THE Pleasures of Hope. PART FIRST.[Page][Page]
Pleasures of Hope.
1 AT summer eve, when Heav'n's aerial bow
2 Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
3 Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
4 Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky?
5 Why do these cliffs of shadowy tint appear
6 More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
7 'Tis Distance lends enchantment to the view,
8 And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
9 Thus, with delight, we linger to survey
10 The promis'd joys of life's unmeasur'd way;
11 Thus, from afar, each dim-discover'd scene
12 More pleasing seems than all the past hath been;
13 And every form that fancy can repair
14 From dark oblivion, glows divinely there.
15 What potent spirit guides the raptur'd eye
16 To peirce the shades of dim futurity?
17 Can Wisdom lend, with all her heav'nly pow'r,
18 The pledge of Joy's anticipated hour?
19 Ah, no! she darkly sees the fate of man —
20 Her dim horizon bounded to a span;
21 Or, if she hold an image to the view,
22 'Tis Nature pictur'd too severely true.
23 With thee, sweet Hope! resides the heav'nly light,
24 That pours remotest rapture on the sight;[Page 11]
25 Thine is the charm of life's bewilder'd way,
26 That calls each slumb'ring passion into play.
27 Wak'd by thy touch, I see the sister band,
28 On tiptoe watching, start at thy command,
29 And fly where'er thy mandate bids them steer,
30 To Pleasure's path, or glory's bright career.
31 Primeval Hope, the Aonian Muses say,
32 When Man and Nature mourn'd their first decay;
33 When every form of death, and every woe,
34 Shot from malignant stars to earth below;
35 When Murder bared his arm, and rampant War
36 Yok'd the red dragons of her iron car;
37 When Peace and Mercy, banish'd from the plain,
38 Sprung on the viewless winds to Heav'n again;
39 All all forsook the friendless guilty mind,
40 But Hope, the charmer, linger'd still behind.
41 Thus, while Elijah's burning wheels prepare,
42 From Carmel's height to sweep the fields of air,
43 The prophet's mantle, ere his flight began,
44 Dropt on the world — a sacred gift to man.
45 Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden grow
46 Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe:
47 Won by their sweets, in Nature's languid hour,
48 The way-worn pilgrim seeks thy summer bower;
49 There, as the wild bee murmurs on the wing,
50 What peaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits bring;
51 What viewless forms th' Aeolian organ play,
52 And sweep the furrowed lines of anxious thought away!
53 Angel of life! thy glittering wings explore
54 Earth's loneliest bounds, and Ocean's wildest shore. [Page 13]
55 Lo! to the wint'ry winds the pilot yields
56 His bark careering o'er unfathom'd fields;
57 Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,
58 Where Andes, giant of the western star,
59 With meteor-standard to the winds unfurl'd,
60 Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world.
61 Now far he sweeps, where scarce a summer smiles,
62 On Behrring's rocks, or Greenland's naked isles;
63 Cold on his midnight watch the breezes blow,
64 From wastes that slumber in eternal snow;
65 And waft, across the wave's tumultuous roar,
66 The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's shore.
67 Poor child of danger, nursling of the storm,
68 Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly form!
69 Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd bark delay;
70 Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.
71 But Hope can here her moonlight vigils keep,
72 And sing to charm the spirit of the deep:
73 Swift as yon streamer lights the starry pole,
74 Her visions warm the watchman's pensive soul.
75 His native hills that rise in happier climes,
76 The grot that heard his song of other times,
77 His cottage home, his bark of slender sail,
78 His glassy lake, and broomwood blossom'd vale,
79 Rush on his thought; he sweeps before the wind,
80 Treads the lov'd shore he sigh'd to leave behind;
81 Meets at each step a friend's familiar face,
82 And flies at last to Helen's long embrace;
83 Wipes from her cheek the rapture-speaking tear,
84 And clasps, with many a sigh, his children dear!
85 While, long neglected, but at length caress'd,
86 His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest,
87 Points to the master's eyes (where'er they roam)
88 His wistful face, and whines a welcome home. [Page 15]
89 Friend of the brave! in peril's darkest hour,
90 Intrepid Virtue looks to thee for power;
91 To thee the heart its trembling homage yields,
92 On stormy floods, and carnage-cover'd fields,
93 When front to front the banner'd hosts combine,
94 Halt ere they close, and form the dreadful line.
95 When all is still on Death's devoted soil,
96 The march-worn soldier mingles for the toil;
97 As rings his glittering tube, he lifts on high
98 The dauntless brow, and spirit-speaking eye.
99 Hails in his heart the triumph yet to come,
100 And hears thy stormy music in the drum!
101 And such thy strength-inspiring aid that bore
102 The hardy Byron to his native shore — 1
103 In horrid climes, where Chiloe's tempests sweep
104 Tumultuous murmurs o'er the troubled deep,[Page 16]
105 'Twas his to mourn misfortune's rudest shock,
106 Scourg'd by the winds, and cradled on the rock,
107 To wake each joyless morn, and search again
108 The famish'd haunts of solitary men;
109 Whose race, unyielding as their native storm,
110 Knows not a trace of Nature but the form;
111 Yet, at thy call, the hardy tar pursued,
112 Pale but intrepid, sad but unsubdued,
113 Pierc'd the deep woods, and, hailing from afar,
114 The moon's pale planet, and the northern star;
115 Paus'd at each dreary cry, unheard before,
116 Hyaenas in the wild, and mermaids on the shore;
117 Till, led by thee o'er many a cliff sublime,
118 He found a warmer world, a milder clime,
119 A home to rest, a shelter to defend,
120 Peace and repose, a Briton and a friend! 2
121 Congenial Hope! thy passion-kindling power
122 How bright, how strong, in youth's untroubled hour!
123 On yon proud height, with Genius hand in hand,
124 I see thee light, and wave thy golden wand.
125 "Go, Child of Heav'n (thy winged words proclaim)
126 'Tis thine to search the boundless fields of fame!
127 Lo! Newton, Priest of Nature, shines afar,
128 Scans the wide world, and numbers ev'ry star!
129 Wilt thou, with him, mysterious rites apply,
130 And watch the shrine with wonder-beaming eye?
131 Yes, thou shalt mark, with magic art profound,
132 The speed of light, the circling march of sound;
133 With Franklin grasp the light'ning's fiery wing,
134 Or yield the lyre of Heav'n another string. 3 135 "The Swedish sage admires, in yonder bow'rs, 4
136 His winged insects, and his rosy flow'rs;[Page 18]
137 Calls from their woodland haunts the savage train
138 With sounding horn, and counts them on the plain —
139 So once, at Heav'n's command, the wand'rers came
140 To Eden's shade, and heard their various name.
141 "Far from the world, in yon sequester'd clime,
142 Slow pass the sons of Wisdom, more sublime;
143 Calm as the fields of Heav'n, his sapient eye
144 The lov'd Athenian lifts to realms on high,
145 Admiring Plato on his spotless page,
146 Stamps the bright dictates of the Father sage:
147 'Shall Nature bound to Earth's diurnal span
148 The fire of God, th' immortal soul of man?"
149 "Turn, Child of Heav'n, thy rapture-lighten'd eye
150 To Wisdom's walks, the sacred Nine are nigh:
151 Hark! from bright spires that gild the Delphian height,
152 From streams that wander in eternal light,[Page 19]
153 Ranged on their hill, Harmonia's daughters swell
154 The mingling tones of horn, and harp, and shell;
155 Deep from his vaults, the Loxian murmurs flow, 5
156 And Pythia's awful organ peals below.
157 "Belov'd of Heav'n! the smiling muse shall shed
158 Her moonlight halo on thy beauteous head;
159 Shall swell thy heart to rapture unconfin'd,
160 And breathe a holy madness o'er thy mind.
161 I see thee roam her guardian pow'r beneath,
162 And talk with spirits on the midnight heath;
163 Inquire of guilty wand'rers whence they came,
164 And ask each blood-stain'd form his earthly name;
165 Then weave in rapid verse the deeds they tell,
166 And read the trembling world the tales of hell.
167 "When Venus, thron'd in clouds of rosy hue,
168 Flings from her golden urn the vesper dew;[Page 20]
169 And bids fond man her glimmering noon employ,
170 Sacred to love, and walks of tender joy;
171 A milder mood the goddess shall recall,
172 And soft as dew thy tones of music fall;
173 While Beauty's deeply-pictur'd smiles impart,
174 A pang more dear than pleasure to the heart —
175 Warm as thy sighs shall flow the Lesbian strain,
176 And plead in Beauty's ear, nor plead in vain.
177 "Or wilt thou Orphean hymns more sacred deem,
178 And steep thy song in Mercy's mellow stream;
179 To pensive drops the radiant eye beguile —
180 For Beauty's tears are lovelier than her smile; —
181 On Nature's throbbing anguish pour relief,
182 And teach impassion'd souls the Joy of Grief?
183 "Yes; to thy tongue shall seraph words be giv'n,
184 And pow'r on earth to plead the cause of Heav'n;[Page 21]
185 The proud, the cold untroubled heart of stone,
186 That never mus'd on sorrow but its own,
187 Unlocks a generous store at thy command,
188 Like Horeb's rocks beneath the prophet's hand. 6
189 The living lumber of his kindred earth,
190 Charm'd into soul, receives a second birth;
191 Feels thy dread pow'r another heart afford,
192 Whose passion-touch'd harmonious strings accord
193 True as the circling spheres to Nature's plan;
194 And man, the brother, lives the friend of man!
195 "Bright as the pillar rose at Heav'n's command,
196 When Israel march'd along the desert land,
197 Blaz'd through the night on lonely wilds afar,
198 And told the path — a never-setting star:
199 So! heav'nly Genius, in thy course divine,
200 Hope is thy star, her light is ever thine."
201 Propitious Pow'r! when rankling cares annoy
202 The sacred home of Hymenean joy;
203 When doom'd to Poverty's sequester'd dell,
204 The wedded pair of love and virtue dwell,
205 Unpitied by the world, unknown to fame,
206 Their woes, their wishes, and their hearts the same —
207 Oh there, prophetic Hope! thy smile bestow,
208 And chase the pangs that worth should never know —
209 There, as the parent deals his scanty store
210 To friendless babes, and weeps to give no more;
211 Tell that his manly race shall yet assuage
212 Their father's wrongs, and shield his later age.
213 What though for him no Hybla sweets distill,
214 Nor bloomy vines wave radiant on the hill;
215 Tell, that when silent years have pass'd away,
216 That when his eye grows dim, his tresses gray,
217 These busy hands a lovelier cot shall build,
218 And deck with fairer flow'rs his little field;[Page 23]
219 And call from Heav'n propitious dews to breathe
220 Arcadian beauty on the barren heath:
221 Tell, that while Love's spontaneous smile endears
222 The days of peace, the sabbath of his years,
223 Health shall prolong to many a festive hour
224 The social pleasures of his humble bow'r.
225 Lo! at the couch where infant beauty sleeps,
226 Her silent watch the mournful mother keeps;
227 She, while the lovely babe unconscious lies,
228 Smiles on her little son with pensive eyes,
229 And weaves a song of melancholy joy —
230 "Sleep, image of thy father, sleep my boy:
231 No ling'ring hour of sorrow shall be thine;
232 No sigh that rends thy father's heart and mine;
233 Bright as his manly sire, the son shall be
234 In form and soul; but, ah! more blest than he! [Page 24]
235 Thy fame, thy worth, thy filial love at last,
236 Shall soothe this aching heart for all the past —
237 With many a smile my solitude repay,
238 And chase the world's ungenerous scorn away.
239 "And say, when summon'd from the world and thee,
240 I lay my head beneath the willow tree;
241 Wilt thou, sweet mourner! at my stone appear,
242 And soothe my parted spirit ling'ring near?
243 Oh, wilt thou come! at ev'ning hour, to shed
244 The tears of Memory o'er my narrow bed;
245 With aching temples on thy hand reclin'd,
246 Muse on the last farewell I leave behind,
247 Breathe a deep sigh to winds that murmur low,
248 And think on all my love, and all my woe?"
249 So speaks affection, ere the infant eye
250 Can look regard, or brighten in reply;[Page 25]
251 But when the cherub lip hath learnt to claim
252 A mother's ear by that endearing name;
253 Soon as the playful innocent can prove
254 A' tear of pity, or a smile of love,
255 Or cons his murm'ring task beneath her care,
256 Or lisps with holy look his ev'ning prayer,
257 Or gazing, mutely pensive, sits to hear
258 The mournful ballad warbled in his ear;
259 How fondly looks admiring Hope the while,
260 At every artless tear, and every smile;
261 How glows the joyous parent to descry
262 A guileless bosom, true to sympathy!
263 Where is the troubled heart consign'd to share
264 Tumultuous toils, or solitary care,
265 Unblest by visionary thoughts that stray
266 To count the joys of Fortune's better day! [Page 26]
267 Lo, nature, life, and liberty relume
268 The dim-ey'd tenant of the dungeon gloom,
269 A long lost friend, or hapless child restor'd,
270 Smile at his blazing hearth and social board;
271 Warm from his heart the tears of rapture flow,
272 And virtue triumphs o'er remember'd woe.
273 Chide not his peace, proud Reason! nor destroy
274 The shadowy forms of uncreated joy,
275 That urge the lingering tide of life, and pour
276 Spontaneous slumber on his midnight hour.
277 Hark! the wild maniac sings to chide the gale
278 That wafts so slow her lover's distant sail;
279 She, sad spectatress, on the wint'ry shore
280 Watch'd the rude surge his shroudless corse that bore,
281 Knew the pale form, and, shreaking in amaze,
282 Claspt her cold hands, and fix'd her maddening gaze:[Page 27]
283 Poor widow'd wretch! 'twas there she wept in vain
284 Till memory fled her agonizing brain; —
285 But Mercy gave, to charm the sense of woe,
286 Ideal peace, that Truth could ne'er bestow: —
287 Warm on her heart the joys of Fancy beam,
288 And aimless Hope delights her darkest dream.
289 Oft when yon moon has climb'd the midnight sky,
290 And the lone sea-bird wakes its wildest cry,
291 Pil'd on the steep her blazing faggots burn
292 To hail the bark that never can return;
293 And still she waits, but scarce forbears to weep
294 That constant love can linger on the deep.
295 And, mark the wretch, whose wand'rings never knew
296 The world's regard, that soothes, though half untrue,
297 Whose erring heart the lash of sorrow bore,
298 But found not pity when it err'd no more. [Page 28]
299 Yon friendless man, at whose dejected eye
300 Th' unfeeling proud one looks — and passes by,
301 Condemn'd on Penury's barren path to roam,
302 Scorn'd by the world, and left without a home —
303 Ev'n he, at evening, should he chance to stray
304 Down by the hamlet's hawthorn-scented way,
305 Where round the cot's romantic glade, are seen
306 The blossom'd bean-field, and the sloping green,
307 Leans o'er its humble gate, and thinks the while —
308 Oh! that for me some home like this would smile,
309 Some hamlet shade, to yield my sickly form,
310 Health in the breeze, and shelter in the storm;
311 There should my hand no stinted boon assign
312 To wretched hearts with sorrows such as mine; —
313 That generous wish can soothe unpitied care,
314 And Hope half mingles with the poor man's pray'r.
315 Hope! when I mourn, with sympathizing mind,
316 The wrongs of fate, the woes of human kind,
317 Thy blissful omens bid my spirit see
318 The boundless fields of rapture yet to be;
319 I watch the wheels of Nature's mazy plan,
320 And learn the future by the past of man.
321 Come, bright Improvement! on the car of Time,
322 And rule the spacious world from clime to clime:
323 Thy handmaid arts shall every wild explore,
324 Trace every wave, and culture every shore.
325 On Erie's banks, where tygers steal along,
326 And the dread Indian chaunts a dismal song,
327 Where human fiends on midnight errands walk,
328 And bathe in brains the murd'rous tomahawk;
329 There shall the flocks on thymy pasture stray,
330 And shepherds dance at Summer's op'ning day;[Page 30]
331 Each wand'ring genius of the lonely glen
332 Shall start to view the glittering haunts of men;
333 And silence watch, on woodland heights around,
334 The village curfew, as it tolls profound.
335 In Lybian groves, where damned rites are done
336 That bathe the rocks in blood, and veil the sun,
337 Truth shall arrest the murd'rous arm profane,
338 Wild Obi flies 7 — the veil is rent in twain.
339 Where barb'rous hordes on Scythian mountains roam,
340 Truth, Mercy, Freedom, yet shall find a home;
341 Where'er degraded Nature bleeds and pines,
342 From Guinea's coast to Sibir's dreary mines, 8
343 Truth shall pervade th' unfathom'd darkness there,
344 And light the dreadful features of despair: —
345 Hark! the stern captive spurns his heavy load,
346 And asks the image back that Heaven bestow'd! [Page 31]
347 Fierce in his eye the fire of valour burns,
348 And, as the slave departs, the man returns!
349 Oh! sacred Truth! thy triumph ceased awhile,
350 And Hope, thy sister, ceas'd with thee to smile,
351 When leagu'd Oppression pour'd to Northern wars
352 Her whisker'd pandoors and her fierce hussars,
353 Wav'd her dread standard to the breeze of morn,
354 Peal'd her loud drum, and twang'd her trumpet horn;
355 Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van,
356 Presaging wrath to Poland — and to man! 9
357 Warsaw's last champion from her height survey'd,
358 Wide o'er the fields, a waste of ruin laid, —
359 Oh! Heav'n! he cried, my bleeding country save! —
360 Is there no hand on high to shield the brave!
361 Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains,
362 Rise, fellow men! our country yet remains! [Page 32]
363 By that dread name we wave the sword on high,
364 And swear for her to live! — with her to die!
365 He said, and, on the rampart-heights, array'd
366 His trusty warriors, few, but undismay'd;
367 Firm-pac'd and slow, a horrid front they form,
368 Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm;
369 Low murm'ring sounds along their banners fly,
370 Revenge, or death, — the watchword and reply;
371 Then peal'd the notes, omnipotent to charm,
372 And the loud tocsin toll'd their last alarm! —
373 In vain, alas! in vain, the gallant few!
374 From rank to rank your volley'd thunder flew: —
375 Oh! bloodiest picture in the book of Time,
376 Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime;
377 Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe!
378 Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe! [Page 33]
379 Dropt from her nerveless grasp the shatter'd speer,
380 Clos'd her bright eye, and curb'd her high career; —
381 Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell,
382 And Freedom shriek'd — as KOSCIUSKO fell!
383 The sun went down, nor ceas'd the carnage there,
384 Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air —
385 On Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow,
386 His blood-dy'd waters murm'ring far below; —
387 The storm prevails, the rampart yields a way,
388 Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay!
389 Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall,
390 A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call!
391 Earth shook — red meteors flash'd along the sky,
392 And conscious Nature shudder'd at the cry!
393 Oh! Righteous Heav'n! ere Freedom found a grave,
394 Why slept the sword, omnipotent to save? [Page 34]
395 Where was thine arm, O vengeance! where thy rod,
396 That smote the foes of Zion and of God,
397 That crush'd proud Ammon, when his iron car
398 Was yok'd in wrath, and thunder'd from afar?
399 Where was the storm that slumber'd till the host
400 Of blood-stain'd Pharaoh left their trembling coast,
401 Then bade the deep in wild commotion flow,
402 And heav'd an ocean on their march below?
403 Departed spirits of the mighty dead!
404 Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled!
405 Friends of the world! restore your swords to man,
406 Fight in his sacred cause, and lead the van!
407 Yet for Sarmatia's tears of blood atone,
408 And make her arm puissant as your own: —
409 Oh! once again to Freedom's cause return
410 The patriot Tell — the BRUCE OF BANNOCKBURN!
411 Yes! thy proud lords, unpitied land! shall see
412 That man hath yet a soul — and dare be free!
413 A little while, along thy saddening plains,
414 The starless night of desolation reigns;
415 Truth shall restore the light by Nature given,
416 And, like Prometheus, bring the fire of Heav'n!
417 Prone to the dust Oppression shall be hurl'd,
418 Her name, her nature, wither'd from the world!
419 Ye that the rising morn invidious mark,
420 And hate the light — because your deeds are dark;
421 Ye that expanding truth invidious view,
422 And think, or wish the song of Hope untrue;
423 Perhaps your little hands presume to span
424 The march of Genius, and the pow'rs of man;
425 Perhaps ye watch, at Pride's unhallow'd shrine,
426 Her victims, newly slain, and thus divine:[Page 36]
427 "Here shall thy triumph, Genius, ease, and here
428 Truth, Science, Virtue, close your short career."
429 Tyrants! in vain ye trace the wizard ring;
430 In vain ye limit mind's unwearied spring;
431 What! can ye lull the winged winds asleep,
432 Arrest the rolling world, or chain the deep?
433 No: — the wild wave contemns your scepter'd hand; —
434 It roll'd not back when Canute gave command!
435 Man! can thy doom no brighter soul allow?
436 Still must thou live a blot on Nature's brow?
437 Shall War's polluted banner ne'er be furl'd?
438 Shall crimes and tyrants cease but with the world?
439 What! are thy triumphs, sacred Truth, belied?
440 Why then hath Plato liv'd — or Sydney died?
441 Ye fond adorers of departed fame,
442 Who warm at Scipio's worth, or Tully's name!
443 Ye that, in fancied vision, can admire
444 The sword of Brutus, and the Theban lyre!
445 Wrapt in historic ardour, who adore
446 Each classic haunt and well-remember'd shore,
447 Where valour tun'd, amid her chosen throng,
448 The Thracian trumpet and the Spartan song;
449 Or, wand'ring thence, behold the later charms
450 Of England's glory, and Helvetia's arms!
451 See Roman fire in Hampden's bosom swell,
452 And fate and freedom in the shaft of Tell!
453 Say, ye fond zealots to the worth of yore,
454 Hath valour left the world — to live no more?
455 No more shall Brutus bid a tyrant die,
456 And sternly smile with vengeance in his eye?
457 Hampden no more, when suffering Freedom calls,
458 Encounter fate, and triumph as he falls? [Page 38]
459 Nor Tell disclose, through peril and alarm,
460 The might that slumbers in a peasant's arm?
461 Yes! in that generous cause, for ever strong,
462 The patriot's virtue and the poet's song
463 Still, as the tide of ages rolls away,
464 Shall charm the world, unconscious of decay!
465 Yes! there are hearts, prophetic Hope may trust,
466 That slumber yet in uncreated dust,
467 Ordain'd to fire the adoring sons of earth
468 With every charm of wisdom and of worth;
469 Ordain'd to light with intellectual day,
470 The mazy wheels of Nature as they play,
471 Or warm with Fancy's energy, to glow,
472 And rival all but Shakspeare's name below!
473 And say, supernal Powers! who deeply scan
474 Heav'n's dark decrees, unfathom'd yet by man,
475 When shall the world call down, to cleanse her shame,
476 That embryo spirit, yet without a name, —
477 That Friend of Nature, whose avenging hands
478 Shall burst the Lybian's adamantine bands?
479 Who, sternly marking on his native soil,
480 The blood, the tears, the anguish, and the toil,
481 Shall bid each righteous heart exult to see
482 Peace to the slave, and vengeance on the free!
483 Yet, yet, degraded men! the expected day
484 That breaks your bitter cup, is far away;
485 Trade, wealth, and fashion, ask you still to bleed,
486 And holy men give scripture for the deed;
487 Scourg'd and debas'd, no Briton stoops to save
488 A wretch, a coward; yes, because a slave! —
489 Eternal Nature! when thy giant hand
490 Had heav'd the floods, and fix'd the trembling land,
491 When life sprung startling at thy plastic call,
492 Endless her forms, and man the lord of all!
493 Say, was that lordly form inspir'd by thee,
494 To wear eternal chains, and bow the knee?
495 Was man ordain'd the slave of man to toil,
496 Yok'd with the brutes, and fetter'd to the soil;
497 Weigh'd in a tyrant's balance with his gold?
498 No! — Nature stamp'd us in a heav'nly mould!
499 She bade no wretch his thankless labour urge,
500 Nor, trembling, take the pittance and the scourge!
501 No homeless Lybian, on the stormy deep,
502 To call upon his country's name and weep! —
503 Lo! Once in triumph, on his boundless plain,
504 The quiver'd chief of Congo lov'd to reign;[Page 41]
505 With fires proportioned to his native sky,
506 Strength in his arm, and light'ning in his eye;
507 Scour'd with wild feet his sun-illumin'd zone,
508 The spear, the lion, and the woods his own;
509 Or led the combat, bold without a plan,
510 An artless savage, but a fearless man!
511 The plunderer came: — alas! no glory smiles
512 For Congo's chief on yonder Indian isles;
513 For ever fallen! no son of Nature now,
514 With Freedom charter'd on his manly brow!
515 Faint, bleeding, bound, he weeps the night away,
516 And, when the sea-wind wafts the dewless day,
517 Starts, with a bursting heart, for evermore
518 To curse the sun that lights their guilty shore!
519 The shrill horn blew 10; at that alarum knell
520 His guardian angel took a last farewell! [Page 42]
521 That funeral dirge to darkness hath resign'd
522 The fiery grandeur of a generous mind! —
523 Poor fetter'd man! I hear thee whispering low
524 Unhallowed vows to Guilt, the child of Woe!
525 Friendless thy heart; and, canst thou harbour there
526 A wish but death — a passion but despair?
527 The widow'd Indian, when her lord expires,
528 Mounts the dread pile, and braves the funeral fires!
529 So falls the heart at Thraldom's bitter sigh!
530 So Virtue dies, the spouse of Liberty!
531 But not to Lybia's barren climes alone,
532 To Chili, or the wild Siberian zone,
533 Belong the wretched heart and haggard eye,
534 Degraded worth, and poor misfortune's sigh! —
535 Ye orient realms, where Ganges' waters run!
536 Prolific fields! dominions of the sun! [Page 43]
537 How long your tribes have trembled and obey'd!
538 How long was Timur's iron sceptre sway'd! 11
539 Whose marshall'd hosts, the lions of the plain,
540 From Scythia's northern mountains to the main,
541 Rag'd o'er your plunder'd shrines and alters bare,
542 With blazing torch and gory scymitar, —
543 Stunn'd with the cries of death each gentle gale,
544 And bath'd in blood the verdure of the vale!
545 Yet could no pangs th' immortal spirit tame,
546 When Brama's children perish'd for his name;
547 The martyr smil'd beneath avenging pow'r,
548 And brav'd the tyrant in his torturing hour!
549 When Europe sought your subject realms to gain,
550 And stretch'd her giant sceptre o'er the main,
551 Taught her proud barks their winding way to shape,
552 And brav'd the stormy spirit of the Cape; 12[Page 44]
553 Children of Brama! then was mercy nigh
554 To wash the stain of blood's eternal dye?
555 Did Peace descend, to triumph and to save,
556 When free-born Britons cross'd the Indian wave?
557 Ah, no! to more than Rome's ambition true,
558 The Nurse of Freedom gave it not to you!
559 She the bold route of Europe's guilt began,
560 And, in the march of nations, led the van!
561 Rich in the gems of India's gaudy zone,
562 And plunder pil'd from kingdoms not their own,
563 Degenerate Trade! thy minions could despise
564 The heart-born anguish of a thousand cries;
565 Could lock, with impious hands, their teeming store,
566 While furnish'd nations died along the shore; 13
567 Could mock the groans of fellow men, and bear,
568 The curse of kingdoms peopled with despair;[Page 45]
569 Could stamp disgrace on Nature's hollow name,
570 And barter, with their gold, eternal shame!
571 But, hark! as bow'd to earth the Bramin kneels,
572 From heav'nly climes propitious thunder peals!
573 Of India's fate her guardian spirits tell,
574 Prophetic murmurs breathing on the shell,
575 And solemn sounds, that awe the list'ning mind,
576 Roll on the azure paths of ev'ry wind.
577 "Foes of mankind! (her guardian spirits say),
578 Revolving ages bring the bitter day,
579 When Heav'n's unerring arm shall fall on you,
580 And blood for blood these Indian plains bedew;
581 Nine times have Brama's wheels of light'ning hurl'd
582 His awful presence o'er the prostrate world;
583 Nine times hath Guilt, through all his giant frame,
584 Convulsive trembled, as the Mighty came;[Page 46]
585 Nine times hath suffering Mercy spar'd in vain — 14
586 But Heav'n shall burst her starry gates again!
587 He comes! dread Brama shakes the sunless sky
588 With murmuring wrath, and thunders from on high!
589 Heaven's fiery horse, beneath his warrior form,
590 Paws the light clowds, and gallops on the storm!
591 Wide waves his flickering sword, his bright arms glow
592 Like summer suns, and light the world below!
593 Earth, and her trembling isles in Ocean's bed
594 Are shook; and Nature rocks beneath his tread!
595 To pour redress on India's injur'd realm
596 The oppressor to dethrone, the proud to whelm;
597 To chase destruction from her plunder'd shore
598 With arts and arms that triumph'd once before,
599 The tenth Avater comes! at Heaven's command
600 Shall Seriswattee 15 wave her hallowed wand! [Page 47]
601 And Camdeo bright, and Ganesa sublime,
602 Shall bless with joy their own propitious clime! —
603 Come, Heav'nly Powers! primeval peace restore!
604 Love! — Mercy! — Wisdom! — rule for evermore!
END OF PART FIRST.[Page][Page]
THE Pleasures of Hope. PART SECOND.[Page][Page]
Pleasures of Hope.
1 IN joyous youth, what soul hath never known
2 Thought, feeling, taste, harmonious to its own?
3 Who hath not paused, while Beauty's pensive eye
4 Ask'd from his heart the homage of a sigh?
5 Who hath not own'd, with rapture-smitten frame,
6 The power of grace, the magic of a name!
7 There be, perhaps, who barren hearts avow,
8 Cold as the rocks on Torneo's hoary brow;[Page 52]
9 There be, whose loveless wisdom never fail'd,
10 In self-adoring pride securely mail'd; —
11 But, triumph not, ye peace-enamour'd few!
12 Fire, Nature, Genius, never dwelt with you!
13 For you no fancy consecrates the scene
14 Where rapture utter'd vows, and wept between;
15 'Tis yours, unmov'd, to sever and to meet;
16 No pledge is sacred, and no home is sweet!
17 Who that would ask a heart to dulness wed,
18 The waveless calm, the slumber of the dead?
19 No; the wild bliss of Nature needs alloy,
20 And fear and sorrow fan the fire of joy!
21 And say, without our hopes, without our fears,
22 Without the home that plighted love endears,
23 Without the smile from partial beauty won,
24 Oh! what were man? — a world without a sun!
25 Till Hymen brought his love-delighted hour,
26 There dwelt no joy in Eden's rosy bow'r!
27 In vain the viewless seraph ling'ring there,
28 At starry midnight, charm'd the silent air;
29 In vain the wild-bird carol'd on the steep,
30 To hail the sun, slow-wheeling from the deep;
31 In vain, to sooth the solitary shade,
32 Aerial notes in mingling measure play'd;
33 The summer wind that shook the spangled tree,
34 The whispering wave, the murmur of the bee —
35 Still slowly pass'd the melancholy day,
36 And still the stanger wist not where to stray, —
37 The world was sad! — the garden was a wild! —
38 And Man, the hermit, sigh'd — till Woman smil'd!
39 True! the sad power to generous hearts may bring
40 Delirious anguish on his fiery wing! [Page 54]
41 Barr'd from delight by Fate's untimely hand,
42 By wealthless lot, or pitiless command;
43 Or doom'd to gaze on beauties that adorn
44 The smile of triumph, or the frown of scorn;
45 While Memory watches o'er the sad review
46 Of joys that faded like the morning dew;
47 Peace may depart — and life and nature seem
48 A barren path — a wildness, and a dream!
49 But, can the noble mind for ever brood,
50 The willing victim of a weary mood,
51 On heartless cares that squander life away,
52 And cloud young Genius bright'ning into day! —
53 Shame to the coward thought that e'er betray'd
54 The noon of manhood to a myrtle shade! — 1
55 If Hope's creative spirit cannot raise
56 One trophy sacred to thy future days,[Page 55]
57 Scorn the dull crowd that haunt the gloomy shrine
58 Of hopeless love, to murmur and repine!
59 But, should a sigh of milder mood express
60 Thy heart-warm wishes true to happiness,
61 Should Heav'n's fair harbinger delight to pour
62 Her blissful visions on thy pensive hour,
63 No tear to blot thy memory's pictur'd page,
64 No fears but such as Fancy can assuage;
65 Though thy wild heart some hapless hour may miss
66 The peaceful tenor of unvaried bliss,
67 (For love pursues an ever devious race,
68 True to the winding lineaments of grace);
69 Yet still may Hope her talisman employ
70 To snatch from Heaven anticipated joy,
71 And all her kindred energies impart
72 That burn the brightest in the purest heart! [Page 56]
73 When first the Rhodian's mimic art array'd
74 The queen of Beauty in her Cyprian shade,
75 The happy master mingled on his piece
76 Each look that charm'd him in the fair of Greece;
77 To faultless Nature true, he stole a grace
78 From every finer form and sweeter face;
79 And, as he sojourn'd on the Aegean isles,
80 Woo'd all their love, and treasur'd all their smiles;
81 Then glow'd the tints, pure, precious, and refin'd,
82 And mortal charms seem'd heav'nly when combin'd!
83 Love on the picture smil'd! Expression pour'd
84 Her mingling spirit there — and Greece ador'd!
85 So thy fair hand, enamour'd Fancy! gleans
86 The treasur'd pictures of a thousand scenes!
87 Thy pencil traces on the Lover's thought
88 Some cottage-home, from towns and toil remote,[Page 57]
89 Where Love and Lore may claim alternate hours,
90 With Peace embosom'd in Idalian bow'rs!
91 Remote from busy Life's bewilder'd way,
92 O'er all his heart shall Taste and Beauty sway!
93 Free on the sunny slope, or winding shore,
94 With hermit steps to wander and adore!
95 There shall he love, when genial morn appears,
96 Like pensive Beauty smiling in her tears,
97 To watch the bright'ning roses of the sky,
98 And muse on Nature with a poet's eye! —
99 And, when the sun's last splendour lights the deep,
100 The woods, and waves, and murm'ring winds asleep;
101 When fairy harps th' Hesperian planet hail,
102 And the lone cuckoo sighs along the vale,
103 His path shall be where streamy mountains swell
104 Their shadowy grandeur o'er the narrow dell,
105 Where mouldering piles and forests intervene,
106 Mingling with darker tints the living green;[Page 58]
107 No circling hills his ravish'd eye to bound,
108 Heaven, Earth, and Ocean, blazing all around!
109 The moon is up — the watch-tow'r dimly burns —
110 And down the vale his sober step returns;
111 But pauses oft, as winding rocks convey
112 The still sweet fall of Music far away;
113 And oft he lingers from his home awhile
114 To watch the dying notes! — and start, and smile!
115 Let Winter come! Let polar spirits sweep
116 The dark'ning world, and tempest-troubled deep!
117 Though boundless snows the wither'd heath deform,
118 And the dim sun scarce wanders through the storm;
119 Yet shall the smile of social love repay,
120 With mental light, the melancholy day!
121 And, when its short and sullen noon is o'er,
122 The ice-chain'd waters slumbering on the shore,[Page 59]
123 How bright the faggots in his little hall
124 Blaze on the hearth, and warm the pictur'd wall!
125 How blest he names, in Love's familiar tone,
126 The kind fair friend, by Nature mark'd his own;
127 And, in the waveless mirror of his mind,
128 Views the fleet years of pleasure left behind,
129 Since Anna's empire o'er his heart began!
130 Since first he call'd her his before the holy man!
131 Trim the gay taper in his rustic dome,
132 And light the wint'ry paradise of home;
133 And let the half-uncurtain'd window hail
134 Some way-worn man benighted in the vale!
135 Now, while the moaning night-wind rages high,
136 As sweep the shot-stars down the troubled sky,
137 While fiery hosts in Heaven's wide circle play,
138 And bathe in livid light the milky way,[Page 60]
139 Safe from the storm, the meteor, and the shower,
140 Some pleasing page shall charm the solemn hour —
141 With pathos shall command, with wit beguile,
142 A generous tear of anguish, or a smile —
143 Thy woes, Arion! and thy simple tale, 2
144 O'er all the heart shall triumph and prevail!
145 Charm'd as they read the verse too sadly true,
146 How gallant Albert, and his weary crew,
147 Heav'd all their guns, their foundering bark to save,
148 And toil'd — and shriek'd — and perish'd on the wave!
149 Yes, at the dead of night, by Lonna's steep,
150 The seaman's cry was heard along the deep:
151 There, on his funeral waters dark and wild,
152 The dying father blest his darling child!
153 Oh! Mercy, shield her innocence, he cried,
154 Spent on the prayer his bursting heart, and died!
155 Or will they learn how generous worth sublimes
156 The robber Moor 3, and pleads for all his crimes!
157 How poor Amelia kiss'd, with many a tear
158 His hand, bloodstain'd, but ever ever dear!
159 Hung on the tortur'd bosom of her lord,
160 And wept, and pray'd perdition from his sword!
161 Nor sought in vain! at that heart-piercing cry
162 The strings of nature crack'd with agony!
163 He, with delirious laugh, the dagger hurl'd,
164 And burst the ties that bound him to the world!
165 Turn from his dying words, that smite with steel,
166 The shuddering thoughts, or wind them on the wheel —
167 Turn to the gentler melodies that suit
168 Thalia's harp, or Pan's Arcadian lute;
169 Or, down the stream of Truth's historic page,
170 From clime to clime descend, from age to age! [Page 62]
171 Yet there, perhaps, may darker scenes obtrude
172 Than Fancy fashions in her wildest mood;
173 There shall he pause, with horrent brow, to rate
174 What millions died — that Caesar might be great! 4 175 Or learn the fate that bleeding thousands bore, 5
176 March'd by their Charles to Dneiper's swampy shore,
177 Faint in his wounds, and shivering in the blast,
178 The Swedish soldier sunk — and groan'd his last!
179 File after file, the stormy showers benumb,
180 Freeze every standard-sheet, and hush the drum!
181 Horseman and horse confess'd the bitter pang,
182 And arms and warriors fell with hollow clang!
183 Yet, ere he sunk in Nature's last repose,
184 Ere life's warm torrent to the fountain froze,
185 The dying man to Sweden turned his eye,
186 Thought of his home, and clos'd it with a sigh!
187 Imperial Pride look'd sullen on his plight,
188 And Charles beheld — nor shudder'd at the sight!
189 Oh! vainly wise, the moral Muse hath sung
190 That suasive Hope hath but a Syren tongue!
191 True; she may sport with life's untutor'd day,
192 Nor heed the solace of its last decay,
193 The guileless heart her happy mansion spurn,
194 And part like Ajut 6 — never to return!
195 But yet, methinks, when Wisdom shall assuage
196 The griefs and passions of our greener age,
197 Though dull the close of life, and far away
198 Each flow'r that hail'd the dawning of the day;
199 Yet o'er her lovely hopes, that once were dear,
200 The time-taught spirit, pensive, not severe,
201 With milder griefs her aged eye shall fill,
202 And weep their falsehood, though she love them still!
203 Thus, with forgiving tears, and reconcil'd,
204 The king of Judah mourn'd his rebel child! [Page 64]
205 Musing on days when yet the guiltless boy
206 Smil'd on his sire and fill'd his heart with joy!
207 My Absalom! the voice of Nature cried!
208 Oh! that for thee thy father could have died!
209 For bloody was the deed, and rashly done,
210 That slew my Absalom! — my son! — my son!
211 Unfading Hope! when life's last embers burn,
212 When soul to soul, and dust to dust return!
213 Heav'n to thy charge resigns the awful hour!
214 Oh! then, thy kingdom comes! Immortal Power!
215 What though each spark of earth-born rapture fly
216 The quivering lip, pale cheek, and closing eye!
217 Bright to the soul thy seraph hands convey
218 The morning dream of life's eternal day —
219 Then, then, the triumph and the trance begin!
220 And all the Phoenix spirit burns within! [Page 65]
221 Cease, every joy, to glimmer on my mind,
222 But leave — oh! leave — the light of hope behind!
223 What though my winged hours of bliss have been,
224 Like angel visits, few and far between;
225 Her musing mood shall every pang appeas,
226 And charm — when pleasures loose the power to please!
227 Yes! let each rapture, dear to Nature, flee;
228 Close not the light of Fortune's stormy sea —
229 Mirth, music, friendship, Love's propitious smile,
230 Chase every care, and charm a little while,
231 Ecstatic throbs the fluttering heart employ,
232 And all her strings are harmoniz'd to Joy! —
233 But why so short is love's delighted hour?
234 Why fades the dew on Beautie's sweeter flow'r?
235 Why can no hymned charm of music heal
236 The sleepless woes impassion'd spirits feel?
237 Can fancy's fairy hands no veil create,
238 To hide the sad realities of fate? —
239 No! not the quaint remark, the sapient rule,
240 Nor all the pride of Wisdom's worldly school,
241 Have pow'r to sooth, unaided and alone,
242 The heart that vibrates to a feeling tone!
243 When stepdame Nature every bliss recals,
244 Fleet as the meteor o'er the desert falls;
245 When, reft of all, yon widow'd sire appears
246 A lonely hermit in the vale of years;
247 Say, can the world one joyous thought bestow
248 To friendship, weeping at the couch of Woe?
249 No! but a brighter soothes the last adieu, —
250 Souls of impassion'd mould, she speaks to you!
251 Weep not, she says, at Nature's transient pain,
252 Congenial spirits part to meet again! —
253 What plaintive sobs thy filial bosom drew,
254 What sorrow chok'd thy long and last adieu!
255 Daughter of Conrad! when he heard his knell,
256 And bade his country and his child farewell! [Page 67]
257 Doom'd the lone isles of Sydney Cove to see,
258 The martyr of his crimes, but true to thee.
259 Thrice the sad father tore thee from his heart,
260 And thrice return'd to bless thee, and to part;
261 Thrice from his trembling lips he murmur'd low
262 The plaint that own'd unutterable woe;
263 Till Faith, prevailing o'er his sullen doom,
264 As bursts the morn on night's unfathom'd gloom,
265 Lur'd his dim eye to deathless hopes sublime,
266 Beyond the realms of Nature and of Time!
267 "And weep not thus," he cried, "young Ellenor,
268 My bosom bleeds, but soon shall bleed no more!
269 Short shall this half-extinguish'd spirit burn,
270 And soon these limbs to kindred dust return!
271 But not, my child! with life's precarious fire,
272 The immortal ties of Nature shall expire;
273 These shall resist the triumph of decay,
274 When times is o'er, and worlds have pass'd away,[Page 68]
275 Cold in the dust this perish'd heart may lie,
276 But that which warm'd it once shall never die!
277 That spark unburied in its mortal frame,
278 With living light, eternal, and the same,
279 Shall beam on Joy's interminable years,
280 Unveil'd by darkness — unassuag'd by tears!
281 "Yet, on the barren shore and stormy deep,
282 One tedious watch is Conrad doom'd to weep;
283 But when I gain the home without a friend,
284 And press th' uneasy couch where none attend,
285 This last embrace, still cherish'd in my heart,
286 Shall calm the struggling spirit ere it part!
287 Thy darling form shall seem to hover nigh
288 And hush the groan of life's last agony!
289 "Farewell! when strangers lift thy father's bier,
290 And place my nameless stone without a tear;
291 When each returning pledge hath told my child
292 That Conrad's tomb is on the desert pil'd;[Page 69]
293 And when the dream of troubled Fancy sees
294 Its lonely rank-grass waving in the breeze;
295 Who then will soothe thy grief, when mine is o'er?
296 Who will protect thee, helpless Ellenor?
297 Shall secret scenes thy filial sorrows hide,
298 Scorn'd by the world, to factious guilt allied!
299 Ah! no! methinks the generous and the good
300 Will woo thee from the shades of solitude!
301 O'er friendless grief compassion shall awake,
302 And smile on Innocence, for Mercy's sake!"
303 Inspiring thought of rapture yet to be,
304 The tears of love were hopeless but for thee!
305 If in that frame no deathless spirit dwell,
306 If that faint murmur be the last farewell;
307 If fate unite the faithful but to part,
308 Why is their memory sacred to the heart? [Page 70]
309 Why does the Brother of my childhood seem
310 Restored awhile in every pleasing dream?
311 Why do I joy the lonely spot to view,
312 By artless friendship blest when life was new?
313 Eternal Hope! when yonder spheres sublime
314 Peal'd their first notes to sound the march of Time!
315 Thy joyous youth began — but not to fade. —
316 When all the sister planets have decay'd;
317 When wrapt in fire the realms of either glow,
318 And Heaven's last thunder shakes the world below;
319 Thou, undismay'd, shalt o'er the ruin smile,
320 And light thy torch at Nature's funeral pile!
END OF THE SECOND PART.[Page]
NOTES ON PART I.
Note 1. And such thy strength-inspiring aid that bore The hardy Byron to his native shore.The following picture of his own distress, given by Byron in his simple and interesting Narrative, justifies the description in p. 10. After relating the barbarity of the Indian Cacique to his child, he proceeds thus: — "A day or two after, we put to sea again, and crossed the great bay I mentioned we had been at the bottom of, when we first hawled away to the westward. The land here was very low and sandy, and something like the mouth of a river which discharged itself into the sea, and which had[Page 72] been taken no notice of by us before, as it was so shallow that the Indians were obliged to take every thing out of their canoes and carry it over land. We rowed up the river four or five leagues, and then took into a branch of it that ran first to the eastward and then to the northward: here it became much narrower, and the stream excessively rapid, so that we gained but little way, though we wrought very hard. At night we landed upon its banks, and had a most uncomfortable lodging, it being a perfect swamp; and we had nothing to cover us, though it rained excessively. The Indians were little better off than we, as there was no wood here to make their wigwams; so that all they could do was to prop up the bark, which they carry in the bottom of their canoes, and shelter themselves as well as they could to the leeward of it. Knowing the difficulties they had to encounter here, they had provided themselves with some seal; but we had not a morsel to eat, after the heavy fatigues of the day, excepting a sort of root we saw the Indians make use of, which was very disagreeable to the taste. We laboured all next day against the stream, and fared as we had done the day before. The next day brought us to the carrying place. Here was plenty of wood, but nothing to be got[Page 73] for sustenance. We passed this night as we had frequently done under a tree; but what we suffered at this time is not easy to be expressed. I had been three days at the oar without any kind of nourishment except the wretched root above mentioned. I had no shirt, for it had rotted off by bits. All my clothes consisted, of a short grieko (something like a bear-skin), a piece of red cloth which had once been a waistcoat, and a ragged pair of trowsers, without shoes or stockings."
Note 2. A Briton and a friend.] Don Patricio Gedd, a Scotch physician in one of the Spanish settlements, hospitably relieved Byron and his wretched associates, of which the Commodore speaks in the warmest terms of gratitude.
Note 3. Or yield the Lyre of Heav'n another string.The seven strings of Apollo's harp were the symbolical representations of the seven planets. Herschel, by discovering an eighth, might be said to add another string to the instrument.[Page 74]
Note 4. The Swedish sage.] Linnaeus.
Note 5.— Deep from his vaults the Loxian murmurs flow.Loxius is a name frequently given to Apollo by Greek writers: it is met with more than once in the Chaoephorae of Aeschylus.
Note 6.— Unlocks a generous store at thy command.Like Horeb's rocks beneath the prophet's hand.See Exodus, chap. xvii. 3, 5, 6.
Note 7. Wild Obi flies.] Among the negroes of the West Indies, Obi, or Obiah, is the name of a magical power, which is believed by them to affect the object of its malignity with dismal calamities Such a belief must undoubtedly have been deduced from the superstitious mythology of their kinsmen on the coast of Africa. I have therefore personified Obi as the evil spirit of the African, although the history of the African tribes mentions the evil spirit of their religious creed by a different appellation.[Page 75]
Note 8. Sibir's dreary mines.] Mr. Bell of Antermony, in his travels through Siberia, informs us that the name of the country is universally pronounced Sibir by the Russians.
Note 9.— Presaging wrath to Poland — and to man! "On the 10th of October 1794, a dreadful engagement took place between the Russians under General Fersen and the troops under Kosciusko. The Russians advanced twice to the attack, but were repulsed by the Poles, who however, unfortunately, not contented with the advantages they had gained, abandoned their favourable position on the heights, and pressed on to the attack in their turn. This movement threw the troops into some confusion; and the Russians, forming themselves anew, the route soon became general. The battle, which began at seven in the morning, did not end till noon. Kosciusko flew from rank to rank, and was continually in the hottest part of the engagement, in the course of which he had three horses killed under him. At length he fell; and a Cossack, who did not know him in the peasants dress, which he constantly wore, wounded him from behind with a lance. He recovered, and advanced a few steps,[Page 76] but was again knocked down by another Cossack, who was preparing to give him a mortal blow, when his arm was stopped by a Russian officer, who is said to have been General Chronzazow, to whose wife Kosciusko had a short time before politely given leave of departure from Warsaw to join her husband. The unfortunate Kosciusko implored the officer, if he wished to render him a service, to allow the soldier to put an end to his existence; but the latter chose rather to make him a prisoner. The Polish infantry defended themselves with bravery proportioned to that of their general, and fought with a degree of valour almost approaching to fury.The Russians under General Fersen soon afterwards summoned Warsaw to surrender; and on being refused, after the junction of the different corps under Fersen, Dernfeld, Denisow, and Suwarrow, they proceeded, on the 4th of November, to attack the suburb of Prague. In the mean time the generals Madalinski and Dambrowski threw themselves into Warsaw, and prepared for resistance. The suburb of Prague, separated from Warsaw by the Vistula, was defended by more than a hundred pieces of cannon, disposed upon thirty-three batteries. Little intimidated,[Page 77] however, by so formidable a force, the ferocious Suwarrow commanded his soldiers to mount to the assault in the same manner they had done at Ismael, where the Russians entered by climbing over the dead and wounded bodies of their comrades, as well as of their enemies. His further orders were, that they should fight only with the sabre and bayonet. The Russians sprung to the charge with almost inconceivable impetuosity. They eagerly began to climb the works, and the six Russian columns, by singular good fortune, presented themselves at the same moment before the lines at Prague. Thus surrounded, the Polish generals found themselves unable to oppose, with 10,000 soldiers, which was the whole of their force, the united attack of 50,000 men; and, to add to their distress, the fire which they immediately commenced, from the darkness of the night, was so ill directed as to pass over the heads of the assailants. The cry raised by the successful columns penetrated to the entrenchments on the other side the Vistula, and added to the consternation of the Poles engaged with the other part of the Russian force; and they endeavoured to find safety by retiring into Warsaw, over a bridge. In their retreat they were met by another body of Russians, and a dreadful carnage ensued, in which a great part of the garrison of[Page 78] Prague was miserably slaughtered. After a severe conflict of eight hours, the resistance on the part of the Poles ceased; but the massacre by the detestable Suwarrow, who, from his habitual cruelty, was selected for this service, continued for two hours longer; and the pillage lasted till noon on the following day. Five thousand Poles were computed to have been slain in the assault; the remainder were either imprisoned or dispersed. The citizens were compelled to lay down their arms, and their houses were plundered by the merciless Russians, who, after the battle had ceased nearly ten hours, about nine o'clock at night set fire to the town, and again began to massacre the inhabitants; nine thousand persons, unarmed men, defenceles women, and harmless infants, perished either in the flames or by the sword, and nearly the whole of the suburb was reduced to ashes. In the whole of this siege it is computed that not less than 30,000 of the Poles were inhumanly put to death. In this exigence, Count Potocki, the chief of the insurrection, proposed to treat with the Russians, and repaired to their head quarters with propositions of peace in name of the republic. He was received with extreme haughtiness by the infamous Suwarrow, who observed that the Empress was not at war with the republic; that his only object in coming[Page 79] to Warsaw was to reduce the refractory subjects of Poland to obedience; and he intimated that he should not treat with any insurgent, but only with such as, invested with legitimate authority, should come to speak in the name, and on the part of his Polish majesty: Deputies were dispatched from the magistracy of Warsaw to the Russian commander, who returned, after having been constrained to surrender the city at discretion, under the single condition of securing to the citizens their lives and property. The general insolently observed, that there was another article which, without doubt, they had forgotten to ask, but which he would accede to them, which was pardon for the past. In consequence of this arrangement, the firing which had been kept up in the suburb of Prague ceased, and all the inhabitants were requested to surrender their arms. This was refused by the soldiers in the city, and their chief Wawrzecki, with many others of the supreme council, refused to take part in the capitulation. This impeded the close of the negociation; but the military, who refused to lay down their arms, were allowed to leave Warsaw, not however without a declaration from Suwarrow that they might be sure of not escaping, and that, when taken, no quarter would be granted. On the morning of the 7th, the supreme council,[Page 80] with the generalissimo Wawrzecki, remitted into the hands of the king the authority they had exercised. On the 9th the Russian general made his triumphal entry into Warsaw, in which the streets were lined with his troops, and the inhabitants, shut up in their houses, observed a melancholy silence. The chief magistrate delivered him the keys at the bridge of Prague; after which he received the compliments of the king; and on the 10th, went with much pomp to the castle to pay his respects to his majesty. To complete the whole of this execrable scene, ostentatious and solemn blasphemy was called in; and the 1st of December was set apart for a day of solemn thanksgiving, and Te Deum was sung for the triumph of powerful oppression over persecuted virtue, to the God of all mercies, whose altars had been stained by the blood of the innocent and helpless; andwhose praises were chanted by the voice of murderers, amidst the shrieks and groans of the victims.New Annual Register, 1794.
Note 10. "The shrill horn blew. "] — The negroes in the West Indies are summoned to their morning work by a shell or a horn.[Page 81]
Note 11 How long was Timur's iron sceptre swayed? — To elucidate this passage, I shall subjoin a quotation from the preface to Letters from a Hindoo Rajah, a work of elegance and celebrity. "The impostor of Mecca had established, as one of the principles of his doctrine, the merit of extending it, either by persuasion, or the sword, to all parts of the earth. How steadily this injunction was adhered to by his followers, and with what success it was pursued, is well known to all who are in the least conversant in history. "The same overwhelming torrent, which had inundated the greater part of Africa, burst its way into the very heart of Europe, and covered many kingdoms of Asia with unbounded desolation; directed its baleful course to the flourishing provinces of Hindostan. Here these fierce and hardy adventurers, whose only improvement had been in the science of destruction, who added the fury of fanaticism to the ravages of war, found the great end of their conquests opposed, by objects which neither the ardour of their persevering zeal, nor savage barbarity, could surmount. Multitudes were sacrificed by the cruel hand of religious persecution, and whole countries were deluged in blood, in the vain hope, that[Page 82] by the destruction of a part, the remainder might be persuaded, or terrified into the profession of Mahomedism: but all these sanguinary efforts were ineffectual; and at length being fully convinced, that though they might extirpate, they could never hope to convert any number of the Hindoos, they relinquished the impracticable idea, with which they had entered upon their career of conquest, and contented themselves with the acquirement of the civil dominion and almost universal empire of Hindostan."Letters from a Hindoo Rajah, by Eliza Hamilton.
Note 12. And braved the stormy spirit of the Cape.] See the description of the Cape of Good Hope, translated from Camoens, by Mickle.
Note 13. While famish'd nations died along the shore.The following account of British conduct, and its consequences in Bengal, will afford a sufficient idea of the fact alluded to in this passage. After describing the monopoly of salt, betel nut, and tobacco, the historian proceeds thus: "Money in this current came but by drops; it could not quench the thirst of those who[Page 83] waited in India to receive it. An expedient, such as it was remained to quicken its pace. The natives could live with little salt, but could not want food. Some of the agents saw themselves well situated for collecting the rice into stores; they did so. They knew the Gentoos would rather die than violate the principles of their religion by eating flesh. The alternative would therefore be between giving what they had, or dying. The inhabitants sunk; — they that cultivated the land, and saw the harvest at the disposal of others, planted in doubt, scarcity ensued. Then the monopoly was easier managed — sickness ensued. In some districts the languid living left the bodies of their numerous dead unburied.Short History of the English Transactions, in the East Indies, page 145.
Note 14. Nine times hath Brama's wheel's of lightning hurl'd, His awful presence o'er the prostrate world!Among the sublime fictions of the Hindoo mythology, it is one article of belief, that the Deity Brama has descended nine times upon the world in various forms, and that he is yet to appear a tenth time in the figure of a warrior upon a white horse to out[Page 84] off all incorrigible offenders. Avator is the word used to express his descent.
Note 15: And Camdeo bright, and Ganesa sublime.] Camdeo is the God of Love in the mythology of the Hindoos. Ganesa and Seraswatee correspond to the Pagan deities, Janus and Minerva.
NOTES ON PART II.
Note 1. The noon of manhood to a myrtle shade!Sacred to Venus is the myrtle shade. Dryden.
Note 2. Thy woes, Arion!] Falconer, in his poem, The Shipwreck, speaks of himself by the name of Arion. The passage at the conculsion of the last Canto, to which I have alluded, may be quoted.
Next, oh, unhappy chief! the eternal doom
Of Heav'n decreed thee to the briny tomb!
What scenes of misery torment thy view?
What painful struggles of thy dying crew,[Page 86]
Thy perish'd hopes all buried in the flood,
O'erspread with corses red with human blood?
So pierced with anguish hoary Priam gaz'd,
While Troy's imperial domes in ruin blazed,
While he severest sorrow doom'd to feel
Expir'd beneath the victor's murdering steel;
Thus, with his hapless partners, till the last
Sad refuge, Albert hugs the floating mast;
His soul could yet sustain the mortal blow,
But droops, alas, beneath superior woe!
For now soft Nature's sympathetic chain,
Tugs at his yearning heart with powerful strain;
His faithful wife, forever doom'd to mourn
For him, alas, who never shall return!
To black Adversity's reproach expos'd,
With want and hardships unforeseen enclos'd;
Her youth and indigence set forth a prey
To lawless guilt that flatters to betray! —
While these reflections rack his feeling mind,
Rodmond, who clung behind, his grasp resign'd,[Page 87]
And, as the tumbling waters o'er him roll'd,
His outstretch'd arms the master's legs enfold;
Sad Albert feels the dissolution near,
And strives in vain his fetter'd limbs to clear;
For death bids every clenching joint adhere.
All faint to Heav'n he throws his dying eyes,
And, oh, protect my wife and child he cries!
The gushing streams roll back th' unfinish'd sound —
He gasps — he dies — and tumbles to the ground!
Falconer's Shipwreck, Canto III.
Note 3. The Robber MoorFrom Schiller's Tragedy of the Robbers I quote the following dialogue in one of the concluding scenes, to illustrate the lines that relate to Amelia's death.
(With a contemptuous smile.)
Poor, impotent, and weak!
(He places Amelia, who is almost insensible, on a stone.)
Look up, my bride! No priest shall bless our union — no hallowed prayer be ſaid! — I know what's better.
(Takes the handkerchief from Amelia's neck, and discovers her bosom.)
Gaze on this beauteous sight! if ye[Page 88] be men! Felons! have ye hearts of ſtone? — Behold me here! I'm young — I've felt the power of love! I was belov'd! betroth'd! — I had reached the gate of paradise!
(In a tone of tender supplication)
, and shall my brothers force me thence?
(The Robbers smile.)
— It is enough!
Thus far has Nature spoke! — Now the Man's part begins! — I am a murderer, like you! — a robber, and incendiary! — I am —
(advancing to the band with an air of inexpressible majesty)
— your Captain! and will ye thus, ye felons! sword in hand, thus treat, thus parley with your Captain? Down with your arms! it is your master who commands!
(They lay down their arms.)
There! what are you now but children, and I — am free! — Moor muſt be free, in order to be great! Now, I would not exchange this triumph for an elysium of love!
(He draws his sword.)
Poor wretches! your mean souls reach not this height. — What e'er is great seems frenzy in your eyes. — The spirit of despair outstrips your snail-paced wiſdom. On deeds like these we pause not till they are done! — I'll think on this — hereafter!
(He stabs Amelia.)
THE ROBBERS.[Page 89]
(Clapping their hands.)
Bravo! most worthy Captain! Thy honour is discharg'd! — Thou Prince of Robbers!
Now she is mine! She's mine! — Or that hereafter is but the dream of fools! — I have foil'd my deſtiny! — In spite of fate, I have brought home my bride: — And with this sword have sealed our wedding vows — Thousands of years shall pass, and seasons roll, e'er the bright sun shall witness such a deed. —
(To Amelia with tenderness.)
Was it not sweet, my Emily, to die thus by thy bridegroom's hand?
(Stretching out her hand to him.)
Oh moſt sweet!
Robbers, Scene V.
Note 4. What millions died that Caesar might be great.The carnage occasioned by the wars of Julius Caesar have been usually estimated as two millions of men.
Note 5. Or learn the fate that bleeding thousands bore March'd by their Charles to Dneiper's swampy shore.In this extremity (says the Biographer of Charles XII. of Sweden, speaking of his military exploits before the battle of Pultowa), the memorable winter of 1709, which was still more remarkable[Page] in that part of Europe than in France, destroyed numbers of his troops: for Charles resolved to brave the seasons as he had done his enemies, and ventured to make long marches during this mortal cold. It was in one of these marches that two thousand men fell down dead with cold before his eyes.
Note 6. And part like Ajut, never to return!] See the history of Ajut and Anningait in the Rambler.