Page images
PDF
EPUB

Far less he recks of polished arts,
The batteries in the siege of hearts.
And hence the minions of the ton,
While fair and foolish dames look on,
Laugh at Old Allan's awkward bow,
IIis stern address, and haughty brow.
Laugh they?—when sounds the hollow drum,
And banded legions onward come,
And life is won by ready sword,
By strength to strike, and skill to ward,
Those tongues, so brave in woman's war,
Those cheeks, unstained by scratch or scar,
Shall owe their safety in the fight
To hoary Allan's arm of might.

Close to the Clansman's side is seen
T)ame Fortune's soldier, James M'Lean.
I know him well—no novice he
In warfare's murderous theory;
Amidst the battle's various sound,
While bullets flew like hail around,
M'Lean was born; in scenes like this
He passed his earliest hours of bliss;
Cradled in war, the fearless child
Looked on the scene of blood, and smiled;
Toyed with the sabre of the Blues
Long ere he knew its hellish use;
His little fingers loved to feel
The bayonet's bright point of steel,

Or made his father's helmet ring
With beating up—“God save the King!”
Those hours of youthful glee are fled;
The thin gray hairs are on his head;
Of youth's hot current naught remains
Within the ancient warrior's veins.
Yet, when he hears the battle-cry,
His spirit beats as wild and high
As on the day that saw him wield
His virgin sword on battle-field;
The eve on which his comrades found him,
With England’s colours wrapped around him,
His face turned upwards, and his hand
Still twined around his trusty brand,
As, spent with wounds, and weak with toil,
He lay upon the bloody soil.
E’en now, though swift advancing years
Might well decline this life of fears,
Though the deep scars upon his breast
Show claim to honourable rest,
He will not quit what time has made
His joy, his habit, and his trade.
He envies not the peasant’s lot,
His cheerful hearth, and humble cot;
Incampments have to him become
As constant, and as dear a home.

Such are the hearts of steel, whom War Binds in their cradle to his car,

And leaves them in their latter day,
With honour, medals, and half-pay,
Burdened with all the cares of life,
Repentance—asthma—and a wife.

And what am I, who thus can choose Such subject for so light a muse? Who wake the smile, and weave the rhyme In such a scene, at such a time ! Mary, whose pure and holy kiss Is still a cherished dream of bliss, When last I saw thy bright blue eye, And heard thy voice of melody, And felt thy timid, mild caress, I was all hope—all joyousness! We parted—and the morrow’s Sun— O God! my bliss was past and done; The lover's hope, the husband's vow, Where were they then? ah! where wert thou ?

Mary I thou vision loved and wept, Ilong years have passed since thou hast slept, Removed from gaze of mortal eye, The dreamless sleep of those that die: Long years! yet has not passed away The memory of that fatal day When all thy young and faded grace Before me lay in Death's embrace.

A throb of madness and of pain Shot through my heart and through my brain ; I felt it then, I feel it now, Though time is stamped upon my brow ; Though all my veins grow cold with age, And o'er my memory’s fading page Oblivion draws her damning line, And blots all images—save thine.

Thou left'st me—and J did become
An alien from my house and home;
A phantom in life's busy dream ;
A bubble on misfortune's stream :
Condemned through varying scenes to rove,
With naught to hope, and naught to love;
No inward motive, that can give
Or fear to die, or wish to live.

Away ! away ! Death rides the breeze
There is no time for thoughts like these ;
Hark! from the foeman's distant camp
I hear their chargers' sullen tramp;
On 1 valiant Britons, to the fight !
On 1 for St. George, and England’s right !
Green be the laurel—bright the meed,
Of those that shine in martial deed!
Short be the pang—swift pass the breath,
Of those that die a Soldier's death.

THE COUNTY BALL.

“Busy people, great and small,
Awkward dancers, short and tall,
Ladies, fighting which shall call,
Loungers, pertly quizzing all.”
Amon.

THIS is a night of pleasure! Care, I shake thee from me ! do not dare To stir from out thy murky cell, Where, in their dark recesses, dwell Thy kindred Gnomes, who live to nip The rose on Beauty’s cheek and lip. Until, beneath their venomed breath, Life wears the pallid hue of Death. Avaunt I shake thee from me, Care l The gay, the youthful, and the fair, From “Lodge,” and “Court,” and “House,”

and “Hall,”

Are hurrying to the County Ball.
Avauntl I tread on haunted ground,
And giddy Pleasure draws around,
To shield us from thine envious spite,
Her magic circle ! Naught to-night
Over that guarded barrier flies
But laughing lips and smiling eyes;

« PreviousContinue »