Page images



From the silence of the Pyramid

Thou hast watch'd the solemn flow
Of the Nile, that with its waters hid

The ancient realm below:
Thy heart hath burn'd as shepherds sung

Some wild and warlike strain,
Where the Moorish horn once proudly rung

Through the pealing hills of Spain :
And o'er the lonely Grecian streams

Thou hast heard the laurels moan,
With a sound yet murmuring in thy dreams

Of the glory that is gone.
But go thou to the pastoral vales

of the Alpine mountains old,
If thou wouldst hear immortal tales

By the wind's deep whispers told!
Go, if thou lov'st the soil to tread,

Where man hath nobly striven,
And life, like incense, hath been shed,

An offering unto Heaven.
For o'er the snows, and round the pines,

Hath swept a noble flood;
The nurture of the peasant's vines

Hath been the martyr's blood !
A spirit, stronger than the sword,

And loftier than despair,
Through all the heroic region pour'd,

Breathes in the generous air.
A memory clings to every steep

Of long-enduring faith,
And the sounding streams glad record keep

Of courage unto death,
Ask of the peasant where his sires

For truth and freedom bled,
Ask, where were lit the torturing fires,

Where lay the holy dead ;
And he will tell thee, all around,

On fount, and turf, and stone,
Far as the chamois' foot can bound,

Their ashes have been sown!



Go, when the sabbath bell is heard *

Up through the wilds to float,
When the dark old woods and caves are stirr'd

To gladness by the note ;
When forth, along their thousand rills,

The mountain people come,
Join thou their worship on those hills

Of glorious martyrdom.
And while the song of praise ascends,

And while the torrent's voice
Like the swell of many an organ blends,

Then let thy soul rejoice!
Rejoice, that human heart, through scorn,

Through shame, through death, made strong,
Before the rocks and heavens have borne

Witness of God so long!


Old songs,

Sing aloud the precious music of the heart."


Sing them upon the sunny hills,

When days are long and bright,
And the blue gleam of shining rills

Is loveliest to the sight.
Sing them along the misty moor,

Where ancient hunters roved,
And swell them through the torrent's roar-

The songs our fathers loved !
The songs their souls rejoiced to hear

When harps were in the hall,
And each proud note made lance and spear

Thrill on the banner'd wall:

* See “Gilley's Researches among the mountains of Piedmont," for an interesting description of a sabbath day in the upper regions of the Vaudois. The inhabitants of those Protestant valleys, who, like the Swiss, repair with their flocks and herds to the summits of the hills during the summer, are followed thither by their pastors, and at that season of the year assemble on that sacred day, to worship in the open air.



The songs that through our valleys green,

Sent on from age to age,
Like his own river's voice, bave been

The peasant's heritage.
The reaper sings them when the vale

Is fill'd with plumy sheaves;
The woodman, by the starlight pale

Cheer'd homeward through the leaves :
And unto them the glancing dars

A joyous measure keep,
Where the dark rocks that crest our shores

Dash back the foaming deep.
So let it be !-a light they shed

O’er each old fount and grove ; A memory of the gentle dead,

A spell of lingering love :
Murmuring the names of mighty men,

They bid our streams roll on,
And link high thoughts to every glen

Where valiant deeds were done.
Teach them your children round the bearth,

When evening-fires burn clear,
And in the fields of harvest mirih,

And on the hills of deer!
So sball each unforgotten word,

When far those loved ones roam,
Call back the hearts that once it stirr'd,

To childhood's holy home.
The green woods of their native land

Shall whisper in the strain,
The voices of their bousehold band

Shall sweetly speak again;
The heathery heights in vision rise

Where like the stag they roved
Sing to your sons those melodies,

The songs your father loved.





Lowly upon his bier

The royal conqueror lay,
Baron and chief stood near

Silent in war-array.
Down the long minister's aisle,

Crowds mutely gazing stream’d,
Altar and tomb, the while,

Through mists of incense gleam'd : And by the torch's blaze

The stately priest had said
High words of power and praise,

To the glory of the dead.
They lower'd him, with the sound

of requiems, to repose, When from the throngs around

A solemn voice arose : " Forbear forbear !" it cried,

“ In the holiest name forbear! He hath conquer'd regions wide,

But he shall not sluinber there. “ By the violated hearth

Which made way for yon proud shrine, By the harvests which this earth,

Hath borne to me and mine ; ** By the home ev'n here o'erthrown,

On my children's native spot, Hence! with his dark renown

Cumber our birth-place not ! " Will my sire's unransom'd field

O'er which your censers ware, To the buried spoiler yield

Soft slumber in the grave?




" The tree before him fell

Which we cherish'd many a year,
But ils deep root yet shall swell

And heave against his bier.
* The land that I have tillid,

Hath yet its brooding breast
With my home's white ashes fill'd

And it shall not give him rest.
" Here each proud column's bed

Hath been wet by weeping eyes--
Hence! and bestow your dead

Where no wrong against him cries !"
Sbame glow'd on each dark face

Of those proud and steel-girt men,
And they bought with gold a place

For their leader's dust e'en then.

A little earth for him

Whose banner flew so far!
And a peasant's tale could dim

The name, a nation's star!
One deep voice thus arose

From a heart which wrongs had riven-
Oh ! who shall number those

That were but heard in Heaven ?*

* For the particulars of this and other scarcely less remarkable circumstances which attended the obsequies of William the Conqueror, see Sismondi's Histoire des Francais, vol. iv. p. 480.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »