Page images

The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring,

And float amid the liquid noon:
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some show their gaily-gilded trim,
Quick-glancing to the Sun.

To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of man:

And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.

Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life's little day,

In Fortune's varying colors drest:
Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance;
Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance
They leave in dust to rest.

Methinks I hear in accents low

The sportive kind reply;

"Poor moralist! and what art thou? A solitary fly!

Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown:
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone-
We frolic while 'tis May."



"Ye brown o'er-arching groves, That Contemplation loves,

Where willowy Camus lingers with delight! Oft at the blush of dawn

I trod your level lawn,

Oft woo'd the gleam of Cynthia silver-bright
In cloisters dim, far from the haunts of Folly,
With Freedom by my side, and soft-ey'd Melan-

But hark! the portals sound, and pacing forth
With solemn steps and slow,

High potentates and dames of royal birth,
And mitred fathers, in long order go:
Great Edward,* with the lilies on his brow,
From haughty Gallia torn,

And sad Chatillon,† on her bridal morn
That wept her bleeding love, and princely Clare;
And Anjou's heroine, and the paler rose.]
The rival of her crown and of her woes,
And either Henry¶ there,

The murder'd saint, and the majestic lord,
That broke the bonds of Rome.
(Their tears, their little triumphs o'er,
Their human passions now no more,
Save Charity, that glows beyond the tomb,)
All that on Granta's fruitful plain
Rich streams of regal bounty pour'd,
And bade these awful fanes and turrets rise,
To hail their Fitzroy's festal morning come;
And thus they speak in soft accord
The liquid language of the skies.

"What is grandeur, what is power?
Heavier toil, superior pain.
What the bright reward we gain?
The grateful memory of the good.
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee's collected treasure's sweet,
Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet
The still small voice of Gratitude."

"HENCE, avaunt, ('tis holy ground,)
Comus and his midnight-crew,
And Ignorance with looks profound,
And dreaming Sloth of pallid hue,

Mad Sedition's cry profane,

Servitude that hugs her chain,
Nor in these consecrated bowers

Edward the Third; who added the fleur-de-lis of France to the arms of England. He founded Trinity College.

† Mary de Valentia, Countess of Pembroke, daughter Let painted Flattery hide her serpent-train in flowers. of Guy de Chatillon, Comte de St. Paul in France: f

Nor Envy base, nor creeping Gain,
Dare the Muse's walk to stain,

While bright-ey'd Science watches round:
Hence, away, 'tis holy ground!"

From yonder realms of empyrean day
Bursts on my ear th' indignant lay:

There sit the sainted sage, the bard divine,
The few, whom genius gave to shine
Through every unborn age and undiscover'd clime.
Rapt in celestial transport they,

Yet hither oft a glance from high
They send of tender sympathy

To bless the place, where on their opening soul
First the genuine ardor stole.

"Twas Milton struck the deep-ton'd shell,
And, as the choral warblings round him swell,

whom tradition says, that her husband, Audemar de Valentia, Earl of Pembroke, was slain at a tournament on the day of his nuptials. She was the foundress of Pembroke College or Hall, under the name of Aula Mane

de Valentia.

Elizabeth de Burg, Countess of Clare, was wife of John de Burg, son and heir of the Earl of Ulster, and daughter of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, by Joan of Acres, daughter of Edward the First. Hence the poet gives her the epithet of princely. She founded Clare Hall

§ Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry the Sixth, found ress of Queen's College. The poet had celebrated her con jugal fidelity in a former ode.

Elizabeth Widville, wife of Edward the Fourth (bence called the paler rose, as being of the house of York.) She added to the foundation of Margaret of Anjou.

¶ Henry the Sixth and Eighth. The former the founder

Meek Newton's self bends from his state sublime, of King's, the latter the greatest benefactor to Trinity

And nods his hoary head, and listens to the rhyme. | College.

Foremost and leaning from her golden cloud The venerable Marg'ret* see!

Welcome, my noble son," she cries aloud, To this, thy kindred train, and me: Pleas'd in thy lineaments we trace A Tudor'st fire, a Beaufort's grace. Thy liberal heart, thy judging eye, The flower unheeded shall descry, And bid it round Heaven's altars shed The fragrance of its blushing head: Shall raise from Earth the latent gem, To glitter on the diadem.

"Lo, Granta waits to lead her blooming band. Not obvious, not obtrusive, she

No vulgar praise, no venal incense flings;
Nor dares with courtly tongue refin'd
Profane thy inborn royalty of mind:
She reveres herself and thee.

With modest pride to grace thy youthful brow
The laureate wreath, that Cecilt wore, she brings
And to thy just, thy gentle hand
Submits the fasces of her sway,

While spirits blest above and men below

Join with glad voice the loud symphonious lay.
Through the wild waves as they roar,
With watchful eye and dauntless mien
Thy steady course of honor keep,

Nor fear the rocks, nor seek the shore:
The star of Brunswick smiles serene,
And gilds the horrors of the deep."

The hapless nymph with wonder saw : A whisker first, and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,

She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize; What female heart can gold despise? What cat's averse to fish?

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sate by, and smil'd,)
The slippery verge her feet beguil'd,
She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew'd to every wat'ry god,

Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard,
A favorite has no friend!

From hence, ye beauties, undeceiv'd,
Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
And be with caution bold.

Not all, that tempts your wandering eyes,
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Not all that glisters, gold.




"Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dy'd
The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclin'd,
Gaz'd on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declar'd; The fair round face, the snowy beard, The velvet of her paws,

Her coat, that with the tortoise vies, Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw; and purr'd applause.

Still had she gaz'd; but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream:
Their scaly armor's Tyrian hue
Through richest purple to the view
Betray'd a golden gleam.

* Countess of Richmond and Derby; the mother of Henry the Seventh, foundress of St. John's and Christ's Colleges.

†The Countess was a Beaufort, and married to a Tudor; hence the application of this line to the Duke of Grafton, who claims descent from both these families.

Lord-treasurer Burleigh was chancellor of the University in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.


[blocks in formation]

Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,
Ah, fields belov'd in vain,

Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!

I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,

As waving fresh their gladsome wing, My weary soul they seem to soothe, And, redolent of joy and youth,

To breathe a second spring.

Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
Disporting on thy margent green

The paths of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?

The captive linnet which enthral ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball?

§ King Henry the Sixth, founder of the college. 3 F 2

While some on earnest business bent

Their murmuring labors ply

'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty;
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,

And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.

Gay Hope is theirs, by Fancy fed,

Less pleasing, when possest; The tear forgot as soon as shed,

The sun-shine of the breast; Their buxom health, of rosy hue; Wild wit, invention ever new,

And lively cheer of vigor born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light, That fly th' approach of morn.

Alas, regardless of their doom,

The little victims play!

No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day.
Yet see how all around them wait
The ministers of human fate,

And black Misfortune's baleful train. Ah, show them where in ambush stand To seize their prey, the murderous band! Ah, tell them, they are men!

These sha.] the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,

And Shame that skulks behind;

Or pining Love, shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,

That inly gnaws the secret heart, And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair, And Sorrow's piercing dart.

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,

Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,

And grinning Infamy.

The stings of Falsehood those shall try, And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,

That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse, with blood defil'd, And moody Madness laughing wild Amid severest woe.

Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,

The painful family of Death,

More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every laboring sinew strains,

Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,

And slow-consuming Age.

To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
The unfeeling for his own.

Yet ah! why should they know their fate!
Since sorrow never comes too late,

And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their Paradise
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
"Tis folly to be wise.




"RUIN seize thee, ruthless king!
Confusion on thy banners wait!
Though fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's* twisted mail,
Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!"
Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
Stout Glo'stert stood aghast in speechless trance.
To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiver
ing lance.

On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Rob'd in the sable garb of woe,

With haggard eyes the poet stood;
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air.)
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.

Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they watt
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day.
To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay

"Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main;
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song

Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topp'd be
On dreary Arvon's shores they lie,
Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale:
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail :
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries

[merged small][ocr errors]

No more I weep. They do not sleep.

On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,

I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:

With me in dreadful harmony they join,

Revere his consort's* faith, his father'st fame,
And spare the meek usurper'st holy head.
Above, below, the rose of snow,

Twin'd with her blushing foe we spread:
The bristled boar|| in infant gore

And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line. Wallows beneath the thorny shade.


"Weave the warp, and weave the woof,

The winding-sheet of Edward's race:
Give ample room, and verge enough

The characters of Hell to trace.
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright

The shrieks of death, through Berkeley's roofs that

Shrieks of an agonizing king;

She-wolf of France,† with unrelenting fangs,
That tears the bowels of thy mangled mate,
From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
The scourge of Heaven. What terrors round him


Amazement in his van, with Flight combin'd;
And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.

[ocr errors]

Mighty Victor, mighty Lord,

Low on his funeral couch he lies!

No pitying heart, no eye, afford
A tear to grace his obsequies.

Is the sable warrior fled?

Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
The swarm, that in the noontide beam were born;
Gone to salute the rising Morn.

Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ;
Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway,
That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening-


"Fill high the sparkling bowl,

The rich repast prepare:

Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:
Close by the regal chair

Fell Thirst and Famine scowl

A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.
Heard ye the din of battle bray,T
Lance to lance, and horse to horse?

Long years of havoc urge their destin'd course,
And through the kindred squadrons mow their way.
Ye towers of Julius,** London's lasting shame,
With many a foul and midnight murther fed,

* Edward the Second, cruelly butchered in Berkeley


† Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous


Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.

§ Death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his


Edward the Black Prince, dead some time before his father.

T Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster.

** Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward the Fifth, Richard Duke of York, &c. believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.

Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom,
Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.


"Edward, lo! to sudden fate

(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.)
Half of thy heart we consecrate.T
(The web is wove. The work is done.)'
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn

Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn :
In yon bright track, that fires the western skies,
They melt, they vanish from my eyes.

But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight!
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
No more our long-lost Arthur** we bewail.
All-hail, ye genuine kings;†† Britannia's issue, hail!

"Girt with many a baron bold,

Sublime their starry fronts they rear;

And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old,
In bearded majesty, appear.

In the midst a form divine!

Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line;
Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,
Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace.

What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
What strains of vocal transport round her play;
Hear from the grave, great Taliessin,‡‡ hear;
They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,
Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-color'd

[blocks in formation]

¶ Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places. ** It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy-land, and should return again to reign over Britain.

†† Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island; which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor.

1 Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore,

Shoot the trembling cords along; Sword, that once a monarch bore, Keep the tissue close and strong.

Mista, black terrific maid, Sangrida, and Hilda, see, Join the wayward work to aid: "Tis the woof of victory.

Ere the ruddy Sun be set,

Pikes must shiver, javelins sing, Blade with clattering buckler meet, Hauberk crash, and helmet ring.

(Weave the crimson web of war,
Let us go, and let us fly,
Where our friends the conflict share,
Where they triumph, where they die.

As the paths of Fate we tread, Wading through th' ensanguin'd field; Gondula, and Geira, spread

O'er the youthful king your shield. We the reins to Slaughter give, Ours to kill, and ours to spare: Spite of danger he shall live:

(Weave the crimson web of war.)

They, whom once the desert-beach
Pent within its bleak domain,
Soon their ample sway shall stretch
O'er the plenty of the plain.

Low the dauntless Earl is laid,

Gor'd with many a gaping wound Fate demands a nobler head;

Soon a king shall bite the ground

Long his loss shall Eirin weep,

Ne'er again his likeness see; Long her strains in sorrow steep, Strains of immortality!

Horror covers all the heath,

Clouds of carnage blot the Sun. Sisters, weave the web of death; Sisters, cease, the work is done

Hail the task, and hail the hands! Songs of joy and triumph sing! Joy to the victorious bands;

Triumph to the younger king.

Mortal, thou that hear'st the tale,

Learn the tenor of our song. Scotland, through each winding vale Far and wide the notes prolong.

Sisters, hence, with spurs of speed;

Each her thundering falchion wield Each bestride her sable steed: Hurry, hurry to the field.

« PreviousContinue »