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And polyanthuses display'd
The brilliance of their gold brocade :
Here hyacinths of heavenly blue
Shook their rich tresses to the morn,
While rose-buds scarcely show'd their hue,
But coyly linger'd on the thorn,
Till their loved nightingale, who tarried long,
Should wake them into beauty with his song.
The violets were past their prime,
Yet their departing breath
Was sweeter, in the blast of death,
Than all the lavish fragrance of the thyme.
Amidst this gorgeous train,
Our truant star shone forth in vain ;
Though in a wreath of periwinkle,
Through whose fine gloom it strove to twinkle,
It seem'd no bigger to the view
Than the light-spangle in a drop of dew.
- Astronomers may shake their polls,
And tell me,-every orb that rolls
Through heaven's sublime expanse
Is sun or world, whose speed and size
Confound the stretch of mortal eyes,
In nature's mystic dance:
It may be so
For aught I know,
Or aught indeed that they can show;
Yet till they prove what they aver,
From this plain truth I will not stir,
-A star's a star-but when I think
Of sun or world, the star I sink;
Wherefore in verse, at least in mine,
Stars, like themselves, in spite of fate, shall
Our star, in melancholy state,
Still sigh'd to find itself alone,
Neglected, cold, and desolate,
Unknowing and unknown.
Lifting at last an anxious eye,
It saw that circlet empty in the sky
Where it was wont to roll,
Within a hair-breadth of the pole:
In that same instant, sore amazed,
On the strange blank all nature gazed;
Travellers, bewilder'd for their guide,
In glens and forests lost their way;
And ships, on ocean's trackless tide,
Went fearfully astray.
The star, now wiser for its folly, knew
Its duty, dignity, and bliss at home;
So up to heaven again it few,
Resolved no more to roam.
One hint the humble bard may send
To her for whom these lines are pennd:
-0 may it be enough for her
To shine in her own character !
O may she be content to grace,
On earth, in heaven, her proper place!
Now, to return (for we have wander'd far)
To what was nothing but a simple star;
- Where all was jollity around,
No fellowship the stranger found.
Those lowliest children of the earth,
That never leave their mother's lap,
Companions in their harmless mirth,
Were smiling, blushing, dancing there,
Feasting on dew, and light, and air,
And fearing no mishap,
Save from the hand of lady fair,
Who, on her wonted walk,
Pluck'd one and then another,
A sister or a brother,
From its elastic stalk;
Happy, no doubt, for one sharp pang, to die
On her sweet bosom, withering in her eye.
Thus all day long that star's hard lot,
While bliss and beauty ran to waste,
Was but to witness on the spot
Beauty and bliss it could not taste,
At length the sun went down, and then
Its faded glory came again,
With brighter, bolder, purer light,
It kindled through the deepening night,
Till the green bower, so dim by day,
Glow'd like a fairy-palace with its beams;
In vain, for sleep on all the borders lay,
The flowers were laughing in the land of
“MAKE way for liberty !
!”—he cried; Made way for liberty, and died !
In arms the Austrian phalanx stood,
A living wall, a human wood!
A wall, where every conscious stone
Seem'd to its kindred thousands grown;
A rampart all assaults to bear,
Till time to dust their frames should wear ;
A wood like that enchanted grove*
In which with fiends Rinaldo strove,
Where every silent tree possess'd
spirit prison’d in its breast,
Which the first stroke of coming strife
Would startle into hideous life,
So dense, so still, the Austrians stood,
A living wall, a human wood!
Impregnable their front appears,
All horrent with projected spears,
Whose polish'd points before them sbine,
From flank to flank, one brilliant line,
Bright as the breakers' splendours run
Along the billows, to the sun.
Opposed to these a hovering band
Contended for their native land:
Peasants, whose new-found strength had broke
From manly necks th' ignoble yoke,
And forged their fetters into swords,
On equal terms to fight their lords :
And what insurgent rage had gain'd,
In many a mortal fray maintain'd;
* See Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered, canto xviii.
An earthquake could not overthrow A city with a surer blow.
Thus Switzerland again was free: Thus death made way for liberty !
FOR THE FIRST LEAF OF A LADY'S
Marshall’d once more at freedom's call,
They came to conquer or to fall,
Where he who conquer'd, he who fell,
Was deem'd a dead, or living Tell!
Such virtue had that patriot breathed,
So to the soil his soul bequeathed,
That wheresoe'er his arrows flew,
Heroes in his own likeness grew,
And warriors sprang from every sod
Which his awakening footstep trod.
And now the work of life and death
Hung on the passing of a breath;
The fire of conflict burnt within,
The battle trembled to begin ;
Yet, while the Austrians held their ground,
Point for attack was nowhere found,
Where'er the impatient Switzers gazed,
The unbroken line of lances blazed ;
That line 'twere suicide to meet,
And perish at their tyrants' feet,-
How could they rest within their graves,
And leave their homes, the homes of slaves ?
Would they not feel their children tread
With clanging chains above their head?
It must not be: This day, this hour,
Annihilates th' oppressor's power ;
All Switzerland is in the field,
She will not fly, she cannot yield-
She must not fall; her better fate
Here gives her an immortal date.
Few were the number she could boast;
But every freeman was a host,
And felt as though himself were he
On whose sole arm hung victory.
It did depend on one, indeed;
Behold him,-Arnold Winkelried !
There sounds not to the trump of fame
The echo of a nobler name.
Unmark'd he stood amid the throng:
In rumination deep and long,
Till you might see, with sudden grace,
The very thought come o'er his face,
And by the motion of his form
Anticipate the bursting storm;
And by th' uplifting of his brow
Tell where the bolt would strike, and how.
But 'twas no sooner thought than done,
The field was in a moment won :-
“Make way for liberty !” he cried,
Then ran, with arms extended wide,
As if his dearest friend to clasp ;
Ten spears he swept within his grasp.
“ Make way for liberty !” he cried ;
Their keen points met from side to side :
He bow'd amongst them like a tree,
And thus made way for liberty.
Swift to the breach his comrades Aly;
“Make way for liberty !” they cry,
And through the Austrian phalanx dart,
As rush'd the spears through Arnold's heart;
While, instantaneous as his fall,
Rout, ruin, panic, scatter'd all:
FLOWER after flower comes forth in spring,
Bird after bird begins to sing;
Till copse and field in richest bloom,
Sparkle with dew, and breathe perfume, -
While hill and valley, all day long,
And half the night, resound with song,
So may acquaintance, one by one,
Come like spring-towers to meet the sun,
And o'er these pages pure and white,
Kind words, kind thoughts, kind prayers indite,
Which sweeter odour shall dispense
Than vernal blossoms to the sense ;
Till woods and streams less fair appear
Than autographs and sketches here:
-Or like the minstrels of the grove,
Pour strains of harmony and love,
The music made by heart to heart,
In which the least can bear a part,
More exquisite than all the notes
Of nightingales’ and thrushes' throats.
Thus shall this book, from end to end,
Show in succession friend on friend,
By their own living hands portray'd,
In prose and verse, in light and shade,
By pen and pencil,-till her eye,
Who owns the volume shall descry
On many a leaf some lovely trace,
Reminding of a lovelier face!
With here and there the humbler line,
Recalling such a phiz as mine.
THE FIRST LEAF OF AN ALBUM.
Ut pictura, poesis.-Hor. de Art. Poet.
Two lovely sisters here unite
To blend improvement with delight;
Painting and poetry engage
By turns to deck the Album's page.
Here máy each glowing picture be
The quintessence of poesy,
With skill so exquisitely wrought,
As if the colours were pure thought, -
Thought from the bosom's inmost cell,
By magic tints made visible,
That, while the eye admires, the mind
Itself, as in a glass, may find.
And may the poet's verse, alike,
With all the power of painting strike;
So freely, so divinely trace,
In every line the line of grace ;
And beautify, with such sweet art,
The image-chamber of the heart,