Page images
PDF
EPUB

Other Romans shall arise,

Heedless of a soldier's name;
Sounds, not arms shall win the prize,

Harmony the path to fame.
Then the progeny that springs

From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,

Shall a wider world command.
Regions Cæsar never knew

Thy posterity shall sway;
Where his eagles never flew,

None invincible as they.
Such the bard's prophetic words,

Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords

Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She, with all a monarch's pride,

Felt them in her bosom glow :
Rushed to battle, fought, and died ;

Dying hurled them at the foe.
Ruflians, pitiless as proud,

Heaven awards the vengeance due ;
Empire is on us bestowed,

Shame and ruin wait for you.

HEROISM. ERE was a time when Ætna's silent fire Slept unperceived, the mountain yet entire ; When, conscious of no danger from below, She towered a cloud-capt pyramid of snow, VOL. II.

CC

No thunders shook with deep intestine' sound
The blooming groves, that girdled her around.
Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines
(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines),
The peasant's bopes, and not in vain, assured,
In peace upon her sloping sides matured.
When on a day, like that of the last doom,
A conflagration labouring her womb,
She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,
That shook the circling seas and solid earth.
Dark and voluminous the vapours rise,
And hang their horrors in the neighbouring skies,
While through the stygian veil that blots the day,
In dazzling streaks the vivid lightnings play.
But oh! what muse, and in what powers of song,
Can trace the torrent as it burns along?
Havoc and devastation in the van,
It marches o'er the prostrate works of man.
Vines, olives, herbage, forests, disappear,
And all the charms of a Sicilian year.

Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass;
Without a soil to invite the tiller's care,
Or blade, that might redeem it from despair.
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live,
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
Oh bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats,
Oh charming paradise of short-lived sweets !
The self-same gale, that wafts the fragrance round,
Brings to the distant ear a sullen sound :
Again the mountain feels the imprisoned foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below.
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.

Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws, Who write in blood the merits of your cause, Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence, Glory your aim, but justice your pretence, Behold in Ætna's emblematic fires The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires !

Fast by the stream, that bounds your just domain, And tells you where ye have a right to reign, A nation dwells, not envious of

your throne, Studious of

peace,

their neighbours', and their own, Ill-fated race ! how deeply must they rue Their only crime, vicinity to you! The trampet sounds, your legions swarm abroad, Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road; At every step beneath their feet they tread The life of multitudes, a nation's bread! Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress Before them, and behind a wilderness. Famine, and Pestilence, her first-born son, Attend to finish what the sword begun; And echoing praises, such as fiends might earn, And folly pays, resound at your return. A calm succeeds—but Plenty, with her train Of heart-felt joys, succeeds not soon again, And years of pining indigence must show What scourges are the gods that rale below.

Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees (Such is his thirst of opulence and ease), Plies all the sinews of industrious toil, Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil, Rebuilds the towers, that smoked upon the plain, And the sun gilds the shining spires again.

Increasing commerce and reviving art Renew the quarrel on the conqueror's part; And the sad lesson must be learned once more, That wealth within is ruin at the door.

What are ye, monarchs, laurelled heroes, say,
But Ætnas of the suffering world ye sway?
Sweet nature, stripped of her embroidered robe,
Deplores the wasted regions of her globe ;
And stands a witness at truth's awful bar,
To prove you there, destroyers, as ye are.

Oh place me in some heaven-protected isle,
Where peace, and equity, and freedom smile;
Where no volcano pours his fiery flood,
No crested warrior dips his plume in blood ;
Where power secures what industry has won ;
Where to succeed is not to be undone;
A land that distant tyrants hate in vain,
In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign!

ON THE RECEIPT OF

MY MOTHER'S PICTURE OUT OF NORFOLK.

THE GIFT OP MY COUSIN ANN BODHAM.
On that those lips had language! Life has passed
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine—thy own sweet smiles I see,
The same, that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else, how distinct they say,
Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!"
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Blest be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles time's tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.

Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
Oh welcome guest, though unexpected here !
Who biddest me honour with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.

I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own :
And, while that race renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief,
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.

My mother! when I learned that thou wast dead,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ?
Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
Perhaps thou gavest me, though unseen, a kiss ;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss
Ah that maternal smile! it answers_Yes.
I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse, that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nursery window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu !
But was it such ?-it was. -Where thou art gone
Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting sound shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of a quick return.
What ardently I wished, I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
By disappointment every day beguiled,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learned at last submission to my lot,
But though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.

Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, Children not thine have trod my nursery floor : And where the gardener Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way,

« PreviousContinue »