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And rush'd in wrath to make our isle his prey:
Thy form, from out thy sweet abode,
O'ertook him on his blasted road,
And stopp'd his wheels, and look'd his rage away.
I see recoil his sable steeds,
That bore him swift to savage deeds,
Thy tender melting eyes they own:
O maid! for all thy love to Britain shewn,
Where Justice bars her iron tower,
To thee we build a roseate bower,
Thou, thou shalt rule our queén, and share our monarch's throne!
WHO shall awake the Spartan fife,
And call in solemn sounds to life
The youths, whose locks divinely spreading,
Like vernal hyacinths in sullen hue,
At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding,
Applauding Freedom loved of old to view?
What new Alcæus, fancy-blest,
Shall sing the sword, in myrtles drest,
At Wisdom's shrine awhile its flame concealing, (What place so fit to seal a deed renown'd?)
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, It leap'd in glory forth, and dealt her prompted O Goddess! in that feeling hour, [wound! When most its sounds would court thy ears,
Let not my shell's misguided power
E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears.
No, Freedom! no, I will not tell
How Rome, before thy weeping face,
With heaviest sound, a giant statue, fell,
Push'd by a wild and artless race
From off its wide ambitious base,
When Time his northern sons of spoil awoke,
And all the blended work of strength and grace,
With many a rude repeated stroke,
And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments
Yet e'en, where'er the least appear'd,
Th' admiring world thy hand revered:
Still, 'midst the scatter'd states around,
Some remnants of her strength were found;
They saw, by what escaped the storm,
How wondrous rose her perfect form,
How in the great, the labour'd whole,
Each mighty master pour'd his soul!
For sunny Florence, seat of art,
Beneath her vines preserved a part,
Till they, whom Science loved to name,
(Oh! who could fear it?) quench'd her flame,
And lo, an humbler relic laid
In jealous Pisa's olive shade!
See small Marino joins the theme,
Though least, not last in thy esteem;
Strike, louder strike, th' ennobling strings
To those, whose merchant-sons were kings;
To him, who deck'd with pearly pride,
In Adria weds his green-hair'd bride :
Hail, port of glory, wealth, and pleasure!
Ne'er let me change this Lydian measure;
Nor e'er her former pride relate,
To sad Liguria's bleeding state.
Ah, no! more pleased thy haunts I seek,
On wild Helvetia's mountains bleak:
(Where, when the favour'd of thy choice,
The daring archer heard thy voice;
Forth from his eyrie roused in dread,
The ravening eagle northward fled.)
Or dwell in willow'd meads more near,
With those* to whom thy stork is dear:
Those whom the rod of Alva bruised,
Whose crown a British queen refused,
*The Dutch, amongst whom there are very severe penalties for those who are convicted of killing this bird. They are kept tame in almost all their towns, and particularly at the Hague; of the arms of which they make a part. The common people of Holland are said to entertain a superstitious sentiment, that if the whole species of them should become extinct, they should lose their liberties.
The magic works, thou feel'st the stains,
One holier name alone remains:
The perfect spell shall then avail,
Hail, nymph! adored by Britain, hail!
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
The works, the wizard Time has wrought!
The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story,
Saw Britain link'd to his now adverse strand,
No sea between, nor cliffs sublime and hoary,
He pass'd with unwet feet through all our land.
To the blown Baltic then, they say,
The wild waves found another way,
Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding;
Till all the banded west at once 'gan rise,
A wide wild storm even Nature's self confounding,
Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth
This pillar'd earth, so firm and wide,
By winds and inward labours torn,
In thunders dread was push'd aside,
And down the shouldering billows borne.
And see like gems her laughing train,
The little isles on every side;
Mona,+ once hid from those who search the main,
Where thousand elfin shapes abide,
And Wight, who checks the westering tide,
For thee consenting Heaven has each bestow'd,
A fair attendant on her sovereign pride:
To thee this blest divorce she owed,
For thou hast made her vales thy loved, thy last
This tradition is mentioned by several of our old historians. Some naturalists too have endeavoured to support the probability of the fact, by arguments drawn from the correspondent disposition of the two opposite coasts.
There is a tradition in the Isle of Man, that a mermaid becoming enamoured of a young man of extraordinary beauty, took an opportunity of meeting him one day as he walked on the shore, and opened her passion to him, but was received with a coldness, occasioned by his horror and surprise at her appearance. This, however, was so misconstrued by the sea-lady, that in revenge for his treatment of her she punished the whole island, by covering it with a mist, so that all who attempted to carry on any commerce with it, either never arrived at it, but wandered up and down the sea, or were upon a sudden wrecked upon its cliffs.
Then, too, 'tis said, an hoary pile,
'Midst the green navel of our isle,
Thy shrine in some religious wood,
O soul-enforcing Goddess! stood;
There oft the painted native's feet
Were wont thy form celestial meet;
Though now with hopeless toil we trace
Time's backward rolls, to find its place;
Whether the fiery-tressed Dane,
Or Roman's self, o'erturned the fame :
Or in what heaven-left age it fell;
'Twere hard for modern song to tell.
Yet still, if Truth those beams infuse,
Which guide at once, and charm the Muse,
Beyond yon braided clouds that lie,
Paving the light embroider'd sky,
Amidst the bright pavilion'd plains
The beauteous model still remains.
There happier than in islands blest,
Or bowers by Spring or Hebe drest,
The chiefs who fill our Albion's story,
In warlike weeds, retired in glory,
Hear their consorted Druids sing
Their triumphs to th' immortal string.
How may the poet now unfold
What never tongue or numbers told?
How learn, delighted and amazed,
What hands unknown that fabric raised?
E'en now, before his favour'd eyes,
In Gothic pride it seems to rise!
Yet Grecia's graceful orders join,
Majestic through the mix'd design:
The secret builder knew to choose
Each sphere-found gem of richest hues:
Whate'er heaven's purer mould contains,
When nearer suns emblaze its veins;
There on the walls the Patriot's sight
May ever hang with fresh delight,
And, graved with some prophetic rage,
Read Albion's fame through every age.
Ye forms divine, ye laureate band,
That near her inmost altar stand!
Now soothe her, to her blissful train
Blithe Concord's social form to`gain:
Concord, whose myrtle wand can steep
E'en Anger's blood-shot eyes in sleep:
Before whose breathing bosom's balm,
Rage drops his steel, and storms grow calm;
Her let our sires and matrons hoar
Welcome to Britain's ravaged shore;
Our youths, enamour'd of the fair,
Play with the tangles of her hair,
Till, in one loud applauding sound,
The nations shout to her around,
'Oh how supremely art thou blest!
Thou, lady-thou shalt rule the West!"
On the Death of Colonel Charles Ross, in the Action at Fontenoy.
Written May, 1745.
WHILE, lost to all his former mirth,
Britannia's genius bends to earth,
And mourns the fatal day;
While stain❜d with blood he strives to tear,
Unseemly, from his sea-green hair
The wreaths of cheerful May:
The thoughts which musing Pity pays,
And fond Remembrance loves to raise,
Your faithful hours attend:
Still Fancy, to herself unkind,
Awakes to grief the soften'd mind,
And points the bleeding friend.
By rapid Scheldt's descending wave
His country's vows shall bless the grave,