« EdellinenJatka »
And hear,—to fire thy flagging zeal,-
The Saxon cause rests on thy steel ;
For thus spoke Fate by prophet bred
Between the living and the dead ;
" Who spills the foremost foeman's life,
His party conquers in the strife.”_
“Then by my word,” the Saxon said,
“ The riddle is already read.
See yonder brake beneath the cliff, -
There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff.
Thus Fate hath solved her prophecy,
Then yield to Fate, and not to me,
To James, at Stirling, let us go,
When if thou wilt be still his foe,
Or if the King shall not agree
To grant thee grace and favor free,
I plight mine honor, oath and word,
That, to thy native strength restored,
With each advantage shalt thou stand,
That aids thee now to guard thy land.”—
Dark lightning flashed from Roderick's eye-
“Soars thy presumption, then, so high,
Because a wretched kerne ye slew,
Homage to name to Roderick Dhu!
He yields not, he, to man nor Fate!
Thou add'st but fuel to my hate .-
My clansman's blood demands revenge.-
Not yet prepared ?-By heaven, I change
My thought, and hold thy valor light
As that of some vain carpet knight,
Who ill deserved my courteous care,
And whose best boast is but to wear
A braid of his fair lady's hair.”—
" I thank thee, Roderick, for the word !
It nerves my heart, it steels my sword ;
For I have sworn this braid to stain
In the best blood that warms thy vein.
Now, truce, farewell! and ruth, begone!-
Yet think not that by thee alone,
Proud Chief! can courtesy be shown;
Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn
Start at my whistle clansmen stern,
Of this small horn one feeble blast
Would fearful odds against thee cast.
But fear not-doubt not-which thou wilt,
We try this quarrel hilt to hilt."-
Then each at once his falchion drew,
Each on the ground his scabbard threw,
Each look'd to sun, and stream, and pla.
As what they ne'er might see again;
Then, foot, and point, and eye opposed,
In dubious strife they darkly closed.
Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu, That on the field his ta he threw, Whose brazen studs and tough bull-hide Had death so often da ile; For, train'd abroad his arms to wield, Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield. He practised every pass and ward, To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard ; While less expert, though stronger far, The Gael maintain'd unequal war. Three times in closing strife they stood, And thrice the Saxon sword drank blood; No stinted draught, no scanty tide, The gushing flood the tartans dyed. Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain, And shower'd his blows like wintry rain ; And, as firm rock, or castle-roof, Against the winter shower is proof, The foe invulnerable siill Foiled his wild rage by steady skill ; Till at advantage ta’en, his brand Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand, And, backwards borne upon the lee, Brought the proud Chiefiain to his knee. "Now yield thee, or, by Him who made The world, thy heart's blood dies my blade !" “ Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy ! Let recreant yield who fears to die."-Like adder darting from his coil, Like wolf that dashes through the toil, Like mountain-cat who guards her young, Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung, Received, but reck'd not of a wound, And locked his arms his foeman round. Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own! No maiden's hand is round thee thrown! That desperate grasp thy frame might feel, Through bars of brass and triple steel ! They tug, they strain ;-down, down they go. The Gael above, Fitz-James below. The Chieftain's gripe his throat compressid, His knee was planted in his breast ; His clotted locks he backward threw Across his brow his hand he drew,
From blood and mist to clear his sight,
Then gleam'd aloft his dagger bright!
But hate and fury ill supplied
The stream of life's exhausted tide,
And all too late the advantage came,
To turn the odds of deadly game;
For, while the dagger gleam'd on high,
Reeld soul and sense, reeld brain and eye.
Down came the blow! but in the heath
The erring blade found bloodless sheath.
The struggling foe may now unclasp
The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp ;
Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.
He falter'd thanks to Heaven for life
Redeem’d, unhoped, from desperate strife;
Next on his foe his look he cast,
Whose every gasp appeared his last ;
In Roderick's gore he dipp'd the braid.-
“ Poor Blanche! thy wrongs are dearly paid :
Yet with thy foe must die or live,
The praise that Faith and Valor give.”
WINTER IN COPENHAGEN. Ere yet the clouds let fall the treasur'd snow, Or winds began through hazy skies to blow, At evening a keen eastern breeze arose, And the descending rain unsullied froze. Soon as the silent shades of night withdrew, The ruddy morn disclos'd at once to view The face of nature in a rich disguise, And heightened every object to my eyes : For every slirub and every blade of grass, And every poinled thorn, seemed wrought in glass; In pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns show, While through the ice the crimson berries glow. The thick sprung reeds, the wat ry marshes yield, Seem polish'd lances in a hostile field, The stag, in limpid currents, with surprise, Sees chrystal branches on his forehead rise: The spreading oak, the beech, the towʻring pine, Glaz’d over, in the freezing æther shine. 'The frighted birds the rattliug branches shun, Which wave and glitter in the distant sun. When if a sudden gust of wind arise, The brittle forest into atoms flies, The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends, And in a spangled shower the prospect ends.
THE SACKING OF PRAGUE. Oh! sacred Truth! thy triumph ceasd awhile, And Hope, thy sister, ceasd with thee to smile, When leagu'd oppression pour to Northern wars Her whisker'd pandoors and her fierce huzzars, Wav'd her dread standard to the breeze of morn, Peal'd her loud drum, and twang'd lier trumpet horn; Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van, Presaging wrath to Poland--and to man!
Warsaw's last champion from her height survey'l,
Wide o‘er the fields a waste of ruin laid,-
Oh! Heav'n he cried, my bleeding country save!
Is there no hand 01 high to shield the brave?
Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains,
Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains!
By that dreal name, we wave the sword on high,
And swear for her to live!- with her to die!
He said, and on the rampărt heights array'd
His trusty warriors, few but undismayed;
Firm-paced, and slow, a horrid front they form,
till 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 sew!
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 sell!
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 for 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'll 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 atove,
And make her arın puissant as your own!
Oh! once again to Freedom's cause return
The Patriot Tell—the Bruce of Bannockburn!