Page images
PDF
EPUB

XXV.

INDIGNATION OP A HIGH-MINDED SPANIARD. 1810.

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.

[ocr errors]

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.

XXVII.

1810.

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,
In the thronged City, from the walks of gain,
As being all unworthy to detain
A Soul by contemplation sanctified.
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,
Ere while 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 two last lines is taken.

[ocr errors]

XXVIII.

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.

XXIX.

SPANISH GUERILLAS, 1811.

They seek, are sought; to daily battle led,
Shrink not, though far out-numbered 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.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »