Page images

And where this valley winded out, below, The murmuring main was heard, and scarcely

heard, to flow.

A pleasing land of drowsy-head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye ;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer-sky:
There eke the soft delights, that witchingly
Instil a wanton sweetness through the breast,
And the calm pleasures, always hover'd nigh ;

But whate'er smack'd of noyance, or unrest, Was far, far off expell’d from this delicious


The landskip such, inspiring perfect ease,
Where Indolence (for so the wizard hight)
Close-bid his castle mid embowering trees,
That half shut out the beams of Phæbus

And made a kind of checker'd day and night ;
Meanwhile, unceasing at the massy gate,
Beneath a spacious palm, the wicked wight

Was placed ; and to his lute, of cruel fate, And labour harsh, complain'd, lamenting man's


Thither continual pilgrims crowded still,
From all the roads of earth that pass there by:
For, as they chanced to breathe on neighbour-

ing hill,
The freshness of this valley smote their eye,
And drew them ever and anon more nigh ;

Till clustering round the enchanter false they

hung, Ymolten with his syren melody ; While o'er the enfeebling lute his hand he

flung, And to the trembling chords these tempting

verses sung :

“ Behold! ye pilgrims of this earth, behold !
See all but man with unearn'd pleasure gay:
See her bright robes the butterfly unfold,
Broke from her wintery tomb in prime of May !
What youthful bride can equal her array ?
Who can with her for easy pleasure vie ?
From mead to mead with gentle wing to stray,

From flower to flower on balmy gales to fly,
Is all she has to do beneath the radiant sky.

“ Behold the merry minstrels of the morn, The swarming songsters of the careless grove, Ten thousand throats ! that from the flowering

thorn, Hymn their good God, and carol sweet of love, Such grateful kindly raptures them emove : They neither plough, nor sow : ne, fit for flail, E'er to the barn the nodding sheaves they

drove ;

Yet theirs each harvest dancing in the gale, Whatever crowns the hill, or smiles along the



BORN 1716-DIED 1771.


66 Ruin seize thee, ruthless king !
Confusion on thy banners wait,
Though fann’d by conquest's crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears !"
Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance :
To arms ! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiver-

ing lance.

On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes, the poet stood ;
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air),
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.

• Hark, how each giant oak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave,
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe ;
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.

• Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main ;
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed :
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topp'd head.
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale :
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail :
The famish'd eagle screams and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries-
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a griesly band,
I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land :
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.

“Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding-sheet of Edward's race.
Give ample room, and verge enough
The characters of hell to trace.
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright,

The shrieks of death through Berkeley's roofs that

ring ; Shrieks of an agonizing king ! She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs, That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate, From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs The scourge of Heaven. What terrors round him

wait ! Amazement in his van, with Flight combined ; And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.'

“ Girt with many a baron bold, Sublime their starry fronts they rear ; And gorgeous dames and statesmen old, In bearded majesty, appear. In the midst a form divine ! Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line; Her lion-port, her awe commanding face, Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace. What strings symphonious tremble in the air ! What strains of vocal transport round her play! Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear ; They breathe a soul to animate thy clay. Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings, Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-colour'd


66 The verse adorn again
Fierce War, and faithful Love,
And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction drest.
In buskin'd measures move
Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.

« PreviousContinue »