Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

EPITAPH ON SIR BENJAMIN HEATH MALKIN.

AT CALCUTTA. 1837.

This monument

Is sacred to the memory

Of

SIR BENJAMIN HEATH MALKIN, Knight,

One of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature: A man eminently distinguished

By his literary and scientific attainments, By his professional learning and ability, By the clearness and accuracy of his intellect, By diligence, by patience, by firmness, by love of truth, By public spirit, ardent and disinterested, Yet always under the guidance of discretion, By rigid uprightness, by unostentatious piety, By the serenity of his temper,

And by the benevolence of his heart.

He was born on the 29th September, 1797. He died on the 21st October, 1837.

EPITAPH ON LORD METCALFE.

(1847.)

Near this stone is laid
CHARLES LORD METCALFE,

A Statesman tried in many high offices
And difficult conjunctures,

And found equal to all.

The three greatest Dependencies of the British Crown
Were successively entrusted to his care.
In India, his fortitude, his wisdom,
His probity, and his moderation,
Are held in honourable remembrance

By men of many races, languages, and religions.
In Jamaica, still convulsed by a social revolution,
His prudence calmed the evil passions

Which long suffering had engendered in one class
And long domination in another.

In Canada, not yet recovered from the calamities of civil war,
He reconciled contending factions

To each other, and to the Mother Country. Costly monuments in Asiatic and American cities Attest the gratitude of the nations which he ruled. This tablet records the sorrow and the pride With which his memory is cherished by his family.

POMPEII.

A POEM WHICH OBTAINED THE CHANCELLOR'S MEDAL AT THE CAMBRIDGE COMMENCEMENT, JULY, 1819.

OH! land to Memory and to Freedom dear,
Land of the melting lyre and conquering spear,
Land of the vine-clad hill, the fragrant grove,
Of arts and arms, of Genius and of Love,
Hear, fairest Italy. Though now no more
The glittering eagles awe the Atlantic shore,
Nor at thy feet the gorgeous Orient flings
The blood-bought treasures of her tawny kings,
Though vanished all that formed thine old renown,
The laurel garland, and the jewelled crown,
The avenging poniard, the victorious sword,
Which reared thine empire, or thy rights restored,
Yet still the constant Muses haunt thy shore,
And love to linger where they dwelt of yore.
If e'er of old they deigned, with favouring smile,
To tread the sea-girt shores of Albion's isle,
To smoothe with classic arts our rugged tongue
And warm with classic glow the British song,
Oh! bid them snatch their silent hearts which wave
On the lone oak that shades thy Maro's grave,*
And sweep with magic hand the slumbering strings,
To fire the poet.-For thy clime he sings,
Thy scenes of gay delight and wild despair,
Thy varied forms of awful and of fair.

* See Eustace's description of the tomb of Virgil, on the Neapolitan coast.

How rich that climate's sweets, how wild its storms,
What charms array it, and what rage deforms,
Well have thy mouldering walls, Pompeii, known,
Decked in those charms, and by that rage
o'erthrown.
Sad city, gaily dawned thy latest day,
And poured its radiance on a scene as gay.
The leaves scarce rustled in the sighing breeze ;
In azure dimples curled the sparkling seas,
And as the golden tide of light they quaffed,
Campania's sunny meads and vineyards laughed,
While gleamed each lichened oak and giant pine
On the far sides of swarthy Apennine.
Then mirth and music through Pompeii rung;
Then verdant wreaths on all her portals hung;
Her sons, with solemn rite and jocund lay,
Hailed the glad splendours of that festal day.
With fillets bound the hoary priests advance,
And rosy virgins braid the choral dance.
The rugged warrior here unbends awhile
His iron front, and deigns a transient smile;
There, frantic with delight, the ruddy boy
Scarce treads on earth, and bounds and laughs with joy;
From every crowded altar perfumes rise
In billowy clouds of fragrance to the skies.
The milk-white monarch of the herd they lead,
With gilded horns, at yonder shrine to bleed;
And while the victim crops the broidered plain,
And frisks and gambols towards the destined fane,
They little deem that like himself they stray
To death, unconscious, o'er a flowery way;
Heedless, like him, the impending stroke await,
And sport and wanton on the brink of fate.

What 'vails it that where yonder heights aspire,
With ashes piled, and scathed with rills of fire,
Gigantic phantoms dimly seem to glide,

In misty files along the mountain's side,

To view with threatening scowl your fated lands,
And toward your city point their shadowy hands? *

* Dio Cassius relates that figures of gigantic size appeared, for some time previous to the destruction of Pompeii, on the summits of Vesuvius. This appearance was probably occasioned by the fantastic forms which the smoke from the crater of the volcano assumed.

In vain celestial omens prompted fear,
And nature's signal spoke the ruin near.

In vain through many a night ye viewed from far
The meteor flag of elemental war

Unroll its blazing folds from yonder height,
In fearful sign of earth's intestine fight.

In vain Vesuvius groaned with wrath supprest,
And muttered thunder in his burning breast.
Long since the Eagle from that flaming peak
Hath soared with screams a safer nest to seek.
Awed by the infernal beacon's fitful glare,
The howling fox hath left his wonted lair;
Nor dares the browsing goat in venturous leap
To spring, as erst, from dizzy steep to steep.-
Man only mocks the peril. Man alone

Defies the sulphurous flame, the warning groan.
While instinct, humbler guardian, wakes and saves,
Proud reason sleeps, nor knows the doom it braves.
But see, the opening theatre invites
The fated myriads to its gay delights.
In, in they swarm, tumultuous as the roar
Of foaming breakers on a rocky shore.

Th' enraptured throng in breathless transport views
The gorgeous temple of the Tragic Muse.

There, while her wand in shadowy pomp arrays
Ideal scenes, and forms of other days

Fair as the hopes of youth, a radiant band,
The sister arts, around her footstool stand,
To deck their Queen, and lend a milder grace
To the stern beauty of that awful face.
Far, far around the ravished eye surveys
The sculptured forms of gods and heroes blaze.
Above, the echoing roofs the peal prolong
Of lofty converse, or melodious song,
While, as the tones of passion sink or swell,
Admiring thousands own the moral spell,
Melt with the melting strains of fancied wo,
With terror stricken, or with transport glow.
Oh! for a voice like that which pealed of old
Through Salem's cedar courts and shrines of gold,
And in wild accents round the trembling dome
Proclaimed the havoc of avenging Rome;

« AnteriorContinuar »