Mary Darby Robinson |
Deep in th' abyss where frantic horror bides,
In thickest mists of vapours fell,
Where wily Serpents hissing glare
And the dark Demon of Revenge resides,
At midnight's murky hour
Thy origin began:
Rapacious MALICE was thy sire;
Thy Dam the sullen witch, Despair;
Thy Nurse, insatiate Ire.
The FATES conspir'd their ills to twine,
About thy heart's infected shrine;
They gave thee each disastrous spell,
Each desolating pow'r,
To blast the fairest hopes of man.
Soon as thy fatal birth was known,
From her unhallow'd throne
With ghastly smile pale Hecate sprung;
Thy hideous form the Sorc'ress press'd
With kindred fondness to her breast;
Her haggard eye
Short forth a ray of transient joy,
Whilst thro' th' infernal shades exulting clamours rung.
Above thy fellow fiends thy tyrant hand
Grasp'd with resistless force supreme command:
The dread terrific crowd
Before thy iron sceptre bow'd.
Now, seated in thy ebon cave,
Around thy throne relentless furies rave:
A wreath of ever-wounding thorn
Thy scowling brows encompass round,
Thy heart by knawing Vultures torn,
Thy meagre limbs with deathless scorpions bound.
Thy black associates, torpid IGNORANCE,
And pining JEALOUSYwith eye askance,
With savage rapture execute thy will,
And strew the paths of life with every torturing ill
Nor can the sainted dead escape thy rage;
Thy vengeance haunts the silent grave,
Thy taunts insult the ashes of the brave;
While proud AMBITION weeps thy rancour to assuage.
The laurels round the POET's bust,
Twin'd by the liberal hand of Taste,
By thy malignant grasp defac'd,
Fade to their native dust:
Thy ever-watchful eye no labour tires,
Beneath thy venom'd touch the angel TRUTH expires.
When in thy petrifying car
Thy scaly dragons waft thy form,
Then, swifter, deadlier far
Than the keen lightning's lance,
That wings its way across the yelling storm,
Thy barbed shafts fly whizzing round,
While every with'ring glance
Inflicts a cureless wound.
Thy giant arm with pond'rous blow
Hurls genius from her glorious height,
Bends the fair front of Virtue low,
And meanly pilfers every pure delight.
Thy hollow voice the sense appalls,
Thy vigilance the mind enthralls;
Rest hast thou none,by night, by day,
Thy jealous ardour seeks for prey
Nought can restrain thy swift career;
Thy smile derides the suff'rer's wrongs;
Thy tongue the sland'rers tale prolongs;
Thy thirst imbibes the victim's tear;
Thy breast recoils from friendship's flame;
Sick'ning thou hear'st the trump of Fame;
Worth gives to thee, the direst pang;
The Lover's rapture wounds thy heart,
The proudest efforts of prolific art
Shrink from thy poisonous fang.
In vain the Sculptor's lab'ring hand
Calls fine proportion from the Parian stone;
In vain the Minstrel's chords command
The soft vibrations of seraphic tone;
For swift thy violating arm
Tears from perfection ev'ry charm;
Nor rosy YOUTH, nor BEAUTY's smiles
Thy unrelenting rage beguiles,
Thy breath contaminates the fairest name,
And binds the guiltless brow with ever-blist'ring shame.
Mary Darby Robinson |
'Twas on a Mountain, near the Western Main
An ALIEN dwelt.
A solitary Hut
Built on a jutting crag, o'erhung with weeds,
Mark'd the poor Exile's home.
Full ten long years
The melancholy wretch had liv'd unseen
By all, save HENRY, a lov'd, little Son
The partner of his sorrows.
On the day
When Persecution, in the sainted guise
Of Liberty, spread wide its venom'd pow'r,
The brave, Saint HUBERT, fled his Lordly home,
And, with his baby Son, the mountain sought.
Resolv'd to cherish in his bleeding breast
The secret of his birth, Ah! birth too high
For his now humbled state, from infancy
He taught him, labour's task: He bade him chear
The dreary day of cold adversity
By patience and by toil.
The Summer morn
Shone on the pillow of his rushy bed;
The noontide, sultry hour, he fearless past
On the shagg'd eminence; while the young Kid
Skipp'd, to the cadence of his minstrelsy.
At night young HENRY trimm'd the faggot fire
While oft, Saint HUBERT, wove the ample net
To snare the finny victim.
Oft they sang
And talk'd, while sullenly the waves would sound
Dashing the sandy shore.
Saint HUBERT'S eyes
Would swim in tears of fondness, mix'd with joy,
When he observ'd the op'ning harvest rich
Of promis'd intellect, which HENRY'S soul,
Whate'er the subject of their talk, display'd.
Oft, the bold Youth, in question intricate,
Would seek to know the story of his birth;
Oft ask, who bore him: and with curious skill
Enquire, why he, and only one beside,
Peopled the desart mountain ? Still his Sire
Was slow of answer, and, in words obscure,
Varied the conversation.
Still the mind
Of HENRY ponder'd; for, in their lone hut,
A daily journal would Saint HUBERT make
Of his long banishment: and sometimes speak
Of Friends forsaken, Kindred, massacred;--
Proud mansions, rich domains, and joyous scenes
For ever faded,--lost!
One winter time,
'Twas on the Eve of Christmas, the shrill blast
Swept o'er the stormy main.
The boiling foam
Rose to an altitude so fierce and strong
That their low hovel totter'd.
Oft they stole
To the rock's margin, and with fearful eyes
Mark'd the vex'd deep, as the slow rising moon
Gleam'd on the world of waters.
'Twas a scene
Would make a Stoic shudder! For, amid
The wavy mountains, they beheld, alone ,
A LITTLE BOAT, now scarcely visible;
And now not seen at all; or, like a buoy,
Bounding, and buffetting, to reach the shore!
Now the full Moon, in crimson lustre shone
Upon the outstretch'd Ocean.
The black clouds
Flew stiffly on, the wild blast following,
And, as they flew, dimming the angry main
With shadows horrible ! Still, the small boat
Struggled amid the waves, a sombre speck
Upon the wide domain of howling Death!
Saint HUBERT sigh'd ! while HENRY'S speaking eye
Alternately the stormy scene survey'd
And his low hovel's safety.
So past on
The hour of midnight,--and, since first they knew
The solitary scene, no midnight hour
E'er seem'd so long and weary.
While they stood,
Their hands fast link'd together, and their eyes
Fix'd on the troublous Ocean, suddenly
The breakers, bounding on the rocky shore,
Left the small wreck; and crawling on the side
Of the rude crag,--a HUMAN FORM was seen!
And now he climb'd the foam-wash'd precipice,
And now the slip'ry weeds gave way, while he
Descended to the sands: The moon rose high--
The wild blast paus'd, and the poor shipwreck'd Man
Look'd round aghast, when on the frowning steep
He marked the lonely exiles.
Now he call'd
But he was feeble, and his voice was lost
Amid the din of mingling sounds that rose
From the wild scene of clamour.
Down the steep
Saint HUBRET hurried, boldly venturous,
Catching the slimy weeds, from point to point,
And unappall'd by peril.
At the foot
Of the rude rock, the fainting mariner
Seiz'd on his outstretch'd arm; impatient, wild,
With transport exquisite ! But ere they heard
The blest exchange of sounds articulate,
A furious billow, rolling on the steep,
Engulph'd them in Oblivion!
On the rock
Young HENRY stood; with palpitating heart,
And fear-struck, e'en to madness ! Now he call'd,
Louder and louder, as the shrill blast blew;
But, mid the elemental strife of sounds,
No human voice gave answer ! The clear moon
No longer quiver'd on the curling main,
But, mist-encircled, shed a blunted light,
Enough to shew all things that mov'd around,
Dreadful, but indistinctly ! The black weeds
Wav'd, as the night-blast swept them; and along
The rocky shore the breakers, sounding low
Seem'd like the whisp'ring of a million souls
Beneath the green-deep mourning.
Four long hours
The lorn Boy listen'd ! four long tedious hours
Pass'd wearily away, when, in the East
The grey beam coldly glimmer'd.
Young HENRY stood aghast : his Eye wide fix'd;
While his dark locks, uplifted by the storm
Uncover'd met its fury.
On his cheek
Despair sate terrible ! For, mid the woes,
Of poverty and toil, he had not known,
Till then, the horror-giving chearless hour
Of TOTAL SOLITUDE!
He spoke--he groan'd,
But no responsive voice, no kindred tone
Broke the dread pause: For now the storm had ceas'd,
And the bright Sun-beams glitter'd on the breast
Of the green placid Ocean.
To his Hut
The lorn Boy hasten'd; there the rushy couch,
The pillow still indented, met his gaze
And fix'd his eye in madness.
--From that hour
A maniac wild, the Alien Boy has been;
His garb with sea-weeds fring'd, and his wan cheek
The tablet of his mind, disorder'd, chang'd,
Fading, and worn with care.
And if, by chance,
A Sea-beat wand'rer from the outstretch'd main
Views the lone Exile, and with gen'rous zeal
Hastes to the sandy beach, he suddenly
Darts 'mid the cavern'd cliffs, and leaves pursuit
To track him, where no footsteps but his own,
Have e'er been known to venture ! YET HE LIVES
A melancholy proof that Man may bear
All the rude storms of Fate, and still suspire
By the wide world forgotten!
Mary Darby Robinson |
Dark was the dawn, and o'er the deep
The boist'rous whirlwinds blew;
The Sea-bird wheel'd its circling sweep,
And all was drear to view--
When on the beach that binds the western shore
The love-lorn ZELMA stood, list'ning the tempest's roar.
Her eager Eyes beheld the main,
While on her DRACO dear
She madly call'd, but call'd in vain,
No sound could DRACO hear,
Save the shrill yelling of the fateful blast,
While ev'ry Seaman's heart, quick shudder'd as it past.
White were the billows, wide display'd
The clouds were black and low;
The Bittern shriek'd, a gliding shade
Seem'd o'er the waves to go !
The livid flash illum'd the clam'rous main,
While ZELMA pour'd, unmark'd, her melancholy strain.
"Be still!" she cried, "loud tempest cease!
"O ! spare the gallant souls:
"The thunder rolls--the winds increase--
"The Sea, like mountains, rolls!
"While, from the deck, the storm worn victims leap,
"And o'er their struggling limbs, the furious billows sweep.
"O! barb'rous Pow'r! relentless Fate!
"Does Heav'n's high will decree
"That some should sleep on beds of state,--
"Some, in the roaring Sea ?
"Some, nurs'd in splendour, deal Oppression's blow,
"While worth and DRACO pine--in Slavery and woe!
"Yon Vessel oft has plough'd the main
"With human traffic fraught;
"Its cargo,--our dark Sons of pain--
"For worldly treasure bought !
"What had they done?--O Nature tell me why--
"Is taunting scorn the lot, of thy dark progeny?
"Thou gav'st, in thy caprice, the Soul
"Nor from the ebon Casket stole
"The Jewel of the mind!
"Then wherefore let the suff'ring Negro's breast
"Bow to his fellow, MAN, in brighter colours drest.
"Is it the dim and glossy hue
"That marks him for despair?--
"While men with blood their hands embrue,
"And mock the wretch's pray'r?
"Shall guiltless Slaves the Scourge of tyrants feel,
"And, e'en before their GOD ! unheard, unpitied kneel.
"Could the proud rulers of the land
"Our Sable race behold;
"Some bow'd by torture's Giant hand
"And others, basely sold !
"Then would they pity Slaves, and cry, with shame,
"Whate'er their TINTS may be, their SOULS are still the same!
"Why seek to mock the Ethiop's face?
"Why goad our hapless kind?
"Can features alienate the race--
"Is there no kindred mind?
"Does not the cheek which vaunts the roseate hue
"Oft blush for crimes, that Ethiops never knew?
"Behold ! the angry waves conspire
"To check the barb'rous toil!
"While wounded Nature's vengeful ire--
"Roars, round this trembling Isle!
"And hark ! her voice re-echoes in the wind--
"Man was not form'd by Heav'n, to trample on his kind!
"Torn from my Mother's aching breast,
"My Tyrant sought my love--
"But, in the Grave shall ZELMA rest,
"E'er she will faithless prove--
"No DRACO!--Thy companion I will be
"To that celestial realm, where Negros shall be free!
"The Tyrant WHITE MAN taught my mind--
"The letter'd page to trace;--
"He taught me in the Soul to find
"No tint, as in the face:
"He bade my Reason, blossom like the tree--
"But fond affection gave, the ripen'd fruits to thee.
"With jealous rage he mark'd my love
"He sent thee far away;--
"And prison'd in the plantain grove--
"Poor ZELMA pass'd the day--
"But ere the moon rose high above the main,
"ZELMA, and Love contriv'd, to break the Tyrant's chain.
"Swift, o'er the plain of burning Sand
"My course I bent to thee;
"And soon I reach'd the billowy strand
"Which bounds the stormy Sea.
"DRACO! my Love! Oh yet, thy ZELMA'S soul
"Springs ardently to thee,--impatient of controul.
"Again the lightning flashes white--
"The rattling cords among!
"Now, by the transient vivid light,
"I mark the frantic throng!
"Now up the tatter'd shrouds my DRACO flies--
While o'er the plunging prow, the curling billows rise.
"The topmast falls--three shackled slaves--
"Cling to the Vessel's side!
"Now lost amid the madd'ning waves--
"Now on the mast they ride--
"See ! on the forecastle my DRACO stands
"And now he waves his chain, now clasps his bleeding hands.
"Why, cruel WHITE-MAN! when away
"My sable Love was torn,
"Why did you let poor ZELMA stay,
On Afric's sands to mourn?
"No ! ZELMA is not left, for she will prove
"In the deep troubled main, her fond--her faithful LOVE.
The lab'ring Ship was now a wreck,
The shrouds were flutt'ring wide!
The rudder gone, the lofty deck
Was rock'd from side to side--
Poor ZELMA'S eyes now dropp'd their last big tear,
While, from her tawny cheek, the blood recoil'd with fear.
Now frantic, on the sands she roam'd,
Now shrieking stop'd to view
Where high the liquid mountains foam'd,
Around the exhausted crew--
'Till, from the deck, her DRACO'S well known form
Sprung mid the yawning waves, and buffetted the Storm.
Long, on the swelling surge sustain'd
Brave DRACO sought the shore,
Watch'd the dark Maid, but ne'er complain'd,
Then sunk, to gaze no more!
Poor ZELMA saw him buried by the wave--
And, with her heart's true Love, plung'd in a wat'ry grave.
Mary Darby Robinson |
PALE GODDESS of the witching hour;
Blest Contemplation's placid friend;
Oft in my solitary bow'r,
I mark thy lucid beam
From thy crystal car descend,
Whitening the spangled heath, and limpid sapphire stream.
And oft, amidst the shades of night
I court thy undulating light;
When Fairies dance around the verdant ring,
Or frisk beside the bubbling spring,
When the thoughtless SHEPHERD'S song
Echoes thro' the silent air,
As he pens his fleecy care,
Or plods with saunt'ring gait, the dewy meads along.
CHASTE ORB! as thro' the vaulted sky
Feath'ry clouds transparent sail;
When thy languid, weeping eye,
Sheds its soft tears upon the painted vale;
As I ponder o'er the floods,
Or tread with listless step, th'embow'ring woods,
O, let thy transitory beam,
Soothe my sad mind, with FANCY'S aëry dream.
Wrapt in REFLECTION, let me trace
O'er the vast ethereal space,
Stars, whose twinkling fires illume
Dark-brow'd NIGHT'S obtrusive gloom;
Where across the concave wide;
Flaming METEORS swiftly glide;
Or along the milky way,
Vapours shoot a silvery ray;
And as I mark, thy faint reclining head,
Sinking on Ocean's pearly bed;
Let REASON tell my soul, thus all things fade.
The Seasons change, the "garish SUN"
When Day's burning car hath run
Its fiery course, no more we view,
While o'er the mountain's golden head,
Streak'd with tints of crimson hue,
Twilight's filmy curtains spread,
Stealing o'er Nature's face, a desolating shade.
Yon musky FLOW'R, that scents the earth;
The SOD, that gave its odours birth;
The ROCK, that breaks the torrent's force;
The VALE, that owns its wand'ring course;
The woodlands where the vocal throng
Trill the wild melodious song;
Thirsty desarts, sands that glow,
Mountains, cap'd with flaky snow;
Luxuriant groves, enamell'd fields,
All, all, prolific Nature yields,
Alike shall end; the sensate HEART,
With all its passions, all its fire,
Touch'd by FATE'S unerring dart,
Shall feel its vital strength expire;
Those eyes, that beam with FRIENDSHIP'S ray,
And glance ineffable delight,
Shall shrink from LIFE'S translucid day,
And close their fainting orbs, in DEATH'S impervious night.
Then what remains for mortal pow'r;
But TIME'S dull journey to beguile;
To deck with joy, the winged hour,
To meet its sorrows with a patient smile;
And when the toilsome pilgrimage shall end,
To greet the tyrant, as a welcome friend.
Mary Darby Robinson |
Inscribed to Colonel Banastre Tarleton]
TRANSCENDENT VALOUR! godlike Pow'r!
Lord of the dauntless breast, and stedfast mien!
Who, rob'd in majesty sublime,
Sat in thy eagle-wafted car,
And led the hardy sons of war,
With head erect, and eye serene,
Amidst the arrowy show'r;
When unsubdued, from clime to clime,
YOUNG AMMON taught exulting Fame
O'er earth's vast space to sound the glories of thy name.
ILLUSTRIOUS VALOUR ! from whose glance,
Each recreant passion shrinks dismay'd;
To whom benignant Heaven consign'd,
All that can elevate the mind;
'Tis THINE, in radiant worth array'd,
To rear thy glitt'ring helmet high,
And with intrepid front, defy
Stern FATE's uplifted arm, and desolating lance,
When, from the CHAOS of primeval Night,
This wond'rous ORB first sprung to light;
And pois'd amid the sphery clime
By strong Attraction's pow'r sublime,
Its whirling course began;
With sacred spells encompass'd round,
Each element observ'd its bound,
Earth's solid base, huge promontories bore;
Curb'd OCEAN roar'd, clasp'd by the rocky shore;
And midst metallic fires, translucent rivers ran.
All nature own'd th'OMNIPOTENT's command!
Luxuriant blessings deck'd the vast domain;
HE bade the budding branch expand;
And from the teeming ground call'd forth the cherish'd grain;
Salubrious springs from flinty caverns drew;
Enamell'd verdure o'er the landscape threw;
HE taught the scaly host to glide
Sportive, amidst the limpid tide;
HIS breath sustain'd the EAGLE's wing;
With vocal sounds bade hills and valleys ring;
Then, with his Word supreme, awoke to birth
THE HUMAN FORM SUBLIME! THE SOV'REIGN LORD OF EARTH!
VALOUR! thy pure and sacred flame
Diffus'd its radiance o'er his mind;
From THEE he learnt the fiery STEED to tame;
And with a flow'ry band, the speckled PARD to bind;
Guarded by Heaven's eternal shield,
He taught each living thing to yield;
Wond'ring, yet undismay'd he stood,
To mark the SUN's fierce fires decay;
Fearless, he saw the TYGER play;
While at his stedfast gaze, the LION crouch'd subdued!
From age to age on FAME's bright roll,
Thy glorious attributes have shone!
Thy influence soothes the soldier's pain,
Whether beneath the freezing pole,
Or basking in the torrid zone,
Upon the barren thirsty plain.
Led by thy firm and daring hand,
O'er wastes of snow, o'er burning sand,
INTREPID TARLETON chas'd the foe,
And smil'd in DEATH's grim face, and brav'd his with'ring blow!
When late on CALPE's rock, stern VICT'RY stood,
Hurling swift vengeance o'er the bounding flood;
Each winged bolt illum'd a flame,
IBERIA's vaunting sons to tame;
While o'er the dark unfathom'd deep,
The blasts of desolation blew,
Fierce lightnings hov'ring round the frowning steep,
'Midst the wild waves their fatal arrows threw;
Loud roar'd the cannon's voice with ceaseless ire,
While the vast BULWARK glow'd,a PYRAMID OF FIRE!
Then in each BRITON's gallant breast,
Benignant VIRTUE shone confest !
When Death spread wide his direful reign,
And shrieks of horror echoed o'er the main;
Eager they flew, their wretched foes to save
From the dread precincts of a whelming grave;
THEN, VALOUR was thy proudest hour!
THEN, didst thou, like a radiant GOD,
Check the keen rigours of th' avenging rod,
And with soft MERCY's hand subdue the scourge of POW'R!
When fading, in the grasp of Death,
ILLUSTRIOUS WOLFE on earth's cold bosom lay;
His anxious soldiers thronging round,
Bath'd with their tears each gushing wound;
As on his pallid lip the fleeting breath,
In faint, and broken accents, stole away,
Loud shouts of TRIUMPH fill'd the skies!
To Heaven he rais'd his gratelul eyes;
"'TIS VIC'TRY'S VOICE," the Hero cried!
"I THANK THEE, BOUNTEOUS HEAVEN,"then smiling, DIED!
TARLETON, thy mind, above the POET's praise
Asks not the labour'd task of flatt'ring lays!
As the rare GEM with innate lustre glows,
As round the OAK the gadding Ivy grows,
So shall THY WORTH, in native radiance live!
So shall the MUSE spontaneous incense give!
Th' HISTORIC page shall prove a lasting shrine,
Where Truth and Valour shall THY laurels twine;
Where,with thy name, recording FAME shall blend
The ZEALOUS PATRIOT, and the FAITHFUL FRIEND!
Mary Darby Robinson |
TERRIFIC FIEND! thou Monster fell,
Condemn'd in haunts profane to dwell,
Why quit thy solitary Home,
O'er wide Creation's paths to roam?
Pale Tyrant of the timid Heart,
Whose visionary spells can bind
The strongest passions of the mind,
Freezing Life's current with thy baneful Art.
Nature recoils when thou art near,
For round thy form all plagues are seen;
Thine is the frantic tone, the sullen mien,
The glance of petrifying fear,
The haggard Brow, the low'ring Eye,
The hollow Cheek, the smother'd Sigh,
When thy usurping fangs assail,
The sacred Bonds of Friendship fail.
Meek-bosom'd Pity sues in vain;
Imperious Sorrow spurns relief,
Feeds on the luxury of Grief,
Drinks the hot Tear, and hugs the galling Chain.
AH! plunge no more thy ruthless dart,
In the dark centre of the guilty Heart;
The POW'R SUPREME, with pitying eye,
Looks on the erring Child of Misery;
MERCY arrests the wing of Time;
To expiate the wretch's crime;
Insulted HEAV'N consign'd thy brand
To the first Murd'rer's crimson hand.
Swift o'er the earth the Monster flew,
And round th' ensanguin'd Poisons threw,
By CONSCIENCE goadeddriven by FEAR,
Till the meek Cherub HOPE subdued his fell career.
Thy Reign is past, when erst the brave
Imbib'd contagion o'er the midnight lamp,
Close pent in loathsome cells, where poisons damp
Hung round the confines of a Living Grave; *
Where no glimm'ring ray illum'd
The flinty walls, where pond'rous chains
Bound the wan Victim to the humid earth,
Where VALOUR, GENIUS, TASTE, and WORTH,
In pestilential caves entomb'd,
Sought thy cold arms, and smiling mock'd their pains.
THERE,each procrastinated hour
The woe-worn suff'rer gasping lay,
While by his side in proud array
Stalk'd the HUGE FIEND, DESPOTIC POW'R.
There REASON clos'd her radiant eye,
And fainting HOPE retir'd to die,
Truth shrunk appall'd,
In spells of icy Apathy enthrall'd;
Till FREEDOM spurn'd the ignominious chain,
And roused from Superstition's night,
Exulting Nature claim'd her right,
And call'd dire Vengeance from her dark domain.
Now take thy solitary flight
Amid the turbid gales of night,
Where Spectres starting from the tomb,
Glide along th' impervious gloom;
Or, stretch'd upon the sea-beat shore,
Let the wild winds, as they roar,
Rock Thee on thy Bed of Stone;
Or, in gelid caverns pent,
Listen to the sullen moan
Of subterranean winds;or glut thy sight
Where stupendous mountains rent
Hurl their vast fragments from their dizzy height.
At Thy approach the rifted Pine
Shall o'er the shatter'd Rock incline,
Whose trembling brow, with wild weeds drest,
Frowns on the tawny EAGLE's nest;
THERE enjoy the 'witching hour,
And freeze in Frenzy's dire conceit,
Or seek the Screech-owl's lone retreat,
On the bleak rampart of some nodding Tow'r.
In some forest long and drear,
Tempt the fierce BANDITTI's rage,
War with famish'd Tygers wage,
And mock the taunts of Fear.
When across the yawning deep,
The Demons of the Tempest sweep,
Or deaf'ning Thunders bursting cast
Their red bolts on the shivering mast,
While fix'd below the sea-boy stands,
As threat'ning Death his soul dismays,
He lifts his supplicating hands,
And shrieks, and groans, and weeps, and prays,
Till lost amid the floating fire
The agonizing crew expire;
THEN let thy transports rend the air,
For mad'ning Anguish feeds DESPAIR.
When o'er the couch of pale Disease
The MOTHER bends, with tearful eye,
And trembles, lest her quiv'ring sigh,
Should wake the darling of her breast,
Now, by the taper's feeble rays,
She steals a last, fond, eager gaze.
Ah, hapless Parent! gaze no more,
Thy CHERUB soars among the Blest,
Life's crimson Fount begins to freeze,
His transitory scene is o'er.
She startsshe ravesher burning brain,
Consumes, unconscious of its fires,
Dead to the Heart's convulsive Pain,
Bewilder'd Memory retires.
See! See! she grasps her flowing hair,
From her fix'd eye the big drops roll,
Her proud Affliction mocks controul,
And riots in DESPAIR,
Such are thy haunts, malignant Pow'r,
There all thy murd'rous Poisons pour;
But come not near my calm retreat,
Where Peace and holy FRIENDSHIP meet;
Where SCIENCE sheds a gentle ray,
And guiltless Mirth beguiles the day,
Where Bliss congenial to the MUSE
Shall round my Heart her sweets diffuse,
Where, from each restless Passion free,
I give my noiseless hours, BLESS'D POETRY, TO THEE.
Mary Darby Robinson |
WHERE o'er my head, the deaf'ning Tempest blew,
And Night's cold lamp cast forth a feeble ray;
Where o'er the woodlands, vivid light'nings flew,
Cleft the strong oak, and scorch'd the blossom'd spray;
At morn's approach, I mark the sun's warm glow
O'er the grey hill a crimson radiance throw;
I mark the silv'ry fragrant dew,
Give lustre to the vi'let's hue;
The shallow rivers o'er their pebbly way,
In slow meanders murmuring play;
Day spreads her beams, the lofty forest tree,
Shakes from its moisten'd head the pearly show'r,
All nature, feels the renovating hour,
All, but the sorrowing child of cold ADVERSITY;
For her, the linnet's downy throat
Breathes harmony in vain;
Unmov'd, she hears the warbling note
In all the melody of song complain;
By her unmark'd the flowret's bloom,
In vain the landscape sheds perfume;
Her languid form, on earth's damp bed,
In coarse and tatter'd garb reclines;
In silent agony she pines;
Or, if she hears some stranger's tread,
To a dark nook, ashamed she flies,
And with her scanty robe, o'er-shades her weeping eyes.
Her hair, dishevel'd, wildly plays
With every freezing gale;
While down her cold cheek, deadly pale,
The tear of pensive sorrow strays;
She shuns, the PITY of the proud,
Her mind, still triumphs, unsubdu'd
Nor stoops, its misery to obtrude,
Upon the vulgar croud.
Unheeded, and unknown,
To some bleak wilderness she flies;
And seated on a moss-clad stone,
Unwholesome vapours round her rise,
And hang their mischiefs on her brow;
The ruffian winds, her limbs expose;
Still, still, her heart disdains to bow,
She cherishes her woes.
NOW FAMINE spreads her sable wings;
INGRATITUDE insults her pangs;
While from a thousand eager fangs,
Madd'ning she flies;The recreant crew
With taunting smiles her steps pursue;
While on her burning, bleeding heart,
Fresh wounded by Affliction's dart,
NEGLECT, her icy poison flings;
From HOPE's celestial bosom hurl'd,
She seeks oblivion's gloom,
Now, now, she mocks the barb'rous world,
AND TRIUMPHS IN THE TOMB.
Mary Darby Robinson |
UPON a garden's perfum'd bed
With various gaudy colours spread,
Beneath the shelter of a ROSE
A BUTTERFLY had sought repose;
Faint, with the sultry beams of day,
Supine the beauteous insect lay.
A BEE, impatient to devour
The nectar sweets of ev'ry flow'r,
Returning to her golden store,
A weight of fragrant treasure bore;
With envious eye, she mark'd the shade,
Where the poor BUTTERFLY was laid,
And resting on the bending spray,
Thus murmur'd forth her drony lay:
"Thou empty thing, whose merit lies
In the vain boast of orient dies;
Whose glittering form the slightest breath
Robs of its gloss, and fades to death;
Who idly rov'st the summer day,
Flutt'ring a transient life away,
Unmindful of the chilling hour,
The nipping frost, the drenching show'r;
Who heedless of "to-morrow's fare,"
Mak'st present bliss thy only care;
Is it for THEE, the damask ROSE
With such transcendent lustre glows?
Is it for such a giddy thing
Nature unveils the blushing spring?
Hence, from thy lurking place, and know,
'Tis not for THEE her beauties glow.
The BUTTERFLY, with decent pride,
In gentle accents, thus reply'd:
"'Tis true, I flutter life away
In pastime, innocent and gay;
The SUN that decks the blushing spring
Gives lustre to my painted wing;
'Tis NATURE bids each colour vie,
With rainbow tints of varying die;
I boast no skill, no subtle pow'r
To steal the balm from ev'ry flow'r;
The ROSE, that only shelter'd ME,
Has pour'd a load of sweets on THEE;
Of merit we have both our share,
Heav'n gave thee ART, and made me FAIR;
And tho' thy cunning can despise
The humble worth of harmless flies;
Remember, envious, busy thing,
Thy honey'd form conceals a sting;
Enjoy thy garden, while I rove
The sunny hill, the woodbine grove,
And far remov'd from care and THEE,
Embrace my humble destiny;
While in some lone sequester'd bow'r,
I'll live content beyond thy pow'r;
For where ILL-NATURE holds her reign
TASTE, WORTH, and BEAUTY, plead in vain;
E'en GENIUS must to PRIDE submit
When ENVY wings the shaft of WIT.
Mary Darby Robinson |
O, let me seize thy pen sublime
That paints, in melting dulcet rhyme,
The glowing pow'r, the magic art,
Th' extatic raptures of the Heart;
Soft Beauty's timid smile serene,
The dimples of Love's sportive mien;
The sweet descriptive tale to trace;
To picture Nature's winning grace;
To steal the tear from Pity's eye;
To catch the sympathetic sigh;
O teach me, with swift light'nings force
To watch wild passion's varying course;
To mark th' enthusiast's vivid fire,
Or calmly touch thy golden lyre,
While gentle Reason mildly sings
Responsive to the trembling strings.
SWEET Nymph, enchanting Poetry!
I dedicate my mind to Thee.
Oh! from thy bright Parnassian bow'rs
Descend, to bless my sombre hours;
Bend to the earth thy eagle wing,
And on its glowing plumage bring
Blithe FANCY, from whose burning eye
The young ideas sparkling fly;
O, come, and let us fondly stray,
Where rosy Health shall lead the way,
And soft FAVONIUS lightly spread
A perfum'd carpet as we tread;
Ah! let us from the world remove,
The calm forgetfulness to prove,
Which at the still of evening's close,
Lulls the tir'd peasant to repose;
Repose, whose balmy joys o'er-pay
The sultry labours of the day.
And when the blue-ey'd dawn appears,
Just peeping thro' her veil of tears;
Or blushing opes her silver gate,
And on its threshold, stands elate,
And flings her rosy mantle far
O'er every loit'ring dewy star;
And calls the wanton breezes forth,
And sprinkles diamonds o'er the earth;
While in the green-wood's shade profound,
The insect race, with buzzing sound
Flit o'er the rill,a glitt'ring train,
Or swarm along the sultry plain.
Then in sweet converse let us rove,
Where in the thyme-embroider'd grove,
The musky air its fragrance pours
Upon the silv'ry scatter'd show'rs;
To hail soft Zephyr, as she goes
To fan the dew-drop from the rose;
To shelter from the scorching beam,
And muse beside the rippling stream.
Or when, at twilight's placid hour,
We stroll to some sequester'd bow'r;
And watch the haughty Sun retire
Beneath his canopy of fire;
While slow the dusky clouds enfold
Day's crimson curtains fring'd with gold;
And o'er the meadows faintly fly
Pale shadows of the purpling sky:
While softly o'er the pearl-deck'd plain,
Cold Dian leads the sylvan train;
In mazy dance and sportive glee,
SWEET MUSE, I'll fondly turn to thee;
And thou shalt deck my couch with flow'rs,
And wing with joy my silent hours.
When Sleep, with downy hand, shall spread
A wreath of poppies round my head;
Then, FANCY, on her wing sublime,
Shall waft me to the sacred clime
Where my enlighten'd sense shall view,
Thro' ether realms of azure hue,
That flame, where SHAKESPEARE us'd to fill,
With matchless fire, his "golden quill.
While, from its point bright Genius caught
The wit supreme, the glowing thought,
The magic tone, that sweetly hung
About the music of his tongue.
Then will I skim the floating air,
On a light couch of gossamer,
While with my wonder-aching eye,
I contemplate the spangled sky,
And hear the vaulted roof repeat
The song of Inspiration sweet;
While round the winged cherub train,
Shall iterate the aëry strain:
Swift, thro' my quiv'ring nerves shall float
The tremours of each thrilling note;
And every eager sense confess
Extatic transport's wild excess:
'Till, waking from the glorious dream,
I hail the morn's refulgent beam.
DEAR Maid! of ever-varying mien,
Exulting, pensive, gay, serene,
Now, in transcendent pathos drest,
Now, gentle as the turtle's breast;
Where'er thy feath'ry steps shall lead,
To side-long hill, or flow'ry mead;
To sorrow's coldest, darkest cell,
Or where, by Cynthia's glimm'ring ray,
The dapper fairies frisk and play
About some cowslip's golden bell;
And, in their wanton frolic mirth,
Pluck the young daisies from the earth,
To canopy their tiny heads,
And decorate their verdant beds;
While to the grass-hopper's shrill tune,
They quaff libations to the moon,
From acorn goblets, amply fill'd
With dew, from op'ning flow'rs distill'd.
Or when the lurid tempest pours,
From its dark urn, impetuous show'rs,
Or from its brow's terrific frown,
Hurls the pale murd'rous lightnings down;
To thy enchanting breast I'll spring,
And shield me with thy golden wing.
Or when amidst ethereal fire,
Thou strik'st thy DELLA CRUSCAN lyre,
While round, to catch the heavenly song,
Myriads of wond'ring seraphs throng:
Whether thy harp's empassioned strain
Pours forth an OVID's tender pain;
Or in PINDARIC flights sublime,
Re-echoes thro' the starry clime;
Thee I'll adore; transcendent guest,
And woe thee to my burning breast.
But, if thy magic pow'rs impart
One soft sensation to the heart,
If thy warm precepts can dispense
One thrilling transport o'er my sense;
Oh! keep thy gifts, and let me fly,
In APATHY's cold arms to die.
Mary Darby Robinson |
O THOU, whose sober precepts can controul
The wild impatience of the troubled soul,
Sweet Nymph serene ! whose all-consoling pow'r
Awakes to calm delight the ling'ring hour;
O hear thy suppliant's ardent pray'r !
Chase from my pensive mind corroding care,
Steal thro' the heated pulses of the brain,
Charm sorrow to reposeand lull the throb of pain.
O, tell me, what are life's best joys?
Are they not visions that decay,
Sweet honey'd poisons, gilded toys,
Vain glitt'ring baubles of a day?
O say what shadow do they leave behind,
Save the sad vacuum of the sated mind?
Borne on the eagle wings of Fame,
MAN soars above calm Reason's sway,
"Vaulting AMBITION" mocks each tender claim,
Plucks the dear bonds of social life away;
As o'er the vanquish'd slave she wields her spear,
COMPASSION turns aside---REFLECTlON drops a tear.
Behold the wretch, whose sordid heart,
Steep'd in Content's oblivious balm,
Secure in Luxury's bewitching calm,
Repels pale Mis'ry's touch, and mocks Affliction's smart;
Unmov'd he marks the bitter tear,
In vain the plaints of woe his thoughts assail,
The bashful mourner's pitious tale
Nor melts his flinty soul, nor vibrates on his ear,
O blest REFLECTION ! let thy magic pow'r
Awake his torpid sense, his slumb'ring thought,
Tel1 him ADVERSITY'S unpitied hour
A brighter lesson gives, than Stoics taught:
Tell him that WEALTH no blessing can impart
So sweet as PITY'S tearthat bathes the wounded Heart.
Go tell the vain, the insolent, and fair,
That life's best days are only days of care;
That BEAUTY, flutt'ring like a painted fly,
Owes to the spring of youth its rarest die;
When Winter comes, its charms shall fade away,
And the poor insect wither in decay:
Go bid the giddy phantom learn from thee,
That VIRTUE only braves mortality.
Then come, REFLECTION, soft-ey'd maid!
I know thee, and I prize thy charms;
Come, in thy gentlest smiles array'd,
And I will press thee in my eager arms:
Keep from my aching heart the "fiend DESPAIR,"
Pluck from my brow her THORN, and plant the OLIVE there.
Mary Darby Robinson |
Come, bright-eyed maid,
Pure offspring of the tranquil mind,
Haste, my fev'rish temples bind
With olive wreaths of em'rald hue
Steep'd in morn's ethereal dew,
Where in mild HELVETIA's shade,
Blushing summer round her flings
Warm gales and sunny show'rs that hang upon her wings.
I'll seek thee in ITALIA's bow'rs,
Where supine on beds of flow'rs
Melody's soul-touching throng
Strike the soft lute or trill the melting song:
Where blithe FANCY, queen of pleasure,
Pours each rich luxuriant treasure.
For thee I'll climb the breezy hill,
While the balmy dews distill
Odours from the budding thorn,
Drop'd from the lust'rous lids of morn;
Who, starting from her shad'wy bed,
Binds her gold fillet round the mountain's head.
There I'll press from herbs and flow'rs
Juices bless'd with opiate pow'rs,
Whose magic potency can heal
The throb of agonizing pain,
And thro' the purple swelling vein
With subtle influence steal:
Heav'n opes for thee its aromatic store
To bathe each languid gasping pore;
But where, O where, shall cherish'd sorrow find
The lenient balm to soothe the feeling mind.
O, mem'ry! busy barb'rous foe,
At thy fell touch I wake to woe:
Alas! the flatt'ring dream is o'er,
From thee the bright illusions fly,
Thou bidst the glitt'ring phantoms die,
And hope, and youth, and fancy, charm no more.
No more for me the tip-toe SPRING
Drops flowrets from her infant wing;
For me in vain the wild thymes bloom
Thro' the forest flings perfume;
In vain I climb th'embroider'd hill
To breathe the clear autumnal air;
In vain I quaff the lucid rill
Since jocund HEALTH delights not there
To greet my heart:no more I view,
With sparkling eye, the silv'ry dew
Sprinkling May's tears upon the folded rose,
As low it droops its young and blushing head,
Press'd by grey twilight to its mossy bed:
No more I lave amidst the tide,
Or bound along the tufted grove,
Or o'er enamel'd meadows rove,
Where, on Zephyr's pinions, glide
Salubrious airs that waft the nymph repose.
Lightly o'er the yellow heath
Steals thy soft and fragrant breath,
Breath inhal'd from musky flow'rs
Newly bath'd in perfum'd show'rs.
See the rosy-finger'd morn
Opes her bright refulgent eye,
Hills and valleys to adorn,
While from her burning glance the scatter'd vapours fly.
Soon, ah soon! the painted scene,
The hill's blue top, the valley's green,
Midst clouds of snow, and whirlwinds drear,
Shall cold and comfortless appear:
The howling blast shall strip the plain,
And bid my pensive bosom learn,
Tho' NATURE's face shall smile again,
And, on the glowing breast of Spring
Creation all her gems shall fling,
YOUTH's April morn shall ne'er return.
Then come, Oh quickly come, Hygeian Maid!
Each throbbing pulse, each quiv'ring nerve pervade.
Flash thy bright fires across my languid eye,
Tint my pale visage with thy roseate die,
Bid my heart's current own a temp'rate glow,
And from its crimson source in tepid channels flow.
O HEALTH, celestial Nymph! without thy aid
Creation sickens in oblivions shade:
Along the drear and solitary gloom
We steal on thorny footsteps to the tomb;
Youth, age, wealth, poverty alike agree
To live is anguish, when depriv'd of Thee.
To THEE indulgent Heav'n benignly gave
The touch to heal, the extacy to save.
The balmy incense of thy fost'ring breath
Wafts the wan victim from the fangs of Death,
Robs the grim Tyrant of his trembling prize,
Cheers the faint soul, and lifts it to the skies.
Let not the gentle rose thy bounty drest
To meet the rising son with od'rous breast,
Which glow'd with artless tints at noon-tide hour,
And shed soft tears upon each drooping flower,
With with'ring anguish mourn the parting Day,
Shrink to the Earth, and sorrowing fade away.
Mary Darby Robinson |
A farmer's wife, both young and gay,
And fresh as op'ning buds of May;
Had taken to herself, a Spouse,
And plighted many solemn vows,
That she a faithful mate would prove,
In meekness, duty, and in love!
That she, despising joy and wealth,
Would be, in sickness and in health,
His only comfort and his Friend--
But, mark the sequel,--and attend!
This Farmer, as the tale is told--
Was somewhat cross, and somewhat old!
His, was the wintry hour of life,
While summer smiled before his wife;
A contrast, rather form'd to cloy
The zest of matrimonial joy!
'Twas Christmas time, the peasant throng
Assembled gay, with dance and Song:
The Farmer's Kitchen long had been
Of annual sports the busy scene;
The wood-fire blaz'd, the chimney wide
Presented seats, on either side;
Long rows of wooden Trenchers, clean,
Bedeck'd with holly-boughs, were seen;
The shining Tankard's foamy ale
Gave spirits to the Goblin tale,
And many a rosy cheek--grew pale.
It happen'd, that some sport to shew
The ceiling held a MISTLETOE.
A magic bough, and well design'd
To prove the coyest Maiden, kind.
A magic bough, which DRUIDS old
Its sacred mysteries enroll'd;
And which, or gossip Fame's a liar,
Still warms the soul with vivid fire;
Still promises a store of bliss
While bigots snatch their Idol's kiss.
This MISTLETOE was doom'd to be
The talisman of Destiny;
Beneath its ample boughs we're told
Full many a timid Swain grew bold;
Full many a roguish eye askance
Beheld it with impatient glance,
And many a ruddy cheek confest,
The triumphs of the beating breast;
And many a rustic rover sigh'd
Who ask'd the kiss, and was denied.
First MARG'RY smil'd and gave her Lover
A Kiss; then thank'd her stars, 'twas over!
Next, KATE, with a reluctant pace,
Was tempted to the mystic place;
Then SUE, a merry laughing jade
A dimpled yielding blush betray'd;
While JOAN her chastity to shew
Wish'd "the bold knaves would serve her so,"
She'd "teach the rogues such wanton play!"
And well she could, she knew the way.
The FARMER, mute with jealous care,
Sat sullen, in his wicker chair;
Hating the noisy gamesome host
Yet, fearful to resign his post;
He envied all their sportive strife
But most he watch'd his blooming wife,
And trembled, lest her steps should go,
Incautious, near the MISTLETOE.
Now HODGE, a youth of rustic grace
With form athletic; manly face;
On MISTRESS HOMESPUN turn'd his eye
And breath'd a soul-declaring sigh!
Old HOMESPUN, mark'd his list'ning Fair
And nestled in his wicker chair;
HODGE swore, she might his heart command--
The pipe was dropp'd from HOMESPUN'S hand!
HODGE prest her slender waist around;
The FARMER check'd his draught, and frown'd!
And now beneath the MISTLETOE
'Twas MISTRESS HOMESPUN'S turn to go;
Old Surly shook his wicker chair,
And sternly utter'd--"Let her dare!"
HODGE, to the FARMER'S wife declar'd
Such husbands never should be spar'd;
Swore, they deserv'd the worst disgrace,
That lights upon the wedded race;
And vow'd--that night he would not go
Unblest, beneath the MISTLETOE.
The merry group all recommend
An harmless Kiss, the strife to end:
"Why not ?" says MARG'RY, "who would fear,
"A dang'rous moment, once a year?"
SUSAN observ'd, that "ancient folks
"Were seldom pleas'd with youthful jokes;"
But KATE, who, till that fatal hour,
Had held, o'er HODGE, unrivall'd pow'r,
With curving lip and head aside
Look'd down and smil'd in conscious pride,
Then, anxious to conceal her care,
She humm'd--"what fools some women are!"
Now, MISTRESS HOMESPUN, sorely vex'd,
By pride and jealous rage perplex'd,
And angry, that her peevish spouse
Should doubt her matrimonial vows,
But, most of all, resolved to make
An envious rival's bosom ache;
Commanded Hodge to let her go,
Nor lead her to the Mistletoe;
"Why should you ask it o'er and o'er?"
Cried she, "we've been there twice before!"
'Tis thus, to check a rival's sway,
That Women oft themselves betray;
While VANITY, alone, pursuing,
They rashly prove, their own undoing.
Mary Darby Robinson |
Ah! wherefore by the Church-yard side,
Poor little LORN ONE, dost thou stray?
Thy wavy locks but thinly hide
The tears that dim thy blue-eye's ray;
And wherefore dost thou sigh, and moan,
And weep, that thou art left alone?
Thou art not left alone, poor boy,
The Trav'ller stops to hear thy tale;
No heart, so hard, would thee annoy!
For tho' thy mother's cheek is pale
And withers under yon grave stone,
Thou art not, Urchin, left alone.
I know thee well ! thy yellow hair
In silky waves I oft have seen;
Thy dimpled face, so fresh and fair,
Thy roguish smile, thy playful mien
Were all to me, poor Orphan, known,
Ere Fate had left thee--all alone!
Thy russet coat is scant, and torn,
Thy cheek is now grown deathly pale!
Thy eyes are dim, thy looks forlorn,
And bare thy bosom meets the gale;
And oft I hear thee deeply groan,
That thou, poor boy, art left alone.
Thy naked feet are wounded sore
With thorns, that cross thy daily road;
The winter winds around thee roar,
The church-yard is thy bleak abode;
Thy pillow now, a cold grave stone--
And there thou lov'st to grieve--alone!
The rain has drench'd thee, all night long;
The nipping frost thy bosom froze;
And still, the yewtree-shades among,
I heard thee sigh thy artless woes;
I heard thee, till the day-star shone
In darkness weep--and weep alone!
Oft have I seen thee, little boy,
Upon thy lovely mother's knee;
For when she liv'd--thou wert her joy,
Though now a mourner thou must be!
For she lies low, where yon grave-stone
Proclaims, that thou art left alone.
Weep, weep no more; on yonder hill
The village bells are ringing, gay;
The merry reed, and brawling rill
Call thee to rustic sports away.
Then wherefore weep, and sigh, and moan,
A truant from the throng--alone?
"I cannot the green hill ascend,
"I cannot pace the upland mead;
"I cannot in the vale attend,
"To hear the merry-sounding reed:
"For all is still, beneath yon stone,
"Where my poor mother's left alone!
"I cannot gather gaudy flowers
"To dress the scene of revels loud--
"I cannot pass the ev'ning hours
"Among the noisy village croud--
"For, all in darkness, and alone
"My mother sleeps, beneath yon stone.
"See how the stars begin to gleam
"The sheep-dog barks, 'tis time to go;--
"The night-fly hums, the moonlight beam
"Peeps through the yew-tree's shadowy row--
"It falls upon the white grave-stone,
"Where my dear mother sleeps alone.
"O stay me not, for I must go
"The upland path in haste to tread;
"For there the pale primroses grow
"They grow to dress my mother's bed.
"They must, ere peep of day, be strown,
"Where she lies mould'ring all alone.
"My father o'er the stormy sea
"To distant lands was borne away,
"And still my mother stay'd with me
"And wept by night and toil'd by day.
"And shall I ever quit the stone
"Where she is, left, to sleep alone.
"My father died; and still I found
"My mother fond and kind to me;
"I felt her breast with rapture bound
"When first I prattled on her knee--
"And then she blest my infant tone
"And little thought of yon grave-stone.
"No more her gentle voice I hear,
"No more her smile of fondness see;
"Then wonder not I shed the tear
"She would have DIED, to follow me!
"And yet she sleeps beneath yon stone
"And I STILL LIVE--to weep alone.
"The playful kid, she lov'd so well
"From yon high clift was seen to fall;
"I heard, afar, his tink'ling bell--
"Which seem'd in vain for aid to call--
"I heard the harmless suff'rer moan,
"And grieved that he was left alone.
"Our faithful dog grew mad, and died,
"The lightning smote our cottage low--
"We had no resting-place beside
"And knew not whither we should go,--
"For we were poor,--and hearts of stone
"Will never throb at mis'ry's groan.
"My mother still surviv'd for me,
"She led me to the mountain's brow,
"She watch'd me, while at yonder tree
"I sat, and wove the ozier bough;
"And oft she cried, "fear not, MINE OWN!
"Thou shalt not, BOY, be left ALONE.
"The blast blew strong, the torrent rose
"And bore our shatter'd cot away;
"And, where the clear brook swiftly flows--
"Upon the turf at dawn of day,
"When bright the sun's full lustre shone,
"I wander'd, FRIENDLESS--and ALONE!"
Thou art not, boy, for I have seen
Thy tiny footsteps print the dew,
And while the morning sky serene
Spread o'er the hill a yellow hue,
I heard thy sad and plaintive moan,
Beside the cold sepulchral stone.
And when the summer noontide hours
With scorching rays the landscape spread,
I mark'd thee, weaving fragrant flow'rs
To deck thy mother's silent bed!
Nor, at the church-yard's simple stone,
Wert, thou, poor Urchin, left alone.
I follow'd thee, along the dale
And up the woodland's shad'wy way:
I heard thee tell thy mournful tale
As slowly sunk the star of day:
Nor, when its twinkling light had flown,
Wert thou a wand'rer, all alone.
"O! yes, I was! and still shall be
"A wand'rer, mourning and forlorn;
"For what is all the world to me--
"What are the dews and buds of morn?
"Since she, who left me sad, alone
"In darkness sleeps, beneath yon stone!
"No brother's tear shall fall for me,
"For I no brother ever knew;
"No friend shall weep my destiny
"For friends are scarce, and tears are few;
"None do I see, save on this stone
"Where I will stay, and weep alone!
"My Father never will return,
"He rests beneath the sea-green wave;
"I have no kindred left, to mourn
"When I am hid in yonder grave!
"Not one ! to dress with flow'rs the stone;--
"Then--surely , I AM LEFT ALONE!"
Mary Darby Robinson |
High, on the Solitude of Alpine Hills,
O'er-topping the grand imag'ry of Nature,
Where one eternal winter seem'd to reign;
An HERMIT'S threshold, carpetted with moss,
Diversified the Scene.
Above the flakes
Of silv'ry snow, full many a modest flow'r
Peep'd through its icy veil, and blushing ope'd
Its variegated hues; The ORCHIS sweet,
The bloomy CISTUS, and the fragrant branch
Of glossy MYRTLE.
In his rushy cell,
The lonely ANCHORET consum'd his days,
Unnotic'd, and unblest.
In early youth,
Cross'd in the fond affections of his soul
By false Ambition, from his parent home
He, solitary, wander'd; while the Maid
Whose peerless beauty won his yielding heart
Pined in monastic horrors ! Near his sill
A little cross he rear'd, where, prostrate low
At day's pale glimpse, or when the setting Sun
Tissued the western sky with streamy gold,
His Orisons he pour'd, for her, whose hours
Were wasted in oblivion.
And Summers faded, slow, unchearly all
To the lone HERMIT'S sorrows: For, still, Love
A dark, though unpolluted altar, rear'd
On the white waste of wonders!
From the peak
Which mark'd his neighb'ring Hut, his humid Eye
Oft wander'd o'er the rich expanse below;
Oft trac'd the glow of vegetating Spring,
The full-blown Summer splendours, and the hue
Of tawny scenes Autumnal: Vineyards vast,
Clothing the upland scene, and spreading wide
The promised tide nectareous; while for him
The liquid lapse of the slow brook was seen
Flashing amid the trees, its silv'ry wave!
Far distant, the blue mist of waters rose
Veiling the ridgy outline, faintly grey,
Blended with clouds, and shutting out the Sun.
The Seasons still revolv'd, and still was he
By all forgotten, save by her, whose breast
Sigh'd in responsive sadness to the gale
That swept her prison turrets.
Five long years,
Had seen his graces wither ere his Spring
Of life was wasted.
From the social scenes
Of human energy an alien driv'n,
He almost had forgot the face of Man.
No voice had met his ear, save, when perchance
The Pilgrim wand'rer, or the Goatherd Swain,
Bewilder'd in the starless midnight hour
Implored the HERMIT'S aid, the HERMIT'S pray'rs;
And nothing loath by pity or by pray'r
Was he, to save the wretched.
On the top
Of his low rushy Dome, a tinkling bell
Oft told the weary Trav'ller to approach
Fearless of danger.
The small silver sound
In quick vibrations echo'd down the dell
To the dim valley's quiet, while the breeze
Slept on the glassy LEMAN.
Thus he past
His melancholy days, an alien Man
From all the joys of social intercourse,
Alone, unpitied, by the world forgot!
His Scrip each morning bore the day's repast
Gather'd on summits, mingling with the clouds,
From whose bleak altitude the Eye look'd down
While fast the giddy brain was rock'd by fear.
Oft would he start from visionary rest
When roaming wolves their midnight chorus howl'd,
Or blasts infuriate shatter'd the white cliffs,
While the huge fragments, rifted by the storm,
Plung'd to the dell below.
Oft would he sit
In silent sadness on the jutting block
Of snow-encrusted ice, and, shudd'ring mark
(Amid the wonders of the frozen world)
Dissolving pyramids, and threatening peaks,
Hang o'er his hovel, terribly Sublime.
And oft, when Summer breath'd ambrosial gales,
Soft sailing o'er the waste of printless dew
Or twilight gossamer, his pensive gaze
Trac'd the swift storm advancing, whose broad wing
Blacken'd the rushy dome of his low Hut;
While the pale lightning smote the pathless top
Of tow'ring CENIS, scatt'ring high and wide
A mist of fleecy Snow.
Then would he hear,
(While MEM'RY brought to view his happier days)
The tumbling torrent, bursting wildly forth
From its thaw'd prison, sweep the shaggy cliff
Vast and Stupendous ! strength'ning as it fell,
And delving, 'mid the snow, a cavern rude!
So liv'd the HERMIT, like an hardy Tree
Plac'd on a mountain's solitary brow,
And destin'd, thro' the Seasons, to endure
Their wond'rous changes.
To behold the face
Of ever-varying Nature, and to mark
In each grand lineament, the work of GOD!
And happier he, in total Solitude
Than the poor toil-worn wretch, whose ardent Soul
That GOD has nobly organiz'd, but taught,
For purposes unknown, to bear the scourge
Of sharp adversity, and vulgar pride.
Happier, O ! happier far, than those who feel,
Yet live amongst the unfeeling ! feeding still
The throbbing heart, with anguish, or with Scorn.
One dreary night when Winter's icy breath
Half petrified the scene, when not a star
Gleam'd o'er the black infinity of space,
Sudden, the HERMIT started from his couch
Fear-struck and trembling! Ev'ry limb was shook
With painful agitation.
On his cheek
The blanch'd interpreter of horror mute
Sat terribly impressive! In his breast
The ruddy fount of life convulsive flow'd
And his broad eyes, fix'd motionless as death,
Gaz'd vacantly aghast ! His feeble lamp
Was wasting rapidly; the biting gale
Pierc'd the thin texture of his narrow cell;
And Silence, like a fearful centinel
Marking the peril which awaited near,
Conspir'd with sullen Night, to wrap the scene
In tenfold horrors.
Thrice he rose; and thrice
His feet recoil'd; and still the livid flame
Lengthen'd and quiver'd as the moaning wind
Pass'd thro' the rushy crevice, while his heart
Beat, like the death-watch, in his shudd'ring breast.
Like the pale Image of Despair he sat,
The cold drops pacing down his hollow cheek,
When a deep groan assail'd his startled ear,
And rous'd him into action.
To the sill
Of his low hovel he rush'd forth, (for fear
Will sometimes take the shape of fortitude,
And force men into bravery) and soon
The wicker bolt unfasten'd.
The swift blast,
Now unrestrain'd, flew by; and in its course
The quiv'ring lamp extinguish'd, and again
His soul was thrill'd with terror.
On he went,
E'en to the snow-fring'd margin of the cragg,
Which to his citadel a platform made
Slipp'ry and perilous! 'Twas darkness, all!
All, solitary gloom!--The concave vast
Of Heav'n frown'd chaos; for all varied things
Of air, and earth, and waters, blended, lost
Their forms, in blank oblivion ! Yet not long
Did Nature wear her sable panoply,
For, while the HERMIT listen'd, from below
A stream of light ascended, spreading round
A partial view of trackless solitudes;
And mingling voices seem'd, with busy hum,
To break the spell of horrors.
Down the steep
The HERMIT hasten'd, when a shriek of death
Re-echoed to the valley.
As he flew,
(The treach'rous pathway yielding to his speed,)
Half hoping, half despairing, to the scene
Of wonder-waking anguish, suddenly
The torches were extinct; and second night
Came doubly hideous, while the hollow tongues
Of cavern'd winds, with melancholy sound
Increas'd the HERMIT'S fears.
Four freezing hours
He watch'd and pray'd: and now the glimm'ring dawn
Peer'd on the Eastern Summits; (the blue light
Shedding cold lustre on the colder brows
Of Alpine desarts;) while the filmy wing
Of weeping Twilight, swept the naked plains
Of the Lombardian landscape.
On his knees
The ANCHORET blest Heav'n, that he had 'scap'd
The many perilous and fearful falls
Of waters wild and foamy, tumbling fast
From the shagg'd altitude.
But, ere his pray'rs
Rose to their destin'd Heav'n, another sight,
Than all preceding far more terrible,
Palsied devotion's ardour.
On the Snow,
Dappled with ruby drops, a track was made
By steps precipitate; a rugged path
Down the steep frozen chasm had mark'd the fate
Of some night traveller, whose bleeding form
Had toppled from the Summit.
The ANCHORET descended, 'till arrived
At the first ridge of silv'ry battlements,
Where, lifeless, ghastly, paler than the snow
On which her cheek repos'd, his darling Maid
Slept in the dream of Death ! Frantic and wild
He clasp'd her stiff'ning form, and bath'd with tears
The lilies of her bosom,--icy cold--
Yet beautiful and spotless.
The wond'ring HERMIT heard the clang of arms
Re-echoing from the valley: the white cliffs
Trembled as though an Earthquake shook their base
With terrible concussion ! Thund'ring peals
From warfare's brazen throat, proclaim'd th' approach
Of conquering legions: onward they extend
Their dauntless columns ! In the foremost group
A Ruffian met the HERMIT'S startled Eyes
Like Hell's worst Demon ! For his murd'rous hands
Were smear'd with gore; and on his daring breast
A golden cross, suspended, bore the name
Of his ill-fated Victim!--ANCHORET!
Thy VESTAL Saint, by his unhallow'd hands
Torn from RELIGION'S Altar, had been made
The sport of a dark Fiend, whose recreant Soul
Had sham'd the cause of Valour ! To his cell
The Soul-struck Exile turn'd his trembling feet,
And after three lone weeks, of pain and pray'r,
Shrunk from the scene of Solitude--and DIED!
Mary Darby Robinson |
It was in the days of a gay British King
(In the old fashion'd custom of merry-making)
The Palace of Woodstock with revels did ring,
While they sang and carous'd--one and all:
For the monarch a plentiful treasury had,
And his Courtiers were pleas'd, and no visage was sad,
And the knavish and foolish with drinking were mad,
While they sat in the Banquetting hall.
Some talk'd of their Valour, and some of their Race,
And vaunted, till vaunting was black in the face;
Some bragg'd for a title, and some for a place,
And, like braggarts, they bragg'd one and all!
Some spoke of their scars in the Holy Crusade,
Some boasted the banner of Fame they display'd,
And some sang their Loves in the soft serenade
As they sat in the Banquetting hall.
And here sat a Baron, and there sat a Knight,
And here stood a Page in his habit all bright,
And here a young Soldier in armour bedight
With a Friar carous'd, one and all.
Some play'd on the dulcimer, some on the lute,
And some, who had nothing to talk of, were mute,
Till the Morning, awakened, put on her grey suit--
And the Lark hover'd over the Hall.
It was in a vast gothic Hall that they sate,
And the Tables were cover'd with rich gilded plate,
And the King and his minions were toping in state,
Till their noddles turn'd round, one and all:--
And the Sun through the tall painted windows 'gan peep,
And the Vassals were sleeping, or longing to sleep,
Though the Courtiers, still waking, their revels did keep,
While the minstrels play'd sweet, in the Hall.
And, now in their Cups, the bold topers began
To call for more wine, from the cellar yeoman,
And, while each one replenish'd his goblet or can,
The Monarch thus spake to them all:
"It is fit that the nobles do just what they please,
"That the Great live in idleness, riot, and ease,
"And that those should be favor'd, who mark my decrees,
"And should feast in the Banquetting Hall.
"It is fit," said the Monarch, "that riches should claim
"A passport to freedom, to honor, and fame,--
"That the poor should be humble, obedient, and tame,
"And, in silence, submit--one and all.
"That the wise and the holy should toil for the Great,
"That the Vassals should tend at the tables of state,
"That the Pilgrim should--pray for our souls at the gate
"While we feast in our Banquetting Hall.
"That the low-lineag'd CARLES should be scantily fed--
"That their drink should be small, and still smaller their bread;
"That their wives and their daughters to ruin be led,
"And submit to our will, one and all !
"It is fit, that whoever I choose to defend--
"Shall be courted, and feasted, and lov'd as a friend,
"While before them the good and enlighten'd shall bend,
"While they sit in the Banquetting Hall.
Now the Topers grew bold, and each talk'd of his right,
One would fain be a Baron, another a Knight;
And another, (because at the Tournament fight
He had vanquished his foes, one and all)
Demanded a track of rich lands; and rich fare;
And of stout serving Vassals a plentiful share;
With a lasting exemption from penance and pray'r
And a throne in the Banquetting Hall.
But ONE, who had neither been valiant nor wise,
With a tone of importance, thus vauntingly cries,
"My Leige he knows how a good subject to prize--
"And I therefore demand--before all--
"I this Castle possess: and the right to maintain
"Five hundred stout Bowmen to follow my train,
"And as many strong Vassals to guard my domain
"As the Lord of the Banquetting Hall!
"I have fought with all nations, and bled in the field,
"See my lance is unshiver'd, tho' batter'd my shield,
"I have combatted legions, yet never would yield
"And the Enemy fled--one and all !
"I have rescued a thousand fair Donnas, in Spain,
"I have left in gay France, every bosom in pain.
"I have conquer'd the Russian, the Prussian, the Dane,
"And will reign in the Banquetting Hall!"
The Monarch now rose, with majestical look,
And his sword from the scabbard of Jewels he took,
And the Castle with laughter and ribaldry shook.
While the braggart accosted thus he:
"I will give thee a place that will suit thy demand,
"What to thee, is more fitting than Vassals or Land--
"I will give thee,--what justice and valour command,
"For a TRUMPETER bold--thou shalt be!"
Now the revellers rose, and began to complain--
While they menanc'd with gestures, and frown'd with disdain,
And declar'd, that the nobles were fitter to reign
Than a Prince so unruly as He.
But the Monarch cried, sternly, they taunted him so,
"From this moment the counsel of fools I forego--
"And on Wisdom and Virtue will honors bestow
"For such, ONLY, are welcome to Me!"
So saying, he quitted the Banquetting Hall,
And leaving his Courtiers and flatterers all--
Straightway for his Confessor loudly 'gan call
"O ! Father ! now listen !" said he:
"I have feasted the Fool, I have pamper'd the Knave,
"I have scoff'd at the wise, and neglected the brave--
"And here, Holy Man, Absolution I crave--
"For a penitent now I will be.
From that moment the Monarch grew sober and good,
(And nestled with Birds of a different brood,)
For he found that the pathway which wisdom pursu'd
Was pleasant, safe, quiet, and even !
That by Temperance, Virtue and liberal deeds,
By nursing the flowrets, and crushing the weeds,
The loftiest Traveller always succeeds--
For his journey will lead him to HEAV'N.