Page images
PDF
EPUB

illum omnes et Virtutes et Veneres odore. With respect to my own share of the volume, I have omitted a third of the former edition, and added almost an equal number. The poems thus added are marked in the Contents by Italics.

S. T. C. Stowey, May, 1797.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Το μέλλον ήξει. Και συ μ' εν τάχει παρών
"Αγαν γ' αληθόμαντιν οικτείρας έρείς.

Æschy, Agamem. 1225.

ARGUMENT.

THE Ode commences with an address to the Divine Providence, that regulates into one vast harmony all the events of time however calamitous some of them may appear to mortals. The second Strophe calls on men to suspend their private joys and sorrows, and devote them, for a while, to the cause of human nature in general. The first epode speaks of the Empress of Russia, who died of an apoplexy on the 17th of November, 1796, having just concluded a subsidiary treaty with the Kings combined against France. The first and second Antistrophe describe the image of the departing year, &c., as in a vision. The second epode prophesies in anguish of spirit, the downfall of this country.

STTOPHE I.

SPIRIT! who sweepest the wild harp of Time,

It is most hard with an untroubled ear

Thy dark inwoven harmonies to hear !
Yet, mine eye fix'd on Heaven's unchanging clime,
Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,

With inward stillness, and a bowed mind:

• This Ode was written on the 24th, 25th, and 26th days of December, 1795; and published separately on the last day of the year.

B

When lo! far onwards waving on the wind I saw the skirts of the DepaRTING YEAR !

Starting from my silent sadness

Then with no unholy madness, Ere yet the enter'd cloud forbade my sight, I rais'd th’impetuous song, and solemniz'd his flight.

STROPHE II.

Hither from the recent tomb,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From poverty's heart-wasting languish,
From distemper's midnight anguish;
Or where his two bright torches blending,

Love illumines manhood's maze;
Or where o'er cradled infants bending

Hope has fixed her wishful gaze:
Hither, in perplexed dance,
Ye Woes, and young-eyed Joys advance !
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand

Whose indefatigable sweep

Forbids its fateful strings to sleep,
I bid you haste, a mix'd tumultuous band;
From every private bower,

And each domestic hearth,
Haste for one solemn hour;
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
O’er Nature struggling in portentous birth,

Weep and rejoice!
Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth
Let slip the storm, and woke the brood of Hell;

And now advance in saintly jubilee
Justice and Truth! They, too, have heard the spell,

They, too, obey thy name, divinest Liberty !

E PODBI.
I mark'd Ambition in his war-array!

I heard the mailed Monarch's troublous cry-
“Ah! wherefore does the Northern Conqueress stay!
Groans not her chariot o'er its onward way?”
Fly; mailed monarch fly!

Stunn'd by Death's “ twice mortal” mace,

No more on murder's lurid face The insatiate hag shall gloat with drunken eye! Manes of the unnumber'd slain !

Ye that gasp'd on Warsaw's plain ! Ye that erst at Ismail's tower,

When human ruin chok'd the streams,
Fell in conquest's glutted hour,

Mid women's shrieks and infant's screams!
Whose shrieks, whose screams were vain to stir
Loud-laughing, red-eyed Massacre!
Spirits of th' uncoffin'd slain,

Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
Oft, at night, in misty train,

Rush around her narrow dwelling! Th’exterminating fiend is fled

(Foul her life, and dark her doom) Mighty army of the dead

Dance, like death-fires, round her tomb!
Then with prophetic song relate,
Each some sceptred murderer's fate!

ANTISTROPHE I.

Departing Year! 'twas on no earthly shore

My soul beheld thy vision! Where alone,

Voiceless and stern, before the cloudy throne, Aye Memory sits; there, garmented with gore, With many an unimaginable groan

« PreviousContinue »