Imágenes de página

summer of 1762, when the unfortunate expedition against Buenos Ayres, sailed under the command o. Captain Macnamara. It consisted of three ships: the Lord Clive, of 64 guns; the Ambuscade of 40, on board of which Penrose acted as lieutenant of marines; the Gloria, of 38; and some inferior vessels. Preparatory to an attack on Buenos Ayres, it was deemed necessary to begin with the capture of Nova Colonia, and the ships approached closely to the fortress of that settlement. The men were in high spirits; military music sounded on board; while the new uniforms, and polished arms of the marines, gave a splendid appearance to the scene. Penrose, the night before, had written and dispatched to his mistress in England, a poetical address, which evinced at once the affection and serenity of his heart, on the eve of danger. The gay preparative was followed by a heavy fire of several hours, at the end of which, when the Spanish batteries were almost silenced, and our countrymen in immediate expectation of seeing the enemy strike his colours, the Lord Clive was found to be on fire; and the same moment which discovered the flames, shewed the impossibility of extinguishing them. A dreadful spectacle was then exhibited. Men, who had, the instant before, assured themselves of wealth and conquest, were seen crowding to the sides of the ship, with the dreadful alternative of perishing by fire or water. The enemy's fire was redoubled at the sight of their calamity. Out of Macnamara's crew,



of 340 men, only 78 were saved. Penrose escaped with his life on board the Ambuscade, but received a wound in the action; and the subsequent hardships which he underwent, in a prize-sloop, in which he was stationed, ruined the strength of his constitution. He returned to England; resumed his studies at Oxford; and having taken orders, accepted of the curacy of Newbury, in Berkshire, of which his father was the rector. He resided there for nine years, having married the lady already alluded to, whose name was Slocock. A friend at last rescued him from this obscure situation, by presenting him with the rectory of Beckington and Standerwick, in Somersetshire, worth about £500 a year. But he came to his preferment too late to enjoy it. His health having never recovered from the shock of his American service, obliged him, as a last remedy, to try the hot wells at Bristol, at which place he expired, in his thirty-sixth year.



-'TWAS midnight-every mortal eye was clos'd
Thro' the whole mansion-save an antique crone's,
That o'er the dying embers faintly watch'd
The broken sleep (fell harbinger of death)
Of a sick boteler.-Above indeed

In a drear gall'ry (lighted by one lamp
Whose wick the poor departing Seneschal

Did closely imitate), pac'd slow and sad
The village curate, waiting late to shrive
The penitent when 'wake. Scarce show'd the ray
To fancy's eye, the pourtray'd characters


That grac'd the wall-On this and t'other side
Suspended, nodded o'er the steepy stair,
In many a trophy form'd, the knightly group
Of helms and targets, gauntlets, maces strong,
And horses' furniture-brave monuments
Of ancient chivalry.-Through the stain'd pane
Low gleam'd the moon-not bright-but of such

As mark'd the clouds, black, threat'ning over head,
Full mischief-fraught ;-from these in many a peal
Growl'd the near thunder-flash'd the frequent blaze
Of lightning blue. While round the fretted dome
The wind sung surly: with unusual clank
The armour shook tremendous:-On a couch
Plac'd in the oriel, sunk the churchman down:
For who, alone, at that dread hour of night,
Could bear portentous prodigy?

"I hear it,” cries the proudly gilded casque (Fill'd by the soul of one, who erst took joy In slaught❜rous deeds) "I hear amidst the gale "The hostile spirit shouting-once-once more "In the thick harvest of the spears we'll shine"There will be work anon.".

"I'm 'waken'd too,"

[ocr errors]

Replied the sable helmet (tenanted
By a like inmate) "Hark!-I hear the voice

"Of the impatient ghosts, who straggling range
"Yon summit (crown'd with ruin'd battlements
"The fruits of civil discord), to the din
"The spirits, wand'ring round this Gothic pile,
"All join their yell-the song is war and death-
"There will be work anon.".

"Call armourers, ho!
"Furbish my vizor-close rivets up-
"I brook no dallying".


"Soft, my hasty friend,"

Said the black beaver, "Neither of us twain "Shall share the bloody toil-War-worn am I, "Bor'd by a happier mace,' I let in fate "To my once master,-since unsought, unus'd, "Pensile I'm fix'd-yet too your gaudy pride "Has nought to boast,-the fashion of the fight "Has thrown your gilt and shady plumes aside "For modern foppery;-still do not frown, "Nor lower indignantly your steely brows, "We've comfort left enough-The bookman's lore "Shall trace our sometime merit;—in the eye "Of antiquary taste we long shall shine: "And as the scholar marks our rugged front, "He'll say, this Cressy saw, that Agincourt: "Thus dwelling on the prowess of his fathers, "He'll venerate their shell.-Yet, more than this, "From our inactive station we shall hear "The groans of butcher'd brothers, shrieking plaints "Of ravish'd maids, and matrons' frantic howls ; "Already hov'ring o'er the threaten'd lands

"The famish'd raven snuffs the promis'd feast, "And hoarslier croaks for blood-'twill flow." "Forbid it, heaven! "O shield my suffering country!-Shield it," pray'd The agonizing priest.


FAINTLY bray'd the battle's roar
Distant down the hollow wind;
Panting terror fled before,

Wounds and death were left behind.

The war-fiend curs'd the sunken day,

That check'd his fierce pursuit too soon;
While, scarcely lighting to the prey,

Low hung, and lour'd the bloody moon.

The field, so late the hero's pride,

Was now with various carnage spread;
And floated with a crimson tide,

That drench'd the dying and the dead.

O'er the sad scene of dreariest view,
Abandon'd all to horrors wild,
With frantic step Maria flew,
Maria, sorrow's early child;

« AnteriorContinuar »