« PreviousContinue »
The hour of vengeance strikes. Hark to the gale!
As it bursts hollow through the rolling clouds,
That froin the north in sullen grandeur sail
Like floating Alps. Advancing darkness broods
Upon the wild horizon, and the woods,
Now sinking into brambles, echo shrill,
As the gust sweeps them, and those upper floods
Shoot on their leafless boughs the sleet-drops chill,
That on the hurrying crowds in freezing showers distil.
Still on they sweep, as if their hurrying march
Could bear them from the rushing of His wheel
Whose chariot is the whirlwind. Heaven's clear arch
At once is covered with a vivid veil ;
In mixed and fighting heaps the deep clouds reel;
Upon the dense horizon hangs the sun,
In sanguine light, an orb of burning steel;
The snows wheel down through twilight, thick and dun; Now tremble, men of blood, the judgment has begun !-CROLY.
Stop :-for thy tread is on an Empire's dust!
An earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below!
Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust,
Nor column trophied for triumphal show?
None; but the moral's truth tells simpler so.
As the ground was before thus let it be.
How that red rain hath made the harvest grow!
And is this all the world hath gain’d by thee,
Thou first and last of fields, king-making Victory?
There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gather'd then
Her beauty and her chivalry; and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men ; #
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose, with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell ;-
But hush ! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell !
* The Duke of Wellington was-with his officers-at a ball, in Brussels, when he heard that the French were advancing. He immediately prepared for the decisive battle, which was won June 18, 1815.
Did you not hear it ?-No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;.
On with the dance ! let joy be unconfin'd;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet-
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm! arm! it is !—it is! the cannon's op’ning roar!
Within a window'd niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deem'd it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretch'd his father on a bloody bier,
And rous’d the vengeance blood alone could quell:
He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting fell!
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress ;
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago,
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness;
And there was sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts; and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated; who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise ?
And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar ;
And near, the beat of the alarining drum
Rous'd up the soldier ere the morning star;
While throng’d the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering with white lips, " The foe! they come, they come!”
And wild and high the “Cameron's gathering” rose !
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard too have her Saxon foes :
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill ! but with the breath which' fills
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With their fierce native daring, which instills
The stirring memory of a thousand years :
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears.
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with nature's tear-drops as they pass,
Grieving—if aught inanimate e'er grieves-
Over the unreturning brave--alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure: when this fiery mass
Of living valour, rolling on the foe
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay:
The midnight brought the signal sound of strife-
The morn, the marshalling in arms—the day, battle's magnifi-
cently stern array !
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent,
The earth is cover'd thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover-heap'd and pent,
Rider and horse,-friend, foe,-in one red burial blent !-BYRON.
THE REIGN OF GEORGE III. “During the reign of George III. England had to undergo the revolt of the American colonies; to submit to defeat; to shake under the volcano of the French revolution; to grapple and fight for the life with her gigantic enemy Napoleon ; to gasp and rally after that tremendous struggle; the old society, with its courtly splendour, had to pass away; generations of statesmen to rise and disappear; Pitt to follow Chatham to the tomb; the memory of Rodney and Wolfe to be succeeded by Nelson's and Wellington's glory; the old poets who unite us to Queen Anne's time had to sink into their graves; Johnson to die, and Scott and Byron to arise; Garrick to delight the world with his dazzling dramatic genius, and Kean to leap on the stage and take possession of the astonished theatre. Steam had to be invented; kings to be beheaded, deposed, restored; Napoleon to be but an episode; and George IIÍ. is to bé alive through all these varied changes, to accompany his people through those revolutions of thought, government, society, and survive out of the old world into ours.” After describing some of the court scenes of that time, and the eminent characters that flourished during the reign, and the spirit of the monarch that 'beat North and Fox, and even bound the stately neck of the younger Pitt,' by his indomitable determination, Mr. Thackeray sketched the king's special affection for the Princess Amelia, whose death finally overset his reason, so that from the 10th of November, 1810, he ceased to reign. “History,” thus concluded the lecturer, “presents no sadder picture than that old man, blind and deprived of reason, wandering through his palace, haranguing imaginary parliaments and reviewing ghostly troops. He became utterly deaf too. All sight, all reason, all sound of human voices, all the plea
sures of this world of God, were taken from him. Some slight
lucid moments he had, in one of which the queen-desiring to see
him-entered the room and found him singing a hymn and accom-
panying himself on the harpsichord; when finished, he kneeled
down and prayed aloud for her and for his family, and then for the
nation-concluding with a prayer for himself that God would avert
his heavy calamity from him; but if not, that he would give him
resignation to submit to it.' He then burst into tears, and his
reason again, fled. What preacher need moralise on this story?
What words, save the simplest, are requisite to tell it? It is too
terrible for tears. The thought of such misery smites us down in
submission before the Ruler of Kings and men-the Monarch
Supreme over empires and republics, the inscrutable Dispenser of
Life, death, happiness, victory. Oh! brothers, (I said to those who
heard me in America)-Oh! brothers, speaking the same dear
mother-tongue-Oh! comrades, enemies no more, let us take a
mournful hand together as we stand by this royal corpse, and call
a truce to battle. Low he lies to whom the proudest used to kneel
once, and who was cast lower than the poorest; he whom millions
prayed over in vain. Driven off his throne, buffetted by rude
hands, with his children in revolt, the darling of his old age killed
before him, old Lear hangs over her breathless lips, and calls-
'Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little.'
Vex not his ghost. O! let him pass. He hates him
That would, upon the rack of this rough world,
Stretch him out longer. Hush, strife and quarrel, over the solemn grave! Sound, trumpets, a 'mournful march! Fall, dark curtain, upon his pageant, his pride, his griefs, his awful tragedy !
Newspaper notice of Thackeray's Lectures on the Georges.
At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour
When Greece-her knee in supliance bent-
Should tremble at its power;
In dreams, through camp and court he bore
The trophies of a conqueror;
In dreams, his song of triumph heard-
Then wore his monarch's signet ring, -
Then press’d that monarch's throne-a king;
As wild his thoughts and gay of wing
As Eden's Garden's bird.
* Killed in 1823, fighting heroically for the liberty of Greece.
An hour passed on-the Turk awoke:
That bright dream was his last. He woke, to hear his sentry shriek,
“ To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek !” He woke to die midst flame and smoke, And shout, and groan, and sabre stroke,
And death-shots falling thick and fast,
As lightnings from the mountain's cloud;
And heard, with voice, as trumpet loud,
Bozzaris cheered his band.
“Strike-till the last arm'd foe expires,
Strike-for your altars and your fires,
Strike-for the green graves of your sires,
God and your native land.”
They fought like brave men, long and well,
They piled that ground with Moslem slain,
They conquerd, but Bozzaris fell,
Bleeding at every vein;
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile, when rang their proud hurrah,
And the red field was won;
They saw in death his eyelids close
Calmly as to a night's repose, –
Like flowers at set of sun.-HALLECK.
ON THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY.*
Proudly on Cressy's tented wold
The lion-flag of England flew;
As proudly gleam'd its crimson fold
O'er the dun heights of Waterloo : But other lyres shall greet the brave; Sing now,
that we have freed the slave. The ocean plain, where Nelson bled,
Fair commerce plies with peaceful oar;
Duteous o'er Britain's clime to shed
The gathered spoils of every shore:
To-day, across th’ Atlantic sea,
Shout shout ye, that the slave is free.
And eloquence in rushing streams
Has flow'd our halls and courts along,
Or kindled 'mid yet loftier dreams
The glowing bursts of glorious song.
Let both their noblest burden pour,
To tell that slavery is no more.