« ElőzőTovább »
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 - heap'd and pent,
Rider and horse — friend, foe – in one red burial blent !
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB.
The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen :
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass’d;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still !
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride :
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail ;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal ;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord !
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, 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 which 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 clenched 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 sate 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 drooping 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 enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies; they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place,
Where had been heaped a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects — saw, and shrieked, and died —
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless -
A lump of death, a chaos of hard clay,
The rivers, lakes, and ocean, all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths :
Ships, sailorless, lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropped
They slept on the abyss without a surge -
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perished; darkness had no need
Of aid from them - She was the universe.
Ye banks and braes and streams around
The castle of Montgomery;
Green be your woods and fair your flowers,
• Your waters never drumlie.
There summer first unfolds his robes,
And there they longest tarry; For there I took my last farewell
Of my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloomed the gay green birk
How rich the hawthorn's blossom ;
As underneath their fragrant shade,
I clasped her to my bosom.
The golden hours, on angel wings,
Flew o'er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life,
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
With mony a vow and locked embrace,
Our parting was full tender;
And pledging oft to meet again,
We tore ourselves asunder.
But, oh! fell death's untimely frost,
That nipt my flower so early!
Now green's the sod and cold's the clay,
That wraps my Highland Mary.
Oh! pale, pale now those rosy lips
I aft hae kissed so fondly;
And closed for aye the sparkling glance,
That dwelt on me so kindly.
And mouldering now in silent dust,
That heart that loved me dearly;
But still within my bosom's core
Shall live my Highland Mary!