Page images
PDF
EPUB

He sung Darius, great and good!

By too severe a fate,
Fallenfallenfallen fallen !Fallen from his

high estate,
And weltering in his blood.
Deserted, at his utmost need,
By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth, expos'd he lies,

With not a friend to close his eyes.
With downcast look the joyless victor sate,

Revolving, in his altered soul,

The various turns of fate below;
And, now and then, a sigh he stole-

And tears began to flow.
The mighty master smil'd to see
That love was in the next degree.
'Twas but a kindred sound to move:
For pity melts the mind to love.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.

he
sung,

is toil and trouble;
Honor but an empty bubble;

Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying,

If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, O think it worth enjoying!

Lovely Thais sits beside thee.

Take the good the gods provide thee.
The many rend the skies with loud applause:
So Love was crown'd: but Music won the cause.

The prince, unable to conceal his pain,

Gaz'd on the fair,

Who caus’d his care, And sigh'd, and look'd,-sigh'd, and look'd-sigh'd,

and look’d,--and sigh'd again. At length, with love and wine at once opprest, The vanquish'd victor sunk upon her breast.

War,

Now strike the golden lyre again;
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain:
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him with a rattling peal of thunder.

Hark! hark—the horrid sound
Has rais'd up his head,
As awak'd from the dead,

And, amaz’d, he stares around.
Revenge! revenge! Timotheus cries:

See the Furies arise!

See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in the air!
And the sparkles that flash in their eyes!

Behold a ghastly band

Each a torch in his hand:
These are Grecian ghosts, that in battle were slain

And unbury'd remain,
Inglorious on the plain:
Give the vengeance due

To the valiant crew.
Behold how they toss their torches on high!-

How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods!

The princes applaud with a furious joy, And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to destroy:

Thais led the way,

To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fir'd another Troy.

Thus, long ago,
(Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,-
While organs yet were mute)
Timotheus, to his breathing flute

And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.

At last, divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame:
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarg'd the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds, With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.

Let old Timotheus yield the prize;
Or both divide the crown:-
He raised a mortal to the skies;
She drew an angel down.

MORNING.

BYRON
Night wanes, the vapours round the mountains curl'd
Melt into morn, and Light awakes the world;
Man has another day to swell the past,
And lead him near to little, but his last;
But mighty nature bounds as from her birth,
The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam,
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream,
Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
And cry, exulting inly, "they are thine!
Gaze on, while yet thy gladden'd eye may see;
A morrow comes when they are not for thee:
And grieve what may above thy senseless bier,
Nor earth nor sky will yield a single tear;
Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall,
Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all;
But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
And fit thy clay lo fertilize the soil.

[ocr errors]

GREECE.

BYRON.
He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,)
And mark'd the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fix'd yet tender traits that streak
The langour of the placid cheek,
And-but for that sad shrouded eye,

That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,

And but for that chill changeless brow, Where cold Obstruction's apathy Appals the gazing mourner's heart, As if to him it could impart The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon; Yes, but for these and these alone, Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour, He still might doubt the tyrant's power; So fair, so calm, so softly seal'd, The first, last look by death reveal?d! Such is the aspect of this shore; "Tis Greece, but living Greece no more! So coldly sweet, so deadly fair, We start, for soul is wanting there. Hers is the loveliness in death, That parts not quite with parting breath; But beauty with that fearful bloom, That hue which haunts it to the tomb; Expression's last receding ray, A gilded halo hovering round decay, The farewell beam of Feeling past away! Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth, Which gleams, but warms no more its cherish'd earth!

CHILDE HAROLD.

CANTO 1V CLLXXVII,
Oh! that the Desert were my dwelling place,
With one fair Spirit for my minister,
That I might all forget the human race,
And, hating no one, love but only her!
Ye Elements!—in whose ennobling stir
I feel myself exalted-Can ye not
Accord me such a being? Do I err

In deeming such inhabit many a spot?
Though with them to converse can rarely be our lot,

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean,--roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin-his control
Stops with the shore;-upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,

He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown,

His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him, thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he

wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling to his Gods, where haply lies

His petty hope in some near port or bay,
Then dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.

The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war!
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,

They melt into thy yeast of waves, which inar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.

Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee-
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts:--not so thou,

« PreviousContinue »