« AnteriorContinuar »
Blest and thrice blest the Roman
Then where, o'er two bright havens, The towers of Corinth frown; Where the gigantic King of day
On his own Rhodes looks down;
Where soft Orontes murmurs
Sheltered from waves and blasts,
Of Byrsa's thousand masts; Where fur-clad ers wander Amidst the Northern ice; Where through the sand of morning-land The camel bears the spice; Where Atlas flings his shadow Far o'er the Western foam, Shall be great fear on all who hear The mighty name of Rome."
A POEM WHICH OBTAINED THE CHANCELLOR'S MEDAL AT THE CAMBRIDGE COMMENCEMENT
On! 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 smooth with classic arts our rugged tongue, And warm with classic glow the British song, Oh! bid them snatch their silent harps 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.
How rich that climate's sweets, how wild its
What charms array it, and what rage deforms, Well have they mouldering walls, Pompeii, known, Decked in those charms, and by that rage o'erthrown.
Sad City, gayly dawned thy latest day,
Then mirth and music through Pompeii rung;
From every crowded altar perfumes rise
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? 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. The 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 sicken, 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; While every palmy arch and sculptured tower Shook with the footsteps of the parting power. Such voice might check your tears, which idly streami For the vain phantoms of the poet's dream.
* 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
See Eustace's description of the Tomb of Virgil, on probably occasioned by the fantastic forms which the the Neapolitan coast. smoke from the crater of the volcano assumed. 3 B 2
Might bid those terrors rise, those sorrows flow;
Saw ye how wild, how red, how broad a light
The morn all blushing rose; but sought in vain
Along that dreary waste where lately rung The festal lay which smiling virgins sung, Where rapture echoed from the warbling lute, And the gay dance resounded, all is mute.Mute!-Is it Fancy shapes that wailing sound Which faintly murmurs from the blasted ground, Or live there still, who, breathing in the tomb, Curse the dark refuge which delays their doom, In massive vaults, on which the incumbent plain And ruined city heap their weight in vain?
Oh! who may sing that hour of mortal strife, When Nature calls on Death, yet clings to life? Who paint the wretch that draws sepulchral breath, A living prisoner in the house of Death? Pale as the corpse which loads the funeral pile, With face convulsed that writhes a ghastly smile, Behold him speechless move with hurried pace, Incessant, round his dungeon's caverned space, Now shrink in terror, and now groan in pain, Gnaw his white lips and strike his burning brain, Till Fear o'erstrained in stupor dies away, And Madness wrests her victim from dismay. His arms sink down; his wild and stony eye Glares without sight on blackest vacancy. He feels not, sees not: wrapped in senseless trance His soul is still and listless as his glance. One cheerless blank, one rayless mist is there, Thoughts, senses, passions, live not with despair. Haste, Famine, haste, to urge the destined close, And lull the horrid scene to stern repose.
Yet ere, dire Fiend, thy lingering tortures cease, And all be hushed in still sepulchral peace, Those caves shall wilder, darker deeds behold Than e'er the voice of song or fable told, Whate'er dismay may prompt, or madness dare, Feasts of the grave, and banquets of despair.Hide, hide the scene; and o'er the blasting sight Fling the dark veil of ages and of night.
Go, seek Pompeii now:-with pensive tread Roam through the silent city of the dead. Explore each spot, where still, in ruin grand, Her shapeless piles and tottering columns stand, Where the pale ivy's clasping wreaths o'ershade The rained temple's moss-clad colonnade, Or violets on the hearth's cold marble wave, And muse in silence on a people's grave.
Fear not. No sign of death thine eyes shall
No, all is beauty, verdure, fragrance there.
Lie tombs and temples, columns, baths, and towers.
Advance, and wander on through crumbling halls,
Immortal spirits, in whose deathless song Latium and Athens yet their reign prolong, And from their thrones of fame and empire hurled, Still sway the sceptre of the mental world, You in whose breasts the flames of Pindus beamed, Whose copious lips with rich persuasion streamed, Whose minds unravelled nature's mystic plan, Or traced the mazy labyrinth of man: Bend, glorious spirits, from your blissful bowers, And broidered couches of unfading flowers, While round your locks the Elysian garlands blow, With sweeter odours, and with brighter glow. Once more, immortal shades, atoning Fame Repairs the honours of each glorions name. Behold Pompeii's opening vaults restore The long-lost treasures of your ancient lore, The vestal radiance of poetic fire, The stately buskin and the tuneful lyre,
* The capital of the Corinthian pillar is carved, as in well known, in imitation of the acanthus. Mons, de Chateaubriand, as I have found since this Poem was written, has employed the same image in his Travels. + It is the custom of the modern Greeks to adorn corpses profusely with flowers
The wand of eloquence, whose magic sway
THE BATTLE OF IVRY.
[KNIGHT'S QUARTERLY MAGAZINE, 1824.]
[HENRY the Fourth, on his accession to the French crown, was opposed by a large part of his subjects, under the Duke of Mayenne, with the assistance of Spain and Savoy. In March, 1590, he gained a decisive victory over that party at Ivry. Before the battle, he addressed his troops, "My children, if you lose sight of your colours, rally to my white plume-you will always find it in the path to honour and glory." His conduct was answerable to his promise. Nothing could resist his impetuous valour, and the leaguers underwent a total and bloody defeat. In the midst of the rout, Henry followed, crying, "Save the French!" and his clemency added a number of the enemies to his own army. Aikin's Biographical Dictionary.]
Now glory to the Lord of Hosts, from whom all glories are!
For cold, and stiff, and still are they who wrought thy walls annoy.
Oh! how our hearts were beating, when at the dawn of day,
The king is come to marshal us, in all his armour drest,
He looked upon the traitors, and his glance was stern and high.
Press where ye see my white plume shine, amidst the ranks of war,
Hurrah! the foes are moving! Hark to the mingled din
The well-known name of Attila