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The master saw the madness rise ;
His glowing cheeks, his ardent eyes ;
And, while he heav'n and earth defied
Chang'd his hand and check'd his pride.
He chose a mournful muse,
Soft pity to infuse :
He sung Darius, great and good,
By too severe a fate,
Fall'n ! fallin ! fall'n I fall’n !
Fall'n from his high estate,
And weltering in his blood !
Deserted at his utmost need
By those his former bounty fed,
On the bare earth exposed he lies,
With not a friend to close his eyes !
With downcast look the joyless victor sat,
Revolving, in his alter'd soul,
The various turns of fate below;
And, now and then, a sigh he stole,
And tears began to flow!
The mighty master smil'd, to see
That love was in the next degree;
'Twas but a kindred sound to move ;
For pity melts the mind to love.
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble ;
Honour but an empty bubble ;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying,
If the world be worth thy winning,
Think, oh, think it worth enjoying !
The many rend the skies with loud applause : So love was crown'd; but music won the cause.
Now, strike the golden lyre again!
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain !
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him, like a rattling peal of thunder!
Hark! hark! the horrid sound
Has rais'd up his head,
As awak'd from the dead; And amaz'd he stares around.
Revenge! revenge! Timotheus cries
See the furies arise !
See the snakes that they rear,
How they hiss in their hair,
And the sparkles that flash from their eyes!
Behold a ghastly band,
Each a torch in his hand ! These are Grecian ghosts, at in battle were slain,
And, unburied, remain
Inglorious on the plain!
Give the vengeance due
To the valiant crew!
Behold! how they toss their torches on high,
How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glitt'ring temples of their hostile gods ! The princes applaud with a furious joy ; And the king seiz'd a flambeau, with zeal to destroy;
Thais led the way,
To light him to his prey;
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy!
Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage-or kindle soft desire.
At last, divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame.
The sweet enthusiast from her sacred store,
Enlarg’d the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds, With nature's mother wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown:
He rais'd a mortal to the skies ;
She drew an angel down!
XVI.-EXTRACTS FROM GRAY'S BARD.
“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 even 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 Gloucester stood aghast in speechless trance:
Toarms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quivering lance.
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With baggard 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-
“Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm'd my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries !
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,
And weave with bloody hand 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 Berkley's roof that ring;
Shrieks' of an agonizing king !
Mighty victor, mighty lord,
Low on his funeral couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye afford
A tear to grace
Is the sable warrior fled ?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
The swarm that in thy noontide beam were born ?
Gone to salute the rising morn.
Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While, proudly riding o'er the azure realm,
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes ;
Youth on the prow, and pleasure at the helm ;
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey1 In allusion to the murder of Edward II. 2 Death of Edward III. 8 In allusion to the auspicious commencement of Richard II.'s reign.
“ Fond impious man I think’st thou yon sanguine cloud, Raised by thy breath, has quench'd the orb of day? To
morrow he repairs the golden flood,
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
Enough for me: with joy I see
The different doom our fates assign,
Be thine Despair, and sceptred Care;
To triumph and to die are mine."
He spoke; and, headlong from the mountain's height,
Deep in the roaring tide he plunged to endless night.
XVII.-ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day;
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea; The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds;
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds ;
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such, as wandering near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient, solitary reign.
Beneath these rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from her straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.