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Vines, olives, herbage, forests, disappear,
And all the charms of a Sicilian year.
Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass;
Without a soil to invite the tiller's care,
Or blade, that might redeem it from despair.
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live,
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
Oh bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats,
Oh charming paradise of short-lived sweets!
The self-same gale, that wafts the fragrance round,
Brings to the distant eár a sullen sound :
Again the mountain feels the imprisoned foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below.
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.
Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws.
Who write in blood the merits of your cause,
Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence,
Glory your aim, but justice your pretence,
Behold in Ætna's emblematic fires
The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires!
Fast by the stream that bounds your just domain,
And tells you where ye have a right to reign,
A nation dwells, not envious of your throne,
Studious of peace, their neighbours', and their own,
Ill-fated race! how deeply must they rue
Their only crime, vicinity to you!
The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad,
Through the ripe harvest lies the destined road;
At every step beneath their feet they tread
The life of multitudes, a nation's bread!
Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress
Before them, and behind a wilderness.
Famine, and Pestilence, her first-born son,
Attend to finish what the sword begun;
And echoing praises, such as fiends might earn,
And folly pays, resound at your return.
A calm succeeds---but Plenty, with her train
Of heart-felt joys, succeeds not soon again,
And years of pining indigence must show
What scourges are the gods that rule below.
Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees,
(Such is his thirst of opulence and ease)
Plies all the sinews of industrious toil,
Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil,
Rebuilds the towers, that smoked upon the plain,
And the sun gilds the shining spires again.
Increasing commerce and reviving art
Renew the quarrel on the conqueror's part;
And the sad lesson must be learned once more,
That wealth within is ruin at the door.
What are ye, monarchs, laurelled heroes, say,
But Etnas of the suffering world ye sway?
Sweet nature, stripped of her embroidered robe,
Deplores the wasted regions of her globe;
And stands a witness at truth's awful bar,
To prove you there, destroyers, as you are.
Oh place me in some heaven-protected isle,
Where peace, and equity, and freedom smile;
Where no volcano pours his fiery flood,
No crested warrior dips his plume in blood;
Where power secures what industry has won ;
Where to succeed is not to be undone;
A land that distant tyrants hate in vain,
In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign!
WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sage beneath the spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief.
Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, 'Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
Rome shall perish---write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground---
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!
Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name; Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize, Harmony the path to fame.
Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings, Shall a wider world command.
Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway;
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She, with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow;
Rushed to battle, fought and died;
Dying hurled them at the foe.
Ruffians, pitiless as proud,
Heaven awards the vengeance due;
Empire is on us bestowed,
Shame and ruin wait for you.
RECEIPT OF MY MOTHER'S PICTURE
THE GIFT OF MY COUSIN ANN BODHAM.
OH that those lips had language! Life has passed
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine---thy own sweet smiles I see,
The same, that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else, how distinct they say,
“Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!”
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Blest be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles time's tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
Oh welcome guest, though unexpected here!
Who biddest me honour with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own:
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief,
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.
My mother! when I learned that thou wast dead, Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed? Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun? Perhaps thou gavest me, though unseen, a kiss; Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss--Ah that maternal smile! it answers---Yes. I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day, I saw the hearse, that bore thee slow away, And, turning from my nursery window, drew A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu !
But was it such ?---it was.---Where thou art gone Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown. May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore, The parting sound shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of a quick return.
What ardently I wished, I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
By disappointment every day beguiled,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child,
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learned at last submission to my lot,
But though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more,
Children not thine have trod my nursery floor:
And where the gardener Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapt
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet-capt,
'Tis now become a history little known,
That once we called the pastoral house our own.
Short lived possession! but the record fair,
That memory keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm, that has effaced
A thousand other themes less deeply traced;
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou mightest know me safe and warmly laid;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit, or confectionary plum;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glowed :
All this, and more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and breaks,
That humour interposed too often makes;
All this still legible in memory's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorned in heaven, though little noticed here.
Could time, his flight reversed, restore the hours,
When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I pricked them into paper with a pin,