing!
Howe'er the mighty locust, Desolation,
Strip your green fields, and to your harvests cling,
Gaunt famine never shall approach the throne--
Though Ireland starve, great George weighs twenty stone.

But let me put an end unto my theme:
There was an end of Ismail--hapless town!
Far flash'd her burning towers o'er Danube's stream,
And redly ran his blushing waters down.
The horrid war-whoop and the shriller scream
Rose still; but fainter were the thunders grown:
Of forty thousand who had mann'd the wall,
Some hundreds breath'd--the rest were silent all!

In one thing ne'ertheless 'tis fit to praise
The Russian army upon this occasion,
A virtue much in fashion now-a-days,
And therefore worthy of commemoration:
The topic's tender, so shall be my phrase:
Perhaps the season's chill, and their long station
In Winter's depth, or want of rest and victual,
Had made them chaste--they ravish'd very little.

Much did they slay, more plunder, and no less
Might here and there occur some violation
In the other line; but not to such excess
As when the French, that dissipated nation,
Take towns by storm: no causes can I guess,
Except cold weather and commiseration;
But all the ladies, save some twenty score,
Were almost as much virgins as before.

Some odd mistakes, too, happen'd in the dark,
Which show'd a want of lanterns, or of taste--
Indeed the smoke was such they scarce could mark
Their friends from foes--besides such things from haste
Occur, though rarely, when there is a spark
Of light to save the venerably chaste:
But six old damsels, each of seventy years,
Were all deflower'd by different grenadiers.

But on the whole their continence was great;
So that some disappointment there ensu'd
To those who had felt the inconvenient state
Of "single blessedness," and thought it good
(Since it was not their fault, but only fate,
To bear these crosses) for each waning prude
To make a Roman sort of Sabine wedding,
Without the expense and the suspense of bedding.

Some voices of the buxom middle-ag'd
Were also heard to wonder in the din
(Widows of forty were these birds long cag'd)
"Wherefore the ravishing did not begin!"
But while the thirst for gore and plunder rag'd,
There was small leisure for superfluous sin;
But whether they escap'd or no, lies hid
In darkness--I can only hope they did.

Suwarrow now was conqueror--a match
For Timour or for Zinghis in his trade.
While mosques and streets, beneath his eyes, like thatch
Blaz'd, and the cannon's roar was scarce allay'd,
With bloody hands he wrote his first despatch;
And here exactly follows what he said:
"Glory to God and to the Empress!" ( Powers
Eternal!! such names mingled! ) "Ismail's ours

Methinks these are the most tremendous words,
Since "MENE, MENE, TEKEL," and "UPHARSIN,"
Which hands or pens have ever trac'd of swords.
Heaven help me! I'm but little of a parson:
What Daniel read was short-hand of the Lord's,
Severe, sublime; the prophet wrote no farce on
The fate of nations; but this Russ so witty
Could rhyme, like Nero, o'er a burning city.

He wrote this Polar melody, and set it,
Duly accompanied by shrieks and groans,
Which few will sing, I trust, but none forget it--
For I will teach, if possible, the stones
To rise against Earth's tyrants. Never let it
Be said that we still truckle unto thrones;
But ye--our children's children! think how we
Show'd what things were before the World was free!

That hour is not for us, but 'tis for you:
And as, in the great joy of your millennium,
You hardly will believe such things were true
As now occur, I thought that I would pen you 'em;
But may their very memory perish too!
Yet if perchance remember'd, still disdain you 'em
More than you scorn the savages of yore,
Who painted their bare limbs, but not with gore.

And when you hear historians talk of thrones
And those that sate upon them, let it be
As we now gaze upon the mammoth's bones,
And wonder what old world such things could see,
Or hieroglyphics on Egyptian stones,
The pleasant riddles of futurity--
Guessing at what shall happily be hid,
As the real purpose of a pyramid.

Reader! I have kept my word--at least so far
As the first Canto promised. You have now
Had sketches of love, tempest, travel, war--
All very accurate, you must allow,
And Epic, if plain truth should prove no bar;
For I have drawn much less with a long bow
Than my forerunners. Carelessly I sing,
But Phoebus lends me now and then a string.

With which I still can harp, and carp, and fiddle.
What further hath befallen or may befall
The hero of this grand poetic riddle,
I by and by may tell you, if at all:
But now I choose to break off in the middle,
Worn out with battering Ismail's stubborn wall,
While Juan is sent off with the despatch,
For which all Petersburgh is on the watch.

by George Gordon Byron.

BRIGHT as a morn of spring,
That jubilates along the earth,
With clouds, and winds, and flowers rejoicing,
And all the creatures that on wing
Scarce dip the ground in their ethereal mirth.
Whilst the dew'd sunlight and the gold-flushed rain
Wed midway in the air;
And from the twain
Is ever born that fairy gossamer,
The iridescent bridge that spans the skies.
Yea, e'en in such wild glory dost thou glow
Soul-fresh exuberant child!
And drops of heavenly freshness gleam
On red, red lips, in dark-orbed eyes,
Like morning dews that glimmering show
On winter moss and heath'ry wild,
And soft-cropped grasses undefiled,
In all the shifting splendour of a dream.

Oh, thou, that in thy glee
Know'st of no ending yet, and no beginning,
Making the hours melodious with thy play,
Like grasshoppers, that through the livelong day
Hopping on the new-mown hay,
Sun-struck trill their roundelay;
Or the cricket, chirping cheerly
Late at night, at morning early,
With a little baby-singing
Like an echo faintly ringing
From the distant summer leas;
And with tremulous murmurs clinging
Round the hearth, like clustering bees
Humming round the linden trees.

And yet athwart thy soul,
At times, perchance, I seem to see
The hid existence of far off events,
Trailing their slumb'rous shadows silently.
For in the dusky deeps
Of thy large eyes
Sometime the veilèd outline of a still
And mute-born vision sleeps
As in the hollows of a hill,
With dim and darksome rents
The dreamful shadow of the morning lies,
And softly, slowly, ever down doth roll,
Till lost in mystic deeps it flees our watchful eyes.

Yet from that silent trance
Quick leap'st thou back into thy playfulness,
As waters darkened by the drifting cloud
Into the swift sweet sunlight crowd,
Where dashed with dewy gold they dance
In unbedimmèd sprightliness;
Till with their blithesome strain
They make the brooding mountains loud
And fling their merriment across the voiceless plain.
And buzzing lightly, here and there,
Thou, like a little curious fly
That fusses through the air,
Dost pry and spy
With thy keen inquisitive eye;
Poking fatly-dimpled fingers
Into corner, box, and closet,
Where, perchance, there hidden lingers
Some deposit,
To be carried off triumphantly.
And with many questions, ever
Rippling like a restless river,
Puzzling many an older brain,
Dost thou hour by hour increase thy store
Of marvellous lore.
Thus a squirrel darting deftly
Up and down autumnal trees,
Sees its hoard of chesnuts growing swiftly
In a heap upon the leaf-strewn leas.

Yea, open art thou to each influence
That strikes on thy soft spirit from without
Thy spirit not yet frozen, nor shut out
From nature's kindling breath
By selfish aims, nor dulled the sense
By hot desires; alas, too oft the death
Of man's spiritual vision. No, thy soul
Is yet all clear and bright
And lieth naked 'neath the eye of heaven
As a small mountain pool--
A pure and azure pool,
To whom its food is given
By dews, and rains, and snows all lily-white,
That softly fall
Through many a summer's day and winter's night;
And whose unspotted breast
Glasses each pageant of the outer world,
The cloud with pinions to the blast unfurled,
The mountains' haughty crest,
The slanting beam of twilight skies
That like a golden ladder lies
Stretching across perchance for angel hosts
To slide
Down to the earth with heavenly boon;
And glasses too the hurrying mists that glide
Like gliding ghosts,
And stars, and all the mildness of the moon.

As yet 'tis early January with thee!
Warm-cradled doth the summer leaf
Lie folded in the winter leaf
On the blank tree.
And folded in the earth the seed
The future mother of some glorious weed,
Or flower blowing gorgeously,
Or cedar branching wondrously,
Lies slumbering; its whole destiny
Of great or lowly, foul or fair,
In this minutest space surely foreshadowed there.
But let the west wind, ocean-born,
Floating towards the meads of morn,
But once spread out his wild and vasty wing
Setting the sap a-cantring; till new life
Works wonders: then thy being
Will strangely stir, as at the sound
Of sounding drum and fife
The war-horse paws the ground.
And through thy sweet pure veins
Life like a waterfall will grandly bound.

But now the Psyche of thy being
Still shyly doth essay her delicate wing,
Like to that airy nurseling of the sun
When first it breaketh through its dun
And hornèd shell, and tries
To move its pinions, powdered o'er and o'er
With rainbow dust of April skies,
That have as not yet learnt to soar,
And lie soft-folded in sweet mysteries.

Oh! looking on thee, I do speculate
On thy futurity!
What wilt thou be?
Some great and glorious lot I dream for thee,
Some starry fate!
For in thy nature meet
Such buoyant strength, and such a sweet
Half-veiled heart tenderness, that on thy being doth rest
Like soft dark bloom upon a pansy's breast;
And pity gushes o'er thee, like warm rain,
For everything in pain,
Or great or small; and such a shoal
Of thick-bred fancies ever swimmeth forth
From the deep sea
Of changeful fantasy,
Like golden fish that glitter in the sun;
And quick perception leading on and on,
Into a maze of thought, fresh'ning the soul
Of him who listens. Aye, what wilt thou be?
Perchance, one of that sacred band
That ever were the salt of earth,
Whom men call dowered with genius! They who stand
In grandeur and in glory like the Alps,
With silver-shining scalps,
Bathed in the ether; feeding all the land
With the pure skyey waters that descend
For ever from them; men who freed
From narrow bonds of hate and greed,
Fetters of custom, and blind circumstance,
Breathe the soul-quickening air of thought and love.
And struggling into freedom, sudden see
The solid shroud of sense
Consumèd by a heavenly flame,
As is the vapour dense and dun,
Which the earth-spirit fast doth breed
By the great sun.
And the large mind in native majesty
Doth catch that radiance evermore above,
Around us; finest effluence of being;
Illuminating with sharp sudden blaze
Nature's mysterious ways;
Until his spirit, feeling itself one
With all that is, and was, and is to be,
Vibrates into intenser life,
Which is creation!
Then makes he revelation
Of that one truth, that as a supreme ray
With new existence heavily fraught,
Lightened in awful loveliness
And empyrean holiness,
Upon his passive thought;
Till with long peals of explosive oracular thunder,
He bursts and cleaves and splinters asunder
The clinging clinking manacles of life,
That fall and curl in harsh black masses under
His wingèd feet: and through time's noisy strife
His infinite acts do strike like flame

Of a volcano seen across a sea,
On nights when with earthquake the labouring hills are rife;
And labouring, too, like heaving heights, doth he,
Girt round with turbulent whirls of praise and blame,
Breathe the hot spark of that which he did see,
As vital force that pulses strong and warm
In the mid-heart of creeds,
Or rolls itself along the epic's flood,
Or lives through ages in the marbled form,
Or leaps to life in the heroic deeds,
Watering with the heart's noble blood
The seed of future world-reforming good.

But stay, my soul;
Too far thou fliest, as a falcon flies,
Forgetful of the hand
Where he must perch, so trancèd with the grand
And boundless skies.
Oh come my song, and roll
Thy billows back, where on the swelling bank,
Mid flowers, and reeds, and grasses rank,
And feathered warblers, warbling wild,
Sporteth the unconscious child,
Safely roofed o'er by shielding mother's love,
Like wee lamb-clouds of morn by tender skies above.
Hark! now I hear thy low soft laughter falling
Upon my heart, like to the murmurous calling
Of brooding stock doves, now it sweet doth sound
Like rippling rills of rain, that make the ground
Harmonious on hot summer afternoons;
And now thy joyous croons
Blither and brighter tumble on my ear
All clarion clear,
Like songs of matin birds that in spring weather,
Hid in young woods, do jubilate together.
Yea, on the musing mind,
That wrapt in meditation's sober dress,
Looks inward in a half-forgetfulness
Of the world's outer show,
Thou breakest in, like a tumultuous wind
That teasing tosses
The foam of flickering fountain;
Or like the flashing flow
Of waves of light along the long green grasses;
Or waters bickering low
Down many a sloping mountain
That make themselves a nest mid ferns and shining mosses.
Of each free thing that in its joy
All chains, and bonds, and obstacles o'erpasses
In elemental gladsomenesses
And wonderful wild wantonesses--
Fire, water, wand'ring air,
Hast a past, exuberant boy,
Glorious, glad, and fresh, and fair,
And blowing in upon the tired brain
Nature's undying, spirit-stirring strain.

by Mathilde Blind.

Thebais - Book One - Part Iv

For by the black infernal Styx I swear,
(That dreadful oath which binds the thunderer)
‘Tis fixed; th’ irrevocable doom of Jove;
No force can bend me, no persuasion move.
haste then, Cyllenius, through the liquid air;
Go, mount the winds, and to the shades repair;
Bid hell’s black monarch my commands obey,
And give up Laius to the realms of day,
Whose ghost yet shiv’ring on Cocytus’ sand,
Expects its passage to thc further strand:
Let the pale sire revisit Thebes, and bear
These pleasing orders to the tyrant’s ear;
That from his exiled brother, swelled with pride
Of foreign forces, and his Argive bride,
Almighty Jove commands him to detain
The promised empire, and alternate reign:
Be this the cause of more than mortal hate:
The rest, succeeding times shall ripen into fate.”
The god obeys, and to his feet applies
Those golden wings that cut the yielding skies.
His ample hat his beamy locks o’erspread,
And veiled the starry glories of his head.
He seized the wand that causes sleep to fly,
Or in soft slumbers seals the wakeful eye;
That drives the dead to dark Tartarcan coasts,
Or back to life compels the wand’ring ghosts.
Thus, through the parting clouds, the son of May
Wings on the whistling winds his rapid way;
Now smoothly steers through air his equal flight,
Now springs aloft, and tow’rs th’ ethereal height;
Then wheeling down the steep of heav’n he flies,
And draws a radiant circle o’er the skies.
Meantime the banished Polynices roves
(his Thebes abandoned through th’ Aonian groves,
While future realms his wand’ring thoughts delight,
His daily vision and his dream by night;
Forbidden Thebes appears before his eye,
From whence he sees his absent brother fly,
With transport views the airy rule his own,
And swells on an imaginary throne.
Fain would he cast a tedious age away,
And live out all in one triumphant day.
He chides the lazy progress of the sun,
And bids the year with swifter motion run.
With anxious hopes his craving mind is tost,
And all his joys in length of wishes lost.
The hero then resolves his course to bend
Where ancient Danaus’ fruitful fields extend,
And famed Mycene’s lofty towers ascend,
(Where late the sun did Atreus’ crimes detest,
And disappeared in horror of the feast.)
And now by chance, by fate, or furies led,
From Bacehus’ consecrated caves he fled,
Where the shrill cries of frantic matrons sound,
And Pentheus’ blood enriched the rising ground.
Then sees Cithaeron tow’ring o’er the plain,
And thence declining gently to the main.
Next to the bounds of Nisus’ realm repairs,
Where treach’rous Scylla cut the purple hairs :
The hanging cliffs of Sciron’s rock explores,
And hears the murmurs of the diff’rent shores:
Passes the strait that parts the foaming seas,
And stately Corinth’s pleasing site surveys.
‘Twas now the time when Phœbus yields to night,
And rising Cynthia sheds her silver light,
Wide o’er the world in solemn pomp she drew
Her airy chariot hung with pearly dew;
All birds and beasts lie hushed; sleep steals away
The wild desires of men, and toils of day,
And brings, descending through the silent air,
A sweet forgetfulness of human care.
Yet no red clouds, with golden borders gay,
Promise the skies the bright return of day;
No faint reflections of the distant light
Streak with long gleams the scatt’ring shades of night:
From the damp earth impervious vapours rise,
Encrease the darkness, and involve the skies.
At once the rushing winds with roaring sound
Burst from th’ Æolian caves, and rend the ground,
With equal rage their airy quarrel try,
And win by turns the kingdom of the sky:
But with a thicker night black Auster shrouds
The heav’ns, and drives on heaps the rolling clouds,
From whose dark womb a rattling tempest pours,
Which the cold north congeals to haily show’rs.
From pole to pole the thunder roars aloud,
And broken lightnings flash from ev’ry cloud.
Now smoaks with show’rs the misty mountain-ground,
And floated fields lie undistinguished round.
Th’ Inachian streams with headlong fury run,
And Erasmus rolls a deluge on:
The foaming Lerna swells above its bounds,
And spreads its ancient poisons o’er the grounds:
Where late was dust, now rapid torrents play,
Rush through the mounds, and bear the dams away:
Old limbs of trees from crackling forests torn,
Are whirled in air, and on the winds are borne:
The storm the dark Lycæan groves displayed,
And first to light exposed the sacred shade.
Th’ intrepid Theban hears the bursting sky,
Sees yawning rocks in massy fragments fly,
And views astonished, from the hills afar,
The floods descending, and the wat’ry war,’
That, driv’n by storms, and pouring o’er the plain,
Swept herds, and hinds, and houses to the main.
Through the brown horrors of the night he fled,
Nor knows, amazed, what doubtful path to tread;
His brother’s image to his mind appears,
Inflames his heart with rage, and wings his feet with fears.
So fares a sailor on the stormy main,
When clouds conceal Boötes’ golden warn,
When not a star its friendly lustre keeps,
Nor trembling Cynthia glimmers on the deeps;
He dreads the rocks, and shoals, and seas, and skies,
While thunder roars, and lightning round him flies.
Thus strove the chief, on every side distressed,
Thus still his courage, with his toils increased;
With his broad shield opposed, he forced his way
Through thickest woods, and roused the beasts of prey,
Till he beheld, where from Larissa’s height
The shelving walls reflect a glancing light:
Thither with haste the Theban hero flies;
On this side Lerna’s pois’nous water lies,
On that Prosymna’s grove and temple rise :
lie passed the gates, which then unguarded lay,
And to the regal palace bent his way;
On the cold marble, spent with toil, he lies,
And waits till pleasing slumbers seal his eyes.
Adrastus here his happy people sways,
Blest with calm peace in his declining days;
By both his parents of descent divine,
Great Jove and Phœbus graced his noble line:
Heaven had not crowned his wishes with a son,
But two fair daughters heired his state and throne.
To him Apollo (wondrous to relate !
But who can pierce into the depths of fate?)
Had sung-“Expect thy sons on Argos’ shore,
“A yellow lion and a bristly boar.”
This long revolved in his paternal breast,
Sate heavy on his heart, and broke his rest;
This, great Amphiaraus, lay hid from thee,
Though skilled in fate, and dark futurity.
The father’s care and prophet’s art were vain,
For thus did the predicting god ordain.
Lo hapless Tydeus, whose ill-fated hand
Had slain his brother, leaves his native land,
And seized with horror in the shades of night,
Through the thick deserts headlong urged his flight:
Now by the fury of the tempest driv’n,
He seeks a shelter from th’ inclement heav’n,
Till, led by fate, the Theban’s steps he treads,
And to fair Argos’ open court succeeds.
When thus the chiefs from diff’rent lands resort
T’ Adrastus’ realms, and hospitable court;
The king surveys his guests with curious eyes,
And views their arms and habit with surprise.
A lion’s yellow skin the Theban wears,
horrid his mane, and rough with curling hairs;
Such once employed Alcides’ youthful toils,
Ere yet adorned with Nemea’s dreadful spoils.
A boar’s stiff hide, of Calydonian breed,
Œnides’ manly shoulders overspread.
Oblique his tusks, erect his bristles stood,
Alive, the pride and terror of the wood.
Struck with the sight, and fixed in deep amaze,
The King th’ accomplished oracle surveys,
Reveres Apollo’s vocal caves, and owns
The guiding godhead, and his future sons.
O’er all his bosom secret transports reign,
And a glad horror shoots through ev’ry vein.
To heav’n he lifts his hands, erects his sight,
And thus invokes the silent queen of night.
“Goddess of shades, beneath whose gloomy reign
You spangled arch glows with the starry train:
You who the cares of heav’n and earth allay,
Till nature quickened by th’ inspiring ray
Wakes to new vigour with the rising day:
Oh thou who freest me from my doubtful state,
Long lost aid wildered in the maze of fate !
Be present still, oh goddess ! in our aid;
Proceed, and firms those omens thou hast made.
We to thy name our annual rites will pay,
And on thy altars sacrifices lay;
The sable flock shall fall beneath the stroke,
And fill thy temples with a grateful smoke.
Hail, faithful Tripos ! hail, ye dark abodes
Of awful Phœbus: I confess the gods!”
Thus, seized with sacred fear, the monarch prayed;
Then to his inner court the guests conveyed;
Where yet thin fumes from dying sparks arise,
And dust yet white upon each altar lies,
The relics of a former sacrifice.

by Pablius Papinius Statius.

An Ode On The Piece

I.
As wand'ring late on Albion's shore
That chains the rude tempestuous deep,
I heard the hollow surges roar
And vainly beat her guardian steep;
I heard the rising sounds of woe
Loud on the storm's wild pinion flow;
And still they vibrate on the mournful lyre,
That tunes to grief its sympathetic wire.

II.
From shores the wide Atlantic laves,
The spirit of the ocean bears
In moans, along his western waves,
Afflicted nature's hopeless cares:
Enchanting scenes of young delight,
How chang'd since first ye rose to sight;
Since first ye rose in infant glories drest
Fresh from the wave, and rear'd your ample breast.

III.
Her crested serpents, discord throws
O'er scenes which love with roses grac'd;
The flow'ry chain his hands compose,
She wildly scatters o'er the waste:
Her glance his playful smile deforms,
Her frantic voice awakes the storms,
From land to land, her torches spread their fires,
While love's pure flame in streams of blood expires.

IV.
Now burns the savage soul of war,
While terror flashes from his eyes,
Lo! waving o'er his fiery car
Aloft his bloody banner flies:
The battle wakes—with awful sound
He thunders o'er the echoing ground,
He grasps his reeking blade, while streams of blood
Tinge the vast plain, and swell the purple flood.

V.
But softer sounds of sorrow flow;
On drooping wing the murm'ring gales
Have borne the deep complaints of woe
That rose along the lonely vales—
Those breezes waft the orphan's cries,
They tremble to parental sighs,
And drink a tear for keener anguish shed,
The tear of faithful love when hope is fled.

VI.
The object of her anxious fear
Lies pale on earth, expiring, cold,
Ere, wing'd by happy love, one year
Too rapid in its course, has roll'd;
In vain the dying hand she grasps,
Hangs on the quiv'ring lip, and clasps
The fainting form, that slowly sinks in death,
To catch the parting glance, the fleeting breath.

VII.
Pale as the livid corse her cheek,
Her tresses torn, her glances wild,—
How fearful was her frantic shriek!
She wept—and then in horrors smil'd:
She gazes now with wild affright,
Lo! bleeding phantoms rush in sight—
Hark! on yon mangled form the mourner calls,
Then on the earth a senseless weight she falls.

VIII.
And see! o'er gentle Andre's tomb,
The victim of his own despair,
Who fell in life's exulting bloom,
Nor deem'd that life deserv'd a care;
O'er the cold earth his relicks prest,
Lo! Britain's drooping legions rest;
For him the swords they sternly grasp, appear
Dim with a sigh, and sullied with a tear.

IX.
While Seward sweeps her plaintive strings,
While pensive round his sable shrine,
A radiant zone she graceful flings,
Where full emblaz'd his virtues shine;
The mournful loves that tremble nigh
Shall catch her warm melodious sigh;
The mournful loves shall drink the tears that flow
From Pity's hov'ring soul, dissolv'd in woe.

X.
And hark, in Albion's flow'ry vale
A parent's deep complaint I hear!
A sister calls the western gale
To waft her soul-expressive tear;
'Tis Asgill claims that piercing sigh,
That dropp which dims the beauteous eye,
While on the rack of Doubt Affection proves
How strong the force which binds the ties she loves.

XI.
How oft in every dawning grace
That blossom'd in his early hours,
Her soul some comfort lov'd to trace,
And deck'd futurity in flowers!
But lo! in Fancy's troubled sight
The dear illusions sink in night;
She views the murder'd form—the quiv'ring breath,
The rising virtues chill'd in shades of death.

XII.
Cease, cease ye throbs of hopeless woe;
He lives the future hours to bless,
He lives, the purest joy to know,
Parental transports fond excess;
His sight a father's eye shall chear,
A sister's drooping charms endear:—
The private pang was Albion's gen'rous care,
For him she breath'd a warm accepted prayer.

XIII.
And lo! a radiant stream of light
Defending, gilds the murky cloud,
Where Desolation's gloomy night
Retiring, folds her sable shroud;
It flashes o'er the bright'ning deep,
It softens Britain's frowning steep—
'Tis mild benignant Peace, enchanting form!
That gilds the black abyss, that lulls the storm.

XIV.
So thro' the dark, impending sky,
Where clouds, and fallen vapours roll'd,
Their curling wreaths dissolving fly
As the faint hues of light unfold—
The air with spreading azure streams,
The sun now darts his orient beams—
And now the mountains glow—the woods are bright—
While nature hails the season of delight.

XV.
Mild Peace! from Albion's fairest bowers
Pure spirit! cull with snowy hands,
The buds that drink the morning showers,
And bind the realms in flow'ry bands:
Thy smiles the angry passions chase,
Thy glance is pleasure's native grace;
Around thy form th' exulting virtues move,
And thy soft call awakes the strain of love.

XVI.
Bless, all ye powers! the patriot name
That courts fair Peace, thy gentle stay;
Ah! gild with glory's light, his fame,
And glad his life with pleasure's ray!
While, like th' affrighted dove, thy form
Still shrinks, and fears some latent storm,
His cares shall sooth thy panting soul to rest,
And spread thy vernal couch on Albion's breast.

XVII.
Ye, who have mourn'd the parting hour,
Which love in darker horrors drew,
Ye, who have vainly tried to pour
With falt'ring voice the last adieu!
When the pale cheek, the bursting sigh,
The soul that hov'ring in the eye,
Express'd the pains it felt, the pains it fear'd—
Ah! paint the youth's return, by grief endear'd.

XVIII.
Yon hoary form, with aspect mild,
Deserted kneels by anguish prest,
And seeks from Heav'n his long-lost child,
To smooth the path that leads to rest!—
He comes!—to close the sinking eye,
To catch the faint, expiring sigh;
A moment's transport stays the fleeting breath,
And sooths the soul on the pale verge of death.

XIX.
No more the sanguine wreath shall twine
On the lost hero's early tomb,
But hung around thy simple shrine
Fair Peace! shall milder glories bloom.
Lo! commerce lifts her drooping head
Triumphal, Thames! from thy deep bed;
And bears to Albion, on her sail sublime,
The riches Nature gives each happier clime.

XX.
She fearless prints the polar snows,
Mid' horrors that reject the day;
Along the burning line she glows,
Nor shrinks beneath the torrid ray:
She opens India's glitt'ring mine,
Where streams of light reflected shine;
Wafts the bright gems to Britain's temp'rate vale,
And breathes her odours on the northern gale.

XXI.
While from the far-divided shore
Where liberty unconquer'd roves,
Her ardent glance shall oft' explore
The parent isle her spirit loves;
Shall spread upon the western main
—Harmonious concord's golden chain,
While stern on Gallia's ever hostile strand
From Albion's cliff she pours her daring band.

XXII.
Yet hide the sabre's hideous glare
Whose edge is bath'd in streams of blood,
The lance that quivers high in air,
And falling drinks a purple flood;
For Britain! fear shall seize thy foes,
While freedom in thy senate glows,
While peace shall smile upon thy cultur'd plain,
With grace and beauty her attendant train.

XXIII.
Enchanting visions sooth my sight—
The finer arts no more oppress'd,
Benignant source of pure delight!
On her soft bosom love to rest.
While each discordant sound expires,
Strike harmony! strike all thy wires;
The fine vibrations of the spirit move
And touch the springs of rapture and of love.

XXIV.
Bright painting's living forms shall rise;
And wrapt in Ugolino's woe,
Shall Reynolds wake unbidden sighs;
And Romney's graceful pencil flow,
That Nature's look benign pourtrays,
When to her infant Shakspeare's gaze
The partial nymph 'unveil'd her awful face,'
And bade his 'colours clear' her features trace.

XXV.
And poesy! thy deep-ton'd shell
The heart shall sooth, the spirit fire,
And all the passion sink, or swell,
In true accordance to the lyre.
Oh! ever wake its heav'nly sound,
Oh! call thy lovely visions round;
Strew the soft path of peace with fancy's flowers,
With raptures bless the soul that feels thy powers.

XXVI.
While Hayley wakes thy magic string,
His shades shall no rude sound profane,
But stillness on her folded wing,
Enamour'd catch his soothing strain:
Tho' genius breathe its purest flame
—Around his lyre's enchanting frame;
Tho' music there in every period roll,
More warm his friendship, and more pure his soul.

XXVII.
While taste refines a polish'd age,
While her own Hurd shall bid us trace
The lustre of the finish'd page
Where symmetry sheds perfect grace;
With sober and collected ray
To fancy, judgment shall display
The faultless model, where accomplish'd art
From nature draws a charm that leads the heart.

XXVIII.
Th' historic Muse illumes the maze
For ages veil'd in gloomy night,
Where empire with meridian blaze
Once trod ambition's giddy height:
Tho' headlong from the dang'rous steep
Its pageants roll'd with wasteful sweep,
Her tablet still records the deeds of fame
And wakes the patriot's, and the hero's flame.

XXIX.
While meek philosophy explores
Creation's vast stupendous round;
Sublime her piercing vision soars,
And bursts the system's distant bound.
Lo! mid' the dark deep void of space
A rushing world her eye can trace!—
It moves majestic in its ample sphere,
Sheds its long light, and rolls its ling'ring year.

XXX.
Ah! still diffuse thy genial ray,
Fair Science, on my Albion's plain!
And still thy grateful homage pay
Where Montagu has rear'd her fane;
Where eloquence and wit entwine
Their attic wreath around her shrine;
And still, while Learning shall unfold her store,
With their bright signet stamp the classic ore.

XXXI.
Enlight'ning Peace! for thine the hours
That wisdom decks in moral grace,
And thine invention's fairy powers,
The charm improv'd of nature's face;
Propitious come! in silence laid
Beneath thy olive's grateful shade,
Pour the mild bliss that sooths the tuneful mind,
And in thy zone the hostile spirit bind.

XXXII.
While Albion on her parent deep
Shall rest, may glory light her shore,
May honour there his vigils keep
Till time shall wing its course no more;
Till angels wrap the spheres in fire,
Till earth and yon fair orbs expire,
While chaos mounted on the wasting flame,
Shall spread eternal shade o'er nature's frame.

by Helen Maria Williams.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

ACT I - Ruined Temple on the Summit of Mount Olympus


[Scene--The ruins of the The Temple of the Gods, on summit of
Mount Olympus. Picturesque shattered columns, overgrown with
ivy, etc. R. and L. with entrances to temple (ruined) R. Fallen
columns on the stage. Three broken pillars 2 R.E. At the back of
stage is the approach from the summit of the mountain. This
should be "practicable" to enable large numbers of people to
ascend and descend. In the distance are the summits of adjacent
mountains. At first all this is concealed by a thick fog, which
clears presently. Enter (through fog) Chorus of Stars coming off
duty as fatigued with their night's work]

CHO. Through the night, the constellations,
Have given light from various stations.
When midnight gloom falls on all nations,
We will resume our occupations.

SOLO. Our light, it's true, is not worth mention;
What can we do to gain attention.
When night and noon with vulgar glaring
A great big moon is always flaring.

[During chorus, enter Diana, an elderly goddess. She is carefully
wrapped up in cloaks, shawls, etc. A hood is over her head, a
respirator in her mouth, and galoshes on her feet. During the
chorus, she takes these things off and discovers herself dressed
in the usual costume of the Lunar Diana, the goddess of the moon.

DIA. [shuddering] Ugh. How cold the nights are. I don't know how
it is, but I seem to feel the night air a good deal more than I
used to. But it is time for the sun to be rising. [Calls] Apollo.

AP. [within] Hollo.

DIA. I've come off duty--it's time for you to be getting up.

[Enter Apollo. He is an elderly "buck" with an air of assumed
juvenility and is dressed in dressing gown and smoking cap.

AP. [yawning] I shan't go out today. I was out yesterday and the
day before and I want a little rest. I don't know how it is,but I
seem to feel my work a great deal more than I used to.

DIA. I am sure these short days can't hurt you. Why you don't
rise til six and you're in bed again by five; you should have a
turn at my work and see how you like that--out all night.

AP. My dear sister, I don't envy you--though I remember when I
did--but that was when I was a younger sun. I don't think I'm
quite well. Perhaps a little change of air will do me good. I've
a mind to show myself in London this winter. They'll be very glad
to see me. No. I shan't go out today. I shall send them this
fine, thick wholesome fog and they won't miss me. It's the best
substitute for a blazing sun--and like most substitutes, nothing
at all like the real thing.

[Fog clears away and discovers the scene described. Hurried
music. Mercury shoots up from behind precipice at the back of
stage. He carries several parcels afterwards described. He sits
down, very much fatigued.]

MER. Home at last. A nice time I've had of it.

DIA. You young scamp you've been out all night again. This is the
third time you've been out this week.

MER. Well you're a nice one to blow me up for that.

DIA. I can't help being out all night.

MER. And I can't help being down all night. The nature of Mercury
requires that he should go down when the sun sets, and rise again
when the sun rises.

DIA. And what have you been doing?

MER. Stealing on commission. There's a set of false teeth and a
box of Life Pills for Jupiter--an invisible peruke and a bottle
of hair dye--that's for Apollo--a respirator and a pair of
galoshes--that's for Cupid--a full bottomed chignon, some
auricomous fluid, a box of pearl-powder, a pot of rouge, and a
hare's foot--that's for Venus.

DIA. Stealing. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

MER. Oh, as the god of thieves I must do something to justify my
position.

DIA.and AP. [contemptuously] Your position.

MER. Oh, I know it's nothing to boast of even on earth. Up here,
it's simply contemptible. Now that you gods are too old for your
work, you've made me the miserable drudge of Olympus--groom,
valet, postman, butler, commissionaire, maid of all work, parish
beadle, and original dustman.

AP. Your Christmas boxes ought to be something considerable.

MER. They ought to be but they're not. I'm treated abominably.
I make everybody and I'm nobody. I go everywhere and I'm
nowhere. I do everything and I'm nothing. I've made thunder for
Jupiter, odes for Apollo, battles for Mars, and love for Venus.
I've married couples for Humen and six weeks afterwards, I've
divorced them for Cupid, and in return I get all the kicks while
they pocket the halfpence. And in compensation for robbing me of
the halfpence in question, what have they done for me.

AP. Why they've--ha.ha.ha. they've made you the god of thieves.

MER. Very self denying of them. There isn't one of them who
hasn't a better claim to the distinction than I have.

Oh, I'm the celestial drudge,
For morning to night I must stop at it.
On errands all day I must trudge,
And stick to my work til I drop at it.
In summer I get up at one.
(As a good-natured donkey I'm ranked for it.)
then I go and I light up the sun.
And Phoebus Apollo gets thanked for it.
Well, well, it's the way of the world.
And will be through all its futurity.
Though noodles are baroned and earled,
There's nothing for clever obscurity.

I'm the slave of the Gods, neck and heels,
And I'm bound to obey, though I rate at 'em.
And I not only order their meals,
But I cook 'em and serve'em and wait at 'em.
Then I make all their nectar, I do.
(What a terrible liquor to rack us is.)
And whenever I mix them a brew,
Why all the thanksgivings are Bacchus's.
Well, well, it's the way of the world, etc.....

The reading and writing I teach.
And spelling-books many I've edited.
And for bringing those arts within reach,
That donkey Minerva gets credited.
Then I scrape at the stars with a knife,
And plate-powder the moon (on the days for it).
And I hear all the world and his wife
Awarding Diana the praise for it.
Well, well, it's the way of the world, etc....

[After song--very loud and majestic music is heard]

DIA and MER [looking off] Why, who's this? Jupiter, by Jove.

[Enter Jupiter, an extremely old man, very decrepit, with very
thin straggling white beard, he wears a long braided dressing
gown, handsomely trimmed, and a silk night-cap on his head.
Mercury falls back respectfully as he enters.]

JUP. Good day, Diana. Ah, Apollo. Well, well, well, what's the
matter? What's the matter?

DIA. Why that young scamp Mercury says that we do nothing, and
leave all the duties of Olympus to him. Will you believe it, he
actually says that our influence on earth is dropping down to
nil.

JUP. Well, well. Don't be hard on the lad. To tell you the
truth, I'm not sure that he's far wrong. Don't let it go any
further, but, between ourselves, the sacrifices and votive
offerings have fallen off terribly of late. Why, I can remember
the time when people offered us human sacrifices, no mistake
about it, human sacrifices. Think of that.

DIA. Ah. Those good old days.

JUP. Then it fell off to oxen, pigs, and sheep.

AP. Well, there are worse things than oxen, pigs and sheep.

JUP. So I've found to my cost. My dear sir, between ourselves,
it's dropped off from one thing to another until it has
positively dwindled down to preserved Australian beef. What do
you think of that?

AP. I don't like it at all.

JUP. You won't mention it. It might go further.

DIA. It couldn't fare worse.

JUP. In short, matters have come to such a crisis that there's no
mistake about it--something must be done to restore our
influence, the only question is, what?

MER. [Coming forward in great alarm. Enter Mars]
Oh incident unprecedented.
I hardly can believe it's true.

MARS. Why, bless the boy, he's quite demented.
Why, what's the matter, sir, with you?

AP. Speak quickly, or you'll get a warming.

MER. Why, mortals up the mount are swarming
Our temple on Olympus storming,
In hundreds--aye in thousands, too.

ALL. Goodness gracious
How audacious
Earth is spacious
Why come here?
Our impeding
Their proceeding
Were good breeding
That is clear.

DIA. Jupiter, hear my plea.
Upon the mount if they light.
There'll be an end of me.
I won't be seen by daylight.

AP. Tartarus is the place
These scoundrels you should send to--
Should they behold my face.
My influence there's an end to.

JUP. [looking over precipice]
What fools to give themselves
so much exertion

DIA. A government survey I'll make assertion.

AP. Perhaps the Alpine clubs their diversion.

MER. They seem to be more like a "Cook's" excursion.

ALL. Goodness gracious, etc.

AP. If, mighty Jove, you value your existence,
Send them a thunderbolt with your regards.

JUP. My thunderbolts, though valid at a distance,
Are not effective at a hundred yards.

MER. Let the moon's rays, Diana, strike 'em flighty,
Make 'em all lunatics in various styles.

DIA. My lunar rays unhappily are mighty
Only at many hundred thousand miles.

ALL. Goodness gracious, etc...

[Exeunt Jupiter, Apollo, Diana, and Mercury into ruined temple]

[Enter Sparkeion and Nicemis climbing mountain at back.]

SPAR. Here we are at last on the very summit, and we've left the
others ever so far behind. Why, what's this?

NICE. A ruined palace. A palace on the top of a mountain. I
wonder who lives here? Some mighty kind, I dare say, with wealth
beyond all counting who came to live up here--

SPAR. To avoid his creditors. It's a lovely situation for a
country house though it's very much out of repair.

NICE. Very inconvenient situation.

SPAR. Inconvenient.

NICE. Yes, how are you to get butter, milk, and eggs up here? No
pigs, no poultry, no postman. Why, I should go mad.

SPAR. What a dear little practical mind it is. What a wife you
will make.

NICE. Don't be too sure--we are only partly married--the marriage
ceremony lasts all day.

SPAR. I have no doubt at all about it. We shall be as happy as a
king and queen, though we are only a strolling actor and actress.

NICE. It's very nice of Thespis to celebrate our marriage day by
giving the company a picnic on this lovely mountain.

SPAR. And still more kind to allow us to get so much ahead of all
the others. Discreet Thespis. [kissing her]

NICE,. There now, get away, do. Remember the marriage ceremony
is not yet completed.

SPAR. But it would be ungrateful to Thespis's discretion not to
take advantage of it by improving the opportunity.

NICE. Certainly not; get away.

SPAR. On second thought the opportunity's so good it don't admit
of improvement. There. [kisses her]

NICE. How dare you kiss me before we are quite married?

SPAR. Attribute it to the intoxicating influence of the mountain
air.

NICE. Then we had better do down again. It is not right to
expose ourselves to influences over which we have no control.

SPAR. Here far away from all the world,
Dissension and derision,
With Nature's wonders all unfurled
To our delighted vision,
With no one here
(At least in sight)
To interfere
With our delight,
And two fond lovers sever,
Oh do not free,
Thine hand from mine,
I swear to thee
My love is ever thine
For ever and for ever.

NICE. On mountain top the air is keen,
And most exhilarating,
And we say things we do not mean
In moments less elating.
So please to wait
For thoughts that crop,
En tete-a-tete,
On mountain top,
May not exactly tally
With those that you
May entertain,
Returning to
The sober plain
Of yon relaxing valley

SPAR. Very well--if you won't have anything to say to me, I know
who will.

NICE. Who will?

SPAR. Daphne will.

NICE. Daphne would flirt with anybody.

SPAR. Anybody would flirt with Daphne. She is quite as pretty as
you and has twice as much back-hair.

NICE. She has twice as much money, which may account for it.

SPAR. At all events, she has appreciation. She likes good looks.

NICE. We all like what we haven;t got.

SPAR. She keeps her eyes open.

NICE. Yes--one of them.

SPAR. Which one.

NICE. The one she doesn't wink with.

SPAR. Well, I was engaged to her for six months and if she still
makes eyes at me, you must attribute it to force of habit.
Besides--remember--we are only half-married at present.

NICE. I suppose you mean that you are going to treat me as
shamefully as you treated her. Very well, break it off if you
like. I shall not offer any objection. Thespis used to be very
attentive to me. I'd just as soon be a manager's wife as a fifth-
rate actor's.

[Chorus heard, at first below, then enter Daphne, Pretteia,
Preposteros, Stupidas, Tipseion, Cymon, and other members of
Thespis's company climbing over rocks at back. All carry small
baskets.]

CHO. [with dance] Climbing over rocky mountain
Skipping rivulet and fountain,
Passing where the willows quiver
By the ever rolling river,
Swollen with the summer rain.
Threading long and leafy mazes,
Dotted with unnumbered daisies,
Scaling rough and rugged passes,
Climb the hearty lads and lasses,
Til the mountain-top they gain.

FIRST VOICE. Fill the cup and tread the measure
Make the most of fleeting leisure.
Hail it as a true ally
Though it perish bye and bye.

SECOND VOICE. Every moment brings a treasure
Of its own especial pleasure,
Though the moments quickly die,
Greet them gaily as they fly.

THIRD VOICE. Far away from grief and care,
High up in the mountain air,
Let us live and reign alone,
In a world that's all our own.

FOURTH VOICE. Here enthroned in the sky,
Far away from mortal eye,
We'll be gods and make decrees,
Those may honor them who please.

CHO. Fill the cup and tread the measure...etc.

[After Chorus and Couples enter, Thespis climbing over rocks]

THES. Bless you, my people, bless you. Let the revels commence.
After all, for thorough, unconstrained unconventional enjoyment
give me a picnic.

PREP. [very gloomily] Give him a picnic, somebody.

THES. Be quiet, Preposteros. Don't interrupt.

PREP. Ha. Ha. Shut up again. But no matter.

[Stupidas endeavors, in pantomime, to reconcile him. Throughout
the scene Prep shows symptoms of breaking out into a furious
passion, and Stupidas does all he can to pacify and restrain
him.]

THES. The best of a picnic is that everybody contributes what he
pleases, and nobody knows what anybody else has brought til the
last moment. Now, unpack everybody and let's see what there is
for everybody.

NICE. I have brought you--a bottle of soda water--for the claret-
cup.

DAPH. I have brought you--lettuce for the lobster salad.

SPAR. A piece of ice--for the claret-cup.

PRETT. A bottle of vinegar--for the lobster salad.

CYMON. A bunch of burrage for the claret-cup.

TIPS. A hard boiled egg--for the lobster salad.

STUP. One lump of sugar for the claret-cup.

PREP. He has brought one lump of sugar for the claret-cup? Ha.
Ha. Ha. [laughing melodramatically]

STUP. Well, Preposteros, what have you brought?

PREP. I have brought two lumps of the very best salt for the
lobster salad.

THES. Oh--is that all?

PREP. All. Ha. Ha. He asks if it is all. {Stup. consoles him]

THES. But, I say--this is capital so far as it goes. Nothing
could be better, but it doesn't go far enough. The claret, for
instance. I don't insist on claret--or a lobster--I don't insist
on lobster, but a lobster salad without a lobster, why it isn't
lobster salad. Here, Tipseion.

TIP. [a very drunken, bloated fellow, dressed, however, with
scrupulous accuracy and wearing a large medal around his neck] My
master. [Falls on his knees to Thes. and kisses his robe.]

THES. Get up--don't be a fool. Where's the claret? We arranged
last week that you were to see to that.

TIPS. True, dear master. But then I was a drunkard.

THES. You were.

TIPS. You engaged me to play convivial parts on the strength of
my personal appearance.

THES. I did.

TIPS. Then you found that my habits interfered with my duties as
low comedian.

THES. True.

TIPS. You said yesterday that unless I took the pledge you would
dismiss me from your company.

THES. Quite so.

TIPS. Good. I have taken it. It is all I have taken since
yesterday. My preserver. [embraces him]

THES. Yes, but where's the wine?

TIPS. I left it behind that I might not be tempted to violate my
pledge.

PREP. Minion. [Attempts to get at him, is restrained by Stupidas]

THES. Now, Preposteros, what is the matter with you?

PREP. It is enough that I am down-trodden in my profession. I
will not submit to imposition out of it. It is enough that as
your heavy villain I get the worst of it every night in a combat
of six. I will not submit to insult in the day time. I have come
out. Ha. Ha. to enjoy myself.

THES. But look here, you know--virtue only triumphs at night from
seven to ten--vice gets the best of it during the other twenty
one hours. Won't that satisfy you? [Stupidas endeavours to
pacify him.]

PREP. [Irritated to Stupidas] Ye are odious to my sight. Get out
of it.

STUP. [In great terror] What have I done?

THES. Now what is it. Preposteros, what is it?

PREP. I a -- hate him and would have his life.

THES. [to Stup.] That's it--he hates you and would have your
life. Now go and be merry.

STUP. Yes, but why does he hate me?

THES. Oh--exactly. [to Prep.] Why do you hate him?

PREP. Because he is a minion.

THES. He hates you because you are a minion. It explains itself.
Now go and enjoy yourselves. Ha. Ha. It is well for those who can
laugh--let them do so--there is no extra charge. The light-
hearted cup and the convivial jest for them--but for me--what is
there for me?

SILLI. There is some claret-cup and lobster salad [handing some]

THES. [taking it] Thank you. [Resuming] What is there for me but
anxiety--ceaseless gnawing anxiety that tears at my very vitals
and rends my peace of mind asunder? There is nothing whatever
for me but anxiety of the nature I have just described. The
charge of these thoughtless revellers is my unhappy lot. It is
not a small charge, and it is rightly termed a lot because there
are many. Oh why did the gods make me a manager?

SILL. [as guessing a riddle] Why did the gods make him a manager?

SPAR. Why did the gods make him a manager.

DAPH. Why did the gods make him a manager?

PRETT. Why did the gods make him a manager?

THES. No--no--what are you talking about? What do you mean?

DAPH. I've got it--no don't tell us.

ALL. No--no--because--because

THES. [annoyed] It isn't a conundrum. It's misanthropical
question.

DAPH. [Who is sitting with Spar. to the annoyance of Nice. who is
crying alone] I'm sure I don't know. We do not want you. Don't
distress yourself on our account--we are getting on very
comfortably--aren't we Sparkeion.

SPAR. We are so happy that we don't miss the lobster or the
claret. What are lobster and claret compared with the society of
those we love? [embracing Daphne.]

DAPH. Why, Nicemis, love, you are eating nothing. Aren't you
happy dear?

NICE. [spitefully] You are quite welcome to my share of
everything. I intend to console myself with the society of my
manager. [takes Thespis' arm affectionately].

THES. Here I say--this won't do, you know--I can't allow it--at
least before my company--besides, you are half-married to
Sparkeion. Sparkeion, here's your half-wife impairing my
influence before my company. Don't you know the story of the
gentleman who undermined his influence by associating with his
inferiors?

ALL. Yes, yes--we know it.

PREP. [formally] I do not know it. It's ever thus. Doomed to
disappointment from my earliest years. [Stup. endeavours to
console him]

THES. There--that's enough. Preposteros--you shall hear it.

I once knew a chap who discharged a function
On the North South East West Diddlesex Junction.
He was conspicuous exceeding,
For his affable ways, and his easy breeding.
Although a chairman of directions,
He was hand in glove with the ticket inspectors.
He tipped the guards with brand new fivers,
And sang little songs to the engine drivers.
'Twas told to me with great compunction,
By one who had discharged with unction
A chairman of directors function
On the North South East West Diddlesex Junction.
Fol diddle, lol diddle, lol lol lay.

Each Christmas day he gave each stoker
A silver shovel and a golden poker.
He'd button holw flowers for the ticket sorters
And rich Bath-buns for the outside porters.
He'd moun the clerks on his first-class hunters,
And he build little villas for the road-side shunters,
And if any were fond of pigeon shooting,
He'd ask them down to his place at Tooting.
Twas told to me....etc.

In course of time there spread a rumour
That he did all this from a sense of humour.
So instead of signalling and stoking,
They gave themselves up to a course of joking.
Whenever they knew that he was riding,
They shunted his train on a lonely siding,
Or stopped all night in the middle of a tunnel,
On the plea that the boiler was a-coming through the funnel.
Twas told to me...etc.

It he wished to go to Perth or Stirling,
His train through several counties whirling,
Would set him down in a fit of larking,
At four a.m. in the wilds of Barking.
This pleased his whim and seemed to strike it,
But the general public did not like it.
The receipts fell, after a few repeatings,
And he got it hot at the annual meetings.
Twas told to me...etc.

He followed out his whim with vigour,
The shares went down to a nominal figure.
These are the sad results proceeding
From his affable ways and his easy breeding.
The line, with its rais and guards and peelers,
Was sold for a song to marine store dealers
The shareholders are all in the work'us,
And he sells pipe-lights in the Regent Circus.
Twas told to me...etc.

It's very hard. As a man I am naturally of an easy disposition.
As a manager, I am compelled to hold myself aloof, that my
influence may not be deteriorated. As a man I am inclined to
fraternize with the pauper--as a manager I am compelled to walk
around like this: Don't know yah. Don't know yah. Don't know yah.

[Strides haughtily about the stage. Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo, in
full Olympian costume appear on the three broken columns.
Thespians scream.]

JUP, MARS, AP. Presumptuous mortal.

THES. Don't know ya. Don't know yah.

JUP, MARS, AP. [seated on broken pillars] Presumptuous mortal.

THES. I do not know you. I do not know you.

JUP, MARS, AP. Presumptuous mortal.

THES. Remove this person.

[Stup and Prep seize Ap and Mars]

JUP. Stop, you evidently don't know me. Allow me to offer you my
card. [Throws flash paper]

THES. Ah yes, it's very pretty, but we don't want any at present.
When we do our Christmas piece, I'll let you know. [Changing his
manner] Look here, you know this is a private party and we
haven't the pleasure of your acquaintance. There are a good many
other mountains about, if you must have a mountain all to
yourself. Don't make me let myself down before my company.
[Resuming] Don't know yah, Don't know yah.

JUP. I am Jupiter, the king of the gods. This is Apollo. This is
Mars. [All kneel to them except Thespis]

THES. Oh. Then as I'm a respectable man, and rather particular
about the company I keep, I think I'll go.

JUP. No--no--stop a bit. We want to consult you on a matter of
great importance. There. Now we are alone. Who are you?

THES. I am Thespis of the Thessalian Theatres.

JUP. The very man we want. Now as a judge of what the public
likes are you impressed with my appearance as father of the gods?

THES. Well to be candid with you, I am not. In fact I'm
disappointed.

JUP. Disappointed?

THES. Yes, you see you're so much out of repair. No, you don't
come up to my idea of the part. Bless you, I've played you often.

JUP. You have.

THES. To be sure I have.

JUP. And how have you dressed the part.

THES. Fine commanding party in the prime of life. Thunderbolt--
full beard--dignified manner--a good eal of this sort of thin
"Don't know ya. Don't know yah. Don't know yah.

JUP. [much affected] I--I'm very much obliged to you. It's very
good of you. I--I--I used to be like that. I can't tell you how
much I feel it. And do you find I'm an impressive character to
play?

THES. Well no, I can't say you are. In fact we don't you you
much out of burlesque.

JUP. Burlesque!

THES. Yes, it's a painful subject, drop it, drop it. The fact
is, you are not the gods you were--you're behind your age.

JUP. Well, but what are we to do? We feel that we ought to do
something, but we don't know what.

THES. Why don't you all go down to earth, incog, mingle with the
world, hear and see what people think of you, and judge for
yourselves as to the best means to take to restore your
influence?

JUP. Ah, but what's to become of Olympus in the meantime?

THES. Lor' bless you, don't distress yourself about that. I've a
very good company, used to take long parts on the shortest
notice. Invest us with your powers and we'll fill your places
till you return.

JUP. [aside] The offer is tempting. But suppose you fail?

THES. Fail. Oh, we never fail in our profession. We've nothing
but great successes.

JUP. Then it's a bargain.

THES. It's a bargain. [they shake hands on it]

JUP. And that you may not be entirely without assistance, we will
leave you Mercury and whenever you find yourself in a difficulty
you can consult him. [enter Mercury]

JUP. So that's arranged--you take my place, my boy,
While we make trial of a new existence.
At length I will be able to enjoy
The pleasures I have envied from a distance.

MER. Compelled upon Olympus here to stop,
While the other gods go down to play the hero.
Don't be surprised if on this mountain top
You find your Mercury is down at zero.

AP. To earth away to join in mortal acts.
And gather fresh materials to write on.
Investigate more closely, several facts,
That I for centuries have thrown some light on.

DIA. I, as the modest moon with crescent bow.
Have always shown a light to nightly scandal,
I must say I'd like to go below,
And find out if the game is worth the candle.

[enter all thespians, summoned by Mercury]

MER. Here come your people.

THES. People better now.

THES. While mighty Jove goes down below
With all the other deities.
I fill his place and wear his "clo,"
The very part for me it is.
To mother earth to make a track,
They are all spurred and booted, too.
And you will fill, till they come back,
The parts you best are suited to.

CHO. Here's a pretty tale for future Iliads and Odysseys
Mortals are about to personate the gods and goddesses.
Now to set the world in order, we will work in unity.
Jupiter's perplexity is Thespis's opportunity.

SPAR. Phoebus am I, with golden ray,
The god of day, the god of day.
When shadowy night has held her sway,
I make the goddesses fly.
Tis mine the task to wake the world,
In slumber curled, in slumber curled.
By me her charms are all unfurled
The god of day am I.

CHO. The god of day, the god of day,
The park shall our Sparkeion play,
Ha Ha, etc.
The rarest fun and rarest fare
That ever fell to mortal share
Ha ha etc.

NICE. I am the moon, the lamp of night.
I show a light -- I show a light.
With radiant sheen I put to flight
The shadows of the sky.
By my fair rays, as you're aware,
Gay lovers swear--gay lovers swear,
While greybeards sleep away their care,
The lamp of night am I.

CHO. The lamp of night-the lamp of night.
Nicemis plays, to her delight.
Ha Ha Ha Ha.
The rarest fun and rarest fare,
That ever fell to mortal share,
Ha Ha Ha Ha

TIM. Mighty old Mars, the god of war,
I'm destined for--I'm destined for.
A terribly famous conqueror,
With sword upon his thigh.
When armies meet with eager shout
And warlike rout, and warlike rout,
You'll find me there without a doubt.
The God of War am I.

CHO. The god of war, the god of war
Great Timidon is destined for.
Ha Ha Ha Ha
The rest fun and rarest fare
That ever fell to mortal share
Ha Ha Ha Ha

DAPH. When, as the fruit of warlike deeds,
The soldier bleed, the soldier bleeds,
Calliope crowns heroic deeds,
With immortality.
From mere oblivion I reclaim
The soldier's name, the soldier's name
And write it on the roll of fame,
The muse of fame am I.

CHO. The muse of fame, the muse of fame.
Callipe is Daphne's name.
Ha Ha Ha Ha
The rarest fun and rarest fare,
That ever fell to mortal share.
Ha Ha Ha Ha.

TUTTI. Here's a pretty tale.

[Enter procession of old Gods, they come down very much
astonished at all they see, then passing by, ascent the platform
that leads to the descent at the back.]

GODS. We will go,
Down below,
Revels rare,
We will share.
Ha Ha Ha
With a gay
Holiday
All unknown,
And alone
Ha Ha Ha.

TUTTI. Here's a pretty tale.

[The gods, including those who have lately entered in procession
group themselves on rising ground at back. The Thespians kneeling
bid them farewell.]

by William Schwenck Gilbert.

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.

by Henry James Pye.