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Lo, steel-clad War his gorgeous standard rears!
The red-cross squadrons madly rage,
And mow thro' infancy and age;
Then kiss the sacred dust and melt in tears.
Veiling from the eye of day,
Penance dreams her life away;
In cloister'd solitude she sits and sighs,
While from each shrine still, small responses rise.
Hear, with what heart-felt beat the midnight bell
Swings its slow summons thro' the hollow pile!
The weak, wan votarist leaves her twilight cell,
To walk, with taper dim, the winding aisle;
With choral chantings vainly to aspire,
Beyond this nether sphere, on rapture's wing of fire.
Lord of each pang the nerves can feel,
Hence! with the rack and reeking wheel
Faith lifts the soul above this little ball!
While gleams of glory open round,
And circling choirs of angels call,
Can'st thou, with all thy terrors crown'd,
Hope to obscure that latent spark,
Destin'd to shine when suns are dark?
Thy triumphs cease! thro' every land,
Hark! Truth proclaims, thy triumphs cease:
Her heavenly form, with glowing hand,
Benignly points to piety and peace.
Flush'd with youth, her looks impart
Each fine feeling as it flows!
Her voice the echo of her heart,
Pure as the mountain-snows:
Celestial transports round her play,
And softly, sweetly die away.
She smiles! and where is now the cloud
That blacken'd o'er thy baleful reign?
Grim darkness furls his leaden shroud,
Shrinking from her glance in vain.
Her touch unlocks the day-spring from above,
And lo! it visits man with beams of light and love.
WRITTEN TO BE SPOKEN BY MRS. SIDDONS.
Yes, 'tis the pulse of life! my fears were vain!
I wake, I breathe, and am myself again.
Still in this nether world; no seraph yet!
Nor walks my spirit, when the sun is set,
With troubled step to haunt the fatal board,
Where I died last-by poison or the sword;
Blanching each honest cheek with deeds of night,
Done here so oft by dim and doubtful light.
-To drop all metaphor, that little bell
Call'd back reality, and broke the spell.
No heroine claims your tears with tragic tone;
A very woman-scarce restrains her own!
Can she, with fiction, charm the cheated mind,
When to be grateful is the part assign'd?
Ah, no! she scorns the trappings of her art,
No theme but truth, no prompter but the heart!
But, Ladies, say, must I alone unmask?
Is here no other actress? let me ask.
Believe me, those, who best the heart dissect,
Know every woman studies stage-effect.
She moulds her manners to the part she fills,
As instinct teaches, or as humour wills;
And, as the grave or gay her talent calls,
Acts in the drama, till the curtain falls.
First, how her little breast with triumph swells,
When the red coral rings its golden bells!
To play in pantomime is then the rage,
Along the carpet's many-colour'd stage;
Or lisp her merry thoughts with loud endeavour,
Now here, now there-in noise and mischief ever!
A School-girl next, she curls her hair in papers,
And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapours;
Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances;
Playful at church, and serious when she dances;
Tramples alike on customs and on toes,
And whispers all she hears to all she knows;
Terror of caps, and wigs, and sober notions!
A romp! that longest of perpetual motions!
-Till tam'd and tortur'd into foreign graces,
She sports her lovely face at public places;
And with blue, laughing eyes, behind her fan,
First acts her part with that great actor, man.
Too soon a Flirt, approach her and she flies!
Frowns when pursued, and, when entreated, sighs!
Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice;
Till fading beauty hints the late advice.
Her prudence dictates what her pride disdain'd,
And now she sues to slaves herself had chain'd!
Then comes that good old character, a Wife,
With all the dear, distracting cares of life;
A thousand cards a day at doors to leave,
And, in return, a thousand cards receive;
Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire,
With nightly blaze set Portland-place on fire;
Snatch half a glimpse at concert, opera, ball,
A meteor, trac'd by none, tho' seen by all;
And, when her shatter'd nerves forbid to roam,
In very spleen-rehearse the girls at home.
Last the grey Dowager, in ancient flounces,
With snuff and spectacles, the age denounces;
Boasts how the sires of this degenerate isle
Knelt for a look, and duell'd for a smile.
The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal;
With modern belles eternal warfare wages,
Like her own birds that clamour from their cages;
And shuffles round to bear her tale to all,
Like some old ruin, " nodding to its fall!"
Thus Woman makes her entrance and her exit;
Not least an actress when she least suspects it.
Yet nature oft peeps out and mars the plot,
Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot;
Full oft, with energy that scorns controul,
At once lights up the features of the soul;
Unlocks each thought chain'd down by coward art,
And to full day the latent passions start!
-And she, whose first, best wish is your applause,
Herself exemplifies the truth she draws.
OPENING OF THE SUBJECT.
At summer eve,
when Heav'n's aërial bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sun-bright summit mingles with the sky?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?—
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey
The promis'd joys of life's unmeasur'd way;
Thus, from afar, each dim-discover'd scene
More pleasing seems than all the past hath been;
And every form, that fancy can repair
From dark oblivion, glows divinely there.
What potent spirit guides the raptur'd eye
To pierce the shades of dim futurity?
Can Wisdom lend, with all her heav'nly pow'r,
The pledge of Joy's anticipated hour?
Ah, no! she darkly sees the fate of man-
Her dim horizon bounded to a span;
Or, if she hold an image to the view,
'Tis nature pictur'd too severely true.
With thee,sweet Hope! resides the heav'nly light,
That pours remotest rapture on the sight:
Thine is the charm of life's bewilder'd way,
That calls each slumb'ring passion into play.
Wak'd by thy touch, I see the sister band,
On tiptoe watching, start at thy command,
And fly where'er thy mandate bids them steer,
To pleasure's path, or glory's bright career.
Primeval Hope, th' Aonian Muses say, When man and nature mourn'd their first decay; When every form of death, and every woe, Shot from malignant stars to earth below; When murder bared her arm, and rampant war Yok'd the red dragons of his iron car; When peace and mercy, banish'd from the plain, Sprung on the viewless winds to Heav'n again; All, all forsook the friendless guilty mind, But Hope, the charmer, linger'd still behind.
Thus, while Elijah's burning wheels prepare, From Carmel's height, to sweep the fields of air, The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began, Dropt on the world-a sacred gift to man.
Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden grow Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe: Won by their sweets, in nature's languid hour, The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower;
There, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring!
What viewless forms th' Æolian organ play,
And sweep the furrow'd lines of anxious thought
Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore
Earth's loneliest bounds, and Ocean's wildest shore.
Lo! to the wintry winds the pilot yields
His bark careering o'er unfathom'd fields;
Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,
Where Andes, giant of the western star,
With meteor-standard to the winds unfurl'd,
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
Now far he sweeps, where scarce a summer smiles, On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles; Cold on his midnight watch the breezes blow, From wastes that slumber in eternal snow, And waft, across the wave's tumultuous roar, The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore.
Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm, Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form! Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd bark delay ; Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep, And sing to charm the spirit of the deep: Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole, Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul. His native hills that rise in happier climes, The grot that heard his song of other times, His cottage home, his bark of slender sail, His glassy lake, and broomwood-blossom'd vale, Rush on his thought: he sweeps before the wind, Treads the lov'd shore he sigh'd to leave behind; Meets at each step a friend's familiar face, And flies at last to Helen's long embrace; Wipes from her cheek the rapture-speaking tear, And clasps, with many a sigh, his children dear! While, long neglected, but at length caress'd, His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest, Points to the master's eyes (where'er they roam) His wistful face, and whines a welcome home.
Hope! when I mourn, with sympathizing mind, The wrongs of fate, the woes of human kind, Thy blissful omens bid my spirit see The boundless fields of rapture yet to be; I watch the wheels of nature's mazy plan, And learn the future by the past of man.
Come, bright improvement! on the car of time, And rule the spacious world from clime to clime; ST
Thy handmaid arts shall every wild explore,
Trace every wave, and culture every shore.
On Erie's banks, where tigers steal along,
And the dread Indian chants a dismal song,
Where human fiends on midnight errands walk,
And bathe in brains the murd'rous tomahawk;
There shall the flocks on thymy pasture stray,
And shepherds dance at summer's op'ning day;
Each wand'ring genius of the lonely glen
Shall start to view the glittering haunts of men,
And silence watch, on woodland heights around,
The village curfew as it tolls profound.
In Lybian groves, where damned rites are done, That bathe the rocks in blood, and veil the sun, Truth shall arrest the murd'rous arm profane, Wild Obi flies-the veil is rent in twain.
Where barb'rous hordes on Scythian mountains
Truth, mercy, freedom, yet shall find a home;
Where'er degraded nature bleeds and pines,
From Guinea's coast to Sibir's dreary mines,
Truth shall pervade th' unfathom'd darkness there,
And light the dreadful features of despair.-
Hark! the stern captive spurns his heavy load,
And asks the image back that heaven bestowed!
Fierce in his eye the fire of valour burns,
And, as the slave departs, the man returns.
Oh! sacred Truth! thy triumph ceas'd a while,
And Hope, thy sister, ceas'd with thee to smile,
When leagu'd oppression pour'd to northern wars
Her whisker'd Pandoors and her fierce Hussars,
Wav'd her dread standard to the breeze of morn,
Peal'd her loud drum, and twang'd her trumpet horn;
Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van,
Presaging wrath to Poland-and to man!
Warsaw's last champion from her height survey'd,
Wide o'er the fields, a waste of ruin laid,-
Oh! Heav'n! he cried, my bleeding country save!—
Is there no hand on high to shield the brave?
Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains,
Rise, fellow men! our country yet remains!
By that dread name, we wave the sword on high!
And swear for her to live!-with her to die!
He said, and on the rampart-heights array'd
His trusty warriors, few, but undismay'd;
Firm-pac'd and slow, a horrid front they form,
Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm;
Low, murm'ring sounds along their banners fly;
Revenge, or death, the watchword and reply;
Then peal'd the notes, omnipotent to charm,
And the loud tocsin toll'd their last alarm!
In vain, alas! in vain, ye gallant few! From rank to rank your volley'd thunder flew :Oh! bloodiest picture in the book of time, Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime; Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe, Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe! Dropp'd from her nerveless grasp the shatter'd spear,
Clos'd her bright eye, and curb'd her high career;-
Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell,
And Freedom shriek'd-as KOSCIUSKO fell!
The sun went down, nor ceas'd the carnage there,
Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air—
On Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow,
His blood-dy'd waters murm'ring far below;
The storm prevails, the rampart yields a way,
Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay!
Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall,
A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call!
Earth shook-red meteors flash'd along the sky,
And conscious Nature shudder'd at the cry!
Oh! righteous Heaven! ere Freedom found a grave, Why slept the sword, omnipotent to save? Where was thine arm, O Vengeance! where thy rod, That smote the foes of Zion and of God; That crush'd proud Ammon, when his iron car Was yok'd in wrath, and thunder'd from afar? Where was the storm that slumber'd till the host Of blood-stain'd Pharaoh left their trembling coast; Then bade the deep in wild commotion flow, And heav'd an ocean on their march below?
Departed spirits of the mighty dead!
Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled!
Friends of the world! restore your swords to man,
Fight in his sacred cause, and lead the van!
Yet for Sarmatia's tears of blood atone,
And make her arm puissant as your own!
Oh! once again to freedom's cause return
The patriot Tell-the Bruce of Bannockburn!
Yes! thy proud lords, unpitied land, shall see
That man hath yet a soul, and dares be free!
A little while, along thy saddening plains,
The starless night of desolation reigns;
Truth shall restore the light by nature giv'n,
And, like Prometheus, bring the fire of Heav'n!
Prone to the dust oppression shall be hurl'd,-
Her name, her nature, wither'd from the world!
Ye that the rising morn invidious mark,
And hate the light-because your deeds are dark;
Ye that expanding truth invidious view,
And think, or wish, the song of Hope untrue;
Perhaps your little hands presume to span
The march of genius, and the pow'rs of man;
Perhaps ye watch, at pride's unhallow'd shrine,
Her victims, newly slain, and thus divine:—
"Here shall thy triumph, Genius, cease, and here
Truth, Science, Virtue, close your short career."
Tyrants! in vain ye trace the wizard ring;
In vain ye limit mind's unwearied spring:
What! can ye lull the winged winds asleep,
Arrest the rolling world, or chain the deep?
No:-the wild wave contemns your scepter'd
It roll'd not back when Canute gave command!
Man! can thy doom no brighter soul allow? Still must thou live a blot on nature's brow?
Shall war's polluted banner ne'er be furl'd?
Shall crimes and tyrants cease but with the world?
What! are thy triumphs, sacred Truth, belied?
Why then hath Plato liv'd-or Sydney died?—
Ye fond adorers of departed fame,
Who warm at Scipio's worth, or Tully's name!
Ye that, in fancied vision, can admire
The sword of Brutus, and the Theban lyre!
Wrapt in historic ardour, who adore
Each classic haunt, and well-remember'd shore,
Where Valour tuned, amid her chosen throng,
The Thracian trumpet and the Spartan song ;
Or, wand'ring thence, behold the later charms
Of England's glory, and Helvetia's arms!
See Roman fire in Hampden's bosom swell,
And fate and freedom in the shaft of Tell!
Say, ye fond zealots to the worth of yore,
Hath valour left the world-to live no more?
No more shall Brutus bid a tyrant die,
And steruly smile with vengeance in his eye?
Hampden no more, when suffering freedom calls,
Encounter fate, and triumph as he falls?
Nor Tell disclose, through peril and alarm,
The might that slumbers in a peasant's arm?
Yes! in that generous cause, for ever strong,
The patriot's virtue, and the poet's song,
Still, as the tide of ages rolls away,
Shall charm the world, unconscious of decay!
On Susquehana's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall,
And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore,
Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore!
Delightful Wyoming! beneath thy skies,
The happy shepherd swains had nought to do,
But feed their flocks on green declivities,
Or skim perchance thy lake with light canoe,
From morn, till evening's sweeter pastime grew,
With timbrel, when beneath the forests brown,
Thy lovely maidens would the dance renew;
And aye those sunny mountains half-way down
Would echo flagelet from some romantic town.
Then, where of Indian hills the daylight takes His leave, how might you the flamingo see Disporting like a meteor on the lakes
And playful squirrel on his nut-grown tree:
And ev'ry sound of life was full of glee,
From merry mock-bird's song, or hum of men;
While heark'ning, fearing nought their revelry,
The wild deer arch'd his neck from glades, and then
Unhunted, sought his woods and wilderness again.
And scarce had Wyoming of war or crime
Heard, but in transatlantic story rung,
For here the exile met from ev'ry clime,
And spoke in friendship ev'ry distant tongue:
Men from the blood of warring Europe sprung,
Were but divided by the running brook;
And happy where no Rhenish trumpet sung,
On plains no sieging mine's volcano shook,
The blue-ey'd German chang'd his sword to pru-
Nor far some Andalusian saraband
Would sound to many a native roundelay-
But who is he that yet a dearer land
Remembers, over hills and far away?
Green Albyn! what though he no more survey
Thy ships at anchor on the quiet shore,
Thy pellochs rolling from the mountain bay,
Thy lone sepulchral cairn upon the moor,
And distant isles that hear the loud Corbrechtan roar!
Alas! poor Caledonia's mountaineer,
That want's stern edict e'er, and feudal grief,
Had forc'd him from a home he lov'd so dear!
Yet found he here a home, and glad relief,
And plied the beverage from his own fair sheaf,
That fir'd his Highland blood with mickle glee:
And England sent her men, , of men the chief,
Who taught those sires of empire yet to be,
To plant the tree of life,-to plant fair Freedom's
Here was not mingled in the city's pomp
Of life's extremes the grandeur and the gloom;
Judgment awoke not here her dismal tromp,
Nor seal'd in blood a fellow creature's doom,
Nor mourn'd the captive in a living tomb.
One venerable man, belov'd of all,
Suffic'd where innocence was yet in bloom,
To sway the strife, that seldom might befall;
And Albert was their judge in patriarchal hall.
How rev'rend was the look, serenely ag'd,
He bore, this gentle Pennsylvanian sire,
Where all but kindly fervors were assuag'd,
Undimm'd by weakness' shade, or turbid ire:
And though amidst the calm of thought entire,
Some high and haughty features might betray
A soul impetuous once, 'twas earthly fire
That fled composure's intellectual ray,
As Etna's fires grow dim before the rising day.