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No soothing thoughts arise of duties done,
Of trophied conquests for his country won;
And he, whose sculptured form gave deathless fame
To Ctesilas ; he dies—without a name!
Haply, to grace some Cæsar's pageant pride,
The hero-slave, or hireling champion died !
When Rome, degenerate Rome, for barbarous shows,
Bartered her virtue, glory, and repose,
Sold all that freemen prize, as great and good,
For pomps of death and theatres of blood !
There is a bird who, by his coat
And by the hoarseness of his note,
Might be supposed a crow;
A great frequenter of the church,
Where, bishop-like, he finds a perch,
And dormitory too.
Above the steeple shines a plate,
That turns and turns, to indicate
From what point blows the weather.
Look up—your brains begin to swim,
'Tis in ihe clouds—that pleases him,
He chooses it the rather.
Fond of the speculative height,
Thither he wings his airy flight,
And thence securely sees
The bustle and the rareeshow,
That occupy mankind below,
Secure and at his ease.
You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises,
If he should chance to fall.
No; not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,
Or troubles it at all.
He sees that this great roundabout,
The world, with all its motley rout,
Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs and its businesses,
Is no concern at all of his,
And says—what says he ?-Caw.
Thrice happy bird ! I too have seen
Much of the vanities of men;
And, sick of having seen them,
Would cheerfully these limbs resign
For such a pair of wings as thine,
And such a head between them.
AS IT IMPRESSED THE MIND OF THE POET IN 1810.
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 marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor 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 sealed,
The first, last look by death revealed!
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 passed away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherished earth.
TRIUMPHAL arch, that fillest the sky
When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud Philosophy
To teach me what thou art-
Still seem as to my childhood's sight,
A midway station given
For happy spirits to alight
Betwixt the earth and heaven.
Can all that Optics teach, unfold
Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold
Hid in thy radiant bow?
When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High, Have told why first thy robe of beams
Was woven in the sky. When o'er the green undeluged earth
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine, How came the world's grey fathers forth
To watch thy sacred sign.
And when its yellow lustre smiled
O'er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child
To bless the bow of God.
Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,
The first made anthem rang
On earth delivered from the deep,
And the first poet sang.
Nor ever shall the Muse's eye
Unraptured greet thy beam :
Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the poet's theme !
The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When glittering in the freshened fields
The snowy mushroom springs. How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town, Or mirrored in the ocean vast,
A thousand fathoms down! As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem, As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam. For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span, Nor lets the type grow pale with age
That first spoke peace to man.
THE LOVE OF COUNTRY AND OF HOME.
There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o'er all the world beside;
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons emparadise the night;
A land of beauty, virtue, valour, truth,
Time-tutored age, and love-exalted youth ;
The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
Views not a realm so bountiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air;
In every clime the magnet of his soul,
Touched by remembrance, trembles to that pole;
For in this land of Heaven's peculiar grace,
The heritage of nature's noblest race,
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest,
Where man, creation's tyrant, casts aside
His sword and sceptre, pageantry and pride,
While in his softened looks benignly blend
The sire, the son, the husband, brother, friend :
Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strews with fresh flowers the narrow way of life;
In the clear heaven of her delightful eye,
An angel-guard of loves and graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fire-side pleasures gambol at her feet.
“ Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found ?"
Art thou a man?-a patriot ?- look around;
O, thou shalt find, howe'er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home!
On Greenland's rocks, o'er rude Kamschatka's plains, In pale Siberia's desolate domains; When the wild hunter takes his lonely way, Tracks through tempestuous snows his savage prey,