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On whom that ravening brood of Fate,
Who lap the blood of Sorrow, wait;
Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
And look not madly wild, like thee?
In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice,
The grief-full Muse address'd her infant tongue;
The maids and matrons, on her aweful voice,
Silent and pale, in wild amazement hung.
Yet he, the bard * who first invok'd thy name,
Disdain’d in Marathon its power to feel:
For not alone he nurs'd the poet's flame,
But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
But who is he, whom later garlands grace,
Who left awhile o'er Hybla's dews to rove,
With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace,
Where thou and furies shar'd the baleful grove?
Wrapt in thy cloudy veil th’ incestuous queen +,
Sigh’d the sad call her son and husband heard,
When once alone it broke the silent scene,
And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd.
O Fear ! I know thee by my throbbing heart,
Thy withering power inspir'd each mournful line;
Though gentle Pity claim her mingled part,
Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine.
* AEschylus. + Jocasta. vol. vii. c
Thou who such weary lengths hast past, Where wilt thou rest, mad nymph, at last? Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell, Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell? Or in some hollow'd seat, 'Gainst which the big waves beat, Hear drowning seamen's cries in tempests brought ! Dark power, with shuddering meek submitted
Be mine, to read the visions old,
Which thy awakening bards have told.
And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
Hold each strange tale devoutly true;
Ne'er be I found, by thee o'er-aw'd,
In that thrice-hallow'd eve abroad,
When ghosts, as cottage-maids believe,
Their pebbled beds permitted leave,
And goblins haunt from fire, or fen,
Or mine, or flood, the walks of men
O thou, whose spirit most possest
The sacred seat of Shakspeare's breast !
By all that from thy prophet broke,
In thy divine emotions spoke'
Hither again thy fury deal,
Teach me but once like him to feel :
His cypress wreath my meed decree,
And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee!
whitTEN IN THE YEAR 1746.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By Fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
Their Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there!
on THE DEATH OF COL. CHARLES ROSS, IN THF ACTION AT FONTENOY.
WHILE, lost to all his former mirth,
Britannia's genius bends to earth,
And mourns the fatal day:
While stain'd with blood he strives to tear
Unseemly from his sea-green hair
The wreaths of cheerful May:
The thoughts which musing Pity pays,
And fond Remembrance loves to raise,
Your faithful hours attend :
Still Fancy, to herself unkind,
Awakes to grief the soften’d mind,
And points the bleeding friend.
By rapid Scheld's descending wave
His country's vows shall bless the grave,
Where'er the youth is laid:
That sacred spot the village hind
With every sweetest turf shall bind,
And Peace protect the shade.
O'er him, whose doom thy virtues grieve, Aérial forms shall sit at eve, * And bend the pensive head; And, fall'n to save his injur'd land, Imperial Honour's aweful hand Shall point his lonely bed! o
The warlike dead of every age,
Who fill the fair recording page,
Shall leave their sainted rest:
And, half-reclining on his spear,
Each wondering chief by turns appear
To hail the blooming guest.
Again for Britain's wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish th' avenging fight.
But, lo! where, sunk in deep despair,
Her garments torn, her bosom bare,
Impatient Freedom lies'
Her matted tresses madly spread,
To every sod which wraps the dead,
She turns her joyless eyes.
Ne'er shall she leave that lowly ground,
Till notes of triumph bursting round
Proclaim her reign restor'd:
Till William seek the sad retreat,
And, bleeding at her sacred feet,
Present the sated sword.
If, weak to soothe so soft an heart,
These pictur'd glories nought impart,
To dry'thy constant tear :
If yet, in Sorrow's distant eye,
Expos'd and pale thou see'st him lie,
Wild war insulting near :
Where'er from time thou court'st relief,
The Muse shall still, with social grief,
Her gentlest promise keep :
E’en humble Harting's cottag’d vale
Shall learn the sad repeated tale,
And bid her shepherds weep.