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ODE TO LIBERTY.
Who shall awake the Spartan fife,
And call in solemn sounds to life,
Like vernal hyacinths in sullen hue,
Applauding Freedom lov'd of old to view ?
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It leap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted
Let not my shell's misguided power
And all the blended work of strength and grace
With many a rude repeated stroke, And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments EPODE. Yet, e'en where'er the least appear'd Th’ admiring world thy hand rever'd; Still, 'midst the scatter'd states around, Some remnants of her strength were found ; They saw, by what escap'd the storm, How wondrous rose her perfect form; How in the great, the labour'd whole, Each mighty master pour'd his soul; For sunny Florence, seat of Art, Beneath her vines preserv'd a part, Till they, whom Science lov'd to name, (0, who could fear it!) quench'd her flame. And, lo, an humbler relic laid In jealous Pisa's olive shade! See small Marino joins the theme, Though least, not last in thy esteem ; Strike, louder strike th' ennobling strings To those, whose merchants sons were kings; To him, who, deck'd with pearly pride, In Adria weds his green-hair'd bride : Hail, port of glory, wealth, and pleasure, Ne'er let me change this Lydian measure : Nor e'er her former pride relate To sad Liguria's bleeding state. Ah, no! more pleas'd thy haunts I seek, On wild Helvetia's mountains bleak : (Where, when the favour'd of thy choice, The daring archer heard thy voice; Forth from his eyrie rous'd in dread, The ravening eagle northward Aled.)
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near,
The Gaul, 't is held of antique story,
No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary,
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
* The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe penalties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and particularly at the Hague, of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to entertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties.
+ This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists, too, have endeavoured to support the probability of the fact, by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts. I do not remember that any poetical use has been hitherto made of it.
Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding;
Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise,
By winds and inward labours torn,
And down the shouldering billows borne.
The little isles on every side,
Where thousand elfin shapes abide,
For thee consenting Heaven has each bestow'd, A fair attendant on her sovereign pride :
To thee this blest divorce she ow'd, For thou hast made her vales thy loy'd, thy last,
There is a tradition in the Isle of Man, that a mermaid, becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty, took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with a coldness, occasioned by his horrour and surprise at her appearance. This, however, was so misconstrued by the sea-lady, that, in revenge for his treatment of her, she punished the whole island, by covering it with a mist, so that all who attempted to carry on any coinmerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down the sea, or were on a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs.
How may the poet now unfold,