« PreviousContinue »
And wo to them that shear her,
And wo to them that goad! When all the pack, loud baying,
Her bloody lair surrounds, 8he dies in silence biting hard,
Amidst the dying hounds.
Warm with the breath of.kine; .
From the fresh battle-field:
Than his own dreadful frown, [smoke When he sees the thick black cloud of Go up from the conquered town.
"And such as is the War-god,
The author of thy line,
Even such be thou and thine.
His baths and his perfumes; Leave to the sordid race of Tyre
Their dyeing-vats and looms;
The rudder and the oar:
And scrolls of wordy lore.
The legion's ordered line;
Which with their laurelled train
Beneath thy yoke the Volscian
Shall .veil his lofty brow: Soft Capua's curled revellers
Before thy chair shall bow:
Shall quake thy rods to see:
Shall yield to only thee.
23. "The Gaul shall come against thee
From the land ol snow and night; Thou shalt give his fair-haired armies To the raven and the kite.
The conqueror of the East.
The beast on whom the castle
With all its guards doth stand,
The serpent for a hand.
Wedged close with shield and spear; And the ranks of false Tarentum
Are glittering in the rear.
"The ranks of false Tarentum
Like hunted sheep shall fly: In vain the bold Epirotes
Shall round their standards die: And A pennine's gray vultures
Shall have a noble feast On the fat and on the eyes
Of the huge earth-shaking beast.
In a stout Roman hand.
That through the thick array
That pass in endless file.
Hath the Red King ta'en flight 1
"Hurrah! for the great triumph
That stretches many a mile. Hurrah! for the rich dye of Tyre,
And the fine web of Nile, The helmets gay with plumage
Torn from the pheasant's wings, The belts set thick with starry gems
That shone on Indian kings, The urns of massy silver,
The goblets rough with gold, The many-coloured tablets bright
With loves and wars of old, The stone that breathes and struggles.
The brass that seems to speak;— Such cunning they who dwell on high
Have given unto the Greek.
29. "Hurrah! for Manius Curius,
The bravest son of Rome,
The third embroidered gown:
And twine the third green crown s And yoke the steeds of Rosea
With necks like a bended bow; And deck the bull, Mevania's bull. The bull as white as enow.
"Blest and thrice blest the Roman
Who sees Rome's brightest day, Who sees that long victorious pomp
Wind down the Sacred Way, And through the bellowing Forum,
And round the Suppliant's Grove, Up to the'everlasting gates
Of Capitolian Jove.
"Then where, o'er two bright havens,
Where soft Oroctes murmurs
Beneath the laurel shades;
Of dark-red colonnades;
Sheltered from waves and blasts. Bristles the d.usky forest
Of Byrsa's thousand masts; Where fur-clad hunters wander
Amidst the Northern ice; Where through the sand of mormr.g-'.anJ
The camel bears the spice;
Far o'er the Western foam.
The mighty name of Rome."
A POEM WHICH OBTAINED THE CHAXCELLOtt's MEDAL AT THE CAMBRIDGE COMMENCEMENT
On! land u Memory nnd to Freedom dear, Land of ilie melting lyro and conquering spear, Land of the vine-clad hill, the fragrant grove, Of afts and arms, of Genius and of Love, Hear, laircst Italy. Though now no more The glittering eagles awe the Atlantic shore, Nor at thy feet the gorgeous Orient flings The blood-bought treasures of her tawny Kings, Though vanished all that formed thine old renown, The laurel garland, and iho jewelled crown, The avenging poniard, the victorious sword, Which reared thine empire, or thy rights restored, Yet still the constant Muses haunt thy shore, And love to linger where they dwelt of yore. If e'er of old they deigned, with favouring smile, To tread tho sea-girt shores of Albion's isle, To smooth with classic arts our rugged tongue, And warm with classic glow the British song, Oh! bid them snatch their silent harps which wave On tho lone oak that shades thy Maro's grave,* And sweep with magic hand the slumbering strings, To fire the poet.—for thy clime he sings, Thy scenes of gay delight and wild despair, Thy varied forms of awful and of fair.
How rich that climate's sweets, how wild its storms/ What charms array it, and what rago deforms, Well have they mouldering walls, Pompeii, known, Decked in those charms, and by that rage o'er
thrown. Sad City, gayly dawned tliy latest day, And poured its radiance on a scene as gay. The leaves scarce rustled in the sighing breeze; In azure dimples curled the sparkling seas. And as the golden tide of light they quaffed, Campania's sunny meads and vineyards laughed, While gleamed each lichened oak and giant pino On the far sides of swarthy Apcnnine.
Then mirth and music through Pompeii rung; Then verdant vfreaths on all her portals hung; Her sons with solemn rite and jocund lay, Hailed the glad splendours of that festal day. With fillets bound the hoary priests advance, And rosy virgin9 braid the choral dance. The rugged warrior here unbends awhile" His iron front, and deigns a transient smile; There, frantic with delight, the ruddy boy Scarce treads on earth, and bounds and laughs with
joy. From every crowded altar perfumes rise In billowy clouds of fragrance to the skies. The milk-white monarch of the herd they lead, With gilded horns, at yonder shrine to bleed; And while the victim crops tho broidered plain, And frisks and gambols towards the destined fane, They little deem that like himself they stray To death, unconscious, o'er a flowery way;
* See Eustace's description of the Tomb of Virgil, on the Neapolitan coast. Vol. IV.—72
Heedless, like him, the impending stroke await, And sport and wantonon the brink of fete.
What 'vails it that whero yonder heights aspire. With ashes piled, and scathed with rills of tire, .Gigantic phantoms dimly seem to glide,* In misty tiles, along the mountain's side, To view with threatening scowl your fated lands, And toward your city point rheir shadowy hands T In vain celestial omens prompted fear, And nature's signal spoke the ruin near. In vain through many a night ye viewed from far The meteor flag of elemental war Unroll its blazing folds from yonder height, In fearful sign ot eanh's intestine fight. In vain Vesuvius groaned with wrath supprest, And muttered thunder in his burning breast. Long since the Eagle from that flaming peak Hath soared with screams a safer nest to seek. Awed by the infernal beacon's fitful glare, The howling fox hath left his wonted lair; Nor dares the browsing goat in venturous leap To spring, as erst, from dizzy steep to steep.— Man only mocks the peril. Man alone Defies the sulphurous flame, the warning groan. While instinct, humbler guardian, wakes and saves, Proud reason sleeps, nor knows the doom it braves.
But see the opening theatre invites Tho fated myriads to its gay delights. In, in, they swarm, tumultuous as the roar Of foaming breakers on a rocky shore. The enraptured throng in breathless transport views The gorgeous temple of the Tragic Muse. There, while her wand in shadowy pomp arrays Ideal scenes, and forms of other days, Fair as tho hopes of youth, a radiant band, The sister arts around her footstool stand, ■To deck their Queen, and lend a milder grace To tho stern beauty of that awful facc.Far, far, around the ravished eye surveys The sculptured forms of Gods and heroes blaze. Above the echoing roofs the peal prolong Of lofty converse, or melodious song, While, as the tones of passion sink or swell. Admiring thousands own the moral spell, Melt with the melting strains of fancied wo, With terror sicken, or with transport glow.
Oh! for a voice like that which peajed of old Through Salem's cedar courts and shrines of gold. And in wild accents round the trembling dome Proclaimed the havoc of avenging Rome; While every palmy arch and sculptured tower Shook with the footsteps of the parting power. Such voice might checkyour tears, which idly stream For the vain phantoms of the poet's dream.
♦ Dlo Cassius relates that figures of gigantic size appeared for some time previous to the destruction of Pompeii, on tho summits of Vesuvius. This appearance was probably occasioned bv the fantastic forms which the smoke Irnni the crater of ihe. volcano assumed. ;| „ a 6WI
Might bid those terrors rise, those sorrows flow; For oilier perils, and for nearer wo. [cloud
The hour is come. Even now the sulphurous Involves the city in its funeral shroud, And far along Campania's azure sky Expands its dark and boundless canopy, [height, The Sun, though throned on. heaven's meridian Burns red and rayless through that sickly night. Each bosom felt at once the shuddering thrill, Ai onrc the music stopped. The song was still. None in that cloud's portentous shade might trace The fearful changes of another's face. But through that horrid stillness oach could hear His neighbour's throbbing heart beat high with fear.
A moment's pause succeeds. Then wildly rise Griefs sobbing plaints and terror's frantic cries. * The gates recoil; and towards the narrow pass In wild confusion rolls the iiiing mass. Death—when ihy shadowy sceptre waves away From his sad couch the prisoner of decay, Though friendship view the close with glisteningeyc, And love's fond lips imbibe the parting sigh, By torture racked, by kindness soothed in vain, The soul still clings to being and to pain. But when have wilder terrors clothed thy brow, Or keener torments edged thy dart than now, When with thy regal horrors vainly strove The law of Naluro and the power of Love? On mothers, babes in vain for mercy call. Beneath the feet of brothers, brothers fall. Behold the dying wretch in vain upraise Towards yonder well- known face the accusinggaze; See trampled to the earth the expiring maid Clings round her lover's feet, and shrieks for aid. Vain is the imploring glance, the frenzied cry; All, all is fear;—to succour is to die.— Saw ye how wild, how red, how broad a light Burst on the darkness of that mid-day night, As fierce Vesuvius scattered o'er the vale Her drifted flames and sheets of burning hail, Shook hell's wan lightnings from his blazing cone, And gilded heaven with meteors not its own I
The morn all blushing rose; but sought in vain The snowy villas and the flowery plain, The purpled hills with marshalled vineyards gay. The domes that sparkled in the sunny ray. Where art or nature late hath deck'd the scene With blazing marble or with spangled green, There, streaked I>y many a fiery torrent's bed, A boundless wasle of hoary ashes s-prcad.
Along that dreary waste where lately rung The festal lay which smiling virgins sung. Where rapture echoed from the warbling line. And the gay dance resounded, all is mu'.c.— Mute !—Is H Fancy shapes that wailing sonnd Which faintly murmurs from the blasted ground, Or live there still, who, breathing in the lonib. Curse the dark refuge which delays their doom,' In massive vaults, on which the incumbent plain And ruined city heap their weight in vain?
Oh! who may sing that hour of mortal strife. When Nature calls on Death, yet clings to life? Who paint the wretch that draws sepulchral breath, A living prisoner in the house of Death 1 Pale as the corpse which loads the funeral pile. With face convulsed that writhes a ghastly smile, Behold him speechless movo with hurried pace, Incessant, round his dungeon's caverned space, Now shrink in terror, and now groan in pain, Gnaw his white lips and strike his burning brain, Till Fear o'erstratned in stupor dies away, And Madness wrests her victim from dismay. His arms sink down; his wild and stony eyo Glares without sight on blackest vacancy. He feels not, sees not: wrapped in senseless trance His soul is still and listless as his glance. One cheerless blank, one rayless mist is there, Thoughts, senses, passions, live not with despair.
Haate, Famine, haste, to urge the destined cloie, And 'ull the horrid scene to stern repose.
Yet ere, dire Fiend, ihy lingering tortures ce* And all be hushed in still sepulchral peace, Those caves shall wilder, darker deeds bebo Than e'er the voice of song or fable told, Whate'er dismay may prompt? or madness dare. Feasts of the grave, and banquets of despair.— Hide, hide the scene; and o'er the blasting sight Fling the dark veil of ages and of night.
Go, 6cek Pompeii now:—with pensive tread Roam through the silent city of the dead. Explore each spot, where still, in ruin grand. Her shapeless piles and tottering columns stand, Where the pale ivy's clasping wreaths o'ershade The mined temple's moss-clad colonnade, Or violets on the hearlh's cold marble wave, And muse in silence on a people's grave. Fear not.—No sign of death thine eyes shall scare, No, all is beauty, verdure, fragrance there. A gentle slope includes the fatal ground With odorous shrubs and tufied myrtles crowned; Beneath, o'ergrown with grass, or wreathed wiin
flowers, Lie tombs and temples, columns, baths, and towers. As if, in mockery, Nature seems to dress In all her charms the beauteous wilderness, And bids her gayest flowerets twine and bloom In sweet profusion o'er a city's tomb. With roses here she decks the untrodden path, Wiih lilies fringes there the stately bath; The acanthus'* spreading foliage here she weaves Round the gay capital which mocks its leaves; There hangs ihe sides of every mouldering room Wiih tapestry from her own fantastic loom, Wallflowers and weeds, whose glowing hues supply With simple grace the purple's Tyrion dye. The ruined city sleeps in fragrant shade, Liko the pale corpse of some Athenian maid.t Whose marble anna, cold brows, and snowy neck The fairest flowers of fairest climates deck, Meet types of her whose form their wreaths array, Of radiant beauty, "and of swift decay.
Advance, and wander on through crumbling halls, Through prosiralo gates and ivied pedestals, Arches, whose echoes now no chariots rouse, Tombs, on whose summits goats undaunted browse. See where yon ruined walfon earth reclines. Through weeds and moss the half-seen painting
shines, Still vivid midst the dewy cowslips glows, Or blends its colours with the blushing rose. Thou lovely, ghastly scene of fair decay, In beauty awful, and midst honors gay, Renown more wide,more bright shall gild thy name, Than thy wild charms or fearful doom could claimImmortal spirits, in whose deathless song Laiium and Athens yet their reign prolong. And from their thrones of fame and empire hurled, Ptill sway the sceptre cf the mental world, Yon in whose breasts the flames of Pindus beamed. Whose copious lips wiih rich persuasion streamed, Whose minds unravelled nature's mystic plan, Or traced the mazy labyrinth of man: Bend, glorious spirits, from your blissful bowers, And broidered couches of unfading flowers, While round your locks the Elysian garlands blow, With sweeter odours, and with brighter glow. Once more, immortal shades, atoning Fame Repairs the honours of each glorious name. Behold Pompeii's opening vaults restore The long-lost treasures of your ancient lore, The vestal radiance of poetic fire, The Btntely buskin and the tuneful lyre.
• The capital of (he Corinthian pillar Is carved, at U well known, in imitation of the acanthus. Mons. de Chnteaubrinnil, ns I have found since this Poem was written, has employed the same imajie in his Travels.
-f It is the custom of the modern Greeks to adorn corpses profusely with flowers