Thomas Campbell |
When first the fiery-mantled sun
His heavenly race begun to run;
Round the earth and ocean blue,
His children four the Seasons flew.
First, in green apparel dancing,
The young Spring smiled with angel grace;
Rosy summer next advancing,
Rushed into her sire's embrace:-
Her blue-haired sire, who bade her keep
For ever nearest to his smile,
On Calpe's olive-shaded steep,
On India's citron-covered isles:
More remote and buxom-brown,
The Queen of vintage bowed before his throne,
A rich pomegranate gemmed her gown,
A ripe sheaf bound her zone.
But howling Winter fled afar,
To hills that prop the polar star,
And lives on deer-borne car to ride
With barren darkness at his side,
Round the shore where loud Lofoden
Whirls to death the roaring whale,
Round the hall where runic Odin
Howls his war-song to the gale;
Save when adown the ravaged globe
He travels on his native storm,
Deflowering Nature's grassy robe,
And trampling on her faded form:-
Till light's returning lord assume
The shaft the drives him to his polar field,
Of power to pierce his raven plume
And crystal-covered shield.
Oh, sire of storms! whose savage ear
The Lapland drum delights to hear,
When frenzy with her blood-shot eye
Implores thy dreadful deity,
Archangel! power of desolation!
Fast descending as thou art,
Say, hath mortal invocation
Spells to touch thy stony heart?
Then, sullen Winter, hear my prayer,
And gently rule the ruined year;
Nor chill the wanders bosom bare,
Nor freeze the wretch's falling tear;-
To shuddering Want's unmantled bed
Thy horror-breathing agues cease to lead,
And gently on the orphan head
Of innocence descend.
But chiefly spare, O king of clouds!
The sailor on his airy shrouds;
When wrecks and beacons strew the steep,
And specters walk along the deep.
Milder yet thy snowy breezes
Pour on yonder tented shores,
Where the Rhine's broad billow freezes,
Or the Dark-brown Danube roars.
Oh, winds of winter! List ye there
To many a deep and dying groan;
Or start, ye demons of the midnight air,
At shrieks and thunders louder than your own.
Alas! Even unhallowed breath
May spare the victim fallen low;
But man will ask no truce of death,-
No bounds to human woe.
Thomas Campbell |
Hark ! from the battlements of yonder tower
The solemn bell has tolled the midnight hour !
Roused from drear visions of distempered sleep,
Poor Broderick wakes—in solitude to weep !
"Cease, Memory; cease (the friendless mourner cried)
To probe the bosom too severely tried !
Oh ! ever cease, my pensive thoughts, to stray
Through tie bright fields of Fortune's better day,
When youthful Hope, the music of the mind,
Tuned all its charms, and Errington was kind !
Yet, can I cease, while glows this trembling frame,
In sighs to speak thy melancholy name !
I hear thy spirit wail in every storm !
In midniglit shades I view thy passing form !
Pale as in that sad hour when doomed to feel !
Deep in thy perjured heart, the bloody steel !
Demons of Vengeance ! ye, at whose command
I grasped the sword with more than woman's hand
Say ye, did Pity's trembling voice control,
Or horror damp the purpose of my soul ?
No ! my wild heart sat smiling o'er the plan,
'Till Hate fulfilled what baffled love began !
Yes ; let the clay-cold breast that never knew
One tender pang to generous nature true,
Half-mingling pity with the gall of scorn,
Condemn this heart, that bled in love forlorn !
And ye, proud fair, whose soul no gladness warms,
Save Rapture's homage to your conscious charms !
Delighted idols of a gaudy train,
Ill can your blunter feelings guess the pain,
When the fond, faithful heart, inspired to prove
Friendship refined, the calm delight of Love,
Feels all its tender strings with anguish torn,
And bleeds at perjured Pride's inhuman scorn.
Say, then, did pitying Heaven condemn the deed,
When Vengeance bade thee, faithless lover! bleed ?
Long had I watched thy dark foreboding brow,
What time thy bosom scorned its dearest vow !
Sad, though I wept the friend, the lover changed,
Still thy cold look was scornful and estranged,
Till from thy pity, love, and shelter thrown,
I wandered hopeless, friendless, and alone !
Oh ! righteous Heaven ! 't was then my tortured soul
First gave to wrath unlimited control !
Adieu the silent look ! the streaming eye !
The murmured plaint ! the deep heart-heaving sigh !
Long-slumbering Vengeance wakes to better deeds ;
He shrieks, he falls, the perjured lover bleeds !
Now the last laugh of agony is o'er,
And pale in blood he sleeps, to wake no more !
'T is done ! the flame of hate no longer burns :
Nature relents, but, ah! too late returns!
Why does my soul this gush of fondness feel ?
Trembling and faint, I drop the guilty steel !
Cold on my heart the hand of terror lies,
And shades of horror close my languid eyes !
Oh ! 't was a deed of Murder's deepest grain !
Could Broderick's soul so true to wrath remain ?
A friend long true, a once fond lover fell ?
Where Love was fostered could not Pity dwell ?
Unhappy youth ! while you pale cresscent glows
To watch on silent Nature's deep repose,
Thy sleepless spirit, breathing from the tomb ,
Foretells my fate, and summons me to come !
Once more I see thy sheeted spectre stand ,
Roll the dim eye, and wave the paly hand !
Soon may this fluttering spark of vital flame
Forsake its languid melancholy frame !
Soon may these eyes their trembling lustre close,
Welcome the dreamless night of long repose !
Soon may this woe-worn spirit seek the bourne
Where, lulled to slumber, Grief forgets to mourn !"
Thomas Campbell |
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life's succeeding stages;
A day to childhood seems a year,
And years like passing ages.
The gladsome current of our youth,
Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders.
But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
And sorrow's shafts fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
Why seem your courses quicker?
When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange—yet who would change
Time's course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone,
And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength
And those of youth, a seeming length,
Proportion'd to their sweetness.
Thomas Campbell |
Soul of the Poet ! wheresoe'er,
Reclaimed from earth, thy genius plume
Her wings of immortality ;
Suspend thy harp in happier sphere,
And with thine influence illume
The gladness of our jubilee.
And fly like fiends from secret spell,
Discord and Strife, at Burn's name,
Exorcised by his memory ;
For he was chief of bards that swell
The heart with songs of social flame,
And high delicious revelry.
And Love's own strain to him was given,
To warble all its ecstacies
With Pythian words unsought, unwilled,—
Love, the surviving gift of Heaven
The choicest sweet of Paradise,
In life's else bitter cup distilled.
Who that has melted o'er his lay
To Mary's soul, in Heaven above ,
But pictured sees, in fancy strong,
The landscape and the livelong day
That smiled upon their mutual love ?
Who that has felt forgets the song ?
Nor skilled one flame alone to fan:
His country's high-souled peasantry
What patriot-pride he taught !—how much
To weigh the inborn worth of man !
And rustic life and poverty
Grow beautiful beneath his touch.
Him, in his clay-built cot, the Muse
Entranced, and showed him all the forms,
Of fairy-light and wizard gloom,
(That only gifted Poet views,)
The Genii of the floods and storms,
And martial shades from Glory's tomb.
On Bannock-field what thoughts arouse
The swain whom Burns's song inspires !
Beat not his Caledonian veins,
As o'er the heroic turf he ploughs,
With all the spirit of his sires,
And all their scorn of death and chains ?
And see the Scottish exile, tanned
By many a far and foreign clime,
Bend o'er his home-born verse, and weep
In memory of his native land,
With love that scorns the lapse of time,
And ties that stretch beyond the deep.
Encamped by Indian rivers wild,
The soldier resting on his arms,
In Burns's carol sweet recalls
The scenes that blessed him when a child,
And glows and gladdens at the charms
Of Scotia's woods and waterfalls.
O deem not, 'midst this worldly strife,
An idle art the Poet brings:
Let high Philosophy control,
And sages calm the stream of life,
'T is he refines its fountain-springs,
The nobler passions of the soul.
It is the muse that consecrates
The native banner of the brave,
Unfurling, at the trumpet's breath,
Rose, thistle, harp ; 't is she elates
To sweep the field or ride the wave,
A sunburst in the storm of death.
And thou, young hero , when thy pall
Is crossed with mournful sword and plume,
When public grief begins to fade,
And only tears of kindred fall,
Who but the bard shall dress thy tomb,
And greet with fame thy gallant shade ?
Such was the soldier—Burns, forgive
That sorrows of mine own intrude
In strains to thy great memory due.
In verse like thine, oh ! Could he live,
The friend I mourned—the brave—the good
Edward that died at Waterloo !*
Farewell, high chief of Scottish song !
That couldst alternately impart
Wisdom and rapture in thy page,
And brand each vice with satire strong,
Whose lines are mottoes of the heart?
Whose truths electrify the sage.
Farewell ! and ne'er may Envy dare
To wring one baleful poison drop
From the crushed laurels of thy bust ;
But while the lark sings sweet in air,
Still may the grateful pilgrim stop,
To bless the spot that holds thy dust.
Thomas Campbell |
All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The Sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume
I saw a vision in my sleep
That gave my spirit strength to sweep
Adown the gulf of Time!
I saw the last of human mould,
That shall Creation's death behold,
As Adam saw her prime!
The Sun's eye had a sickly glare,
The Earth with age was wan,
The skeletons of nations were
Around that lonely man!
Some had expired in fight,--the brands
Still rested in their bony hands;
In plague and famine some!
Earth's cities had no sound nor tread;
And ships were drifting with the dead
To shores where all was dumb!
Yet, prophet-like, that lone one stood
With dauntless words and high,
That shook the sere leaves from the wood
As if a storm passed by,
Saying, "We are twins in death, proud Sun,
Thy face is cold, thy race is run,
'Tis Mercy bids thee go.
For thou ten thousand thousand years
Hast seen the tide of human tears,
That shall no longer flow.
"What though beneath thee man put forth
His pomp, his pride, his skill;
And arts that made fire, floods, and earth,
The vassals of his will;--
Yet mourn not I thy parted sway,
Thou dim discrowned king of day:
For all those trophied arts
And triumphs that beneath thee sprang,
Healed not a passion or a pang
Entailed on human hearts.
"Go, let oblivion's curtain fall
Upon the stage of men,
Nor with thy rising beams recall
Life's tragedy again.
Its piteous pageants bring not back,
Nor waken flesh, upon the rack
Of pain anew to writhe;
Stretched in disease's shapes abhorred,
Or mown in battle by the sword,
Like grass beneath the scythe.
"Ee'n I am weary in yon skies
To watch thy fading fire;
Test of all sumless agonies
Behold not me expire.
My lips that speak thy dirge of death--
Their rounded gasp and gurgling breath
To see thou shalt not boast.
The eclipse of Nature spreads my pall,--
The majesty of Darkness shall
Receive my parting ghost!
"This spirit shall return to Him
That gave its heavenly spark;
Yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim
When thou thyself art dark!
No! it shall live again, and shine
In bliss unknown to beams of thine,
By Him recalled to breath,
Who captive led captivity.
Who robbed the grave of Victory,--
And took the sting from Death!
"Go, Sun, while Mercy holds me up
On Nature's awful waste
To drink this last and bitter cup
Of grief that man shall taste--
Go, tell the night that hides thy face,
Thou saw'st the last of Adam's race,
On Earth's sepulchral clod,
The darkening universe defy
To quench his Immortality,
Or shake his trust in God!"
Thomas Campbell |
How delicious is the winning
Of a kiss at love's beginning,
When two mutual hearts are sighing
For the knot there's no untying!
Yet remember, 'Midst our wooing,
Love has bliss, but Love has ruing;
Other smiles may make you fickle,
Tears for other charms may trickle.
Love he comes, and Love he tarries,
Just as fate or fancy carries;
Longest stays, when sorest chidden;
Laughs and flies, when press'd and bidden.
Bind the sea to slumber stilly,
Bind its odour to the lily,
Bind the aspen ne'er to quiver,
Then bind Love to last for ever.
Love's a fire that needs renewal
Of fresh beauty for its fuel:
Love's wing moults when caged and captured,
Only free, he soars enraptured.
Can you keep the bee from ranging
Or the ringdove's neck from changing?
No! nor fetter'd Love from dying
In the knot there's no untying.
Thomas Campbell |
1 Star that bringest home the bee,
2 And sett'st the weary labourer free!
3 If any star shed peace, 'tis thou,
4 That send'st it from above,
5 Appearing when Heaven's breath and brow
6 Are sweet as hers we love.
7 Come to the luxuriant skies
8 Whilst the landscape's odours rise,
9 Whilst far-off lowing herds are heard,
10 And songs, when toil is done,
11 From cottages whose smoke unstirred
12 Curls yellow in the sun.
13 Star of lover's soft interviews,
14 Parted lovers on thee muse;
15 Their remembrancer in heaven
16 Of thrilling vows thou art,
17 Too delicious to be riven
18 By absence from the heart.
Thomas Campbell |
Hadst thou a genius on thy peak,
What tales, white-headed Ben,
Could'st thou of ancient ages speak,
That mock th' historian's pen!
Thy long duration makes our livea
Seem but so many hours;
And likens, to the bees' frail hives,
Our most stupendous towers.
Temples and towers thou seest begun,
New creeds, new conquerers sway;
And, like their shadows in the sun,
Hast seen them swept away.
Thy steadfast summit, heaven-allied
(Unlike life's little span),
Looks down a mentor on the pride
Of perishable man.
Thomas Campbell |
1 On Linden, when the sun was low,
2 All bloodless lay the untrodden snow,
3 And dark as winter was the flow
4 Of Iser, rolling rapidly.
5 But Linden saw another sight
6 When the drum beat at dead of night,
7 Commanding fires of death to light
8 The darkness of her scenery.
9 By torch and trumpet fast arrayed,
10 Each horseman drew his battle blade,
11 And furious every charger neighed
12 To join the dreadful revelry.
13 Then shook the hills with thunder riven,
14 Then rushed the steed to battle driven,
15 And louder than the bolts of heaven
16 Far flashed the red artillery.
17 But redder yet that light shall glow
18 On Linden's hills of stainèd snow,
19 And bloodier yet the torrent flow
20 Of Iser, rolling rapidly.
21 'Tis morn, but scarce yon level sun
22 Can pierce the war clouds, rolling dun,
23 Where furious Frank and fiery Hun
24 Shout in their sulphurous canopy.
25 The combat deepens.
On, ye brave,
26 Who rush to glory, or the grave!
27 Wave, Munich! all thy banners wave,
28 And charge with all thy chivalry!
29 Few, few shall part where many meet!
30 The snow shall be their winding-sheet,
31 And every turf beneath their feet
32 Shall be a soldier's sepulchre.
Thomas Campbell |
When Scotland's great Regent, our warrior most dear,
The debt of his nature did pay,
T' was Edward, the cruel, had reason to fear,
And cause to be struck with dismay.
At the window of Edward the raven did croak,
Though Scotland a widow became;
Each tie of true honor to Wallace he broke-
The raven croaked "Sorrow and shame!"
At Eldersie Castle no raven was heard,
But soothings of honor and truth;
His spirit inspired the soul of the bard
To comfort the Love of his youth!
They lighted the tapers at dead of night,
And chanted their holiest hymn;
But her brow and her bosom were all damp with affright,
Her eye was all sleepless and dim!
And the lady of Eldersie wept for her lord,
With a death-watch beat in her lonely room,
When her curtain shook of its own accord,
And the raven flapped at her window board
To tell of her warrior's doom.
Now sing ye the death-song, and loudly pray
For the soul of my knight so dear!
And call me a widow, this wretched day,
Since the warning of God is here.
For a nightmare rests on my strangled sleep;
The lord of my bosom is doomed to die!
His valorous heart they have wounded deep,
And the blood-red tears his country shall weep
For Wallace of Elderslie.
Yet knew not his country, that ominous hour,
Ere the loud matin-bell was rung,
That the trumpet of death on an English tower,
The dirge of her champion sung.
When his dungeon light looked dim and red
On the high-born blood of a martyr slain,
No anthem was sung at his lowly death-bed,-
No weeping was there when his bosom bled,
And his heart was rent in twain.
When he strode o'er the wreck of each well-fought field,
With the yellow-haired chiefs of his native land;
For his lace was not shivered on helmet or shield,
And the sword that was fit for archangel to wield
Was light in his terrible hand.
Yet, bleeding and bound, though the "Wallacewight"
For his long-loved country die,,
The bugle ne'er sung to a braver night
Than William of Elderslie.
But the day of his triumphs shall never depart;
His head, unemtombed, shall with glory be palmed:
From its blood streaming altar his spirit shall start;
Though the raven has fed on his mouldering heart,
A nobler was never embalmed!