« PreviousContinue »
While some on earnest business bent
Their murmuring labors ply
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty;
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Gay Hope is theirs, by Fancy fed,
The sun-shine of the breast;
And lively cheer of vigor born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light, That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Yet see how all around them wait
And black Misfortune's baleful train. Ah, show them where in ambush stand To seize their prey, the murderous band! Ah, tell them, they are men!
These sha.! the fury passions tear,
And Shame that skulks behind;
Or pining Love, shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart, And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair, And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy.
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse, with blood defil'd, And moody Madness laughing wild Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the vale of years beneath
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
To each his sufferings: all are men,
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
And happiness too swiftly flies.
A PINDARIC ODE.
"RUIN seize thee, ruthless king!
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
With haggard eyes the poet stood;
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air,)
Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave,
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:
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,
*The hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail, that sat close to the body, and adapted itself to every motion.
† Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward.
Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore.
§ The shores of Caernarvonshire, opposite to the Isle of Anglesea.
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
Revere his consort's* faith, his father'st fame,
Twin'd with her blushing foe we spread:
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line. Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
"Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom,
"Edward, lo! to sudden fate
(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.)
The shrieks of death, through Berkeley's roofs that The web is wove.
Shrieks of an agonizing king;
She-wolf of France,† with unrelenting fangs,
Amazement in his van, with Flight combin'd; And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
'Mighty Victor, mighty Lord,
Low on his funeral couch he lies!§
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
Is the sable warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
"Fill high the sparkling bowl,
The rich repast prepare:
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.
Heard ye the din of battle bray,¶
Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
Long years of havoc urge their destin'd course, And through the kindred squadrons mow their way. Ye towers of Julius,** London's lasting shame, With many a foul and midnight murther fed,
Edward the Second, cruelly butchered in Berkeley
† Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous queen.
Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.
§ Death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his mistress.
Edward the Black Prince, dead some time before his father.
T Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster. ** Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward the Fifth, Richard Duke of York, &c. believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
"Girt with many a baron bold,
Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old,
In the midst a form divine!
Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line ;
What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
The white and red roses, devices of York and Lancaster.
The silver-boar was the badge of Richard the Third; whence he was usually known in his own time by the name of The Boar.
¶ Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places.
**It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy-land, and should re. turn again to reign over Britain.
Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island; which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor
1 Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen.
THE DESCENT OF ODIN.
[From the same.]
IN BARTHOLINUS, DE CAUSIS CONTEMNENDE MORTIS; HAFNIE, 1689, QUARTO.
Upreis Odinn allda gauir, &c.
UPROSE the King of Men with speed,
(The groaning Earth beneath him shakes,)
Right against the eastern gate,
Slowly breath'd a sullen sound.
Pr. What call unknown, what charms presume, To break the quiet of the tomb? Who thus afflicts my troubled sprite, And drags me from the realms of night? Long on these mouldering bones have beat The winter's snow, the summer's heat, The drenching dews, and driving rain! Let me, let me sleep again. Who is he, with voice unblest, That calls me from the bed of rest?
O. A traveller, to thee unknown,
Is he that calls, a warrior's son.
For whom yon glittering board is spread,
Pr. Mantling in the goblet see
The pure beverage of the bee,
O. Once again my call obey,
Prophetess, arise, and say
* Niflheimr, the Hell of the Gothic nations, consisted
What danger Odin's child await,
Pr. In Hoder's hand the hero's doom: His brother sends him to the tomb.
Now my weary lips I close:
Leave me, leave me, to repose.
O. Prophetess, my spell obey:
O. Yet awhile my call obey,
And snowy veils, that float in air.
Pr. Ha! no traveller art thou,
O. No boding maid of skill divine Art thou, nor prophetess of good; But mother of the giant-brood!
Pr. Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
Till Lokt has burst his ten-fold chain.
THE TRIUMPHS OF OWEN.‡
FROM MR. EVANS'S SPECIMENS OF THE WELSH
OWEN's praise demands my song,
Lok is the evil being, who continues in chains till the twilight of the gods approaches, when he shall break his bonds; the human race, the stars, and Sun, shall disappear; the earth sink in the seas, and fire consume the skies: even Odin himself and his kindred deities shall perish. For a further explanation of this mythology, see Mallet's Introduction to the History of Denmark, 1755, quarto.
Owen succeeded his father Griffin in the principality of nine worlds, to which were devoted all such as died of of North Wales, A. D. 112. This battle was fought near sickness, old age, or by any other means than in battle: forty years afterwards.
over it presided Hela, the goddess of death.
§ North Wales.
He nor heaps his brooded stores,
Nor all profusely pours;
Catch the winds, and join the war;
Dauntless on his native sands
The dragon-sont of Mona stands;
The red dragon is the device of Cadwallader, which
all his descendants bore on their banners,
In glittering arms and glory drest,