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Ne'er so smooth a brow before Battle's darkening ensign wore; And 't was still the gentle eye Wont when evening veil'd the sky, In the whispering shade to see Angels haunt the lonely tree.
Loud o'er Orleans' rampart swells Music from her steeple bell, Loud to France the triumph tells; And the vehement trumpets blending, With the shouts to heaven ascending, Hail the maid whom seraphs bless, Consecrated Championess! Sound from heart to heart that tingles,
Echoing on without a pause; While her name like sunshine mingles
With each breath a nation draws. All the land, with joy on fire,
Blazes round the festal march, Till they meet the priestly choir
Under Rheims' cathedral arch. Ancient towers, and cloisters hoary,
Gleam and thrill above the king; Beauteous rite and blazon'd story
On his crown their lustre Aling,
Laws and freedom hallowing.
Over them a light is streaming,
In smooth valleys let her keep · Undescried her quiet sheep.
This the promise to the maid By the heavenly voice convey'd: Oh! how differing far the doom; Oh! how close the bloody tomb; Thus men hear, but not discern, What Heaven wills that they should learn ; And the time and deed alone Make the eternal meaning known.
Revelling in royal hall;
Many a doubtful fight recall;
Keeps a sudden carnival. Ask ye, where the while is Joan? She within the minster lone, To the silent altar steals, And before it trembling kneels; And amid the shadows dim, Faithfully she prays to Him Who his light in dark reveals. Now again her home she sees, Domremy with all its trees, Where the ancient beech is growing, And the haunted fount is flowing, And the Meuse with equal sound Breathes its quiet all around. Won again by weeping prayer, Lo! her loved protectors there, Catherine mild, and Margaret fair.
Wail, ye fields and woods of France ! Rivers, dim your sunny glance ! All of strong, and fair, and old That the eyes of men behold, Mountain gray, and hermit dell, Sun and stars unquenchable, Founts whose kisses woo the lea, Endless, many-flooded sea, All that witnesses a power To o'erawe the importunate hour, Human works devoutly wrought To unfold enduring thought, Shrines that seem the reverend birth Of an elder, holier earth, Mourn above your altars dear, Quaking with no godless fear! And, thou deepest heart of man, Home of love ere sin began, Faith prophetic, Mercy mild, Patriot passion undefiled, Mourn with righteous grief the day When was hush'd your choral lay When the hovering guardian band Of the liberated land, Radiant kings, were seen to wane, And were eyeless cloud again; When the foe, who far recoil'd, By a maiden's presence foil'd,
Rush'd again in grim despair
W oful end, and conflict long !
Loud usurpers, fierce and mean,
Word untrue! That All can ne'er
ALFRED THE HARPER.
Sing high the praise of Denmark's host,
High praise each dauntless earl; The brave who stun this English coast
With war's unceasing whirl." The harper sat upon a block,
Heap'd up with wealthy spoil, The wool of England's helpless flock,
Whose blood had stain'd the soil. He sat and slowly bent his head,
And touch'd aloud the string; Then raised his face, and boldly said,
“Hear thou my lay, O king!
« High praise from all whose gift is song
To him in slaughter tried,
As if to meet his bride.
To all who boldly strive,
And ne'er go back alive.
Dank fell the night, the watch was set,
The host was idly spread,
Caroused, and fiercely fed.
And quaff'd the English ale,
At each old Norseman tale.
And Guthrum, king of all,
And laugh'd at England's fall.
In mail and wolf-skin clad,
Their eyes with triumph mad.
Was seen, with blood bestain'd; From golden cups upon the board
Their kindling wine they drain'd.
Sea-kings so hot for gore;
Ne'er burnt a track before.
And on to Tamar stream,
Where Medway's waters gleam,-
They raged the kingdom through ;
No crop but hunger grew.
With wealth of cities fair;
The daughter by her hair.
Were gather'd round the feast;
Oh! never that riot ceased.
Before the strong sea-kings;
Without a harper sings.
But well he sounds the lay,
Will ye the song repay.”
And glanced along the board,
Of many a Danish lord.
Soon bent on him their gaze,
Who chief deserved his praise.
Thou harper weak and poor!
Must worse than looks endure.
« But chief his fame be quick as fire,
Be wide as is the sea,
To keep his country free.
Shall praise in heaven belong;
And chime to mortal song.
At famous Regnar's name!
When he to Humber came.
And he was left alone.
Upon a dungeon stone.
With snakes they fill’d the hole,
And bit into his soul.
The warrior's heart beset;
His fierce but hopeless threat. “Great chiefs, why sink in gloom your eyes?
Why champ your teeth in pain ?
Fill high your cups again.
Who fought and sway'd so long,
And owe your names to song.
Than that were Regnar lies.
The sod must close your eyes.
And yet to me 'tis given,
And guess the doom of Heaven.
«I may not read or when, or how,
But earls and kings, be sure I see a blade o'er every brow,
Where pride now sits secure. Fill high the cups, raise loud the strain!
When chief and monarch fall, Their names in song shall breathe again,
And thrill the feastful hall.
The minstrel took the goblet bright,
And said, “I drink the wine
The cup thou bid'st be mine,
His meed be deathless praise ! The king who dares not nobly fall,
Dies basely all his days.
May curses heap his head;
Whose blood is bravely shed.”
“ The praise thou speakest,” Guthrum said,
“With sweetness fills mine ear; For Alfred swift before me fled,
And left me monarch here. The royal coward never dared
Beneath mine eye to stand. Oh, would that now this feast he shared,
And saw me rule his land !”
Then stern the minstrel rose, and spake,
And gazed upon the king, « Not now the golden cup I take,
Nor more to thee I sing. Another day, a happier hour,
Shall bring me here again, The cup shall stay in Guthrum's power
Till I demand it then.”
« Like God's own voice, in after years
Resounds the warrior's fame,
Who is its noblest name.
The present hour is yours;
If joy to-day endures."
And one grew palo with dread,
By one his wine was shed.
We hear thy boding lay;
Light up the joyous fray!” “Quick throbs my brain"—so burst the song
“To hear the strife once more.
Earth cries my thirst is sore.
Than strings of harps in glee;
Or rosy lips to me.
When flowers in England grew,
The plain of carnage new.
The vision rises fair;
I would that I were there!
With true and fearless hand; 'Tis sweet to fall in freedom's fight,
Nor shrink before the brand.
Unmoved to meet their frown,
That soon shall dash them down.”
Rolla fiercely round the throng;
Whose shock aroused the song.
To him who strongly play'd; And said, “I won it from the slave
Who once o'er England sway'd."
Thy song befits the brave;
Nor wine nor song shall have."
The harper turn’d and left the shed,
Nor bent to Guthrum's crown; And one who mark'd his visage said
It wore a ghastly frown.
For soon as morning rose,
And slew ten thousand foes.
THE POET'S HOME.
In the cavern's lonely hall,
Poet! thus sequester'd dwell, In thy fancy's haunted cell, That the floods abroad may be Like a voice of peace to thee, While thou giv'st to nature's tone Soul and sweetness all thy own. Hear, but, ah! intrust thee not To the waves beyond thy grot, Lest thy low and wizard strain Warble through the storm in vain, And thy dying songs deplore Thou must see thy cave no more.
Not oft has peopled earth sent up
So deep and wide a groan before, As when the word astounded France
-« The life of Mirabeau is o'er !" From its one heart a nation wail'd,
For well the startled sense divined A greater power had fled away
Than aught that now remained behind. The scathed and haggard face of will,
And look so strong with weapon'd thought, Had been to many million hearts
The All between themselves and naught; And so they stood aghast and pale,
As if to see the azure sky
The black and bare Infinity.
Upon the Future's empty space,
The oracle unveil its face;
A thicker weight of darkness fell,
The wearied master of the spell.
Or stiff and sharp as bestial claws,
That bore his country's life and laws; The rudder felt his giant hand,
And quailed beneath the living grasp That now must drop the helm of fate,
Nor pleasure's cup can madly clasp. France did not reck how fierce a storm
Of rending passion, blind and grim, Had ceased its audible uproar
When death sank heavily on him; Nor heeded they the countless days
Of toiling smoke and blasting flame, That now by this one fatal hour
Were summ'd for him as guilt and shame. The wondrous life that flow'd so long
A stream of all commixtures vile, Had seem'd for them in morning light
With gold and crystal waves to smile. It rollid with mighty breadth and sound
A new creation through the land, Then sudden vanish'd into earth,
And left a barren waste of sand. To them at first the world appear'd
Aground, and lying shipwreck'd there, And freedom's folded flag no more
With dazzling sun-burst filled the air ; But 'tis in after years for men
A sadder and a greater thing, To muse upon the inward heart
Of him who lived the people's king. Oh! wasted strength! Oh! light and calm,
And better hopes so vainly given ! Like rain upon the herbless sea
Poured down by too benignant heaven
We see not stars unfix'd by winds,
Or lost in aimless thunder-peals,
In guideless whirl how oft it reels!
But rocks will not in billows run; No eagle's talons rend away
Those eyes that joyous drink the sun; Yet man, by choice and purpose weak,
Upon his own devoted head Calls down the flash, as if its fires
A crown of peaceful glory shed. Alas!—yet wherefore mourn? The law
Is holier than a sage's prayer; The godlike power bestow'd on men
Demands of them a godlike care ; And noblest gifts, if basely used,
Will sternliest avenge the wrong, And grind with slavish pangs the slave
Whom once they made divinely strong. The lamp that, mid the sacred cell,
On heavenly forms its glory sheds, Untended dies, and in the gloom
A poisonous vapor glimmering spreads. It shines and flares, and reeling ghosts
Enormous through the twilight swell, Till o'er the wither'd world and heart
Rings loud and slow the dooming knell. No more I hear a nation's shout
Around the hero's tread prevailing, No more I hear above his tomb
A nation's fierce bewilder'd wailing; I stand amid the silent night,
And think of man and all his wo, With fear and pity, grief and awe,
When I remember Mirabeau.
The king with all his kingly train
Had left his Pompadour behind, And forth he rode in Senart's wood,
The royal beasts of chase to find. That day by chance the monarch mused,
And turning suddenly away, He struck alone into a path
That far from crowds and courtiers lay, He saw the pale green shadows play
Upon the brown untrodden earth; He saw the birds around him flit
As if he were of peasant birth ; He saw the trees that know no king
But him who bears a woodland axe; He thought not, but he look'd about
Like one who skill in thinking lacks. Then close to him a footstep fell,
And glad of human sound was he, For truth to say he found himself
A weight from which he fain would flee.