« PreviousContinue »
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalmed,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled:—
Thou couldst develop, if that withered tongue
How the world looked when it was fresh and young,
Or was it then so old, that History's pages
Contained no record of its early ages?
Still silent, incommunicative elf?
Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows; But pr'ythee tell us something of thyself,
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house;
Since first thy form was in this box extended,
The Roman empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations,
And countless kings have into dust been humbled,
Whilst not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head
Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
The nature of thy private life unfold:
And tears adown that dusky cheek have rolled!— Have children climbed those knees, and kissed that face What was thy name and station, age and race?
Statue of flesh—immortal of the dead 1
Imperishable type of evanescence I Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecayed within our presence, Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning, When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning.
Why should this worthless tegument endure,
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
In living virtue, that when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,
SONG OF DEATH.
Farewell, thou fair day, thou green earth, and ye skies,
Now gay with the bright setting sun;
Our race of existence is run!
Thou grim king of terrors, thou life's gloomy foe,
Go, frighten the coward and slave;
No terrors hast thou to the brave!
Thou strik'st the dull peasant, he sinks in the dark,
Nor saves e'en the wreck of a name;
He falls in the blaze of his fame!
In the field of proud honour—our swords in our hands,
Our king and our country to save—
O! who would not rest with the brave?
Burns. NAPOLEON'S FAREWELL.
Farewell to the land, where the gloom of my glory
Arose and o'ershadowed the earth with her name— She abandons me now,—but the page of her story,
The brightest or blackest, is filled with my fame. I have warred with a world which vanquished me only
When the meteor of conquest allured me too far; I have coped with the Nations which dread me thus lonely,
The last single captive to millions in war!
Farewell to thee, France !—when thy diadem crowned me
I made thee the gem and the wonder of earth,— But thy weakness decrees I should leave as I found thee,
Decayed in thy glory, and sunk in thy worth. Oh! for the veteran hearts that were wasted
In strife with the storm, when their battles were won; Then the eagle, whose gaze in that moment was blasted,
Had still soared with eyes fixed on victory's sun!
Farewell to thee, France !—but when liberty rallies
The violet still grows in the depth of thy vallies;
Yet, yet, I may baffle the hosts that surround us,
And yet may thy heart leap awake to my voice— There are links which must break in the chain that has bound us, Then turn thee and call on the chief of thy choice!
ON THE DEATH OF
THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
Hark! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds,
Scion of chiefs aad monarchs, where art thou?