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A WAR ECLOGUE,
From our own folly and rank wickedness,
And grateful, that by Nature's quietness
Love, and the thoughts that yearn for human kind.
FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER. Such have I been deem'd But, О dear Britain! O my Mother Isle! Needs must thou prove a name most dear and holy The Scene, a desolated Tract in La Vendee. FAXINE To me, a son, a brother, and a friend,
is discovered lying on the ground; to her enter A husband, and a father! who revere
FIRE and SLAUGHTER.
Sisters! sisters! who sent you here?
SLAUGHTER (to Fire.)
I will whisper it in her ear.
No! no! no!
Spirits hear what spirits tell: Whatever makes this mortal spirit feel
"Twill make an holiday in Hell.
No! no! no!
Myself, I nam'd him once below,
And all the souls, that damned be,
They no longer beeded me;
But laugh'd to hear Hell's burning rafters
Unwillingly re-echo laughters!
No! no! no!
Spirits hear what spirits tell: And menace of the vengeful enemy
'Twill make an holiday in Hell ! Pass like the gust, that roar'd and died away In the distant tree: which heard, and only heard
FAMINE. In this low dell, bow'd not the delicate grass.
Whisper it, sister! so and so!
In a dark hint, soft and slow.
Letters four do form his name-
And who sent you?
The same! the same!
He came by stealth, and unlock'd my den, In such a quiet and surrounded nook,
And I have drunk the blood since then
Of thrice three hundred thousand men.
Who bade you do't?
The same! the same!
He let me loose, and cried, Halloo!
Thanks, sister, thanks! the men have bled, Remembering thee, O green and silent dell!
Their wives and their children faint for bread.
I stood in a swampy field of battle;
SLAUGHTER. With bones and skulls I made a rattle,
They shall tear him limb from limb! To frighten the wolf and carrion-crow And the homeless dog, but they would not go.
FIRE. So off I flew: for how could I bear
O thankless beldames and untrue! To see them gorge their dainty fare?
And is this all that you can do I heard a groan and a peevish squall,
For him, who did so much for you? And through the chink of a cottage-wall
Ninety months he, by my troth!
Hath richly cater'd for you both;
And in an hour would you repay
An eight years' work ?-Away! away! Whisper it, sister! in our ear.
I alone am faithful! I
Cling to him everlastingly.
All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Who bade you do't?
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
Are all but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour, He let me loose, and cried, Halloo !
When midway on the mount I lay, To him alone the praise is due.
Beside the ruin's tower.
The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene, Sisters! I from Ireland came !
Had blended with the lights of eve; Hedge and corn-fields all on flame,
And she was there, my hope, my joy, I triumph'd o'er the setting Sun!
My own dear Genevieve!
She leant against the armed man,
The statue of the armed knight; It was so rare a piece of fun
She stood and listen'd to my lay, To see the swelter'd cattle run
Amid the lingering light. With uncouth gallop through the night,
Few sorrows hath she of her own, Scared by the red and noisy light!
My hope! my joy! my Genevieve! By the light of his own blazing cot
She loves me best, whene'er I sing Was many a naked rebel shot:
that make her grieve. The house-stream met the flame and hiss'd, While crash! fell in the roof, I wist,
I play'd a soft and doleful air, On some of those old bed-rid nurses,
I sang an old and moving storyThat deal in discontent and curses.
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.
She listen’d with a fitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace,
For well she knew, I could not chuse
But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand; To him alone the praise is due.
And that for ten long years he woo'd
The Lady of the Land.
I told her how he pin'd; and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone How shall we yield him honour due ?
With which I sang another's love,
Interpreted my own.
She listen'd with a flitting blush, I'll gnaw, I'll gnaw the multitude,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace; Till the cup of rage o'erbrim:
And she forgave me, that I gazed They shall seize him and his brood
Too fondly on her face!
But when I told the cruel scorn
All impulses of soul and sense That craz'd that bold and lovely Knight,
Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve; And that he cross’d the mountain-woods,
The music, and the doleful tale, Nor rested day nor night;
The rich and balmy eve; That sometimes from the savage den,
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope, And sometimes from the darksome shade,
An undistinguishable throng, And sometimes starting up at once
And gentle wishes long subdued, In green and sunny glade,
Subdued and cherish'd long ! There came and look'd him in the face
She wept with pity and delight, An angel beautiful and bright;
She blush'd with love, and virgin-shame; And that he knew it was a fiend,
And like the murmur of a dream, This miserable Knight!
I heard her breathe my name. And that unknowing what he did,
Her bosom heav'd-she stept aside, He leap'd amid a murderous band,
As conscious of my look she steptAnd sav'd from outrage worse than death
Then suddenly, with tímorous eye The Lady of the Land!
She fled to me and wept. And how she wept, and claspt his knees;
She half enclosed me with her arms, And how she tended him in vain
She press'd me with a meek embrace; And ever strove to expiate
And bending back her head, look'd up, The scorn that crazed his brain.
And gazed upon my face. And that she nursed him in a cave;
'Twas partly Love, and partly Fear, And how his madness went away,
And partly 'twas a bashful art, When on the yellow forest-leaves
That I might rather feel, than see, A dying man he lay.
The swelling of her heart. His dying words—but when I reach'd
I calm’d her fears, and she was calm, That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
And told her love with virgin-pride. My faultering voice and pausing harp
And so I won my Genevieve, Disturb'd her soul with pity!
My bright and beauteous bride.
The first that died was little Jane;
WE ARE SEVEN.
A simple child That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb, What should it know of death? I met a little cottage girl: She was eight years old, she said; Her hair was thick with many a curl That clustered round her head.
So in the church-yard she was laid; And all the summer dry, Together round her grave we played, My brother John and I. And when the ground was white with snow, And I could run and slide, My brother John was forced to go, And he lies by her side.” “ How many are you then,” said I, “ If they two are in Heaven!” The little maiden did reply, “ O master! we are seven." “ But they are dead; those two are dead! Their spirits are in Heaven!" 'Twas throwing words away: for still The little maid would have her will, And said, “ Nay, we are Seven !"
She had a rustic, woodland air,
The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink; I heard a voice: it said, “ Drink, pretty creature,
drink!" And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied A snow-white mountain lamb, with a maiden at its
No other sheep were near, the lamb was all alone, And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone; With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
(meal. While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening
The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper
took, Seem'd to feast with head and ears; and his tail with pleasure shook.
[a tone “ Drink, pretty creature, drink,” she said in such That I almost received her heart into my own.
'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare !
[pair. I watched them with delight; they were a lovely Now with her empty can the maiden turned away; But, ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she
Towards the lamb she looked; and from that shady “ Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky; place
Night and day thou art safe,ếour cottage is hard by. I, unobserved, could see the workings of her face: Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain? If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers Sleep-and at break of day I will come to thee bring,
(sing. again!" Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might
-As homeward through the lane I went with lazy “ What ails thee, young one? What? Why pull
This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat; [feet, so at thy cord ?
And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line, Is it not well with thee? Well both for bed and
That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; mine. Rest, little young one, rest; what is’t that aileth thee? “ What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting
Again, and once again did I repeat the song; to thy heart
“ Nay,” said I, “ more than half to the dansel must belong,
(such a tone, Thy limbs, are they not strong? And beautiful thou
For she looked with such a look, and she spake with This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have
That I almost received her heart into my own." no peers; And that green corn, all day, is rustling in thy ears! “ If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain,
THE IDLE SHEPHERD BOYS, This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain ; For rain and mountain storms! the like thou need'st not fear[come here
I. The rain and storm are things which scarcely can
The valley rings with mirth and joy; “ Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day
Among the hills the echoes play When
father found thee first in places far away: A never, never ending song, Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned To welcome in the May: by none;
The magpie chatters with delight; And thy mother from thy side forevermore was gone. The mountain raven's youngling brood “ He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee
Have left the mother and the nest; home:
And they go rambling east and west A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou
In search of their own food; A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee
Or through the glittering vapours
In very wantonness of heart. Upon the mountain tops no kinder could have been.
II. “ Thou know'st that twice a-day I have brought
Beneath a rock, upon the grass, thee in this can Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran;
Two boys are sitting in the sun; And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with
It seems they have no work to do
Or that their work is done. dew,
[new. I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is, and
On pipes of sycamore they play
The fragments of a Christmas hymn; “ Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they Or with that plant which in our dale are now,
[plough; We call stag-horn, or fox's tail, Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the Their rusty hats they trim: My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is And thus, as happy as the day, cold
(fold. Those shepherds wear the time away. Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy
III. “ It will not, will not rest!-poor creature, can it be That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in
Along the river's stony marge thee?
The sand-lark chaunts a joyous song; Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear,
The thrush is busy in the wood, And dreams of things which thou canst neither see
And carols loud and strong. nor hear.
A thousand lambs are on the rocks,
All newly born! both earth and sky
They never hear the cry,