« PreviousContinue »
Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix,
Of crooked councils, and dark politics;
Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne,
And beg to make the immortal treasons known.
The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire,
With sparks that seemed to set the world on fire.
At the dread sound pale mortals stood aghast,
And startled Nature trembled with the blast.
56.-FROM THE FIELD OF WATERLOO. THOU, too, whose deeds of fame renewed, Bankrupt a nation's gratitude,
To thine own noble heart must owe
More than the meed she can bestow.
For not a people's just acclaim,
Not the full hail of Europe's fame,
Thy prince's smiles, thy state's decree,
The ducal rank, the gartered knee,
Not these such pure delight afford
As that, when, hanging up thy sword,
Well may'st thou think, “This honest steel
Was ever drawn for public weal;
And, such was rightful Heaven's decree,
Ne'er sheathed unless with victory!"
Look forth once more, with softened heart,
Ere from the field of fame we part;
Triumph and sorrow border near,
And joy oft melts into a tear.
Alas! what links of love that morn
Has War's rude hand asunder torn!
For ne'er was field so sternly fought,
And ne'er was conquest dearer bought.
Here piled in common slaughter sleep
Those whom affection long shall weep;
Here rests the sire, that ne'er shall strain
His orphans to his heart again;
The son, whom, on his native shore,
The parent's voice shall bless no more;
The bridegroom, who has hardly pressed
His blushing consort to his breast;
The husband, whom through many a year
Long love and mutual faith endear.
Thou canst not name one tender tie
But here dissolved its reliques lie!
O when thou see'st some mourner's veil
Shroud her thin form and visage pale,
Or markest the matron's bursting tears
Stream when the stricken drum she hears;
Or seest how manlier grief, suppressed,
Is labouring in a father's breast,-
With no inquiry vain pursue
The cause, but think on Waterloo !
Period of honour as of woes,
What bright careers 'twas thine to close!-
Marked on thy roll of blood what names
To Britain's memory, and to Fame's,
Laid there their last immortal claims!
Thou sawest in seas of gore expire
Redoubted PICTON's soul of fire-
Sawest in the mingled carnage lie
All that of PONSONBY could die-
DE LANCY change Love's bridal wreath,
For laurels from the hand of death-
Sawest gallant MILLER'S failing eye
Still bent where Albion's banners fly,
And CAMERON, in the shock of steel,
Die like the offspring of Lochiel ;
And generous GORDON, 'mid the strife,
Fall while he watched his leader's life.-
Ah! though her guardian angel's shield
Fenced Britain's hero through the field,
Fate not the less her power made known,
Through his friends' hearts to pierce his own!
Forgive, brave Dead, the imperfect lay!
Who may your names, your numbers, say?
What high-strung harp, what lofty line,
To each the dear-earned praise assign,
From high-born chiefs of martial fame
To the poor soldier's lowlier name?
Lightly he rose that dawning day,
From your cold couch of swamp and clay,
To fill, before the sun was low,
The bed that morning cannot know.-
Oft may the tear the green sod steep,
And sacred be the heroes' sleep,
Till time shall cease to run;
And ne'er beside their noble grave,
May Briton pass, and fail to crave
A blessing on the fallen brave,
Who fought with Wellington!
YET die even thus', thus' rather perish still,
Ye Sons of Pleasure, by the Almighty' stricken,
Than ever dare' (though oft', alas! ye dare)
To lift against yourselves' the murderous steel,
To wrest from God's' own hand the sword of Justice,
And be your own' avengers! Hold', rash Man,
Though with anticipating speed thou'st ranged
Through every' region of delight, nor left
One joy to gild the evening' of thy days;
Though life seem one uncomfortable void',
Guilt at thy heels', before thy face despair';
Yet gay this' scene, and light this' load of wo,
Compared with thy hereafter. Think', O think',
And, ere thou plunge into the vast abyss',
Pause on the verge' a while, look down' and see
Thy future' mansion. Why that start of horror`?
From thy slack hand' why drops the uplifted steel'?
Didst thou not think' such vengeance must await
The wretch, that with his crimes all fresh' about him
Rushes irreverent, unprepared', uncalled',
Into his Maker's presence, throwing back
With insolent disdain his choicest' gift?
Live' then, while Heaven in pity' lends thee life,
And think it all too short' to wash away
By penitential tears' and deep contrition'
The scarlet of thy crimes'. So shalt thou find
Rest' to thy soul, so unappalled' shalt meet
Death when he comes`, not wantonly invite'
His lingering stroke. Be it thy sole' concern
With innocence' to live, with patience wait'
The appointed hour; too soon' that hour will come,
Though Nature run' her course. But Nature's God',
If need' require, by thousand various' ways,
Without thy' aid, can shorten that short' span,
And quench' the lamp of life.
2.-VARIOUS MODES OF PUNISHMENT.
O WHEN He comes,
Roused by the cry of wickedness extreme
To heaven ascending from some guilty land,
Now ripe for vengeance; when He comes arrayed
In all the terrors of Almighty wrath;
Forth from his bosom plucks his lingering arm,
And on the miscreants pours destruction down,
Who can abide his coming? Who can bear
His whole displeasure? In no common form
Death then appears, but, starting into size
Enormous, measures with gigantic stride
The astonished Earth, and from his looks throws round
Unutterable horror and dismay.
All nature lends her aid. Each element
Arms in his cause. Ope fly the doors of heaven;
The fountains of the deep their barriers break;
Above, below, the rival torrents pour,
And drown Creation; or in floods of fire
Descends a livid cataract, and consumes
An impious race. Sometimes, when all seems peace,
Wakes the grim whirlwind, and with rude embrace
Sweeps nations to their grave, or in the deep
Whelms the proud wooden world; full many a youth
Floats on his watery bier, or lies unwept
On some sad desert shore! At dead of night.
In sullen silence stalks forth PESTILENCE;
CONTAGION close behind taints all her steps
With poisonous dew; no smiting hand is seen,
No sound is heard, but soon her secret path
Is marked with desolation; heaps on heaps
Promiscuous drop. No friend, no refuge, near ;
All, all is false and treacherous around,
All that they touch, or taste, or breathe, is DEATH.
But, ah! what means that ruinous roar? why fail
These tottering feet? Earth to its centre feels
The Godhead's power, and trembling at his touch
Through all its pillars, and in every pore,
Hurls to the ground with one convulsive heave
Precipitating domes, and towns, and towers,
The work of ages. Crushed beneath the weight
Of general devastation, millions find
One common grave; not even a widow left
To wail her sons: the house, that should protect,
Entombs its master; and the faithless plain,
If there he flies for help, with sudden yawn
Starts from beneath him. Shield me, gracious Heaven,
O snatch me from destruction! If this globe,
This solid globe, which thine own hand hath made
So firm and sure, if this my steps betray;
If my own mother Earth from whence I sprung
Rise up with rage unnatural to devour
Her wretched offspring, whither shall I fly?
Where look for succour? Where, but up to thee,
Almighty Father! Save, O save, thy suppliant
From horrors such as these! at thy good time
Let death approach; I reck not-let him but come
In genuine form, not with thy vengeance armed,
Too much for man to bear.
3.--THE IDEAS OF THE DIVINE MIND, THE ORIGIN OF EVERY QUALITY PLEASING TO THE IMAGINATION.
ERE the radiant sun
Sprung from the east, or 'mid the vault of night
The moon suspended her serener lamp;
Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorned the globe,
Or wisdom taught the sons of men her lore,
Then lived the Almighty One: then deep retired
In his unfathomed essence, viewed the forms,
The forms eternal of created things;
The radiant sun, the moon's nocturnal lamp,
The mountains, woods, and streams, the rolling globe,
And wisdom's mien celestial. From the first
Of days, on them his love divine he fixed,
His admiration: till in time complete,
What he admired and loved, his vital smile
Unfolded into being. Hence the breath
Of life informing each organic frame;
Hence the green earth and wild-resounding waves;
Hence light and shade alternate; warmth and cold;
And clear autumnal skies, and vernal showers
And all the fair variety of things.
But not alike to every mortal eye
Is this great scene unveiled. For since the claims
Of social life, to different labours urge