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Her let it strike, on her, the unforgiven,
So thee it spare, descend the wrath of Heaven!
Such are the Forms the Grecian bards delight,
In solemn tragedy, to mould aright;
Unshaken Will opposed to ruthless Fate,
And Nature vanquished by the Soul sedate.
In hallowed temples well might men adore
Thoughts so divine embodied them before;
Of Heaven they were, and, by such steps sublime,
Who worshipt truly, to their source might climb.
· Or if a warmer medium thou require,
Lo, Painting kindles up her torch of fire,
Go to the Vatican, and let thy soul
Thrill with new awe beneath divine control.
-Let Raffael's visions, in celestial state,
Thy feelings to devotion consecrate;
While from thine eyes, in beatific trance,
Trickle the tears :-swoon thou, as they advance,
That Forms of gods may hover o'er thy heart,
And haunt it after, never to depart.
-Or sun thy spirit in the fiercer glow,
The graces terrible, of Angelo
- Or bathe, with Rembrandt, in a lake of Light;
With Titian, play in Colours exquisite.
-Or look, with Claude, on Nature's face, and see
“The Mind, the Music, breathing" thence on thee !
O Music! who in times of old couldst sway,
With power forgot, this animated clay ;
Still livést thou, but ne'er since Handel left
Earth, to converse with Milton, long-bereft,
Hast thou been “ married to immortal Verse,"
Meet lofty thoughts and fancies to rehearse.
Still Moore, indeed, in amorous pain may melt
The soul of youth, too prematurely felt;
Superior far that gladness which inspired
The bards of Greece, though from the senses fired,
Yet true to Nature, pleasure it refined,
Alike the passions touched, and soothed the mind.
Song cheers the soul; and Homer's heart was glad,
A happy bard :-Such joys the Muses had;
The wanderer's way they might illume and charm,
Bless him though poor, though blind protect from harm.
Who reads his raptures of his joy partakes,
For Genius e'er demoniac pride forsakes.
Hence, with fantastic Spenser, rather I
Roam the delightful lands of faëry,
With gentle Shakspere, sympathise with all,
Than on dread Nemesis with Byron call.
- In evil days, how patient, how sublime,
Milton bequeathed his song to future time,
For him his nightly visitant advanced
To heavenly bliss, in holy visions tranced.
- So Wordsworth now rejoices, calmly brave,
In hopes sublime that overstep the grave.
Song cheers the soul. Thus still the Gondolier
Doth in his dusk canoe his spirit cheer;
And Tasso's, as in Greece old Homer's strain,
Resounds in Italy; the Cid in Spain-
In bower and hall the harp and the guitar
Murmur romance, and woo the vesper star ;
Soft sighs in gardens the Morisco lay,
And serenades charm lady's dreams away.
-O'er the calm liquid mirror patient lies
Thy boatman, Adria! brooding melodies;
Anon, aloud with voice and verse he wakes
The distant Echo. Who his song partakes ?
Perchance a stranger; yet the song endears
Each to the other, and each one who hears.
-The faithful consorts thus of Lido's isle,
On the sea-shore, the eventide beguile,
Till each her husband, fishing out at sea,
Hears from afar, responding to her glee.
Sweet on the waters blue the moonlight dim.
The music passing sweet to her and him !
Song cheers the soul. O Cheerfulness ! to thee
The Muses with Apollo bend the knee:
For of the soul art thou ; and thou, erewhile,
Dwelt with the poets old of Albion's isle.
Thine were the "things which stern old Ben had seen
Done at the Mermaid, . . words that there had been
So nimble and so full of subtle flame,"
As spent each jest the fancy whence it came-
Unlike the bee that dies upon its sting,
Upon their life was shed a second spring.
There Shakspere waged with him the strife of wit,
Refined symposia glad and exquisite;
Rare festivals of Genius and of Thought,
Then newly born; from Feeling, Feeling caught,
Like Light from torches in a mystic game;
Ennobling sport, and hallowed in its aim-
Auspicious age! prophetic of a time
Still more majestic, chivalrous, sublime.
Forth from those minds thus jocund and inspired, Immortal shapes, like Pallas, sprang, attired : That Lady who reproached that Husband's mood, “Who let • I dare not’wait upon “I would'"That generous Moor by jealous knave beguiledThat Sire unchilded, save for one good ChildThat studious Dane to whom his Father's ghost Cried for a vengeance that was nearly lostWho knows not Juliet's love and Timon's hate ? And Cleopatra's more than earthly state ? Sweet Imogen, Miranda, and the twain Who sported with Titania and her train ?
The Sullen Shepherd, Faithful Shepherdess ? —
With other Forms, grave, gay, and numberless ?
Where are they gone? What bad Magician's wand
Has banished them from their once cherished land ?
Shall ne'er the Drama's Muses re-awake?
Must Genius evermore the stage forsake ?
Lives none who, moved by Æschylus and Greece,
Burns to achieve a name like Sophocles ?
None who, like Sheridan, would not disdain,
With wit more sparkling than his loved champagne,
With coruscation bland and polished dart,
To mend the fancy and to warm the heart ?
All its long glories perished and forgot,
Sad Taste avoids the desecrated spot ;
Baotian owls the Muses' courts profane,
And Judgement wisely spurns it with disdain.
Though pleasures there the vulgar soul may find,
Such Genius owns not, alien from the mind.
Thus where, of old, thy Temple, Bel! on high
Reared its proud head, ambitious of the sky,
Where pensile gardens, in imperial state,
Saw broad Euphrates richly undulate,
Midst palace, arch, and pyramid, and tower,
There now the cormorant houses to devour,
There now the bittern and the raven bide,
Thorns, nettles, brambles, flourish and deride
The desart beasts with island creatures meet,
And the screech-owl finds there secure retreat ;
And there the Vultures, each one with his mate
Gather (where men were kings) and propagate.
01 would our princes in their halls revive
The moral Masque, then poetry might live;
Might live again, in women and in men,
And move and speak, as nobly now as then!
Then great Eliza deigned to be addressed
By Sybil or by Savage well expressed,
And Shakspere, gazing on the gorgeous show,
With Puck and Ariel teemed, and Prospero.
On such delights what fancy Jonson shed !
And Comus' myrtles circle Milton's head !
Neglected now, or patronised by thee,
Whose Muse descended with thy Liberty-
Thus hath the Eternal City past away,
Or but remains eternal in decay-
Creative still of pleasure and of joy,
The Genius that builds cities can destroy,
And, with excess of Luxury, expose
The enfeebled nation to barbarian foes.
Yet none will fight with nothing to defend,
Nor on the desart sands his life expend ;
For some degree of luxury is good ;
Nor without art may battle be withstood-
With skill enough to build a Roman wall,
The Briton ne'er had been the Saxon's thrall;
Nor either to the Norman yielded place,
But for the lack of learning and of grace;
And yet an Alfred taught them to be free,
And, for their charter, pointed to the sea.
O Britain ! O my Country! Ocean-queen!
Thy Genius rules it, stormy or serene :
With what delight the ship, elanced to roam,
Strikes like an arrow through the flashing foam !
When, checked by Heaven, great Alexander bade
His conquests cease, and by Hydaspes stayed,
The cedar fell, in aid of his design,
From mountain forests, with the fir and pine ;
Till, lo, his naval armament arose,
Prepared for victors o'er unnumbered foes.
What sacrifice was offered to appease
The sacred Powers who rule the myriad seas!
Nor were the game and public feast withdrawn,
Till overshadowed men the important dawn,
When, vassals to the Macedonian sword,
Gazed on the pageant that barbarian horde.
The king of kings, from his brave vessel's prow,
Libation poured into the stream below;
And Acesines tributary he
Invoked, with, Indus! thy great deity.
Now clangs the trump, the naval forests move,
And the waves echo with the sounds they love; .
The decks with gallant soldiers all alive,
The latticed sides with war-steeds sensitive,
The oars of that innumerable band,
The cries of rowers to the loud command;
While loftier bank and deep ravine prolong -
Harmonious notes, more pleasing far than song.
Yet far more pleasing to my patriot heart, When Drake impoverished dared a brave man's part, And with two scanty vessels scoured the main, Till England shared America with Spain !
O Britain ! O my country! Ocean-queen!
Thy Genius rules it, stormy or serene.
There Enterprise still spreads her thousand sails,
Laughs with the billows, dances with the gales ;
There Heaven, that swooped upon the Armada's pride,
Still prospers thy dominion far and wide;
And where thy Ralegh once advanced thy star,
There died to conquer He of Trafalgar !
War! thou art terrible in beauty still,
Let land or main thy stern behests fulfil;
Yet charms it so, that man where'er he dwells,
In havoc joys, and with its triumph swells.
Who of thy “pride, pomp, circumstance,” partakes,
Them never, but with sorrow, he forsakes.
New powers, new thoughts, new feelings to impart,
Thou with a moral fever shak'st the heart,
Rend'st wide the veil that shrouds its mysteries,
And lay'st it bare, as Judgement shall the skies !
Yet not with equal charms thy beauties strike,
Nor thy attractions move all souls alike.
While ruin fell, and rose the battle's shout,
And Death and Madness revelled wide without,
The Syracusan, deep in thought, revolved
How he might move earth's planet,... haply, solved,...
When the rude soldier, though he meant to save,
Sent him to solve—the problem of the grave.
Though War delight not all, her Genius yet
Hath his peculiar purpose to beget-
For Truth and Mercy may by Conquest be
Borne to far lands, and cross the savage sea.
And fit it is, that Pleasure should attend
Such mighty labours for so great an end-
Ay, fit, an immortality of Fame
Should bless, to every age, the warrior's name,
Who falls for Freedom, or who dies for Peace ;-
O worthy of the bards of Rome and Greece!
Worthy of honour, such as hallows you,
Victors of Blenheim and of Waterloo !
Platea's hour and Martel's day must yield
To thy renown, thou last and bravest field !
Then Europe's battle, Man's civility,
Was fought and won, and Earth indeed was free-
(By Hope achieved what Faith of old foresaw)
Free of his power who held the world in awe-
Then was it broken, and therewith the chain
Which tyrants shall no more compose again
Their tyrant, thou, Napoleon ! hadst thy work,
Scourge of just Heaven, each despot's soul to irk-
Not without guilt, yet was it done with strength ;
And that achieved, thine own was vexed at length;
For thou wert evil. Revolution's Child,
Thy heart was as thy Mother's, wroth and wild :
War of the order whereto thou wert bound
Was the one rule-with iron thou wert crowned.
The Alps beheld a second Hannibal,
Rome feared thee, unprophetic of thy fall-
The shores of Nile, the tombs, the deserts shook ;
Spain, Austria, both obeyed thy stern rebuke-
The land of Kosciuszko saw in air
Thine eagles flout the sun..what did they there?
Ere long thy sun shall set with that which sets
O'er Moscow's fire-appointed minarets.
'Gainst Sisera whose doom is writ and given,
Lo! in their courses fight the stars of Heaven !
The Messengers divine dust-off the snow
From their swift feet; and what are armies now ?