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When on thine hopes the cloud of battle lowers,
And frowns the vengeance of insulted powers;
When victory trembles in the doubtful scale,
And Death deals thick and fast his iron hail;
When all is staked, and the dread hazard known,
A rising scaffold, and a falling throne !
Then, can thy dastard soul some semblance wear
Of manhood's stamp- when fear hath conquered fear!
Canst thou be brave? whose dying prospects show A scene of all that's horrible in woe! On whose ambition, long by carnage nur
nursed, Death stamps the greatest change—the last, the worst! Death!— to thy view most terrible of things, Dreadful in all he takes and all he brings ! — But, King of Terrors ! ere thou seize thy prey, Point with a lingering dart to Moscow's fatal day; Shake with that scene his agonizing frame, And on the wreck of nations write his name! O, when will conquerors from example learn, Or truth from aught but self-experience earn ? How many Catos must be wept again ! How many Cæsars sacrificed in vain ! While Europe dozed — too aged to be taughtThe historic lesson young Columbia caught, Enraptured hung o'er that inspiring theme, Conned it by wood, by mountain, and by stream, Till every Grecian, Roman name, the morn Of Freedom hailed, -and Washington was born!
I see thee redden at that mighty name, That fills the herd of conquerors with shame: But ere we part, Napoleon ! deign to hear The bodings of thy future dark career; Fate to the poet trusts her iron leaf, Fraught with thy ruin-read it and be brief, – Then to thy senate flee, to tell the tale Of Russia's full revenge, Gaul's deep indignant wail. - It is thy doom false greatness to pursue, Rejecting, and rejected by, the true ;
A stirling name, thrice proffered, to refuse ;
And highest means pervert to lowest views ;
Till Fate and Fortune-finding that thou 'rt still
Untaught by all their good and all their ill,
Expelled, recalled, reconquered - all in vain,-
Shall sink thee to thy nothingness again.
Though times, occasions, chances, foes and friends,
Urged thee to purest fame, by purest ends,
In this alone be great — to have withstood
Such varied, vast temptations to be good!
As hood-winked falcons boldest pierce the skies,
The ambition that is blindest highest flies;
And thine still waked by night, still dreamed by day,
To rule o'er kings, as these o'er subjects sway;
Nor dared thy mitred Mentor set thee right,
Thou art not Philip's son- nor he the Stagyrite!
And lo, thy dread, thy hate! the Queen of Isles,
Frowns at thy guilt, and at thy menace smiles ;
Free of her treasure, freer of her blood,
She summons all the brave, the great, the good.
But ill befits her praise my partial line,
Enough for me to boast—that land is mine.-
And last, to fix thy fate and seal thy doom, Her bugle note shall Scotia stern resume, Shall grasp her Highland brand, her plaided bonnet plume : From hill and dale, from hamlet, heath, and wood, She pours her dark, resistless battle-flood. Breathe there a race, that from the approving hand Of Nature, more deserve, or less demand? So skilled to wake the lyre, or wield the sword; To achieve great actions, or achieved — record; Victorious in the conflict as the truce,Triumphant in a Burns as in a Bruce! Where'er the bay, where'er the laurel grows, Their wild notes warble, and their life-blood flows. There, Truth courts access, and would all engagc, Lavish as youth — experienced as age;
Proud Science there, with purest Nature twined,
In firmest thraldom holds the freest mind;
While Courage rears his limbs of giant form,
Rocked by the blast, and strengthened by the storm!
Rome fell; ---- and Freedom to her craggy glen
Transferred that title proud — The Nurse of Men!
By deeds of hazard high, and bold emprize,
Trained like their native eagle for the skies,-
Untamed by toil, unconquered till their slain ;
Walls in their trenches-whirlwinds on the plain,
This meed accept from Albion's grateful breath,
Brothers in arms! in victory! in death!--
Such are thy foes, Napoleon, when Time
Wakes Vengeance, sure concomitant of crime.
Fixed, like Prometheus, to thy rock, o'erpowered
By force, by vulture-conscience slow devoured;
With godlike power, but fiendlike rage, no more
To drench the worldthy reeking stage-in gore;
Fit but o'er Shame to triumph, and to rule;
And proved in all thingsbut in danger-cool;
That found'st a nation melted to thy will,
And Freedom's place didst with thine image fill;
Skilled not to govern, but obey the storm,
To catch the tame occasion, not to form ;
Victorious only when success pursued,
But when thou followed'st her, as quick subdued :
The first to challenge, as the first to run ;
Whom Death and Glory both consent to shun
Live! that thy body and thy soul may be
Foes that can't part, and friends that can't agree.-
Live! to be numbered with that common herd,
Who life's base boon unto themselves preferred, —
Live! till each dazzled fool hath understood
That nothing can be great that is not good.
And when remorse, for blood in torrents spilt,
Shall sting-to madness----conscious, sleepless guilt,
May deep contrition this black hope repel, -
Snatch me, thou future, from this present, hell!
Give me the mind that, bent on highest aim, Deems virtue's rugged path sole path to fame; Great things with small compares, in scale sublime, And death with life! eternity with time! Man's whole existence weighs, sifts nature's laws, And views results in the embryo of their cause; Prepared to meet, with corresponding deeds, Events, as yet imprisoned in their seeds; Kens in his acorn hid, the king of trees, And freedom's germ in foul oppression sees; Precedes the march of time — to ponder fate, And execute, while others meditate; That, deaf to present praise, the servile knee Rebukes, and says to glory- Follow me!
Come, beloved! the evening star
O'er the mountain top is glowing ;
List! the black-cap's note afar,
Music on the ear bestowing.
With a hushed and stilly sound,
O'er its bed the stream is pouring,
And the stirless woods profound,
Seem the rising moon adoring.
Come, beloved! the pleasant hour
Only wants thy smile to bless it;
These woods, these walks, this leafy bower,
And my lone bosom, all confess it.
Sweeter smells the flower by far,
When thy foot is flitting o'er it;
Brighter glows the evening star,
When thine eye, love! glows before it.
KIRKSTALL ABBEY REVISITED.
The echoes of thy vaults are eloquent!
The stones have voices, and the walls do live;
It is the house of Memory! -
Long years have passed since last I strayed,
In boyhood, through thy roofless aisle,
And watched the mists of eve o'ershade
Day's latest, loveliest smile ;-
And saw the bright, broad, moving moon
up the sapphire skies of June!
The air around was breathing balm,
The aspen scarcely seemed to sway,
And, as a sleeping infant calm,
The river streamed away, -
Devious as Error, deep as Love,
And blue and bright as heaven above!
Steeped in a flood of golden light,
Type of that hour of deep repose, In wan, wild beauty on my sight,
Thy time-worn tower arose, Brightening above the wreck of years, Like Faith amid a world of fears !
I climbed its dark and dizzy stair,
And gained its ivy-mantled brow;
But broken-ruined — who may dare
Ascend that pathway now?
Life was an upward journey then;
When shall my spirit mount again?