Page images

There forms that mortals may not see,

Too glorious for the eye to trace;
And clad in peerless majesty

Move with unutterable grace.

In vain the philosophic eye

May seek to view the fair abode,
Or find it in the curtained sky—

It is the dwelling place of God!



Calm was the eve, and cooling was the gale
That gently fanned Kooma's Bentang free:
Beneath its canopy the aged throng
Sat garrulous, and praised the lightsome days
Of better years; yet praised their lot, that now,
Beneath the boughs which waved above their sires,
They see their children round about them sport
In mirthful rings, or hear the horn that sounds
The herd's approach. Alas! tis not the sound
Of herdsman's horn; it is the trumpet's voice;
Distant as yet, and faint among the hills^

Homeward each warrior hies, and grasps the spear,
And slings the quiver o'er his throbbing heart,
Trembling for those who weeping round him wait,
But bold in conscious courage and his cause:
Yet nought his cause avails: right yields to power.
O'erwhelmed by numbers, fathers, husbands, lie

Dead, bleeding, dying blessed are the dead!

They bear not the oppressor's chain, nor feel

The bolted iron; while from a neighbouring hill

The pale-faced, ruthless author of the war,

Surveys the human harvest reaped and bound!

Fire, sword and rapine, sweep away at once

The cottage with its inmates, and transform

The happy vale into a wilderness;

No human being save the bowed down,

And children that scarce lisp a father's name,

Is left; as when a forest is laid low,

Haply some single and far sundered trees

Are spared, while every lowly shrub and flower,

That sheltered smiled, droops shivering in the breeze.

And now the wretched captives, linked in rows. In sad community of chains, drag on Their iron-cumbered limbs, while oft the scourge Or unclosed wound leaves in the thirsty sand The traces of their miserable way.

At last the fainting victims reach the shove,

Where low they lie, dispersed in mournful bands;

Then are unbound, to bear the butcher-gripe

Of brutal traffickers, or join the dance,

Mockery of mirth! to harmony of whips I

The bargain finished, piteous is the sight;

Most lamentable are the peals of cries,

The groans of parents from their children torn,

Of brother, sister severed; every tie

Of kindred, by one rude revulsion riven.

Some kindred groups remain entire, and feel

The solace of society in woe.

Behold a father driven with his sons,

The mother with her nursling in her arms,

To meet yon ship, now newly hove in sight,

And unsupplied. The trader with his flock

Hastes to the water edge, where waits his boat,

Its human cargo. First the sire is bound,

And thrown beneath a bench; the rest, unbound,

Implicit follow where affection leads:

His darling boy hastes in, and lays him down

A gentle pillow to his father's head,

And with his little hands would dry the tears

That fill the upward-turned, despairing eye.

But who is he that in the dimpling track

Elbows the brine? He is a bov bereft

Of sight, and worthless in the trader's eyes,

The only remnant to a father left

Of all his children; he the best beloved,

Because most helpless, yet no prayer will move

The felon merchant to admit the child

To share the fetters, which his father bind.

And now he gains upon the sounding oars,

That guide his following course; and now the side

Eager he grasps; and though still pushed away,

Still he returns, till frequent on his hands

He feels the bruising blow; then down he sinks,

Nor makes one faint endeavour for his life.

O God! how large a portion of the ills

Of humankind, derives itself from man!



We do not curse thee, Waterloo!
Though freedom's blood thy plain bedew;
There 'twas shed, but is not sunk—
Rising from each gory trunk,
Like the water-spout from ocean,
With a strong and growing motion—

It soars and mingles in the air,

With that of lost Labedoyere—

With that of him whose honoured grave

Contains the ' bravest of the brave.'

A crimson cloud it spreads and glows,

But shall return to whence it rose;

When 'tis full 'twill burst asunder—

Never yet was heard such thunder

As then shall shake the world with wonder—

Never yet was seen such lightning

As o'er heaven shall then be bright'ning!

Like the wormwood star foretold

By the sainted seer of old,

Showering down a fiery flood,

Turning rivers into blood.

The chief has fallen, but not by you,
Vanquishers of Waterloo!
When the soldier citizen
Swayed not o'er his fellow men—
Save in deeds that led them on
Where glory smiled on freedom's son—
Who, of all the despots banded,

With that youthful chief competed?

Who could boast of France defeated, Till lone tyranny commanded?

« PreviousContinue »