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A meteor wert thou in a darksome night;
Yet shall thy name, conspicuous and sublime,
Stand in the spacious firmament of time,
Fixed as a star; such glory is thy right.
Alas! it may not be : for earthly fame
Is fortune's frail dependant; yet there lives
A judge, who, as man claims by merit, gives;
To whose all-pondering mind a noble aim,
Faithfully kept, is as a noble deed :
In whose pure sight all virtue doth succeed.
THE CAPTIVE PATRIOT. Is there a power that can sustain and cheer The captive chieftain, by a tyrant's doom, Forced to descend alive into his tomb, A dungeon dark! where he must waste the year, And lie cut off from all his heart holds dear; What time his injured country is a stage Whereon deliberate valour and the rage of righteous vengeance side by side appear, Filling from morn to night the heroic scene With deeds of hope and everlasting praise : Say, can he think of this with mind serene And silen fetters? Yes, if visions bright Shine on his soul, reflected from the days When he himself was tried in open light.
In due observance of an ancient rite,
The rude Biscayans, when their children lie
Dead in the sinless time of infancy,
Attire the peaceful corse in vestments white;
And, in like sign of cloudless triumph bright,
They bind the unoffending creature's brows
With happy garlands of the pure white rose ;
This done, a festal company unite
In choral song; and, while the uplifted cross
Of Jesus goes before, the child is borne
Uncovered to his grave. Her piteous loss
The lonesome mother cannot choose but mourn;
Yet soon by Christian faith is grief subdued,
And joy attends upon her fortitude.
Yet, yet, Biscayans! we must meet our foes
With firmer soul, yet labour to regain
Our ancient freedom; else 'twere worse than vain
To gather round the bier these festal shows.
A garland fashioned of the pure white rose
Becomes not one whose father is a slave :
Oh, bear the infant covered to his grave!
These venerable mountains now inclose
A people sunk in apathy and fear.
If this endure, farewell, for us, all good!
The awful light of heavenly innocence
Will fail to illuminate the infant's bier ;
And guilt and shame, from which is no defence,
Descend on all that issues from our blood.
THE OAK OF GUERNICA. Dak of Guernica ! Tree of holier power Than that which in Dodona did enshrine (So faith too fondly deemed) a voice divine, Heard from the depths of its aërial bower, How canst thou flourish at this blighting hour? What hope, what joy can sunshine bring to thee, Or the soft breezes from the Atlantic sea, The dews of morn, or April's tender shower?
Stroke merciful and welcome would that be
Which should extend thy branches on the ground,
If never more within their shady round
Those lofty-minded lawgivers shall meet,
Peasant and lord, in their appointed seat,
Guardians of Biscay's ancient liberty.
INDIGNATION OF A HIGH-MINDED
We can endure that he should waste our lands,
Despoil our temples, and by sword and flame
Return us to the dust from which we came;
Such food a tyrant's appetite demands:
And we can brook the thought that by his hands
Spain may be overpowered, and he possess,
For his delight, a solemn wilderness,
Where all the brave lie dead. But when of bands,
Which he will break for us, he dares to speak,
Of benefits, and of a future day
When our enlightened minds shall bless his sway,
Then, the strained heart of fortitude proves weak;
Our groans, our blushes, our pale cheeks declare
That he has power to inflict what we lack strength to bear.
Avaunt all specious pliancy of mind
In men of low degree, all smooth pretence!
I better like a blunt indifference
And self-respecting slowness, disinclined
To win me at first sight: and be there joined
Patience and temperance with this high reserve,
Honour that knows the path and will not swerve;
Affections which if put to proof are kind;
And piety towards God. Such men of old
Were England's native growth; and, throughout Spain,
Forests of such do at this day remain;
Then for that country let our hopes be bold;
For matched with these shall Policy prove vain,
Her arts, her strength, her iron, and her gold.
O’erweening statesmen have full long relied On fleets and armies, and external wealth : But from within proceeds a nation's health ; Which shall not fail, though poor men cleave with pride To the paternal floor; or turn aside, In the thronged city, from the walks of gain, As being all unworthy to detain A soul by contemplation sanctified. There are who cannot languish in this strife, Spaniards of every rank, by whom the good Of such high course was felt and understood; Who to their country's cause have bound a life, Erewhile by solemn consecration given To labour, and to prayer, to nature, and to heaven.
THE FRENCH AND THE SPANISH
Hunger, and sultry heat, and nipping blast
From bleak l-top, and length of march by night
Through heavy swamp, or over snow-clad height,
These hardships ill sustained, these dangers past,
The roving Spanish bands are reached at last,
Charged, and dispersed like foam ; but as a flight
Of scattered quails by signs to re-unite,
So these,-and, heard of once again, are chased
With combinations of long-practised art
And newly-kindled hope; but they are fled,
Gone are they, viewless as the buried dead;
Where now?_Their sword is at the foeman's heart !
And thus from year to year his walk they thwart,
And hang like dreams around his guilty bed.
They seek, are sought; to daily battle led, Shrink not, though far outnumbered by their foes : For they have learnt to open and to close The ridges of grim war; and at their head Are captains such as erst their country bred Or fostered, self-supported chiefs,-like those Whom hardy Rome was fearful to oppose, Whose desperate shock the Carthaginian fled. In one who lived unknown a shepherd's life Redoubted Viriatus breathes again ; And Mina, nourished in the studious shade, With that great leader vies, who, sick of strife And bloodshed, longed in quiet to be laid In some green island of the western main.
The power of armies is a visible thing,
Formal and circumscribed in time and space;
But who the limits of that power shall trace
Which a brave people into light can bring
Or hide, at will,-for freedom combating,
By just revenge inflamed? No foot may chase,
Nor eye can follow to a fatal place
That power, that spirit, whether on the wing
Like the strong wind, or sleeping like the wind
Within its awful caves. From year to year
Springs this indigenous produce far and near;
No craft this subtle element can bind,
Rising like water from the soil, to find
In every nook a lip that it may cheer.