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SLOW Struggling through the mist, that reek'd to heaven,

Day dawn'd on Chalons' plain. Faintly it show'd Indistinct horror, and the ghastly form

Of havoc lingering o'er its bloody work.

Oh for the tongue that told how once the fiend
Over immortal Athens from his wing
Scatter'd disease and death! and, worse than death,
The living curse of sunder'd charities,
Whereby the fount of feeling and love's pulse
Was stay'd within through dread, and, when most

The hospitable mansion sternly closed
Against a parent's prayer, while corses foul,
On the barr'd threshold's edge lay uninhumed,
Exhaling plague! Oh, for the voice of him,
Who drew the curtain of Apocalypse,
To man declaring things for man too high,
That I may speak the horrors, which broke slow
Upon the sight at dawn! The ample field,
Which, but short hours before was redolent
With herbs and healthful odours, now uptorn
By thousand hoofs, batter'd beneath the strength
Of wheels and horse and man, a barren mass
Of dark confusion seem'd; a trampled waste
Without the blush of verdure, but with gore
Distain'd, and steep'd in the cold dews of death.
Thick strewn, and countless, as those winged tribes
Which clamoring blacken all the grassy mead
In sickly autumn, when the wither'd leaves
Drift on the moaning gale, lay swords and pikes,
Bucklers, and broken cuirasses, and casques,
Shower'd by the pelting battle, when it rush'd
With such hoarse noise as does the foaming surge
Upon some rocky ledge, where Æolus

Bids foul winds blow. But not of arms alone
Rent fragments, and the broken orb of shields
Embossed with gold, and gorgeous housings lay
Cumbering that fearful waste. The mind shrinks

From the thick scatter'd carnage, the dread heaps
That late were living energy and youth,
Hope emulous, and lofty daring; strength,
Which raised again from that corrupting sod,
Thro' Ardenne's desert unto utmost Rhine
Might have spread culture; thousands whose blithe

Might yet have caroll'd to the breath of morn,
Or joy'd the banquet, or with gifted hand
Waked the ecstatic lyre, adorning still
With rich diversity of active power
Cottage or palace, the marmorean hall's
Proud masonry, with Roman wealth o'erlaid,
Or of Sarmatian hut the pastoral hearth,
Abode of love, where fond remembrance now
Looks sadly over hills and native dales
For forms beloved in vain, which far away,
Spurn'd by the grazed ox, shall heap the sod
Of Chalons' glebe with undistinguish'd clay.
Alas!-If erst, on that unhallow'd eve
When Ramah quaked with dread, the deep lament
Of Rachel mourning for her babes appall'd
Utmost Judea, and the holy banks

Of Jordan unto Syria's frontier bounds,
What ear, save Thine to whom all plaints arise,
Might have abided the commingling wail
Of matrons widow'd, and of maids that day
Bereft of bridal hopes! like those lorn men
Hard by the rock of Rimmon, when the Lord
Smote Benjamin in all his fenced towns,
Virgin, and wife, and infant with the sword
Utterly destroying; and one oath restrain'd
Each willing fair in Israel; yet brides

For these still bloom'd in Gilead, and, what time
The vintage glow'd, in Shiloh danced with song
Ripe for connubial joys. But whence for these
Shall ravaged Europe light the nuptial torch,
Whose hopes have wither'd as the herbs, that

Odorous yestermorn on Chalons' plain!
There foes on foes, friends lay with icy cheek
Pressing their maim'd companions. On that field
The eye might trace all war's vicissitudes
Impress'd in fatal characters; the rush
Headlong of flight, and thundering swift pursuit,
Rescue and rally, and the struggling front
Of hard contention. Strewn on every side
Lay dead and dying, like the scatter'd seed
Cast by the husbandman, with other thoughts
Of unstain'd harvest; chariots overthrown,
Shields cast behind, and wheels, and sever'd limbs,
Rider and steed, and all the merciless shower
Of arrows barb'd, strong shafts, and feather'd darts
Wing'd with dismay. As when of Alpine snows
The secret fount is open'd, and dread sprites,
That dwell in those crystalline solitudes [moan,
Have loosed the avalanche whose deep-thundering
Predicting ruin, on his couch death-doom'd
The peasant hears; waters on waters rush
Uptearing all impediment, woods, rocks,
Ice rifted from the deep cærulean glens,
Herds striving with the stream, and bleating flocks,
The dwellers of the dale, with all of life
That made the cottage blithesome; but ere long
The floods o'erpass; the ravaged valley lies
Tranquil and mute in ruin. So confused
In awful stillness lay the battle's wreck.
Here heaps of slain, as by an eddy cast,
And hands, which, stiff, still clench'd the ruddy
Show'd rallied strength, and life sold dearly. There
Equal and mingled havoc, where the tide
Doubtful had paused whether to ebb or flow.
Some prone were cast, some headlong, some supine;
Others yet strove with death. The sallow cheek
Of the slain Avar press'd the mangled limbs
Of yellow-hair'd Sicambrian, whose blue eyes
Still swum in agony; Gelonic steed
Lay panting on the cicatrized form


Of his grim lord, whose painted brow convulsed
Seem'd a ferocious mockery. There, mix'd
The Getic archer with the savage Hun,
And Dacian lancers lay, and sturdy Goths
Pierced by Sarmatian pike. There, once his pride
The Sueve's long-flowing hair with gore besprent,
And Alans stout, in Roman tunic clad.
Some of apparel stripp'd by coward bands
That vulture-like upon the skirts of war
Ever hang merciless; their naked forms

In death yet beauteous, though the eburnean limbs Blood had defiled. There some, whom thirst all night

Had parch'd, too feeble from that fellowship
To drag their fever'd heads, aroused at dawn
From fearful dreaming to new hope and life,
Die rifled by the hands whose help they crave.
Others lie maim'd and torn, too strong to die,
Imploring death. Oh, for some friendly aid
To staunch their burning wounds and cool the lip
Refresh'd with water from an unstain'd spring!
But that foul troop of plunderers unrestrain'd
Ply their abhorred trade, of groan or prayer
Heedless, destroying whom war's wrath had spared.
Some, phrensied, crawl unto the brook, which late
Pellucid roll'd, now choked with slain, and swell'd
With the heart's blood of thousands; gore they quaff
For water, to allay the fatal thirst
Which only death may quench. And this, great
This is thy field of glory and of joy
To man, the noblest of created forms,
In thy pure image moulded! This the meed
For which exalted natures toil and strive,
Placed in such high preeminence, to be
Thine own similitude, in glory next
Thine incorporeal ministers! Long while
Upon that loathly scene gazed Attila
Touch'd by no thought of sufferings.


WHAT art thou, O relentless visitant,
Who with an earlier or later call,
Dost summon every spirit that abides
In this our fleshly tabernacle! Death!
The end of worldly sorrowing and joy,
That breakest short the fantasies of youth,
The proud man's glory, and the lingering chain
Of hopeless destitution! The dark gate
And entrance into that untrodden realm,
Where we must all hereafter pass! Art thou
An evil or a boon? that some shrink back
With shuddering horror from the dreaded range
Of thine unmeasured empire, others plunge
Unbidden, goaded by the sense of ill,
Or weariness of being, into the abyss!
And should we call those blest who journey on
Upon this motley theatre, through life
Successful, unto the allotted term

Of threescore years and ten, even so strong,
That they exceed it? or those, who are brought down
Before their prime, and, like the winged tribes,
Ephemeral, children of the vernal beam,
Just flutter round the sweets of life and die ?-
An awful term thou art; and still must be,
To all who journey to that bourne, from whence
Return is none, and from whose distant shore
No rumor has come back of good or ill,
Save to the faithful, and even they but view
Obscurely things unknown and unconceived,
And judge not even, by what sense the bliss,
Which they imagine, shall hereafter be
Enjoy'd or apprehended. And shall man

Unbidden rush on that mysterious change,
Which, whether he believe or mock the creed
Of those who trust, awaits him, and must bring
Or good, or evil, or annihilate

The sense of being, and involve him quite
In darkness upon which no dawn shall break !—
Fearful and dreaded must thy bidding be
To such as have no light within, vouchsafed
From the Most High, no reason for their hope;
But go from this firm world, into the void
Where no material body may reside,

By fleshly cares polluted and unmeet
For spiritual joy; and ne'er have known,
Or knowing, have behind them cast the love
Of their Redeemer, who thine awful bonds,
Grim Potentate, has broken, and made smooth
The deathbed of the just through faith in Him.
How oft, at midnight, have I fix'd my gaze
Upon the blue unclouded firmament,
With thousand spheres illumined, each perchance
The powerful centre of revolving worlds!
Until, by strange excitement stirr'd, the mind
Has long'd for dissolution, so it might bring
Knowledge, for which the spirit is athirst,
Open the darkling stores of hidden time,
And show the marvel of eternal things,
Which, in the bosom of immensity,

Wheel round the God of Nature. Vain desire!
Illusive aspirations! daring hope!

Worm that I am, who told me I should know

More than is needful, or hereafter dive

Into the counsel of the God of worlds?
Or ever, in the cycle unconceived
Of wonderous eternity, arrive
Beyond the narrow sphere, by Him assign'd
To be my dwelling wheresoc'er? Enough
To work in trembling my salvation here,
Waiting thy summons, stern, mysterious Power,
Who to thy silent realm hast call'd away
All those whom nature twined around my breast
In my fond infancy, and left me here

Denuded of their love! Where are ye gone,
And shall we wake from the long sleep of death,
To know each other, conscious of the ties
That link'd our souls together, and draw down
The secret dew-drop on my cheek, whene'er
I turn unto the past? or will the change
That comes to all, renew the alter'd spirit
To other thoughts, making the strife or love
Of short mortality a shadow past,

Equal illusion? Father, whose strong mind
Was my support, whose kindness as the spring
Which never tarries! Mother, of all forms
That smiled upon my budding thoughts most dear!
Brothers! and thou, mine only sister! gone
To the still grave, making the memory
Of all my earliest time, a thing wiped out,
Save from the glowing spot, which lives as fresh
In my heart's core, as when we last in joy
Were gather'd round the blithe paternal board!
Where are ye? Must your kindred spirits sleep
For many a thousand years, till by the trump
Roused to new being? Will affections then
Burn inwardly, or all our loves gone by
Seem but a speck upon the roll of time,

Unworthy our regard ?-This is too hard
For mortals to unravel, nor has He
Vouchsafed a clue to man, who bade us trust
To Him our weakness, and we shall wake up
After his likeness, and be satisfied.


As he who sails aloof

Upon the perilous Atlantic, vex'd

By baffling gales, what time his gallant bark
Or on the summit of some dark blue wave
Storm-beaten rides, or plunges into the chasm
From that tremendous altitude, and straight
Lies in his trough becalm'd, as if the grave
Had swallow'd her; nathless undaunted sets
His fix'd regard upon the starry vault,
And notes the hour, and frequent calculates
Distance and bearings, and with skill corrects
The errors of his course. So darkling steer'd
Aëtius, through the shoals and fearful blasts
Of his tempestuous time, but never found
That anchorage, secure from every change
Of fitful gales, that haven, which the just
Alone inherit; for the sons of earth,
Who, vex'd with vain disquietude, pursue
Ambition's fatuous light, through miry pools
That yawn for their destruction, stray foredoom'd
Amid delusive shadows to their end.

That certain hope, which shineth evermore
A beacon to the righteous, over them
Its peaceful radiance never shall diffuse;
And bitterness shall be the bread they chew,
While striving to devour the portion snatch'd
By strong injustice from their fellow men,
A baneful meal; and their satiety
Shall be a curse, more fatal than the void
Of meager famine, an unwholesome weight,
That haply shall bring dreams beyond the grave
To the charged soul, and phantoms of the things
Which have been on this earth, and which shall be
Hereafter, when the trumpet wakes the dead.


FAIREST and loveliest of created things, By our great Author in the image form'd Of his celestial glory, and design'd To be man's solace! Undefiled by sin How much dost thou exceed all earthly shapes Of beautiful, to charm the wistful eye, Bland to the touch, or precious in the use! His treasure of delight, while the fresh prime Adorns his forehead with the joy of youth, His comfort in the winter of the soul! Chaste woman! thou art e'en a brighter gem To him, who wears thee, than e'er shone display'd Upon the monarch's diadem; a charm More sweet to lull all sorrow, than the tint Of spring's young verdure in the dewy morn, Or music's mellow tones, which floating come

Over the water like a fairy dream!
Thou hangest, as a wreath upon his neck,
More fragrant than the rose, in thy pure garb
Of blushing gentleness. Thou art a joy
More sprightly than the lark in vernal suns
Pouring his throat to heaven, or forest call
By blithesome Dryads blown; a faithful stay
In all the world's mischances; a helpmeet
For man in sickness, and decay, and death.
Thou art more precious than an only child
In weary age begotten, a clear spring
Amid the desert, an unhoped-for land
To baffled mariners, or dawn of day
To who has press'd all night a fever'd couch.
Oh, wherefore, best desired and most beloved
Of all heaven's works, oh, wherefore wert thou

To be our curse as well as blessing! lured
From thy first shape of innocence to become
A thing abased by guilt, and more deform'd
As thine original glory was more bright!


READER, whoe'er hast travell'd to the goal Through this long chant unwearied, if my verse, Tuned to no trivial strain, hast lent thee aught Of pleasure or of profit, o'er the work Wrought by the chaste artificer of song Bend kindly, yielding such small meed of praise Earn'd by high musing, as may send his name Not ill-esteem'd upon the wings of Time Unto his children's children, when the sod Shall lie upon the hand that gave it life, Calling the soul's unborn imaginings From thought's deep fountain; like the glowing Of Eros and his brother, who uprose From their wet cradle at the wizard's voice, This mournful, o'er his neck the jetty locks With hyacinthine ringlets clustering, That blythe and golden as the god of day.


Perchance I shall not walk with thee again Along the Muse's haunt, and we shall both Be number'd with the countless things that lie O'ershadow'd by oblivion; hearts that beat High in the noontide of ambitious hopes, And forms of loveliest symmetry, that once Delighted the beholder, by the hand, Which deals just measure unto all that tread This changeful world, o'ertaken in their dream Of summer joy. Calm reason throws a cloud O'er the enchantment of aspiring thoughts Which whisper of a life beyond the tomb Upon the lips of men, and tells how vain The shadow of such glory, nothing worth To him who hath his dwelling with the worm. But that Almighty will, which placed man here To labour in his calling, hath set deep Within his bosom an undying hope, An aspiration unto nobler ends

Than he hath compass'd yet; a stirring thirst For praise beyond the term that nature's law Has granted to his brief mortality,


This, ever of the gloomy monitor
Regardless, bids him peril much, to win
The unsubstantial fame, which unto him
Shall be as if not being; a sweet strain
Of soul-enrapturing music to the deaf,
A scene of beauty and of light to eyes
That lie in darkness, and by slumber seal'd
Without the sense of vision. Strange, forsooth,
Appear the workings of the mind of man,
Which goad him to his loss. The promised boon
Of that stupendous glory, which shall be
Hereafter, and survive the wreck of worlds
Unto the end of Time, wants substance now
To wrestle with his sense of present good;
That which is lighter than a transient gleam
Of sunshine or the shadow of a shade
Reflected from a mirror, and, if gain'd,
Can never be by any sense of his
Enjoy'd or apprehended, the vain wish
To float upon the memory of men
After his term of being oft becomes
A master passion, and for that one aim
He barters all, that his Creator gave
Of joy or solace in the vale of life,
And that inheritance of perfect bliss
Which might be his for ever. Then happy they
Who in the airy building of a name,
Have travell'd through the guiltless ways of peace
Innocuous, and held the mind's calm eye
Fix'd on a better star than those vague fires,
Which, fatuous, tole man to the abyss. Time was,
Nor will return, when poesy might rear
A more perennial monument than brass,
Towering above the age-worn edifice,
Where loath'd corruption saith unto the worm,
"Thou art my sister." The famed capitol
No longer sees the silent virgin climb
Its marble steps, nor does the pomp profane
Of sacrificial pontiffs crowd its ways;
Yet still the chaplet blooms, wherewith the muse
Inwreathed the forehead of Venusium's bard
Fragrant and fresh, while ages fling their dust
Upon the crumbling domes, with which he claim'd
Coeval glory. But the boast that told
Of sepulchres by magic verse uppiled,
Which neither storms nor all consuming Time
Should bring to nothingness, would perish now
Even in the utterance. I have yet beheld
But half an age, yet in that petty space
Such giant forms of havoc and of change
Have glided o'er the earth, that the mazed thought
Dwells little on the past, but gazing forth,
Like the Ebudan seer, with ravishment
Strains after what shall be. The ear is cloy'd
Unto satiety with honied strains
That daily from the fount of Helicon
Flow murmuring; and that which is to-day

Inshrined upon the lip of praise, shall be
To-morrow a tale told, a shadow pass'd
Into those regions where oblivion throws
Over the bright creations of the mind

A darkness as of death. Scared learning flies
An age, which bubbling with unnumber'd tongues
In quest of some new wonder hurries on,
And hath no retrospect. Enough for me,
That this my tuneful labour, short howe'er
Its term of glory, hath my solace been
Through many a wintry hour, when icy chains
Bound the froze champaign; a sweet anodyne
To inward cares, lulling the tremulous heart
That throbs with high aspirings, and would fain
Live unreproach'd upon the rolls of fame,
Mindful of its Creator, who requires
From each with usury the gifts He gave,
And stirs by inborn thirst of good report
Man to his noblest uses. To have walk'd
No servile follower, nor vainly trick'd
With meretricious gauds of modern song,
Beneath Aovian umbrage never sere,
Where Melesigenes and Maro sang,
Where British Milton gave his country's lyre
A voice from ancient days, hath been to me
A charm illusive, a refreshing toil
Year after year. My little bark, o'er which
Long fashioning thy symmetry I hung,
Now launch'd upon the ocean wide of Time,
Whose winds are evil tongues, and passions roused
Amidst the warring multitude its storms,
Sore shall I miss thee! like the child, first sent
From the safe home, where fond parental cares
Watch'd o'er his growing energies. Go forth
Unto thy destinies, and fare unharm'd
Adown the current, which may waft thee soon
To that Lethean pool, where earthly toils
Sink unregarded in forgetfulness!


A BETTER prize

There is for man, a glory of this world
Well worth the labour of the blessed, won
By arduous deeds of righteousness, that bring
Solace, or wisdom, or the deathless boon
Of holy freedom to his fellow men,
And praise to the Almighty. Such a wreath
Encircled late the patriotic brows

Of him, who, greater than the kings of earth,
To young Atlantis in an upright cause
Gave strength and liberty, and laid the stone
Whereon shall rise, if so Jehovah will,
An empire mightier than the vast domain
Sway'd once by vicious Cæsars.

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