« PreviousContinue »
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.
Hither from the recent tomb,
Love illumines manhood's maze;
Hope has fixed her wishful gaze:
Whose indefatigable sweep
Forbids its fateful strings to sleep,
And each domestic hearth,
Weep and rejoice!
And now advance in saintly jubilee
They, too, obey thy name, divinest Liberty !
E PODE I.
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,
Mid women's shrieks and infant's screams!
Sudden blasts of triumph swelling,
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!
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
Thou stored'st thy sad hours! Silence ensued,
Deep silence o'er th'ethereal multitude, Whose wreathed locks with snow-white glories shone.
Then, his eye wild ardours glancing,
From the choired gods advancing,
On every harp, on every tongue,
Love and uncreated light,
By Belgium's corse impeded flood ! *
By Vendée's steaming brother's blood! By Peace with proffer*d insult scar'i,
Masked hate and envying scorn!
By years of havoc yet unborn!
Strange, horrible, and foul !
For ever shall the bloody Island scowl? For aye, unbroken, shall her cruel bow
Shoot famine's arrows o'er thy ravag'd world ? Hark! how wide Nature joins her groans below! Rise, God of Nature, rise! Ah why those bolts unhurl'd?"
* The Rhine.
The voice had ceas'd, the phantoms fled;
My ears throb hot; my eye-balls start;
And my thick and struggling breath
Imitates the toil of death!
The soldier on the war-field spread,
Death-like he dozes among heaps of dead ! (The strife is o'er, the day-light fled,
And the night wind clamours hoarse !
Lies pillowed on a brother's corse!)
O doom'd to fall, enslav'd and vile,
Echo to the bleat of flocks ;
And Ocean mid his uproar wild
Speaks safety to his island-child. Hence for many a fearless age
Has social quiet lov'd thy shore; Nor ever sworded foeman's rage
Orsack'd thy towers, or stain’d thy fields with gore.
Disclaim'd of heaven ! * mad av’rice at thy side
All nations curse thee: and with eager wond'ring Shall hear Destruction, like a vulture, scream ! Strange-eyed Destruction, who with many a dream
Of central fires thro' nether seas upthund'ring Soothes her fierce solitude; yet, as she lies
By livid fount, or roar of blazing stream,
* The Poet from having considered the peculiar advantages which this country has enjoyed, passes in rapid transition to the uses which we have made of these advantages. We have been preserved by our insular situation, from suffering the actual horrors of war ourselves, and we have shown our gratitude to Providence, for this immunity by our eagerness to spread those horrors over nations less happily situated. In the midst of plenty and safety we have raised or joined the yell for famine and blood. Of the one hundred and seven last years, fifty have been years of war. Such wickedness cannot pass unpunished. We have been proud and confident in our alliances and our fleets—but God has prepared the canker-worm, and will smite the gourds of our pride. “ Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about whose rampart was the sea ? Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubin were her helpers. Yet she was carried away,
she went into captivity; and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains. Thou also shalt be drunken; all thy strong-holds shall be like fig trees with the first ripe figs; if they be shaken, they shall ever fall into the mouth of the eater. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven. Thy cowned are as the locusts; and thy captains as the great grasshoppers which camp in the hedges in the cool-day ; but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are. There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous; all that hear the report of thee, shall clap the hands over thee; for upon who hath not thy wickedness passed continually?" -NAHUM, CHAP. 111.