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Does yet the unheard-of Vessel ride the wave?
Or is she swallowed up, remote from ken
Of pitying human-nature? Once again
Methinks that we shall hail thee, Champion brave,
Redeemed to baffle that imperial Slave,
And through all Europe cheer desponding men
With new-born hope. Unbounded is the might
Of martyrdom, and fortitude, and right.
Hark, how thy Country triumphs!-Smilingly
The Eternal looks upon her sword that gleams,
Like his own lightning, over mountains high,
On rampart, and the banks of all her streams.
What hope, what joy can sunshine bring to thee,
Or the soft breezes from the Atlantic sea,
The dews of morn, or April's tender shower?
Stroke merciful and welcome would that be
Which should extend thy branches on the ground,
If never more within their shady round
Those lofty-minded Lawgivers shall meet,
Peasant and Lord, in their appointed seat,
Guardians of Biscay's ancient liberty.
Ix due observance of an ancient rite,
The rude Biscayans, when their Children lie
Dead in the sinless time of infancy,
Attire the peaceful Corse in vestments white;
And, in like sign of cloudless triumph bright,
They bind the unoffending Creature's brows
With happy garlands of the pure white rose :
This done, a festal Company unite
In choral song; and, while the uplifted Cross
Of Jesus goes before, the Child is borne
Uncovered to his grave. Her piteous loss
The lonesome Mother cannot choose but mourn;
Yet soon by Christian faith is grief subdued,
And joy attends upon her fortitude.
NDIGNATION OF A HIGH-MINDED SPANIARD.
WE can endure that He should waste our lands,
Despoil our temples, and by sword and flame
Return us to the dust from which we came;
Such food a Tyrant's appetite demands:
And we can brook the thought that by his hands
Spain may be overpowered, and he possess,
For his delight, a solemn wilderness,
Where all the Brave lie dead. But when of bands,
Which he will break for us, he dares to speak,
Of benefits, and of a future day
When our enlightened minds shall bless his sway,
Then, the strained heart of fortitude proves weak;
Our groans, our blushes, our pale cheeks declare
That he has power to inflict what we lack strength to bear.
FEELINGS OF A NOBLE BISCAYAN
AT ONE OF THESE FUNERALS. 1810
YET, yet, Biscayans! we must meet our Foes
With firmer soul, yet labour to regain
Our ancient freedom; else 't were worse than vain
To gather round the Bier these festal shows.
A garland fashioned of the pure white rose
Becomes not one whose Father is a Slave:
Oh, bear the Infant covered to his Grave!
These venerable mountains now enclose
A People sunk in apathy and fear.
If this endure, farewell, for us, all good!
The awful light of heavenly Innocence
Will fail to illuminate the Infant's bier;
And guilt and shame, from which is no defence,
Descend on all that issues from our blood.
AVAUNT all specious pliancy of mind
In men of low degree, all smooth pretence!
I better like a blunt indifference
And self-respecting slowness, disinclined
To win me at first sight: and be there joined
Patience and temperance with this high reserve,
Honour that knows the path and will not swerve;
Affections, which, if put to proof, are kind;
And piety tow'rds God. Such Men of old
Were England's native growth; and, throughout Spain,
Forests of such do at this day remain;
Then for that Country let our hopes be bold;
For matched with these shall policy prove vain,
Her arts, her strength, her iron, and her gold.
O'ERWEENING Statesmen have full long relied
On fleets and armies, and external wealth:
But from within proceeds a Nation's health;
Which shall not fail, though poor men cleave with pride
To the paternal floor; or turn aside,
The ancient oak of Guernica, says Laborde in his account of Biscay.
is a most venerable natural monument. Ferdinand and Isabella, In the thronged City, from the walks of gain,
in the year 1476, after hearing mass in the Church of Santa Ma-As being all unworthy to detain
ria de la Antigua, repaired to this tree, under which they swore Soul by contemplation sanctified.
to the Biscayans to maintain their fueros (privileges). What
other interest belongs to it in the minds of this People will ap-
pear from the following
SUPPOSED ADDRESS OF THE SAME. 1810.
OAK of Guernica! Tree of holier power
Than that which in Dodona did enshrine
(So faith too fondly deemed) a voice divine,
fleard from the depths of its aerial bower,
How canst thou flourish at this blighting hour?
There are who cannot languish in this strife,
Spaniards of every rank, by whom the good
Of such high course was felt and understood;
Who to their Country's cause have bound a life,
Erewhile by solemn consecration given
To labour, and to prayer, to nature, and to heaven. '
See Laborde's Character of the Spanish People: from him the sentiment of these last two lines is taken.
THE FRENCH AND THE SPANISH GUERILLAS.
HUNGER, and sultry heat, and nipping blast
From bleak hill-top, and length of march by night
Through heavy swamp, or over snow-clad height,
These hardships ill sustained, these dangers past,
The roving Spanish Bands are reached at last,
Charged, and dispersed like foam: but as a flight
Of scattered quails by signs do reunite,
So these, and, heard of once again, are chased
With combinations of long-practised art
And newly-kindled hope; but they are fled,
Gone are they, viewless as the buried dead;
Where now?-Their sword is at the Foeman's heart!
And thus from year to year his walk they thwart,
And hang like dreams around his guilty bed.
SPANISH GUERILLAS. 1811.
THEY seek, are sought; to daily battle led,
Shrink not, though far outnumbered by their Foes:
For they have learnt to open and to close
The ridges of grim War; and at their head
Are Captains such as erst their Country bred
Or fostered, self-supported Chiefs, -like those
Whom hardy Rome was fearful to oppose,
Whose desperate shock the Carthaginian fled.
In one who lived unknown a Shepherd's life
Redoubted Viriatus breathes again;
And Mina, nourished in the studious shade,
With that great Leader' vies, who, sick of strife
And bloodshed, longed in quiet to be laid
In some green Island of the western main.
THE power of Armies is a visible thing,
Formal, and circumscribed in time and space;
But who the limits of that power shall trace
Which a brave People into light can bring
Or hide, at will,-for Freedom combating,
By just revenge inflamed? No foot may chase,
No eye can follow to a fatal place
That power, that spirit, whether on the wing
Like the strong wind, or sleeping like the wind
Within its awful caves.-From year to year
Springs this indigenous produce far and near;
No craft this subtle element can bind,
Rising like water from the soil, to find
In every nook a lip that it may cheer.
Nor, touched with due abhorrence of their guilt
For whose dire ends tears flow, and blood is spilt,
And justice labours in extremity,
Forget thy weakness, upon which is built,
O wretched Man, the throne of Tyranny!
THE FRENCH ARMY IN RUSSIA. 1812-13. HUMANITY, delighting to behold
A fond reflection of her own decay,
Hath painted Winter like a Traveller-old,
Propped on a staff—and, through the sullen day,
In hooded mantle, limping o'er the Plain,
As though his weakness were disturbed by pain:
Or, if a juster fancy should allow
An undisputed symbol of command,
The chosen sceptre is a withered bough,
Infirmly grasped within a palsied hand.
These emblems suit the helpless and forlorn,
But mighty Winter the device shall scorn.
For he it was-dread Winter! who beset,
Flinging round van and rear his ghastly net,
That host, when from the regions of the Pole
They shrunk, insane ambition's barren goal,
That lost, as huge and strong as e'er defied
Their God, and placed their trust in human pride!
As fathers persecute rebellious sons,
He smote the blossoms of their warrior youth;
He called on Frost's inexorable tooth
Life to consume in manhood's firmest hold;
Nor spared the reverend blood that feebly runs;
For why, unless for liberty enrolled
And sacred home, ah! why should hoary Age be bold?
Fleet the Tartar's reinless steed,
But fleeter far the pinions of the Wind,
Which from Siberian caves the Monarch freed,
And sent him forth, with squadrons of his kind,
And bade the Snow their ample backs bestride,
And to the battle ride.
No pitying voice commands a halt,
No courage can repel the dire assault;
Distracted, spiritless, benumbed, and blind,
Whole legions sink-and, in one instant, find
Burial and death: look for them—and descry,
When morn returns, beneath the clear blue sky,
A soundless waste, a trackless vacancy!
HERE pause: the Poet claims at least this praise,
That virtuous Liberty hath been the scope
Of his pure song, which did not shrink from hope
In the worst moment of these evil days;
From hope, the paramount duty that Heaven lays,
For its own honour, on man's suffering heart.
Never may from our souls one truth depart,
That an accursed thing it is to gaze
On prosperous Tyrants with a dazzled eye;
ON THE SAME OCCASION. YE Storms, resound the praises of your King! And ye mild Seasons-in a sunny clime, Midway on some high hill, while Father Time Looks on delighted-meet in festal ring, And loud and long of Winter's triumph sing! Sing ye, with blossoms crowned, and fruits, and flowers Of Winter's breath surcharged with sleety showers, And the dire flapping of his hoary wing!
Knit the blithe dance upon the soft green grass; With feet, hands, eyes, looks, lips, report your gain;
Whisper it to the billows of the main,
And to the aerial zephyrs as they pass,
That old decrepit Winter-He hath slain,
That Host, which rendered all your bounties vain!
THE GERMANS ON THE HEIGHTS OF
ABRUPTLY paused the Strife;-the field throughout
Resting upon his arms each Warrior stood,
Checked in the very act and deed of blood,
With breath suspended, like a listening Scout.
O Silence! thou wert Mother of a shout,
That through the texture of yon azure dome
Cleaves its glad way, a cry of harvest-home
Uttered to Heaven in ecstasy devout!
The barrier Rhine hath flashed, through battle-smoke,
On men who gaze heart-smitten by the view,
As if all Germany had felt the shock!
Fly, wretched Gauls! ere they the charge renew
Who have seen (themselves delivered from the yoke)
The unconquerable Stream his course pursue.
Now that all hearts are glad, all faces bright,
Our aged Sovereign sits; to the ebb and flow
Of states and kingdoms, to their joy or woe,
Insensible; he sits deprived of sight,
And lamentably wrapt in twofold night,
Whom no weak hopes deceived; whose mind ensued,
Through perilous war, with regal fortitude,
Peace that should claim respect from lawless Might.
Dread King of Kings, vouchsafe a ray divine
To his forlorn condition! let thy grace
Upon his inner soul in mercy shine;
Permit his heart to kindle, and embrace
(Though were it only for a moment's space)
The triumphs of this hour; for they are THINE!
ON THE DISINTERMENT OF THE REMAINS OF
THE DUKE D'ENGHIEN.
DEAR Reliques! from a pit of vilest mould
Uprisen to lodge among ancestral kings;
And to inflict shame's salutary stings
The event is thus recorded in the journals of the day: When the Austrians took Hockheim, in one part of the engagement they got to the brow of the hill, whence they had their first view of the Rhine, They instantly halted-not a gun was fired-not a voice heard: they stood gazing on the river, with those feelings which the events of the last fifteen years at once called up. Prince Schwartzenberg rode up to know the cause of this sudden stop: they then gave three cheers, rushed after the enemy, and drove them into the water.
On the remorseless hearts of men grown old
In a blind worship; men perversely bold
Even to this hour; yet at this hour they quake;
And some their monstrous Idol shall forsake,
if, to the living, truth was ever told
By aught surrendered from the hollow grave:
O murdered Prince! meek, loyal, pious, brave!
The power of retribution once was given;
But 't is a rueful thought that willow-bands
So often tie the thunder-wielding hands
Of Justice, sent to earth from highest Heaven!
OCCASIONED BY THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO, (The last six lines intended for an Inscription.) FEBRUARY, 1816.
INTREPID Sons of Albion! not by you
Is life despised; ah no, the spacious earth
Ne'er saw a race who held, by right of birth,
So many objects to which love is due.
Ye slight not life-to God and Nature true;
But death, becoming death, is dearer far,
When duty bids you bleed in open war:
Hence hath your prowess quelled that impious crew.
Heroes! for instant sacrifice prepared,
Yet filled with ardour, and on triumph bent,
'Mid direst shocks of mortal accident,
To you who fell, and you whom slaughter spared,
To guard the fallen, and consummate the event,
Your Country rears this sacred Monument!
O, FOR A kindling touch of that pure flame
Which taught the offering of song to rise
From thy lone bower, beneath Italian skies,
Great FILICAIA! With celestial aim
It rose-thy saintly rapture to proclaim,
Then, when the imperial City stood released
From bondage threatened by the embattled East,
And Christendom respired; from guilt and shame
Redeemed, from miserable fear set free
By one day's feat, one mighty victory.
-Chant the Deliverer's praise in every tongue!
The cross shall spread, the crescent hath waxed dim, `
He conquering, as in Earth and Heaven was sung,
HE CONQUERING THROUGH GOD, AND GOD BY HIM.
OCCASIONED BY THE SAME BATTLE.
THE Bard, whose soul is meek as dawning day,
Yet trained to judgments righteously severe;
Fervid, yet conversant with holy fear,
As recognizing one Almighty sway:
Ond'è ch' lo grido e griderò: giugnesti,
Guerregiasti, e vincesti;
Si, si, vincesti, o Campion forte e pio,
Per Dio vincesti, e per te vinse Iddio.
See Filicaia's Canzone, addressed to John Sobieski, king of Poland, upon his raising the siege of Vienna. This, and his other poems on the same occasion, are superior, perhaps, to any lyrical pieces that contemporary events have ever given birth to, those of the Hebrew Scriptures only excepted.
He whose experienced eye can pierce the array
Of past events,-to whom, in vision clear,
The aspiring heads of future things appear,
Like mountain-tops whose mists have rolled away:
Assoiled from all incumbrance of our time,
He only, if such breathe, in strains devout
Shall comprehend this victory sublime;
And worthily rehearse the hideous rout,
Which the blest Angels, from their peaceful clime
Beholding, welcomed with a choral shout.
EMPERORS and Kings, how oft have Temples rung
With impious thanksgiving, the Almighty's scorn!
How oft above their altars have been hung
Trophies that led the Good and Wise to mourn
Triumphant wrong, battle of battle born,
And sorrow that to fruitless sorrow clung!
Now, from Heaven-sanctioned Victory, Peace is sprung;
In this firm hour Salvation lifts her horn.
Glory to arms! but, conscious that the nerve
Of popular Reason, long mistrusted, freed
Your Thrones, from duty, Princes! fear to swerve;
Be just, be grateful; nor, the Oppressor's creed
Reviving, heavier chastisement deserve
Than ever forced unpitied hearts to bleed.
COMPOSED IN JANUARY, 1816.
Donare, et pretium dicere muneri. Non incisa notis marmora publicis, Per quæ spiritus et vita redit bonis Post mortem ducibus
Laudes, quam Pierides; neque Si chartæ sileant quod bene feceris, Mercedem tuleris.-Hon. Car. 8, Lib. 4.
WHEN the soft hand of sleep had closed the latch
On the tired household of corporeal sense,
And Fancy, keeping unreluctant watch,
Was free her choicest favours to dispense;
I saw, in wondrous perspective displayed,
A landscape more august than happiest skill
Of pencil ever clothed with light and shade;
An intermingled pomp of vale and hill,
City, and naval stream, suburban grove,
And stately forest where the wild deer rove;
Nor wanted lurking hamlet, dusky towns,
And scattered rural farms of aspect bright,
And, here and there, between the pastoral downs,
The azure sea upswelled upon the sight.
Fair prospect, such as Britain only shows!
But not a living creature could be seen
Through its wide circuit, hushed in deep repose,
Yea, even to sadness, quiet and serene!
Amid this solitude of earth and sky,
Through portal clear as loop-hole in a storm
Opening before the Sun's triumphant eye,
Issued, to sudden view, a radiant Form!
Earthward it glided with a swift descent:
From all this world's encumbrance did himself asse:l.
Saint George himself this Visitant may be;
And, ere a thought could ask on what intent
He sought the regions of humanity,
A thrilling voice was heard, that vivified
City and field and flood,-aloud it cried,
Though from my celestial home,
Like a Champion, armed I come;
On my helm the dragon crest,
And the red cross on my breast;
I, the Guardian of this Land,
Speak not now of toilsome duty-
Well obeyed was that command,
Hence bright days of festive beauty;
Haste, Virgins, haste!-the flowers which summer gave
Have perished in the field;
But the green thickets plenteously shall yield
Fit garlands for the Brave,
That will be welcome, if by you entwined!
flaste, Virgins, haste;-and you, ye Matrons grave,
Go forth with rival youthfulness of mind,
And gather what ye find
Of hardy laurel and wild holly boughs,
To deck your stern defenders' modest brows!
Such simple gifts prepare,
Though they have gained a worthier meed;
And in due time shall share
Those palms and amaranthine wreaths
Unto their martyred Countrymen decreed,
in realms where everlasting freshness breathes!»
Anon before my sight a Palace rose, Built of all precious substances,—so pure And exquisite, that sleep alone bestows
Ability like splendour to endure:
Entered, with streaming thousands, through the gate,
I saw the banquet spread beneath a Dome of state,
A lofty Dome, that dared to emulate
The Heaven of sable night
With starry lustre; and had power to throw
Solemn effulgence, clear as solar light,
Upon a princely Company below,
While the Vault rang with choral harmony,
Like some Nymph-haunted Grot beneath the roaring sea.
-No sooner ceased that peal, than on the verge
Of exultation hung a dirge,
Breathed from a soft and lonely instrument,
That kindled recollections
Of agonized affections;
And, though some tears the strain attended,
The mournful passion ended
In peace of spirit, and sublime content!
-But garlands wither,-festal shows depart, Like dreams themselves; and sweetest sound, Albeit of effect profound,
It was-and it is gone!
Victorious England! bid the silent Art
Reflect, in glowing hues that shall not fade,
These high achievements, even as she arrayed
With second life the deed of Marathon,
Upon Athenian walls:
So may she labour for thy civic halls;
And be the guardian spaces
Of consecrated places,
As nobly graced by Sculpture's patient toil;
And let imperishable structures grow
Fixed in the depths of this courageous soil;
Expressive signals of a glorious strife,
And competent to shed a spark divine
Into the torpid breast of daily life;
Records on which the morning sun may shine,
As changeful ages flow,
With gratulation thoroughly benign!
And ye, Pierian Sisters, sprung from Jove And sage Mnemosyne,-full long debarred From your first mansions,-exiled all too long From many a hallowed stream and grove, Dear native regions where ye wont to rove, Chanting for patriot heroes the reward
Now (for, though Truth descending from above
The Olympian summit hath destroyed for aye
Your kindred Deities, ye live and move,
And exercise unblamed a generous sway)
Now, on the margin of some spotless fountain,
Or top serene of unmolested mountain,
Strike audibly the noblest of your lyres,
And for a moment meet my soul's desires!
That I, or some more favoured Bard, may hear
ye. celestial Maids! have often sung
Of Britain's acts,-may catch it with rapt ear,
And give the treasure to our British tongue!
So shall the characters of that proud page
Support their mighty theme from age to age;
And, in the desert places of the earth,
When they to future empires have given birth,
So shall the people gather and believe
The bold report, transferred to every clime;
And the whole world, not envious but admiring,
And to the like aspiring.
Own that the progeny of this fair Isle
Had power as lofty actions to achieve
As were performed in Man's heroic prime;
Xor wanted, when their fortitude had held
Its even tenour, and the foe was quelled,
A corresponding virtue to beguile
The hostile purpose of wide-wasting Time;
That not in vain they laboured to secure,
For their great deeds, perpetual memory,
And fame as largely spread as land and sea,
By works of spirit high and passiou pure!
JANUARY 18, 1816.
WHOLLY unworthy of touching upon the momentous subject here treated would that Poet be, before whose eyes the present distresses under which this kingdom labours could interpose a veil sufficiently thick to hide, or even to obscure, the splendour of this great moral triumph. If the author has given way to exultation, unchecked by these distresses, it might be sufficient to protect him from a charge of insensibility, should he state his own belief that the sufferings will be transitory. On the wisdom of a very large majority of the British nation rested that generosity which poured out the treasures of this country for the deliverance of Europe and in the same national wisdom, presiding in time of peace over an energy not inferior to that which has been displayed in war, they confide, who encourage a firm hope, that the cup of our wealth will be gradually replenished. There will, doubtless, be no few ready to indulge in regrets and repinings; and to feed a morbid satisfaction, by aggravating these burthens in imagination, in order that calamity so confidently prophesied, as it has not taken the shape which their sagacity allotted to it, may appear as grievous as possible under another. But the body of the nation will not quarrel with the gain, because it might have been purchased at a less price: and, acknowledging in these sufferings, which they feel to have been in a great degree unavoidable, a consecration of their noble efforts, they will vigorously apply themselves to remedy the evil.
Nor is it at the expense of rational patriotism, or in disregard of sound philosophy, that the author hath given vent to feelings tending to encourage a martial spirit in the bosoms of his countrymen, at a time when there is a general outcry against the prevalence of these dispositions. The British army, both by its skill and valour in the field, and by the discipline which has rendered it much less formidable than the armies of other powers to the inhabitants of the several countries where its operations were carrried on, has performed services that will not allow the language of gratitude and admiration to be suppressed or restrained (whatever be the temper of the public mind) through a scrupulous dread lest the tribute due to the past should prove an injurious incentive for the future. Every man deserving the name of Briton adds his voice to the chorus which extols the exploits of his countrymen, with a consciousness, at times overpowering the effort, that they transcend all praise.-But this particular sentiment, thus irresistibly excited, is not sufficient. The nation would err grievously, if she suffered the abuse which other states have made of military power, to prevent her from perceiving that no people ever was, or can be, independent, free, or secure, much less great, in any sane application of the word, without martial propensities and an assiduous cultivation of military virtues. Nor let it be overlooked, that the benefits derivable from these sources are placed within the reach of Great Britain, under conditions peculiarly favourable. The same insular position