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And the bleak battlements shall bear no future blow.
Their hopes werenot less warm, their souls werefull as
Saw the discolour'd Rhine beneath its ruin run.
(1) “What wants that knave that a king should have?” was King
James's question on meeting Johnny Armstrong and his followers in full accoutrements, – See the Ballad.
L. But Thou, exulting and abounding river ! Making their waves a blessing as they flow Through banks whose beauty would endure for ever Could man but leave thy bright creation so, Nor its fair promise from the surface mow With the sharp scythe of conflict, — then to see Thy valley of sweet waters, were to know Earth paved like Heaven; and to seem such to me, Even now what wants thy stream? — that it should Lethe be. LI. A thousand battles have assail'd thy banks, But these and half their fame have pass'd away, And Slaughter heap'd on high his weltering ranks; Their very graves are gone, and what are they? Thy tide wash'd down the blood of yesterday, And all was stainless, and on thy clear stream Glass'd with its dancing light the sunny ray; But o'er the blacken'd memory's blighting dream Thy waves would vainly roll, all sweeping as they Seem. LII. Thus Harold inly said, and pass'd along, Yet not insensibly to all which here Awoke the jocund birds to early song In glens which might have made even exile dear: Though on his brow were graven lines austere, And tranquil sternness which had ta'en the place Of feelings fierier far but less severe, Joy was not always absent from his face, [trace. But o'er it in such scenes would steal with transient
And in its tenderer hour on that his bosom dwelt.
In him this glow’d when all beside had ceased to glow.
Well to that heart might his these absent greet
ings pour !
(1) The castle of Drachenfels stands on the highest summit of “the Seven Mountains,” over the Rhine banks: it is in ruins, and connected with some singular traditions: it is the first in view on the road from Bonn, but on the opposite side of the river; on this bank, nearly facing it, are the remains of another, called the Jew’s Castle, and a large cross commemorative of the murder of a chief by his brother. The number of castles and cities along the course of the Rhine on both sides is very great, and their situations remarkably beautiful. [These verses were written on the banks of the Rhine, in May. The original pencilling is before us. It is needless to observe that they were addressed to his sister. – E.]
3. I send the lilies given to me; Though long before thy hand they touch, I know that they must wither'd be, But yet reject them not as such; For I have cherish'd them as dear, Because they yet may meet thine eye, And guide thy soul to mine even here, When thou behold'st them drooping nigh, And know'st them gather'd by the Rhine, And offer'd from my heart to thine ! 4. The river nobly foams and flows, The charm of this enchanted ground, And all its thousand turns disclose Some fresher beauty varying round: The haughtiest breast its wish might bound Through life to dwell delighted here; Nor could on earth a spot be found To nature and to me so dear, Could thy dear eyes in following mine Still sweeten more these banks of Rhine ! LVI. By Coblentz, on a rise of gentle ground, There is a small and simple pyramid, Crowning the summit of the verdant mound; Beneath its base are heroes' ashes hid, Our enemy's—but let not that forbid Honour to Marceau ! o'er whose early tomb Tears, big tears, gush'd from the rough soldier's lid, Lamenting and yet envying such a doom, Falling for France, whose rights he battled to resume.