« AnteriorContinuar »
ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain !
I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave ?
The captive linnet which enthral ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
the flying ball ?
While some, on earnest business bent,
Their murm'ring labours ply,
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty;
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry;
Still, as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possess'd ; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast : Theirs buxom health, of rosy Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer, of vigour born;
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gather'd then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush ! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising
ye not hear it?—No; 'twas but the wind, Or the car rattling o'er the stony street; On with the dance! let joy be unconfined; No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet To chase the glowing hours with flying feetBut hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before ! Arm! Arm! it is—it is—the cannon's opening roar!
Within a window'd niche of that high hall,
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain ; he did hear
That sound the first amid the festival,
And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear ;
And when they smiled because he deem'd it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretch'd his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell: He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell!
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there was sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated. Who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise !
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
the soldier ere the morning star; While throng’d the citizens, with terror dumb, Or whispering with white lips—The foe! They come !
They come! And wild and high the “ Cameron's gathering” rose ! The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes ;How in the noon of night her pibroch thrills, Savage and shrill ! But with the breath that fills Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers With the fierce native daring that instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And Evan's, Donald's, fame rings in each clansman's ears!
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with Nature's teardrops, as they pass,
Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave—alas !
Ere evening, to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Of living valour, rolling on the foe,
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and
low. Last noon beheld them full of lusty life, Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay, The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife, The morn the marshalling in arms,—the day Battle's magnificently stern array ! The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent, The earth is cover'd thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heap'd and pent, Rider and horse,-friend, foe,—in one red burial blent !
The western waves of ebbing day
Roll'd o'er the glen their level way:
Each purple peak, each flinty spire,
Was bathed in floods of living fire.
But not a setting beam could glow
Within the dark ravine below
Where twined the path, in shadow hid,
Round many a rocky pyramid,
Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splinter'd pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the Pass;
Huge as the tower which builders vain,
Presumptuous, piled on Shinar's plain,
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Formed turret, dome, or battlement,
Or seem'd fantastically set
With cupola or minaret,
Crests-wild as pagod ever deck'd,
Or mosque of eastern architect.
Nor were those earth-born castles bare,
Nor lack'd they many a banner fair,
For, from their shiver'd brows display'd
Far o'er th' unfathomable glade,
All twinkling with the dew-drops sheen,
The briar-rose fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs, of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west wind's summer sighs.
Boon Nature scatter'd, free and wild,
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child.
Here eglantine embalm’d the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;
The primrose pale and violet flower
Found in each cliff a narrow bower;
Nightshade and foxglove, side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride,
Group'd their dark hues with every
The weather-beaten crags retain.
With boughs that quaked at every breath,
Grey birch and aspen wept beneath.
Aloft, the ash and warrior oak
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And higher yet the pine-tree hung
His scatter'd trunk, and frequent flung,
Where seem'd the cliffs to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow sky.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart-star sparely looks ;
Throw hither all your quaint enamell’d eyes,