Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

Dim through the mist of twilight times
The ghost of Cyrus walks;
Behind him, red with glorious crimes,
The son of Ammon stalks.

Relentless Hannibal, in pride

Of sworn, fix'd hatred, lowers; Cæsar, 't is Brutus at his side,

In peerless grandeur towers.

With moonlight softness Helen's charms
Dissolve the spectred gloom,
The leading star of Greece in arms,
Portending Ilion's doom.

But Homer; see the bard arise! And hark! he strikes the lyre; The Dardan warriors lift their eyes, The Argive Chiefs respire,

And while his music rolls along, The towers of Troy sublime, Raised by the magic breath of song, Mock the destroyer, Time.

For still around the eternal walls
The storms of battle rage;
And Hector conquers, Hector falls,
Bewept in every age.

Genius of Homer! were it mine To track thy fiery car,

And in thy sun-set course to shine A radiant evening star,

What theme, what laurel might the Muse
Reclaim from ages fled?
What realm-restoring hero choose
To summon from the dead?

Yonder his shadow flits away:

-Thou shalt not thus depart; Stay, thou transcendent spirit, stay, And tell me who thou art!

"Tis Alfred-In the rolls of Fame,
And on a midnight page,
Blazes his broad refulgent name,
The watch-light of his age.

A Danish winter, from the north,
Howl'd o'er the British wild,
But Alfred, like the spring, brake forth,
And all the desert smiled.

Back to the deep he roll'd the waves,
By mad invasion hurl'd ;

His voice was liberty to slaves,
Defiance to the world.

And still that voice o'er land and sea
Shall Albion's foes appal;

The race of Alfred will be free;-
Hear it, and tremble, Gaul!

But lo! the phantoms fade in flight,
Like fears that cross the mind,
Like meteors gleaming through the night,
Like thunders on the wind.

2 C

[blocks in formation]

With swelling wings and shadowy pride,
A swan before the gale;
Deep-laden merchants rode behind :
-But, fearful of the fickle wind,
Britannia's cheek grew pale,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

-With syren strains, Circean art, To win the ear, beguile the heart, Wake the wild passions into rage, And please and prostitute the age?

No!-to the generous Bard belong Diviner themes and purer song: -To hail Religion from above, Descending in the form of Love, And pointing through a world of strife The narrow way that leads to life: -To pour the balm of heavenly rest Through Sorrow's agonizing breast; With Pity's tender arms embrace The orphans of a kindred race; And in one zone of concord bind The lawless spoilers of mankind : -To sing in numbers boldly free The wars and woes of liberty; The glory of her triumphs tell, Her nobler suffering when she fell,' Girt with the phalanx of the brave, Or widow'd on the patriot's grave, Which tyrants tremble to pass by, Ev'n on the car of Victory.

These are the Bard's sublimest views,
The angel-visions of the Muse,
That o'er his morning slumbers shine;
These are his themes,-and these were mine.
But pale Despondency, that stole

The light of gladness from my soul,
While youth and folly blindfold ran
The giddy circle up to Man,
Breathed a dark spirit through my lyre,
Dimm'd the noon radiance of my fire,
And cast a mournful evening hue
O'er every scene my fancy drew.
Then though the proud despised my strain,
It flow'd not from my heart in vain;
The lay of freedom, fervor, truth,
Was dear to undissembling youth,
From manly breasts drew generous sighs,
And Virtue's tears from Beauty's eyes.

My Song of Sorrow reach'd HER ear; She raised her languid head to hear, And, smiling in the arms of Death, She bless'd me with her latest breath.

A secret hand to me convey'd The thoughts of that inspiring Maid; They came like voices on the wind, Heard in the stillness of the mind, When round the Poet's twilight walk Aerial beings seem to talk. Not the twin-stars of Leda shine With vernal influence more benign, Nor sweeter, in the sylvan vale, Sings the lone-warbling nightingale, Than through my shades her lustre broke, Than to my griefs her spirit spoke.

My fancy form'd her young and fair, Pure as her sister-lilies were,

1 Piu val d'ogni vittoria un bel soffrire. Gaetana Passerini.

Adorn'd with meekest maiden grace,
With every charm of soul and face
That Virtue's awful eye approves,
And fond Affection dearly loves:
Heaven in her open aspect seen,
Her Maker's image in her mien.

Such was the picture fancy drew, In lineaments divinely true; The muse, by her mysterious art, Had shown her likeness to my heart, And every faithful feature brought O'er the clear mirror of my thought. -But she was waning to the tomb; The worm of death was in her bloom; Yet as the mortal frame declined, Strong through the ruins rose the mind; As the dim moon, when night ascends, Slow in the east the darkness rends, Through melting clouds, by gradual gleams, Pours the mild splendor of her beams, Then bursts in triumph o'er the pole, Free as a disembodied soul! Thus, while the veil of flesh decay'd, Her beauties brighten'd through the shade; Charms which her lowly heart conceal'd In nature's weakness were reveal'd: And still the unrobing spirit cast Diviner glories to the last, Dissolved its bonds, and clear'd its flight, Emerging into perfect light.

Yet shall the friends who loved her weep, Though shrined in peace the sufferer sleep, Though rapt to heaven the saint aspire, With seraph guards, on wings of fire; Yet shall they weep;-for oft and well Remembrance shall her story tell, Affection of her virtues speak, With beaming eye and burning cheek, Each action, word, and look recall, The last, the loveliest of all, When on the lap of death she lay, Serenely smiled her soul away, And left surviving Friendship's breast Warm with the sun-set of her rest.

O thou, who wert on earth unknown,
Companion of my thought alone,
Unchanged in heaven to me thou art,
Still hold communion with my heart;
Cheer thou my hopes, exalt my views,
Be the good angel of my Muse;
-And if to thine approving ear
My plaintive numbers once were dear;
If, falling round thy dying hours
Like evening dews on closing flowers,
They soothed thy pains, and through thy soul
With melancholy sweetness stole,
HEAR ME -When slumber from mine eyes,
That roll in irksome darkness, flies;
When the lorn spectre of unrest

At conscious midnight haunts my breast;
When former joys and present woes,
And future fears, are all my foes;
Spirit of my departed friend,

Calm through the troubled gloom descend,

« PreviousContinue »