Dramas and Poems.
In Three Volumes.
Published by Wilkie and Robinson, Paternoster-Row.
Printed by T. Davison, Whitefriars.
To one who had spoken lightly of poets.
What! is it then so slight a thing
To touch the Muse’s sacred string!
Is it to Common Mortals given
To be like Beings formed in Heaven,
To be all Spirit, unclogged air,
And in angelic gifts to share?
Oh, listen to me whilst I tell
The Powers that in such mortals dwell.
――Inspiring Beings! guidance lend,
And o’er me in the venture bend,
Nor from my daring pen depart
Whilst tracing out the poet’s art!
All information is his own
Of what belongs to either zone;
Not by laborious Tasks acquired,
Or by Attention, strained and tired,Vol. III. B 002 B1v 2
Ah no! his intellectual glance
Pervades Creation’s mystic dance.
What others gain by Study hard,
Flows in, upon the musing Bard,
A Word, the slightest Hint will do
To bring all knowledge in review.
Calm and unmoved his mind may seem,
Emitting scarcely forth a gleam;
Chance but a casual spark to stir,
The brightest flashes quick occur,
All is instant fulgent Light
Pouring on his mental sight!
Still, various is his glowing mind
Acute to feel, by Taste refined.
His thought can reach to Nature’s soul,
Its Agents see, conceive the whole,
Ascend where stars in millions flame,
Millions ungifted, yet, with name,
Each star a Sun, whose Planets roll
In circles kept in firm controul.
All rapt with Awe, the Poet burns
As he to their creator turns,
In fervid strains his raptures pour――
Who, like a Poet, can adore?
From Skies, his glance in Fancy’s flight
Surveys Earth’s hidden Wonders bright;
Sees Nature’s works, the veins of ore,
The glittering arch, the sparry floor.
Darts where the Salt-Mines columns vast
O’er realms unsun’d their Radiance cast,
Whose Domes pour down the Diamond’s beam,
In rays that form one sparkling stream
And brilliance ’neath the earth display
Unequall’d in the upper day.
His eye from splendid visions there,
He turns to scenes midst healthful air,
To Men, now blithe amidst the day,
Now soothed by pensive lunar ray;
All Characters at once he sees,
In all their varying degrees,
As by the quadrant of his mind
Their altitude is clear defined.
God, through his Works, thus widely sought,
The moral system fills his thought.
And here his intellectual eye
Wonders on Wonders will descry;
He sees, in lovely Order ranged,
Eternal Virtues, never changed;B2 004 B2v 4
And, though some Principle of Ill
Lurks each unguarded space to fill,
Yet, Moral Order still is found
Where’er he looks the Earth around,
Eternally it must endure
The word that spake it made it sure!
Though hurricanes and tempests fly,
And whirlwinds vex the Indian sky,
Only in brighter hue it shines,
From midst Confusion――all refines!
Again his soul in Transport moves,
Who, like a Poet, feels and loves!
Led by Imagination bright,
O’er all the Earth he takes his flight;
In Palmy Groves he’ll now reside,
Tomorrow skim th’ Atlantic Tide,
Pierce through the Deep, its Grottoes know,
And roam where ruby Corals grow.
――Where’er he breathes, whate’er he meets,
Each Object, as from heaven, he greets;
Each is an Altar, or a Shrine,
Erected to the Power Divine――
To raise Devotion’s glowing fire,
Strike Mortal, if thou canst, the Poet’s Lyre!
The Maid of Arragon.
The Moors in Spain.
in Blank Verse.
The following is but the Fragment of a Poem. Or rather it is a Poem that is deficient by a fragment, the intended Contents of which are described in a Note at the end, so as to make the reader master of the whole story. It describes an Invasion of Spain by the Moors, the Siege of Sarragossa, and the Conquest of Arragon.
Those in whose minds the Beauties contained in it constitute not a sufficient excuse for republishing it in a still unfinished state, may perhaps think there is a sufficient justification in the extraordinary coincidence between the Events therein described, and those occuring in the present day in Spain, and in some respects throughout Europe.
The latter portion of the Second Part was never before published; it is taken from a M.S. in Mrs. Cowley’s hand writing, found amongst her Papers after her decease. The rest of the Poem was first published thirty years ago.
To the Author’s Father.
Accept, dear Parent! from a Filial pen
The humble offering of my pensive Muse,
She traced upon my mind a daughter’s Love,
Nor could my Heart the tender theme refuse.
The Rightful Patron of th’ eventful tale
To You I dedicate the scenes she drew;
My soul she searched to find Osmida’s thoughts,
And coloured Her, from what I feel for You!
Your’s then the meed, if meed kind Fame will grant,
The tale to you, to you the Bays belong,
You gave my youthful fancy wings to soar,
From your indulgence flows my wild-note song.
Its music will in your ear sweetly sound,
Its page, with fond Delight, you’ll traverse o’er,
With half your Pleasure may the world peruse!
My muse, my Vanity, can ask no more.
Dear other Parent! guiltless hold my heart
Though unadorned my numbers with your name,
Your worth, your goodness, in its centre lives,
And there shall perish only with my frame.
I entreat the Reviewers to have compassion upon me! From the beginning of my literary progress, though I may not have been unpraised, I have been teazed with the petty bickerings of Criticism—and how will my outrage on Geography now escape these unmerciful wits?
With what Triumph of critical Sagacity will they say (after the necessary strictures on the Story, Thoughts, and Verses)— If our Author was determined to send her Pegasus into Spain in quest of adventures, she ought to have consulted Salmon about the situation of its Provinces. And, though the small scale of her uncoloured Map may not have clearly given the boundary line, which separates Arragon from the narrow slip that intervenes between it and the Sea, yet, with due diligence, she would have found that it is fifty miles from the shore, and that the Moors could not possibly have debarked on its Confines, unless, like fish to the London markets, their fleet had arrived by land carriage. Had this Lady-Writer’s reading extended to a Translation of the Iliad, she would have found no example of such Liberties there. Homer gives us an exact map of the country he carries us 010 B5v 10 through, and, from Ithaca to Troy, not a village or a river is misplaced.
True. But Homer (I mention his as a Modern Painter does a Corregio, or a Raphael) Homer united the Historian with the Poet, and could not therefore venture to be inaccurate; I deal entirely in Fiction. It was enough for me, that Spain, during a Succession of Ages, had been subject to the ravages of Africa, and that during that period Sovereigns had been robbed of their territories, and obliged to resign their Sceptres to their swarthy Conquerors. The relation of the Events of these dark times the Historic Muse has generally left to her creative Sister, who never fails to profit by their obscurity, to relate them to the world in ther own unshacked manner.
The geography of the Heart, and the History of the passions, are the only Realities to which she attends. If, in describing these, I shall be found deviating from the laws of Truth, my Negligence will indeed be unpardonable! But I protest, if the cacoëthes scribendi should continue on me, and if I should wander again into the regions of Romance, I shall treat Oceans and Provinces with as little Ceremony as Rivulets and Meadows; I will avail myself of the established Privileges, and create mountains, seas, or kingdoms in any part of the habitable globe, or, if it hit my fancy, raise a Temple to Dulness in— the chamber of a Reviewer!Upon referring to the Work, it appears that a word or two (at B 1 line 188) would have corrected the geographical inaccuracy. The Moors might easily have been made to debark upon the neighbouring coast, and march into Arragon. But, in a work of mere Imagination (the Error by this Deprecation being in fact corrected) Mrs. Cowley seems to have preferred a Jeu d’esprit against her Critics, to the character of a Matter- of-Fact Poet. This was bold for an Author! but it probably however angered not the Critics thirty years ago, it can have no effect but that of amusing those of the present day. 011 B6r 11
The Maid of Arragon.
Part the First.
Oh ye! whose sympathetic Hearts are formed
To Woe responsive, and whose tremulous nerves
Vibrate to Sorrow’s mournful notes, attend!
Not you, ye gay! nor you, ye vacant crowds,
Who only wake to pleasures of the World,
Nor feel Existence when they cease t’ impel,
I call not you! for your unfeeling breasts
Wild Dissipation steels, and robs your minds
Of the sweet Energies bestowed by Heaven.
But, come ye few! who love the lonely hour,10
Who know the sense refined, the charming agony,
Which Pity gives the hallowed heart she fills,
To you I call! Oh come, and trace with me,014 B7v 14
Whilst eve’s bright star gives forth its glittering rays,
The mazy windings of yon sombre Wood.
Behold the lawn that opens on the left,
Whith crocus border’d, aromatic Thyme,
And every fragrant shrub that tempts the Bee
Down from the buoyant air to breathe in sweets.
—Erst oped the wicket of that humble Cot20
By slow degrees full softly on its hinge,
As forth, with cautious tread, a beauteous girl,
A blessing breathing o’er her slumbering Sire,
The threshold passed, whilst from his short repose
Almanzor starting, called—Where art thou Child?
Where, where’s my darling? Oh! return, Osmida!
Why wilt thou wander through Night’s piercing air?
Ah! venture not amidst its chilling dews,
Return, my Child! th’ unpitying winds will seize
Thy tender frame—
The night is calm my Father!
A Zephyr scarcely moves the restless Aspin,
And the clear Moon, with soft inviting beam,
Tempts through the Foliage of the lofty pines;
A thousand glowing colours bloom around,
A thousand scents perfume the tranquil air,
A moment let me breathe its balmy sweets.015 B8r 15
Confined beneath the Cottage roof by fear,
But more confined by duteous cares for thee,
All Day I live immured. Then let me now40
Taste Nature’s blessings—exercise and air.
Heaven guard my Child! he breathed. But soon return,
That balmy Sleep may sooth thee on thy couch.
Osmida left the cot, and bent her steps
Towards the margin of a neighbouring Lake.
’Twas not its lucid bosom drew her steps,
Nor moon inviting through the lofty pines,
Nor balmy air, nor healthful exercise;
Ah, no! her bosom’d anguish ’twas to breathe,
Where grief, though audible, its notes might waste50
In vacant air, not torturing the ear
Of old Almanzor, Sire revered, beloved!
Sinking to Earth, with eyes that view’d with awe
The glowing canopy of Heaven, in sounds
More mournful than the tender stock-dove’s plaints,
She thus implored Omnipotence Divine.
Oh, Thou! to whose eternal, boundless, sight
All woes present themselves, to Thee I pray!
Not for Myself my Prayer, but for my Sire,59
For him, whose care-worn heart, oppress’d, and drooping,016 B8v 16
Subdued by torturous Griefs, seems torn from Thee!
His soul her wonted Confidence forgets,
And falls from Thee! he leans not on the rock,
The sacred rock, by which alone he stands,
And, quitting, sinks to measureless Despair!
O Thou! accept my humble heart for his,
Hear, hear Almanzor, in Osmida’s voice!
’Tis he implores; bless, comfort, heal his griefs,
To Thee direct his sorrow-wilder’d Heart!
Next, for my Country, Heaven, accept my Prayer!
Behold its Struggles with a pitying eye!
Drive from thy Temple’s gate the mocking Infidel!
Restore thy Altars! Guard—
By Terror stopt,
Unfinish’d was her Prayer! Forth from the Shade
Of the surrounding thicket rush’d a Knight
In shining armour clad, on bright steed borne,
That seemed to scorn the earth his light heel pass’d
As though his element had been the Air,
And bore his master to the glittering lake80
Whose border still Osmida’s knee impressed.
Light vaulting on the ground, the Knight approached,
And in such Courteous Phrase addressed the maid,017 C1r 17
That half her Terrors ended with his words.
Leave me Sir Knight! with Firmness she pronounced,
And as she spoke, her voice, though sweet, expressed
A custom to command! Leave me Sir Knight!
None ever tread these unfrequented wilds,
But those to whom the door of sweet Society,
And Friendship’s holy gate, are shut for ever!
And can the social door, and Friendship’s gate,
To others open, close on thee? O Heaven,
This Paragon forsake the peopled world
And here midst Desarts dwell! But, tell fair maid,
What ills, what sore afflictions, thee have driven
To these sequestered shades!
My sorrows, Knight,
I scarcely whisper to the speechless air,
And must not trust them to a Stranger’s ear!
And, from your courtesy, I now demand100
My Solitude again. But, as you hope
Protection from the Power that hears my voice,
Swear never to divulge that in these glades
A maid you found of not mere rustic air!
The Stranger paused. And then, in hopes to win
Her Confidence, and woo her from Reserve
By frank Example, thus the Nymph addressed.Vol. III. C 018 C1v 18
—To whom could I reveal this lone abode?
I who, like you, by keen misfortunes pressed,
Here shelter from the World; quit former haunts,110
Blithe Gallia’s vineyards, and her fertile meads,
Which bloomed and fertilized in vain to grief!
Ah! is Affliction so insatiate
That daily victims must become her prey?
But, way-worn Knight? say whither tends your path,
What Warder lists to hear your Bugle’s sound?
Sweet, pious, maid! no hospitable gate
De Courci seeks, no Welcome waits his steps!
To Eastern Climes I bend my lengthening course.
Entrust me with your Woes, instruct me, Lady,120
How, at the Holy Sepulchre, your Name
May animate my Prayers! that there your griefs,
From Holy Ground, may pierce the vault of Heaven,
And gain from thence soft peace and cheering joy
Fit inmates for your breast. That duty past,
My Sword shall lend its vigour to the Cause,
The sacred cause, which arms each Christian Knight!
Osmida’s eye, with new-born Hope’s bright beam
And Gratitude inspired, shot forth her thought,
Ere from her moving lips these accents flowed;—130
And shall my sorrows from the holy cave019 C2r 19
Gain greeted audience at th’Almighty’s throne!
She stopt, and check’d her growing Frankness!
The stranger saw instinctive Prudence rise,
And fear’d to give her Caution time to act—
Yes, he rejoined, with Zeal most pure and ardent
Will I your sorrows bear to that blest spot,
Where virtuous Sorrow cannot plead in vain!
Struck with his Piety, and hallowed air,
Yet doubting still, the timid, wavering, maid140
Paused, then resolved; and, bending, meekly said
—Such kind persuasion Confidence demands
Reposed in Christian Knight, who, with his Life,
Now passes forth to aid each Christian’s cause!
Yet, patience will you need, whilst I relate
Events so mighty fitter they’d become
A manly tongue. Of Battles I must speak,
Of falling kingdoms, and victorious arms.
Such strains attune not with a female voice!
But, not alone of War shall I discourse,
Of meeting armies and contending states,150
A Tale for gentle Pity I’ll unfold
But too accordant with each tender note!
Osmida, deck’d with grace of chaste reserve,
At gentle distance, near the moss-grown rootsC2 020 C2v 20
Of an expanding beech a Wood-Nymph seemed,
A Woodland Goddess! and her grassy seat
Chaste Dian’s rural throne. Grave recollection
O’er her soft features spread an air composed;
Whilst in Night’s zenith, ’midst her radiant court,
The Moon’s sweet rays invited calm Attention.160
Closed were now the whispering Zephyr’s wings,
To stillest rest resigned the rustling trees,
The silent waters of the lake reposed,
Night’s sweet musician too had still’d her song
And heard a sweeter note from sad Osmida.
All thus in Silence wrapt, the thoughtful maid
In tone sedate began the promised Tale.
Here paused Osmida, fixed in moody thought!
The story, fraught with woe, had cast a shade
Of deepest Sorrow o’er her pensive brow.
Her heaving bosom laboured with her Sighs,
Her Mind was absent, lost in past event!630
The Knight, who eager grew to know the tale
She promised of Herself, presumed at length040 D4v 40
To wake attention to the point at which
Her voice ceased charming with its touching notes.
The Knight, with ardor springing from the bank,046 D7v 46
Enough! our Prize is found! and Wealth, and Rank,
Gained through his Master’s smiles, are now De Courci’s!
His hurrying lips his Bugle closely press’d,
The piercing sounds the mingling Echoes seized
And sent them transverse back from hill to hill;
The Signal heard, the call some Moors obeyed,
And spur’d their horses headlong through the glades.
Osmida now had flown! The wily Wretch
No sooner spoke his Joy, than like the fawn
That finds ’tis neighbor’d by a lurking foe
Lovely Osmida flitted through the shades,
Rapid, as starting star that cleaves the air790
In beauteous transit ’thwart the Ethiop Night.
The Maid of Arragon.
Part the Second.048 D8v 049 E1r
The Maid of Arragon.
Part the Second.
Fly hence all sordid Cares, unhallowed thoughts,
Let Vanities and Follies all avaunt
In this the Muse’s hour! Her Inspiration
Fills my rapt mind, and every nerve endures
The glowing Thrill. Imagination wake!
Whilst I still strive t’ expand my thoughts and language
And raise my fancy to the lofty Theme,
Nor quit me till my faithful pen hath traced
The living images thou bring’st before me!
Whilst fled his Child, the Royal Cottager10
Whom Sleep had woo’d from grief to soothing rest,
Its spell broke suddenly, and called—Osmida!
—In vain he listen’d for her cheering voice!Vol. III. E 050 E1v 50
He started from his couch, and, robed in haste,
Rush’d forth to seek her in her favorite haunts.
Darting his fearful eye across the lawn,
Just reach’d its edge, her figure all alarm,
Panting and breathless he beheld his child!
With all the little strength that Age had spared
He hasten’d to her aid, but—what his dread!20
As at his feet he saw the Princess sink,
Exclaiming as she fell, in fainting voice,
Almanzor! Father! King!—The fear-struck Monarch,
Unable from the chilly grass to raise
His lovely child, knelt frantic by her side,
And strove by tears and fond paternal calls
To rouse her torpid sense, re-wake her soul.
He thought her startled by the gaunt Wolf’s howl,
All unprepared for that Excess of woe
Which soon must fiercely seize his aged breast,30
And oh! how short a time his Fate allowed
This self-delusion! Through the night’s calm air
The sound of human voices, and the clank
Of hurried hoofs, revealed at once—Destruction!
The Gallic Leader of the Moorish band,
With steady eye, had track’d Osmida’s course.
Courage! he cried, as Moors obeyed his call,051 E2r 51
All our past trouble, and our long Fatigues,
This happy hour repays! Osmida’s found!
Found at the instant that our cheated hopes40
Scarce gave a ray to cheer us in pursuit.
First through a dazzling Thicket to my eye
The friendly moon revealed her; Hope, prophetic,
Called her Osmida, but, my eager tongue
I dared not with the name intrust, lest Fear
Should prompt quick stratagem towards her foe.
In Prayer I found her bent, and instant saw
That Piety must be the bait to snare her!
So won her Confidence, and read her Heart!
A Cottage, onwards in the sombre Wood,50
Conceals the Trembler and her aged Sire;
I marked the road she took, and now will guide
To those who will not welcome hail accord!
—Oh! there’s no soil but Gallia’s could produce
A Knight thus recreant, thus completely formed,
To guide a project framed in nether hell!
They onwards hurried as he ceased. Soon found
The humble mansion of a fallen King!
There saw the hoary Prince, on Knee on earth,
Osmida’s head now resting on the other,60
His clasp’d petitionary hands raise upE2 052 E2v 52
Imploring aid from all protecting Heaven.
The touching picture e’en De Courci’s eye
Could scarcely see with Pity unsuffused!
Of Conscience heedless, practised in Deceit,
With chasten’d air Almanzor he approached,
As though he sought him only to bewail
The dire events that barred him from the world!
Unhappy Monarch! said the smooth-speech’d Knight,
Much it afflicts me that outrageous Fortune
From all Zorador’s court De Courci chose
T’ explore the place of your retreat. And if
By glanced Disdain his treacherous speech was check’d!
Through flowery Words th’ experienced King saw Guile,
As lurks the serpent midst the blossom’d shrub,
Saw Villain crouch too in his shrinking eye!
Not deigning Answer, anxiously he view’d
The now reviving Princess. Oh, Osmida!
Thy pulse returning thus, unwelcome beats!
’Twere better now these eyes were closed for ever,80
This fluttering Heart by Death’s chill hand were stopt,
Than, thus, receive thee back again to Life!
Her mind, till now not thoroughly restored,
Announced perception by display of Fear—053 E3r 53
My Father! Let us fly! she murmur’d forth,
We’re now pursued—the Knight! the wily Knight!—
More than pursued! replied the King, we’re seized,
They have us in their Toils, we’re lost! we’re lost!
By these words roused, the Princess, scared, looked up.
Threw round her eyes—she saw De Courci’s shrink!90
And, speechless, crouch’d into her Father’s arms.
The polish’d villain, still, unwilling was
The stain t’ incur of want of Courtesy!
Though scorned his speech, his stile was all Respect,
—Pardon, Illustrious Prince! he said, the slave
Whom harsh Necessity, alas! compels
To stop your converse with your beauteous child!
Zorador, he who knows no law but Will,
A breach of whose Commands the rack awaits,
Ordain’d that soon as your retreat were found,100
A moment, maugre circumstance, or tears,
Should not in lingering delay be lost.
A boon from You! I must descend to ask,
Replied the King; ’tis that my tender child
May through the journey not from me be torn!
—De Courci seem’d to pause, when straight a Moor,
Of port superior to the rest, advanced—
It is our Sovereign’s Will, that this fair creature054 E3v 54
Should hold no converse with her princely Sire
Till their arrival at our Master’s Court.110
The Moor, De Courci’s Flattery in view,
His country’s courtesy essayed to pay—
Then, doubt not, added he, that every boon,
That fruitful fancy can devise, our King,
Gracious to charms like her’s, will freely grant!
To Loveliness he knows not to deny,
Her beauty’s sway with him no limits will—
Th’ impatient King, with swelling Rage, approached
Upon the Moor!—Cease, Saracen! he cried,
Nor dare thus violate my Daughter’s ear!120
Or thou shalt find that, though deserted thus,
Old, and unarmed—Almanzor is a King!
—Lead on! since Heaven ordains thy impious master
Hold, yet awhile, the balance of my fate,
His harsh command to sever us obey!
Drag from the Old Man’s heart the only joy
His woes permit to shield him from Despair!
The starting tear that down his aged cheek
Upon the bosom of Osmida fell129
His firm port broke! He grieved in words which those,
By long use steel’d ’gainst Pity’s touching voice,
Could not, unsoften’d, hear. And conscience struck,055 E4r 55
To their own hearts they strove to palliate,
By coarse spun Sophistry, their Task so base!
If to De Courci, and the summoned Moors,
Osmida lovely seem’d—how beauteous now!
As bright’ning Day illumined to their view
A Series of charms, of tender cast,
Which Sorrow did not sully, but become!
Her form, more beauteous than the Antelope’s140
The Moors described, her Air the soaring Eagle’s
That o’er Arabia’s clime so graceful glides!
Her Locks, were such as nature only gives,
Once in an Age, to perfect some rare Beauty,
And formed a golden veil of burnish’d threads
Through which the purest symmetry was seen!
The sporting zephyrs snatching part in play
Appear’d enamour’d of the beauteous toils,
The rest, in dropping ringlets fell around
And deck’d the flowings of the robe they touched.
Such was the Princess, whom a Moor now seized
And on De Courci’s steed securely fixed.
Upon another steed was fixed Almanzor,
Whose reign a Moorish horseman held. Thus went
The Kingdom’s Monarch, and the Kingdom’s heir!
—Twas not the want of proud Grandees, or that056 E4v 56
Of cheering populace gave grief.—Oh no!
It sprang from dreadful fear, from torturing doubts,
That filled their bosoms, and usurped their minds!
The sheltering Wood, which had so long appeared
A cheerless Prison to th’ illustrious pair,161
With aching Hearts, and heaving sighs, they quit.
Its solitary shades, how welcome now!
Its humble turf-crown’d cot, its devious glades,
Its choral Groves, they’d now with Rapture greet,
And, grateful, hail th’ abode of humble Peace.
Too soon, too soon! upon the distant eye
The quitted Forest’s verdant roof grows dun!
The eager Moors, with spur and slacken’d rein,
Leave a whole league obscured with floating dust.170
The Royal Prisoners, scarcely with a Look
Can glance a Thought, much less converse, and share
With kind participance each other’s woes.
Thus, strait across untrodden Wilds they go,
Whose savage tenants never yet till now
Had heard the modulated voice of man.
At length on peopled Vallies they approach,
The Moors dread Rescue, ’twas the midst of Day.
By Sleep refresh’d not in the previous night
All were grown fever’d from their constant toil;180 057 E5r 57
The Moors now strain’d their wistful eyes, and found
A Cave in which t’ enjoy restoring rest,
Until the Sun behind the western hills
Should sink o’erpowering beams, and humid eve
Bring on her deep’ning shades, and quench the thirst
The fiery Day had raised in plants and man.
The Cave they found appeared t’ have been the haunt
Of fierce Banditti, or more peaceful home
Of some sequester’d Hermit; for its floor
The Chissel’s edge had smooth’d, its lowly roof190
Was rudely fashion’d to a Semi-dome.
De Courci and the Moors, in grudged rotation,
Their heavy lids to soothing Sleep resigned.
Those near Almanzor interruption gave
Whene’er the Royal Parent and his Child,
Through Day’s hot Zenith and the breezy Night
No Converse known or social ease enjoyed,
Strove to beguile the melancholy hours
With such sad converse as their Woes allowed!
This had Zorador ordered, lest Osmida200
Should, from her Father, steadier Firmness gain
T’ oppose his furious passion, than he thought,
In Afric taught! mere woman could possess.
Constrain’d to silence, sorrow’s blest physician058 E5v 58
Sleep, whom no torture can preclude for ever,
In gentle progress, closed their aching eyes.
—O soft enchantress! thou whose sweet dominion
Boundless extends wherever nature breathes!
’Neath thy soft sway the throes of anguish cease,
Want ’scapes the piercing blast, and wild despair210
Gains gleans of comfort shed alone by thee!
The Sun had scarcely reach’d th’ horizon’s edge,
The mountains still with ruddy gold were coif’d,
When prompt De Courci and the watching Moors
Flew to caparison their grazing steeds.
They roused Osmida and the age-worn King
To such Awakening!—Touch not, trembling hand,
The plaintive Theme! lest, caught in Woe,
Thou dwell too long upon the tears, the sighs,
The grief-fraught words which marked their start from sleep!
Some hours they onwards urged their steady course,
When, from a Coppice, bordering on the road,
An armed Troop rush’d forth! So quick they came,
De Courci’s Band were, ere perceived their risk,
By vizor’d Warriors encircled all!
One seized Osmida from De Courci’s hold,
The Knight not yet had drawn to save his prize059 E6r 59
Ere he beheld her carried from his arms!
Turning with fury on his foe, who thus
Bereaved his heart of every splendid hope,230
He thrust his out-stretch’d sword to reach his prey
With force so urgent! that his o’erpois’d frame,
To Earth propelled, lay breathless with the shock
Where trampling steeds the wretch, for ever, fixed!
The Moors, undaunted by their Leader’s fate,
Sustained th’ assailants’ prowess, all resolved
Their prisoners only with their Lives they’d lose,
Or both together save. Two forced their way
Towards the spot where, guarded by her Knight,
The Princess stood; three vizor’d foes pursued,240
The Moors soon found the road which led to her
The path to Death! The remnant Saracens,
As struggling, battling, o’er the field they rush’d,
Their vests with living flowing crimson dyed,
Fought as those fight, who, knowing they must fall,
Resolve the victors shall buy conquest dearly!
Meanwhile Osmida, deep in Wonder lost,
Beheld herself unchain’d, and still not free!
Those who had held her Prisoner, now were slain;
But who are these who venturous risk their lives?250 060 E6v 60
Perchance new masters, and again they’re slaves!
The question scarcely, in her whirl of thought,
Had time to form itself, ere at her side.
She saw the noble Arlos—Hence, vain Fears!
The magic touch of Hope her bosom swell’d!
O Generous Arlos! said the grateful maid,
Save—save the King unarm’d amidst his Foes!
He staid not to reply, he forward sprang,
But, ere he join’d, the prize he sought was lost!
He who had led the Steed that bore the King,260
More fiercely than the rest, more madly, fought;
His fellows too the struggling Prince hemmed in,
Their Horses ’gainst him back’d and outward faced,
Their Spears encircled him with threat’ning Rays;
When he who led them, watching well his time,
Broke from the rest, and, on the distant winds
Seem’d by his swift Arabian borne away,
His war-taught fellow keeping equal pace
On which the King was too securely fixed!
Their ardent eyes which view’d the hills and plains270
Scarcely outstripp’d their hoofs; the vales, the woods,
Their glance surveyed, were in few instants passed,
Whilst four pursuing stretching mad’ning foes,061 E7r 61
At first delayed by the remaining Moors,
Beheld new hills, new plains, new woods, arise
Between their outstript horses and their Prince.
The few remaining Moors, in mere Despair,
Still madly fought, preferring instant death
To the slow tortures that they knew their King
Would fail not to inflict on those who lost280
The beauteous object of his brutal love.
Their refuge soon they found! their Spirits freed
Were launch’d upon the air. The Princess now
Became sole object of the care of Arlos;
Her feet unconscious moved on in the course
In which she saw her Father torn away,
But, saw him further borne o’er distant wilds
And in that sight her new born rapture lost!
—Arlos, to moderate her fears, assured
The gallant youths who steadily went on290
Would not pursue the flying slaves in vain!
They knew the mazy roads, each devious path,
Each secret turning, and the Moor would meet
When least the hovering Danger could be known!
Then Princess! to my Castle let me lead;
There, if not happier, yet, at least secure,
Your Father’s hoped return you may await.
Osmida, scarcely knowing what was urged,
Allow’d herself upon a Steed again
To be replaced, and to his distant home,
O’er trackless Heaths, and roads almost impervious,
The faithful Arlos brought his royal Ward.
How blest the moment, had the loyal roof
That shelter’d her, been shelter to her Sire!
To lead her thoughts away from present dread,
He now related how, by venial arts,
The jealous Tyrant’s mind had been misled
To deem him truest servant to the Moors;
That, unsuspected, he might watch the road,
His royal guests to rescue from their doom
If e’er by chance malevolent betrayed.
Without the King she saw the troops return,
It was enough! of Circumstance no need,
None sooth her anguish, none her woes encrease!
Their Tale scarce won Attention. Much they talked
Of hot pursuit, and of the villain’s speed,
That once the flagging coursers raised their hopes,
When, sudden, on a wide spread plain appear’d,
In mock engagement, half Zorador’s troops.
The Saracen gained Vigour at the sight!320
Whilst those had followed backward traced their road.063 E8r 63
Pursuit was vain, they fled through covert paths.
Their Lord’s inevitable fate they knew,
Should racks extort whose agents they had been!
Vain were th’ attempts of Arlos to dispel
The deep distress which seized Osmida’s heart.
With happiest words e’er Consolation framed
His youthful Sister lent her tender aid
To chear the Royal Guest. In sweetest wiles,330329
Kissing the drowning roses on her cheek,
She strove, from Grief, to draw her thoughts on her!
The sprightly Morn, each added day, in vain,
The moon grown pale of office to bereave,
Burst through the clouds that, brightning as she came,
Beam’d joy;—for, oh! to hopeless Misery,
Whether the placid moon, or sprightly Morn,
Or Sun refulgent, mark the passing hours,
All, all alike they undistinguished roll,
One cheerless Chaos of impervious Gloom!
In vain the Columns, o’er her downy couch,340
Dropped shady draperies inviting Rest;
Dearer to her th’ o’erhanging Forest Beech
Whose meeting branches canopied the earth
Where stood their lonely Cot. Oh! dearer far,
The humble couch on which her Father’s head064 E8v 64
Securely rested, settled by her hand,
As, when exhausted nature asked recruit,
She watched his sleep beneath umbrageous trees,
Whilst sounds so pleasing floated in the air
Sprung sweetly forth the blithe birds trembling throats.
Who now will lull his woes, and guard his sleep,351
His rising watch to sooth his waking grief,
And cheer, with tender voice, the lengthened day!
His plaintive child her sorrows thus indulged.
Now, midst the constant cares to cheer her hopes
We leave the mourner, and pursue the King.
—Almanzor, dragged as Felon through his Realm,
His earnest eyes on those who followed bent;
Protecting Heaven! speed them, prayed the King,
Nerve their slow coursers, gift their tardy feet,360
To save Almanzor from Zorador’s chains—
Cease! captive Prince, replied the sturdy Moor,
For know that should, to thee, their luckless speed
Give my great enterprize a moment’s Risk,
This trusty Poniard robs them of their hopes!
Upon thy head, fallen Prince, my Fortune rests,
From them I keep thee, or by Flight, or Death!
Almanzor heard the murderous threat, appall’d,
Nor answered him who thus at his command065 F1r 65
Imperious dared to hold a Monarch’s Life!370
The Saracen with unremitted flight
Traversed the land, until the Moorish troops,
By Arlos’ vassals faithfully described,
Dispelled his fears, and made his prize secure.
Whose is the vivid pencil could pourtray
The looks of Grief in Saragossa’s streets
As passed their hoary, captive, Prince along?
—Alas! ’twas Grief alone! the view still failed
To rouse them into Men! Why rush’d they not
With virtuous, prudent, Madness on their foe?380
Is’t Wisdom, to submit to Tyranny!
Was all that they endure—discreetly earned!
The Moor, informed the King alone was brought,
Foaming with disappointed hope, exclaimed—
Peril to all! if She is not produced
For whom alone I wage this second war.
Why Fate thus mock me but with conquer’d Crowns!
What’s empty grandeur, Happiness ungained!
My Troops are Victors whereso’er they move,
And yet one boon thou, niggard, dost deny,390
Which makes all others vain, unwished, unfelt!
—Thus raved the conquering, insatiate, Moor,
Whilst good Almanzor—dark mysterious Fate!Vol. III. F 066 F1v 66
Through his late Palace as a Prisoner passed.
A room which lately served his lowest page
Now held the King! Here he was bid repose,
Until Zorador should pronounce his Will!
In such a state, misfortune’s aloed draught
Thus swallowed to the dregs, in such a state,
Could there one ray of Comfort pierce the gloom,400
The cheerless gloom, around the monarch’s soul?
Yes! one sweet Solace shed its glad’ning beams,
And, like a solitary star, burst through
The dreadful dark—Osmida was not there!
For this his griefs were banish’d by a Thought!
Or, if revived, soon sunk in Thanks to Heaven.
He who, when Rage e’er failed to reach its aim,
Could give, in turn, his fawning arts their range,
Zorador, bade the Captive King approach,
With lofty air of High Respect received him!
Upon the Left, the Moorish seat of honour,
He placed Almanzor; whilst a train of slaves,
From the rich mouths of golden Censers filled
The feasted air with exquisite Perfumes,
Others, in vessels rich with orient gems,
Cool beverage offered and delicious cates.
At length, with gracious unembarrass’d front,067 F2r 67
The tyrant Proteus thus address’d Almanzor—
The Chance of War hath made me Conqueror, Prince!
The Laws of war have made me Master, thus,420
Of you, your kingdom, and your People’s fate!
What then remains, but that the state’s Grandees
Be dragged in chains to our more torrid shores,
Or sent to rove, neglected, through the Earth,
Whilst I my Captains gift with their Escheats?
What, Prince, remains but that yourself, who late
Wielded the Arragonian Sceptre, now
Should pass a Life of meet imprisonment
To bar all danger of the State’s repose?
All this doth common Policy point out—430
But, more than Interest, Mercy rules my Deeds!
I therefore destine you a brilliant fate,
If Wisdom prompt you to a prudent Choice!
Know then my southern Kingdom claims my presence,
And, from this Region calls it’s truant King,
Who, in its happy clime, almost forgets
His native people, and descended realms!
Your Crown hereditary I’m content
Should still remain upon your Sovereign brow;
A trifling Tribute merely I exact,440 F2 068 F2v 68
A thousand yearly crowns, a render slight,
In proof you hold from Us your regal state;
A Troop of Warriors too must here remain,
Not spies, but as our Military Proof
That we have Conquerors been in Arragon!
The boon I ask, for all, but dare reject,
Your Subjects in mean Vassalage shall breathe,
Appendant to the Lands I’ll parcel out
To favour’d Chiefs! Yourself dethroned; no Laws,
But those Zorador wills shall rule the state!450
No Worship sanction’d, but what I shall grant!
No Prophet bowed to, save the one I serve!
Whilst Moorish Soldiers, Governors, and Priests,
Shall rule throughout the Army and the State,
And spread our Arms around midst neighbouring Powers.
View the weighty difference of these Terms!
Now learn, that what I ask in Recompence
For every good within my power’s command,
Is—that Osmida will reward my Love!
You, doubtless, know th’ obtrusive friends who rescued
The beauteous Fugitive; to them I grant
Pardon and amnesty, for her dear sake069 F3r 69
In whose behalf they dared incur my wrath!
Dispatch then to your Daughter those you trust,
Bid her, with duteous swiftness, instant fly,
Replace her Father on his native Throne,
And shield his cherish’d People from their Fate!
Moor! I have listen’d, firmly said Almanzor,
To all the fancied Greatness you displayed!469
Receive my Answer: First, those friends who snatch’d,
And placed in safety—that sweet ward of Heaven!
I know not; nor the loyal roof that now
With kindest shelter canopies her head.
Learn next, that though your pliant tongue deserved
That Faith should rest upon the words it spoke,
And though your Troops were not to lurk behind
To spread unhealthy leaven through the state,
E’en then, could I believe Osmida’s soul
Debased to such degree as to abate
Her righteous Hatred of Zorador’s love,480
The power parental, whose strong aid you ask,
Should rouze her sense of Thee—and of Herself!
How, would’st Thou lure my child to marriage rites,
Thou crown’d Assassin! base Banditti’s King!
Wilt bring her to the spot where fell Montenos!
A breathless corse in hymeneal robes!070 F3v 70
Before her eyes display the blushing steel
Plunged in her Bridegroom’s heart by thy command!
—What deeds are these? have they new colour, shape,
Because they spring from forth a Conqueror’s mind?
They once were Murder! are they Virtues now?
Or, has mankind now lost the mental eye
Which once distinguish’d mingled right and wrong,
That bad may smoothly blend with coming worse!
Are threats too made your arms shall spread around
’Gainst neighbouring Powers?—Pause in thy Career!
Ere added, though not heighten’d, crime heap up
A dread Account, to burst upon thy soul
When, thy fell plan of conquest all atchieved,
No added Prospect to attract thy eye,500
Thou then, for object, wilt turn back, and view
The dreadful Retrospect of long link’d Crime!
Yet still thy schemes may fail of hoped success,
For who prevails whom the Almighty stays!
Who free to act whom his great Fiat binds!
Science or Knowledge not a ray impart,
Perception fails before his mighty word.
When I’m no more thy progress thus may cease!
—My Fate I dare! then waste not thus thy Frown,
On him who scorns thee! heedless of thy Rage!
My Hate! be on thee then, resumed the Moor,
And all the Ills thou’st daringly invoked!
I stoop not to defend my deeds! ’tis true
I made a Murder useful to my Views.
I killed Montenos—and I claim his Bride!
—I, gracious, asked a Gift, of what is Mine!
Thy Daughter lives my Subject, thou my Slave,
Your fragile Lives are held but of my breath!
Think not thy Arts shall cheat me of your child.
Nor House, nor Castle, that the land contains,520
Nor church, nor monastry, shall ’scape unsearch’d;
Unless the Princess in eight days be found
No quarter shall to any here be given,
A murder’d City my revenge shall glut,
Prey to assassin licenced Soldiery!
—Bear the ungrateful Captive from my sight,
Who scorns my Favour, and defies my Wrath!
Find him a Dungeon ’neath the reach of Day
There to regret the Splendors of a Throne!
The Mutes obeyed!530
Yet, said the Monarch, breaking from a trance
Which for a time his faculties o’ercame,
Still is Osmida safe!—For ever bless’d
The hand that snatch’d her from Zorador’s power!072 F4v 72
Oh, Thou Omnipotent! who see’st it fit,
That here, in earth’s chill depths, her wretched Sire
Should count the lingering moments of his life,
Still, when my aged head, upon these stones,
In peace is laid, guide, to her Father’s throne,
My Child preserved, by thy defending arm,540
The Rightful Heir of this thy Christian Realm!
’Twas thus, in earnest and incessant Prayer,
For welfare to his child and Realm, Almanzor,
Midst Hopes by Heaven ordain’d to spring within,
Cheer’d as they passed his lonely prison hours.
The Maid of Arragon, except from Line 357 of the Second Part, was published in the year 17801780; since which it has been very considerably retouched, but, unfortunately, never has been finished.
Since the Author’s decease, a MS has been found, in her own hand writing, from which the additional pages, now first published, have been taken. Prefixed to it is a Sketch made in the year 17981798 of the manner in which it had been intended to continue the story; but which she says it was not then her intention ever to finish.
Osmida was, in disguise, to have obtained (by the aid of Arlos, now impressed with the most respectful Love for her) admission to the Dungeon to attend upon her Father, at length labouring under the Delirium of Fever. Recovered by her constant care, her first perception of the Restoration of his Reason would have been —discovering him on his Knees in Prayer.
During Zorador’s absence, to quell a rebellion in Africa, Arlos, commanding an army of Allies, would have released Almanzor and Arragon from the Moorish yoke. The grief-worn King dying after his release, and leaving the Crown to Osmida, she would have declared074 F5v Arlos (to whom she had been so highly indebted) King, a Transfer of Sovereignty not unusual in the dark ages. And, declining his earnest, but respectful, Love, and observing her vow of fidelity to the memory of Montenos, her thoughts all directed heaven-ward by the woes of her life, she would have built a Convent, and to that would have retired; ending her days as a Nun, as best suiting her feelings, her purity, and her distinguished birth.
Those who are not insensible to the powers of the hand that wrought up the scenes of this Poem, and prefixed the Dedication to a Father, will regret that it drew not that of a Father’s death in the arms of such a Daughter, conscious of her every Duty performed! that it sketched not the Delicacy of her Feelings towards Arlos; traced not the Progress of her mind to its final determination; and gave us not the Convent-scenes, of such a character as Osmida —retreating from Sovereignty!
How sweetly the Convent Music would have trilled, may be imagined from the description of the scoffing Turk (in The Siege of Acre B 4. line 341) who becomes half Convert as he listens to the Christian Hymns, and from the description of the pealing Organ in the poem intitled Emigration.
The Death of Chatterton.
Ill fated Chatterton! for Thee I raise
A mingled Lay of Censure and of Praise!
Bright Star of Genius! torn from Life and Fame,
My tears, my Verse, shall consecrate thy name!
Ye Muses! who around his natal bed
Bestowed your Gifts, and all your influence shed;
Apollo! that didst fire his infant breast
And, in his genuine Numbers, shine confest,
Ah! why on him such sensate Nerves bestow,
To heighten torture to the child of Woe!
Thou haggard Poverty! whose cheerless eye
Makes note of Rapture change to deepest sigh,
Subdued by thee, his pen no more obeys,
No more revives the song of Ancient Days, Check’d in her flight his lofty Genius cowers,
Locks her faint wings, and yields to thee her powers!
Behold him Muses! see your favorite son,
The prey of Want ere Manhood is begun,
The Heart, which You inspired, with Anguish torn,
The Mind you cherish’d, drooping and forlorn!
See now! Despair her sable form extends,
Creeps to his couch, and o’er his pillow bends!
Ah, see! a deadly bowl, till now concealed,
Before his eyes is gradually revealed,
Some Spirit seize it! seize the liquid snare,
Cast it to earth, or dissipate in air—
Stay, hapless Youth! refrain, abhor the draught,
With racking pangs, with deep Repentence, fraught!
Oh, hold! the Cup with Woe eternal flows,
More, more than Death! the pois’nous juice bestows.
In vain!—He drinks—see how the searching fires
Rush through his veins! see, writhing, he expires!
No sorrowing friend, no Sister, Parent, nigh,
To sooth his pangs, or catch his parting sigh.
Alone, unknown, the Muse’s Favorite dies,
And, with the vulgar dead, unnoted lies!
Bright Star of Genius! torn from Life and Fame,
My tears, my Verse, shall consecrate thy name!
Invocation to Zephyrs.
In warm weather.
Cooling Zephyrs! haste away
O’er my fever’d temples play,
Groves and Grots, in Pity, leave,
All around me gently breathe!
I beck none from Italia’s vales,
Nor from midst Gallia’s sunny gales!
But, speed from Greenland’s icy plains
Where silver Winter constant reigns,
Or, higher, from the Arctic fly,
Through the chill Norwegian sky,
And o’er the Northern Ocean sweep,
As frost-deck’d Naïads glide the deep.
But on high Grampia’s fleecy top,
Where kids the gelid herbage crop,
There, Zephyrs, touch! With freshen’d wing
Strait from its chilly caverns spring.
Oh! linger not midst England’s fields,
Nor taste the sweets its Garden yields.
In passing, ripple with your wings
The gurgling founts, and glassy springs,
And croud their Flowers to drink the wave—
Ah! Breeze I hear thy vagrant wing
Where yonder Black-bird joys to sing,
Thy whispering voice again I know,
There where the willows drooping grow!
Oh! flit the meadow’s jewel’d ground,
With racy Freshness me surround!
On replacing candles, which had been removed in a dark night from a window on an eminence.
Burn, lucid tapers, fiercer burn!
Refine each ray to brighter light,
Pervade the sun-deserted air,
And pierce the thickest dark of night!
No vapour gross your fulgence feeds,
From snowy wax your flame is drawn,
By skilful bees extracted pure
From each sweet Flower that decks the lawn.
The Rose, the Violet, the Thyme,
That scent the morning’s dewy shower,
Have yielded up their clearest stores,
To form ye for the present hour.
Why then thus faintly glow your fires
Whilst Charity invokes your beams?
Why, inauspicious to the prayer,
Still fainter, fainter, are your gleams?
E’en now across the distant Heath,
Its canopy a threat’ning sky,
Some weary Traveller may roam,
No hut, no guide, no shelter, nigh!
Perhaps an aged Parent tries
To find, amidst the thick’ning shade,
Her doubtful path! perhaps the Child
Bemoans, forlorn, in yonder glade!
Your honest light they will not dread,
No ignis fatuus is your ray,
To lead astray their trembling feet,
And lure them from their wish’d for way!
Then, guiding signals! brighter burn,
Your beams with vigour shoot through night,
With brisker sparkles charge each ray,
And dart them on the Wanderer’s sight!
This wild chaotic mass of every dye,
Where teeming Principles of Order lie,
Is surely emblem of the scene
Ere out of dark Confusion rose
The variegated orb terrene
Amidst the Æther where it flows!
See! as the Vision fills the Artist’s mind All to its impulse plastic is resigned!
Beauteous Prospects vast expand,
Here foaming surfy billows rise,
There stretches Verdure out in land,
Or brilliant Radiance streams in Skies.
The cumbrous alps ascend, whose tops explore
The regions day-eyed Eagles fear to soar!
Streams tumbling from the flinty rock
In white meanders lead the eye,
And then, its keenest search to mock,
Through deep time-fretted Caverns fly.
Here spikey Furze conceals the barren Down,
Or distant Forests spread their mellow brown.
And now the soft Jonquils unfold,
Midst the low beauties of the Vale,
Their robes of imitative gold,
To fill with sweets the buoyant gale.
Now, spread o’er beauteous slopes, the nect’rous Vine
Bids rich festoons of luscious Purple shine.
The gorgeous orange here doth swell,
The groves of genial climes t’ illume,
Soft colours tinge the Nonpareil,
Or the rich Peach’s tint assume.
See! rise amidst this scene, thus deck’d so high,
The Form Divine, of soul-illumined eye!
Here springs a Beauty, there a Sage,
Now, Heroes from the mass emerge!
Here, Benefactors of their age,
There, scowls a Conqueror—mission’d scourge!
But, who shall e’er that gorgeous scene design,
Where Chaos, yielding to the Thought Divine,
Arranged its real Shade and Light!
As objects, by omniscient skill,
For Man were bid divide, unite,
Obedient to Jehovah’s Will!
The paper’s blacken’d edges peep,
With mournful aspect warn to weep!
The Seal with fearful speed is broke,
’Tis thus the sorrowing writer spoke—Oh Charles beloved! my Dear is dead, And every bliss, for ever, fled! You, and your wife her constant friend, Her funeral rites must now attend!
The day arrived, the solemn Bell
In dismal notes tolled Laura’s knell,
And floating plumes on shoulders borne
The dusty lanes and streets adorn.
Charles, and his Mate, in blackness clad,
With rueful thoughts, and faces sad,
Saw her interr’d;—heard—Dust to Dust!
And cried—To this all come and must.
The coaches then in sad array
Paced back the mournful late trod way.
The Widower sad, alone, Charles found,
In sable length upon the ground.
Soft Consolation he essayed,
And many a weary moment staid!
From scripture culled a sacred store,
And drain’d from heathenish learned lore
All that was ever thought or said,
To prove—we can’t call back the dead!
His Tears were soothed at every gush,
Until at length his sorrows hush.
Oh! Charles, James said, thou’rt very kind!
This shall live long within my mind.
How shall the Friendship I repay,
Thou’st proved upon this mournful day,
Which tore my dearest Wife from me,
And placed her with her Family?
Charles rubbed his cheek, and thus replied,
With head a little turned aside!
Why, dearest James, thou shalt to me
Be just—the Friend I’ve been to thee!
Would Fate grant that! ’tis all I ask—
Be Mine the Sorrow, thine the Task!
I read lately 1786 an account of splendid Ceremonies, at Pitcairne Green in Scotland, on marking out the ground for an extensive Village destined for the introduction of the Lancashire Manufactures. All the persons of consequence of each sex in that part of the country assisted on the occasion.
As my eye ran it over, a hurried sensation of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Society and Commerce, of what was to pass away, and what was to come, almost started a tear, that will cause in my Reader, perhaps, the more amusing sensation of a Smile! However, taking advantage of the Superstitions imputed to Scotland, I have ventured to make the tear actually fall from the eye of the Genius of the place; who shall describe the sensations that prompted it. He who thinks them not sufficient to excite it, will find himself represented by a Sage, who discovers Consolations to prevent another from falling.
The little work has not been without its difficulties. My canvas was to hint a landscape—in a country which I had never seen. The accounts presented by Travellers might be false, they might be invidious; yet they were to govern me, whilst images very dissimilar crouded to my view! The prospects of Devon—my native scenes! were ever before me, and all my Efforts were necessary to suppress the complaints of Dryads for the loss of their Shades, and to prevent Nightingales from 089 G5r 89 pouring their regrets that their prescriptive habitations were invaded!
Had the scite of the intended village been in that district, Description would have had room to range! fancy might have rioted, and the most luxuriant imagination sated itself. There, a poet might have led his readers through verdant lanes (for so in other Countries Devon’s high-roads would be named) where the hedges, composed of hawthorn, sweet-briar, myrtle, and a thousand Flowers, effectually screen the traveller from the most sultry sun, whilst, through the breaks, a country presents itself —all enchantment! and where, if the humble Cottager was not seen to boast views as delightful as those of the Patrician, the whole Province might be mistaken for one vast artificial pleasure-ground. There, whilst the ear is filled with music, poured from the throats of the gold-finch, the blackbird, and the thrush, the eye incessantly wanders over the richest meads, or roves from Dale to Hill; rests on the soft Foliage of sloping woods, or pursues the serpentine of pellucid rivers, beholds fields of burnished Corn waving like a golden sea to the indenting breeze, and Orchards loaden with fruit of such a Tint, that the story of the Hesperides scarcely seems a Fable.
I find I have turned Guide! to those of my friends in Scotland who have not yet crossed the Tweed. When they do, they are not to return persuaded that they have seen the Beauties of England, unless they have travelled through Somerset and Devon.
The Scottish Village.
Mild wakes the Morn, with aspect blithe and sweet
O’er the blue Hills foretells a golden day!
Mild waking morn the beauteous blossoms greet,
Early precursors of the approaching May.
Th’ unfolded Flocks enliven all the dale
The landscape decking with their fleecy white,
The Shepherd’s calls, that prelude love’s fond tale,
From the neat Cot the list’ning maid invite.
Yon distant Mountain, on whose farthest side
The modest rays of April morn first play,
Till from its top the ardent Sun-beams glide
And Pitcairne Green bedeck with bolder ray,
Owns in its riven base a Cavern deep,
Where harden’d filter’d drops of emerald green
Are pendent down its fretted sides so steep,
A sparkling, jewel’d, vegetative, scene!
In that resplendent Grot a Sage deep reads5
Mysterious Nature’s laws that never swerve,
Not from distaste to Man his life thus leads,
But Man to contemplate, and, studious, serve!,
There, rapt in Second Sight full oft he sees
Futurity appear, and fade away.
The Genii, that glide upon the breeze,
To him his gifted visual powers display!
Ah! what a tone is that which floating near,
Seems harmony’s full soul, so rich, though faint,
And, seizing thus on my enraptured ear
So sweetly murmurs in melodious plaint?
Hush’d be each ruder note ! Attention spread
In thick’ning folds thy cobweb veil around,
Hold thy full sway o’er my reclining head
Whilst eagerly I catch the golden sound!
Ah, dull of Heart! th’ harmonious voice not know!
Who but our District’s Genius has the skill?
From You alone such melting notes could flow,
’Tis only you so sweetly thus could thrill!
Say, pure descendent from the realms concealed10
Beyond the ruby gates whence Dawn takes flight,
What Ills, midst such sweet scenes, to thee revealed,
Thus cloud the brow should beam celestial light?
Ah! wherefore grieves The Genius of the Waste,
Bending thus pensive from the fulgent sky?
Can Beings, pure like thee, of Sorrow taste,
Those, next to Angel, ever know to sigh!
Sage, still unlearn’d! ’tis now thy hour to know
That the dear Privilege to feel, to sigh,
To let the tear of sacred Pity flow,
Is not for Man alone, and earth-formed eye.
Where the Preeminence that Angels boast?
If, coldly negative in quiet Rest,
They formed a brilliant, but insensate, host,
By Heaven’s most precious gift, to feel, unblest!
The fine sensations of the human mind
Exist more keenly in th’ angelic frame,
More elevated poignant and refined,
As Earth’s exceeded by Ethereal Flame!
Wonder not therefore that an Angel’s brows,15
Thus drooping now no cheering glances throw;
But give Attention—so thy Fate allows!
Whilst I relate what made the tear to flow.
See yonder Plain, unchanged by Mortal’s hand
Since each Chaotic Element, aroused,
Sprang forth all Action at the great Command,
And in its new appointed station housed!
Since that first instant of the young-born time,
The days, all guiltless, o’er the Plain have flown,
To each year’s ending from its earliest prime,
In sweet simplicity’s unruffled tone.
There Zephyrs calmly waft their airy wings,
And birds of Solitude glide, fearless, by,
And sometimes too the bird that lofty sings
Chants all its measures from the lucid sky.
That yellow broom, that frames with golden bounds
The verdent carpet smoothly spread between,
Marks where light Fairies nightly trip their rounds
Happy to gambol secret and unseen!
Whilst in the glittering regions of the Pole20
The Northern Lights their vivid tints prepare,
The seeming Lightning, though no Thunders roll,
Prismatic Glories streaming through the air!
A Sage, Futurity there vision’d saw,
Tranquil as you in times long passed away,
His Country groan beneath the Feudal Law,
Or glut with power the Tyrant of the day.
Its neighbor England, with irruptive bands,
Watching each turn, and changing of its Fate,
To bind with manacles its warlike hands,
And make it vassal to her haughtier state!
At length, with Pride! he saw his Scotland give
Monarchs to wear its Rival’s splendid crown,
Blest in The Union, saw both people live
Bound in one Empire, sharing one Renown!
Sacred to Visions grand like these was kept
The magic Circle this horizon bounds,
And, since with Seers long past the Hermit slept,
There, ne’er have yet been heard tumultuous sounds!
In times when Feuds unfilial tore the land,25
And horrid War her crimson flag unfurled,
And dread Rebellion, with its sanguine hand,
Midst peaceful swains its murderous arrows hurled,
No turbid Clans e’er passed that mossy heath,
No rival Thanes there proudly fought for place,
None came with hostile thoughts, or vows of Death,
If warriors came, ’twas only to embrace!
There but the oath of Mutual Peace was heard,
As yielding Chiefs to yielding foes gave hands,
And only sounds that friendly Joy had stirred
Thence reach’d the sky, though sprung from warlike bands.
Man’s Envies, Frauds, and Malice, there ne’er felt,
Each shriek of Woe beyond its bounds was kept,
No mothers near heart-broken offspring knelt,
There Terror shrunk not, there ne’er Sorrow wept.
As rolling Years have drawn their veils between,
And Ages, born of Ages, passed away,
All Vice and Shame in other haunts have been,
The World’s fell Arts ne’er flourish’d there a day.
But, now approaches fast the hour of change30
E’en whilst I speak, the scene I vaunt is past!
There shall no more the blithesome Faires range,
The late nocturnal revel was their last!
They all have sought the air-embosom’d hill
Where vivid breezes sport in blithesome play,
Have left the plain where gads the circling rill,
And Thyme-dress’d heath, where lingering flocks yet stray.
See, quick advance the numerous motley croud,
Mechanics, Traders, Pedants, pour along!
Their joy breaks out in carols rude and loud,
Mere Noise and Clamour steals the name of Song.
The verdant face of this once happy plain
The sharp tooth’d mattock shall deform and tear,
That evil first, and then, an endless train
Follow the footsteps of yon graceful Fair!
The crescent Town, obedient to their will,
Will rise from earth, spread forth its streets around,
Ah! that the stubborn rock, in quarry still,
Could keep, unhewn, unformed, its rest profound!
The noisy town, and air opake, they’ll greet,35
And the coarse din which trade and folly form!
Whilst Pride, Temptation, Fraud, in contest meet
And Virtue silence in the vulgar storm.
The social Evils now will all rush in,
Th’ opposing Passions that distract mankind,
The blazon’d crime, the sly, well-cover’d, sin,
And every complex vice full range will find!
Cold wary Avarice, and Penury scant,
The proud man’s Scorn, the rich man’s sturdy Mien,
Wide-squandering Luxury, and pallid Want,
All haste to fill the varied, wretched, scene!
False Friendship here will spread its close-wove nets,
With muffled poniard stab, in tenderest part,
Ingratitude, for all the good it gets,
Returning barbed arrows to the Heart!
The love-lorn Self-assassin’s groan I hear,
The broken Vow deplored, the rending sigh—
Ah see, the maid deceived upon her bier!
Of all joy reft, her solace but to die.
Yonder, a Robber skulks; a Murd’rer here!—40
Ah, canst thou wonder, Sage, I mourn the hour!
Thou’st heard the Cause that swell’d my starting tear,
Now Thou wilt grieve too in thy secret bower!
Here paused the Genius. And the earthly Sage,
His hoary tresses floating round his head,
Slow raised his eyes, thoughts beaming riped by Age—
I see the vision’d Future Scene! he said.
And ah! your woe-fraught Prophecy too sure
Fate will to utmost plenitude fill up;
Each threaten’d Ill ’tis fixed they must endure,
And drink from Sorrow’s never full-drain’d cup.
Yet, not unmix’d, the bitter draught will flow.
But, Guardian Genius of Simplicity,
Ill sorted Virtues please not thee, the foe
Of Vice and Virtue’s mixed complexity.
Formed to endure earth’s mingled wrong and right,
Whilst I yet linger in this lower state,
Though future Visions pour upon my sight,
As Man, naught human must excite my hate!
Whilst Man and Sorrow spread in equal pace,45
Midst vices Virtues spring upon the sight,
The great Result, a still more numerous race
Hereafter destined for the realms of Light!
More numerous Beings destined for the Skies?
Each art productive man must eager court.
By Industry, encouraged by the Wise,
Encreasing Numbers must obtain support!
Yonder rude circuit, where th’ obtrusive fern
In sullen vegetation chills the glance,
A few revolving halcyon months will turn
To one all-cheering, lucid, gay, expanse!
Where Scotland’s Staple shall delight the sight,
Courting the blanching beams of day’s bright orb,
To give enduring Lustre to its white,
And every slight impurity absorb.
There from the loom shall costly webs be brought,
By pure taste taught in rich festoons to rise;
Which late from Belgia distant kingdoms sought,
But Caledonia now shall grant the prize.
Here shall rich damask spread its fruit and flowers,
For social tables, and for Halls of State,
There textures, seeming woven air, have powers
To soften beauty, and new charms create.
For these, whilst Labour chants its jocund song,
Shall foreign prows be guided to our shores;
Each rival State our ample harbours throng,
Its Tribute paying for our laboured stores.
Thus blest, this Village may, in unborn age,
Become a City graced with many a dome;
Of note in commerce, and of arts the Stage,
Where man industrious may secure a home.
Though social Evils will spread o’er the plain,
The Social Blessings too will haste along,
And, on the spot where Vice will lead his train,
Illustious Virtues eagerly will throng.
If here the craving Miser heap his gold,
And frown upon the shivering needy wretch,
Her Pity shall her Cornucopia hold,
And Charity her fostering arm outstretch.
And Female Elegance shall bid arise55
The Spell all feel, but never can describe!
Scarce tangible by Thought, the tongue it flies,
Pride can’t command it, nor can riches bribe.
Not sense, not loveliness, not wealth, nor wit,
But formed of all, the gift enchanting grows;
Each time and place adorns with Graces fit,
But in domestic hours supremely glows.
And who than Scotland’s daughters more prepared
To spread the fascinating Charm around?
When through the Sex, great Nature beauty shared,
Thou know’st she here was even lavish found!
And though disastrous Love may seek the grave,
Or mourn the violated vow of bliss,
Yet, here shall faithful love the maiden save,
And parents cheer her with approving kiss.
Their thanks in rapture shall the Bridegrooms give,
Sweetly meandering amidst the shades;
For Shades shall be where now the Thistles live
Guarding th’ expanse from man with pointed blades.
For Nature’s self to Commerce ever yields,60
Kind social Commerce every climate blends!
Transforms the drear dun heath to cheerful fields,
Or through the desart fruitful streamlets sends.
Yes, that great power will here exert its force,
Will change these heaths to richest fruitful farms,
Bid stranger riv’lets wind their silvery course,
Make sterile Moors display exotic charms.
And bounteous Learning too shall raise its pile,
Designed the fret of Ages to withstand;
Within, the classic scholar form his stile,
To pour instuction through the list’ning land!
Yes, from this source may future sages burst
To charm abroad, ameliorate at home;
A Thompson in its cells be haply nursed,
A Blair give splendor to th’ enlight’ning dome.
The Lawyer here shall gain the precious seed
Of growing honours, dignity, and fame,
Here shall ensure the future splendid meed,
That crowns his labour, and extends his name.
A Mansfield, Erskine, Loughborough, shall arise
The boast of Genius in the unborn times,
Our glory spreading ’neath the distant skies,
And mark us envied by less gifted climes.
Philosophy’s profound disciples too,
Shall in its aisles a new Lyceum find;
Uncasuist Ethics, system plain, and true,
May here ennoble the well tutor’d mind.
A Hume!—a second Hume from hence may shine,
In Lustre like the first, but oh! his Heart
Shall humbly shrink before Religion’s shrine
And prompt his Talents to a better part!
A Robertson may hence, with copious stream
Of long collected knowledge, fill his page,
Dark Ages make by light reverted gleam,
And rightful Freedom trace, from stage to stage.
And ah! whilst future Laurels verdant spread
Will not the Myrtle for our Females grow?
Yes, whilst the Laurel crowns the manly head,
The blossoms for the fair shall livelier blow.
Another Seward may deserve the prize,70
Like her whose pensive and mellifluous throat,
Where’er misfortune scowls with cheerless eyes,
Pours forth her soothing her reviving note.
Sweet, as her fond complaint throughout the eve,
Rings through the leafy grove the tender Dove,
Till, so endear’d the scene, the Light we grieve,
Detest the sprightlier note, and Sorrow love!
Another Barbauld, here, the new born Isle,
That lately 1783. sprang amidst Norwegian seas,
May deck with all the fervor of the Stile
That endless Fame to Corsica decrees!
Descriptive, powerful, strong, as her, in verse,
When, with Longinus’ nerve, and Graces meet,
She wills the Isle, in Measures rich though terse,
To live with Homer’s Tenedos and Crete.
She’ll raise the veil of Time! and show us how
The cindery mass the climate works refines,
What the vast produce, though all unborn now,
And all its Changes, in her magic lines!
May show the land which would, beneath the skies,
Of soft Italia, bloom with scented Flowers,
Its surface deck with nature’s richest dyes,
And swell in Hills, and give soft Shade in Bowers,
May show it here, divest of every sweet
That could endear it to the eye of taste,
No Flowers, no Rills, the wandering eye to meet,
No rural Beauty, all one dreary Waste!
But, though not sweet, the scenery will be grand!
Not rills, but Torrents will her muse display;
To roar, when mellowing southern winds breathe bland,
Grow dumb and stiffen, in the wintery ray.
No gentle Hills but Mountains vast will show,
Whose cracking Pines confess strong Boreas’ might,
Whilst bright Volcanoes from their summits glow,
And spread, o’er plains around, their awful light!
Arcades and Temples e’en her muse will sing,
But not of Marble formed, nor part for part;
Nature will there the Noble Sculpture bring,
Wildly magnificent, not curbed by Art!
The frozen cataract a dome will form,
From streams arrested ice-formed pillars rise,
Their Capitals be sculptured by a Storm,
That carves whilst rushing from the Zemblian skies.
The Polar Sun will pour its scanty beams,
To tint the glacid scene with shifting hues;
Now strong, now fading into fainter gleams,
Or seen a general ruddy blaze t’ effuse.
Where others could but give unskilful sketch,
A Barbauld’s pencil would the beauties seize,
No lesser genius, on its utmost stretch,
Could make the frigid, cheerless, landscape please!
When man’s attention, worn by scenes like these,
Retreating wishes for familiar hours;
And seeks the lounging seat, the robe of ease,
And gladly yields to Common Life its powers,
Some future Burney then may sooth the breast,
From Nature drawing with a skill so true,
’Twill stand in every varying mode confest,
Distinctly courting the enquirer’s view!
A Power peculiar, will her portraits fill;
When lines are bold, and strong, a vulgar pen
The sketch may take; it asks no mighty Skill
Misers to paint, or mad, or wayward, men.
But human nature, in its faintest dye,
Will she detect, and drag to open day,
Make evident what slipped th’ unmarking eye,
And bid it glare, with Truth’s pervading ray!
The huddled beings of the common mass,
Who, to themselves, appear of equal kind,
Will not in unawakened error pass
Where’er is known a keen-eyed Burney’s mind!
Touched by her spear, they’ll sudden spring to sight;
But not new formed, she’ll shew them as they are,
Will mold no character, but give the Light
Which makes them clear as Herschel sees a star.
Yes, such as these, this plain may one day boast.
Prize! sweet Intelligence, oh! prize the Change!
Laurel will then bedeck our letter’d coast,
And here the Muses, fondly cherish’d, range.
This vacant Wild, till now expanse unblest,
Unknown, and useless in the general scale,
Through Ages slumb’ring in ignoble rest,
Scorned, or unheeded in th’ historic tale,
Will hence assume a Rank, enjoy a Name,
Not hid, a barren, disregarded, spot,
But, living in the breath of future fame,
Will greet its happy, though its late drawn lot.
Whilst, gliding hence, thou’lt seek with searching eye,
For pure Simplicity without Alloy,
Wilt henceforth find it ’neath some other sky,
And there thy calm felicity enjoy.
Yet thou hereafter wilt approve the change
That formed more beings for a higher scale!
Destined with thee through realms of light to range
On Seraph wing the source of all to hail!
Here stopt the Sage. The Genius paused awhile,
His honied words as though revolving o’er;
Then turned his eye, with a celestial smile,
And beam’d a promise he would mourn no more!
In sweet tone said—O man of well stored thought,95
’Tis Truth inspires thee, thou hast seen aright!
In his generation’s interests Man’s more taught
Than some who’re formed the Children pure of Light.
Fell plants their Antidotes will oft reveal
In the same fields that poisonous herbs endure,
Th’ Almighty Guardian of the general weal
For every misery gives more than cure.
To thee is due the bliss which just men know,
Felicities which pious acts attend,
Round thy blest mansion they will ever flow,
And cheer the anxious moments of thy end!
He glided onward, as the Sage adored,
His pinions shedding splendor on the day,
A blushing radiance marked the path he soar’d,
Till clouds, illumed, concealed his new sought way!
What though the rose-buds from my cheek
Have faded all! which once so sleek
Spoke Youth, and Joy, and careless thought.
By Guilt, or Fear, or Shame, uncaught,
My Soul, uninjured, still hath Youth,
Its lively sense attests the truth!
Oh! I can wander yet, and taste
The beauties of the flowery waste,
The Nightingale’s deep swell can feel
Till to the eye a tear doth steal,
Rapt! gaze upon the gem-deck’d night,
Or mark the clear Moon’s gradual flight,
Whilst the bright river’s rippled wave
Repeats the quivering beams she gave.
Nor yet does painting strive in vain,
To waken from its Canvass plain
The Lofty Passions of the mind,
Or hint the sentiment refined,112 H8v 112
To the sweet Magic yet I bow
As when Youth deck’d my polish’d brow.
The Chissel’s lightest touch to trace
Through the pure form, or soften’d grace,
Is lent me still, I still admire,
And kindle at the poet’s fire—
Why Time! since these are left me still,
Of lesser thefts e’en take thy fill.
Yes, take all lustre from my eye,
And let the blithe carnation fly,
My tresses sprinkle o’er with snow,
That boasted once their auburn glow,
Break the slim form that was adored
By him, so loved, my wedded Lord,
But, leave me, whilst all these you steal,
The Mind to taste, the Nerve to feel!
On a Field of Battle.
The cheerless Groves I quit, which sighting wave
Amidst November’s blasts their naked arms,
All their red leaves fallen fluttering to their grave,
All sunk again, in Dust, May’s vernal charms.
In moody thought, at dark’ning Eve, I seek
A field far famed for Battle’s savage reign.
With looks, which superstitious weakness speak,
Its timid neighbours beck me to refrain!
On yon dread field, they urge, full oft are heard
A thousand neighing coursers of the plain,
When not a flow’ret by the breeze is stirred,
Spirits of those in dread encounter slain!
Their clattering hoofs their hurried speed declare,
Woe to the Mortal who obtrudes his sight,
As, urged by Phantoms, o’er the earth they tear,
And round the Barrow they perform their Rite!
E’en though he live to tell the dreadful view,
Through Night they punish his presumptuous sin,
And whilst with dreadful torments they pursue,
The hoofs, the snorts, the arms, encrease their din.
Till through the bright’ning confines of the night,
As Phantoms fly, as Horses, Warriors, fade,
Come forth the glimering messengers of light,
And drive, from realms of air, each martial shade.
Almost alarmed! I wander o’er the plain,
Whose verdure decks the mansions of the brave;
Where Heroes fell, insensible to pain,
And, cheer’ed with Glory, sunk into their grave.
I pensive roam around the laurel’d field,
Whilst Fancy calls up Heroes from the Soil,
Makes bursting sods their pallid Inmates yield,
And o’er the waste repeat their martial toil.
Ah! wayward Fancy bids dread scenes revive,
Which Time’s dark mists had veil’d from mortal ken,
Embattled squadrons rush as when alive,
And shadowy falchions gleam o’er shadowy men!
The Fiends who war and earthly battle love,
Rise from thier lakes of fire midst endless night,
Seem joyous o’er the the carnaged haunts to rove,
Pressed by infernal instinct to the fight!
Whilst Battle rages fiercely o’er the field,
Whose verdure’s fed from many a Warrior’s heart,
As Heroes bled who, never known to yield,
Sunk crowned with Glory, reckless of the smart.
Ah! who was that who swift with frantic air,
Flew fearless on to yonder bleeding youth,
Bound his deep gashes with her flowing hair,
And died beside him to attest her truth?
His Sister (’tis inscribed.) The Orphans grieved
For Parents long at rest within the grave.
They by their Guardian were of wealth bereaved,
The little all parental care could save!
Chill looked the world, and chill had seized their hearts,
For where shall Poverty expect a smile?
Gross lawless love essayed its ready arts,
And all beset was she by Fraud and Guile!
Her Henry sought the War, ill check’d the tear
Of love fraternal as he bade farewell!
But, fear for him absorbed each other fear,
She followed, Fate soon struck their mutual knell!
Chaste Maiden rest! and purer spring the green
That decorates the Turf thy dust doth feed,
Ah! in the kindest mercy ’twas I ween,
To worth like thine a Brother’s grave’s decreed.
The shrieks of death seem all revived around,
The hollow winds prolong each lingering sigh!
Now bitter groans, now deeper groans resound,
Whilst Fathers, Brothers, Lovers, Husbands, die!
Yet, why from such sad thoughts avert the mind,
To Hamlets, Cities, peaceful regions turn?
For, glancing there, such varying Deaths we find,
The change from War-scenes scarcely we discern!
Why draw the mind from this contracted plain?
The sky that canopies the sons of breath
Sees the whole Earth one scene of mortal pain,
The vast the universal Bed of Death!
Where Husbands, Fathers, Brothers, dying moan,
Where Wives, where Mothers, Sisters, Orphans, weep,
Each way is hear the last expiring groan,
And the deep throttle of the deathful sleep!
If, as Philosophy does sometimes muse,
A State of War is Natural State to Man,
’Tis Battle’s sickness bravery should chuse,
The noblest death in nature’s varied plan.
Whilst vulgar Souls await the Fever’s rage,
Or, slow, beneath pale Atrophy depart,
With fameless death inglorious Effort wage,
Ignoble Sorrow cankering the heart,
The Firm demand that Fate to them decree
To aid their Country—by a Death Sublime!
By languid pains their high souls scorn to free,
And, by the Sword’s swift edge, escape from Time!
A Fire-Side Tour.
I hate the constant Elegiac Lay!
Give me a Measure blithe as day,
Such days as near the Ides of June
Inspire the Lark’s elaborate tune.
When, as beams of Morning pour,
Ambitious midst a cloud to soar,
He mounts aloft, and from his gurgling throat
Darts back to Earth the piercing note,
Which falling with the dews of morn
That deck the pink and snowy thorn,
Floats round upon the Zephyr’s wing,
And wakes the burnish’d Finch, and Linnet sweet to sing!
And be my Lines irregular and free,
Poetic chains away from me!
I jeer dull Laws that raise a mound
O’er which the Muse is caution’d not to bound!
She shall in verse meandering sport,
Her Feet or quick, or long, or short,119 I4r 119
Just as her varying impulse wills,
And scorn the straiten’d march that each fine fervour chills.
Themes too, without controul, I’ll change,
As Thought excursive chance to range!
Shall I to Love address my Lays,
Whom Poets sing, with endless Praise?
Their lofty minds escape his Chains,
They thus at Ease describe his pains,
And uncheck’d Ingenuity display
For that no real Passion mars the Lay!
But, where Love reigns, a Tyrant he
Whom painted with Bandeau we see,
With downy wings, and childish face,
As though of Angel Cherub race,
And he the action ne’er leaves free
Of mental Ingenuity.
Still, why give Love an endless Lay?
He hath but intermittent sway.
When Newton trod the starry road
And viewed the numerous stars’ abode
And measured every distant orb,
Did silly Love his steps attend,
His mighty purposes suspend,
Or e’er his lofty thoughts absorb?120 I4v 120
When intellectual Locke explored
The minds mere Vacuum, where no hoard
Of Innate young Ideas lay,
Did e’er, whilst robed in wisdom’s stole,
Love’s dazzling flame his views controul,
Or light him through his darksome way?
From Theme so trite, away I haste!
For Subject course Earth’s motley waste,
Seek Character, where’er it runs,
View Eastern Climes ’neath fiercer Suns.
Mark how Confucius’ feeble race
His changeless Records dully trace!
To Imitation still confine
Their powers, nor dare a devious line!
Whims elsewhere live their short lived day,
Are tasted, liked, and pass away,
In China, none from old rules range,
Whilst all around is grateful Change!
Away are flown a thousand springs,
As Earth hath coursed its circling rings,
No Art or Virtue more refined,
Not one suggestion left behind!
Philosophy, no inroads made,
Still sleeps within impervious shade,121 I5r 121
Dull Learning, blindforld in its pen,
Hath only Ancient Thoughts arranged,
This niggard Precept left to men,
Proceed, be wise, but, be unchanged!
Mere Wrecks of States, now passed away,
Are loftier Subjects for my Lay!
O’erthrown Palmyra I’ll explore
There beauty’s glance, and wisdom’s lore,
Ages, long passed, the soul beguiled,
Oh think! in that unletter’d Wild
Longinus wrote, Zenobia smiled!
Where now a humbled Column lies,
Streamed radiance forth from beaming eyes;
The roofs where odious night-birds rest,
Once shelter’d Wit, once echoed Jest;
Where Peasants cumbrous Oxen stall,
Serpents convolve where Music trilled,
A Marbled Desart now Palmyra’s fate’s fulfilled!
To Southern regions hence I glide away,
To where deep Wisdom’s earliest Students breathed,
Where Egypt’s swarthy sons imbrown by day,
Where Science first by Herald Fame was wreathed.122 I5v 122
There view the reservoir’s collected flood
To bless a famished People spend its wealth,
Pour out itself to renovate their blood,
By Heaven supplied with stores of future health.
But ah! there Locusts close the dreaded wing,
Fix on the Flow’rets, dim their brilliant hues,
In fragrance wrapt, to closing blossoms cling,
And glitter on each shrub like blighting dews.
My Muse retreats! to Europe northward hies
And gains Sicilia’s ever lucid skies,
There views the wreck that Nature lately tore,
Wrathful! from sad Messina’s once famed Port,
As the Proud Marbles that adorned its shore
Whilst the mad Mother, and the Child bereaved,
The tottering Palaces, the falling Towers,
Showed full Destruction was, at once, atchieved,
With all a fierce convulsive Earthquake’s powers!
I turn from Scenes so fraught with pain,
Italia’s Continent I gain,
Where nature’s loftiest minds were found,
Where Fancy’s brightest thoughts abound!123 I6r 123
I linger here, the classic clime,
Doth well deserve devoted time,
I tread the sacred way of Rome,
I press to kneel at Virgil’s tomb!
And ah! be Italy ne’er named,
Without due tribute to the famed
The ever glorious Medicis!
Sweet poetry, attune thy Lyre,
To those who woke thy latent fire
And set thy rolls long prison’d free!
Let sculpture raise its Pillar high,
Their names advance towards the sky,
From whom it life renewed derived.
Let painting sweetly blend its hues,
Its votive canvass ne’er refuse,
To those who all its powers revived!
Their names Posterity will ever prize,
High in the climax of the literate few,
Who from the rust of time will bright arise,
By passing Centuries still kept in view!
On Spain I glance, of late but slightly famed,
From Sports Barbarian little yet reclaimed!
Their Bull-Fight view, whilst earth ’neath fierce hoofs, rings
As forth his Den the bellowing Monster springs.
The ireful foam surrounds his churning jaws,
His burnished horns, in battle’s anxious pause,
Now raze the earth, now, proudly tossed in air,
The waiting combatants to contest dare!
The waiting troop the wished for signal greets,
Darts on the foe; the lordly Bull defeats
The well-aim’d thrust, and, armed with native might,
Contemns each brandish’d sword, and dagger bright;
And, rushing on, whilst deathful fury flies
In livid sparkles from his blood-red eyes,
He gores the generous steeds, their riders throws,
And round the vast Steccado fearless goes,
In haughty Strength each threat’ning risk to dare
Whilst boisterous admiration rends the air!
I roam now Gallia’s sportive plains,
Where rustic laugh for ever reigns,
Near glossy rills which as they fly
Their curved embroidered banks between
Whose glowing tints begem the green
Bear on their curls the Zephyr’s sigh.125 I7r 125
The pleasures here, a rosy band,
Together link’d with Flowery Chains
And blithly dancing o’er the Plains,
Spread cheerful mirth throughout the land!
To England homeward now I glide,
My country view with added Pride!
The Virtues greet of every Time,
The mingled sweets of every Clime!
There, charming is the Morning’s hour,
When, from his chrystal roseate bower,
We see the early Sun pursue
The skimming breeze through fields of dew.
Charming the fiery hour of Noon,
When the sunk Linnet’s fading tune
Allures us to the beechy grove,
Or where some cragg’d grotesque Alcove
Sounds in the ear its tinkling rill,
Attractive by its grateful chill.
Charming, at close of day, the beauties spread,
As Devon’s hills, my native scenes! I tread.
How deck’d the mists attendant on the eve
With colours richest that the Sun can give!
How wakes around the Nightingales’ rich trill,
Till their sweet pipes the Empyrean fill,126 I7v 126
And Sensibility usurps the Heart
And makes me through each swelling song take part,
And dwell upon each touching pause,
And lengthen out each added clause,
Till rapt Attention, strain’d full high,
Starts a prompt tear, awakes a sigh.
On Devon’s scenes could I prolong
With added strains, my lengthen’d song,
E’en from the hour when first the Morn,
Imparts the light of beamy Dawn,
Pours Scents and Colours o’er the vale,
And wakes it song, and wakes its tale,
Till every fairy Elf and sprite
Joins in the secret dance at night.
Here, here, then Poetry thy Numbers bring,
Here Music strike thy sweetly trembling string!
I, break the lingering tempting strain
And still each note with pensive pain!
Be hid from me the sapphire sky,
What is to me the verdure’s dye?
Or yonder vales where sportive cattle play?
Near shady Groves, yes there I see,
Why do those beauties burst on me?
Bright Rivers run, and dart redoubled Day.
Can such vain scenes enchant a mind
To deep disgust and gloom resigned?
’Tis but o’er hearts where reigns sweet peace they’ve power.
Vain are such views, from them I fly,
On scenes of Ruin turn my eye,
And greet thee Horror at the mouldering Tower!
Where, ’mongst unwholesome murky damps,
The flitting gleamy vapour lamps
Of ignes fatui show, midst thickest night,
Where morbid Melancholy sits,
And weeps, and sighs, and raves, by fits,
Or, from her vision hides some fancied sprite.
Or if, amidst the Arctic gloom,
To hurry many a Wretch’s doom,
Thou formest hideous Phantoms of Despair,
Instant thy dreadful labours leave,
With raven wing the concave cleave,
’Thwart the dark vapours of nocturnal air.
Now waft me to th’ impending Cliff,
Below whose brow the stranded skiff
Beholds thee seated on thy rocky throne,
Where, midst the shrieking wild wind’s roar,
With outstretch’d hands wreck’d crews implore,
Their fear-seized sinews motionless as stone.
Hide, hide the Moon’s obstrusive orb,
The gleam of every star absorb,
And make Creation, for a moment, thine!
Bid billows dash, let whirlwinds roar,
And the stern, rocky, threat’ning shore
Back to the waves the stranded bark resign!
Then, whilst from yonder turbid cloud
Thou roll’st thy Thunders long and loud
Thy Lightnings darting on the deep below,
Let the expiring Seaman’s cry,
The pilot’s agonizing sigh,
In dreadful Chorus all immingled flow!
Horror! far back thou dat’st thy reign,
Ere Tyrants History’s page could stain
With records dark of deeds of lawless sway;
Ere Alexanders States o’erthrew,
Or Faction mad’ning Cæsars knew,
To thee Mankind was yielded for thy Prey!
Whose pen Jehovah’s self inspired,
He who, with power from Heaven acquired,
Led Israel’s gifted armies o’er the earth,
Midst frenzied Mothers, Children drowned,
And mansions topling to the ground,
Grandly terrific paints thy dreadful birth!
Th’ Almighty from his Throne on high
Bade forth the venging Seraphs fly,
’Gainst Earth imbued with every vice’s stain.
He gave th’ irrevocable sign,
Which marked to Man the hate divine
For Heaven’s commands all treated with disdain!
And sudden to the opening sky
The Angels of his Wrath quick fly,
Then Horror thou didst riot o’er the whole!
Whilst fell th’ annihilating shower,
To Thee th’ Almighty gave the hour
To fill and rack each self-accusing soul!
’Twas thine to scourge each sinful land,
No creature could thy glance withstand,
The Pride-swoln Cities crumbled at thy yell.
Once more thou’lt reign! the Earth on Fire,
Its Frame in Chaos will expire
Ere thou dost seek thy native seat in Hell!
Ode to Indifference.
O Nymph long sought, of placid mien,
Of careless step, and brow serene,
I woo thee from the rustic bowers
Where listless pass thy easy hours.
Or if, a Naïade of the silver wave,
Thou’rt sweetly pleased thyself at east to lave
In some bright Lake, on whose unruffled face
The weeping Willow loves itself to trace,
Of if, from cell within some Rock
Thy smiles all human sorrow mock,
Where’er thou art, on Earth, in Air,
Oh! come, and chase away despair!
Have I not marked thee on the Green
Roving, by vulgar eyes unseen?
Have I not watch’d thy lightsome dance
As Evening’s mellowed glows advance?
Sweet soother, Yes! and whilst the Rustic’s mirth
Proclaims the hour which gives wild Gambols birth,
Supine I’ve found thee in the Elm-row’s shade,
Lull’d by the hum returning Bees have made,
As, chary of their golden spoils,
They close their fragrant fruitful toils,
And to their waxen couches throng,
With rest-inviting slumb’rous song.
Sweet Nymph! the region let me seek
Where thou resid’st with aspect meek;
My future life to thee I give
Oh! tranquillize each hour I live!
’Tis true no glowing Bliss thy vot’ries know,
From thee no poignant Ecstasy can flow,
But oh! thou shield’st the Heart from rankling pain,
Misfortune threats, when blest with thee, in vain!
Wan Jealousy’s empoisoning tooth,
And Love, that feeds upon our Youth,
And holy Friendship’s broken tie,
Ne’er dim the Lustre of thine eye.
For Thee it is all Nature blooms,
For Thee, tht Spring new charms assumes,
Nor vainly ope her Blossoms round,
Nor vainly do her Groves resound;
Her Music, Colours, Perfumes, all are thine,
To thee her Months their richest gifts consign.
To thee the Morn is bright, sweet too the ray
That marks the progress of the sinking day!
Each Change is grateful to thy soul,
No Woes the mental powers controul,
The Charms of Nature, and of Art,
Alike delight the care-free heart!
And oh! beneath the happy dome
Where thy calm presence cheers the home,
That torturous imp is never found
Whose praise such idle songs resound
Dread Sensibility!—Ah! let me fly
Where Greenland darkness veils the lucid sky,
Or where the Sun, with downward torrid ray,
Kills with the beams direct of fiery day.
I’d dare th’ excess of every Clime,
Endure each evil known to time,
Ere live beneath that Witch’s spells
With whom no lasting pleasure dwells!
Her thrilling power deludes the Heart,
Her Tear is ever prompt to start,
Her tender Look, her ready Sigh,
And soft Emotion always nigh.
All calm Repose th’ insididous fiend forbids,
All soothing slumber chases from our lids,
She heightens Fancies into real woe
Till keenest tortures in the bosom grow!
She kills all Taste! In vain the Spring
Bids birds through groves their Matins sing,
The roseate Morn’s hygean bloom,
Sinks, unobserved, to evening’s Gloom.
When She has seized upon the Heart,
Taste can no ray of bliss impart,
One strong idea fills the mind,
And harasses with throes unkind.
Strain’d to Excess, Reason’s her vanquished slave,
The frantic victim shuns her in the grave.
To her all crimes, all evils, owe their birth,
That reign, in dreadful sway, o’er all the earth!
She mixes, wildly, Smiles with Tears,
And where’s no Ill, she thrills with Fears!
Knows most Delight, when most we smart—
Now, whilst she prompts my pen, she riots in my Heart!
A Tale For Jealousy.136 K4v 137 K5r 137
Deep sighed the wind, slow struck the hour,
When from his Couch Alphonso rose;
Soft Down invoked Sleep’s soothing power,
No pillow there could give repose!
The night still brooded on the hill,
Beneath, the sable river rolled,
Not glittering now the tinkling rill,
Its stream was dark, its spirit cold.
His chamber long, with restless feet,
The Lord Alphonso traversed o’er;
There once refreshed by slumbers sweet,
But slumbers sweet he knows no more!
His roused Domestics strait obey
The signal of the Lord they hate;
Their Torches flash a second day
Along the costly rooms of State.
His favorite from th’ obsequious train,
He to his inmost closet led;
To him confessed Love caused the pain
That roused him from his midnight bed.
Oh! thou wert near, Alphonso cries,
When in the Progress late we made,
Gonsalvo’s Daughter in our eyes
Made every other Beauty fade!
Her noble Mien, her blushes mild,
The burnish of her Tresses bright,
Her Age, but just no longer Child,
Her rosy mouth, her graceful height,
All these within my time-worn heart
Again have lighted youthful flame,
I sink beneath the powerful smart,
Oft did I try her soul to melt,
But, ignorant she of Cupid’s power,
His influence she ne’er had felt,
But now is come her fated hour!
With flames illicit I essayed
To touch and melt her frozen breast,
If Hymen sooth the trembling maid
With Hope she then may be addressed!
Strait to her Father speed thy way,!
The fleetest Mules they now prepare,
And ere tomorrow pours its day,
Thou’lt reach the village of my Fair.
These Pearls, these Diamonds, speak my Truth,
Woo her with Treasures to my arms,
When love no longer boasts of Youth,
Riches must spread their luring charms!
Oh! how unlike the rapturous hour,
When Love is bought by Love alone!
When a soft Look, a Touch, a Flower,
Is prized beyond Ind’s brightest stone!
But go, and to her Parents bear
Thy Lord’s designs, his hopes unfold;
Plead, with due force, my meaning fair,
And in thy Promises be bold!
Much more the Lord Alphonso spoke,
His Servant’s mind the whole retains,
And Mules in quickest haste they yoke
To bear him o’er the distant plains.
And now the Morn its silver rays
’Thwart Night’s dark reign began to dart,
Who now no more in deep gloom sways,
Its sombre shades in haste depart.
And ere they yet had fall’n behind
The western Mountain’s misty slope,
Olivia, duteously resigned,
Had listened to Alphonso’s hope!
Not so resigned, but that her thought
Recoiled at such ill suited love,
But, Filial Duty always taught,
She learned to bear, and then approve.
The Sire attends his Darling Child,
For so Alphonso’s pride allows,
And, with high Transport almost Wild,
He hears pronounced the Grandee’s vows!
He saw that Form, where speaking Grace
Gave Soul to beauty most refined,
A Robe of Dignity embrace,
By Taste magnificent designed.
Her Hair, which floated o’er her Dress,
They tied in Folds, with Diamond bands,
Its rich Luxuriance to repress,
For so the Robe, concealed, demands.
But, the rich Curls which haply fell
Upon her Bosom’s lilly snow,
Were suffer’d there, unbound, to dwell,
And spread their wavy golden glow.
Thus the fond Parent saw her rove,
Through gaudy Halls, and Rooms of State,
Whilst humble Trains at distance move,
And from her nod await their fate.
Too short the Time! in which such Joy
Around his aged heart might play;
Bitter, oh! bitter the alloy!
Ah! set full soon is Pleasure’s day!
For Lord Alphonso names the hour,
When he the sumptuous dome must quit,
And seek again the humble bower,
For Birth like his a mansion fit!
Tells him to take a last Farewell
Of her more dear than sense or light,
Bids him ne’er hope again to dwell
Where her sweet Form may charm his sight.
His Daughter, overwhelm’d with woe,
The haughty cruel Order hears,
She sees her mourning Parent go,
She strives, in vain, to check her tears!
Now, slow and heavy passed the time,
Which late flew rapid with delight,
She, heedless, knew not Morning’s prime
Distinct from the approach of night.
Her only Solace was to roam
Amidst deep Woods, in shelter’d Calm,
Where, distant from her gaudy home,
Meek Solitude afforded balm.
There, o’er a River’s fringed side,
Which caught each form that glided by,
She’d watch its curled unequal tide,
And with the Zephyr’s mix her sigh.
View stately Swans amidst the wave,
Whilst Lines of Beauty o’er them glide,
Their snowy plumage bending lave,
Or gently resting on the tide.
Mark the sweet objects Nature drew,
When ruffling Zephyr ceased to breathe,
Its mirror giving to the view
A Phantom-Forest underneath!
Some weeping willows there displayed
Their Foliage painted on the wave,
Which, in reflected green arrayed,
Would still their jutting bare roots lave.
To guile the hours that glided slow
She’d sometimes chide a low bent branch,
Which would its folige, sinking low,
Upon the moist’ning river launch.
She thus was one bright eve employed,
And carols she so sweetly sang,
That Nightingales her notes enjoyed—
When through the wood a Soldier sprang!
Apollo’s graceful form seem’d there
As from his Bow the swift Dart sings,
Or, when the Discus through the air
With equal Force and Grace he flings.
From martial Brow, his beaming eye
Bright as Olivia’s own appears,
Strait to each other’s arms they fly,
With mutual Joy, with mutual Tears!
Olivia, blest, her Brother saw,
Olivia ’twas her Brother press’d;
Attached by Nature’s dearest law,
In pure affection they caress’d.
From Calpe’s glorious Rock he came,
Immortal monument decreed
Of English Elliot’s laurel’d name,
Where Spanish Heroes oft must bleed!
And there his blood did Gusman shed,
Amongst the boldest there was found,
By strongest thirst of Honour led,
Nor shun’d gaunt Death that raged around!
But, when her silver Trump blithe Peace
So sweetly sounded from the Skies,
Each stirring war-note made to cease,
Sped by fond Duty, home he flies!
There first he learned his Sister’s fate,
How lofty raised, how deep depressed,
Heard that amidst her brilliant state,
Her Heart corroding Grief oppressed!
Her Husband’s tyrant law revealed,
No dear Relation to behold,
Obliged him thus, by Shades concealed!
His Sister to his Heart to fold!
And oft he mourn’d her cruel lot,
And oft he chased her tears away,
As from the interesting spot
They’re slowly warn’d by closing day.
Gusman, Adieu! Olivia cries,
Yet, let me see thee once again!
Tomorrow bless thy Sister’s eyes,
Then, seek our dear paternal plain.
From forth my little treasured hoard,
Fond tokens to my Mother bear,
No Miser is my cruel Lord,
And gifts for her I well can spare!
Gusman, with love fraternal strove,
And kissed each beauteous, fading, cheek;
Assured, when Morn should light the Grove,
Amidst its walks her steps he’d seek.
Now, Evening threw its silvery dews
On every shrub that deck’d the glades,
And fainter scents the flowers effuse,
To waste not sweets on desart shades.
Oft had Olivia linger’d here
In hours like these, and traced the beam
Which, sent from brilliant lunar sphere,
Shot through the Wood a shiver’d gleam.
The place Olivia has forgot!
The Arbours, Founts, unheeded, rise;
Blithe Pleasure blinds her to the spot,
The beam-deck’d water idly flies.
In thrill of Joy, the sportive Fawn
Springs o’er the ground with motion fleet,
Regardless of the studded lawn,
That teems with Flowers around her feet.
So speeds the fair-one to her home,
Whose Towers return the Moon’s broad glare,
And, pointing out the distant dome,
Their gold Vanes flash across the air.
On downy pillow soon reclined,
Sleep drops o’er all a dizzy veil.
To cheer with Dreams her placid mind
Fantastic Phantoms do not fail.
At morning’s Dawn, her Lord commands
Her cheering slumbers must be broke!
He grasped in his her trembling hands,
He led her forth, no word he spoke!
And oh! these horrid sounds she cried,
These piteous moans that rend my ear!
With Terror struck, she deeply sighed,
And sunk, at length, o’ercome by Fear!
He dragged her on! the Moans of pain,
More piercing as they nearer grow,
Left her unable to sustain
Her blood’s convulsed, unequal, flow!
There, Wretch, behold! Alphonso cries,
As wide he threw the grating gate,
There feast thy loose adulterous eyes,
See there—thy Paramour’s just fate!
There, stretch’d upon the racking Wheel,
She saw her Brother’s tortured form!
From his torn flesh the jagging steel
Extracting blood with Life still warm.
She saw—but oh! she spoke no more!
The Agony too fierce to bear,
She, shrieking, sunk upon the floor,
And breathed her Spirit on the air.
Sister! the writhing Gusman said,
Oh, Sister! plead! then swoon’d with pain,
On his gash’d bosom sunk his head,
His limbs convulsed the cords restrain.
Alphonso, when he heard the sound,
Sprang swiftly to the deadly wheel,
With eager haste the youth unbound,
And e’en Alphonso knew to feel!
He raved, he struck his tortured breast,
But oh! the guilty deed was past,
The Victims pure were now at Rest!
His tortures must for Ever last!
There, Tyrant, lie! and may the fangs
Of fierce Remorse thy bosom tear,
Each added morn encrease thy pangs,
Thou ne’er knew’st Pity—now despair!
Lines to the Memory of Her Daughter.
On Receiving Locks of Her Hair. She died under Seventeen, at a distance from her.
Dear Tresses! ah, your sombre glow
Renews by Tears, but sooths my Woe!
Ye have escaped the mouldering Grave,
Again before my eyes you wave,
I see them! to my lips they’re press’d,
I hold them to my anxious breast!
But, ah! they ne’er again will flow
Upon her Neck of healthful glow,
Ne’er will they shade again her cheek,
Where nature bloom’d in blushes meek.
How have I seen this ringlet play,
And this, upon her forehead stray,
This, hanging o’er her azure eye
Like fleeting clouds that veil the sky,151 L4r 151
And these, upon her shoulder fell,
And these would on her bosom dwell!
Ah! though ye ne’er again will deck
Her modest brow, or veil her neck,
Yet still possess your beauties power,
To please beyond Life’s hasty hour!
A Mother saves them from the grave,
A Mother’s pen from death shall save
Her Memory whom they once adorned,
Though seen few years, for Ever mourned!
Yes Time, Elizabeth, shall tell,
How like a Flow’ret pluck’d you fell,
As gently it unfolds its bloom
In early Spring, unknown its doom,
And to the Morn reveals its sweets,
But Noontide Radiance never greets!
As o’er some beauteous Garden’s pride
The Dawn its silver light throws wide,
Its sweet beam spreads from Flower to Flower,
Arriving through a scented shower,
And, as fresh rays around them fly,
Awakes in each a purer dye,
The Lillies open all around
The forms that snowy veils had bound,152 L4v 152
And waving graceful to the beam,
They greet the light’s enlivening stream—
But ah! the seal of Fate’s imprest,
And One is chosen from the rest.
Ere the meridian hour of day,
Whilst other Lillies greet its ray,
And proudly lift their lustrous heads,
So sweetly shining o’er the beds,
This Lilly, by some ruthless knife
Is severed from the stem of life!
Vain were its charms so early burst,
Day’s Lord its fragrance never nursed.
The setting Sun glows through the air
And the lost Lilly is not there—
Oh! Emblem of the sudden blow
That bent my darling’s graces low!
Now must the setting sun illume
My sweet departed dear-one’s Tomb!
Yon late rais’d funeral pile behold,
Dart there thy brightest rays of gold,
Bid there thy richest beams descend
There every glowing beauty blend.
For, your beauties she could taste!
To meet your gilded ribble haste,153 L5r 153
Athwart it raptured glances throw,
And hail it with extatic glow!
And when your lingering gleam’s withdrawn,
And each dun vestige leaves the lawn,
Let Stars, to view them oft she’d roam!
Shed their pure lustre o’er her Tomb.
For she was purity refined,
Where Taste and Genius had combined
To raise a lofty sense, and show
What Spells could from their Union flow!
And Spells o’er all her actions hung,
They deck’d her eye, they graced her tongue,
Amidst her Dance they flew around,
In every step, in every bound;
They glitter’d in the lucid tear,
Which to her fringed lid so clear
Would oft from tender sources steal
To prove how well her Heart could feel!
My Child! since thou didst cease to breathe
I could not form Poetic Wreath,
Till now, my swoln Heart could not bear
My Votive Tablet to prepare!
But now, when yonder Pile is lost,
Each monumental fragment tost154 L5v 154
In crumbling atoms through the air,
Thee shall defeated ruin spare!
Time’s fateful finger shall delay
To fret thy cherish’d name away.
From Cypress and from Yew around,
O’ershadowing the hallow’d ground,
Shall Pity, smiling, Garlands weave—
Ah! Smile of Sorrow how you grieve!
And, hanging them on every tree
Shall say, Eliza, These to Thee!
Night Walk in a Garden.
Ye Jessmines that beneath the lunar ray,
Unfold your virgin robes, your modest grace,
Imparting odours you denied the day,
Though day’s own light condensed adorns your race!
Ye Stars, that quivering midst yon azure sky,
From forth your circles softened Lustre stream,
And raise towards you calm Devotion’s eye,
And send to lonely love a soothing beam,
Why cease you now to charm, as erst ye did?
Why free from rapture move I, now, along?
Ye scents, ye blooms, ye stars, in vain ye bid
Your soft enchantments round my senses throng—
For She is lost who greeted all your powers;
She breathes no more! who loved your pensive hours!
The Captive Butterfly.
On margin of a gadding brook
In yonder Mead, all sport and play,
Hope weaving round him fairy dreams
A sweet Boy roams midst brightest day.
A Butterfly, on gorgeous wings,
Floats through the air with mazy pride,
Emblem of Youth in Pleasure’s paths
Glides fearless on the eddying tide!
The tide bears on with headlong force,
Its Fate it sees, but, sees too late!
The ambush’d Boy its course arrests,
It darts on sparkling wings to Fate!
You little know how blest it lives,
Youth! let him not expire so soon!
Just past the Morning of its time,
Oh, let it taste the joyous Noon.
When Dawn first shows its cheering eye
And blushing on the Mountain springs,
In undulations through the air
O’er scented fields it sports its wings.
The dew which on the Strawberry hangs
Its Morn’s pure beverage it makes,
And in the Violet’s perfumed cup
Its evening thirst, delighted, slakes.
If Clouds rush through the misty air
It creeps into the Rose’s breast,
Or, whilst the pattering rain descends,
In Tulip’s pendent bells seeks rest.
Though rich Jonquils, whose radiant brows
On all their Sister-flowers look down,
Have shared the gold which o’er its form
Is sweetly blended in with brown,
Though Pinks, on whose high finish’d leaves
Tints into sweeter tints dissolve,
Partake the shades that spot its wings
And with its beamy rings revolve,
Th’ Auricula, whose jewel’d dust
Owns every hue that Iris lends,
The precious powder with it shares
Whose softness all its colours blends,
Still Flowers its hues with Envy see,
And blame their Sylphs’ too little art,
Who to their robes have fail’d to give
Such rays as forth its flutterings start.
Ah! playful Youth, with Mercy view
A creature reft of joy like this.
See! Pity beams within his eye
He feels how Mercy teems with Bliss!
Sweet Youth! he gives it to the air,
From which he heedless brought it down,
For this, may all he e’er may ask
His brightest wishes richly crown.
He gives it still to float around,
Its path delightfully to wind,
On gentle gales that gad midst Flowers
And all their stores of sweets unbind.
See! how it flits the Sun’s bright rays,
On buoyant wings that seek no rest,
And how it plays in scented air,
Enjoying Life with added Zest!
To Lady Manners.
On Her Ode to Solitude.
All your sweet melodious lore
Fancy! tribute to her bring,
Gift her with your choicest store,
Her, that can so sweetly sing!
Pour before her vision’d eye
Scenes that You alone can give,
Bid all earth-born musings fly,
Bid Your Fascinations live!
When the gold-skies in the west
Sweetly vivid dyes array,
In Perspective richly drest
Beauteous Sun-Set to display,
Rouse for her the dormant notes
That the forest lately heard
Gift the waken’d warblers’ throats,
Tune anew each trilling bird.
Not the pensive Nightingale
Wake to join its plaintive moan,
For its softest tenderest tale
Manners gives in sweeter tone.
Spread around her pleasing Shades
Where the Mountain towers so high!
As the Day-stream wholly fades
Wake Your Splendours through the sky.
Deck for her each starry gleam
With a ray beyond its own,
Bidding Your Effulgence beam
And the gloomy Night dethrone.
Lead where waves, in progress fleet
Risen midst the rocky shore,
Slow, unwillingly, retreat,
And in sorrow, ceaseless, roar.
Where the tottering Abbey lours
Bid the Fair-one, musing, rove,
Pine that Time’s corrosive powers
Raze the haunts of Faith and Love!
Ponder on the mouldering wall,
Mark where toppled Arches lie,
Tremble as the grey piles fall,
As the Gothic Wonders fly!
Let the ivy’d Towers that swell
Cross the black and barren Moor,
To the weeping Beauty tell
Days of Chivalry are o’er!
There no more, in Tourneys grand,
Break the Lance shall steel-clad Knight,
Or there vaunt from Foreign Land
Rival Charms of Lady bright!
But there Solitude shall charm
Glades that glistering Luna decks
Though midst sweetly soothing Calm
Stretching Shade her fulgence checks.
Hark! there Manners strikes her Lyre,
Vocal makes deserted Plains,
Sings them with poetic fire,
How they’re graced in her sweet Strains!
This Poem was never printed before for general readers. Of slight importance indeed was the occasion that gave rise to it. It was but to describe the Origin of the Name of a romantic Hill called Wotobank, in the parish of Beckermont amongst the Lakes of Cumberland.
The village tradition says that a Lord of Beckermont, during a Hunt which his Lady attended missed her; and that it is so called form his exclamation of Woe to this Bank! on discovering her thereon— destroyed by a Wolf.
Mrs. Cowley never was in Cumberland, or in any other mountainous country. Yet which of her readers, acquainted with the scene, would doubt, after perusing the commencement of this Poem that the author must have ascended Skiddaw, who, after their return from the Mountain, they find so exactly tells them—what they have been seeing!
Skiddaw! I climb thy high uplifted form,
Dare thy bold steep, and soar above the Storm!
Below my feet perceive the Lightnings start,
And, midst the nether region, harmless dart,
Or, through the clouds that roll their seas away,
Thy prostrate Villages and Lakes survey.
Pure Derwent view deep liquid Chrystal spread
O’er pebbles shining from their low sunk bed;
Hang with Delight o’er Keswick’s soften’d glades,
Behind whose shadowy oaks the day-beam fades.10
Here catch a glance o’er distant misty Fells,
Or gain it there across the woody Dells,
In the vast Painting own the Hand Divine,
And see, in every part, th’ Almighty’s Grandeur shine!
Ah! my caught vision’s fixed at Ennersdale!
With pensive Grief I view its beauteous vale.
In vain the Riv’lets gad on every side,
And o’er the glens the summer Zephyrs glide,
In vain those guardian Woods that shade its plains,
Are sweetly vocal with their wild-note strains,20
And dulcet Groves burst with rich trilling notes
Sprung forth a thousand sweetly gurgling throats.
I see no more their softly blended shades,
All ceased the grateful music of the glades!
For ah! those plains, those vales, those sheltering woods,
Nourish’d by Bassanthwaite’s contiguous floods,
Were fated once to witness such a deed
As makes the tortured memory recede.
For this, yon time-worn Yew its branches bends,
And midst the scene a deeper sadness sends!30
In Lorton’s vale its well known stems arise,
Unmatch’d beneath these almost arctic skies,
By Henry planted in a hapless day,
Where lingering on its roots full oft he sorrowing lay!
Yes, to this Story I attune my Lyre,
Nor ask the Muses for Poetic fire!
Parnassus and its long fictitious train,
I never called on to adorn my strain!171 M6r 171
Invention puerile of the early mind,
Ere Reason grew, ere Knowledge was refined,40
Dim lights, which first o’er Grecian darkness gleam’d
And, midst its polished Ignorance, faintly beam’d,
At length descended to the Roman Bands,
And flash’d, from midst their arms, through distant lands.
I call not You!—your radiant fields I shun,
From all your blithe Deceptions, woe-struck, run.
Let cheering prospects vanish from my view!
Let dank weeds spring, and hemlock fling its dew.
The lorn Owl now should moan his moody song,49
The north-wind’s shriekings should be loud and long;
These! should inspire my hand to touch the chord,
That trembles with the woes of Ennersdale’s once Lord.
Sole Heir of Atheling, the Herald said,
Of blood, stern Scotland! midst thy heaths oft shed.
Ah! can the mind to Lyric Scotland turn,
And pensive linger not around the urn
Of him to whom was given the logy Lyre
That Homer struck? that thrill’d with Milton’s fire?
Ossian! when hanging o’er thy grassy Vale,59
Thy dark brown Mountain, and thy Moon-beam pale,
Thy broad full Sun, and ever placid Lake,
Our bosom’s cheer’d, and every nerve’s awake!172 M6v 172
With implements, thus few, thou’st formed a pile,
August in taste, most beautiful in stile.
Let no bold finger’s emulative pride,
E’er, venturous, touch the Lyre that graced thy side,
For, like the bow of Ithaca’s famed land,
It vibrates only to its Master’s hand!
Not five and twenty Springs o’er Henry’s head
Had shed their beams when he prepared to wed70
The sweet Edwina, graceful, tall, and fair,
By her fond Father yielded to his prayer.
Full young she was, in beauty’s earliest prime,
Untarnish’d yet, untouch’d by withering time,
O’er her red cheek soft dimples sweetly played,
Her lovely form by every Grace arrayed.
He long had woo’d the charming, bashful, maid,
She, still to listen to Love’s tales afraid,
By many modest arts, so Love ordains!
Increased his passion, as increased his pains.
At length the nuptial Morn illumed the sky,
Bright pearly rays in each direction fly,
Then, vivid Radiance fiercely stream’d afar,
Absorbing all the beams of every star.
The high Lark blithe bestowed his soaring song,
And flowers revived as Morning burst along,173 M7r 173
The Breezes snatch’d their odours as they flew,
And gave them in return pellucid dew,
That clear’d their colours to higher tone,
Till Earth a vegetative rainbow shone!
Beneath her Husband’s roof, the matchless Fair
Graced each delight, and each domestic care;
Whilst, ever pleas’d, he watch’d her polish’d mind,
Her sense reflective, and her taste refined,
Her well weighed words, which spoke the strongest Sense,
Or cloath’d in lightest dress the Thought intense.
With smile so sweet and love expressive eye
Her face a Raphael to catch would try,
To form, with brow serene and aspect mild,
A young Madonna bending o’er her child.
Her Needle’s skill made tenderest Flowrets blow,
Which now, in sweet festoons, around her glow.
In cooling Grots her Shell-Work seized the eye,
With skill arranged, to show each blending dye.
The Age’s taste her Garden well displayed,
Her vivid Fancy each Parterre arrayed,
Here Yews, in shape of solid Walls, she rear’d,
Or there, a dreary Castle they appeared;
In Box, the Eagle hover’d o’er its nest,
Or couchant Lions seem’d resigned to rest.110 174 M7v 174
Her husband’s Sports the loved Edwina shared,
For her the Hawking-Party was prepared,
She roused the Wolf, the foaming Boar she chased,
And Danger’s self was in her presence graced!
E’en whilst I write, its daring Edict now
Mad France proclaims! dissolved the Marriage Vow!
No longer Holy Rite, or One for Life,
Each sues Divorce, as prompts a casual strife!
—Oh, Marriage! powerful Charm, Gift all divine,
Sent from the Skies o’er life’s drear waste to shine,
What splendors from thy bright Tiara spring,121
What Graces round thy chasten’d footsteps cling;
Vengeance will surely crush the ideot land,
That drags the Sceptre from thy hallowed hand,
That dares to trample on thy Holy Rites,
And nuptial perfidy, unawed! invites.
The weeping world to thee its Solace owes,
From thee derives its truest best repose.
—Not the cold Compact subtile Interest twines,
Nor that which pale Submission trembling signs,130
Is Marriage! No.—’Tis when its polish’d chain
Binds those who in each other’s bosom reign!
’Tis when two Minds form one extatic Whole,
One sweetly blended wish, one sense, one soul!
This was the Gift exiled Seraph cursed,
When from Hell’s blazing continent he burst.
Eden’s full charms he saw without a groan,
Though Nature there had fixed her gorgeous throne.
Its rich Ananas, and its Aloes high,
Whose forms pyramidal approach’d the sky,140
Its towering Palms with luscious cluster crown’d,
Its Shrubs, whose Perfumes filled the region round,
Its streams pellucid, and its Bowers of Shade,
Its Flowers that know to bloom, but not to fade,
Its Orb, that gave the new created Day,
Night’s Lunar bow that soothed with tender ray,
Its fields of wavy gold, its slopes of green,
By the fell Fiend without a pang were seen—
’Twas then fierce Rancour seized the Demon’s breast
When, in the married pair, he felt mankind were blest!
Thus two years rolled their joyous days along,151
Midst calm domestic bliss, or sport, and song.
But Edgar left corruptive Gallia’s shore!
Hadst thou, immoral youth, returned no more,
Ne’er Libertine had dared make one so pure
The proffer’d Insult of disgrace endure!
Thou dids’t return! and thy voluptuous heart,
That from Temptation ne’er had learnt to start,176 M8v 176
Dared view Edwina as a hoped for Prize—
All dead to Honour’s voice, and Conscience’ secret cries!
In Grace a Courtier, and in manners gay,
Edgar to Ennersdale oft bent his way.
He talked to Henry but of Wars he’d seen,
Or Tournaments and Gaudes midst Peace serene.
When for Edwina’s ear the tale was framed,
Th’ Intrigues of Gallia’s frail Court were named.
But soon the prudent fair remarked The Stile!
And saw, beneath feign’d Ease, his lurking Guile!
For Virtue in his tales ne’er gain’d a place,
Nor maiden vigilance, nor matron grace,170
So wild and loose his artful stories ran,
She saw the Fiend conceal’d, ’neath form of Man,
The Arch-Fiend’s task who knew not to detest,
And midst the Earth, a Tempter stood confest!
In Eastern Climes, beside a gadding stream,
As native wander musing Fancy’s dream
No sooner seen the Panther’s crouching eye
Glance look destructive—quick they turn to fly!
So turned Edwina when she saw reveal’d179
The Guile th’ ensnaring youth had hoped conceal’d;
If still he dared appear, her air grew cold,
And awed to mute Respect the Suitor bold.
To Henry’s house his way he ceased to wind,
Whose wife within in virture sat enshrined
But, his wild wishes did not cease to rage
Nor did he strive the fever to assuage!
Once foster’d sinful love, none turn from sin,
Its victims Self-correction ne’er begin,
But, urged by goading hell, pursue the road,
Ne’er heed the coming Woe! ne’er tremble at their God!
The Huntsman blew his horn, ere listless Day
Had cast aside its veil of twilight grey.
Lord Henry’s prompt. Edwina’s busy maids
Her rich-hued locks enfold in careless braids,
And now equip’d, o’er hills she bounding flew
As curves the graceful arrow from the yew.
Her jet-black steed more lively seem’d to bound
For the light-burthen on his back he found,
The jet-black steed her Husband had bestowed,
When first a Huntress at his side she rode;200
With eye of noble fire, and streaming mane
Clear his descent from an Arabian plain.
The mists, exhaling from the evening’s dew,
Flew o’er the surface of the hills from view,
The Sun, now risen in its brightest mood
Bestowed new glories on the scene it viewed,Vol. III. N 178 N1v 178
And pour’d its beams around in ample floods,
Full streams of light descended on the woods,
The plains, the vallies, caught the radiant shower
Each plant reviving and each tinted flower.210
The Hunt, inspired, the air on all sides rent
With varied sounds, as keen their course they bent;
The dogs, deep-mouthed, in Chorus swell’d the cry,
And sent their forest greetings to the sky;
The horn’s full tone fill’d each pervading note,
And harmony and joy throughout the country float!
At length a Boar, at a dark Coppice side,
Amidst the rustling bushes tried to glide;
He cautious moved, like some fell thief of night
Who, fear-struck, slowly creeps in lurking flight;220
Close to the earth, all dread, he crouch’d along,
Where Shrubs and Underwood around him throng,
But ah! in vain he creeps, the air so thin
Th’ effluvia catches from his reeking skin,
To trailing dogs the titillations fly,
Who instantly the brown recesses try.
He’s turned before them into open view!
Quick Transport through each ardent bosom flew;
But, Huntsman’s Law the churning savage found,
Which suffer’d due escape, twelve rood of ground,230 179 N2r 179
Ere loose was let the eager, mad’ning pack,
To follow close the bristly monster’s track.
No more retarded by the Huntsman’s thong,
At length in fierce pursuit they pour along.
The game o’er hills now leads them many an hour,
With fear-strain’d sinews and exhausted power.
He heard the dogs faint mouthing far behind,
But views them now, where round the Beck they wind,
With Dread and Joy alternately is filled,
Now, brisk with Hope, and now by Terror chill’d!
Hot rage and fury in his eye-balls glow,
Mad, through Despair, he turns to meet the foe,
But Henry darted forth, before the rest,
And bright lance fixed within his heaving breast.
His struggling breast convulsive motions strain,
His spouting veins the foaming courser stain,
As from th’ enormous trunk the head is torn,
The Death-Notes issue from the brazen Horn!
The tusk-arm’d Head borne Trophy on his spear,
Lord Henry turn’d, to Her he thought was near!250
To lay the bleeding conquest at her feet,
And make his triumph more acutely sweet—
But horror!—no Edwina could be seen,
Nor on the hills long slope, or pasture green,N2 180 N2v 180
Nor shelter’d near the Torrent’s fall she lay,
Nor ’scaped, on Forest’s edge, the Sun’s fierce ray,
Nor was she on the plain—the vallies too
Gave no Edwina to the aching view!
Wonder and dread compress’d her husband’s heart,
While o’er th’ extensive scene his strain’d eyes dart,
He moved—stood still—’Twas Terror fix’d him there
He seem’d the pale cheek’d Statue of Despair—
Her bounding Steed came fiercely o’er the plain
But his sweet Mistress held no guiding rein!
The reins swung loosely as he cleaved the air,
No mistress sweet with guiding hand was there!
From all, but Henry! burst terrific Cries,
Silent, his dread, and quite suppress’d his sighs!
His manly features sink, his eye-lids close,
Each lineament displays convulsive throes—270
Oh Speech! how weak, where Hope allays not pain,
Where Fears excessive through the bosom reign!
—At length, they each a different way diverged,
Some up the Mountain’s haughty brow emerged,
Others pursued the plain, the wood, the dell,
Appointing where to meet, their fortune drear to tell!
And now, ill fated Huntress of the day,
With faltering hand, I trace your devious way!181 N3r 181
Amidst the heat and fury of the chase,
The horsemen forming circuit she could trace,280
A road succinct Edwina thought to take,
And press’d her steed across an ancient brake,
But, midst the thickets wilder’d and dismayed,
And of the devious solitude afraid,
Again she turned her horse—ah! turned in vain,
She missed the opening to the neighbouring plain!
Her horse unruly tried to bound at large,
Through paths destructive to his beauteous charge.
Through fear dismounting, tremblingly she strove
To find a path where thorns no barriers wove,290
The horse released, strait vanish’ed from her eye,
And o’er th’ opposing brambles seemed to fly,
The distant cries his ears erect invade,
He quickly skims o’er every glen and glade.
At length, Edwina found the path. A Rill,
Quite faint, she sought, her ruby mouth to fill;
Her taper’d hand, immersed beneath the stream,
Flash’d through the glassy wave a pearly gleam
And bore the cheering moisture to her lips,
And eagerly the panting beauty sips;300
The shining freshness o’er her brow she threw
And bless’d the current as it sparkling flew,182 N3v 182
Then on its borders sought a minute’s rest,
Sweet banks with Doddergrass and Pansies drest.
Soon Sleep, unbidden, caught her in his snare,
In soothing slumber lulled the weary fair.
Two Aspin trees, in close alliance bound,
A thin and wavering shadow threw around,
The waters gently tinkled as they fell,
A Sheep too slowly shook his silvery bell,310
Cool breezes o’er her temples softly strayed,
And, midst her floating ringlets bounding played.
Who would not wish to linger in sweet rest,
Where Waters, Shades, and Sounds, the mind fatigued addressed!
Mysterious Powers! who glide th’ elastic air,
And have sweet sainted Innocence in care,
Where roved ye then? where waved your filmy wings?
Where struck ye then your sweet harp’s beamy strings?
If on Light’s rays you swiftly went to weave
The glowing ribble destined to receive320
Day’s sinking Sun, would that had set undeck’d,
Whilst you, on guard Edwina to protect,
Had flown around her through the coming hour,
Form each approaching ill to shield her by your power!
Her slumbers cheer’d her with blithe heavenly dreams,
Which still refresh’d her midst day’s sultry beams—
A sudden grasp now seized her listless hand,
And rudely snapt each soft narcotic band,
She started, all Alarm!—most dreaded sight!
Her hand was seized thus by the villain Knight,330
Who tried in specious terms his love to paint,
Inspired by every Fiend, he vow’d by every Saint!
Surprise, at first, held mute Edwina’s tongue.
And changes o’er his vicious theme were rung,
Ere fully shown her chaste and proud Disdain,
Or check’d, with due Contempt, his odious strain!
His daring speech enforced an Answer now,
Whilst lofty Hauteur hung upon her brow
In glowing words his guilty suit she spurned,
Then with unfeigned abhorrence, stately turned,340
Withdrew, with mien composed, across the moor,
Though sense of Insult all her bosom tore.
But Edgar still she found, to follow bent,
Kept closely in the wilder’d path she went,
Her speed grew quick, uncheck’d by rising fear
Of risk in paths where death was ever near.
For audience to his suit he seized her arm—
Edwina’s fired with rage! is wild with dread alarm!
—Now, with deep howl, towards them as they stood
A ravenous Wolf rush’d forth the bordering Wood,
The brindled hair rose stiff upon his chine,351
Of ghastly deathly joy the dreadful sign,
His clinging sides declared his famish’d state,
And his deep howl proclaimed a Victim’s fate,
The Coward Fled!—My trembling hand forbear,
Nor with the shrieks of Terror rend the air!—
The Wolf’s fell teeth――but oh! I check the song,
Nor can the agonizing chord prolong!
The savage, starting from his bleeding prey,
Towards his haunt full fiercely sprang away,360
The sounds approaching spoke swift Danger nigh,
And forced, too late! th’ unglutted beast to fly.
The voice was Henry’s! he first reach’d the spot,
The first to reach it was his dreadful lot!
Her form all blood, deep wounds upon her head,
Her eyes were closed—no breath—Edwina’s dead!
For ever dumb the mouth, whose honied speech
Beyond the Schoolman’s eloquence could reach;
Those lovely beauteous arms now nerveless hang
Ah! Henry’s tortures crave Death’s soothing pang!
His piercing cries that round the country scour,
Through Nature’s Sympathy possess such power372 185 N5r 185
The notes of Agony strike terror more
Than the gaunt Wolf’s most desolating roar.
In vain th’ attempts to sooth! in vain they pray,
In grief convulsive he consumes the day,
Almost in Frenzy raging all around,
Till, spent and sunk exhausted on the ground,
His grief for vent in Utterance seeks range.
As Words and Sighs in struggle interchange380
In moaning sounds he courts thus drear relief—
Woe to this Bank! for ever source of Grief,
Woe to this Bank! ’tis dyed with purest blood
That e’er from woman’s heart discharged its flood!
Woe to the Bank! th’ attendants echoed round,
The pitying Shepherds caught the grief-fraught sound;
Thus to this hour, through every changing stage
Of each successive ever varying age,
Where rocks of Buttermere mark out the ground
And grief seems Bassanthwaite to murmur round,
The Name is given, as Wotobank is seen391
From every Mountain bleak and Valley green
That neighbours Skiddaw’s cloud-top’d monstrous height
O’er which the Eagles view it in their flight.
Not Rocks, and Alps, and pensive Lakes alone
Mark out the spot, and make its sorrows known,186 N5v 186
The neighbouring youths ne’er pass, nor gentle maid,
But the soft due of tender Thought is paid;
Each can the story to the Traveller tell,
And on the dread disaster lingering dwell,400
Of Wotobank, amongst its Swains mourn’d long,
Now, mourn’d by Strangers—through a Stranger’s Song!
To A Lady.
On the Death of Her Lover
A Short Time Before the Day Fixed For Their Nuptials.
Too true! that no more shall thy dark beaming eye
The dust of his coursers at distance descry,
When the Sun cheers the vallies so green.
No more shalt thou see him bound over the glades,
When Eve has spread broadly its slow gliding shades
And the Moon’s milder lustre is seen.
No more o’er thy Balcony shalt thou delight,
His whispers to list whilst conceal’d by the night,
All heard, though the Breeze whistle round!
No more on thy odorous rose-border’d walk,
To hold thee, a moment bewitching, in talk,
Shall his steps in the Morning be found.
No more shall he open the quick moving gate,
And, Hope in his glance, and with air all elate,
Spring towards thee midst May’s falling showers,
No more shalt thou watch whilst he lingers here, there,
To pluck from each shrub, to bedeck thy dark hair,
Groups of purple, and sweetly tinged, flowers.
No more shall the oval contour of thy face,
Where oft he perused thy Soul’s varying grace,
With delight fill his ever closed eye!
Ah! never again shall thy Harp’s dulcet string,
Whence perfectest skill bade the sweetest notes spring,
Force each care from his bosom to fly!
Yet, gentle loved Friend, though these blessings are o’er,
Soon sweet Consolations around thee shall pour,
And thy Sorrow no more heave its sighs.
Thy deep grief’s great Excess will itself soon destroy,
Though long must it be e’er thy voice owns a joy
By degrees will mild Patience arise.
When at night midst thy walk, as thy sweet pious mind
The Will of God bids thee bow to resigned,
Whilst thy eye marks the sky’s golden spheres,
Think that then he bends down from amidst their rich blaze,
The deep-graven troubles of Sorrow to raze,
And with Zephyrs disperses thy tears.
When the high Sun glides over the fields in full morn,
And pours fervid rays down by vapours unshorn,
And the universe glows in its pride,
Bethink thee thy Lover more lofty may be
Than yonder vast orb, yet thy beauties may see
And thy heavy repinings would chide!
Yet still would he have thee for ever be true,
And still would he ever be fixed in thy view,
Time making no lineament fade!
No Rival permitted th’ affection to share,
Awaked but by Him, thou wert wont to declare,
Be it hallowed to him—now a Shade!
That Shade will be raptur’d to see thee so true,
And ever on watch to keep thee in his view
The pure Spirit will wave guardian wing!
When Joy lightens thy Heart, and thy Prospects are gay,
’Tis He wakes thy joy, ’tis He keeps far away
The griefs which misfortune would bring.
Written on the Sea Shore.
Delicious Morning! how thy gentle beams
Glide through the veil of blue, which the mild air
Spreads out o’er all the Isle. The silver waves
Spring to thy soft caress, whilst on the Shore,
As the blithe Reapers bring the produce down,
Rich Ceres heaps her light bound yellow sheaves.
Soft press the Zephyrs on the huddled ears,
Whilst smiling Infant Gleaners prattle on
And gather Strength in gathering future bread.
The Sky-lark mounts, and fills the air aloft
With all the Music that melodious Nature
For its clear pipe composed. The Seaman’s note,
Gliding o’er watery plains, its Bass immingles
And the pleased listener owns the Concert sweet!
Beneath my roving eye blithe Ramsgate spreads
Her haunts alluring. There, awakening Beauties
Ponder the Victims of the last night’s Ball,
And smile at thought of recollected wounds
They gave insidious midst the lively dance.
Or future wily stratagems prepare,
Arrange the Robe, th’ attractive Feather place
In newer point of view.—Ah! little think
Incautious gazers that the floating Down,
That waves so graceful o’er Sabrina’s brow,
Heads a keen arrow levelled at the Heart!
I turn from scenes domestic, feast my thought
Again upon the view the placid Ocean
In beauteous breadth expands around the dome.
Ah! ’tis all Rapture! Whether glides the eye
O’er smooth acclivities with Harvest swelling,
Or rests upon the white receding Sails,
Which on th’ Horizon’s utmost verge appear
But flitting Butterflies escaped from shore,
Where’er my view doth glance, my mind is filled
With all the sweet sensations of the Muse.
All, all, around is bliss—the bliss of Taste!
The Siege of Acre.
In Four Books.
Those who are but rising into the class of Readers will require to be told, that immediately before the commencement of this Century, the present Emperor of the French (then only General Bonaparte) set out to add conquests, in two other Quarters of the globe, to those he had atchieved in Europe. And that, after taking possession of Egypt, he proceeded through Syria, in that Career of conquest with which it has been the fate of Asia to be afflicted, once in a century or two, by some adventurer or other.
This would-be Alexander however found the English at Acre—and was stopped. The memorable struggle there is the subject of this Poem. It was opportunely written at a time when France, in her supposed improved state, pretended to affect military superiority over England! and was daring enough seriously to threaten Invasion!
By selecting events that had but just occurred, the Author placed herself in a situtation of peculiar difficulty. The usual licence from Parnassus to vary from Truth could not be granted; on the contrary, the orders195 O2r were (to a Poet so unusual) to glance every now and then at the Gazette, to see how far she might go! It will be perceived perhaps that her Muse is sometimes checked back in its flight.
Still, however, the career that had been cut off portended so much of Event to mankind, and the facts of the siege (even as represented in the official dispatches) were so romantic, that the Poet’s pen was in the Author’s hand immediately on perusing them. And, under all checks and restraints, there will be found beauties enough in the poem to have made it impossible for the Publishers to omit to inscribe it in the Record of her Works.
To the Official Documents however the Author by no means limited herself. Little either in the first or the last of the Four Books of which the work consists, or in the first half of the second, is founded on them.
Yet, she was not guilty of falsifying events that had so recently occurred. She always takes care to make it quite clear when she means to give them, that is, whenever the real persons concerned in the Siege act, and then, however extraordinary the events described may appear to the Reader, they are the Facts of the siege; not the Muse’s flights—but History. History however O2 196 O2v enlarged from a mere Chronicle—by Episode Picture Description and Illustration.
The whole forms a curious combination of Accuracy where it was indispensible, of Imagination where restraint was taken off; as will appear on reference to the Gazette Letters of Sir S. Smith. They are prefixed to the separate 8vo. edition of this poem by the same publishers in 18101810. Or may be found in the Annual Registers for 17991799.
The Siege of Acre.
Book the First.
Weave the crimson web of War,
Let us go and let us fly,
Where our friends the conflict share,
Where they triumph where they die!
The Siege of Acre.
Book the First.
I greet thee freely, whatsoe’er thou art
My Mind exciting as thou thrill’st my Heart!
Is it The Muse whose Influence I greet,
Whose cheering Influence makes lone hours so sweet?
Art Thou the Muse? Ah no! all Fiction she,
Celestial Truth! I seize the Theme from Thee!
Be thou the Guardian of my lay firm maid,
And through thy brilliant fields thy Votary aid!
Yet, Goddess, in thy train be found the Fair,
With brilliant pinions and refulgent hair—10
Imagination! may She charm each View,
Aid, without changing, decorate the true!
Thus graced, amidst thy scenes detain me long,
Controul my verse! and vindicate my song!
Acre! how brilliant in the Eastern Clime,
Through Earth’s long hist’ry, thy Fate’s still sublime!
In elder time when Israel broke the Law,
Thy lofty Carmel’s frown struck guilt with Awe!
When Christian Light from Heaven illumed around,
The place whereon thou stand’st was Holy Ground!20
E’en in dark ages thou art seen to shine,
As rapt Crusaders ’neath thy walls combine.
—Now! thou’rt The Chosen from the Nations round,
To gallic Rapine the allotted bound!
Here shalt thou stop, The Sacred Fiat said!
Th’ Apostate failed, his dreaded Legions bled.
Acre! ’twas thine to bid The Victor fear,
To turn him midst the flush of his Career!
He, who all Asia caused to view with Awe
Th’ approach of France’s Revolution War,30
Back through the reeking country passed, in flight,
He lately marched o’er in triumphant fight;
Thine Acre was the check, the Deed was thine
Throughout this Hemisphere ordain’d to shine.
The means how small, when scann’d the mighty end!
Slight numbers back from thee whole Legions send,
But, these were English—they were English Tars,
Kings of the Sea, and Gods in Syria’s Wars!
The Conquerer of Italy! dread name
Bestowed upon the Chief by Gallic Fame,40
Returned from Roman Tiber’s classic shores
To where the Seine its muddy confluence pours.
—The Tiber! what though, in poetic song,
It, Ages, rolled adazzling flood along,
Though Roman Minstrels struck the sounding Lyre,
And caught beneath its Sun poetic fire,
Yet will the turbid Seine obscure its name
Or roll an equal tide, and gain an equal Fame!
Wonders burst daily o’er its sluggish wave,
And fresh anomalies scared Reason brave,50
Anterior lights assist no more her eye,
And modern Facts her grave Deductions fly;
Hist’ry, all Wonder! will the acts engrave,
That freed a Nation, and its Sons enslave!
From conquering plains, which Cæsar had acquired,
The Warrior Bonaparte to Gaul retired.
In the french Capital his arms were piled,
Whilst trophied Festivals the hours beguiled.
By the bright Glory he had gained inflamed,
New Bays, new Trophies, his rapt Fancy framed!60
To fruitful Egypt flew rapacious thought,
Where Rome had conquer’d, and where Greece had fought.202 O5v 202
The Council caught the plan, a fleet decreed,
Quick to their station distant vessels speed
In cautious Flight! France, trembling at the helm,
Her ships intrudes on England’s buoyant Realm!
Whose Naval Cities belt Earth’s monstrous round,
And lift their Spires wherever Ocean’s found.
O England! give thy Science, Strength, to these,
The Earth is thine whilst Mistress of the Seas;70
Bid floating forests seek thy mighty Docks,
Tear ductile metal from thy Native rocks,
From thy Waste Lands let all thy Cables grow,
And their rough sinews midst your Ocean throw,
Scorn France! their Wiles, their diplomatic Arts,
Thy Navy breaks their Spells, thy Navy daunts their Hearts!
Not to be rash, success to render sure
The Chief resolved new Labours to endure.
The warrrior’s Haste he to the Sage could yield,
In Council slow—an Arrow in the Field!80
To midnight lamps his anxious hours resigned,
Campaigns and battles share his active mind.
Whilst Paris danced, or in the Tribune roared,
He round him called a Literary Horde,
From breathing forms Philosophy he sought,
Nor deemed he could by Dead alone be taught,203 O6r 203
Living or dead his judgment knew to prize,
The fops of learning and the really wise.
Ancients and moderns he alike perused,
Devouring all th’ o’erlabour’d press diffused,90
On Syria’s Citadels, and Egypt’s plains,
The route of Philip’s Son, and Antony’s campaigns.
Thus, when towards the Sea his forces drew,
Bidding t’exhausted Europe cheered adieu,
Charts, Maps, and Travels, fate-fraught waggons bore,
And plans of Forts he doomed to threat no more!
Sçavans and Soldiers were filed off by Troops,
Here Printers marched, there volume-writing Groups!
What could impede a Scheme so wisely planned?
Soldiers Philosophers war’s flame together fann’d.
Historic Maid! descend not thou to smile!
Nor steal thy Sister’s light, sarcastic stile;
Resume thy air chastised! thy sober mien,
And move with serious dignity serene;
Let grave composure mark thy steady pace,
And glide around thee with a matron Grace.
Born midst a stranger race, a stranger tongue,
He guides not those to fight ’mongst whom he sprung,
Not kin with those, for whom he Empire claims,
No Patriot Flame gives Sanction to his aims,110 204 O6v 204
Ambition solely in his heart doth rage
Ambition! known of late but in th’ historic page.
—The flower of every band the General chose,
Fresh from the flush of Victory they rose,
Their brows wore Triumph, Menace in their tread,
And all seem’d Conquerors—by a Conqueror led,
Fame for his Herald, by his troops adored,
He leads them at his Will, resistless Lord!
Forth from Toulon’s wide Bay the Pilots steer,
Their Fleet brings graceful out its lengthening rear.
Strait through the watery Empire to the East
They onward press, their fervid hopes encreased.
—Allured by Prey, the Spoiler’s squadron veer’d!
Ture to such signal, helms obedient steer’d;
Th’ horizon’s edge a doubtful Object gave,
Now almost clear, now hidden by the wave;
Too soon! rose Malta ’thwart the billowy storm,
Her Marble Cities and her beauteous form.
Fear many a breast with deepest terror smote,
As round the coast encreasing Pendants float.130
Short though acute the struggle that ensued;
Her rocks of snowy hue, with blood imbued,
Soon saw pollute the ground the baneful Tree,
In mockery named—The Tree of Liberty!
Inbred the Enemies of Malta’s Land!
As the french prows approach’d her peaceful strand
In her mad towns Sedition raised its arm,
And Revolution sounded the alarm.
Less conquered than received the Island fell,
For now no more! her Knights with courage swell,140
Afric’s stern sons, no more, their thunders tame,
Nor Asia bends before their awful name!
From Malta loos’d, the spoil-heap’d fleet proceeds,
To greater objects, to more daring deeds.
The favouring winds within their canvass play,
Their wishes winds and waves alike obey.
No hurricane deforms the Ocean’s glass,
It spreads its plain more level as they pass,
The softest Zephyrs through the cordage sing,
And flutter midst their flags with gentle wing,150
Like those which heretofore on Egypt’s coast,
With the calm æther those still regions boast,
Swell’d Cleopatra’s sails, Circean Queen,
Whilst the lost Antony disgraced the scene.
A new Italian Hero parts the waves,
And Egypt’s coast his hostile vessel braves.
He springs upon her land with hasty feet,
Whilst her low shores his Soldiers’ voices greet.206 O7v 206
His haughty War-horse, mounted on the strand,
As conscious of his burthen pawes the sand160
In earnest Eagerness, as though by Fame
He too were touch’d, and felt a kindred flame.
With modern Afric Scipio rears his chest,
And, bearing Fate to Nations, shows his eager Zest.
Four times ten thousand did the ranks contain
Whose feet smote Egypt from the frothy Main.
—Ill fated Egypt! o’er thy hallowed land
Why ever hangs some grasping Tyrant’s hand?
Primeval Source of Science and of Art,
Why thus, for ever, riots in thy heart170
Some Ruffian’s dagger, or some Conqueror’s Lance,
Fierce hordes from Desarts fiercer hordes from France!
Queen of the South! thy cluster’d Mountains pour,
From forth thy Caverns, Floods in richest store,
Nile’s Sacred Stream they seek, whose magic lave
Bids Harvests travel in its spreading wave.
The sands drink deep, and blush with healthful glow,
As through thick slime sweet bowers and groves quick grow,
The stranger streams each thirsty root embrace,
And to the Desart’s edge send Shade and Grace,180
Mount up each russet stem, its buds unfold,
Its silver blossoms, and its Orbs of gold,207 O8r 207
With dulcet acid swell the Lemon’s sides,
And through high Myrtles force the emerald tides,
Ascend with syphon powers the giant Palm,
To Roses otto give, and gum to Balm.
In vain fair Sheba! vain thy glutted Nile
Bade Egypt flourish, and her Delta smile,
Worse Pests than Locusts spread around thy fields,
Swarm o’er the fruits thy sultry climate yields;190
Thy Orange-Woods, thy Citrons swell in vain,
Or swell, invading legions to sustain!
Thy humid fields of pearly rice thick sown,
By the fierce Sun and burning Dog Star grown,
The plunging hoofs of Cavalry surprise,
And as they pour along the Summer dies!
What Sieges stay’d them, and what Cities fell,
Of Arab Battles, triumphs, flights, you’ll tell
Poets of wider range! I leave to you
The noble meed of Nelson’s Victory too.200
My Muse avoids the flight; for, one who saw
This hightest boast of England’s naval war
On th’ actual scene prepares to guide Truth’s beam,
Imagination ne’er had reach’d the Theme!
—The Towers of Ptolemais Ancient name of Acre. command my Muse,
Where peaceful vallies vainly War refuse,208 O8v 208
Where the hoarse Trumpet’s blast is heard from far,
Compelling Syria to defensive war.
The Tigers of the war, blood flush’d, proceed,
And Syria’s conquest boldly is decreed;210
In fury passing o’er the scorching land,
They risk each ill of deadly orient sand,
The Serpents of the Desart hiss in vain,
Nor red Simooms with Pestilence restrain.
But, ere they came—Recording Fame! the day
Is beam’d for ever with thy brightest ray!
Brave Sidney Smith the rescued Syrians saw,
Sent forth by England to resist the war.
With Floating Citadels to flank the Coast,
And give it Ramparts with his naval host.220
From Heaven they seem’d, fraught with courageous fire,
The Syrians, whom with ardour they inspire,
Rise into Heroes as the Britons tread
And in their paths th’ inciting Laurel spread!
Their holdings scarcely had the anchors found,
Within th’ unsteady Haven’s rocky ground,
Ere at Mount Carmel’s base, whose slope descends
Where Acre’s river with the wide sea blends,
The foe’s presumptuous Transports steady move
And fearless o’er the Syrian ocean rove!230 209 P1r 209
With haughty stripes triumphantly unfurled,
They! flash defiance o’er the watery world.
Important moment! on the raptured glance
Of watchful Britons swiftly they advance.
Instant the Tigre weighs, her powerful guns
Arrest the veering fleet that prudent runs,
Seven captured vessels, in old Acre’s Bay,
Seem but a summer eve’s light sportive play.
But serious now was found their glorious freight,
Vast Mortars, Carronades of monstrous weight,240
To batter Acre’s towers the vessels bore,
And implements of war profuse in store!
Whilst shouts of Welcome through the Fortress ring,
To Acre blindly its Defence they bring,
As slow ascended o’er Mount Carmel’s height
Deep shadows stealing on departing light.
Ah! Sacred Mists 1 Book of Kings, c. 18. did once the Mount surround,
To Israel proving—their True God was found!
Baal’s mad priests their Idol vainly prayed
For Fire to burn the sacrifice they made;250
Elijah then, the Idol Priests disgraced,
His Sacrifice on Israel’s Altar placed,Vol. III P 210 P1v 210
Th’ attendants bade pour o’er each quivering part,
The frowning head and palpitating heart
The drenching water; Pour again! he cried,
Be every vessel copiously supplied,
Fill yet your urns, let every space below
Drink the full tide, till every trench o’erflow!
For fire from Heaven the Prophet breathed a prayer,
Down swiftly darting through the tranquil air260
Pale sheets of light upon the Altar came
And all was instant wrapt in dazzling flame!
The burning water fed the sacred fire,
The pure flames nursed as fiercely they aspire.
The silvery vapours, which profusely flowed,
Spread o’er the mount and all its Groves enclosed,
Samaria’s King and warring chariots veil’d,
And trembling Israel’s awe-struck sons conceal’d!
As Baal’s priests, in dread of Judah’s God,
In vain sought flight from his avenging rod,270
Its eyes to Heaven repenting Israel turn’d,
As still the vapours mount—The Holy Altar burn’d!
Now Constellations hung their chains of light,
Shedding o’er Acre’s towers sweet Eastern Night!
The air was hush’d as came the Lunar Queen,
The Silence giving Interest to the scene.211 P2r 211
Fresh dews condensed to form her brilliant car,
And seemed a fabrick of pellucid spar,
As, gliding on in graceful sweep, she view’d
The beauteous gems that o’er her path were strewed!
The balmy slumbers that around her glide,281
To Syrian pillows sent, now gently hied,
With sweet compulsion made each eye-lid close,
And spread around ths spells of deep repose.
Yet, sounds of Triumph seemed to tingle still,
And every ear, night’s sweet enchantment! fill,
Giving to Sleep itself a thrilling zest,
Cheering the Soul without suspending Rest.
Thus passed the hours Night’s soothing Queen bestowed,
Till through the air the tints of Morning flowed,290
And, morning’s counterfeit though late she seemed,
The Moon that shone so sweetly scarcely gleamed.
The Warriors sprang to meet the florid ray,
And martial greetings hailed th’ approaching day.
From Syria’s mountains rush’d th’ impending foe,
And famine spread o’er ripen’d vales below.
Grown mad in massacre, with carnage red,
More than War’s horrors riot as they tread.P2 212 P2v 212
The General civilized of Tuscan fields
Here scenes displayed barbarian warfare yields.
—Heroic, wicked, wondrous, gifted man!
We vainly Hist’ry for thy Equal scan.
Yet, still ungifted! Thetis flew to lave
Her Godlike Son in th’ indurating wave,
Yet fatal imperfection still was found
A peccant want t’ invite the mortal wound,
The fatal want made useless all she’d done
Almost immortal gifts were lost upon her son!
Thee Nature fail’d too when she formed thy soul,
Almost Perfection seems the lustrous whole,310
Still thy great Powers and Passions but betray,
Religion, heaven-sent regent, is debarred her sway!
—Surrender’d Jaffa hoped war’s horror’s cease
Three days her sons had rest and all seem’d Peace,
But oh! their Foes they had opposed in fight—
Omnipotence itself bestowed the Right!
The Right to man to guard his Laws and Land
From fierce Invasion’s desolating hand,
The Charities of life to save from wreck,
The State from Chaos at a Stranger’s beck!320
As Nations first were formed the Right began,
The loftiest Duty e’er imposed on man!213 P3r 213
For this, in thousands, all unarmed, convened,
Surrounded, murder’d, every foe a Fiend,
Almost the Butcheries of Paris rise
Before astonish’d Asia’s tortured eyes!
Vaunting such acts! they sent dread threats before!
Blood-stain’d Report the tragic story bore,
On trembling wing, throughout the coast the vales,
All horror struck who hear the brutal tales!330
Each human ill close crowding in their train,
They came! They swept across the arid plain,
And, winding up an insulated Mound,
Their Camp hung sudden on its rising ground.
The chosen hill had Ocean in its view,
Whose Zephyrs, o’er its slope, salubrious flew.
They here reposed t’escape the torrid glow,
Incautious of the Ills that lurked below!
They scarcely marked the Lines, and framed each street
And saw the Hexagon in form complete,
Ere England’s ships wore round, with galling fire,
And made th’ astonished Corsican retire!
His vast Marquee, with long drawn suite, is down,
The Lines all lost as moves the Canvass Town,214 P3v 214
Quick as from crowds who fill Messina’s Bay
Morgana’s air-drawn Cities flit away. By a rare coincidence, between the position of the Sun and the state of the Tide, once in five or six years happening there, an appearance occurs in some degree resembling, but on an immense scale, that produced by a Camera Obscura. Cities, Ruins, &c. appear at a distance from the shore, and glide away in succession. The vulgar, ignorant of the real cause, suppose these appearances are created by the Fairy Morgana.
The Seamen, shouting, hail th’ Invaders’ Speed!
And Laugh, and Wit Marine, their rout succeed.
A hill more distant the Besiegers scale,
Which misty rose enormous o’er the dale,350
Thence their high Camp attracts th’ uplifted eye,
To Acre seeming—threat’ning from the Sky!
The open’d Gates the Gallic Chief demands
He finds sutain’d, by firm and haughty bands!
Achmet Pashaw, though worn by oft told years,
Bore up, superior to an old man’s fears.
—The Siege begins, in all its horrid form,
War darts its lightnings and awakes the Storm.
Untir’d, the Echoes of its thunders roar,
Bound and rebound incessant round the shore;360
Load the meek Zephyrs of the humid Vale,
Seize the strong pinions of the Mountain Gale
The tale of blood to peaceful regions bear,
And give e’en Safety’s couch the thrill of Fear!215 P4r 215
Close to the Beach the captured boats were moor’d
And o’er the Foe their traitor Cannon roar’d.
Well aim’d, each bore upon the Gallic flank,
Destruction proving by a prostrate rank.
Thus on themselves their own dread thunders fall,
And France destroys her Sons at Acre’s Wall!
Now, skilful Engineers displayed the skill
They gained in Schools Vauban’s dread Volumes fill,
And, undermining, deep sunk path-ways formed
Whilst, o’er their heads, the Battlements were stormed;
Beneath the town they work’d a dreary way,
And threat’ning seeds of future earthquakes lay.
—If Gnomes there were, lulled in primeval rest
They but in dark Security were blest;
From the young hour in which their Earth arose,
From midst Confusion and chaotic throes,380
Abhorred the Gaudy Dazzler of the Sky
Who bids his glaring beams through Æther fly.
The ray the Mole would only Twilight deem,
To them would mid-day bursts of Splendor seem,
Such Floods of Glory would o’erwhelm their Sight
Their nerves all deaden’d by Excess of Light!
But now, when real Twilight glimmer’d through,
Of flame so dread they must have fled the view,216 P4v 216
The thick Earth pierced as swift as quick wing’d thought,389
And in her central domes her deepest shadows sought!
There, by the Diamond’s beam, their Sports indulged,
Or where the Ruby mellow gleams divulged,
Sigh’d o’er the wretched fate which Mortals know,
Condemn’d t’ endure the torturous Day-beam’s glow!
In Silence dread the Miners onwards lurk,
Now sinking deep, now horizont’ly work;
Still more remote, from faintest light they go,
Till, distant star! its scintillations flow—
When, unexpected Visions start around!399
Still England’s Warriors! meet them midst the ground,
Burst with their glittering arms upon their sight,
And pour fierce Radiance through the realms of Night!
Thus, foil’d by Counterworks, th’ Invaders fly,
But many there, entombed for ever lie.
The shouting English through each turn pursue,
And trace the Labyrinth, their foes their clue.
The Labyrinth of Death it well were named,
For there the savage Battle raged untamed,
In a new scite its horrid rites were given,
Remote from man, and seen alone by Heaven!410
In Darkness now, their swords dread duties know
And round and round their random edges flow,217 P5r 217
Athwart the night they meet they hit they clash,
Thrust follows thrust and ruddy sparkles flash,
Till, British followers close upon their rear,
In forced retreat the French unearth’d appear.
Thus varying Battle filled each anxious day
Near the calm Ides of gently breathing May.
Sweet Month so mild, so young, so fair to view,
Full deck’d in Flowers, in Scents, and sparkling dew,
Why thus thy violated Groves prophaned,421
Why hath the early year such wrongs sustained!
Th’ astonish’d Foes to Camp driven back each night,
Still each new morn wake raging for the fight!
With Nerves restored reseek the stubborn field
Which steady Bravery refused to yield,
Which yet presumptuously the arms withstands
That hurled Destruction o’er so many Lands.
Unnerved at length, their conquest they delay
And midst their camp inert and sullen stray,430
Plan future means, and future Ruin swear
To those whose Crime is—Self-defence they dare!
Now, in the East, a furious Tempest grew
Whose force no power withstood, it raging flew,
Swiftly descended through the misty air,
Stripped in its passage every forest bare,218 P5v 218
To Ocean fiercely onwards hurrying drives
And midst the mighty waters frantic dives,
Heaps up the billows to an Alpine height,
And instant sinks them with destructive might.440
Unrudder’d ships are fiercely whirl’d around,
Now high they mount, now plunging sink profound,
In Acre’s rocky Bay no Anchor holds,
On deck each Cable’s coil’d, in hurried folds,
Far from the shore the English Captain’s driven!
To the fierce sea his fleet, undaunted, given.
The French return, hope now unmatch’d their strength,
Acre! they cry, thy Doom is seal’d at length
Whilst o’er The Deep thy bold Protectors go
We seize the moment for decisive blow!450
On, now elate, they rush towards the Towers,
Revived Revenge with doubled malice lours;
But, those within are now with Lessons fraught,
Acquired by courage, or which life has bought,
No Trophy’s lost, no haughty standards fall,
Still burnish’d Crescents gleam along the wall!
It seem’d that British fire, so well they fought,
Ran through their veins! for oft they boldly sought,
Without the Gate, the Gauls upon the plain,
And higher martial skill each added day attain.
Are War-stores driven to Sea? Meanwhile, in lieu,
Their active courage quickly finds out new.
By fury nerved, upraised aloft they throw
Huge ponderous masses to o’erwhelm the foe.
The neighbouring Mounts their marble contents yield,
The rough-hewn masses bound along the field,
Nor harmless bound, each wounding bursts along,
Nor falls unaim’d upon the shrinking throng
Through the cleft air, which hoarse and murmuring sings
And round the flying death-bolts sighing clings.
Why, Acre thus surround with blood drench’d plain!
Why France thus go the distant Globe to stain!
Misguided France! why not content to sway
Where Sciences and Arts their reign display?
Be satiate with thy share, so large, of rule,
No more Ambition’s ever ready tool,
Thy Tiger Heart subdue! Spare, spare, thy race
No longer Earth destroy—in future be its Grace!
The Siege of Acre.
Book the Second.
Defend the Castle, guard the Gate!
A moment lost, Relief’s too late.
What if Ocean should bestow
Acts heroic, deeds that glow?
What if every glassy wave
Cast on shore a Warrior brave?
The Siege of Acre.
Book the Second.
Spirit of War! with Attributes so dread,
Whence in thy train such generous Virtues led!
What Spell does Murder, to High Fame, translate,
And make men praise the crime that most they hate?
Whence comes thy hold e’en on those tender hearts
Forth which the generous sigh of Pity starts,
Midst whose fine nerves Affection Transport gives,
And all that’s gentle, all that’s Godlike, lives?
What Mixture complex is the human mind,
At times impure at others so refined,10
Can Reasoners tell? If not—why Reason given
From the bright sources of Omniscient Heaven?
Can boasting Reason really trace Effect,
And, in its germ, a Consequence detect,224 P8v 224
Or, in Effect, discover clearly Cause?
Say, whence then springs man’s tendency to Wars!
Reason’s scant flow but gives us thirst for more!
When arid Summers crave the clouds to pour,
The passing clouds, of moisture niggard, glide
And o’er the parch’d up earth too lofty ride;20
If transient drops are scantily express’d
How vegetation’s cheer’d! where’er they rest.
But, when the earth requires more copious gifts
As the cleft soil its herbage scarcely lifts,
In vain it asks, though want its bosom rends,
No moisture comes, no wish’d for flood descends!
Reason’s as niggard, when we seek to scan
The complex Mysteries of the mind of man,
Man’s only known by Revelation’s Light!
Celestial Demon, Angel fallen from Right!
Say, who was He that like a castled Rock
Withstood the Battle’s most intemperate Shock?
Dark was his visage, and his Eye, all beam
Emitted round a soul appalling gleam!
No helmet’s strength his Scimetar withstood,
Each breast it struck gave forth its crimson flood.
Now up the Mount with winged speed he’d fly
And from its Summit glance his eagle eye225 Q1r 225
Across the war; mark where the French gave way,
Or where seem’d shrunk the fortune of the day,40
The post of risk the Hero swiftly sought,
And bore down all, whoe’er the foe he fought.
Say, Muse, whilst now in hours of rest and night
Lethargic quiet stills the rage of fight,
Say who the man that, in himself a host,
Opposed Invasion on the Syrian coast?
Osmyn who thus by Patriot love is roused,
The rich Abdallah’s lovely child espoused.
Three months a Bridegroom, lest his Country fall
The Bridegroom rush’d The Guardian of the wall.50
In vain fond Ira’s tears, for Her he fought,
And when, in sympathy, the Father caught
The soft infection of his Daughter’s fears,
Vain were his prayers as lovely Ira’s tears.
Osmyn, all Soldier, in his lofty Soul
E’en Love could not the Patriot fire controul!
Each Eve, returning from the batter’d towers
As to their camp the foe led off their powers,
He smiled at all the Terrors she confess’d,
All Danger mocked, and half her fears suppress’d.
As bold her spoke of Death, and War, and Arms,
New Grace the subject gave his manly charms.Vol. III. Q 226 Q1v 226
Enamour’d Ira hung upon the sounds,
Like Roman Arria thought of painless wounds,
Till, grown at length familiar with the theme,
Oh! female feeling ever in extreme!
No more she shudder’d as the Cannon roar’d,
Nor shrunk in thought, e’en from th’ uplifted sword.
—The trembling Eaglet thus, from rocky height,
Stranger to Earth, and neighbour to the Light,70
Beholds its Sire the liquid desart try
And with his broad expanse securely fly!
It shrinks, all Wonder, at the awful view,
Still, its keen eyes the hardy track pursue,
He wishes often, trembles oft’ner still,
To venture too prepares, yet, doubts its skill;
At length, ’twixt Emulation and Despair
Its pinion lifts, and plunges into air!
Day sprang, the Feigner bade her Lord adieu,
Then from a sandal Chest, impatient, drew80
The flowing Robes and blossom tinctured vest
Which Osmyn’s youthful brother once had dressed,
Who now on wealth and fruitful travel bent
To distant Cashmire on adventures went.
Before the Mirror moved the war-robed Fair
Her Figure charm’d her, and her graceful air.227 Q2r 227
The manly turban next, of crimson dye,
Flash’d a new Boldness o’er her radiant eye,
She, fearless, in her belt a dagger placed
By sanguine rubies thickly set embraced.
Again, her novel form distinct to view,
From room to room, from glass to glass, she flew.
Self-satisfied, more gravely now she strode
And acts a frown, and nods in stately mode.
Her Nurse, the nurse in Asia is through Life
Respected friend of Infant, Maiden, Wife,
Some time the Matron had the fair one sought
And, in her Strut, the startled Ira caught!
To bursts of Laughter each awhile gave way,
And moments passed in Mirth and blithe delay.
Serious the beauteous Ira sudden grew,
Impressions graver o’er each feature flew,
Her waken’d countenance with Meaning glowed,
Her front, of teeming Ventures seem’d th’ abode.
Think not she said, with Dignity of port,
Thou see’st me Abra thus arrayed in Sport!
My Husband’s fate to share, and near his side,
Is the fixed Will of his devoted bride,
Nay, shriek not thus, your clamour now restrain,
In vain thy sorrow, thy remonstrance vain!110 Q2 228 Q2v 228
The timid heart of Ira Duty steels,
Love gives, like courage, Fortitude she feels.
Duty is Passion, in a soul like mine,
No selfish Prudence doth its bounds define!
In grov’ling minds compress’d and slow its tide,
Through Life a humble and a placid guide.
Its Sway more grand in minds of higher Tone,
Content when reach’d its utmost bounds alone!
Oh! if thy heart, through age, is deaden’d now,
Youth swells in mine, and animates my brow,120
The arm which threatens Osmyn with a blow
May feel what powers from female vengeance flow!
Let Men, let Heroes, for their Country fight,
The field tread proudly deathful Fame invite,
Let Patriots boast they, for a Nation, fall!
For Love I arm, and dare the fatal Wall.
My Husband bleed, and not his Ira by
To staunch the blood or catch his parting sigh!
Now, whilst I linger, may the sword descend
And Osmyn sink, unaided by a friend.130
On this thought! quickly she her Sabre drew
And through the streets with wilder’d air she flew.
The beauteous seeming Youth small notice caught
Each bosom with its own deep interests fraught,229 Q3r 229
If variant Agony her features show’d
In every face the same expression flowed,
For showers of bullets on the ramparts fall
And wounded townsmen stagger from the wall.
Almost to frenzy was her horror wrought
As she her Osmyn each way vainly sought!140
Distinguish’d freely, wheresoe’er his stand,
In height still lofty midst the tallest band,
Still, still, his graceful port ne’er met her eye!
From post to post they saw the Trembler fly,
Nor wonder’d that a boy, so young, so fair,
Should rush from danger with distracted air.
At length, amidst her hurried frenzied flight
One spot she mark’d, where thickest seem’d the fight,
Ah, there! she cried, if Osmyn breathes, he’s there!
And onward darted the courageous Fair,150
Nor vain—his towering port she raptured knew,
And soon his graceful prowess caught her view.
Now, backward stepping, safe from view she staid,
To catch her Osmyn’s tender glance afraid,
Lest he should, anxious, force her from the breach
Where stood himself, within each danger’s reach
From the bold foe she saw, in thousands strong,
With fearless valour to the bulwarks throng.
Where’er he moved she kept him in her view,
Now forward stept—now gently she withdrew.160
As haughty war with thundering force came on,
She proudly saw that First her Osmyn shone,
That from his conquering troop th’ invaders fled,
Much of whose haughtiest blood that hour was shed.
At length the frenchmen, forced to be discreet,
Their cannon silenced and commenced retreat.
Ira beheld her Osmyn safe descend,
And to their homes th’ elated townsmen tend,
By shorter route she swiftly flew before,
And anxious Abra clasp’d her at the door!
The lovely Soldier to her toilette ran
And, in few minutes, was no longer man!
When her loved Lord appear’d, her sprightly eye,
Full oft at Abra glancing meaning sly,
Darted her Joy that safely he return’d,
Concealed her feat, and with her Secret burn’d.
A splendid feast attendant slaves prepare,
Her Sire and Husband in her transports share.
And Music, ardent, rapid, lent its strain
To raise Defiance to the hostile plain!180
Ira’s soft Maids with wreaths of flowers advance,
And glide, to sweeter notes, in varied dance,231 Q4r 231
Bound, as though air the element they trod,
Vanish, as formed of air, at Ira’s nod.
Again, symphonious music swells its notes,
And round the dome Sublimer Cadence floats!
New nerves the Soul, calls up its fiercest tone,
And turns man’s melting heart t’unyielding stone.
—Such were the strains in Asia taught to rise
When youthful Ammon, urged by Lais’ eyes,190
Rush’d from his throne Persepolis to flame,
And by the fire he rais’d immortalized her Shame!
Her secret charms her! The succeeding day
The Bride resumed her masculine array.
Now, lest the nurse should grave advice enforce,
And fill with hated Prudence vain discourse,
Successive tasks she gave her anxious mind,
To other rooms the busy Dame confined.
The Mirror’s oft repeated min’stry past,
And each review found sweeter than the last,200
The hardy Bride resought the martial towers,
For these abandon’d all her peaceful bowers.
Osmyn the star her darting glances sought,
They soon explored the station where he fought,
Then, as before, she varying distance kept
And quick as light from place to place oft stept.232 Q4v 232
Long, from the Walls and Towers was urged the fight,
So long, her Husband safe cheer’d Ira’s sight,
She scarcely felt the Danger of the scene,
And saw balls bound almost with air serene,210
No wound being felt, she never dreamt of pain,
Her Husband safe! her thoughts no fears retain.
A bold Sortie at length the warriors crave,
On through the Gate the spirited and brave
Rush like impetuous waves, and thence expand
Th’ invaders driving o’er the death strew’d strand.
—Unhappy Ira! in the rush she’s borne
Her feet unwilling from the Rampart torn,
In vain her Struggles—through the gate she’s press’d,
In vain she speaks, her tones no step arrest,220
All, all Confusion, Horror, Anguish, Death,
Her Senses gone though still retain’d her breath.
The French now turned and closer grew the fight,
Not once has Osmyn cheer’d her far strained sight!
Around her sink the dying and the dead,
She, frantic, tears the turban from her head,
Her falling tresses caught no warrior’s eye,
They only lived to bleed, to kill, to die.
Her vaunted Courage false with Death so near
She’s almost Mad with soul distracting fear!230 233 Q5r 233
At length an Opening’s made, through which she darts,
Skims o’er the sanguine field, here pants, there starts;
Her shining Sabre in her right hand grasp’d,
The left her ringlet-hair unconscious clasp’d,
A frenchman saw—Safe aim! for me he cried,
And seized his pistol quickly from his side,
Expert enough, my Youth, art thou to fly,
Your speed to check with level aim I try.
He’d scarcely spoken e’er the bullet flew
Her bosom pierced, and forth its life stream drew.
She tottering fell, then, turned her fading eye241
On him who seem’d almost himself to die,
His Looks and Action blamed his forward zeal,
For murder’d Beauty—made a Frenchman feel!
She—faintly—Osmyn! cried, her only word,
But, oft repeated, fainter—fainter—heard—
Lo! Osmyn!—thither Battle’s eddying tide
Bore the fierce combat――ah! fond Ira died!
Towards the spot he saw the warriors tend,
In earnest posture o’er one fallen bend,250
Beauty and Female were the sounds that flew,
As near, with rapid step, the Hero drew,
The beck’ning Youths still quicker speed invite,
And heightening Curiosity excite,234 Q5v 234
He ran—he madden’d! deadly pale she lay,
Unveil’d her lifeless features to the day!
No mind, unaided by inspiring Power,
Could e’er convey the feelings of the hour!
Ira was dead! Thy pencil Science seize,
Sublimed to agony thy feelings raise,260
Whate’er is horrible, or deep, compel
To give their Shades and in thy Fancy dwell.
Ah! throw thy trifling failing Pencil by,
For eager Frenzy wears a Cherub’s eye
Compared to that which in the glance should roll
Of him who’d hope to picture Osmyn’s soul.
His Heart would stricken, as his canvass glowed,
And grief too fierce awake as Science flowed,
Cold trem’lous Sorrow steal his powers away,
His lines imperfect rise, Ideas all decay!
As wan as Ira, Rome’s Virginia seemed,
As, Tyrant’s victim, her last eye-beam gleamed.
But, roused to Vengeance by expiring Charms,
Rome rush’d against its palaces in arms,
Her dying voice was Nature’s Great Decree!
With her last sigh, She made her Country free!
—The heart of Osmyn every Solace spurn’d,
His frantic grief to desperate Fury turn’d,235 Q6r 235
The War! the War! his mad’ning thoughts require,
Ah! there, ’tis there, his Misery will expire,280
And there, once more, for Ira Osmyn fought
His arm She nerved, and fill’d his every thought.
He utter’d Ira! as his Sabre rose,
The frenchmen faulter’d, Ira gave the blows.
The Syrian Youth in his Revenge engage,
Assume his feelings, emulate his Rage,
Undaunted follow to partake his chance,
One Beauty’s death a thousand deaths cost France.
Ah, search thou Reasoner! when Armies bleed
Thy vain Stores search, to tell whence sprang the deed!
Not, always, Patriot fire in Heroes dwells,291
Not always Loyalty their courage swells.
Ambition’s self not always fires their Souls,
Though so put down in grave Historic Rolls!
Envy, Revenge, and Love, take each their part,
Inflame the Man, excite the Warrior’s heart.
Oft, public Lustre has been gain’d by Chiefs
But urged in part, like him, by private griefs,
And e’en in breasts where Self alone abode,
Romance, call’d History, says pure Virtue glowed!
Or, as it chance! these Reasoners filch all Fame301
From him, whose Motives merit deathless name!
The English absent, Acre could not hope
Long with that army’s conquering bands to cope
Whose skill so great such numerous states had found,
Whose arms Successes had inspired and crown’d,
Who, now retired, their Strength renewed by rest,
Refreshing slumbers soothing every breast,
Whilst sunk in sleep, in Acre, none were found
But all were harass’d on the nightly round.310
To fill the Breaches which the day had made
Kept all upon the walls, the peaceful shade
Should spread unbroken through the reign of night
The gleaming Torches streak with flitting light,
As harass’d soldiers flash them to and fro
To aid their comrades in their work of woe.
Still the firm Ghezar, waving claims of Age,
Quite dauntless, dared the siege’s hottest rage.
This is the Man, who scorning to be beat,
Before whose Towers baulk’d Gallia learn’d Retreat,
Insatiate Malice stirred in those he fought—321
’Twas low revenge the valiant Generals sought!
They seized the Pen, since vanquish’d was the Sword,
And on his Name malicious Slanders poured,
Of Cruelties french hearts alone conceive,
And minds less savage learn not to believe.237 Q7r 237
From charges framed—by those who’ve done such deeds!
The faith of Britons scornfully recedes.
As from Morn’s rays the waning night withdrew
His wither’d army met sad Achmet’s view!330
Where now the Youths the opening siege beheld,
Whose lofty minds with genuine valour swelled?
For ever vanish’d, trodden in the dust,
And England absent, Syria’s firmest Trust!
But Courage still inspired his aged breast,
Sustain’d his sinking mind, his fears repress’d.
Throughout the city each man’s heart he tries,
Where’er he moves new hopes new Courage rise,
A view of him whom palsying age can’t lull
Warms the cold spirit and awakes the dull,340
Alone the fabled Promethean ray
Could Achmet’s all-enlivening power display!
Ah! through a Postern at whose feet the Mole
At safer distance makes the wild Deep roll
Elcanor comes! and in lengthening rear
A gallant troop of armed Youth appear,
Up to the walls with buoyant hearts they throng,
Not proud in Numbers, but in Valour strong;
Achmet beheld them with elate Surprise,
Full Welcome darted from his martial eyes.
In Syria’s blooming forests, ever wreathed,
Not unobservant, faithful Christians breathed
In federate Towns. Where Lebanon’s high front
Preserves amidst its Shades the Hallow’d Font,
Elcanor, of his pious sect the boast,
Around him summon’d a determined host!
This night he cried to Acre let us fly,
Nor here in Indolence disgraceful lie.
Oh let us emulate what reach’d our Ear,
Now England’s force to aid them is not near360
Its Fame shall acts approximate inspire,
We’ll catch a ray from their immortal fire,
A Deed we’ll enter in that glowing page
Which Asia will record from Age to Age!
When Revolution broke the Earth’s repose,
The World has heard that Britain boldly rose,
Her Sons and Brothers wore the martial vest,
Her Husbands, Fathers, bore the plumed crest,
Embodied by Themselves, they proudly stood
Their Country guarding from th’impending flood.370
Invasion, foil’d thus, now reverted runs
O’er other realms, and reaches Asia’s sons!
But, Christian England, generous, follows here
The foe she turned! How ought we to revere239 Q8r 239
The Christian Rule, our Brothers thus exceed,
Who ask no aid Themselves, and yet for Others bleed!
See, near the Sycamores on yonder Rise,
The misty moon sinks, sullen, from our eyes,
When lately thence her rays the darkeness drove
Our women wander’d safely through the grove,380
Whilst Mothers, Sisters, loiter’d in the shades,
Sweet lisping Cherubs played through moonlight glades.
Now, struck with fear, they shun the lunar sky,
Invasion! ’tis from thee the tremblers fly!
At thy name scared the timid Infant shrieks
As its griev’d mother secret Caverns seeks,
There, midst the gloom, her chill’d babe lulls to rest,
Whilst sleepless terror vibrates through her breast.
And shall not we from midst our Groves come forth
To dive th’Invaders homeward to their North?
“ They all obey his long respected voice,
His Will at once became the general Choice,
They blush that slumbers had approach’d their lids
They arm and follow as Elcanor bids;
And where groves waving cool the passing air
At the Town’s verge, they for descent repair.
Now forth the Gates two Maidens fleetly rush’d,
From whose eyes glittering tears full swiftly gush’d,240 Q8v 240
In him who goes thus trembling for their Sire,
The beauteous maidens deepest sighs suspire.400
Eudosia, like a graceful Palm appeared
In some young grove by skilful culture rear’d,
Her face was Grecian, and her silky hair,
Dark as the Raven’s when, in midway air,
His plumage intercepts the radiant day,
And throws it back a sable shining ray.
Rich strings of pearl contrasted beauty gave,
As ’midst her braided locks they loosely wave.
Her Form was shaded by a thin Caftan,
Her less’ning waist bright silver girdles span.
The Elder this. The gay Saphira’s mien
Appear’d caught from ideal Beauty’s Queen.
Her hair, which seem’d bright streams of yellow light,
Not deep as Amber, and yet more than white,
Was turned beneath her turban’s fleecy round,
O’er which rich various jewelry was bound.
Though now in Sorrow sinks her lovely head,
And now her foot forgets its graceful tread,
Her dazzling glances still yield vivid fire
Though the sweet circlets mournfully retire—420
The magic circlets! that can transport dart,
Or strike with withering ray the shrinking heart,241 R1r 241
Speak, in inspiring language, to the Soul,
Or all its powers by rigid beams controul,
How vainly Words in power to equal try
The more efficient Rhetoric of the Eye!
Elcanor chid th’ exuberance of their fears,
Thus awed their murmurs and repress’d their tears—
If other Christians here stretch forth their hands
Against these recreant invading bands,430
Shall fear stay Us! whose fathers Heaven led
By Guiding Star to our Messiah’s bed?
Shall he says Mahomet is Prophet true
From midst his camp, the Blasphemy ne’er rue?
Rely, though victories he elsewhere found
He ne’er will Victory know—on Holy Ground!
His Daughters bend, and struck with awe retire
In trust that Heaven will go forth with their Sire.
Elcanor turns and leads his bands again,
Who swiftly now descended to the plain440
Which erst say Gideon Judges, c. 6, 7, 8. fearlessly proceed,
And but three hundred o’er the valley lead
’Gainst Midian’s troops, who numberless were found
Consuming Earth’s encrease ’till Famine raged around.Vol. III. R 242 R1v 242
Not higher Faith, nor scarcely Zeal, inspired
Those Gideon led, than those Elcanor fired;
Each band in emulative firmness shone,
Each Chief, each Soldier, fearless darted on,
All bent on Glory, Vengeance, Triumph, Fame,
Unfailing Courage, and immortal Name!
To make stern Acre pass beneath the yoke
The gallic foe in firm resolve awoke.
All bright with Arms, the Vale reflects the ray,
Pour’d from the Source that gives the hours of day.
New streams of Brightness spring from each recess,
With dreadful glimmer all the uplands dress,
And, as the changed manœuvres lines impelled,
New floods of splendor forth each inlet swelled
Now, the big war with all its Grandeur teems,
A Mine is sprung, whose mischief sure he deems,460
Though a deep fissure the explosion makes,
And earth convulsed in lengthened tremors shakes,
And Bastions strong and injured turrets rock,
Ill measured distance half defeats the shock.
So Ætna trembles from concussive fires
Though still it stands, and still to Heaven aspires.
Th’ Assault they urge with utmost rage, in vain,
Throng they the Fosse the half-made Breach to gain?243 R2r 243
The Turks with ponderous rock assail each head
And fill the ditch with wounded and with dead,470
Vast fiery brands in all directions throw
And scalding liquids on each wretch below,
Whole sheets of flame descend and boiling streams,
War, waged for Conquest, with such effort teems.
But these Elcanor and his troops disclaim,
They distant deaths inflict, with general aim,
With the firm Infantry their post they chose,
Whose double line upon the Rampart rose.
Mischief impends! be guarded ’gainst Despair!
Yon Mortar’s glowing arch that curves in air,480
’Tis cowering now! fate’s Messenger it flies,
Its victim—Osmyn! in an instant dies.
Osmyn is dead! in piercing accents flew,
The French receive the sound, their Hopes renew!
Up to the Gates the sanguine Soldiers press,
Their Spirits rising with assured success.
But as the Lion on his chasers turns,
His rage, awakening courage, fiercer burns,
So turn the Syrians on th’ advancing foe,489
And heighten’d fervors through their bosoms glow.
Osmyn’s freed soul seems hovering o’er their heads,
Still on the walls, unseen, the Hero treads,R2 244 R2v 244
His Zeal inspires, his Vengeance lives, in all,
Th’ invaders feel it in their soldiers’ fall.
They vary their approach, each angle try,
Attack full oft, and full as often fly,
As due to Justice pouring o’er the land
The stream of life from every chosen band.
Their Generals, midst the carnage, scour’d the field,
Undaunted moved and round the warriors wheel’d.
To cheer their men they fly from rank to rank,501
Rally the Van, invigorate the Flank.
Their ardent efforts are not wholly vain,
With utmost struggle, scarcely now maintain
The brave besieged the Fort against their foes,
Though courage urged by Danger fiercely glows.
—But, midst the toughest struggle of the fight,
Sudden, like summer evening streams of light,
When the warm regions of the air enfold,
Electric flakes and shoot phosphoric gold,510
The English ships returning to the Mole
Their cheering Lightnings flash, their grateful Thunders roll!
To favoring winds they had unfurled their sails,
And chained the vagrant Genius of the gales,245 R3r 245
With the first breeze—they thought too slowly! flew,
The Fate of Acre ever in their view.
Her Spires at length spring up, her Domes arise,
Her green-roof’d Palm Grovess glad their eager Eyes,
And, as they grandly ride upon the wave,
They shout—We come! We come again to save!520
The Joy of Acre’s heard where Leb’non towers,
And Carmel hears it in her lofty bowers,
The Way of Nazareth receives the sound,
They come! They come! we’re safe! the Echoes breathe around.
All crowd the decks, with high Emotions glow!
From every eye inspiring ardors flow,
From prow to stern the emanations dart,
In each look flame and throb in every heart.
—I will not show the dazzling Naiad train
Guiding the barks across the foamy Main,530
Poetic Images—away from Sight!
Nor Nymph nor Sea-God shall my pen invite.
No aiding Tritons with their azure hair
Nor pearl-deck’d guardian Deesses were there,
The Sons of Britain! on the surges rode,
From whom abash’d dives down each Watery God.
The french Approaches to the Wall came near,
The wants peculiar of the hour were clear.246 R3v 246
The Plan’s resolved, two Ravelins soon advance
Their bold half-moons against encroaching France,
One on each side th’ approach that nearest came
In swift progression rose, midst loud acclaim.542
The boats meanwhile a floating Battery form,
The Labourers cover, and the french Lines storm,
Their dread Artillery firing on the foe
From every point, as variously they row.
For Sortie now th’ assured besieged prepare,
And spring with new strung nerves each risk to dare.
Throughout the day they rage o’er all the plain,
Havock and swift Destruction in their train.550
As still, at eve, the carnage they pursue
The heaps of dead encrease upon their view,
On Chiefs, on numerous Ranks, The Victors trod,
The ardent Mailly died upon the sod,
Both by one sword, Cardan, Lecouvre, died,
Their Hearts’ blood flowing in a common tide.
Full oft Lescalle’s aim’d Sabre reach’d the heart
Of turban’d warrior, when his eye’s clear dart
Ere singled from a troop an active foe
His glance was scarcely herald to the blow.560
Helmet nor Sabre could the Hero save
Three foes at once assign him to his grave,247 R4r 247
Half-rais’d at one he aim’d a dying thrust,
His aim was short, he rose not from the dust!
—The Shrieks of Youth, the Groans of Manhood, tear
The shrinking organs e’en of distant ear,
As fall by turns the man, the hoary Sire,
Or he whose freezing veins own’d life’s first fire.
With untired rage they fought till Light withdrew,
Each Army shelter’d from the other’s view.570
Dark shadows roll in heavy to the west,
Deep sigh the winds, all Nature seems oppressed.
Strange hollow Murmurs float the troubled air,
The moaning Spirits of the dead seem there!
In moody thought the different powers withdraw,
All deeply pondering the ills of war!
Now, midst the Chiefs, in Council in his tent,
The General Bonaparte his mind unbent,
Whilst the french circle, with respectful air,
Their mute attention by their looks declare.580
Of flowing thought no brilliant periods roll
To wake thick sense and captivate the soul,
No mellow language glides on from his tongue
In clear deductions gradually unstrung,
Interrogation boisterous Order breaks,
Or words imperative he fiercely speaks!248 R4v 248
—Can I forget that he, whose haughty prow
Rides so triumphant in the harbour now,
Is he, in France, who lately prisoner caught
Of me asked Freedom, all my Influence sought!590
Had I not fail’d him , Honour, his Parole,
Had kept his busy genius in controul—
Beaten by him whose Fate was at my will
And see his laurell’d sailors conquer still!
Shall thus this Seaman’s fame so lofty soar,
The conquering Trident reach us—on the Shore!
Success gain’d now, it may not be the least,
More numerous troops may seek us in the East,
Demand Capitulation—hated word
It ne’er shall mar the Glories of my sword!
The Leader pausing, as o’er torturous thought,
In Fury mutter’d, lowly lest ’twere caught—
First will I fly—steal from th’ Egyptian shore,
Run from the army who my name adore,
Forsake my Station, risk Deserter’s fate,
But, ne’er capitulate with those I hate!
Mark Generals! small his force, whilst Hassan Bey
At sea, with Transports, still prolongs his stay;
But, ere these distant succours can arrive,
Acre itself no longer shall survive,610 249 R5r 249
Her walls but dust, her Towers shall strew the plain,
Her ruin’d Turrets toppled to the Main!
The martial circle or approved aloud,
Or veiling discontent assentive bow’d.
He paused, he ponder’d as if Means he sought,
But quickly utter’d the result of thought—
To Eastward sent, towards the Jordan’s fords,
Bold Kleber’s hardy troops with conquering swords
To capture rich Damascus now aspire,
But, from her yielding walls he must retire!620
To aid, if wanted here, his glory yield,
And quit with all his bands the prosperous field—
Retire from conquest, and be beaten here!
Ah! brand me rather with the guilt of fear—
Beaten by him whose Fate was at my feet,
Compared to this, each other ruin’s sweet!
He rose, as in his cheeks excited red
Disdain and Joy were seen, and Hope and Dread.
The Generals rush’d through night to rouse the band
Destined to summon Kleber o’er the land.630
Not seen, though heard, their scour across the plain,
Whilst ears attentive sounding hoofs retain,
As neighing steeds, inhaling dewy air,
Athwart the gloom their drowsy riders bear.
The Siege of Acre.
Book the Third.
Glittering Lances are the Loom
Where the dusky Warp we strain
Weaving many a soldier’s doom!
Soldiers who have Soul and Nerve,
Record well their deeds deserve!
The Siege of Acre.
Book the Third.
How exquisite a task to Bards is given
When Truth inspires them from its native Heaven,
When actual deeds are subjects for the song,
When Living Beings to the Theme belong,
When mighty Nations down the foreground stand,
And real Heroes range on either hand!
Seize Bards your harps, a Theme on each side springs,
Let wonder’s transports vibrate midst the strings,
Awake! Mark Empires all around you burst,
Events gigantic in each hour are nursed.10
Your harps seize now, for You enjoy the boon
That with events so vast their tones attune,
Then, shall these trembling notes no more aspire
Nor float discordant through your sacred Quire,
With blushes then withdrawn this humble Lute
By Admiration awed, with sentient Pleasure mute.
Wide flew the Gates of Heaven. The God of Day
Now lofty rose above the paths of May,
To gild a new month with brighter rays
As northward during added hours he strays,20
Creating landscapes in June’s warmer glow
As variant blooms in richer colours flow.
Salubrious breezes charged with Odours fly,
Wafting the sweets of Earth towards the sky,
Or midst the cordage of the Vessels play,
Or o’er the emerald waves indenting stray.
As, from the lethargy of calm repose,
The Tigre’s Captain animated rose,
No waking thought fixed terror in his mind,
On him who rules the sea his thought reclined!30
The deck received him, where his gallant Crew
With sturdy Spirits met the Hero’s view.
He knew to touch their hearts’ remotest string,
And to high deeds their every Wish to bring!
The Raleighs, Drakes, of Centuries past seem’d there,
Flash’d in his eye, made England’s navy dare,
Marines and Seamen shout transporting cries,
As to the wish’d for pitch their souls arise,
Which gain’d, he stopt and waved them to their boats,
And Britain’s Genius o’er the billows floats.
On shore they boldly leap with loud Huzzas,
The shore resounds with Acre’s rapturous praise,
The English Leader quickly heads his band,
To snatch, though Sailor, Laurels on the Land.
With practised skill a valorous troop he chose
O’er whose high fervor Self-possession rose,
Whose courage firm assumes a placid air,
And seems most tranquil when the most they dare!
Dark rose the Tower. Beneath, with latent twine
Insidious crept a fresh formed threat’ning Mine;50
Crowding its avenue, a deep wrought trench,
Stood a bright Panoply of guardian french,
Whose clustering bayonets appeared above,
Thick set and menacing, an iron grove.
The Tower through long Tradition is endeared,
And will be, though to distant Ages rear’d.
Its sacred, interesting, pensive air
Brings sweet remembrance! never prospect rare
E’er touch’d the soul with pleasure more refined,
E’er gave so sweet a languor to the mind.
There, seems our Richard’s Richard the First, Cœur de Lion, displayed the utmost degree of Heroism at the Siege of Acre by the Crusaders, in the year 11911191. battle axe aloft,
Its Lightning flashing o’er the foe he scoffed,256 R8v 256
Its Lustre gleams on through each added age,
And cheers dull History’s laborious page,
On heavy periods throws extrinsic light,
And brings forth times remote upon the sight.
Prince Edward’s Afterwards Edward the First. His valour struck such terror into the Saracens, that they employed an Assassin to destroy him, who wounded him in the arm with a poisoned weapon. Some Historians relate that his Wife, in the dreadful Necessity of the moment, and Crisis of his fate, saved his life, by extracting with her lips the Venom from the wound. glories here too blazed around,
Here tower’d his Helmet on heroic ground,
His Elinor—ah! still her sainted sigh
Breathes in the Zephyrs, still her radiant eye70
Beams purest Rapture o’er her wounded Lord,
Snatch’d from the tomb, by venturous Love restored!
When the rank poison from his wound she drew
Untarnish’d was her lip’s carnation hue,
Its stimulus new influence seemed t’impart
To heal his wound, reanimate his heart—
As touched the Prophet’s lip the livid coal
Strong inspiration filled at once his soul,
No Pain he suffered, Gift he had acquired,
With new found power perceived himself inspired!
Midst coming dangers of th’ advancing hour
Ruin seem’d threat’ning Acre’s haughty Tower.
Fate there took Station. Saved, it guards the land,
O’erthrown, destruction riots o’er the strand.
The Mine to verify, its Course to know,
Went forth the chosen Britons on the foe.
The naval warriors o’er each Trench descry
The clustering Bayonets with dauntless eye.
The Turks, to right and left, on either Trench
Advance to aid them and expel the French.90
Marines and Sailors boldly force their way
Towards the Mine, no Risk creates delay,
Whilst Glory’s tint upon their cheeks is spread
And blooms and glows with bright diffusing red.
The entrance gain’d they quickly sink from view,
They court the Danger and the work pursue.
Part guard the opening, part are sunk from sight,
And deeds atchieve well worthy of the light,
O’erpower the Miners, hew the props away,
And, as they’re fell’d, withdraw towards the day.
Quick from the Camp came forth impatient France,
The Order passes and her sons advance.
Transporting valour stirs th’ excited Gauls,
As with new ardour they attack the walls.Vol. III. S 258 S1v 258
Whilst a bold band Rombaud the General chose
To flank the Mine as th’ enemy arose,
The Britons, steady in their work profound,
Though trem’lous motion o’er them rocks the ground,
Sink the last prop. Their dreadful duty done
They quit the cavern, view again the sun,110
And, now emerging, see Battalions there
To hail them issuing upwards to the air.
As forth they come quick flashes round them shine
Midst flames arise The Victors of the Mine!
They’ve learnt its course, their counterworks are sure!
The Tower France came to sap remains secure,
Still loftily o’erlooks the neighbouring deep,
Still its long shadows o’er the billows sweep,
Amidst the day send forth unreal night,
Its vastness stretching on the distant sight.
As, glorious though in flight, they sought the Main
The valiant Wright sunk wounded on the plain.
Between this World and Death, the misty line
Placed as Life’s Barrier by the hand divine
His soul had touch’d! when cordial pity flew
And back to Earth his wavering Spirit drew.
Douglas its minister, to whose high heart
Feeling and Courage equal warmth impart,259 S2r 259
Defying danger caught him from the foe,129
And, saved from death, his cheeks with health soon glow.
The Ravelin’s progress gallic arms oppose,
Yet midst attacks their crescents boldly rose.
Their sturdy aid contribute venturous Turks,
Who seize materials from th’ invaders works!
Each side the foe’s approach the cannon roar,
Incessant thunders die along the shore,
That their own cannon thus their ranks laid low
Encreased their fury, heavier made the blow!
The fleet of Hassan, Turkish Admiral. long delayed, appear’d,
Towards the Mole the throng’d Corvettes were steer’d,
To gain the Town before the Bey could land141
Was the high point, for numerous was his band.
Battalions of Reserve the Camp now leave
Distinguish’d glory hoping to atchieve,
Thier eyes dart hope, sure Victory declare
As gaudy ensigns hurry through the air.
Whilst Hassan’s Troops are still of winds the sport
The Troops of France spring forward to the Fort!
Now Victory seems impartially employed,
Each side is beaten, each side half destroyed.150 S2 260 S2v 260
Here, conquest on the bulwarks seems to reign,
There, the bold Sortie riots o’er the plain,
If, rashly, cries of Triumph Syrians shout,
Their foes as rashly deem commenced the rout!
For Victory sports now on capricious wings,
O’er Syria bends, or aid to Gallia brings.
Here, flurried troops confuse their mingled arms
As shifting files are urged by new alarms,
There, steady musketry in Vollies roars,
Or from a Line unbroken ceaseless pours.160
All less fear’s lost, in greater that appals
As England’s ravelins fire their deadly balls
From Guns that, level to the Gallic flank,
Annihilation shot along the rank.
Soft Twilight’s gentle mission came in vain,
No more the Signal now to quit the plain,
And soon the Night her shades more thickly threw
And hid creation from the tortured view.
But, raging Battle gives its own dread light!
From Roofs on fire flames flash upon the sight,170
Amidst the vast of sable æther soar
The dismal dirges of the cannon’s roar,
In flames sent forth in curving flight Shells glow,
And Death’s own beams his frequent murders show!261 S3r 261
The Sea’s black surges catch the lurid ray,
And every billow foams with fiery spray,
Here Waves terrific drown the cannon’s roar,
Sinuous roll along and sparkle up the shore,
There, mounts of aqueous flame arrest the sight,
And Ocean heaves its Hecklas on the night,180
Now, on their points the vessels seem to burn,
Or down Abysses dark to overturn,
Unquench’d the glowing masts again aspire,
The men ascending ropes of tortuous fire.
On shore, the Palms deception lift in air
And brancy Sycamores unhurtful glare.
Quick floods of flame bring out each darken’d hill,
Their rough contours with transient radience fill,
And gleam down every slope point every line,
And each sharp ridge with pencil’d fire define.190
They pierce the Gloom which hover’d o’er the slain,
Revealing those who writhe convulsed with pain,
Here showing men who heave with doubtful Life,
There—where last Agonies have closed the strife!
The moans of pain are floating through the air,
The shrieks of Torture, groans of deep Despair!
That scene excites too torturous a sigh,
Where, as men kill, they’re slain—by others who must die!
Yet midst these Horrors, England coolly brave
Fought as triumphantly as on the wave!200
The Sons of Albion glow amidst the fight,
And seek their foes out shrouded in the night,
Pursue, as forest lions do, by Ear,
Each, like the Lion, knowing not a fear!
As now the broken gloom of yielding night
Through inlets gave uncertain rays of light,
They saw above a battr’d Tower displayed
A Flag with conquest’s hated colours ray’d!
The Flag of France wide o’er the ramparts flew,
Insulting stream’d upon the Britons’ view!210
—Dear-purchased Trophy! O, to place thee there
What gallant Spirits float now on the air!
Frindship, Ambition, Love, extinguish’d all
As from thy staff the stricken Warriors fall!
Throughout the night the Tower was fiercely storm’d,
Across the Ditch dread Traverses were formed,
To shield their passage, Traverses wherein
The Corses of their dead the French built in!
Thus far their hopes atchieved and labours crown’d,
War’s Transports fill’d their breasts on conquer’d ground!
At distance rowing through the boisterious Bay,
The Boats of Hassan slowly made their way,222 263 S4r 263
Surcharged with Troops. The hour was that of Fate,
All might be lost, the succour come too late!
The Tower half fallen bridged the neighbouring trench,
And made a sloping path-way for the French!
The English Leader with commanding eye
Sees where the Danger where the Hazards lie
And leads his Sailors quickly to the Mole,
A glorious Rivalship swells each man’s soul,230
They pass the Postern, where the Syrians throng,
All hail’d Preservers as they rush along!
Prompt to the shatter’d tower the English fly
Whilst loud Huzzas of Victory pierce the sky!
The French resign the conquest of the hour
As the bold Sailors mount the shatter’d Tower,
Seize and reverse the haughty Flag that France
As proof of capture had presumed t’advance!
Though awed, th’ assaulters struggle up the Breach,
But, all who come within a Sailor’s reach240
Feel the strong purchase of his ready Pike
Within the Breast or through the Helmet strike.
Nor do the Syrians’ weighty missiles fail,
With which the rising warriors they assail,
Who reel, and tumbling down the slope impel
The next advancing on the last who fell!264 S4v 264
The Plain below sends upwards fresh supplies,
Successions, doom’d to fall, with boldness rise.
Thus, when in boisterous storms the Seas awake,
And billows sinking billows overtake,250
With curling tops the frothy monsters storm
The jutting Rock’s impending craggy form,
The Rock, unstir’d amidst the raging foam,
Strikes wave on wave, and sinks them to their Tomb.
Smoothly majestic, full upon the Sight
Of those maintaining on the walls the fight,
Mount Cœur de Lion boldly rose, the hill
Its name, in Ages past, continues still.258
There Bonaparte was station’d. On the Breach
Stood Sidney Smith.—Oh! whose the mental reach
To shew how flowed the Thoughts in either brain
As glance met glance athwart the martial plain,
The Form of either pressing on the view
As each the other’s stern Attention drew!
Thus stood two men, in Courage, Zeal, the same
But! each as anxious of a different Fame
As the two Seraphs, heading each their host,
To Milton vision’d on the heavenly coast!
The honest generous courage of his bands
Directing from the Tower, brave Sidney stands.270 265 S5r 265
Aloof from friends, who range in crescent form,
Stands Bonaparte, the Regent of the storm,
On Richard’s Mount; but, not as Richard stood,
To Heaven pouring tributary blood,
To serve the Holy Faith, whose glorious sun
First rising here o’er all the Earth hath run!
No! but t’insult it in its native bed,
Where still its rays, in gleams obtuse, are shed.
His actions Vehemence and Wrath declare,
Your toil he cries, nor life, ye frenchmen spare,280
Speed to the Camp, be all its engines rolled
Towards the Wall a Portal to unfold.
The British Chief upon the Tower remained,
His lofty mind to utmost Effort strain’d,
His eye excursive all the field embraced,
His sword the Sceptre of the bleeding waste!
Where’er it pointed, there the battle burst,
New strength it gave, reviving courage nursed.
On Sidney’s safety Acre’s weal depends,
The time-blanch’d Ghezar to the breach ascends,290
Anxious from terror on his arm he hung
And round the Warrior obstinately clung.
Forbear, he cried, from further risk abstain,
Retire and greet our Transports from the Main,266 S5v 266
At you alone now whole Battalions aim,
To Achmet listen and to Syria’s claim!
Soon as their eyes these generous contests reach
A rush of eager Turks secured the breach.
The Veteran guides now to the busy bay
Where crouded vessels fill the watery way.300
O’er the full tide along the curving shore
The boats of Hassan spread, the eager oar
Its silver flashes up the shelving sands,
And fresh’ning wind each swelling sail expands.
Heroic valour beaming in his face
Sidney advances, and, with martial grace,
Receives the soldiers as they spring to land,
And hails and welcomes each advancing band.
His Eye inspires them, as the shores they reach
And hail him Guardian Genius of the Beach!310
His figure new, but long revered his name
Beholding him the Turks catch martial flame,
The voice that hail’d them animated too,
The hand that touch’d them emulation threw
From its own nerve to every torpid heart,
They greet th’inspiring power his welcomes thus impart.
Meanwhile, the slow french battering trains arrive.
The ponderous engines heavily they drive,267 S6r 267
Half the sunk frames th’absorbing sand conceals,
All nearly motionless the stubborn wheels.320
Tough sinew’d horses, struggling with the road,
To panting efforts, with their arms, they goad.
Brought up at length, before the Ditch they stand,
With each dread engine an attendant Band
Who guide them, drag them, force them, to the part
Where weakness yields and splinter’d fractures start.
These thunder at the Walls, those reach the Tower,
One aims aloft, one sends the mischief lower,
This an Ellipsis makes, that darts a line
True as the Telescope’s whose aim divine330
For Herschell searches somes discover’d sun
Or finds where planets their Aphelion run.
The Catapults, the Battering Rams, of Rome,
Whose blows made very hostile town a Tomb,
Exciting terror at Earth’s utmost bound,
All their great powers in force mechanic found;
But their Celebrity from memory fades,
Howitzers, Cannons, Mortars, Carronades,
Their Strength, by chemic energy, surpass,
And, in their Swiftness, greater powers amass.
Ere the hot Sun with strait and downward ray
Had reach’d the scorching hours of middle day,268 S6v 268
The Wall’s whole front corroding balls deformed,
North of the Tower so long so vainly stormed.
Broad ope’d the Chasm, loud the rumbling fall,
The Fortress trembled as rush’d down the wall,
With sudden Crash the Bulwark toppling came,
All lost in dust, in thundering roar, and flame!
A Pause, an aweful, silent, pause succeeds,
The Gauls, so long delayed, distrust their deeds!350
Then, length’ning shouts of Triumph roll around,
The neighbouring Mountains every shout rebound,
To fill the cry each vies with loudest note,
An Army’s Triumphs in the concave float!
As the thick clouds of dust their veil withdrew
The Town was slowly open’d to their view!
The Streets, the Mosques, the Palaces, arise
And glad the rapt besiegers searching eyes.
The Britons there with Turks and Syrians stand,
And wait th’approach of the successful Band.360
On the Pleine terre, by blooming gardens bound,
Their ranks extended guard the verdant ground,
On the Defensive they’re prepared to fight,
Nor march’d to charge, nor shunn’d th’invaders sight.
Continued Battle had exhausted all,
For pause, till Eve, the troops on both sides call,269 S7r 269
The foe resolved to rest, the breach atchieved
Of rest will now no longer be bereaved!
When, all around, a threat’ning whirlwind dread
Prepares its ruin o’er the land to spread,370
An aweful Stillness lulls the Region round
O’er structures Fate will level with the ground!
All creatures near with prescience cringe to Earth
All, in deep terror, wait the whirlwind’s birth!
Such seem’d the Silence that hush’d all the plain
That lately witness’d Battle’s boist’rous reign,
All Calm terrific! still and aweful pause
Destruction’s prelude oft by nature’s laws.
The Sun’s vast caverns, as it sunk below,
With lurid threat’ning flames appear’d to glow,380
And Rock-work, fretted o’er with blood-red dies,
In heated glowing masses seem’d to rise.
Midst these the Source of Light pursued its way,
Earth sadly pensive at departing day!
Now, from a deep Defile, to Acre’s Gate
A Column moved in military state.
The issuing pomp majestically rose,
And thwart the noiseless plain its shadow throws.270 S7v 270
The Sun behind advanced them on the gaze,
Relieved and taller from its level rays,390
In growing darkness it pursued its route,
Sublimely aweful lengthening came out!
No Brightness to the pendent gorgets clung,
No sheets of Radiance o’er the armour hung,
Yet twinkling lights the shifting spear heads caught,
And with short Gleams the Bayonets were fraught.
The beams a thousand ways shot cross and cross,
And quivering stars from point to point they toss.
In Arab Desarts thus, on anxious eyes
Vast sandy Pillars luminous arise,400
No steady flame upon their fronts they bear,
But, midst their gloom, quick Lights capricious glare,
Wild Lustres through their stalking columns glide,
As on, the bright Destructions slowly ride.
The Caravan uneasy wait their fate,
For Death to many brings the Beauteous State!
In numerous bosoms dread foreboding chills
They know too well th’ advancing Splendor kills!
Now Bonaparte the Breach compleated shows,
I know, exclaimed, each heart to reach it glows
Frenchmen! where Britons move expend your rage
Till extirpation shall its thirst assuage!271 S8r 271
Obtain The Garden, Conquerors obtain,
Or ne’er behold again your native plain!
The French seek slaughter with incentive joy
Vengeance their bliss, their Rapture to destroy!
Whilst anxious Acre, not exempt from dread,
Their firm March watches, as they swifter tread.
They wait an army, proud, revengeful, brave,
Which comes with hope to make the Fort a grave,420
But, British Tars advance! the mass inspire,
Their lowering rage to steady valour fire.
Their Fortitude returns, they dare the view,
In firm resolve, all that man may, they’ll do.
The Garden of the fort was doom’d the spot
To hold in dread Suspension Syria’s lot!
Asia and Gallia, met within that pale,
Must tempt their Fate till one of them shall fail.
Ghezar resolved that some might pass the Breach,
The Garden, vainly hoping capture, reach,430
That there, by Turkish modes of warfare met,
They might to storm be taught no more to threat.
With prescience dread War’s Fiends ascend the air!
And hovering high, midst Evening’s glories flare,
Thence downward in a sanguine vapour shot,
They sink unseen around the destined spot,272 S8v 272
The scent of Blood approaching there they quaff,
And clap their blood-shot wings, and big with horror laugh.
The Massive Column now had passed the Plain,
Close to the town advanced the shouting train,440
There the fallen Bulwarks spacious entrance show’d,
O’er their late living friends their dreadful road!
Uncheck’d, they pass the wall they lately storm’d,
And see the English in the Garden formed.
With them alone, at first, the foes engage,
Who, by distinction pleas’d, soon turn their rage.
They dart upon the Turk, wind round the trees,
The shelter’d Turk his sanguine hunter sees
And springs to meet him! either hand is arm’d,
His foe by double weapons is alarmed.450
He who avoids the tranchant Sabre’s blow
Aim’d by the parried Right hand of his foe,
Feels the prompt dagger of his practised Left
And thus, unguarded, is of life bereft!
As thick’ning Shades the eager eyes confound
By dubious vision, grow mistakes around.
The difference of garb unskill’d to trace,
As much of variance deep’ning glooms efface,
The turban’d warriors Friends mistake for Foes,
And aim, at those they’d worship, deadly blows.460 273 T1r 273
Where Sidney’s Sabre falls, they think they know
The gallic General’s quick descending blow.
’Tis our dread Enemy himself, they cry!
Rush through the shades, and at the Briton fly.
All speech were useless, he’s compell’d to force
The mad’ning Islams to retrace their course.
Through Courage cool, his Aim was always just,
He parried all, yet spared a deadly thrust.
Where winged choristers were used to dwell,
The ear delighting by melodious swell,470
Now tones of Anguish fill the leafy Quires,
As man, destroyed by fellow man, expires.
The Fountains which their rainbow jewels threw
Lustrous and sparkling on the morning’s view,
Resplendent jewels now bestow no more,
With foul streams taint the alabaster floor.
Defiled the myrtle haunts, there horror roves,
Danger reigns here, Fate riots in the Groves.
Now, faint and staggering from a deadly wound,
Some on the beds of snowy Lillies swoon’d,480
The streaming life imparting crimson hue
The Lillies blush’d as pale the heroes grew.
There, midst the roses, others fall to die,
Breathing, in fragrant air, their latest sigh,Vol. III. T 274 T1v 274
As round a Victim streams of incense rise
Whilst on the Altar, bound with flowers, he lies.
Long had endured the tumults of the fight
E’er burst conviction on th’ assaulter’s sight.
In paths no longer trod the heap’d up slain
The contest’s issue dreadfully explain!490
They saw that all was lost! they saw and fled,
The earth left loaded with deserted dead.
Strait up th’ ascent they spring, in dreadful throng,
And life, by rushing on the plain, prolong.
’Twas here two Generals own’d War’s equal hand,
Both fighting fell, Rombaud made fatal stand,
And sunk a Corse where late he towering trod,
And Lasne was borne half living from the sod.
The Troops that conquer’d elsewhere, beaten here,
When met by England own the reign of fear,500
Escape in straggling parties o’er the plain,
Glad to reach shelter in their camp again.
Thus did The Battle of the Garden close,
And thus fled Bonaparte before his foes.
The Siege of Acre.
Book the Fourth.
Fate hath stretch’d its net to day
And it shall be drawn at night!
The Torch of Truth shall lend its Ray,
He who’s vanquish’d was not right!
The Siege of Acre.
Book the Fourth.
With early dawn all meet in full Divan,
The means of future self defence to plan,
In Asiatic Pomp to Council go
Their Senses wildering midst Gaud and Show.
External objects seizing on the mind
When abstract judgment calmly aims to find
In mental stores thoughts meet for Crisis high,
All fit Ideas chased by others through the Eye!
Here silken Net-works tinge the rays of day,
There perfumed Fountains round th’ apartment play.
The open Colonnades wide Gardens face,11
Between each Interstice, each cooling space,
Tall fragrant shrubs their vivid scents pour out,
More rich than those the copious fountains spout.278 T3v 278
The Amacanth and clustering Cusso twine,
Their Fragrance mingle and their hues combine.
Thus spring, whilst idly Eye and Ear they feast,
The vain State Counsels of th’ enervate East.
With Cedar heavy and intrinsic gold
The doors for Ghezar gradually unfold,20
And, as the sounding valves are forced apart,
On the caught vision beauteous Vistas dart.
As bright Arcades diverge in different lines,
In graceful curves their mellow brightness shines.
Strain’d through pelucid walls come floods of light,
The beauteous Spar all Sun-beam to the sight,
Of neighbouring Syrian Fossil sweetly framed,
Half Marble, and half Gem, Phengites named.
Though slight Pilasters hung with flowrets rose
To break at intervals the eye’s repose,30
No added tint the flowers the shafts display,
All was Phengites all inherent ray!
No part whose gloom requires the window’s aid,
Or Aperture is anywhere displayed,
Yet means of access close set tubes conceal,
Through which air’s healthful breezes freely steal.
Fortune’s famed Temple, rais’d in ancient Rome,
Thus built, thus dazzled those who sought their doom.
Before the town, and near the lofty scite
Whence the Camp’s glitter seized upon the sight,40
A cord of minor mountains edge the plain
And form with blushing vines a purple chain.
Their surfaces all animate appear
Whilst dwell the Council on their Hope or Fear.
Beduines and Copts, and Druzes, Arabs, stand
To see whom Fate makes Masters of the land,
To mark which beaten foe submits to flight,
That there the fury of their arms may light.
Then will their shining Sabres quickly start,
And Daggers merciless seek each a heart.50
Fierce on the fainting troops they’ll downward fly,
To purchase credit in the Victor’s eye,
Swell the proud triumph of his conquering name,
Partake the booty and enhance his fame!
An Arab Dervis Bonaparte now sent
To ask that War its horrors might relent!
Without the walls in rank corruption lay
The gallic dead of many an added day.
Column on Column still unburied there
Made rife with Pestilence th’ infectious air,60
And Bonaparte demanded of the Chief
To grant, t’immure the dead, a short relief.
Enamour’d of themselves, each strove to shine,
With flimsy art weak arguments they twine,
The Yes the No in every light was placed,
By Reason tortured, or by Brilliance graced.
At length was summon’d to the gorgeous Hall
The English Leader, prompt t’obey a call
When deeds of Mercy were to be resolved,
And generous actions in debate revolved.70
Anger had pause, wild Altercation rest,
Silence on every lip his finger pressed.
Amidst an Islam’s prince’s stern Divan
He, first instructed how the current ran,
Found means t’impart rules from another law
Of Faith than their’s that sprang by cruel War.
Wonder’d, where Duties were so clear and plain
Debate a moment could its wiles maintain,
Enforced that, all prepared, due time be given
For acts becoming man, approved by Heaven.
Each thought was cogent, for his Feelings glowed
As mercy’s Policy he clearly showed,
For those within Infection had not spared,
In numerous eyes delirious fever glared.
The Syrians yield, for none are so obtuse
His reasons move not, they decree the Truce.
Lo! whilst the Dervis stood in the Divan,
There summon’d to receive th’ adjusted plan,
E’en whilst the peaceful Flag of Truce he bore!
Th’ astonish’d Council hear the Cannon’s roar,90
Feel falling Shells the flat roofs o’er them shake,
And Syria’s welfare is again at stake,
As those, who wish’d war’s Horrors might relent!
Athwart the Breach in strengthen’d numbers went,
In hopes their Vengeance they, at length, might sate,
Whilst held the turban’d senate their debate!
The French Commander had resolved at length
By Art to win, what paralysed his Strength,
To gain by Feint, to capture by Surprise,
The town where, unredeemed, french honor lies.100
Name must be his, by any means obtained,
Means graced by virtue, or by Vices stain’d!
The Band dispatch’d had borne across the land
To Kleber’s wish’d for troops the late command,
The hardy troops that had encounter’d death
Between Mount Tabor and famed Nazareth;
Drawn in that form where Valour Death derides,
Firm in the hollow-square’s impervious sides
Had forced Ten Thousand Turks aloof to stand
Whilst rose the sun and set upon the land.
They hear, with martial promptitude obey,
Their camp break up, arrive at Acre’s bay.
Their smile but ill suppress’d, when heard the tale
Of the long Wonders of the martial vale,
How oft the brave Republicans had fled
How oft, in vain, their choicest Heroes bled.
Swiftly descending from the tented height,
Resolved to shew how Heroes ought to fight,
New aid, new fire, new courage, they bestow119
And thus are bright again the hopes of Acre’s foe!
Frenchmen! high acts, said Bonaparte, invite,
’Tis England dares ye to the final fight!
For, the great moment is at length at hand
When Victory must elect its favorite band,
Lead on its front with her resistless car,
And crush at once the tumults of the war.
See where the British Standard blurs the air!
Let all the vigour of your wrath point there.
The Roman Eagle scarcely equal rose
To the deep terror of barbarian foes.130
As their bold Standard on the high wind flies,
Its Lions seem ascending to the skies!
The Shot and Shells in Vollies pour’d around,
The aim to take by Storm, but soon they found,283 T6r 283
In turn astonish’d, Treachery was foiled,
Their Leader, e’en in Guile! had vainly toiled.
Both Turks and Syrians steadily receive
A foe known prompt at all times to deceive,
The English quite prepared to urge the fight
The contest destined to decide ere Night!
In aid of Justice, Valour is aroused,
And all the Furies of Revenge unhoused!
The British Chief at every point is found,
Support to give as Fate breaks Lines around.
He guides, he governs, he controuls the hour,
The wings of France beneath his Genius cower!
The Reinforcements share the common fate
Meet the same Prowess sink to equal state.
Yes! at these walls the lofty Kleber’s band
Own’d the proud prowess of a naval hand.
Again exhausted, beaten, and undone,
From forth the breach the French, all panic, run.
Close to their steps they feel their noblest foe,
And but to Swiftness partial safety owe.
The English, rapid as o’erwhelming waves,
As wild, as e’er the fiercest tempest raves,
O’ertake the rear, before them swiftly dart,
And facing, turn them, back th’ invaders start,284 T6v 284
Start back in vain! Turks, Syrians, advance
Again drive on the vanquish’d troops of France!
With Eyes where reign’d Despair, with furious Breast,
The French Chief saw them in Retreat distress’d.
—How Asia dreads the spring the Tiger makes,
As from his stretch the prey he crouch’d for breaks!
With frame no less inflamed by fiercest rage,
His thirst of Vengeance hoping to assuage,
Thus Bonaparte, terrific in his might,
Recover’d here, now there, the faultering fight!
The french all loudly cheer’d where’er he came,
And filled th’ horizon with their Hero’s name.170
And where He stirr’d, again Battalions fought,
Yet Victory’s Car, which thus untired he sought,
Eludes his grasp, as the Mimosa sinks,
And from unhallow’d touch retreating shrinks.
By him unaw’d, brave Syria kept her way,
Her’s now the Battle, her’s the glorious day!
Britannia’s seamen, upon Syrian ground,
His Masters in the war he mad’ning found!
—Where wert thou, Genius of dishonor’d France?
What other wrack employ’d thy distant glance,180
That thus Syria thy forsaken bands
Sink unprotected under Victor’s hands?285 T7r 285
In vain they rally, or in vain recede,
Their General’s humbled, his Battalions bleed,
As new fall’n thousands all around are slain,
War’s Demons raging sated o’er the plain!
Heroic fire in every bosom burned,
As from pursuit the conquerors returned.
To meet each fraud nocturnal of the foe,
And start at day-break to pursue the blow,190
No sleep is suffer’d to recruit their powers,
The anxious night is passed upon the Towers,
Each searching eye, creative thought, awake,
So deep the interest, so immense the stake!
—Who can contemn if, glowing from the fight,
Illustrious actions they discourse through night,
And each relates the story of his deeds,
Whom he withstood, or by what Chance he bleeds?
Night’s shades that lingering o’er earth had hung,
Fled down the Mountain, and bright dawn was sprung,
Stood on the lofty rock with timid beam,201
Then pour’d more copiously day’s vivid stream.
As objects open with the crescent light,
What thrilling view enchants the Syrians’ sight!
Each thought sought Heaven, and each bosom swelled,
As Acre this triumphant scene beheld,286 T7v 286
Beheld the foe abandoning the plain!
Where, torturous months, had raged their savage reign,
Viewed the last stragglers of the desperate host
Full swiftly winding round th’ incumber’d coast.
The French, more easily themselves to save,
Their Mortars, Cannon, to the Ocean gave.
Their works forsaken and encampment prone
Their next atchievement—in the night they’re flown!
The British Gunboats winding with the flood,
Marked all their harrass’d path of flight with blood,
Round every angle dreadful slaughter sent
As round each angle chased Battalions went.
Whilst British wrath pursued them as they fled,
Copts, Druzes, Arabs, track’d them by their dead.220
Egypt they sought, the future hapless stage
For fruitless enterprise and gallic rage.
From rescued Asia thus the french chief flies,
His Afric Laurel thus in Asia dies!
All chance of sanguine march through which is marr’d,
The Path of Alexander! thus is barr’d,
’Gainst him who hoped to march to India’s plains,
To every Court where Eastern Britain reigns,
To every Mart her Commerce makes its own
Beneath proud traders reigning from a Throne!230 287 T8r 287
—As, pierced remotely in a fruitful limb,
The purple jewels of the vine are dim,
Its clusters shrink, its ruddy drops exude,
And, through its branch, the trunk itself’s subdued,
So Britain’s strength, though shunn’d on Britain’s plain.
Inflicting distant wounds his daring thoughts would drain.
Whilst Rocks and Oceans borne on æther fly,
Roll their huge forms and glide amidst the sky,
If Bright Celestials e’er the Earth pursue,239
Gazing! as man’s unsanction’d schemes catch view,
Smile, as the Wisdom of the mighty fails,
And mark grave Error as he haughty sails,
Ne’er fail’d a wilder purpose to their view,
Since midst the air the stranger Earth first flew,
Curved by Attraction into circling race,
As forth it sprang amidst th’ Abyss of space,
Ne’er known a vaster project melt away
Than this great scheme of many a frenzied day!
Sidney! with Bonaparte’s expiring sigh,
On Thee will still be fixed his mental eye!250
For none before e’er stain’d his martial fame
By flight inglorious coupled with his name.
Thus, these famed Troops, with all their vaunted Skill,
’Gainst British Tars on shore! were Frenchmen still.
Ah!—why not english tactics always plann’d
For either warfare, that of Sea or Land?
The dress, a mingled Uniform, might show
On Land or Sea they meet their country’s foe!
Their Realm high water mark on every strand,
O’erleapt when Justice summons to the land.260
Can warlike prowess, shown, midst Ocean’s roar,
Desert the Hero on descent on shore!
In skilful Slander french finesse is shown,
England take rank as naval power alone!
That, Land or Sea, alike she beats her foes
The Tale Of England’s Warlike Spirit shows:
Whilst War raged solely o’er the Continent,
And, in highways to Forts, its fury spent,
How then fought England? Cressy! Poictiers! say,
And Agincourt!—high Themes for Poet’s Lay.270
What Victories these! They not, as Gallia’s, shine
By double numbers to refresh the Line!
England’s victorious fighting treble foes,
Not strength of Number, force of Valour, shows.
When, in the constant changes of the World,
To Colonies all nations sails unfurled,289 U1r 289
To war’s new objects Seas were now highways,
That England’s naval now—is loftiest praise!
Her Soldiers, quickly gliding o’er the seas,
With Genius versatile The Trident seize,280
French narrow genius from th’ adventure shrinks,
Tries the new Element, at length, and sinks!
To Land the Battle shifts, Mars rules once more,
Our Heroes blithly spring again on Shore!
Their Military Genius mean time waned?
How’s this? Has Sloth their antient prowess stain’d!
Does modern history show degenerate race—
The Sons, not even to their Sires! give place.
Through Europe, widely Marlborough’s praises roam,
Wolfe’s in America for France driven home!290
They’re driven from Egypt! Afric sounds our fame,
In Asia major India joins th’ acclaim.
Shouts for our Victories, from each Quarter rise,
In Asia minor—list! How Acre’s reach the Skies!
Delight and Gratitude the bosoms swell
Of all that o’er the rescued regions dwell,
Peace soothing Sovereign now again is their’s,
With all her Joys and interesting cares.
No more the dreaded Camp morn’s streaks disclose,
Or thwart the night the mutter’d Watch-word flows,Vol. III. U 290 U1v 290
No pickets hid in sombre shades relieve,
No foreign accent challenges—qui vive?
The distant hum, the clang of Arms, are past,
And Morn and Eve have varied calls at last.
Damascus gratefully the sceptre own’d
Of Peace by England thus again enthroned.
No more towards them Kleber’s troops will wind,
Along Abana’s streams by Balm-Groves lined,
Or Pharphar’s waves which swiftly dart along,
Through borders Art’s and Nature’s gifts enthrong,
As rich Cadambras, marble Cones, arise
And glimpse their features as the water flies.
The Sacred Regions! where rapt beings trod,
Who held entranced communion with their God,
Where, awed and thrill’d with heaven’s immediate fire,
The Prophet-Poets struck the hallow’d Lyre,
Where, rapt in Vision, years in moments flew,
Whilst unborn Ages passed for their review;
Thrones, not yet raised! decaying in their sight,
Great Empires blazing, glimmering into Night!
The Syrian troops at leisure journey home,
In Spice-woods loiter, and midst Cedars roam,
Where scents of Amra trees their sweets exhale,
Imparting perfume to the passing gale.291 U2r 291
Now through a Citron-grove delighted march,
Or fragrant aisles which Myrtles overarch,
Whose Flowers hang o’er the Sabre’s dreadful edge,
As Mars and Flora peaceful marriage pledge.
He, who his Daughter’s agonies withstood,
Elcanor, pious, valorous, and good,330
By safe return awakes again their bliss
As once more greeted with a Parent’s kiss.
In joyful cheeks the smiling dimples rise,
And blithesome pleasure future Care defies!
With them he yields his mind to placid joy,
And tranquil graceful cares their lives employ.
Danger no more, they rove through prostrate Dells,
Up Slopes of Palm, or o’er the verdant swells,
Whence Christian Towns and Monastries around
Enrich the view and consecrate the ground!
From their deep Shades are heard, at midnight hours,
Rising from forth the tall aspiring Towers,
the Hymns slow notes, as heaven-ward they ascend,
And sweet Enchantment to the Scenery lend.
The scoffing Turk is awed as round he treads,
And to disturb the holy concert dreads.
The following night, again he steals along,
And lists to catch the soul-inspiring song,U2 292 U2v 292
The wish’d for tones awake, sublime and clear,
He bends his head and every sense is ear.350
At length, o’ercome, the rapturous tears effuse,
And glitter on his cheek like Hermon’s dews.
A Proselyte half formed he moves away,
But, oft returns, and greets the closing day,
Which leads him ever to the hallow’d bounds
Where all his Soul’s absorbed in sacred sounds!
The British Chief departs now from the plain,
His Fleet, midst Acre’s shouts, glides o’er the Main.
To view the glowing sails all still attend,
As, by the Sun illumin’d, they descend,360
Incessant Blessings greet him from the shore—
Acre’s all grief when seen the mast no more!
Still, still, they search his course with straining eyes,
And shout their grateful praise across the skies.
—With fond regret his footsteps oft they tread,
Invoking Joys on their deliverer’s head,
Point out where first he moor’d, where first he stood,
The greeted messenger of every good,
Speak to their children of his air his voice,
And shew the Home dinstinguish’d by his choice.
Thus, when pale Pestilence afflicts the Earth,
And every breeze gives fresh Distemper birth,293 U3r 293
Health’s Angel, sent from Heaven, with balmy wings
Elastic through the Empyrean springs.
His healing pinions fan the boundless way,
Pass bordering Systems, brilliant midst the day,
Until o’er Earth the beauteous Vision shines,
Sails through the air—and as it moves refines!
As glowing vapours all around him sail,
His form, all beam, illumined web-works veil,380
Conceal’d midst these, on gold-fret clouds he rides,
And o’er the regions of Contagion glides,
On suffering Provinces his vial drains,
Supplies new strength, and mitigates their pains.
—His task performed, the Heaven-sent darts away,
To other realms he bears his healing ray,
But, though he thus recedes, a shining train
Of lingering precious lights will long behind remain!
Written on Returning From a Party, in Which It Was Spoken Lightly of As a Study For a Gentleman.
That Chemic Labours studious hours beguile
Who shall contemn? or hear, with haughty smile,
That forth retorts and tubes new matter flies,
Rests in Receivers, or ascends the Skies!
Though ne’er personified were Chemic Powers,
In Heathen Temples, or in Druid Bowers,
Though ne’er on Altars were inscribed their name,
To them ne’er Column rose, nor Sacred Flame,
Though Greece and Egypt, bending e’en to clods,
Gave them no niche amidst their myriad gods,
Nor even Poetry hath Tablet given
To speak them, as they are, chief ministers of Heaven!296 U4v 296
Yet, Chemic Powers, to you I raise my song,
My Numbers dedicate that pour along.
Second Creators! ’tis your mighty sway
Gives Ætna’s terrors, and its splendid ray,
Blanches the Polar scenes, imparts the glare
Of Northern Light that trembles through the air!
Beneath the Earth, its ponderous Strata too,
Its Gold, its Diamonds, are illumed by you.
But, you yet teem with Themes of higher worth,
Still greater Wonders owe to you their birth!
The Universal Menstruum’s piercing beam,
Of which wan Sages read, discourse, and dream,
Is only you! you the pervading Ens
Whose subtile fluid with all Nature blends.
On Earth, no Plant but by your influence rose,
From loftiest Palms, to lowliest Herb that grows,
The herb, thus rais’d, sustains with fragrant juice
The creatures Heaven destined for our use.
Thus Man’s at length sustain’d! with blood supplied
To swell his veins and through each artery glide.
From various orders, Form, and Tastes, it came,
Concocted and sublimed by Chemic Flame,
And o’er the frame extends its balmy course,
The form enlarges, gives each sinew force,297 U5r 297
Mounts upward to the Brain, the Nerves attains,
Refines as flowing, and each Sense sustains,
The beams bestows that gleam in Woman’s eye,
And tints the blushes that arrive and fly!
The Chemic agency I still pursue!
And in its last, sublimest, office view.
The human frame, improved thus every hour,
Sustains now flights of Intellectual power!
Supports the Mind, that dares the starry way
Illumed and guided by the Problem’s ray,
His mind sustain’d, who saw conceived the whole,
Retain’d, for all men’s weal, a Newton’s Soul!
Its highest Office! Rich Potosi’s Mines,
The Wealth the vast volcanic Globe confines,
The clearing Whirlwind’s roar, the Earthquake’s throe,
The Wonders midst the troublous Deep below,
Each Grandeur, Beauty, which o’er Earth we find,
How far inferior all—to fostering Newton’s Mind!
Regrets, and Consolations, at Its Approach.
On Removing From a Summer Room With a View Towards a Garden, to a Winter Room, With a View Towards the Street.
The Poet’s wand can make interesting the most trifling incident. It is a Creator; it touches an Atom, a World springs forth!
Sweet Laurels, Poplars, Shrubs, Adieu!
The Season bids—I’m lost to you!
To sooth the thought we part so soon,
And chear my mind, I’ll instant tune
My pendant Lyre, which, long unstrung,
With drowsy Poppies hath been hung.
The Wreath Lethean off I pluck,
The Measure seize—the Chord is struck!
Our union fondly I’ll retrace,
Ah! as you wave with leafless grace,
Your rustling branches prompt my song,
The shrill winds but each note prolong,
Wild Minstrelsy the winds rehearse,
As wild, unshackled, be my Verse!
At my command ye hither came
From vulgar grounds without a name,
I planted, water’d, watch’d your youth,
And loved you with incessant truth.
Not as those love, who teach their eye
To glance a flattering treacherous lie,
Ah no! by all the powers of Rhyme,
I loved ye e’en beyond your prime,
Your waning charms, your sallow boughs,
Attached my cares, obtained my vows.
Poplars! I marked your spiral form,
Still lofty midst the louring storm,
Now, graceful o’er the tempest tower,
Now, bending, shed in gems the shower,
Then, rising, with the Moon-beam shine,
As set with Emeralds from the mine,
The Moon, whose Splendor clear and bright
With golden rays prevail’d o’er Night.
From cheering dreams, and sweet repose,
Each lustrous morn when I arose
If, hasty, o’er the stairs I flew,
It was, sweet trees, to look at you!
To see you on my windows play,
And o’er the Room your Shadows stray.
When Breakfast’s fragrant stream was pour’d,
In vain with News were Papers stored,
That Bonaparte strode over France,
And Europe led in fickle dance,
Forcing to hey, change sides, or set,
Monarchs who ne’er till then had met!
’Twas all, like—Paris Modes—passed by,
Nor half a minute caught my eye.
I ceased to read, forgot to sip,
Scarce Tea or Roll approach’d my lip
From frequent Pause, to look at you
All bright with bloom and morning dew.
Sweet Shrubs! each vernal month that passed
Beheld ye fairer than the last.
To tend you was my Summer’s toil,
As Suns drew juices from the soil
And made them rise within your rind
Leaving their coarser dregs behind;301 U7r 301
Bestowing Organs, breathing pores,
By Breezes nurtur’d from the shores
Whose strong vibrations quick propel
The mounting sap from cell to cell.
’Twas thus you rose to lofty height,
Imbibing sustenance from Light,
Celestial food bestowed on plants,
To give the hue which all enchants.
When first the Nymph of Eden’s bowers,
Awoke to Life, and bloom’d midst Flowers,
As she surveyed her blest abode,
Each nerve with thrilling pleasure glowed!
She rose, and graceful trod the earth
Thus gifted with a second birth.
Beauty on beauty charmed her eye.
The mount far off, the River nigh,
The morning Sun ascending slow,
The hues above, the tints below.
As Aloes, Sycamores, she found,
And Myrtles shedding Odours round,
Beheld Palmettos dart so high
They seem’d ascending to the sky,
Groves pendent with unfading Flowers,
Unknown but in fair Eden’s bowers,302 U7v 302
She felt She was with keener zest,
And stood entranced, entranced and blest,
Rapture succeeded Wonder’s place,
And fervent Transport beam’d her face!
—Near half the bliss of Eve divine,
Ye Poplars, Laurels, hath been mine,
Nay, I had joys, to her unknown,
A Planter’s joys were all my own!
But, now!—to dull December street
I lingering move, with wavering feet—
December street! but how endure
Your filthy state, your air impure,
Your Patten’s clink, your Gutter’s rush,
Whilst from the roofs vile torrents gush?
Horrid――But, see! to chear the hours,
Whilst spring no mists, whilst fall no showers,
The streets are graced with many a Belle—
Tis dull no longer here to dwell!
The Sisters Walker glide along,
Round whom such varied graces throng,
Distinct each Character, and Mind,
To no one Model all confined.
The Carews like Geranium glow,
Immingled with the Lilly’s snow,303 U8r 303
Revive the graces of the Dame Lady Carew, of Tiverton Castle.
From whom the lovely Damsels came,
Deck unsun’d streets with Beauty’s ray,
And render blithe the wintery way!
See Owen too before me move,
The widow’d Fair with eye of Dove!
And Strong, whose soft transparent frame,
Made Hymen rouse, his torches flame.
When Forms, like these, delight the view,
Ye Laurels, Poplars, what are you!
No longer now, sweet trees, I grieve
Your shaded room your haunts to leave!
Whilst falls no hail, or driving sleets,
I welcome deck’d December’s Streets!
A Charity Hymn.
What formed the Globe? what bade the Sun,
Whilst rapid Planets round him run,
In Splendor o’er them shine?
What sent the Spring to clothe the Earth?
What gave the Bounteous Autumn birth?
’Twas Charity Divine!
What gave to man Immortal Soul?
To whose wing’d Thought forms no controul
Creation’s boundary Line!
What sent a God, that soul to gain,
And save it from Eternal Pain,
But Charity Divine?
Ah! Ye who now these Mercies own,
And, grateful, bend before His Throne
Who lets not You repine,
Extend your mercy to our prayers,
Save us from Want’s too powerful snares!
By Charity Divine!
Such deeds will please beyond the Skies,
Such acts will e’en to Heaven arise,
If you, with Hearts benign,
And aiding hands, and ardent zeal,
Your proof of Love to Heaven seal
By Charity Divine!
The Lame Youth. The Gentleman alluded to in this Poem, who is now no more, had been subject to acute pains and lameness from early life. The Poem is said to have been intended as a gentle corrective of the ruffled Temper which sometimes thence ensued.
A Fairy Tale.
Faint rose o’er yonder hoary Tower
The silver crescent of the moon,
Not reaching yet her brilliant noon
For scarce had Day resigned the hour.
It threw its beams across the Vale,
Since that mild eve more moons have rolled
Than six and twenty years e’er told,
But, let us hasten to the Tale!
Queen Mab from forth her gold-cup bed
Leapt lightly on the scented earth;
Her fresh waked Spirits teem’d with Mirth,
And troops of sportive Fais she led.
On beauteous Insects quick they sat,
And chased Ephem’ri o’er the banks,
Then gravely march’d through Barley ranks,
Or drove to rest the drowsy Gnat.
When lo! on his paternal Lawn
The loveliest Child her Greatness spied!
In sportive circles, charmed, they glide,
And bounding like the woodland Fawn.
Behold, she said, this charming Boy!
View his beauteous ringlet Hair;
This rose-dew shall confirm him fair,
I give him Taste, I grant him Joy!
The Princely Oberon stole near;
Too much like mortal Husbands, he,
Too much like mortal Ladies, she,
It was not always Dove! and Dear!
So Princess! thus, at rising Night,
You ever quit your day retreat,
Mere Mortal’s infant sure to meet,
And torture my offended sight.
Perverse one, see! he gruffly cried,
Your bounteous Gifts I thus destroy;
I touch his frame—behold your Boy!
Dare not a Husband’s power deride.
At the stern Angel’s strong arrest
The Patriarch’s firm sinew shrunk
In torturous pain the muscles sunk
Of him the Fairy Queen had blessed!
She wept! she scream’d! she tore her locks,
The Echoes seized her rending sighs,
And quickly sent them to the skies,
Or bore them ’gainst resounding rocks.
Monster! she cried in fiercest screech,
That deed malicious I thus meet,
I give him Smiles, and Features sweet,
And Wit, and fascinating Speech.
Contempt fierce Oberon expressed;
Yet still, he said, my power thou’lt own,
Thou Vixen partner of my throne,
And feel my Anger is not Jest!
The Smiles, and Wit, and Speech, thou’st given,
I powerless make. His Heart shall swell,
And there reserved Hauteur shall dwell,
Shifting Caprice, and will uneven.
Ah! sobbed the Queen, Barbarian! Wretch!
Thy Power, alas! I long have known,
Always to thwart me is it shown,
To grieve me ever on the stretch.
Her Tears—what Favorite weeps in vain!
Subdued the Elfin monarch’s ire,
Assuaged was all his wrathful fire,
And thus he sooth’d the royal pain.
Queen of my Heart! suppress those sighs
Spite of marr’d Symmetry I swear,
Spite of Caprice, and haughty air,
This urchin, Age and Youth shall prize.
My peach-lip’d Mab ’tis wrong to vex!
And, malgré all the Ills I gave,
This chosen, gifted, child shall have
More claims to please than half his sex.
When thy gifts reign, he’ll always please,
When Wit, Smiles, Sweetness light his face,
And eloquence unfolds its grace.
Should he to my reign yield, and teaze,
If he’s capricious, if he’s vain,
A frowning Sprite shall start to sight,
Whom Gnomes and Pigmies taught to write,
Ne’er vaunted Muse bestowed her Strain!
Sans Mercy, she shall goad his mind,
And gabble forth her words in haste,
By no smooth pause, no cadence, braced,
Wild as her walk, and unconfined.
Such sprites are mission’d to restrain
The smaller crimes of savage man,
That still elude the Law’s wide span,
Though giving wounds, inflicting pain!
With utmost rage she’ll swiftly dash
In Aconite her eager quill,
Abuse him with her utmost skill,
Prepare for every fault a lash.
A lovely Maid, of high descent,
Not yet divulged to Earth and day,
Shall guard, and make him con, the Lay,
Till of his sin he shall repent.
Carew, ’mongst mortals she’ll be named,
And Heralds shall her Grand-sires trace,
From english Belles of distant race,
And noble Knights for courage famed.
The ancient Castle of her Sire,
Shall many a filial Damsel boast,
Each Sister see a Rival Toast,
And each her Rival shall admire!
There too, where brilliant Virtues shine,
The Matron Beauty shall preside,
The Mansion’s star, the Master’s Bride,
A Model to her future Line!
When firm in manhood, if the child
Shall cherish only thy rich boon,
And all, I gave, assiduous prune,
They’ll hail him—bless’d of Mab the mild!
But, when he turns, sweet Mab! from thee,
And yields him to the mental foe
He forth his soul should strive to throw,
He then fierce Oberon’s shall be!
Nor shall the Castle Sylphs display
Whilst thus he yields, one chearing Smile!
No glance his gloomy hours shall guile,
But frowns corrective shall dismay!
The Queen ceased pouting, grew more calm,
Again caress’d th’ unconscious child,
Then, darted to a distant wild,
To bathe in soothing lunar balm.
But, every year she once returns,
To watch her object through a day,
To lure him from her husband’s sway,
And oft her eye with Pleasure burns!
But, when she finds he sinks to be
The Being Oberon designed,
Her little Fais, with pains refined
His Ankle grasp, invest his knee!
His bed in ardent pain is press’d
In many a torturous turn-about!
His Servants say he has the Gout,
But little Fais enjoy the Jest!
A Summons to Painting.
Think Charles The Reverend Charles Strong, Fellow of Wad: Coll: now Rector of Broughton Gifford Wilts. how seriously you vowed
Amongst Cassino’s anxious crowd,
Midst Boys, and Girls, and Matron-Belles,
And youths from grim collegiate cells,
That you’d oblige me, without feint,
And come, my Cabinet to paint.
Now should your indolence or pleasure
Waste moments Oxford gives for leisure,
Should you refuse me and declare
That you mean nothing when you swear,
May College-Warden call you hence
In spite of every fair Pretence!
Whilst here, staid Belles shall shut their doors,
And Whist, Cassino, ne’er be your’s.
Or may’st thou, dull through festive night,
But beat the Tambourine, and slight
Each deign’d request, each sweet advance,
To lure you to the buoyant Dance!
Though Lardner, our Del Caro toe,
Though Wood, smooth bounding like the roe,
Nay Duntze, with steps and air all Grace,
And Dennys with her smiling face,
Should these all beckon, thou shalt sit,
Midst Beauty yawning, deaf to Wit,
And rub, and jingle, twirl, and thumb,
With arm fatigued, and finger numb!
Culprit! my malediction shun,
Or fiercer threats your ear shall stun,
To my spoiled Cabinet repair,
Obliterate its vulgar glare!
Each vile compartment, at your thought,
Shall fade, and sink again to naught.
Then, in charmed circle take your stand,
Sketch with Taste’s selecting hand;
Copy the timid modest Flowers
With which Spring first decks Maia’s bowers,316 X6v 316
Or trace a Goldfinch, let his bill
Seem opening with his Matin trill,
To float, midst Jasmines, warbling song,
Or where some pensile Willows throng,
Whose sweeping and attractive Shade
Seems for soft tears and pensive sorrow made.
Or, in your rage for the Antique,
Give us some Ruin, grey and sleek,
Each angle picturesqued by Time,
As tinted mosses each way climb.
Give us some Tower’s eternal Shade!
Or some drear Abbey’s ghost-trod glade,
Some Bridge, that grasps opposing shores,
Some Rock, o’er which a Cataract pours!
Or, show how Rhine its fierce waves drags,
Midst piled, o’erhanging, frowning, crags,
O’er which th’ Oak’s massy pillar heaves
Sublime the region of its leaves.
Sketch one that, deeply wounded, cracks
Though long withstood the ponderous axe,
And, Monarch of the centuried Wood,
O’er Rocks now plunges to the flood,
To drive swoln waves against the shore
In deepning murmurs long to roar.
From distant skies, with grandeur due,
Wild Scenery rushing on the view,
Attempt a solemn Evening sky,
Where forky deaths on Missions fly!
Pile massy clouds, all tempest driven
Athwart the mighty map of Heaven.
Let vivid breaks of blueish fire
Rush where the clouds from clouds retire,
And show, upon the Heath below,
Some touching scene of human woe!
Or from some Rock impel a Sire,
Whilst flames, that form his funeral pyre,
Display above some Mother wild
Grasping her lightning-stricken Child!
Let Drapery, all illumined, float,
Her arm, forth stretch’d, Despair denote,
And let her fixed and frenzied eye
Glance, almost, anger to the sky.
Are these too serious? Please your Will,
Obey its whims, awake your skill!
Nature and Art’s before you spread,
And midst their Miracles you tread!
Then give Imagination rein,
Nor any Flight of her’s restrain,
Oh! how I love her boldest flights,
In all she frames my Soul delights!
Imagination erst fulfilled
The vast Creation the Almighty will’d!
Formed from dim Chaos all we know,
The heavenly heights, the deeps below,
Bade the swift Planets upwards spring,
And glide within the Solar ring,
With Worlds strewed o’er the Milky Road,
And gave a Universe abode!
With milder beam, with gentler rays,
Within our little Orb it plays.
Trim Logic only hates its light,
And Demonstration, surly Wight!
Imagination chiefly gives
The Charm which in each Beauty lives.
But this, what gives to Senates glow,
To Pitt his Period’s vivid flow?
But this, what aids the Hero’s fire,
And makes sublime his deathful ire?
This is the Spell which life adorns,
And pleasures mingles with its thorns,
This the distinction Heaven bestows
On flaming Seraphs, this that glows319 X8r 319
And makes the difference, vast to scan!
’Twixt them, and earthly sordid Man.
The Theme, so fruitful, asks the Muse,
A time the waning hours refuse,
Its Attributes would Pages swell—
Enough! to them, and you, farewell!
To A Friend The Lady of the Reverend John West Carew, of Bickleigh Devon; first married to the Reverend John Newte,, of Tidcombe Devon.
After Her Second Marriage.
In measure flowing, bold, or terse,
To hitch you in the Spells of Verse,
I’ve tried, Eliza, oft at Morn,
And when the Stars the eve adorn,
When from the North chill Winter fell,
With loud, continuous, horrid yell,
And when in silver tones the Spring
Bade joy arise, and nature sing—
Some fatal Charm was doubtless in it,
I ne’er could catch you for a minute!
And will my pen then only pay
To giddy Youth the frolic lay?
And will my hand delay a strain
To one whose youth’s triumphant reign
Was felt by every swain around
Who all in Beauty’s Charm were bound!
On what new Trifle will it waste,
Imputed skill, imputed taste?
Alas! my stubborn, wayward, quill
Is ne’er obedient to my Will!
Conscience will stir! it stirs my hand,
To scribble Truth!—it can’t withstand!—
Impetuous, ardent, is your mind,
Almost to Agony refined
By cherish’d Feeling. In your spite
Your pen thus, conscience-stirred, will write!
If, Poet weak! you fail your Theme,
If through the verse no sparkling gleam
Of Wit and Fancy can be found,
No well turned phrase, no thought profound,
If Reason fail, if Numbers halt,
Why to your Pen impute the fault!
All, you directed, it hath done,
And, in the track you prompted, run.Vol. III. Y 322 Y1v 322
Tyrant! it longs to quit thy yoke—
Yet come! some sing-song Sprite invoke,
Look upwards to the golden air,
And breathe a fond invoking prayer;
Poetic Genii may descend,
O’er you their brilliant pinions bend,
New inspiration may impart,
Awake your Mind, excite your Heart,
Aid you due praises to bestow,
With Truth’s firm hand, with Friendship’s glow,
On her whose youth by Love was crown’d,
In whom sweet Beauty’s Lines were found.
Ah! surely I have known you fair,
As though your food were lucid air,
Have seen your kindled spirits fly,
Dart in blue flames from either eye,
Nor vainly did the lightnings fly
Shot without aim from either eye,
To every glance was Worship paid,
Ere veil’d beneath its fringed shade.
Enchantment lived where’er you trod,
The pleasures waited on your nod,
The Virtues too your track pursued,
And in your acts their Influence viewed!323 Y2r 323
Thus did your early Lustres glide
Ere came the year that hail’d you Bride!
And thus you led your married life,
A blest, adored, adoring, Wife.
How little prized all I could say!
You fired a Classic Husband’s Lay!
Who filled a Volume to your name,
And gave each separate Grace its fame.
My verse can little charm your ear,
Will cause no thrill, will swell no tear,
Ah! to a Married Lover’s Lyre,
Faint is each other’s Harp and cold its fire!
But, Heaven at length to you decreed
Its highest boon, a trying meed;
Assay’d with Sorrow! bade the dart
Wound, deeply wound, your widow’d Heart.
Grief so intense, still, but refined
The heart thus tried! and gave your mind
A softer shade, more tender tone,
As flowed for him the pensive moan,
Who greater Joy could never find
Than, pleasing task! t’enrich your mind
With every added charm and grace
For which there yet remained a place.
If the first Artist of the day
In full Perfection to array324 Y2v 324
A favorite Portrait of the age
With necromantic art engage,
He blends his tints, his hues he spreads,
And, rapt, before the Beauty treads,
Excited by a fire divine
Gives Sense in every added line!
In all the splendor he conceives
The colours stand; he next believes
A mellowed shade hung o’er the whole
Would bring it nearer to the Soul,
The shade is given, the work is done,
Immortal as the rolling Sun.
Such finish Newte bestowed on you,
Watch’d the sweet progress as it grew,
Then, left the blessing to Carew!
Again doth Hymen grace your life,
Again you live an honour’d Wife.
Serenest days, the filial kiss,
With sweet domestic chearful bliss,
Enliven each succeeding morn
No longer pensive and forlorn.
Again a Husband’s taste you prove,
With Learning soften’d down by Love,
No purer joy can e’er arise
To being favoured from the Skies!
An Epistle Remonstrative.
To a Lady. Miss Walker. Now the Lady of the Reverend John Browne of Tiverton.
Last night, when hurrying up the hill
The Chairmen at your nod stood still,
Like Statues fixed were they erect,
And doff’d their hats in mute respect—
What now? thought I—what’s all this state?
Why must I linger here so late?
Whist and Cassino, I not there,
Now all their Mysteries prepare.
As your fair face approached the glass!
Presto! my angry feelings pass.
After short chat, you promised, smiling,
(Nor thought I once you were beguiling!)326 Y3v 326
That on next morn you’d pass an hour
With me embosomed in my bower.
A mind so pure, chastised, and nice,
Should ne’er indulge that petty vice
In sordid bosoms often found;
Where those fine feelings ne’er abound
Bestowed on you by Nature’s hand,
And Education’s wizard wand.
—Thee Education! I adore
Fountain of Morals and of Lore;
Heaven’s own hand-maid, ’tis thy throne
That rules the prostrate world alone.
Good night, we cry, Adieu—Adieu!
And off again the Chairmen flew.
Up stairs I ran, and there, behold,
Oh! such a scene I could unfold
Of gew-gaw cards, without one Beau,
And Ladies seated in a row,
Composed of married Belles and single
Whose tongues and pursed join’d in jingle!
Five Points I pay, you owe me Seven,
There’s one for you, which makes us even.
We’ll cut again. ’Tis all the same
Whoe’er cuts me her Luck will blame!
But why the Order pass’d to close
The doors that night against the Beaus?
All fine-spun snares were thrown away,
The Bonnets, Caps, and Draperies gay,
The richest Work, the lengthen’d train
Were plann’d, and shaped, and worn, in vain!
No matter! we’d what pleased us more,
Rich Orangeade in plenteous store,
Which Juno midst her Stars might drink,
And richer than her Nectar think.
Had Circe owned the precious cup,
Wise Ithacus had drunk it up,
Nor fear’d to be the Swineherds’ prey,
Nor turned his trembling lip away!
Next morn to gardening I went,
With man and maids; Morn’s oft thus spent.
Towards me thinking you might roam
And start at finding none at home,
I said—Oh no! I will not shock her,
I’ll place a Ticket ’neath the knocker,
To say—Pray ope the door and enter;
Message more plain I could not venture.
Of Ills unconscious me awaiting
E’en from the trap that I’d been baiting!328 Y4v 328
I, eager, to the Garden fly,
Enjoying the benignant Sky,
Which gave my Spirits lofty flight,
And made our labours seem so light!
Now, all my succours pleased I lend
To teach the stranger walk to bend,
The Gard’ner’s labour I confine
To form its course in curving line,
Where Pinks Carnation’s glories share
And shake their fragrance on the air,
Now praise his skill, and now decry—
When, sudden on my wondering eye
Rush half the Town within my wicket,
Attracted by my dubious Ticket!
Labour’s suspended, Work is o’er
And oh! what mischiefs I deplore!
Some over hills of gravel stumble,
Others amidst the fresh mold tumble.
Here they smile, and there they shriek,
This one looks grave, that aids some freak,
Crash go the Trees, Acacias fall,
Young Mountain-ashes, Syc’mores, all!
Moss-rose shrubs, Lychnis, Jess’mines mix—
I wish’d th’ intruders on the Styx,329 Y5r 329
Yet laugh, and curtsey, and declare
They never were so welcome there!
But You! oh, false one! never came!
But Luck, to shelter you from blame,
Had placed your Mother in the Van—
’Twas well for you, Miss Mary Anne!
Your Mother’s soothing form I glanced,
All anger fled as She advanced!
Her voice of Harmony to hear
I’d close my eyes and blind appear,
No! harmony is in her face,
Where glides, midst dimples, matron grace.
It is that air, that voice, those smiles,
That lured back health, by sweetest wiles!
To him who, dearer than his life,
Owns her, with joy, his matchless wife.
Still may that dulcet voice, those smiles,
Secure him health by sweetest wiles!
Her Form be o’er him still inclined,
Conveying Comfort to his mind!
Now, that these sheets of flirt so full
May not all trifling seem and dull,
A Golden Rule shall close the last,
Anne! let your Memory grasp it fast—330 Y5v 330
Your Word, once given’s a hallowed pact,
Dare not forget it, or retract;
It is a Bond in Virtue’s mart,
That pledges Sentiment and Heart!
To a Lady.
Who Said You only flatter me You would not put your Name to what you say.
When from the lip a glowing Thought
In rapid words would burst away,
Why should a torpid Pen be sought,
To keep it, wavering, through the day!
Warm from the Heart, Thought dreads no test
Of critic ear that sifts the sound,
The Eye, the Manner, give it Zest,
The Language need not be profound.
But to the Pen the thought resigned,
How flat, how poor, the Language crawls!
Your search in vain a Glow to find,
Each word is cold, each period drawls.
I only said that, when with You,
Improved, amused, the moments stole,
That you had Mind, and that you drew
From Nature’s bank within your soul.
What did I say that should compel
My Pen to fix it for the Eye?
Why on clear Truth for ever dwell?
As well write—Stars are in the Sky!
To pen such Truisms I hate,
For I a Poet was decreed,
And the firm voice of Sovereign Fate
Bade Fiction crown me with its Meed.
One Truth my pen shall still attest,
Though jealous Fiction frown the while,
That those who know you prize the best,
And all invoke your friendly smile!
The House of Braganza.
Written on the Departure of the Royal Family of Portugal
The following Poem is one of those found amongst the Author’s papers. It is clear, from the Event it celebrates, that it was written but a short time before her Decease. In a Note the Authoer states, that is was commenced instantly on receiving a Poem on the Death of Lord Nelson, published two years after the decease of the Hero—to this the commencement alludes.
The Papers of the day were announcing the Departure of the Queen, the Prince, and the rest of the Braganza Family for South America, and that the Fleet was dispersed in a Storm.
Liveliness dictated the Measure of the earlier lines. It is clear that the very serious turn the Poem would take was not foreseen. It will be observed that, at Line 33, the measure abruptly changes to the Heroic. On this the Author made the following Note—
I know not what to say about the altered Measure of the Verse, into which my pen slipt without giving me the least notice. If it is not an actual Beauty, it is a serious Fault. I can only say that the Measure was governed by the Subject, and it was its swelling Interest that led me into the Error, I was unconscious of it.
In the first sketches of her Poems, she not infrequently fell into such Errors, accepting the licence so to call them. The Author in this Note was writing Prose; had she been writing Poetry she would have called it Inspiration!
What! Lines on Nelson’s ghost again!
Why not run back to Blenheim’s plain,
And dig a Hero from its Turf?
Or call brave Hosier from the surf,
Or John O’Gaunt raise up once more,
Or Cæsar, who on Tiber’s shore
Made such a crash that every Muse
Sprung up at once, and all the Crews
Of Bards and Bardlings round their Hill
Sung he out-did the Son of Phil!
Why the oft beaten track pursue?
And slowly twine a withering Yew
For one by every Witling sung,
By Maids and Widows, Old, and Young,336 Y8v 336
For one whose trite, oft-chaunted, ditty
At length annoys both dull and witty!
’Tis but a new-born Theme sublime
Can e’er inspire the mystic Rhyme,
That starts the latent prison’d tear,
Bids ardors flame, or chills with fear,
Gains empire o’er the tranced Soul,
And holds the Passions in controul!
The true Bard doth, with lightning ray,
Point out, the Object for the day,
Rushes before the voice of Fame,
Lifting on high some chosen name,
Which must be honoured must be proud,
Because the Poet so hath vow’d!
Some Bard inspired! look forth and see
A lofty Thesis start to thee!
Mark with thine eye the boisterous surge,
Where Royal Squadrons cautious urge
Their awful flight! Oh, trace their foamy course,
And all thy Genius to the subject force.
Nor fear thou’rt tasked but with a darkling theme,
To Time’s last Wonders will its Splendors stream!
Not harrass’d thus sailed Egypt’s guilty Queen!
With silken sails She skim’d the seas serene,337 Z1r 337
Lisbon’s pale Queen toils on by Tempest tost,
Of Crown bereft, and e’en her Country lost.
His Sire, from Tyrant power, Æneas bore,
Her Son transports her to a safer shore—
Ah! in fell rage did Grecian Powers employ
Their savage wiles to desolate proud Troy?
Still doth a Greek descendent scourge the World,
O’er half Earth’s ramparts are his Flags unfurled,
Empires beneath them bow, with mutter’d groans,
As he seats Murderers on their ancient Thrones!
But, Lusitanians breathe not to complain,
They launch their Fleets, and dare the boisterous Main.
The boisterous Main, in all its horrors drest,
Receives the victims on its turbid breast,
Who strain their eyes to Lisbon’s beauteous bay,
Till height’ning billows intercept each ray,
And, skreen’d by liquid sand, and thick’ning ooze,
Its beauteous Amphitheatre they lose.
In the mind’s eye the Fleet darts on, they land,
Where thundering Forts salute along the strand.
The Regal Wanderer, unsubdued by Toil,
Springs a new Sovereign on a loyal soil,
Sees Cities, Provinces, the Presence greet,
Sees a formed Nation at their Monarch’s feet,Vol. III. Z 338 Z1v 338
Whilst glow heroic, and tumultuous joy,
Inspire their Hearts, and every fear destroy.
Pass o’er the Noons to fresh enchantments given,
Nor dwell on midnight splendors, almost Heaven.
Stop not to paint gay Months, nay years pass by,
Dart o’er a Century a prescient eye.
Perceive to every European Art
Th’ enchanting Climate added Zest impart,
The Daughter graceful in her deck’d attire,
The Son instructed by his polish’d Sire.
See Europe’s Forms with Tropic whim combine,
In fond alliance through their desarts shine,
The graceful Union wake a local taste,
As Architecture decks each sandy waste.
Pilasters pierced festoons of carved-work fling
Round beauteous Villas as from earth they spring.
Polish’d, and tinted with cerulean dyes,
Pavilions roof’d with Cocoa-shells arise,
Whose Convex Forms such lovely Lightness know
As ne’er from strait-lined slopes was taught to flow.
Upwards through Chrystal tubes cold Fountains start,
And multiformed, as ever daring Art
Can new Ideas, wild or classic, frame,
Shapes rise which yet can boast nor life nor name.339 Z2r 339
Through late dry voids behold the riv’lets creep,
Or o’er the crag the living streamlets leap,
Dash down the Dell, quick from the shiver’d rock,
Or glide around and quench the red fleeced flock,
Whose fibry shag, filled by the sun’s strait beams,
Through the thick hour of zenith’d darkness gleams.
But ah! how much, how far beyond all these,
How far transcending Taste, and powers to please,
Is the blest gift th’ expatriate Soveriegn bears,
To Salvador’s rich coasts, and Rio’s heirs,
Oh! my Nerves thrill! all trembling, I refrain,
And my receding hand denies the strain!
Seize, Bard inspired! the Theme, and boldly show,
Whilst thy rapt mind is filled with pious glow,
The Hills where future holy Fanes will stand,
And fill with songs of Praise the Christian Land!
Altars, at which the Sacrifice is Prayer,
A Creed, which stamps lost man Heaven’s hallowed heir.
To raise Devotion to its noblest glow,
Grant every grandeur feeling can bestow.
The pealing Organ, swelling to the wind,
Will all its Stores of Harmony unbind,
Whilst Voices rich its Diapasons aid
In shades of matchless Melody arrayed,Z2 340 Z2v 340
And stranger-music to the Southern Pole,
In vollied streams, its airs sublime will roll!
And as the long benighted wake in Light,
All their coarse Orgies in eternal flight,
Point out their worship’d Sun assigned its place,
No more a Godhead, fill a Creature’s space,
Whilst bursts an Uncreated Sun around,
To pierce, with rays divine, the dark profound!
To show, on High, how sinners freed can pray,
Will rapid Seraphs wing their fragrant way;
On every Morn’s attenuated gale
Cherubic Messengers will bear the tale,
And to the raptured haunts of peopled Heaven
Recount triumphantly the bounties given.
Proclaim that Gentile Nations fast are won,
And wide established The Redeemer’s throne,
That the faint Indian, in the central Mine,
Is cheer’d by sacred writ and Hope divine,
Darts in his thoughts beyond his dreary home,
And, ruminates on bliss, amidst a breathing tomb.
For, even there, Angelic Harps may sound,
And heavenly music fill the Caverns round.
There, where the Diamond gains its restless Ray,
And chemic glow-worms shed refracted day,341 Z3r 341
Celestial Shades e’en thither may have hied,
And o’er the tesselated gems may glide,
Sweet Consolations breathing as they go
Imparting transports to the sons of woe!
Where through its regions can earth’s Surface boast
A Dome, like theirs, to lure th’ immortal host?
Whose buried labyrinths their wiles unfold,
Silver’d in viens, or corrugant with Gold.
Where doth one Palace, raised by Human Powers,
Own Ruby colonnades, or Emerald Bowers?
Are sparkling Roofs that nurture living Gems
Built near the Ganges? or the wealthier Thames?
Some teach Bright Beings glide in Upper Air,
Doth fixed Necessity confine them there?
Ah, no! through all the works of God they rove,
Fresh Wisdom gathering here, beneath, above,
Each Element Celestials claim and know,
In cold Glaciers dilate, and midst Vesuvius glow.
Thus may in Mines where Slaves pour forth the sigh
Descending Hosts of pitying Angels fly,
With Visions cheer them, soothing their distress,
And, with sweet Hopes, their hurried slumbers bless.
’Tis happiness on Earth, such bliss to hope,
And give exhilarating Prescience scope,342 Z3v 342
As the whole Soul is charged with Sacred Lore,
And Meditation heaven-ward makes us soar
To scan the vast events by Prophets told,
In time obscure bound up, in Ages roll’d.
They now, e’en now, unfold before our eyes,
Braganza with the glorious burthen flies!
They fly, unconscious of the heavenly load,
Nor feel impelled by Bethlehem’s Mighty God.
In vain the winds contend, the Tempests rave,
Through Bethlehem’s God! they triumph o’er the wave,
Braganza’s bark shall on the breakers sleep,
Though Satan stir the demons of the deep.
For as Th’ Incarnate spake in days of old,
He now begins to form his mighty Fold,
Whilst Hallelujahs through Heaven’s concave rise
Midst Systems hung successive through the skies
In Mercy guides his creatures to their Heaven,
Their Souls by faith sustain’d, their trespasses forgiven!
After Thaw-Flood. This Poem (the Author’s last!) was written after a great flood in Devon, a few weeks before her decease. She sent for the man whose loss it was designed to remedy, and who would not have directly begged, and prefixed this Poem to a Subscription Paper which she commenced. It procured him, for reading, from particular persons to whom he was sent, all the relief he wanted.
Give Grief and Age relief! a bed
That sorrow may repose its head!
The sportive winds sprang up on high,
With feathery snow played through the sky,
The earth was cloathed, the hills grew white,
The shrinking Vales gave gelid light,344 Z4v 344
The blanch’d Oak waved his hoary crown,
And shook his silver garland down.
Green wheat, just piercing through the ground
With tender blade from root profound,
A chilling element found there,
That check’d its rise to live in air.
That Spirit of dread Storms awoke,
The roaring winds their magic spoke,
Transformed to Torrents settled snow
And bade the dark brow’d tempests grow.
O’er Devon’s hills fierce waters gush’d,
And boisterous on the meadows rush’d,
They drench’d the Woodlands, choak’d the Plain,
Till all appeared one billowy Main.
Black clouds shot on in dread array,
And chased the last remains of day.
No spangled vault relieved the sight,
No soothing Moonlight graced the night,
But there the Pleiades were seen
Triumphant glittering and keen.
Old Thomas had some Goods, a Home,
Blest Charity uprear’d the dome!
His walls were bare, his floor was cold,
His food was scant, his garments old,345 Z5r 345
Yet, he complained not, he’d a Bed,
On which his weary limbs he spread,
To which consoling slumbers stole
To whisper Heaven to his Soul.
Now he was absent, and the Flood
By nothing earthly was withstood.
In billows vast and uncontrouled
Strait to his Cot it furious rolled;
Through boisterous waves he struggled sore,
But could not reach his lowly door,
Yet, near the spot he trembling stood,
To watch the mischiefs of the flood.
Nine hours his chilly post he kept,
Whilst round and round the whirlwind swept,
A watery death about was sprung
And to his aged figure clung,
Embraced him close, his bosom froze,
And higher higher still it rose.
All trembling, yet his ground he stood
To watch the mischiefs of the flood.
At Morn, the Spirit broke his Spell,
The winds grew calm, the deluge fell.
Close to his Cot Tom near’d his feet,
’Twas high delight, ’twas comfort sweet!346 Z5v 346
With Joy poor Thomas ope’d his door,
When lo! the pent up waters pour,
His hope to save his bed was foiled,
His Goods, his little stores, were spoiled!
Ye Rich! attend to Thomas’ Prayer,
Beauty! the old man’s loss repair,
Learning! be to his Miseries kind,
And Commerce! treasured stores unbind;
So shall each future fall of snow
Make your Minds thrill with chearful glow!
When lurid Norway’s blasts cause dread,
And mischiefs through the Island spread,
Each vulture wind’s most hideous yell
In your ears will prized Secrets tell!
And be as Music’s sweetest note,
Borne in the chearful Blackbird’s throat.
Then all restore! give Age a bed,
That sorrow may repose its head!
And here, closely on the very verge of her Life, and with this act, ended this Author’s works.—The following Tale could not with propriety be introduced in its chronological order amidst her other productions.