« PreviousContinue »
COMPOSED NEAR CALAIS, ON THE ROAD LEADING TO ARDRES,
AUGUST 7TH, 1807.
JONES! while from Calais southward you and I
Urged our accordant steps, this public Way
Streamed with the pomp of a too-credulous day, *
When faith was pledged to new-born Liberty:
A homeless sound of joy was in the Sky;
The antiquated Earth, as one might say,
Beat like the heart of Man: songs, garlands, play,
Banners, and happy faces, far and nigh!
And now, sole register that these things were,
Two solitary greetings have I heard,
“ Good morrow, Citizen!" a hollow word,
As if a dead Man spake it! Yet despair
I feel not: jocund as a warbling Bird ;
Fair seasons yet will come, and hopes as fair.
I GRIEVED for Buonaparte, with a vain
And an unthinking grief! for, who aspires
To genuine greatness but from just desires,
And knowledge such as he could never gain ?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train
The Governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood.
Wisdom doth live with children round her knees :
Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk
Man holds with week-day man in the hourly walk
Of the mind's business: these are the degrees
By which true Sway doth mount; this is the stalk
grow on ; and her rights are these.
CALAIS, AUGUST 15TH, 1802.
FESTIVALS have I seen that were not names:
This is young Buonaparte's natal day,
And his is henceforth an established
sway, Consul for life. With worship France proclaims Her approbation, and with pomps and
games. Heaven grant that other Cities may be gay! Calais is not: and I have bent my way To the sea-coast, noting that each man frames His business as he likes. Far different time That was, which here I witnessed, long ago; The senselessness of joy was then sublime ! Happy is he, who, caring not for Pope, Consul, or King, can sound himself to know The destiny of Man, and live in hope.
ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC.
Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee ;
And was the safeguard of the West: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a Maiden City, bright and free;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when She took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great, is passed away.
The Voice of Song from distant lands shall call
To that great King; shall hail the crowned Youth
Who, taking counsel of unbending Truth,
By one example hath set forth to all
How they with dignity may stand; or fall,
If fall they must. Now, whither doth it tend ?
And what to him and his shall be the end ?
That thought is one which neither can appal
Nor cheer him ; for the illustrious Swede hath done
The thing which ought to be: He stands above
All consequences: work he hath begun
Of fortitude, and piety, and love,
Which all his glorious Ancestors approve:
The Heroes bless him, him their rightful Son.