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He said, he drew; then, at his Master's frown,
Sullenly sheathed, plunging the weapon
War and the Great in War let others sing,
Havoc and spoil, and tears and triumphing ;
The morning-march that flashes to the sun,
The feast of vultures when the day is done ;
And the strange tale of many slain for one!
I sing a Man, amid his sufferings here,
Who watched and served in humbleness and fear
Gentle to others, to himself severe.
Still unsubdued by Danger’s varying form,
Still, as unconscious of the coming storm,
He looked elate; and, with his wonted smile,
On the great Ordnance leaning, would beguile
The hour with talk. His beard, his mien sublime,
Shadowed by Age-by Age before the time,*
From many a sorrow borne in many a clime,
Moved every heart. And now in opener skies
Stars yet unnamed of
radiance rise !
Stars, milder suns, that love a shade to cast,
And on the bright wave fling the trembling mast!
Another firmament! the orbs that roll,
Singly or clustering, round the Southern pole!
Not yet the four that glorify the Night-
Ah, how forget when to my ravished sight,
The Cross shone forth in everlasting light !
'Twas the mid hour, when He, whose accents dread
Still wandered thro' the regions of the dead,
(Merion, commissioned with his host to sweep
From age to age the melancholy deep)
To elude the seraph-guard that watched for man,
And mar, as erst, the Eternal's perfect plan,
Rose like the Condor, and, at towering height,
In pomp of plumage sailed, deepening the shades of
Roc of the West ! to him all empire given!
Who bears Axalhua's dragon-folds to heaven;
His flight a whirlwind, and, when heard afar,
Like thunder, or the distant din of war!
Mountains and seas fled backward as he passed
O'er the great globe, by not a cloud o'ercast
From the ANTARCTIC, from the Land of Fire*
To where Alaska's wintry wilds retire ;
Erom mines of gold, and giant-sons of earth,
To grots of ice, and tribes of pigmy birth
Who freeze alive, nor, dead, in dust repose,
High-hung in forests to the casing snows.
Now ’mid angelic multitudes he flies,
That hourly come with blessings from the skies ;
Wings the blue element, and, borne sublime,
Eyes the set sun, gilding each distant clime;
Then, like a meteor, shooting to the main,
Melts into pure intelligence again.
What tho' Despondence reigned, and wild Affright-
Stretched in the midst, and, thro' that dismal night,
By his white plume revealed and buskins white,
Slept Roldan. When he closed his gay career,
Hope fled for ever, and with Hope fled Fear.
Blest with each gift indulgent Fortune sends,
Birth and its rights, wealth and its train of friends,
Starlike he shone! Now beggared and alone,
Danger he wooed, and claimed her for his own.
O’er him a Vampyre his dark wings displayed.
'Twas Merion's self, covering with dreadful shade.
He came, and, couched on Roldan's ample breast,
Each secret pore of breathing life possessed,
Fanning the sleep that seemed his final rest ;
Then, inly gliding like a subtle flame,
Thrice, with a cry that thrilled the mortal frame,
Called on the Spirit within. Disdaining flight,
Calmly she rose, collecting all her might.*
Dire was the dark encounter! Long unquelled,
Her sacred seat, sovereign and pure, she held.
At length the great Foe binds her for his prize,
And awful, as in death, the body lies !
Not long to slumber! In an evil hour Informed and lifted by the unknown Power, It starts, it speaks! “ We live, we breathe no more! The fatal wind blows on the dreary shore !
-magnum si pectore possit Excussisse deum.
On yonder cliffs, beckoning their fellow-prey,
The spectres stalk, and murmur at delay.*
-Yet if thou canst (not for myself I plead!
Mine but to follow where 'tis thine to lead)
Oh turn and save! To thee, with streaming eyes,
To thee each widow kneels, each orphan cries!
Who now, condemned the lingering hours to tell,
Think and but think of those they loved so well !"
All melt in tears! but what can tears avail ?
These climb the mast, and shift the swelling sail.
These snatch the helm; and round me now I hear
Smiting of hands, outcries of grief and fear,
(That in the aisles at midnight haunt me still,
Turning my lonely thoughts from good to ill)
* Were there no graves—none in our land,” they cry,
That thou hast brought us on the deep to dic ?”
Silent with sorrow, long within his cloak
His face he muffled—then the Hero spoke.
"Generous and brave! when God himself is here,
Why shake at shadows in your mid career ?
He can suspend the laws himself designed,
He walks the waters, and the winged wind;