Obrazy na stronie
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But close by the shore, on the edge of the gulf,
There sat a vulture flapping a wolf,
Who had stolen from the hills, but kept away,
Scared by the dogs, from the human prey ;
But he siezed on his share of a steed that lay,
Picked by the birds, on the sands of the bay!

Alp turned him from the sickening sight:
Never had shaken his nerves in fight;
But he better could brook to behold the dying,
Deep in the tide of their warm blood lying,
Scorched with the death-thirst, and writhing in vain,
Than the perishing dead who are past all pain.
-There is something of pride in the perilous hour,
Whate'er be the shape in which death may lour,
For Fame is there to say who bleeds,
And Honor's eye on daring deeds !
Bnt when all is past, it is humbling to tread
O’er the weltering field of the tombless dead,
And see worms of the earth, and fowls of the air,
Beasts of the forest, all gathering there,
All regarding man as their prey,
All rejoicing in his decay !

LIV.-THE FIELD OF WATERLOO.

BYRON.

TOP!—for thy tread is on an Empire's dust !

An Earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below ! -
Is the spot marked with no colossal bust,
Or column trophied, for triumphal show?
None; but the moral's truth tells simpler so.
As the ground was before, thus let it be.-
How that red rain-hath made the harvest grow!

And is this all the world has gained by thee,
Thou first and last of fields ! King-making Victory?

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her Beauty and her Chivalry; and bright
The lamps shone o'cr fair

, women and brave men ;
A thousand hearts beat happily ; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes that spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage-bell-
But hush !-hark ! A deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it ?-No: 'twas but the wind, • Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;

On with the dance !--let joy be unconfined !
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet-
But hark !--that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo wonld repeat;

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm ! arm ! it is—it is—the cannon's opening roar?

Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sat Brunswick's fated chieftain ; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear,
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well,
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,

And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell :
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell !

Ah ! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and trembling ef distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young heart's, and chocking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated : Who could guess

If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since, upon night so sweet, such awful morn could rise.

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal, afar ;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum,
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star :

While thronged the citizens, with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips—"The foe! they come ! they come.

And wild and high the "Cameron's gathering" rose !"
(The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard—and heard, too, have her Saxon foes !)
-How, in the noon of night, that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill ! But with the breath which fills
Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring, which -instils

The stirring memory of a thousand years :
And Evan's, Donald's fame, rings in each clansman's care !

And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with nature's tear-drops ; as they pass
Grieving-if aught inanimate e'er grieves-
Over the unreturning brave ;-alas !
Ere evening, to be trodden, like the grass-
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure ; when this fiery mass

Of living valour, rolling on the foe,
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low!

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Last noon, beheld them full of lusty life ;
Last eve, in Beauty's circle proudly gay ;
The midnight, brought the signal sound of strife, ----
The morn, the marshalling in arms,-the day,

Battle's magnificently stern array !
The thunder-clouds close o'er it: which when rent,
The earth is covered thick with other clay

Which her own clay shall cover-heaped and pent;
Rider and horse-friend, foe,--in one red burial blent !

LV.-ADDRESS TO THE OCEAN.

BYRON.

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THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods ; there is a rapture on the lonely

shore; there is society, where none intrudes—by the deep sea,—and music in its roar. I love not Man the less, but Nature more, from these our interviews ; in which I steal from all I may be, or have been before, to mingle with the Universe—and feel what I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on! thou deep and dark blue ocean--roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ; man marks the earth with ruin-his control stops with the shore; upon the watery plain the wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain a shadow of man's ravage—save his own, when, for a moment, like a drop of rain, he sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown! His steps are not upon thy paths ; thy fields are not a spoil for him ; thou dost arise and shake him from thee: the vile strength he wields for earth's destruction thou dost all despise, spurning him from thy bosom to the skies; and send'st him, shivering, in thy playful spray, and howling, to his Gods, where haply lies his petty hope in some near port or bay ; then dashest him again to earththere let him lay !—The armaments which thunderstrike the walls of rockbuilt cities, bidding nations quake, and monarchs tremble in their capitals; the oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make their clay creator the vain title take of lord of thee, and arbiter of war,—these are thy toys; and as the snowy flake, they melt into thy yeast of waves—which mar alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar. Thy shores are empires, changed in all, save thee: Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they? Thy waters wasted them while they were free, and many a tyrant since; their shores obey the stranger, slave, or savage; their dacay has dried up realms to deserts :—not so thou, unchangeable, save to thy wild waves play; time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow—such as Creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form glasses itself in tempests; in all time,-calm or convulsed ; in breeze, or gale, or storm ; icing the pole, or in the torrid clime dark-heaving-boundless, endless, and sublime; the image of Eternity, the throne of the Invisible: even from out thy slime the monsters of the deep are made ; each zone obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless— alone !

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LVI.-THE BATTLE OF ALBUERA.

LORD BYRON.

HARK !

ARK ! heard you not those hoofs of dreadful note ? sounds not the clang of

conflict on the heath ? saw ye not whom the reeking sabre smote, nor saved your 'brethren, ere they sank beneath tyrants, and tyrants’ slaves ?The fires of death, the balefires, Aash on high ;—from rock to rock each volley tells that thousands cease to breathe; Death rides upon the sulphury siroc ; red Battle stamps his foot, and nations feel the shock!

Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands ! his blood-red tresses deepening in the sun ; with death-shot glowing in his fiery hands, and eye that scorcheth all it glares upon : restless it rolls ; now fixed, and now anon, flashing afar,--and, at his iron feet, Destruction cowers to mark what deeds are done ; for, on this morn, three potent nations meet, to shed, before his shrine, the blood he deems most sweet.

And is it not a splendid sight to see—for one who hath no friend or brother there—their rival scarves of mixed embroidery, their various arms that glitter in the air ? What gallant war-hounds rouse tliem from their lair, and gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey! All join the chase, but few the triumph share ; the Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away—and Havoc scarce for joy can number their array !

Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice ; three tongues prefer strange orisons on high; three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies; the shouts are— “France”—“Spain”—“Albion”—“Victory!" The foe, the victim, and the fond ally that fights for all, but ever fights in vain, are met-as if at home they could not die !—to feed the crow on Talavera's plain, and fertilize the field that each pretends to gain.

There shall they rot-Ambition's honored fools ! Yes--Honor decks the turf that wraps their clay! Vain sophistry! in these behold the tools,-the

! broken tools,--that tyrants cast away by myriads, when they dare to pave their way with human hearts—to what?-a dream alone. Can despots compass aught that hails their sway? or call, with truth, one span of earth their own-save that wherein, at last, they crumble bone by bone?

LVII.—THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.

LORD BYRON.

ALAS:

LAS !—It is a fearful thing to see the human soul take wing in any shape, in any mood :—I've seen it rushing forth in blood ; I've seen it on

.; the breaking ocean, strive with a swollen, convulsive motion ; I've seen the sick and ghastly bed of Sin, delirious with its dread; but these were horrors; this was woe unmixed with such--but sure and slow. He faded, and so calm and meek, so softly worn, so sweetly weak, so tearless, yet so tender-kind, and grieved for those he left behind ; with all the while a cheek whose bloom was as a mockery of the tomb,--whose tints as gently sunk away as a departing rainbow's ray ;-an eye of most transparent light, that almost made the dungeon bright; and not a word of murmur—not a groan o'er his untimely lot ;,a little talk of better days, a little hope my own to raise, for I was sunk in silence-lost in this last of all the most; and then the sighs he would suppress of fainting nature's feebleness, more slowly drawn, grew less and less : I listened, but I could not hear—I called, for I was wild with fear; I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread would not be thus admonished ; I called, and thought I heard a sound. I burst my chain with one strong bound, and rushed to him: 1 found him not! I only stirred in this black spot-1 only lived—I only drew the accursed breath of dungeon dew ! The last the sole—the dearest link between me and the eternal brink, which bouud me to my failing race, was broken in this fatal place. One on the earth, and one beneath !—my brothers—both had ceased to breathe ; I took that hand that lay so still—alas ! my own was full as chill! I had not strength to stir, or strive, but felt that I was still alive—a frantic feeling, when we know that all we love shall ne'er be

I know not why I could not die! I had no earthly hope—but faith, and that forbade a selfish death.- -What next befel me then and there, I know not wellI never knew :-first, came the loss of light and air, and then, of darkness too; I had no thought, no feeling-none :-among the stones I stood a stone.

A light broke in upon my brain—it was the carol of a bird: it ceased—and then it came again—the sweetest song ear ever heard ; and mine was thankful, till my

l eyes ran over with the glad surprise; and they that moment could not see I was

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the mate of misery : but then, by dull degrees, came back my senses to their wonted track; 1 saw the dungeon walls and floor close slowly round me as before-I saw the glimmer of the sun creeping as it before had done :—but through the crevice where it came, that bird was perched !---as fond and tame, and tamer than upon the tree; a lovely bird with azure wings, and song that said a thousand things, and seemed to say them all for me! I never saw its like before, I ne'er shall see its likness more: it seemed like me to want a mate, but was not half so desolate; and it was come to love me, when none lived to love me so again ; and cheering from my dungeon's brink, had brought me back to feel and think. I know not if it late were free, or broke its cage to perch on mine; but knowing well captivity, sweet bird ! I could not wish for thine ! Or if it were, in winged guise, a visitant from Paradise ; foi-heaven forgive that thought ! the while which made me both to weep and smile—I sometimes deemed that it might be my brother's soul come down to me: But then at last away it flew, and then 'twas mortal-well I knew ! For he would never thus have flown, and left me twice so doubly lone :-lone, as the corse within its shroud; lone, as a solitary cloud, a single cloud on a sunny day, while all the rest of heaven is clear ;

the atmosphere, that has no business to appear when skies are blue and earth is gay.

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frown upon

LVIII.-DARKNESS.

LORD BYRON.

I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream! the bright sun was extinguish

ed, and the stars did wander darkling in the eternal space, rayless and pathless; and the icy earth swung blind and blackening in the moonless air: morn came and went—and came, and brought no day! And men forgot their passions, in the dread of this their desolation ; and all hearts were chilled into a selfish prayer for light: and they did live by watchfires ;—and the thrones, the palaces of crowned kings—the huts, the habitations of all things that dwell, were burnt for beacons ; cities were consumed, and men were gathered round their blazing homes to look once more into each other's face: happy were those who dwelt within the eye of the volcanoes, and their mountain torch: a fearful hope was all the world contained! Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour they fell and faded—and the crackling trunks extinguished with a crash-and all was black! The brows of men by the despairing light wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits the flashes fell upon them; some lay down and hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest their chins upon their clinched hands, and smiled ; and others hurried to and fro, and fed their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up with mad disquietude on the dull sky,—the pall of a past world !—and then again, with curses cast them down upon the dust, and gnashed their teeth, and howled: the wild birds shrieked, and, terrified, did flutter on the ground, and flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawled and twined themselves among the multitude, hissing, but stingless-they were slain for food : and War, which for a moment was no more, did glut himself again : a meal was bought with blood; and each sat sullenly apart, gorging himself in gloom! No love was left! All earth was but one thought-and that was death, immediate and inglorious !

And the pang of famine fed upon all entrails : men died ; and their bones were tombless as their flesh; the meagre by the meagre were devoured; even dogs assailed their masters,--all save one,—and he was faithful to a corse, and kept the birds and beasts and famished men at bay, till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead lured their lank jaws ; himself sought out no food, but, with a piteous and perpetual moan and a quick desolate cry,-licking the hand which answered not with a caress--he died! The crowd was famished by degrees ! But two of an

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