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This is the hand that shap'd my frame,
And gave my pulse to beat;
That bare me oft through flood and flame,
Through tempest, cold, and heat.
In death's dark valley though I stray,
"Twould there my steps attend : Guide with the staff my lonely way,
And with the rod defend.
May that dear hand uphold me still,
Through life's uncertain race,
To bring me to thine holy hill,
And to thy dwelling place.
The warrior bow'd his crested head,
And tam'd his heart of fire,
And sued the haughty king to free
His long imprison'd sire:
“I bring thee here my fortress keys,
I bring my captive train,
I pledge thee faith, my liege, my lord !
Oh, break my father's chain ! ”
“Rise, rise! even now thy father comes,
A ransom'd man this day;
Mount thy good horse, and thou and I
Will meet him on his way.”
Then lightly rose that loyal son,
And bounded on his steed,
And urg'd, as if with lance in rest,
The charger's foamy speed.
And lo! from far, as on they press’d,
There came a glitt'ring band,
With one that ʼmidst them stately rode,
As a leader in the land :
“Now haste, Bernardo, haste! for there,
In very truth is he,
The father, whom thy faithful heart
Hath yearn’d so long to see.”
His dark eye flash'd, his proud breast heav'd, ,
His cheek's blood came and went ! He reach'd that grey-hair'd chieftain's side,
And there, dismounting, bent:
A lowly knee to earth he bent,
His father's hand he took-
What was there in its touch, that all
His fiery spirit shook ?
That hand was cold—a frozen thing-
It dropp'd from his like lead-
He look'd up to the face above-
The face was of the dead !
A plume wav'd o'er the noble brow-
The brow was fix'd and white;-
He met at last his father's eyes-
But in them was no sight!
Up from the ground he sprung, and gaz’d-
But who could paint that gaze?
They hush'd their very hearts, that saw
Its horror and amaze!
They might have chain’d him, as before
That stony form he stood;
For the power was stricken from his arm,
And from his lip the blood.
“ Father! at length he murmur'd low
And wept like childhood then-
Talk not of grief till thou hast seen
The tears of warlike men !-
He thought on all his glorious hopes,
And all his young renown,.
He Aung the falchion from his side,
And in the dust sat down.
Then cov'ring with his steel-glov'd hands
His darkly mournful brow,
“No more, there is no more,” he said,
To lift the sword for now.
My King is false, my hope betray'd,
My father-oh! the worth,
The glory and the loveliness,
Are pass'd away from earth! Then, starting from the ground once more,
He seiz'd the Monarch's rein
Amidst the pale and wilder'd looks
Of all the courtier train;
And with a fierce, o'ermastering grasp,
The rearing war-horse led,
And sternly set them face to face-
The King before the dead!
“ Came I not forth upon thy pledge,
My father's hand to kiss?
Be still, and gaze thou on, false King !
And tell me what is this!
The voice, the glance, the heart I sought-
Give answer—where are they?-
If thou wouldst clear thy perjur'd soul,
Send life through this cold clay!
“ Into these glassy eyes put light
Be still! keep down thine ire-
Bid these white lips a blessing speak-
This earth is not my sire!
Give me back him for whom I strove,
blood was shed !
Thou canst not—And a king ?-His dust
Be mountains on thy head !”
He loos’d the steed; his slack hand fell,
Upon the silent face
He cast one long, deep, troubled look,-
Then turn'd from that sad place:
His hope was crush'd, his after date
Untold in martial strain,-
His banner led the spears no more
Amidst the hills of Spain.
ANIMALS IN A STATE OF NATURE.
I GAZ'D on ruminating herds of kine,
And sheep for ever wandering ; goats that swung
Like spiders on the crags, so slight their hold ;
Deer, playful as their fawns, in peace, but fell
As battling bulls in wars of jealousy:
Thro' flowery champains roam'd the fleet gazelles,
Of many a colour, size, and shape,—all graceful
In every look, step, attitude; prepar'd,
Even at the shadow of a cloud, to vanish,
And leave a solitude where thousands stood;
With heads declin'd, and nibbling eagerly
As locusts when they light on some new soil,
And move no more till they have shorn it bare.
On these, with famine unappeasable,
Lithe, muscular, huge-bon'd, and limb’d for leaping,
The brindled tyrants of brute nature prey'd :
The weak and timid bow'd before the strong,
The many by the few were hourly slaughter'd,
Where power was right, and violence was law.
Here couch'd the panting Tiger, on the watch:
Impatient but unmoy'd, his fire-ball eyes
Made horrid twilight in the sunless jungle,
Till on the heedless buffalo he
sprang, Dragg'd the low-bellowing monster to his lair, Crash'd through the ribs at once into his heart, Quaff’d the hot blood, and gorg'd the quivering
flesh, Till drunk he lay as powerless as the carcass.
There, to the solitary Lion's roar,
many echoes answer’d, that there seem’d
Ten in the field for one. Where'er they turn'd,
The flying animals, from cave to cave,
Heard his voice issuing; and recoil'd aghast,
Only to meet it nearer than before.
Or, ere they saw his shadow or his face,
Fall dead beneath his thunder-striking paw.
Calm amidst scenes of havoc, in his own
Huge strength impregnable, the Elephant
Offended none, but led his quiet life
Among his old contemporary trees,
Till Nature laid him gently down to rest