« PreviousContinue »
Is there a Power that can sustain and cheer The captive Chieftain — by a Tyrant's doom Forced to descend alive into his tomb, A dungeon dark! — where he must waste the year,
'And lie cut off from all his heart holds dear;What time his injured Country is a stage Whereon deliberate Valour and the Rage Of righteous vengeance side by side appear, — Filling from morn to night the heroic scene With deeds of hope and everlasting praise:Say can he think of this with mind serene And silent fetters ? — Yes, if visions bright Shine on his soul, reflected from the days When he himself was tried in open light.
Ah! where is Palafox? Nor tongue nor pen
In 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 chuse but mourn;
Yet soon by Christian faith is grief subdued,
And joy attends upon her fortitude.
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 'twere 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.
THE OAK OF GUERNICA.
The ancient oak of Guernica, says Laborde in his account of Biscay, is a most venerable natural monument. Ferdinand and Isabella, in the year 1476, after hearing mass in the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua, repaired to this tree, under which they swore to the Biscayans to maintain their fueros (privileges). What other interest belongs to it in the minds of this People will appear from the following
SUPPOSED ADDRESS OF THE SAME. 1810.
Oak of Guernica! Tree of holier power
Stroke merciful and welcome would that be
Which should extend thy branches on the ground,