« PreviousContinue »
If names on earth most facred once and dear,
A lover and a friend, if yet these names
Can wake thy pity, dart one guiding ray
To light me where, in cave or creek, are thrown
Thy lifeless limbs : that I-O grief fupreme ! 175
O fate remorseless ! was thy lover fav’d
For fuch a task? - that I those dear remains,
With maiden-rites adorn'd, at last may lodge
Beneath the hallow'd vault; and, weeping there
O'er thy cold urn, await the hour to close 180
These eyes in peace, and mix this dust with thine!
Such, and so dire, reply'd the cordial friend
In pity's look and language, fuch, alas !
Were late my thoughts. Whate'er the human heart
Can most afHiet, grief, agony, despair,
Have all been mine, and with alternate war 185
This bosom ravag'd. Hearken then, good youth;
My story mark, and from another's fate,
Pre-eminentiy wretched, learn thy own,
Sad as it seems, to balance and to bear.
190 In me, a man behold, whose morn serene, Whose noon of better life, with honour fpent, In virtuous purpose, or in honest act, Drew fair distinction on my public name, Prom those among mankind, the nobler few,
195 Whose praise is fame: but there, in that true source Whence happiness with purest stream defcends, In home found peace and love, supremely blest? Union of hearts, consent of wedded wills, By friendship knit, by mutual faith secur’d,
Our hopes and fears, our earth and heaven the same !
At last, Amyntor, in my failing age,
Fallen from such height, and with the felon-herd,
Robbers and outlaws, 'number'd thought that still
Stings deep the heart, and clothes the cheek with thame!
Then doom'd to feel what guilt alone should fear,
"The hand of public vengeance; arm'd by rage,
Not justice; rais’d to injure, not redress;
To rob, not guard; to ruin, not defend :
And all, O sovereign Reason ! all deriy'd
From Power that claims thy warrant to do wrong!
A right divine to violate unblam'd
Each law, each rule, that, by himself observ'd,
The God prescribes whose fan&tion kings pretend !
O Charles! O monarch! in long exile train'd, 215
Whole hopeless years, th' oppressor's hand to know
How hateful and how hard ; thyself reliev'd,
Now hear thy people, groaning under wrongs
Of equal load, adjure thee by those days
Of want and woe, of danger and despair,
As heaven has thine, to pity their distress!
Yet, from the plain good meaning of my heart, Be far th' unhallow'd licence of abuse; Be far the bitterness of saintly zeal, That impious hid behind the patriot's name 215 Malks hate and malice to the legal throne, In justice founded, circumscrib'd by laws, The prince to guard—but guard the people too : Chief, one priine good to guard inviolate, Soul of all worth, and sum of human bliss, 230
Fair Freedom, birth-riglit of all thinking kinds,
Reason's great charter, from no king deriv’d,
By none to be reclaim'd, man's right divine,
Which God, who gave, indelible pronounc'd.
But if, disclaiming this his heaven-own'd right, 235
This first best tenure by which monarchis rule;
If, meant the blessing, he becomes the bane,
The wolf, not shepherd, of his subject-flock,
To grind and tear, not shelter and protect,
Wide-wasting where he reigns to such a prince, 240
Allegiance kept were treason to inankind;
And loyalty, revolt from virtue's law.
For say, Amyntor, does jutt heaven enjoin
That we should homage hell? or bend the knee
To earthquake, or volcano, when they rage, 245
Rend earth's firm frame, and in one boundless grave
Engulph their thousands ? Yet, O grief to tell !
Yet such, of late, o'er this devoted land,
Was public rule. Our servile stripes and chains,
Our fighs and groans resounding from the steep 250
Of wintery hill, or wafte untravel'd heath,
Last refuge of our wretchedness, not guilt,
Proclaim'd it loud to heaven: the arm of power
Extended fatal, but to crush the head
It ought to screen, or with a parent's love 255
Reclaim from error; not with deadly hate,
The tyrant's law, exterminate who err.
In this wide ruin were my fortunes sunk:
Myself, as one contagious to his kind,
Whom nature, whom the social life renounc'd,
Unsummon'd, unimpleaded, was to death,
To shameful death adjudg’d; against my head
The price of blood proclaim'd, and at my heels
Let loose the murderous cry of human hounds.
And this blind fury of commission'd rage, 265
Of party-vengeance, to a fatal foe,
Known and abhorr'd for deeds of direst name,
Was given in charge : a foe, whom blood-stain’d zeal
For whathear it not, all-righteous heaven!
Left thy rouz'd thunder burst--for what was deemd
Religion's cause, had favag'd to a brute,
More deadly fell than hunger ever stung
To prowl in wood or wild. His band he armid,
Sons of perdition, miscreants with all guilt
Familiar, and in each dire art of death
Train'd ruthless up. As tigers on their prey,
On my defenceless lands those fiercer beasts
Devouring fell: nor that sequester'd shade,
That sweet recess, where Love and Virtue long
In happy league had dwelt, which war itself 280
Beheld with reverence, could their fury scape;
Despoil'd, defac’d, and wrapt in wasteful Alames:
For flame and rapine their consuining march,
From hill to vale, hy daily ruin mark d.
So, borne by winds along, in baleful cloud,
Embody'd locults from the wing descend
On herb, fruit, flower, and kill the ripening year :
While, waste behind, destruction on their track
And ghastly famine wait. My wife and child
He drag'd, the ruffian drag d heaven ! do I, 290
A man, survive to tell it? At the hour
Sacred to rest, amid the fighs and tears
Of all who saw and curs'd his coward-rage,
He forc'd, unpitying, from their midnight-bed,
By menace, or by torture, from their fears
My last retreat to learn ; and still detains
Beneath his roof accurlt. That best of wives !
Emilia! and our only pledge of love,
My blooming Theodora !-Manhood there,
And nature bleed-Ah! let not busy thought 300
Search thither, but avoid the fatal coaft:
Discovery, there, once more my peace of mind
Might wreck; once more to desperation fink
My hopes in heaven. He said: bụt O sad Muse!
Can all thy moving energy, of power
To shake the heart, to freeze th' arrested blood,
With words that weep, and strains that agonize ;
Can all this mournful magic of thy voice
Tell what Amyntor feels ? O heaven ! art thou
What have I heard ?-Aurelius! art thou he?
Confusion! horror !--that most wrong'd of men!
And, O most wretched too ! alas, no more,
No more a father--On that fatal flood,
Thy Theodora-At these words he fell.
A deadly cold.ran freezing through his veins : 315
And life was on the wing her loath'd abode
For ever to forsake. As on his
The traveller, from heaven by lightning struck,
Is fix'd at once immoveable; his eye
With terror glaring wild ; his stiffening limbs