Page images


Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth

A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown: Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth, And Melancholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;

Heav'n did a recompense as largely send: He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear;

He gained from Heav'n ('t was all he wished) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode (There they alike in trembling hope repose), The bosom of his Father and his God.




I. I

Awake, Æolian lyre, awake,

And give to rapture all thy trembling strings!
From Helicon's harmonious springs

A thousand rills their mazy progress take;
The laughing flowers that round them blow
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of music winds along
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Through verdant vales and Ceres' golden reign:
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour;

The rocks and nodding groves rebellow to the roar.


I. 2

Oh sovereign of the willing soul,

Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares

And frantic Passions hear thy soft control.
On Thracia's hills the Lord of War
Has curbed the fury of his car

And dropped his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand






Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feathered king With ruffled plumes and flagging wing; Quenched in dark clouds of slumber lie The terror of his beak and lightnings of his eye.

I. 3

Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
Tempered to thy warbled lay.
O'er Idalia's velvet-green

The rosy-crownèd Loves are seen,
On Cytherea's day,

With antic Sports and blue-eyed Pleasures
Frisking light in frolic measures:
Now pursuing, now retreating,

Now in circling troops they meet;
To brisk notes in cadence beating

Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow melting strains their Queen's approach declare:
Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay;
With arms sublime, that float upon the air,

In gliding state she wins her easy way;
O'er her warm cheek and rising bosom move
The bloom of young Desire and purple light of Love.


Man's feeble race what ills await: Labour, and Penury, the racks of Pain,

Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,

And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.

Say, has he giv'n in vain the heav'nly Muse?
Night, and all her sickly dews,

Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky;
Till down the eastern cliffs afar

Hyperion's march they spy, and glitt'ring shafts of war.







II. 2

In climes beyond the solar road,

Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam, 55 The Muse has broke the twilight-gloom

To cheer the shiv'ring native's dull abode.
And oft, beneath the od'rous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid,

She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,

Their feather-cinctured chiefs and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous Shame,
Th' unconquerable Mind, and Freedom's holy flame.
II. 3

Woods that wave o'er Delphi's steep,
Isles that crown th' Ægean deep,
Fields that cool Ilissus laves,
Or where Mæander's amber waves
In lingering lab'rinths creep,
How do your tuneful echoes languish,
Mute but to the voice of Anguish?
Where each old poetic mountain

Inspiration breathed around,
Ev'ry shade and hallowed fountain
Murmured deep a solemn sound;
Till the sad Nine in Greece's evil hour

Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains:
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant Power,

And coward Vice that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, O Albion, next, thy sea-encircled coast!


Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon strayed,
To him the mighty Mother did unveil

Her awful face: the dauntless child

Stretched forth his little arms, and smiled. "This pencil take," she said, "whose colours clear Richly paint the vernal year.

Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy:

This can unlock the gates of Joy;

Of Horrour that, and thrilling Fears,

Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears."








III. 2

Nor second he that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th' Abyss to spy.

He passed the flaming bounds of Place and Time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of Glory bear

Two coursers of ethereal race,


With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding pace!

III. 3

Hark! his hands the lyre explore:
Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o'er,
Scatters from her pictured urn

Thoughts that breathe and words that burn.

But, ah, 't is heard no more!
O lyre divine, what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? Though he inherit
Nor the pride nor ample pinion

That the Theban Eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion

Through the azure deep of air,
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray,
With orient hues unborrowed of the sun:

Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the good how far-but far above the great.




I. I

"Ruin seize thee, ruthless king! Confusion on thy banners wait;

Though fanned by Conquest's crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state.






Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
Nor even 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 scattered wild dismay,
As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side

He wound with toilsome march his long array. Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance; "To arms!" cried Mortimer, and couched his quiv'ring lance.

I. 2

On a rock whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes the poet stood
(Loose his beard and hoary hair
Streamed, 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 wave,
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.

I. 3

"Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,

That hushed 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-topped head:
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
Smeared with gore and ghastly pale;
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail;

The famished 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,

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





« PreviousContinue »