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Hark! how the hall, resounding to the strain,
Shakes with the martial music's novel din! The heralds of a warrior's haughty reign,
High crested banners, wave thy walls within. Of changing sentinels, the distant hum,
The mirth of feasts, the clang of burnish'd arms, The braying trumpet, and the hoarser drum,
Unite in concert with increased alarms. An abbey once, a regal fortress* now,
Encircled by insulting rebel powers ; War's dread machines o’erhang thy threatening
brow, And dart destruction in sulphureous showers. Ah vain defence! the hostile traitor's siege,
Though oft repulsed by guile, o'ercomes the brave; His thronging foes oppress the faithful liege,
Rebellion's reeking standards o'er him wave. Not unavenged, the raging Baron yields,
The blood of traitors smears the purple plain,
And days of glory yet for him remain.
Self-gather'd laurels on a self-sought grave;
save. Trembling, she snatch'd himt from th' unequal
strife, In other fields the torrent to repel; * Newstead sustained a considerable siege in the war between Charles I. and his parliament.
† Lord Byron, and his brother Sir William, held high commauds in the royal army; the former was general in chief, in Ireland, lieutenant of the Tower, and governor to James, Duke of York, afterward the unhappy James II. The latter had a principal share in many actions.Vide Clarendon, Hume, &c.
For nobler combats, here, reserved his life,
To lead the band where god-like FALKLAND* fell. From thee, poor pile! to lawless plunder given,
While dying groans their painful requiem sound, Far different incense now ascends to heaven,
Such victims wallow on the gory ground. There many a pale and ruthless robber's corse,
Noisome and ghast, defiles thy sacred sod; O’er mingling man, and horse commix'd with horse,
Corruption's heap, the savage spoilers trod. Graves, long with rank and sighing weeds o’er
spread, Ransack’d, resign, perforce, their mortal mould; * From ruffian fangs escape not e'en the dead,
Raked from repose, in search for buried gold. Hush'd is the harp, unstrung the warlike lyre,
The minstrel's palsied hand reclines in death; No more he strikes the quivering chords with fire,
Or sings the glories of the martial wreath. At length, the sated murderers, gorged with prey,
Retire, the clamour of the fight is o'er; Silence again resumes her awful sway,
And sable horror guards the massy door, Here desolation holds her dreary court,
What satellites declare her dismal reign! Shrieking their dirge, ill-omen’d birds resort,
To fit their vigils in the holy fane. Soon a new morn's restoring beams dispel
The clouds of anarchy from Britain's skies ; The fierce usurper seeks his native hell,
And Nature triumphs, as the tyrant dies.
# Lucius Cary, Lord Viscount Falkland, the most accomplished man of his age, was killed at the battle of Newberry, charging in the ranks of Lord Byron's regiment of cavalry.
With storms she welcomes his expiring groans,
'Whirlwinds, responsive,greethis labouring breath; Earth shudders as her cave receives his bones,
Loathing* the offering of so dark a death. The legal rulert now resumes the helm,
He guides through gentle seas the prow of state; Hope cheers, with wonted smiles, the peaceful realm,
And heals the bleeding wounds of wearied hate. The gloomy tenants, Newstead! of thy cells,
Howling, resign their violated nest; Again the master on his tenure dwells,
Enjoy'd, from absence, with enraptured zest. Vassals, within thy hospitable pale,
Loudly carousing, bless their lord's return; Culture again adorns the gladdening vale,
And matrons, once lamenting, cease to mourn. A thousand songs on tuneful echo float,
Unwonted foliage mantles o'er the trees; And hark! the horns proclaim a mellow note,
The hunter's cry hangs lengthening on the breeze. Beneath their coursers' hoofs the vallies shake,
What fears, what anxious hopes, attend the chase! The dying stag seeks refuge in the lake,
Exulting shouts announce the finish'd race. Ah happy days! too happy to endure,
Such simple sports our plain forefathers knew; No splendid vices glitter'd to allure,
Their joys were many, as their cares were few.
* This is an historical fact; a violent tempest occurred immediately subsequent to the death or interment of Cromwell, which occasioned many disputes between the partizans and the cavaliers; both interpreted the circumstance into Divine interposition, but whether as approbation or condemnation, we leave to the casuists of that age to decide ; 1 have made such use of the occurrence as suited the subject of my poem.
+ Charles II.
From these descending, sons to sires succeed,
Time steals along, and Death uprears his dart, Another chief impels the foaming steed,
Another crowd pursue the panting hart. Newstead! what saddening change of scene is thine!
Thy yawning arch betokens slow decay; The last and youngest of a noble line
Now holds thy mouldering turrets in its sway. Deserted now, he scans thy gray worn towers;
Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep; Thy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers; These, these he views, and views them but to
weep. Yet are his tears no emblem of regret,
Cherish'd affection only bids them flow; Pride, Hope, and Love, forbid him to forget,
But warm his bosom with impassion'd glow. Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes,
Or gewgaw grottos of the vainly great; Yet lingers 'mid thy damp and mossy tombs,
Nor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of fate. Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
And bless thy future as thy former day.
An imitation of Macpherson's Ossian.. Dear are the days of youth! Age dwells on their remembrance through the mist of time. In the twilight, he recals the sunny hours of morn. He lifts his spear with trembling hand. "Not thus feebly did I raise the steel before my fathers ! Past is the race of heroes! but their fame rises on the harp; their souls ride on the wings of the wind! they hear the sound through the sighs of the storm; and rejoice in their hall of clouds! Such is Calmar. The gray stone marks his narrow house. He looks down from eddying tempests; he rolls his form in the whirlwind, and hovers on the blast of the mountain.
In Morven dwelt the chief; a beam of war to Fingal. His steps in the field were marked in blood; Lochlin's sons had Aed before his angry spear : but mild was the eye of Calmar; soft was the flow of his yellow locks; they streamed like the meteor of the night.
No maid was the sigh of his soul; his thoughts were given to friendship, to dark-haired Orla, destroyer of heroes! Equal were their swords in battle ; but fierce was the pride of Orla: gentle alone to Calmar. Together they dwelt in the cave of Oithona.
From Lochlin, Swaran bounded over the blue waves. Erin's sons fell beneath his might. Fingal roused his chiefs to combat. Their ships cover the ocean! Their hosts throng on the green hills. They come to the aid of Erin.
Night rose in clouds. Darkness veils the armies. * It may be necessary to observe, that the story, though con. siderably varied in the catastrophe, is taken from Nisus and Euryalus,' of which episode a translation is already given in the present volume.