Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE

POETICAL WORKS

OF

THOMAS CAMPBELL.

The Pleasures of Hope.

IN TWO PARTS.

PART I.

Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near ?..

"T is distance lends enchantment to the view,
ANALYSIS

And robes the mountain in its azure hue. The Poem opens with a comparison between the Thus, with delight we linger to survey beauty of remote objects in a landscape, and those The promised joys of life's unmeasured way, ideal scenes of felicity which the imagination de- Thus, from afar, each dim-discover'd scene lights to contemplate-the influence of anticipation More pleasing seems than all the past hath been; upon the other passions is next delineated—an allu. And every form, that Fancy can repair sion is made to the well-known fiction in Pagan tra- From dark oblivion, glows divinely there. dition, that, when all the guardian deities of mankind abandoned the world, Hope alone was left be- What potent spirit guides the raptured eye hind-the consolations of this passion in situations To pierce the shades of dim futurity ? of danger and distress—the seaman on his watch-Can Wisdom lend, with all her heavenly power, the soldier marching into battle--allusion to the The pledge of Joy's anticipated hour? interesting adventures of Byron.

Ah, no! she darkly sees the fate of manThe inspiration of Hope, as it actuates the efforts of Her dim horizon bounded to a span; genius, whether in the department of science, or of Or, if she hold an image to the view, taste-domestic felicity, how intimately connected "T is Nature pictured 100 severely true. with views of future happiness-picture of a mother with thee, sweet Hope! resides the heavenly light, watching her infant when asleep-pictures of the That pours remotest rapture on the sight: prisoner, the maniac, and the wanderer.

Thine is the charm of Life's bewilder'd way, From the consolations of individual misery, a That calls each slumbering passion into play. transition is made to prospects of political improve- Waked by thy touch, I see the sister band, ment in the future state of society—the wide field on tiptoe waiching, start at thy command, that is yet open for the progress of humanizing arts And Hy where'er thy mandate bids them steer, among uncivilized nations—from these views of To Pleasure's path, or Glory's bright career. amelioration of society, and the extension of liberty and truth over despotic and barbarous countries, by Primeval HOPE, the Aönian Muses say, a melancholy contrast of ideas, we are led to reflect When Man and Nature mourn'd their first decay; upon the hard fate of a brave people recently con- When every form of death. and every woe, spicuous in their struggles for independence-descrip- Shot from malignant stars to earth below; tion of the capture of Warsaw, of the last contest When Murder bared her arm, and rampant War of the oppressors and the oppressed, and the mas- Yoked the red dragons of her iron car, sacre of the Polish patriots at the bridge of Prague— When Peace and Mercy, banish'd from the plain, apostrophe to the self-interested enemies of human Sprung on the viewless winds to Heaven again; improvement—the wrongs of Africa—the barbarous All, all forsook the friendless guilty mind, policy of Europeans in India-prophecy in the Hin- But Hope, the charmer, linger'd still behind. doo mythology of the expected descent of the Deity to redress the miseries of their race, and to take Thus, while Elijah's burning wheels prepare vengeanıe on the violators of justice and mercy. From Carmel's heights to sweep the fields of air

The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began,
At summer eve, when Ileaven's ethereal bow Dropt on the world—a sacred gift to man.
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,

Auspicious Hore! in thy sweet garden grow Whose sun-bright summit mingles with the sky? Wreaths for each toil, a charın for every woe ;

Won by their sweets, in Nature's languid hour, To wake each joyless morn, and search again
The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower; The famish'd haunts of solitary men;
There, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing, Whose race, unyielding as their native storm,
What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring! Know not a trace of Nature but the form;
What viewless forms th'Eolian organ play, Yet, at thy call, the hardy tar pursued,
And sweep the furrow'd lines of anxious thought Pale, but intrepid, sad, but unsubdued,
away!

Pierced the deep woods, and hailing from afar

The moon's pale planet and the northern star; Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore Paused at each dreary cry, unheard before, Earth's loneliest bounds, and Ocean's wildest shore. Hyenas in the wild, and mermaids on the shore; Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields

Till, led by thee o'er many a cliff sublime, His bark, careering o'er unfathom’d fields ;

He found a warmer world, a milder clime, Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,

A home to rest, a shelter to defend, Where Andes, giant of the western star,

Peace and repose, a Briton and a friend ! (2) With meteor-standard to the winds unfurl'd, Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world! Congenial Hope! thy passion-kindling power,

How bright, how strong, in youth's untroubled hour Now far he sweeps, where scarce a summer smiles On yon proud height, with Genius hand in hand, On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles : I see thee light, and wave thy golden wand. Cold on his midnight w ch the breezes blow, From wastes that slumber in eternal snow;

“Go, child of Heav'n! (thy winged words proclaim) And waft, across the wave's tumultuous roar, 'Tis thine to search the boundless fields of fame! The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore. Lo! Newton, priest of nature, shines afar,

Scans the wide world, and numbers every star! Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm, Wilt thou, with him, mysterious rites apply, Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form! And watch the shrine with wonder-beaming eye! Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatler'd bark delay; Yes, thou shalt mark, with magic art profound, Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.

The speed of light, the circling march of sound;

With Franklin grasp the lightning's fiery wing, But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep, Or yield the lyre of Heav'n another string. (3) And sing to charın the spirit of the deep: Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole,

“ The Swedish sage (4) admires in yonder bowers, Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul ; His winged insects, and his rosy flowers ; His native hills that rise in happier climes,

Calls from their woodland haunts the savage train The grot that heard his song of other times, With sounding horn, and counts them on the plainHis cottage home, his bark of slender sail,

So once, at Heaven's command, the wand'rers came His glassy lake, and broom wood-blossom d vale, To Eden's shade, and heard their various name. Rush on his thought; he sweeps before the wind, 'Treads the loved shore he sigh'd to leave behind; “Far from the world, in yon sequester'd clime, Meets at each step a friend's familiar face, Slow pass the sons of Wisdom, more sublime; And flies at last to Helen's long embrace;

Calm as the fields of Heav'n his sapient eye Wipes from her cheek the rapture-speaking tear, The loved Athenian lifts to realms on high, And clasps, with many a sigh, his children dear! Admiring Plato, on his spotless page, While, long neglected, but at length caress'd, Stamps the bright dictates of the Father sage: His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest,

Shall Nature bound to Earth's diurnal span Points to the master's eyes (where'er they roam) The fire of God, th' immortal soul of man ? His wistful face, and whines a welcome home.

“ Turn. child of Heav'n, thy rapture-lighten'd eye Friend of the brave! in peril's darkest hour, To Wisdom's walks,—the sacred Nine are nigh: Intrepid Virtue looks to thee for power;

Hark! from bright spires that gild the Delphian To thee the heart its trembling homage yields,

height, On stormy floods, and carnage-cover'd fields, From streams that wander in eternal light, When front to front the banner'd hosts combine, Ranged on their hill, Ilarmonia's daughters swell Halt ere they close, and form the dreadful line. The mingling tones of horn, and harp, and shell; When all is still on Death's devoted soil,

Deep from his vaults, the Lorian murmurs flow, (5) The march-worn soldier mingles for the toil; And Pythia's awful organ peals below. As rings his glittering tube, he lifts on high The dauntless brow, and spirit-speaking eye,

· Beloved of Heav'n! the smiling Muse shall shed Hails in his heart the triumph yet to come, Her moonlight halo on thy beauteous head; And hears thy stormy music in the drum!

Shall swell thy heart to rapture unconfined,

And breathe a holy madness o'er thy mind. And such thy strength-inspiring aid that bore I see thee roam her guardian pow'r beneath, The hardy Byron to his native shore-(1)

And talk with spirits on the midnight heath; In horrid climes, where Chiloe's tempests sweep Inquire of guilty wand'rers whence they came, Tumultuous murmurs o'er the troubled deep, And ask each blood-stain'd form his earthly name; "T was his to mourn Misfortune's rudest shock, Then weave in rapid verse the deeds they tell, Sccurged by the winds, and cradled on the rock, And read the trembling world the tales of hell.

[ocr errors]

“When Venus, throned in clouds of rosy hue, And weaves a song of melancholy joyFlings from her golden urn the vesper dew, * Sleep, image of thy father, sleep, my boy: And bids fond man her glimmering noon employ, No lingering hour of sorrow shall be thine; Sacred to love, and walks of tender joy;

No sigh that rends thy father's heart and mine, A müder mood the goddess shall recall,

Bright as his manly sire the son shall be And soft as dew thy tones of music fall;

In form and soul; but, ah! more blest than he! While Beauty's deeply-pictured smiles impart Thy fame, thy worth, thy filial love, at last, A pang more dear than pleasure to the heart- Shall soothe his aching heart for all the past, Warm as thy sighs shall flow the Lesbian strain, With many a smile my solitude repay, And plead in Beauty's ear, nor plead in vain. And chase the world's ungenerous scorn away. “Or wilt thou Orphean hymns more sacred deem,

"And say, when summon'd from the world and

thee And steep thy song in Mercy's mellow stream? To pensive drops the radiant eye beguile

I lay my head beneath the willow-tree,

Wilt thou, sweet mourner! at my stone appear. For Beauty's tears are lovelier than her smile;On Nature's throbbing anguish pour relief?

And soothe my parted spirit lingering near? And teach impassion d souls the joy of grief?

Oh, wilt thou come, at evening hour to shed

The tears of Memory o’er my narrow bed;
“Yes; to thy tongue shall seraph words be given, With aching temples on thy hand reclined,
And power on earth to plead the cause of Heaven; Muse on the last farewell I leave behind,
The proud, the cold untroubled heart of stone, Breathe a deep sigh to winds that murmur low
That never mused on sorrow but its own,

And think on all my love, and all my woe?”
Unlocks a generous store at thy command,
Like Horeb's rocks bereath the prophet's hand. (6)

So speaks Affection, ere the infant eye

Can look regard, or brighten in reply; The living lumber of his kindred earth,

But when the cherub lip hath learnt to claim Charm'd into soul, receives a second birth,

A mother's ear by that endearing name; Feels thy dread power another heart afford,

Soon as the playful innocent can prove
Whose passion-touch'd harmonious strings accord

A tear of pity, or a smile of love,
True as the circling spheres to Nature's plan;
And man, the brother, lives the friend of man.

Or cons his murmuring task bencath her care,

Or lisps with holy look his evening prayer, “Bright as the pillar rose at Heaven's command, Or gazing, mutely pensive, siis to hear

The mournsul ballad warbled in his ear;
When Israel march'd along the desert land,
Blazed through the night on lonely wilds afar,

How fondly looks admiring Hope the while
And told the path,-a never-setting star:

Al every artless tear, and every smile! So, heavenly Genius, in thy course divine,

How glows the joyous parent 10 descry Hope is thy star, her light is ever thine."

A guileless bosom, true to sympathy! Propitious Power! when rankling cares annoy

Where is the troubled heart, consign'd to share The sacred home of Hymenean joy;

Tumultuous toils, or solitary care, When doom'd to Poverty's sequester'd dell,

Unblest by visionary thoughts that stray

To count the joys of Fortune's better day!
The wedded pair of love and virtue dwell,

Lo, nature, life, and liberty relume
Unpitied by the world, unknown to fame,
Their woes, their wishes, and their hearts the same- A long-lost friend, or hapless child restored,

The dim-eyed tenant of the dungeon gloom,
Oh, there, prophetic Hope! thy smile bestow,
And chase the pangs that worth should never know–Smiles at his blazing hearih and social board;

Warm from his heart the tears of rapture flow,
There, as the parent deals his scanty store
To friendless babes, and weeps to give no more,

And virtue triumphs o'er remember'd woe. Tell, that his manly race shall yet assuage

Chide not his peace, proud Reason! nor destroy Their father's wrongs, and shield his latter age. The shadowy forms of uncreated joy, What though for him no Hybla sweets distil, That urge the lingering tide of life, and pour Nor bloomy vines wave purple on the hill ; Spontaneous slumber on his midnight hour. Tell, that when silent years have pass'd away, Hark! the wild maniac sings, to chide the gale That when his eve grows dim, his tresses grey, That walts so slow her lover's distant sail : These busy hands a lovelier cot shall build, She, sad spectatress, on the wintry shore And deck with fairer flowers his little field, Watch'd the rude surge his shroudless corse that bore, And call from Heaven propitious dews to breathe Knew the pale form, and, shrieking in amaze, Arcadian beauty on the barren heath ;

Clasp'd her cold hands, and fix'd her maddening gaze. Tell, that while Love's spontaneous smile endears Poor widow'd wretch! 'twas there she wept in vain, The davs of peace, the sabbath of his years, Till Memory fled her agonizing brain ;Health shall prolong to many a festive hour But Mercy gave, to charm the sense of woe, The social pleasures of his humble bower.

Ideal peace, that truth could ne'er bestow;

Warm on her heart the joys of Fancy beam,
Lo! at the couch where infant beauty sleeps,

And aimless Hope delights her darkest dream.
Her silent watch the mournful mother keeps ;
She, while the lovely babe unconscious lies,

Oft when yon moon has climb’d the midnight sky Smiles on her slumbering child with pensive eyes, And the lone sea-bird wakes its wildest cry,

P:led on the steep, her blazing fagots burn When leagued Oppression pour'd to Northern wars To hail the bark that never can return;

Her whisker'd pandoors and her fierce hussars, And still she waits, but scarce forbears to weep Waved her dread standard to the breeze of morn, T'hat constant love can linger on the deep.

Peal’d her loud drum, and twang'd her trumpet horn;

Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van, And, mark the wretch, whose wanderings never knew

Presaging wrath to Poland--and to man! (9) The world's regard, that soothes, though half untrue, Warsaw's last champion from her height survey'd, Whose erring heart the lash of sorrow bore, Wide o'er the fields, a waste of ruin laid, But found not pity when it err'd no more.

Oh! Heaven! he cried, my bleeding country save! Yon friendless man, at whose dejected eye Is there no hand on high to shield the brave? T'h' unfeeling proud one looks—and passes by, Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains, Condemn’d on Penury's barren path to roam, Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains ! Scorn'd by the world, and left without a homem By that dread name, we wave the sword on high! Even he, at evening, should he chance to stray And swear for her to live with her to die! Down by the hamlet's hawthorn-scented way, Where, round the cot's romantic glade, are seen

He said, and on the rampart-heights array'd The blossom'd bean-field, and the sloping green, His trusty warriors, few, but undismay'd; Leans o'er its humble gate, and thinks the while- Firm-paced and slow, a horrid front they form, Oh! that for me some home like this would smile, Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm ; Some hamlet shade, 10 yield my sickly form

Low murmuring sounds along their banners fly, Health in the breeze, and shelter in the storm! Revenge, or death,—the watch-word and reply; There should my hand no stinted boon assign Then peal'd the notes, omnipotent to charm, To wre'ched hearts with sorrow such as mine! And the loud tocsin toll'd their last alarm! That generous wish can soothe unpitied care, And Hope half mingles with the poor man's prayer. From rank to rank your volley'd thunder flew :

In vain, alas! in vain, ye gallant few! Hope! when I mourn, with sympathizing mind, Oh, bloodiest picture in the book of Time, The wrongs of fate, the woes of human kind,

Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime; Thy blissful omens bid my spirit see

Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe, The boundless fields of rapture yet to be; Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe! I watch the wheels of Nature's mazy plan, Dropp'd from her nerveless grasp the shatter'd spear And learn the future by the past of man.

Closed her bright eye, and curb'd her high carcer; Come, bright Improvement! on the car of Time, Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell, And rule the spacious world from clime to clime;

And Freedom shriek das Kosciusko fell! Thy handmaid arts shall every wild explore,

The sun went down, nor ceased the carnage there Trace every wave, and culture every shore. On Erie's banks, where tigers steal along,

Tumultuous murder shook the midnight airAnd the dread Indian chants a dismal song,

On Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow, Where human fiends on midnight errands walk,

His blood-dyed waters murmuring far below; And bathe in brains the murderous tomahawk;

The storm prevails, the rampart yields away, There shall the flocks on thymy pasture stray,

Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay! And shepherds dance at Summer's opening day;

Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall,

A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call! Each wandering genius of the lonely glen

Earth shook-red meteors fash'd along the sky, Shall start to view the glittering haunts of men, And silence watch, on woodland heights around,

And conscious Nature shudder'd at the cry! The village curfew as it tolls profound.

Oh! righteous Heaven! ere Freedom found a grave, In Lybian groves, where damned rites are done, Why slept the sword, omnipotent to save ? That bathe the rocks in blood, and veil the sun, Where was thine arm, () vengeance! where thy rod Truth shall arrest the murd'rous arm profane : That smote the foes of Zion and of God; Wild Obi flies (7)—the veil is rent in twain.

That crush'd proud Ammon, when his iron car Where barbarous hordes on Scythian mountains Was yoked in wrath, and thunder'd from afar?

Where was the storm that slumber'd till the host roam, Truth, Mercy, Freedom, yet shall find a home;

or blood-stain d Pharaoh left their trembling coast; Where'er degraded Nature bleeds and pines,

Then bade the deep and wild commotion flow, From Guinea's coast to Sibir's dreary mines, (8)

And heaved an ocean on their march below?
Truth shall pervade the unfathom'd darkness there,
And light the dreadful features of despair.

Departed spirits of the mighty dead!

Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled! Hark! the stern captive spurns his heavy load,

Friends of the world! restore your swords to man, And asks the image back that Heaven bestow'd!

Fight in his sacred cause, and lead the van! Fierce in his eye the fire of valor burns,

Yet for Sarmatia's tears of blood atone, And, as the slave departs, the man returns.

And make her arm puissant as your own! Oh! sacred Truth! thy triumph ceased awhile, Oh! once again to Freedom's canse return And Hope, thy sister, censed with thee to smile, The patriot Tell- the Bruce of Bannockburn!

Yes! thy proud lords, unpitied land! shall see Or, warm with Fancy's energy, to glow,
That man hath yet a soul-and dare be free! And rival all but Shakspeare's name below!
A little while, along thy saddening plains,
The stárless night of Desolation reigns;

And say, supernal Powers! who deeply scan
Truth shall restore the light by Nature given, Heaven's dark decrees, unfathom'd yet by man,
And, like Prometheus, bring the fire of Heaven! When shall the world call down, to cleanse her shame,
Prone to the dust Oppression shall be hurld, That embryo spirit, yet without a name,-
Her name, her nature, wither'd from the world! That friend of Nature, whose avenging hands

Shall burst the Lybian's adamantine bands? Ye that the rising morn invidious mark,

Who, sternly marking on his native soil And hate the light—because your deeds are dark; The blood, the tears, the anguish and the toil, Ye that expanding truth invidious view,

Shall bid each righteous heart exuli, to see And think, or wish, the song of Hope untrue; Peace to the slave, and vengeance on the free! Perhaps your little hands presume 10 span The march of Genius, and the powers of man;

Yet, yet, degraded men! th' expected day Perhaps ye watch, at Pride's unhallow'd shrine, That breaks your bitter cup, is far away; Her victims, newly slain, and thus divine : Trade, wealth, and fashion, ask you still to bleed, * Here shall thy triumph, Genius, cease ; and here And holy men give Scripture for the deed ; Truth, Science, Virtue, close your short career.”

Scourged, and debased, no Briton stoops to save

A wret a coward ; yes, because a slave!
Tyrants! in vain ye trace the wizard ring;
In vain ye limit Mind's unwearied spring :

Eternal Nature! when thy giant hand
What! can ye lull the winged winds asleep,

Had heaved the floods, and fix'd the trembling land Arrest the rolling world, or chain the deep?

When life sprung starting at thy plastic call, No:—the wild wave contemns your sceptred hand: Endless her forms, and man the lord of all! li rolld not back when Canute gave command !

Say, was that lordly form inspired by thee,
To wear eternal chains and bow the knee?

Was man ordain'd the slave of man to toil,
Man! can thy doom no brighter soul allow?

Yoked with the brutes, and fetter'd to the soil; Sull must thou live a blot on Nature's brow?

Weigh'd in a tyrant's balance with his gold ?
Shall War's polluted banner ne'er be furl’d?
Shall crimes and tyrants cease but with the world ? She bade no wretch his thankless labor urge,

No !—Nature stamp'd us in a heavenly mould! What! are thy triumphs, sacred Truth, belied ?

Nor, trembling, take the pittance and the scourge! Why then hath Plato lived-or Sidney died ?

No homeless Lybian, on the stormy deep,

To call upon his country's name, and weep!
Ye fond adorers of departed fame,
Who warm at Scipio's worth, or Tully's name!

Lo! once in triumph, on his boundless plain, Ye that, in fancied vision, can admire

The quiver'd chief of Congo loved to reign; The sword of Brutus, and the Theban lyre!

With fires proportion'd to his native sky, Wrapt in historic ardor, who adore

Strength in his arm, and lightning in his eye; Each classic haunt, and well-remember'd shore,

Scour'd with wild feet his sun-illumined zone, Where Valor tuned, amid her chosen throng,

The spear, the lion, and the woods, his own!
The Thracian trumpet and the Spartan song: Or led the combat, bold without a plan,
Or, wandering thence, behold the later charms

An artless savage, but a fearless man!
of England's glory, and Helvetia's arms!
See Roman fire in Hampden's bosom swell,

The plunderer came !-alas! no glory smiles And fate and freedom in the shaft of Tell!

For Congo's chief on yonder Indian isles ; Say, ye fond zealots to the worth of yore,

For ever fall'n! no son of nature now, Hath Valor left the world—to live no more?

With freedom charter'd on his manly brow! No more shall Brutus bid a tyrant die,

Faint, bleeding, bound, he weeps the night away, And sternly smile with vengeance in his eye?

And when the sea-wind wafis the dewless day, Hampden no more, when suffering Freedom calls,

Starts, with a bursting heart, for ever more Encounter Fate, and triumph as he falls;

To curse the sun that lights their guilty shore ! Nor Tell disclose, through peril and alarm, The might that slumbers in a peasant's arm?

The shrill horn blew;(10) at that alarum knell

His guardian angel took a last farewell!
Yes! in that generous cause, for ever strong, That funeral dirge to darkness hath resign'd
The patriot's virtue and the poet's song,

The fiery grandeur of a generous mind!
Still, as the tide of ages rolls away,

Poor fetter'd man! I hear thee whispering low Shall charm the world, unconscious of decay! Unhallow'd vows to Guilt, the child of Woe!

Friendless thy heart; and canst thou harbor thero Yes! there are hearts, prophetic Hope may trust, A wish but death—a passion but despair? That slumber yet in uncreated dust, Ordain’d 10 fire th' adoring sons of earth

The widow'd Indian, when her lord expires, With every charm of wisdom and of worth ; Mounts the dread pile, and braves the funeral fires Ordain'd to light, with intellectual day,

So falls the heart at Thraldom's bitter sigh! The mazy wheels of Nature as they play So Virtue dies, the sponse of Liberty!

« PreviousContinue »