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Through the smoke-created night
Of the black and sulphurous fight,
The soldier rais’d his seeking eye
To catch that crest's ascendancy,
And, as it onward rolling rose,
So moved his heart upon our foes.
There, where death's brief pang was quickest,
And the battle’s wreck lay thickest,
Strew'd beneath the advancing banner
Of the eagle's burning crest
(There with thunder-clouds to fan her,
Who could then her wing arrest
Victory beaming from her breast?) While the broken line entarging
Fell, or fled along the plain; There be sure was Murat charging!
There he ne'er shall charge again!
O'er glories gone the invaders march,
Weeps Triumph o'er each levell’d arch-
But let Freedom rejoice,
With her heart in her voice,
But, her hand on her sword,
Doubly shall she be adored,
France hath twice too well been taught
The « moral lesson » dearly bought-
Her safety sits not on a throne,
With Capet or NAPOLEON !
But in equal rights and laws,
Hearts and hands in one great cause
Freedom, such as God hath given
Unto all beneath his heaven,
With their breath, and from their birth,
Though Guilt would sweep it from the earth;
With a fierce and lavish hand
Scattering nations' wealth like sand;
Pouring nations' blood like water,
In imperial seas of slaughter !
But the heart and the mind,
And the voice of mankind,
Shall arise in communion-
And who shall resist that proud union?
The time is past when swords subdu'd-
Man may die—the soul's renewd:
Even in this low world of care,
Freedom ne'er shall want an heir ;
. Millions breathe but to inherit
Her for ever bounding spirit-
When once more her bosts assemble,
Tyrants shall believe and tremble
Smile they at this idle threat ?
Crimson tears will follow yet.
Star of the brave !-whose beam bath shed
Such glory o'er the quick and dead-
Thou, radiant and adored deceit!
Which millions rushed in arms to greet,
Wild meteor of immortal birth!
Why rise in Heaven to set on Earth ?
Souls of slain heroes formed thy rays;
Eternity flashed through thy blaze;
The music of thy martial sphere
Was fame on high and honour here;
And thy light broke on buman eyes,
Like a volcano of the skies.
Like lava rolled thy stream of blood,
And swept down empires with its flood;
Earth rocked beneath thee to her base,
As thou didst lighten through all space ;
And the shorn Sun grew dim in air,
And set while thou wert dwelling there.
Before thee rose, and with thee grew,
A rainbow of the loveliest hue
Of three bright colours, each divine,
And fit for that celestial siga;
For Freedom's hand had blended them,
Like tints in an immortal gem.
One tint was of the sunbeam's dyes ;
One, the blue depth of Seraph's eyes ;
One, the pur'e Spirit's veil of white
Had robed in radiance of its light ;
The three so mingled did beseem
The texture of a heavenly dream.
Star of the brave! thy ray is pale,
And darkness must again prevail!
But, oh! thou Rainbow of the free !
Our tears and blood must flow for thee.
When thy bright promise fades away,
Our life is but a load of clay.
And Freedom hallows with her tread
The silent cities of the dead;.
For beautiful in death are they
Who proudly fall in her array;
And soon, oh goddess ! may we be
For evermore with them or thee!
LINES INSCRIBED UPON A CUP
Start not-nor deem my spirit fled :
In me behold the only skull · From which, unlike a living head,
Whatever flows is never dull..
I lived, I loved, I quaff'd, like thee;
I died; let earth my bones resign: Fill up--thou canst not injure me;
The worm hath fouler lips than thine. Better to hold the sparkling grape,
Than nurse the earth-worm's slimy brood; And circle in the goblet's shape
The drink of gods, than reptile's food. Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone,
In aid of others' let me shine;
And when, alas! our brains are gone,
What nobler substitute than wine !
Quaff while thou canst another race, .
When thou and thine like me are sped,
May rescue thee from earth's embrace,
And rhyme and revel with the dead.
Why not? since through life's little day
Our heads such sad effects produce ;
Redeemed from worms and wasting clay,
This chance is theirs, to be of use.
Newstead Abbey, 1808..