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The deep battalion locks its firm array,
And meditates his aim the marksman light;
Far glance the lines of sabres flashing bright,
There mounted squadrons shake the echoing mead,
Lacks not artillery, breathing flame and might;
Nor the fleet ordnance, whirled by rapid steed
That rivals lightning's flash in ruin and in speed.
A various host,-from kindred realms they came,
Brethren in arms, but rivals in renown.-
For yon fair bands shall merry England claim,
And, with their deeds of valour, deck her crown.
Hers their bold port, and hers their martial frown,
And hers their scorn of death in Freedom's cause,
Their eyes of azure, and their locks of brown,
And the blunt speech, that bursts without a pause,
And freeborn thoughts, which league the soldier with
And, O loved warriors of the Minstrel's land !
Yonder your bonnets nod, your tartans wave!
The rugged form may mark the mountain band,
And harsher features, and a mien more grave;
But ne'er in battle-field throbbed heart so brave,
As that which beats beneath the Scottish plaid,
And when the pibroch bids the battle rave,
And level for the charge your arms are laid,
Where lives the desperate foe, that for such onset staid ?
Hark! from yon stately ranks what laughter rings,
Mingling wild mirth with war's stern minstrelsy,
His jest while each blithe comrade round him flings,
And moves to death with military glee:
Boast, Erin, boast them ! tameless, frank, and free,
In kindness warm, and fierce in danger known,
Rough Nature's children, humourous as she :
And he, yon chieftain,-strike the proudest tone
Of thy bold harp, green Isle !-the Hero is thine own.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF TIME TO MAN.
Night, sable goddess ! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world.
Silence, how dead! and darkness, how profound !
Nor eye, nor listening ear, an object finds;
Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse
Of life stood still, and Nature made a pause;
An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
But from its loss. To give it then a tongue
Is wise in man. As if an angel spoke,
I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright,
It is the knell of my departed hours :
Where are they? with the years beyond the flood !
It is the signal that demands despatch:
How much is to be done! my hopes and fears
Start up alarmed, and o'er life's narrow verge
Look down-On what? a fathomless abyss !
A dread eternity! How surely mine!
And can eternity belong to me,
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour ?
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful, is man!
How passing wonder he, who made him such !
Who centred in our make such strange extremes !
From different natures marvellously mixt,
Connexion exquisite of distant worlds!
Distinguished link in being's endless chain !
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam ethereal, sullied, and absorpt!
Though sullied, and dishonoured, still divine !
Dim miniature of greatness absolute !
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal! insect infinite !
A worm ! a god !-I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost! at home a stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast,
And wondering at her own : how reason reels !
O what a miracle to man is man,
Triumphantly distressed ! what joy, what dread !
Alternately transported, and alarmed!
What can preserve my life, or what destroy?
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
Legions of angels can't confine me there.
WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds; Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the Moon complain
Of such, as wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care; No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team afield !
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor. The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of Power,
And all that Beauty, all that Wealth e'er gave, Await, alike, the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery sooth the dull cold ear of Death ? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unrol;
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest;
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood. The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes, Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their erimes confined ; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind; The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray ; Along the cool sequestered vale of life,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their names, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.