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Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro, And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress, And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness; And there were sudden partings, such as press The life from out young hearts, and checking sighs Which ne'er might be repeated :—who could guess If ever morn should meet those mutual eye9, Since upon night so sweet such awful mom could rise?
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star:
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips,—" The foe! They come!
And wild and high the Camerons' gathering rose!
The war-note of Locbiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes:—
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill! But, with the breath which fills
Their mountain pipe, so fills the mountaineers With the fierce native daring which instils The stirring memory of a thousand years; And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears!
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves, Dewy with nature's tear drops, as they pass, Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves, Over the unreturning brave,—Alas '. Ere evening to be trodden like the grass, Which now beneath them, but above shall grow In its next verdure, when this fiery mass Of living valour, rolling on the foe And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.
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 I The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent The earth is covered thick with other day, Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent, Rider and horse,—friend, foe—in one red burial blent!
THE WAR POEM.
Hark, how the church-bell's thundering harmony
Stuns the glad ear! Tidings of joy are come,
Good tidings of great joy.—Two gallant ships
Met on the element;—they met—they fought
A desperate fight.—Good tidings of great joy!
The English guns ploughed up the hostile deck;
Old England triumphed.—Yet another day
Of glory for the rumour of the waves
For those who fell.—'Twas in their country's cause
They have their passing paragraphs of praise
And are forgotten.
There was one who died
In that day's glory; whose obscurer name
No proud historian's page will chronicle.
Peace to his honest soul I—I read his name,
'Twas in the list of slaughter,—and blessed God
The sound was not familiar to my ear.
But it was told me after, that this man
Was one, whom lawful violence had forced
From his own home—and wife—and little ones,
Who by his labour lived; that he was one
Whose uncoirupted heart could keenly feel
A husband's love,—a father's consciousness.—
That from the wages of his toil had fed
The distant dear ones,—and would talk of them
At midnight—when he trod the silent deck
With him he valued,—O God I and of the hour
When they should meet again,.—till his full heart,
His manly heart, at last would overflow
E'en like a child's with very tenderness.—
Peace to his honest spirit! Suddenly
It came; and merciful the ball of death
That it came suddenly, and shattered him,
And left no moment's agonizing thought
On those he loved so welL
He ocean deep
Now lies at rest.—Be thou her comforter
Who art the widow's friend! Man does not know
What a cold faintness made her blood run back
When first she heard the tidings of the fight.
Man does not know, or knowing, will not heed,
With what an agony of tenderness
She gazed upon her children, and beheld
His image—who was gone.—O God I be thou
Her comforter,—who art the widow's friend.
SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY IN
Shall Britain, where the soul of freedom reigns,
Forge chains for others she herself disdains?
Forbid it heaven! O let the nations know
The liberty she lows, she will bestow;
Not to herself the glorious gift confined,
She spreads the blessing wide as humankind;
And scorning narrow views of time and place,
Bids all be free in earth's extended space.
What page of human annals can record
A deed so bright as human rights restored?
O may that God-like deed, that shining page,
Redeem our fame, and consecrate our age!
And let this glory mark our favoured shore
To curb false freedom, and the true restore!
And Thou, great source of nature and of grace,
Who, of one blood didst form the human race,
Look down in mercy in the chosen time,
With equal eyes on Afric's suffering clime!
Disperse her shades of intellectual night,
Repeat thy high belwet,' Let there be light!'