Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

No useless coffin enclosed his breast;

Not in sheet, nor in shroud, we wound him; But he lay-like a warrior taking his rest

With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,

And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gaz'd on the face of the dead,

And we bitterly thought of the morrow!

We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed,

And smooth'd down his lonely pillow, That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,

And we far away on the billow!

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,

And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him ; But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on

In the grave where a Briton has laid him! But half of our heavy task was done,

When the bell toll’d the hour for retiring; And we heard the distant and random gun,

That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,

From the field of his fame fresh and gory; We carv'd not a line-we rais'd not a stone,

But we left him alone, with his glory!

XXIII.ON CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

I WOULD not enter on my list of friends
(Though graced with polish'd manners and fine sense,
Yet wanting sensibility) the man
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm.
An inadvertent step may crush the snail

That crawls at evening in the public path;
But he that has humanity, forewarn'd,
Will step aside, and let the reptile live.
The creeping vermin, loathsome to the sight
And charged with venom, that intrudes,
A visitor unwelcome, into scenes
Sacred to neatness and repose, the bower,
The chamber, or the hall, may die :
A necessary act incurs no blame.
Not so, when held within their proper bounds,
And guiltless of offence, they range the air,
Or take their pastime in the spacious field :
There they are privileged. And he that hurts
Or harms them there is guilty of a wrong ;
Disturbs th' economy of Nature's realm,
Who when she form'd, design'd them an abode.
The sum is this: if man's convenience, health,
Or safety interfere, his rights and claims
Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs.
Else they are all—the meanest things that are,
As free to live, and to enjoy that life,
As God was free to form them at the first,
Who in his sov'reign wisdom made them all.
Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons
To love it too. The spring time of our years
Is soon dishonour'd and defiled, in most,
By budding ills, that ask a prudent hand
To check them. But alas ! none sooner shoots,
If unrestrain'd, into luxuriant growth,
Than cruelty, most devilish of them all.
Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule
And righteous limitation of its act,
By which Heav'n moves, in pard'ning guilty man:
And he that shows none, being ripe in years,
And conscious of the outrage he commits,
Shall seek it and not find it in his turn.

XXIV. THE COMMON LOT.

ONCE, in the flight of ages past,

There lived a man--and who was he? Mortal! howe'er thy lot be cast,

That man resembled thee. Unknown the region of his birth ;

The land in which he died, unknown ;
His name has perish'd from the earth :

This truth survives alone ;
That joy, and grief, and hope, and fear,

Alternate triumphed in his breast :
His bliss and woe-a smile, a tear:

Oblivion hides the rest.
The bounding pulse, the languid limba

The changing spirits' rise and fall; ,
We know that these were felt by him,

For these are felt by all.
He suffered—but his pangs are o'er ;

Enjoyed—but his delights are fled;
Had friends_his friends are now no more ;

And foes his foes are dead.
He loved_but whom he loved, the grave

Hath lost in its unconscious womb;
Oh, she was fair ! but nought could save

Her beauty from the tomb.
He saw-whatever thou hast seen;

Encountered-all that troubles thee :
He was—whatever thou hast been;

He is what thou shalt be!
The rolling seasons, day and night,

Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main, Erewhile his portion,-- life and light;

To him exist in vain.

The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye

That once their shades and glory threw,
Have left in yonder silent sky

No vestige where they flew.
The annals of the human race,

Their ruins, since the world began,
Of him afford no other trace

Than this,—THERE LIVED A MAN!

XXV. THE OCEAN.

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, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, 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,
And dashest him again to earth :—there let him lay.

The armaments which thunder-strike the walls
Of rock-built 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 decay
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 convuls'd-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.

« ElőzőTovább »