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ODE TO NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE.
'Tis done-but yesterday a king!
And arm'd with kings to strive-
And now thou art a nameless thing
So abject-yet alive!
Is this the man of thousand thrones,
Who strew'd our earth with hostile bones?
And can he thus survive?
Since he, miscali'd the Morning Star,
Nor man nor fiend hath fallen so far.
Ill-minded man! why scourge thy kind,
Who bow'd so low the knee?
By gazing on thyself grown blind,
Thou taught'st the rest to see.
With might unquestion'd,-power to save-
Thine only gift hath been the grave
To those that worshipp'd thee;
Nor, till thy fall, could mortals guess
Ambition's less than littleness!
Thanks for that lesson-it will teach
To after-warriors more
Than high philosophy can preach,
And vainly preach'd before.
That spell upon the minds of men
Breaks never to unite again,
That led them to adore
Those pagod things of sabre-sway,
With fronts of brass, and feet of clay.
The triumph, and the vanity,
The rapture of the strife-
The earthquake shout of Victory,
To thee the breath of life;
The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
Which man seem'd made but to obey,
Wherewith renown was rife-
All quell'd!-Dark spirit! what must be
The madness of thy memory!
The desolator desolate!
The victor overthrown! The arbiter of others' fate
A suppliant for his own! Is it some yet imperial hope
That with such change can calmly cope?
Or dread of death alone?
To die a prince-or live a slave-
Thy choice is most ignobly brave!
He who of old would rend the oak
Dream'd not of the rebound;
Chain'd by the trunk he vainly broke,-
Alone how look'd he round?—
Thou, in the sternness of thy strength,
An equal deed hast done at length,
And darker fate hast found:
He fell, the forest-prowlers' prey;
But thou must eat thy heart away!
The Roman,3 when his burning heart
Was slaked with blood of Rome,
Threw down the dagger-dared depart,
In savage grandeur, home.
He dared depart, in utter scorn
Of men that such a yoke had borne,
Yet left him such a doom!
His only glory was that hour
Of self-upheld abandon'd power.
The Spaniard,4 when the lust of sway
Had lost its quickening spell,
Cast crowns for rosaries away,
An empire for a cell;
A strict accountant of his beads,
A subtle disputant on creeds,
His dotage trifled well:
⚫ Certaminis gaudia, the expression of Attila, in his barangue to his army, previous to the battle of Chalons, given in Cassiodorus. 2 Milo.
Yet better had he neither known
A bigot's shrine, nor despot's throne.
But thou-from thy reluctant hand
The thunderbolt is wrung;
Too late thou leavest the high command
To which thy weakness clung:
All evil spirit as thou art,
It is enough to grieve the heart,
To see thine own unstrung;
To think that God's fair world hath been
The footstool of a thing so mean;
And earth hath spilt her blood for him,
Who thus can hoard his own!
And monarchs bow'd the trembling limb,
And thank'd him for a throne!
Fair freedom! we may hold thee dear,
When thus thy mightiest foos their fear
In humblest guise have shown.
Oh! ne'er may tyrant leave behind
A brighter name to lure mankind!
Thine evil deeds are writ in gore,
Nor written thus in vain-
Thy triumphs tell of fame no more,
Or deepen every stain.
If thou hadst died as honour dies,
Some new Napoleon might arise,
To shame the world again-
But who would soar the solar height,
To set in such a starless night?
Weigh'd in the balance, hero dust
Is vile as vulgar clay;
Thy scales, mortality! are just
To all that pass away;
But yet, methought, the living great
Some higher sparks should animate,
To dazzle and dismay;
Nor deem'd contempt could thus make mirth
Of these, the conquerors of the earth.
And she, proud Austria's mournful flower,
Thy still imperial bride;
How bears her breast the torturing hour?
Still clings she to thy side?
Must she too bend, must she too share
Thy late repentance, long despair,
Thou throneless homicide?
If still she loves thee, hoard that gem,
'Tis worth thy vanish'd diadem!¡
Then haste thee to thy sullen isle,
And gaze upon the sea;
That element may meet thy smile,
It ne'er was ruled by thee!
Or trace with thine all idle hand,
In loitering mood, upon the sand,
That earth is now as free!
That Corinth's pedagogue hath now
Transferr'd his by-word to thy brow.
Thou Timour! in his captive's cage
What thoughts will there be thine,
While brooding in thy prison'd rage?
But one- The world was mine.»
The cage of Bajazet, y order of Tamerlane.
Unless, like he of Babylon,
All sense is with thy sceptre gone,
Life will not long confine
That spirit pour'd so widely forth--
So long obey'd-so little worth!
Or like the thief of fire from heaven,'
Wilt thou withstand the shock?
And share with him, the unforgiven,
His vulture and his rock?
Foredoom'd by God-by man accurst,
And that last act, though not thy worst,
The very fiend's arch mock; 2
He in his fall preserved his pride,
And, if a mortal, had as proudly died!
DEATH OF THE RIGHT HON. R. B. SHERIDAN,
SPOKEN AT DRURY-LANE THEATRE.
WHEN the last sun-shine of expiring day
In summer's twilight weeps itself
Who hath not felt the softness of the hour
Sink on the heart, as dew along the flower?
With a pure feeling which absorbs and awes,
While Nature makes that melancholy pause
Her breathing moment on the bridge where Time
Of light and darkness forms an arch sublime,
Who hath not shared that calm so still and deep,
The voiceless thought which would not speak but weep,
A holy concord and a bright regret,
A glorious sympathy with suns that set? "T is not harsh sorrow-but a tenderer woe, Nameless, but dear to gentle hearts below, Felt without bitterness, but full and clear, A sweet dejection-a transparent tear, Inmix'd with worldly grief or selfish stain, Shed without shame, and secret without pain. Even as the tenderness that hour instils When summer's day declines along the hills, So feels the fulness of our heart and eyes When all of genius which can perish dies. A mighty spirit is eclipsed-a power Hath pass'd from day to darkness-to whose hour Of light no likeness is bequeath'd-no name, Focus at once of all the rays of fame! The flash of wit-the bright intelligence, The beam of song-the blaze of eloquence, Set with their sun-but still have left behind The enduring produce of immortal Mind; Fruits of a genial morn, and glorious noon, A deathless part of him who died too soon. But small that portion of the wondrous whole, These sparkling segments of that circling soul. Which all embraced-and lighten'd over all, To cheer-to pierce-to please—or to appal. From the charm'd council to the festive board, Of human feelings the unbounded lord; In whose acclaim the loftiest voices vied, The praised--the proud--who made his praise their price
2. The fiend's arch mockTo lip a wanton, and suppose her chaste.. SHANAPEART.
When the loud cry of trampled Hindostan
Arose to Heaven in her appeal from man,
His was the thunder-his the avenging rod,
The wrath-the delegated voice of God!
Which shook the nations through his lips-and blazed
Till vanquish'd senates trembled as they praised.
And here, oh! here, where, yet all young and warm,
The gay creations of his spirit charm,
The matchless dialogue-the deathless wit,
Which knew not what it was to intermit;
The glowing portraits, fresh from life that bring
Home to our hearts the truth from which they spring;
These wondrous beings of his fancy, wrought
To fulness by the fiat of his thought,
Here in their first abode you still may meet,
Bright with the hues of his Promethean heat;
A halo of the light of other days,
Which still the splendour of its orb betrays.
But should there be to whom the fatal blight
Of failing wisdom yields a base delight,
Men who exult when minds of heavenly tone
Jar in the music which was born their own,
Still let them pause-Ah! little do they know
That what to them seem'd vice might be but woe.
Hard is his fate on whom the public gaze
Is fix'd for ever to detract or praise;
Repose denies her requiem to his name,
And Folly loves the martyrdom of Fame.
The secret enemy whose sleepless eye
Stands sentinel-accuser-judge-and spy,
The foe-the fool-the jealous-and the vain,
The envious who but breathe in others' pain,
Behold the host! delighting to deprave,
Who track the steps of glory to the grave,
Watch every fault that daring genius owes
Half to the ardour which its birth bestows,
Distort the truth, accumulate the lie,
And pile the pyramid of calumny!
These are his portion-but if join'd to these
Gaunt Poverty should league with deep Disease,
If the high spirit must forget to soar,
And stoop to strive with misery at the door,
To soothe indignity-and face to face
Meet sordid rage-and wrestle with disgrace,
To find in hope but the renew'd caress,
The serpent-fold of further faithlessness,-
If such may be the ills which men assail,
What marvel if at last the mightiest fail?
Breasts to whom all the strength of feeling given
Bear hearts electric-charged with fire from heaven,
Black with the rude collision, inly torn,
By clouds surrounded, and on whirlwinds borne,
Driven o'er the lowering atmosphere that nurst
Thoughts which have turn'd to thunder-scorch-and
But far from us and from our mimic scene
Such things should be-if such have ever been;
Ours be the gentler wish, the kinder task,
To give the tribute Glory need not ask,
To mourn the vanish'd beam- and add our mite
Of praise in payment of a long delight.
1 See Fox, Burke, and Pitt's eulogy on Mr Sheridan's speech on the charges exhibited against Mr Hastings in the House of Commons. Mr Pitt entreated the House to adjourn, to give time for a calmer consideration of the question than could then occur after the immediate effect of that oration.
Ye orators! whom yet our councils yield,
Mourn for the veteran hero of your field!
The worthy rival of the wondrous Three!1
Whose words were sparks of immortality!
Ye bards! to whom the Drama's Muse is dear,
He was your master-emulate him here!
Ye men of wit and social eloquence!
He was your brother-bear his ashes hence!
While powers of mind almost of boundless range,
Complete in kind-as various in their change,
While eloquence-wit-poesy-and mirth,
That humbler harmonist of care on earth,
Survive within our souls-while lives our sense
Of pride in merit's proud pre-eminence,
Long shall we seek his likeness-long in vain,
And turn to all of him which may remain,
Sighing that Nature form'd but one such man,
And broke the die-in moulding Sheridan!
ERE the Daughter of Brunswick is cold in her grave,
And her ashes still float to their home o'er the tide,
Lo! GEORGE the triumphant speeds over the wave,
To the long-cherish'd Isle which he loved like his-
True, the great of her bright and brief era are gone,
The rainbow-like epoch where Freedom could pause
For the few little years, out of centuries won,
Which betray d not, or crush'd not, or wept not her
True, the chains of the Catholic clank o'er his rags,
The castle still stands, and the senate's no more,
And the famine, which dwelt on her freedomless crags
Is extending its steps to her desolate shore.
To her desolate shore-where the emigrant stands
For a moment to gaze ere he flies from his hearth;
Tears fall on his chain, though it drops from his hands,
For the dungeon he quits is the place of his birth.
But he comes! the Messiah of royalty comes!
Like a goodly Leviathan roll'd from the waves!
Then receive him as best such an advent becomes,
With a legion of cooks, and an army of slaves!
He comes in the promise and bloom of three-score,
To perform in the pageant the sovereign's part-
But long live the Shamrock which shadows him o'er!
Could the Green in his hat be transferr'd to his heart!
Could that long-wither'd spot but be verdant again,
And a new spring of noble affections arise-
Then might Freedom forgive thee this dance in thy chain,
And this shout of thy slavery which saddens the skies.
Is it madness or meanness which clings to thee now?
Were he God-as he is but the commonest clay,
With scarce fewer wrinkles than sins on his brow-
Such servile devotion might shame him away.
Ay, roar in his train! let thine orators lash
Their fanciful spirits to pamper his pride-
Not thus did thy GRATTAN indignantly flash
flis soul o'er the freedom implored and denied.
Ever-glorious GRATTAN! the best of the good!
So simple in heart, so sublime in the rest!
With all which Demosthenes wanted, endued,
And his rival or victor in all he possess'd.
Ere TULLY arose in the zenith of Rome,
Though unequall'd, preceded, the task was begun-
But GRATTAN Sprung up like a god from the tomb
the first, last, the saviour, the One!
With the skill of an Orpheus to soften the brute;
With the fire of Prometheus to kindle mankind;
Even Tyranny listening sate melted or mute,
now, when the Isle which should blush for his birth, Deep, deep, as the gore which he shed on her soil, Seems proud of the reptile which crawl from her earth, And for murder repays him with shouts and a smile!
Without one single ray of her genius, without
The fancy, the manhood, the fire of her race—
The miscreant who well might plunge ERIN in doubt,
If she ever gave birth to a being so base.
If she did-let her long-boasted proverb be hush'd,
Which proclaims that from ERIN no reptile can
And Corruption shrunk scorch'd from the glance of See the cold-blooded serpent, with venom full flush'd,
But back to our theme! back to despots and slaves!
Feasts furnish'd by Famine! rejoicings by Pain!
True Freedom but welcomes, while slavery still raves,
When a week's Saturnalia hath loosen'd her chain.
Let the poor squalid splendour thy wreck can afford (As the bankrupt's profusion his ruin would hide) Gild over the palace, Lo! ERIN, thy lord!
Kiss his foot with thy blessings denied!
Or if freedom past hope be extorted at last,
If the Idol of Brass find his feet are of clay,
Must what terror or policy wring forth be class'd
With what monarchs ne'er give, but as wolves yield
Each brute hath its nature, a king's is to reign,—
To reign in that word see, ye ages, comprised
The cause of the curses all annals contain,
From CESAR the dreaded, to GEORGE the despised!
Wear, FINGAL, thy trapping! O'CONNELL, proclaim
Ilis accomplishments! His!!! and thy country con-
Half an age's contempt was an error of Fame,
And that « Hal is the rascaliest sweetest young Prince!»>
Will thy yard of blue riband, poor FINGAL, recal
The fetters from millions of Catholic limbs?
Or, has it not bound thee the fastest of all
The slaves, who now hail their betrayer with hymns?
Ay! Build him a dwelling!» let each give his mite!
Till, like Babel, the new royal dome hath arisen!
Let thy beggars and Helots their pittance unite-
And a palace bestow for a poor-house and prison!
Spread-spread, for VITELLIUS, the royal repast,
Till the gluttonous despot be stuft to the gorge!
And the roar of his drunkards proclaim him at last
The Fourth of the fools and oppressors call'd«GEORGE!»
Let the tables be loaded with feasts till they groan!
Till they groan like thy people, through ages of woe!
Let the wine flow around the old Bacchanal's throne,
Like their blood which has flow'd, and which yet has
But let not his name be thine idol alone
On his right hand behold a SEJANUS appears!
Thine own CASTLEREAGH! let him still be thine own
A wretch, never named but with curses and jeers!
Still warming its folds in the breast of a King!
Shout, drink, feast, and flatter! Oh! ERIN, how low
Wert thou sunk by misfortune and tyranny, till
Thy welcome of tyrants hath plunged thee below
The depth of thy deep in a deeper gulph still.
My voice, though but humble, was raised for thy right,
My vote, as a freeman's, still voted thee free,
This hand, though but feeble, would arm, in thy fight,
And this heart, though outworn, had a throb still
Yes, I loved thee and thine, though thou art not my
I have known noble hearts and great souls in thy sous,
And I wept with the world o'er the patriot band
Who are gone, but I weep
them no longer as once.
For happy are they now reposing afar,—
Thy GRATTAN, thy CURRAN, thy SHERIDAN, all
Who, for years, were the chiefs in the eloquent war,
And redeem'd, if they have not retarded, thy fall.
Yes, happy are they in their cold English graves!
Their shades cannot start to thy shouts of to-day,-
Nor the steps of enslavers and chain-kissing slaves
Be stamp'd in the turf o'er their fetterless clay.
Till now I had envied thy sons and their shore,
Though their virtues were hunted, their liberties fled,
There was something so warm and sublime in the core
Of an Irishman's heart, that I envy-thy dead.
Or, if aught in my bosom can quench for an hour
My contempt for a nation so servile, though sore, Which though trod like the worm will not turn upou Power,
"T is the glory of GRATTAN, and genius of MOORE! Sept. 16th, 1821.
And look like heralds of eternity:
They pass like spirits of the past,—they speak
Like sybils of the future; they have power-
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not-what they will,
And shake us with the vision that 's gone by,
The dread of vanish'd shadows-Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow? What are they?
Creations of the mind?-The mind can make
Substance, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recal a vision which I dream'd
Perchance in sleep-for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
And curdles a long life into one hour.
I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill,
Green and of mild declivity, the last
As 't were the cape of a long ridge of such,
Save that there was no sea to lave its base,
But a most living landscape, and the wave
Of woods and corn-fields, and the abodes of men
Scatter'd at intervals, and wreathing smoke
Arising from such rustic roofs;-the hill
Was crown'd with a peculiar diadem
Of trees, in circular array, so fix'd,
Not by the sport of nature, but of man:
These two, a maiden and a youth, were there
Gazing-the one on all that was beneath
Fair as herself-but the boy gazed on her;
And both were young, and one was beautiful:
And both were young, yet not alike in youth.
As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge,
The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
The boy had fewer summers, but his heart
fiad far outgrown his years, and to his eye
There was but one beloved face on earth,
And that was shining on him; he had look'd
Upon it till it could not pass away;
He had no breath, no being, but in hers;
She was his voice; he did not speak to her,
But trembled on her words; she was his sight,
For his eye follow'd hers, and saw with hers,
Which colour'd all his objects;-he had ceased
To live within himself; she was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all: upon a tone,
A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow,
And his cheek change tempestuously-his heart
Unknowing of its cause of
But she in these fond feelings had no share:
Her sighs were not for him; to her he was
Even as a brother-but no more; 't was much,
For brotherless she was, save in the name
ller infant friendship had bestow'd on him;
Herself the solitary scion left
Of a time-honour'd race.-It was a name
Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not-and why?
Time taught him a deep answer-when she loved
Another; even now she loved another,
And on the summit of that hill she stood
Looking afar if yet her lover's steed
Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
There was an ancient mansion, and before
Its walls there was a steed caparison'd:
Within an antique oratory stood
The boy of whom I spake ;-he was alone,
And pale, and pacing to and fro; anon
He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced
Words which I could not guess of: then he lean'd
His bow'd head on his hands, and shook as 't were
With a convulsion-then arose again,
And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear
What he had written, but he shed no tears.
And he did calm himself, and fix his brow
Into a kind of quiet as he paused,
The lady of his love re-enter'd there;
She was serene and smiling then, and yet
She knew she was by him beloved, she knew,
For quickly comes such knowledge, that his heart
Was darken'd with her shadow, and she saw
That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp
He took her hand; a moment o'er his face
A tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced, and then it faded as it came;
He dropp'd the hand he held, and with slow steps
Retired, but not as bidding her adieu,
For they did part with mutual smiles: he pass'd
From out the massy gate of that old hail,
And mounting on his steed he went his way,
And ne'er repass'd that hoary threshold more.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The boy was sprung to manhood: in the wilds
Of fiery climes he made himself a home,
And his soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt
With strange and dusky aspects; he was not
Himself like what he had been; on the sea
And on the shore he was a wanderer;
There was a mass of many images
Crowded like waves upon me, but he was
A part of all; and in the last he lay
Reposing from the noon-tide sultriness,
Couch'd among fallen columns, in the shade
Of ruin'd walls that had survived the names
Of those who rear'd them; by his sleeping side
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
Were fasten'd near a fountain; and a man
Clad in a flowing garb did watch the while,
While many of his tribe slumber'd around:
And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in heaven.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The lady of his love was wed with one
Who did not love her better: in her home,
A thousand leagues from his,-her native home,
She dwelt, begirt with growing infancy,
Daughters and sons of beauty,-but behold!
Upon her face there was the tint of grief,
The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.