« PreviousContinue »
So, when the mild Tupia dared explore
Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before,
And, with the sons of Science, wooed the gale
That, rising, swelled their strange expanse of sail ;
So, when he breathed his firm yet fond adieu,
Borne from his leafy hut, his carved canoe,
And all his soul best loved--such tears he shed,
While each soft scene of summer-beauty fled.
Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast,
Long watched the streaming signal from the mast;
Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye,
And fairy-forests fringed the evening-sky.
So Scotia's Queen, as slowly dawned the day,
Rose on her couch, and gazed her soul away.
Her eyes had blessed the beacon's glimmering height,
That faintly tipt the feathery surge with light;
But now the morn with orient hues pourtrayed
Each castled cliff, and brown monastic shade:
All touched the talisman's resistless spring,
And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing!
Thus kindred objects kindred thoughts inspire, As summer-clouds flash forth electric fire. And hence this spot gives back the joys of youth, Warm as the life, and with the mirror's truth. Hence home-felt pleasure prompts the Patriot's sigh; This makes him wish to live, and dare to die. For this young Foscari, whose hapless fate Venice should blush to hear the Muse relate,
When exile wore his blooming years away,
To sorrow's long soliloquies a prey,
When reason, justice, vainly urged his cause,
For this he roused her sanguinary laws;
Glad to return, tho' Hope could grant no more,
And chains and torture hailed him to the shore.
And hence the charm historic scenes impart;
Hence Tiber awes, and Avon melts the heart.
Aerial forms in Tempe's classic vale
Glance thro' the gloom, and whisper in the gale;
In wild Vaucluse with love and LAURA dwell,
And watch and weep in Eloisa's cell.
'Twas ever thus. Young Ammon, when he sought
Where Ilium stood, and where Pelides fought,
Sate at the helm himself. No meaner hand
Steered thro' the waves; and, when he struck the land,
Such in his soul the ardour to explore,
Pelides-like, he leaped the first ashore.
'Twas ever thus. As now at Virgil's tomb
We bless the shade, and bid the verdure bloom :
So Tully paused, amid the wrecks of Time,
On the rude stone to trace the truth sublime;
When at his feet, in honoured dust disclosed,
The immortal Sage of Syracuse reposed.
And as he long in sweet delusion hung,
Where once a Plato taught, a PINDAR sung ;
Who now but meets him musing, when he roves
His ruined Tusculan's romantic groves?
In Rome's great forum, who but hears him roll
His moral thunders o'er the subject soul?
And hence that calm delight the portrait gives :
We gaze on every feature till it lives !
Still the fond lover sees the absent maid;
And the lost friend still lingers in his shade!
Say why the pensive widow loves to weep,
When on her knee she rocks her babe to sleep:
Tremblingly still, she lifts his veil to trace
The father's features in his infant face.
The hoary grandsire smiles the hour away,
Won by the raptures of a game at play;
He bends to meet each artless burst of joy,
Forgets his age, and acts again the boy.
What tho' the iron school of War erase Each milder virtue, and each softer grace; What tho' the fiend's torpedo-touch arrest Each gentler, finer impulse of the breast; Still shall this active principle preside, And wake the tear to Pity's self denied.
The intrepid Swiss, who guards a foreign shore, Condemned to climb his mountain-cliffs no more, If chance he hears the song so sweetly wild Which on those cliffs his infant hours beguiled, Melts at the long-lost scenes that round him rise, And sinks a martyr to repentant sighs.
Ask not if courts or camps dissolve the charm : Say why VESPASIAN loved his Sabine farm;
Why great NAVARRE, when France and freedom bled,
Sought the lone limits of a forest-shed.
When Diocletian's self-corrected mind
The imperial fasces of a world resigned,
Say why we trace the labours of his spade,
In calm Salona's philosophic shade.
Say, when contentious Charles renounced a throne,
To muse with monks unlettered and unknown,
What from his soul the parting tribute drew?
What claimed the sorrows of a last adieu?
The still retreats that soothed his tranquil breast
Ere grandeur dazzled, and its cares oppressed.
Undamped by time, the generous Instinct glows
Far as Angola's sands, as Zembla's snows;
Glows in the tiger's den, the serpent's nest,
On every form of varied life imprest.
The social tribes its choicest influence hail :-
And when the drum beats briskly in the gale,
The war-worn courser charges at the sound,
And with young vigour wheels the pasture round.
Oft has the aged tenant of the vale
Leaned on his staff to lengthen out the tale;
Oft have his lips the grateful tribute breathed,
From sire to son with pious zeal bequeathed.
When o'er the blasted heath the day declined,
And on the scathed oak warred the winter-wind;
When not a distant taper's twinkling ray
Gleamed o'er the furze to light him on his way;