Page images

de heart-ach, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to ;-—'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die-to sleep
To sleep! perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come;
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.—There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life
For who would hear the whips and scorns o'th' time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To groan and sweat under a weary life;
But that the dread of something aiter death
(That undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns) puzzles the will ;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all :
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought ;
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.




Oh! my offence is rank, it smells to Heav'n,
It hath the primal, eldest curse upon't;
A brother's murder.- - Pray I cannot:
Though inclination be as sharp as 'twill,
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,

And both neglect. What if this cursed land
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood;
Is there not rain enough in the sweet Heav'ns,
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy,
But to confront the visage of offence ?
And what's in prayer, but this twofold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down?

--Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But oh, what form of pray'r
Can serve my turn? Forgiv? me my foul murder !
That cannot be, since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd, and retain th' offence ?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by Justice ;
And oft 'tis seen, the wicked prize itself
Buys out the laws. But 'tis not so above.
Tliere is no shuffling; there the action lies
In it's true nature, and we ourselves compellid,
Ev'n to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?
Oh wretched slate! oh bosom black as death!
Oh limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels ! make essay !
Bow, stubborn knees ; and heart, with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe !
all may be well.




Descend, ye Nine! descend and sing :
The breathing instruments inspire;
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre !

In a sadly pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain :

Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around

The shrill echoes rebound :
While in more lengthien'd notes and slow
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.

Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rise,

And fill with spreading sourds the skies; Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes, In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats;

Till, by degrees, remote and small,

The strains decay,

And melt away

In a dying, dying fall.
By Music, minds an equal temper know,

Not swell too high, nor sink too low;
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies ,

Or, when the soul is press'd with cares

Exalts her in euliv'ning airs :
Warriors she fires with animated sounds,
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds ;

Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,

List'ning Envy drops her snakes,
Intestine war no more our Passions wage,
And giddy Factions hear away their rage.
But when our country's cause provokes to arnis,
How martial music ev'ry bosom warms !
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian rais'd his strain,

While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main,

Transported demigods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Inflam'd with glory's charms :

Each chief his sev’nfold shield display'd,
And half unsheatli’d the shining blade :
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms! to arms ! to arnis !

But when through all the infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrouuds,

Love, strong as Death, the poet led

To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear’d,
O'er all the dreary coasts ?

Dreadful gleams,
Dismal screams,
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of wo,
Sullen moaus,

Hollow groans,
And cries of tortur'd ghosts ;
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre ;
And see! the tortur'd ghosts respire,

See, shady forms advance !
Thy stone, O. Siphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,

And the pale spectres dance !
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncuri'd hang list'ning round their heads.

By the streans that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow

O'er th’ Elysian flow'rs;
By those bappy souls who dwell
In yellow meads.of asphodel,

Or amaranthine bow'rs;
By the heroes' armed shades,
Glitt'ring through the gloomy glades;
By the youths that died for love,

Wand'ring in the myrtle grove;
Restore, restore Eurydice to life :
O take tlie Husband, or return the Wife!

Q 2

He sung, and Hell consented

To bear the Poet's pray'r :
Stern Proserpine relented,
And gave him back the fair :

Thus song could prevail

O'er Death and o'er Hell,
A conquest how hard, and how glorious !

Though Fate had fast bound her,

With Styx nine times round her, Yet Music and Love were victorious.

But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes :
Again she falls—again she dies—she dies!
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move?
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.

Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the falls of fountains,
Or where llebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,

All alone,
Unheard, unknown,
He makes his moan;

And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with Furies surrounded,
Despairing, confounded,
lle trembles, he glows,

Amidst Rhodope's snows:
See, wild as the winds, o'er the desert lie flies;
Hark! Hæmus resounds with the Bacchanals' cries-

Ah see, he dies ! Yet ev’n in death Eurydice he sung, Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,

Eurydice the woods,

Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.

Music the fiercest grief can charm
And fate's severest rage disarm ;
Músic can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please ;
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.

« PreviousContinue »