« PreviousContinue »
CULLODEN. Why linger on this battle heath,
So sterile, wild, and lonely now? Stranger! it tells a tale of death,
That well befits its barren brow. Nay! rest not on that swelling sod,
But let us hence: It marks a grave! Whose verdure is the price of blood
The heart-stream of the vainly brave.
Long years ago, from o'er the sea,
A banish'd prince, of Stuart's line, Came thither, claiming fealty
And succour in his sire's decline. A triple diadem-a thronem
Ambition's toys—his birthright were : Of valleys, lakes, and mountains lone,
Of all our country, was he heir.
And there we saw the chequer'd plaid
Across his bosom proudly cast, The mountain bonnet on his head,
Its black plumes streaming in the blast : And then we heard the gathering cry
Come blended with the pibroch's strain, And saw the fire-cross flashing by,
Our warriors gathering on the plain.
In sooth it was a stirring sight!
To these old eyes, grown dim with tears, Still, piercing through the after-night,
The past in all its pomp appears: These shelter'd glens and dusky hills,
Yon isles that gem the western wave, Sent forth their strength like mountain rills,
To bleed, to die,-but not to save.
Away we rush'd, for chiefs were there;
And where should we, their clansmen, be But by their side ?—the worst to dare,
Aye changeless in fidelity.
So gaily in our tartans dress’d,
The heather o'er his dancing crest.
Then came the Southron hand to hand,
And wide and wasting was the fray; But Victory smiled on Scotia's brand,
And swept their trembling ranks away. We chased them o'er the border streams :
Then England heard our slogan shout, And saw with dread the boreal gleams
Of Highland claymores flashing out.
The foe wax'd strong: our chieftains frown'd
In council on each other: then We basely left our var tage ground,
And turn'd us home like beaten men. Yet England's blue-eyed yeomen bold,
Though vaunting in their long array, Confess'd it was no play to hold,
Or strike, the mountain deer at bay.
At length Culloden's boding heath,
Despairing, saw our clansmen stand, While, flaming like the sword of death,
Before us gleam'd the Saxon brand. It smote us merciless; it slew
The flower of many a warrior in, Till down yon bank the crimson dew,
To mingle with the hill stream ran.
Our prince was hunted like the deer;
Nor dared a vassal raise the spear. Come, come away! you've now the tale,
That cost our country tears of blood : The Saxon conquer'd, and the Gael
Lies mouldering 'neath the verdant sod.
THE SHIPWRECK OF CAMOENS.
“ On his return from banishment, Camoens was shipwrecked at the mouth of the river Gambia. He saved himself by clinging to a plank, and of all his little property succeeded only in saving his poem of the Luciad, deluged with the waves as he brought it in his hand to shore *."-SISMONDI.
I saw him beat the surges under him,
Clouds gather'd o'er the dark blue sky,
The sun wax'd dim and pale,
To the plaintive voice of wail;
Around the ship's tall mast, While mournfully through the creaking shrouds
Came the sighing of the blast.
• He is described with his sword in his hand upon the authority of his own words:
“ N'huma mao livros, n'outra, ferro et aco,
With pallid cheek the seamen shrank
Before the deepening gloom;
As 'twere a yawning tomb;
With proud and changeless brow:
He turn'd to the gulf below.
And calmly to his arm he bound
His casket and his sword;
The threatening tempest roar’d;
“ For me there yet is hope, The limbs that have spurn’d a tyrant's chain
With the stormy wave may cope.
“ Now let the strife of nature rage,
Proudly. I yet can claim,
My freedom and my fame.”
The sea swept madly on,
And the noble ship was gone.
Then rose one wild, half-stified cry;
The swimmer's bubbling breath
Wrought well the task of death;
The stranger's struggling form And the meteor flash of his sword might seem
Like a beacon 'mid the storm.
THE SHIPWRECK OF CAMOENS.
He buffeted the wave,
He would give life to save.
That e'en in death's dark hour, .
With such resistless power?
No! all earth's gold were dross to him,
Compared with what lay hid,
Beneath that casket's lid;
And many a precious gem
A poet's diadem.
Nobly he struggled till o'erspent,
His nerveless limbs no more
Like barriers to the shore;
He saw the wish'd for land-
Upon the rocky strand.
Where the mighty billows roll,
Bow'd down his haughty soul :
His country's pride and shame;
Was placed his wreath of fame.