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If not, o'er one fallen despot boast no more!
In vain fair cheeks were furrow'd with hot tears
For Europe's flowers, long rooted up before
The trampler of her vineyards ; in vain years
Of death, depopulation, bondage, fears,
Have all been borne, and broken by the accord
Of roused-up millions : all that most endears
Glory, is when the myrtle wreathes the sword
Such as Harmodius a drew on Athens' tyrant lord.
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,
look'd love to eyes which spake again, And all went merry as a marriage-bell ; * But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell.
Did ye not hear it?—No; 't was 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 feet :
But, 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 amidst 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 bis father on a bloody bier,
And roused 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 were 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
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
Roused up 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 “Camerons' 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 that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills
Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And Evan's, 4 Donald's5 fame rings in each clansman's ears !
And Ardennes 6 waves above them her green leaves
Dewy with nature's tear-drops, 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!
Their praise is hymn'd by loftier harps than mine:
Yet one I would select from that proud throng,
Partly because they blend me with his line,
And partly that I did his sire some wrong,
And partly that bright names will hallow song;
And his was of the bravest, and when shower'd
The death-bolts deadliest the thinn'd files along,
Even where the thickest of war's tempest lower'd,
They reach'd no nobler breast than thine, young, gallant Howard!
There have been tears and breaking hearts for thee,
And mine were nothing, had I such to give;
But when I stood beneath the fresh green tree,
Which living waves where thou didst cease to live,
And saw around me the wide field revive
With fruits and fertile promise, and the spring
Come forth her work of gladness to contrive,
With all her reckless birds upon
I turn'd from all she brought to those she could not bring.”
I turn’d to thee, to thousands, of whom each
And one as all a ghastly gap did make
In his own kind and kindred, whom to teach
Forgetfulness were mercy
for their sake;
The archangel's trump, not glory's, must awake
Those whom they thirst, for; though the sound of fame
May for a moment soothe, it cannot slake
The fever of vain longing, and the name
So honour'd but assumes a stronger, bitterer claim.
They mourn, but smile at length; and, smiling mourn.
The tree will wither long before it fall;
The hull drives on, though mast and sail be torn;
The roof-tree sinks, but moulders on the hall
the ruin'd wall
Stands when its wind-worn battlements are gone ;
The bars survive the captive they enthral ;
The day drags through, though storms keep out the sun; And thus the heart will break, yet brokenly live on :
Even as a broken mirror, which the glass
In every fragment multiplies; and makes
A thousand images of one that was
and still the more, the more it breaks ;
And thus the heart will do which not forsakes,
Living in shatter'd guise, and still, and cold,
And bloodless, with its sleepless sorrow aches,
Yet withers on till all without is old,
Showing no visible sign, for such things are untold.
There is a very life in our despair,
Vitality of poison,-a quick root
Which feeds these deadly branches ;
for it were
As nothing did we die ; but life will suit
Itself to sorrow's most detested fruit,
Like to the apples on the Dead Sea's shore,
All ashes to the taste : did man compute
Existence by enjoyment, and count o'er
Such hours 'gainst years of life,-say, would he name three-score?
The Psalmist number'd out the years of man :
They are enough; and if the tale be true,
Thou, who didst grudge him even that fleeting span,
More than enoughi, thou fatal Waterloo !
Millions of tongues record thee, and anew
Their children's lips shall echo them,
Here, where the sword united nations drew,
Our countrymen were warring on that day!"
And this is much, and all which will not pass away,
There sunk the greatest, nor the worst of men,
Whose spirit antithetically mixt
One moment of the mightiest, and again
On little objects with like firmness fixt.
Extreme in all things! hadst thou been betwixt,
Thy throne had still been thine, or never been;
For daring made thy rise as fall : thou seek'st
Even now to re-assume the imperial mien,
And shake again the world, the thunderer of the scene!
Conqueror and captive of the earth art thou!
She trembles at thee still, and thy wild name
Was ne'er more bruited in men's minds than now
That thou art nothing, save the jest of fame,
Who woo'd thee once, thy vassal, and became
The flatterer of thy fierceness, till thou wert
A god unto thyself; nor less the same
To the astounded kingdoms all inert,
Who deem'd thee for a time'whate'er thou didst assert.
Oh more or less than man!—in high or low,
Battling with nations, flying from the field ;
Now making monarchs' necks thy footstool, now
More than thy meanest soldier taught to yield;
An empire thou couldst crush, command, rebuild,
But govern not thy pettiest passion, nor,
However deeply in men's spirits skill'd,
Look through thine own, nor curb the lust of war, Nor learn that tempted fate will leave the loftiest star.
Yet well thy soul hath brook'd the turning tide
With that untaught innate philosophy,
Which, be it wisdom, coldness, or deep pride,
Is gall and wormwood to an enemy.
When the whole host of hatred stood hard by,
To watch and mock thee shrinking, thou hast smiled
With a sedate and all-enduring eye;-
When fortune fled her spoil'd and favourite child, He stood unbow'd beneath the ills upon him piled.