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O'er thee and these, if, softened by thy tears,
I shamefully refuse to yield that breath
Which justice, glory, liberty, and Heaven,
Claim for my country, for my sons, and thee.
Think on my long unaltered love. Reflect
On my paternal fondness. Hath my heart
E'er known a pause in love or pious care?
Now shall that care, that tenderness, be shown
Most warm, most faithful. When thy husband dies
For Lacedæmon's safety, thou wilt share,
Thou and thy children, the diffusive good.
I am selected by th' immortal gods
To save a people. Should my timid heart
That sacred charge abandon, I should plunge
Thee too in shame, in sorrow. Thou wouldst mourn,
With Lacedæmon; wouldst, with her, sustain
Thy painful portion of oppression's weight.
Behold thy sons now worthy of their birth:
On their own merit, on their father's fame,
When he the Spartan freedom hath confirmed,
Before the world illustrious will they rise,
Their country's bulwark, and their mother's joy.
14.-ORATION IN PRAISE OF CORIOLANUS.
I SHALL lack voice: the deeds of Coriolanus
Should not be uttered feebly.-At sixteen years,
When Tarquin made a head for Rome, he fought
Beyond the mark of others: our then dictator,
Whom with all praise I point at, saw him fight,
When with his Amazonian chin he drove
The bristled lips before him: he bestrid
An o'er-pressed Roman, and in the consul's view
Slew three opposers: Tarquin's self he met,
And struck him on his knee: in that day's feats,
When he might act the woman in the scene,
He proved the best man in the field, and for his meed
Was brow-bound with the oak. His pupil age,
Man-entered thus, he waxed like a sea;
And, in the brunt of seventeen battles since,
He lurched all swords o' the garland. For this last,
Before and in Corioli, let me say,
I cannot speak him home: he stopped the fliers;
And, by his rare example, made the coward
Turn terror into sport. As waves before
A vessel under sail, so men obeyed,
And fell below his stern. Alone he entered
The mortal gate of the city; aidless came off,
And with a sudden re-enforcement, struck
Corioli like a planet: and till we called
Both field and city ours, he never stood
To ease his breast with panting.
15. THE OLD ENGLISH LION.
THE Old Lion of England grows youthful again;
He rouses- -he rises-he bristles his mane;
His eyeballs flash fire; his terrible roar,
Like thunder, bursts awfully over our shore!
We sons of the Lion, inspired by the sound,
Devoted to Liberty, gather around,
And indignantly hurl the false olive away,
Vain symbol of peace, only meant to betray;
Our high-tempered spirits, fresh touched with those fires
Which glowed in the hearts of our free-bosomed sires,
To conquer or perish-an emulous band,
The natural rampart of Albion we stand:
Our banners unfurled
O'ershadow the world,
Waving wide from those cliffs whence our rights are proclaimed.
The arms which they bear
Still proudly declare,
The Old English Lion will never be tamed.
We fight for the Altar and Throne we revere,
And the hearths that our home-born affections endear;
On Heaven's high favour then fearlessly trust,
For God arms with nations whose quarrel is just !
The oak, that was planted by Druids of yore,
Its mystical branches still flings round our shore,
Great parent of navies! it spreads o'er the waves,
Strikes deeper its roots, and Time's enmity braves!
Our life-streams unsullied flow down from those veins,
Which fed Fame on Cressy's and Agincourt's plains.
Our Edwards and Henries, 'tis true, are no more,
But George lives their glory and worth to restore;
On him we depend,
Our Father-our Friend,
The King whom we honour!-the Man whom we love!
By him now renewed,
Its nerves fresh endued,
The Old English Lion immortal shall prove.
From the sail-crowded bays and thronged havens of France,
Let the boastful invader his legions advance,
Ah! vainly with numbers he threatens our coast,
One heart braced by Freedom will combat a host.
The Lion disdainfully pants for the fray;
The greater his foes, the more noble his prey.
Too late shall France learn, on the blood-floated field,
That Britons will perish, but never can yield.
We'll grant her rash crew, should they escape from the waves,
No more English earth than will cover their graves;
Then let them embark-let the winds waft them o'er,
For Fate tolls their knell when they land on our shore:
In front, sure defeat,
Behind, no retreat;
Denied to advance, yet forbidden to fly :
While dreadfully round
Our thunders resound,
"The Old English Lion will conquer or die."
16. THE PASSIONS, AN ODE.
WHEN Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possessed beyond the Muse's painting.
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Filled with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatched her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each (for madness ruled the hour)
Would prove his own expressive power.
First, Fear, his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewildered laid :
And back recoiled, he knew not why,
Even at the sound himself had made.
Next, Anger rushed, his eyes on fire;
In lightnings owned his secret stings.
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurried hands the strings.
With woful measures, wan Despair-
Low sullen sounds his grief beguiled;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air:
'Twas sad, by fits-by starts, 'twas wild.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure? Still it whispered promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail. Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, She called on Echo still through all her song:
And, where her sweetest theme she chose,
A soft responsive voice was heard at every close;
And Hope, enchanted, smiled, and waved her golden hair:
And longer had she sung-but, with a frown,
Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down;
And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast, so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of wo :
And, ever and anon, he beat
The doubling drum with furious heat.
And though, sometimes, each dreary pause between,
Dejected Pity at his side,
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Yet still he kept his wild unaltered mien ;
While each strained ball of sight-seem bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fixed;
Sad proof of thy distressful state.
Of differing themes the veering song was mixed:
And, now, it courted Love; now, raving, called on Hate.
With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired;
And, from her wild sequestered seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,
Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul:
And, dashing soft, from rocks around,
Bubbling runnels joined the sound.
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted streams, with fond delay,
(Round a holy calm diffusing,
Love of peace and lonely musing), In hollow murmurs died away.
But, O, how altered was its sprightlier tone!
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemmed with morning dew,
Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known ;
The oak-crowned Sisters, and their chaste-eyed Queen,
Satyrs and sylvan boys were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green :
Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear,
And Sport leapt up, and seized his beechen spear.
Last, came Joy's ecstatic trial.
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addressed; But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol,
Whose sweet entrancing voice he loved the best.
They would have thought, who heard the strain,
They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids,
Amid the festal-sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing;
While, as his flying fingers kissed the strings,
Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round,
(Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound),
And he amidst his frolic play,
As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.
17.-ALEXANDER'S FEAST; OR, THE POWER OF MUSIC. AN ODE FOR ST CECILIA'S DAY.
'Twas at the royal feast, for Persia won
By Philip's warlike son.-
Aloft, in awful state,
The godlike hero sat
On his imperial throne.