« PreviousContinue »
I ne'er before, believe me, fair,
Have ever drawn your mountain air,
"Till on this lake's romantic strand,
I found a fay in fairy land.'
'I well believe,' the maid replied,
As her light skiff approached the side,
'I well believe, that ne'er before
Your foot has trod Loch-Katrine's shore;
But yet, as far as yesternight,
Old Allan-bane foretold your plight,—
A gray-haired sire, whose eye intent
Was on the visioned future bent.
He saw your steed, a dappled gray,
Lie dead beneath the birchen way;
Painted exact your form and mien,
Your hunting suit of Lincoln green,
That tassel'd horn so gaily gilt,
That falchion's crooked blade and hilt,
That cap with heron's plumage trim,
And yon two hounds so dark and grim,
He bade that all should ready be,
To grace a guest of fair degree;
But light I held his prophecy,
And deemed it was my father's horn,
Whose echoes o'er the lake were borne.'
The stranger smiled—' Since to your home,
A destined errant knight I come,
Announced by prophet sooth and old,
Doomed, doubtless, for achievement bold,
I'll lightly front each high emprize,
For one kind glance of those bright eyes;
Permit me, first, the task to guide
Your fairy frigate o'er the tide.'
The maid with smile suppressed and sly,
The toil unwonted saw him try;
For seldom, sure, if ere before,
His noble hand had grasped an oar:
Yet with main strength his strokes he drew,
And o'er the lake the shallop flew ;
With heads erect, and whimpering cry,
'The hounds behind their passage ply.
Nor frequent does the bright oar break
The darkening mirror of the lake,
Until the rocky isle they reach,
And moor their shallop on the beach.
The stranger viewed the shore around;
"Twas all so close with copse-wood bound,
Nor track nor path-way might declare
That human foot frequented there,
Until the mountain-maiden showed
A clambering unsuspected road,
That winded through the tangled screen,
And opened on a narrow green,
Where weeping birch and willow round
With their long fibres swept the ground;
Here, for retreat in dangerous hour,
Some chief had framed a rustic bower
It was a lodge of ample size,
But strange of structure and device;
Of such materials as around
The workman's hand had readiest found.
Lopped of their boughs, their hoar trunks bared,
And by the hatchet rudely squared,
To give the walls their destined height,
The sturdy oak and ash unite;
While moss and clay and leaves combined
To fence each crevice from the wind.
The lighter pine-trees, over-head,
Their slender length for rafters spread;
And withered heath and rushes dry
Supplied a russet canopy.
Due westward, fronting to the green,
A rural portico was seen,
Aloft on native pillars borne,
Of mountain fir with bark unshorn,
Where Ellen's hand had taught to twine
The ivy and Idæan vine,
The clematis, the favoured flower,
Which boasts the name of virgin-bower
And every hardy plant could bear
Loch-Katrine's keen and searching air.
An instant in this porch she staid,
And gaily to the stranger said,
On heaven and on thy lady call,
And enter the enchanted hall.'
My hope, my heaven, my trust must be, My gentle guide, in following thee—
THE SACKING OF PRAGUE.
Oh! sacred Truth! thy triumph ceas'd awhile,
And Hope, thy sister, ceas'd with thee to smile,
When leagu'd Oppression pour'd to Northern wars
Her whisker'd pandoors and her fierce hussars,
Wav'd her dread standard to the breeze of morn,
Peal'd her loud drum, and twang'd her trumpet horn:
Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van,
Presaging wrath to Poland—and to man!
Warsaw's last champion from her height survey'd,
Wide o'er the fields a waste of ruin laid,—
Oh! Heav'n, he cried, my bleeding country save!
Is there no hand on high to shield the brave?
Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains,
Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains!
By that dread name, we wave the sword on high,
And swear for her to live!—with her to die!
He said, and on the rampart heights array'd
His trusty warriors, few but undismay'd;
Firm-pac'd and slow, a horrid front they form,
Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm;
Low, murmuring sounds along their banners fly,
Revenge, or death,—the watchword and reply;
Then peal'd the notes, omnipotent to charm,
And the loud tocsin toll'd their last alarm!-
In vain, alas! in vain, ye gallant few!
From rank to rank your volley'd thunder flew :--
Oh bloodiest picture in the Book of Time,
Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime;
Found not a gen'rous friend, a pitying foe,
Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe!
Dropp'd from her nerveless grasp the shatter'd spear,
Clos'd her bright eye, and curb d her high career;
Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell:
And Freedom shrieked-as Kosciusko fell!
The sun went down, nor ceas'd the carnage there,
Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air-
On Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow,
His blood-dy'd waters murmuring far below;
The storm prevails, the rampart yields away,
Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay!
Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall,
A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call!
Earth shook-red meteors flash'd along the sky,
And conscious Nature shudder'd at the cry!
Oh! Righteous Heaven! ere Freedom found a grave,
Why slept the sword Omnipotent, to save?
Where was thine arm, O Vengeance! where thy rod,
That smote the foes of Zion and of God,
That crush'd proud Ammon, when his iron car
Was yok'd in wrath, and thunder'd from afar?
Where was the storm that slumber'd till the host
Of blood-stain'd Pharaoh left their trembling coast;
Then bade the deep in wild commotion flow,
And heav'd an ocean on their march below!
Departed spirits of the mighty dead!
Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled!
Friends of the world! restore your swords to man,
Fight in his sacred cause, and lead the van!
Yet for Sarmatia's tears of blood atone,
And make her arm puissant as your own!
Oh! once again to Freedom's cause return
The Patriot Tell-the Bruce of Bannockburn!
Yes! thy proud lords, unpitied land! shall see
That man hath yet a soul-and dare be free!
A little while, along thy sad'ning plains,
The starless night of desolation reigns ;
Truth shall restore the light by Nature giv'n,
And, like Prometheus, bring the fire of Heav'n!
Prone to the dust Oppression shall be hurl❜d,—
Her name, her nature, wither'd from the world!
ANGEL of life! thy glittering wings explore Earth's loneliest bounds, and Ocean's wildest shore. Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
His bark, careering o'er unfathom'd fields;
Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,
Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor standard to the winds unfurl'd,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Now far he sweeps, where scarce a summer smiles, On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles; Cold on his midnight watch the breezes blow, From wastes that slumber in eternal snow; And waft, across the waves' tumultuous roar, The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore.
Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm, Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form! Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd bark delay; Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep, And sing to charm the spirit of the deep. Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole, Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul: His native hills that rise in happier climes, The grot that heard his song of other times, His cottage-home, his bark of slender sail, His glassy lake, and broomwood-blossom'd vale, Rush on his thought; he sweeps before the wind, Treads the lov'd shore he sigh'd to leave behind; Meets at each step a friend's familiar face, And flies at last to Helen's long embrace; Wipes from her cheek the rapture speaking tear, And clasps, with many a sigh, his children dear! While, long neglected, but at length caress'd, His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest, Points to the master's eyes, where'er they roam, His wistful face, and whines a welcome home.
THE SOLDIER OF HOPE.
FRIEND of the brave! in peril's darkest hour,
Intrepid Virtue looks to thee for power;
To thee the heart its trembling homage yields,
On stormy floods, and carnage-cover'd fields.
When front to front the banner'd hosts combine,
Halt ere they close, and form the dreadful line;
When all is still on Death's devoted soil,
The march-worn soldier mingles for the toil;
As rings his glittering tube, he lifts on high
The dauntless brow, and spirit-speaking eye,
Hails in his heart the triumph yet to come,
And hears thy stormy music in the drum.