ePub 版

Those grand heroics acted as a spell: The angels stopp'd their ears and plied their pinions;

The devils ran howling, deafen'd, down to hell;

The ghosts fled, gibbering, for their own dominions

(For 'tis not yet decided where they dwell, And I leave every man to his opinions); Michael took refuge in his trump-but lo! His teeth were set on edge, he could not blow!

Saint Peter, who has hitherto been known For an impetuous saint, upraised his keys, And at the fifth line knock'd the Poet down; Who fell like Phaeton, but more at ease, Into his lake, for there he did not drown, A different web being by the Destinies Woven for the Laureate's final wreath, whene'er

He first sunk to the bottom-like his works, But soon rose to the surface-like himself; For all corrupted things are buoy'd, like corks,

By their own rottenness, light as an elf, Or wisp that flits o'er a morass: he lurks, It may be, still, like dull books on a shelf, In his own den, to scrawl some "Life" or "Vision,"

As Wellborn says "the devil turn'd precisian."

As for the rest, to come to the conclusion Of this true dream, the telescope is gone Which kept my optics free from all delusion, And show'd me what I in my turn have shown:

All I saw further in the last confusion, Was, that King George slipp'd into heaven for one;

And when the tumult dwindled to a calm, Reform shall happen either here or there. I left him practising the hundredth psalm.


[blocks in formation]

BORN in the garret, in the kitchen bred, Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head; Next--for some gracious service unexprest, And from its wages only to be guess'd— Raised from the toilet to the table, where Her wondering betters wait behind her chair:

With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash'd, She dines from off the plate she lately wash'd, Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie, The genial confidante, and general spy; Who could, ye gods! her next employment guess,

An only infant's carliest governess! She taught the child to read, and taught so well

That she herself, by teaching, learn'd to spell.

An adept next in penmanship she grows, As many a nameless slander deftly shows: What she had made the pupil of her art, None know—but that high soul secured the heart,

And panted for the truth it could not hear, With longing breast and undeluded ear.

Foil'd was perversion by that youthful mind,

Which flattery fool'd not, baseness could
not blind,
Deceit infect not, near contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor example spoil,
Nor master'd science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor genius swell, nor beauty render vain,
Nor envy ruffle to retaliate pain,
Nor fortune change, pride raise, nor passion

Nor virtue teach austerity-till now.
Serenely purest of her sex that live,
But wanting one sweet weakness to forgive;
Too shock'd at faults her soul can never

She deems that all could be like her below:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly virtue's friend-
For virtue pardons those she would amend.

[ocr errors][merged small]


At times the loftiest to the meanest mind- Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
Have given her power too deeply to instil The widow'd couch of fire, that thou hast
The angry essence of her deadly will;
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she

If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,

To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells?

Skill'd by a touch to deepen scandal's tints,

With all the kind mendacity of hints, While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,

A thread of candour with a web of wiles; A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,

To hide her bloodless heart's soul-harden'd


A lip of lies, a face form'd to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel;
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown,
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale,
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face).
Look on her features! and behold her mind
As in a mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'er-

There is no trait which might not be
Yet true to "Nature's journeymen," who

This monster when their mistress left off trade,

This female dog-star of her little sky, Where all beneath her influence droop or die.

Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought, Save joy above the ruin thou hast wroughtThe time shall come, nor long remote, when thou

Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now; Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain, And turn thee howling in unpitied pain. May the strong curse of crush'd affections light

Back on thy bosom with reflected blight! And make thee, in thy leprosy of mind, As loathsome to thyself as to mankind! Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate, Black as thy will for others would create: Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust, And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.

[ocr errors]

Then, when thou fain wouldst weary heaven with prayer,

Look on thine earthly victims—and despair! Down to the dust!-and, as thou rott'st away,

Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.

But for the love I bore, and still must bear, To her thy malice from all ties would tear, Thy name-thy human name—to every eye The climax of all scorn should hang on high, Exalted o'er thy less abhorr'd compeers, And festering in the infamy of years.



March 30, 1816.



IN one dread night our city saw, and sigh'd, Bow'd to the dust the Drama's tower of pride; In one short hour beheld the blazing fane, Apollo sink, and Shakespeare cease to reign.

Ye who beheld, (oh! sight admired and


Whose radiance mock'd the ruin it adorn'd!) Through clouds of fire, the massy fragments riven,

Like Israel's pillar, chase the night from heaven;

Saw the long column of revolving flames Shake its red shadow o'er the startled Thames,

While thousands, throng'd around the burning dome,

Shrank back appall'd, and trembled for their home, As glared the volumed blaze, and ghastly shone The skies, with lightnings awful as their


Till blackening ashes and the lonely wall Usurp'd the Muse's realm, and mark'd her fall;

Say-shall this new, nor less aspiring pile, Rear'd where once rose the mightiest in our isle,

Know the same favour which the former knew, A shrine for Shakespeare-worthy him and you?

Yes it shall be-the magic of that name Defies the scythe of time, the torch of flame; On the same spot still consecrates the scene,

win your own.

And bids the Drama be where she hath been: | Springs from our hearts, and fain would
This fabric's birth attests the potent spell-
Indulge our honest pride, and say, How well!

[blocks in formation]

Friends of the stage! to whom both Players and Plays

Must sue alike for pardon, or for praise,
Whose judging voice and eye alone direct
The boundless power to cherish or reject;
If e'er frivolity has led to fame,
And made us blush that you forbore to blame;
If e'er the sinking stage could condescend
To soothe the sickly taste, it dare not mend,
All past reproach may present scenes refute,
And censure, wisely loud, be justly mute!
Oh! since your fiat stamps the Drama's laws,
Forbear to mock us with misplaced applause;
So pride shall doubly nerve the actor's

And reason's voice be echo'd back by ours!

This greeting o'er, the ancient rule obey'd, The Drama's homage by her herald paid, Receive our welcome too, whose every tone

The curtain rises-may our stage unfold Scenes not unworthy Drury's days of old! Britons our judges, Nature for our guide, Still may we please-long, long may you preside!


On Venice! Venice! when thy marble-walls Are level with the waters, there shall be A cry of nations o'er thy sunken halls, A loud lament along the sweeping sea! If I, a northern wanderer, weep for thee, What should thy sons do?-any thing but


And yet they only murmur in their sleep. In contrast with their fathers—as the slime, The dull green ooze of the receding deep, Is with the dashing of the spring-tide-foam, That drives the sailor shipless to his home, Are they to those that were; and thus they


Crouching and crab-like, through their
sapping streets.
Oh! agony --that centuries should reap
No mellower harvest! Thirteen hundred

Of wealth and glory turn'd to dust and tears;
And every monument the stranger meets,
Church, palace, pillar, as a mourner greets;
And even the Lion all subdued appears,
And the harsh sound of the barbarian drum,
With dull and daily dissonance, repeats
The echo of thy tyrant's voice along
The soft waves, once all musical to song,
That heaved beneath the moonlight with
the throng

Of gondolas and to the busy hum
Of cheerful creatures, whose most sinful

Were but the overbeating of the heart, And flow of too much happiness, which needs The aid of age to turn its course apart From the luxuriant and voluptuous flood Of sweet sensations, battling with the blood. But these are better than the gloomy errors, The weeds of nations in their last decay, When Vice walks forth with her unsoften'd terrors,

And Mirth is madness,and but smiles to slay ; And Hope is nothing but a false delay, The sick man's lightning half an hour ere death,

When Faintness, the last mortal birth ofPain,
And apathy of limb, the dull beginning
Of the cold staggering race which Death
is winning,

Steals vein by vein and pulse by pulse away;
Yet so relieving the o'ertortured clay,
To him appears renewal of his breath,


And freedom the mere numbness of his | And trample on each other to obtain
The cup which brings oblivion of a chain
Heavy and sore,-in which long yoked
they plough'd

And then he talks of life, and how again He feels his spirits soaring—albeit weak, And of the fresher air, which he would seek; And as he whispers knows not that he gasps, That his thin finger feels not what it clasps, And so the film comes o'er him - and the dizzy

Chamber swims round and round-and shadows busy

At which he vainly catches, flit and gleam, Till the last rattle chokes the strangled

[blocks in formation]

Our strength away in wrestling with the air; For 'tis our nature strikes us down: the beasts

Slaughter'd in hourly hecatombs for feasts Are of as high an order-they must go Even where their driver goads them, though to slaughter. Ye men, who pour your blood for kings as water,

What have they given your children in return?

A heritage of servitude and woes, A blindfold bondage where your hire is blows.

What! do not yet the red-hot ploughshares burn,

O'er which you stumble in a false ordeal, And deem this proof of loyalty the real; Kissing the hand that guides you to your


And glorying as you tread the glowing bars? All that your sires have left you, all that Time

Bequeaths of free, and History of sublime, Spring from a different theme!- Ye see and read,

Admire and sigh, and then succumb and bleed!

Save the few spirits, who, despite of all, And worse than all, the sudden crimes engender'd By the down-thundering of the prison-wall, And thirst to swallow the sweet waters tender'd,

Gushing from Freedom's fountains — when the crowd,

or if there sprung the yellow


The sand, 'Twas not for them, their necks were too much bow'd,

And their dead palates chew'd the cud of pain :

Yes! the few spirits—who, despite of deeds Which they abhor, confound not with the


Those momentary starts from Nature's laws, Which, like the pestilence and earthquake, smite

But for a term, then pass, and leave the earth With all her seasons to repair the blight With a few summers, and again put forth Cities and generations-fair, when freeFor,Tyranny, there blooms no bud for thee!

Glory and Empire! once upon these towers With freedom - godlike Triad! how ye sate!

The league of mightiest nations, in those hours

When Venice was an envy, might abate, But did not quench, her spirit - in her fate All were enwrapp'd: the feasted monarchs knew

And loved their hostess, nor could learn to hate,

Although they humbled-with the kingly few

The many felt,for from all days and climes She was the voyager's worship;—even her crimes

Were of the softer order-born of Love, She drank no blood, nor fatten'd on the dead, But gladden'd where her harmless conquests spread;

For these restored the Cross, that from above Hallow'd her sheltering banners, which incessant

Flew between earth and the unholy Crescent, Which, if it waned and dwindled, Earth may thank

The city it has clothed in chains, which clank Now, creaking in the ears of those who owe The name of Freedom to her glorious struggles;

Yet she but shares with them a common woe, And call'd the “kingdom" of a conquering foe,

But knows what all—and, most of all, we know-

With what set gilded terms a tyrant juggles!

The name of Commonwealth is past and gone

Madden'd with centuries of drought, are O'er the three fractions of the groaning



Venice is crush'd, and Holland deigns to own
A sceptre, and endures the purple robe;
If the free Switzer yet bestrides alone
His chainless mountains, 'tis but for a time,
For tyranny of late is cunning grown,
And in its own good season tramples down
The sparkles of our ashes. One great clime,
Whose vigorous offspring by dividing ocean
Are kept apart and nursed in the devotion
Of Freedom, which their fathers fought
for, and

Bequeath'd-a heritage of heart and hand,
And proud distinction from each other land,
Whose sons must bow them at a monarch's

As if his senseless sceptre were a wand Full of the magic of exploded science— Still one great clime, in full and free defiance,

Yet rears her crest,unconquer'd and sublime, Above the far Atlantic!-She has taught Her Esau - brethren that the haughty flag, The floating fence of Albion's feebler crag, May strike to those whose red right hands have bought

Rights cheaply earn'd with blood. Still, still, for ever Better, though each man's life-blood were a river, That it should flow, and overflow, than creep Through thousand lazy channels in our veins,

Damm'd like the dull canal with locks and chains,

And moving, as a sick man in his sleep, Three paces, and then faltering: - better be Where the extinguish'd Spartans still are free,

In their proud charnel of Thermopyla, Than stagnate in our marsh,—or o'er the deep Fly, and one current to the ocean add, One spirit to the souls our fathers had, One freeman more, America, to thee!


Он, shame to thee, Land of the Gaul! Oh, shame to thy children and thee! Unwise in thy glory, and base in thy fall, How wretched thy portion shall be! Derision shall strike thee forlorn, A mockery that never shall die; The curses of hate, and the hisses of scorn, Shall burden the winds of thy sky; And proud o'er thy ruin for ever be hurl'd The laughter of triumph, the jeers of the world!

Oh, where is thy spirit of yore,

The spirit that breathed in thy dead, When gallantry's star was the beacon before, And honour the passion that led?

[blocks in formation]
« 上一頁繼續 »