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Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day.
Yet see how all around them wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train,
Ah, show them where in ambush stand
To seize their prey, the murderous band !
Ah, tell them, they are men!
These shall the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind, Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that skulks behind; Or pining Love, shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart, And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy. The stings of Falsehood those shall try, And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse, with blood defil'd, And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the vale of
beneath A grisly troop are seen The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
To each his sufferings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
The unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their Paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
AWAKE, Æolian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon's harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take;
The laughing flowers that round them blow,
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of music winds along,
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
Through verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign :
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour:
The rocks, and nodding groves, rebellow to the roar.
Oh! sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen cares,
And frantic passions, hear thy soft control:
On Thracia's hills the lord of war
Has curb’d the fury of his car,
And dropp'd his thirsty lance at thy command;
Perching on the scepter'd hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing:
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
Temper'd to thy warbled lay,
O'er Idalia's velvet-green
The rosy-crowned Loves are seen,
On Cytherea's day,
With antic sports and blue-ey'd pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures ;
Now pursuing, now retreating,
Now in circling troops they meet.
To brisk notes in cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow-melting strains their queen's approach declare :
Where'er she turns, the Graces homage pay,
With arts sublime, that float upon the air,
In gliding state she wins her easy way :
O'er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, move
The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of Love.
Man's feeble race what ills await, Labour and Penury, the racks of Pain, Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate !
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.
Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?
Night, and all her sickly dews,
Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky:
Till down the eastern cliffs afar
Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of war.
In climes beyond the solar road,
Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam,
The Muse has broke the twilight gloom
To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.
And oft, beneath the odorous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctur'd chiefs, and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous shame,
Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep,
Isles, that crown th’Ægean deep,
Fields, that cool Ilissus laves,
Or where Mæander's amber waves
In lingering labyrinths creep,
How do your tuneful echoes languish
Mute, but to the voice of Anguish ?
Where each old poetic mountain
Inspiration breath'd around :
Every shade and hallow'd fountain
Murmur'd deep a solemn sound:
Till the sad Nine, in Greece's evil hour,
Left their Parnassus, for the Latian plains.
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant-power,
And coward Vice, that revels in her chains. When Latium had her lofty spirit lost, They sought, oh Albion ! next thy sea-encircled coast.
Far from the sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her aweful face : the dauntless child
Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smil'd.
“ This pencil take,” she said, “ whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy ;
Of Horrour that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears."
Nor second he, that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy.
He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time;
The living throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where angels tremble, while they gaze,
He saw ; but, blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
Hark, his hands the lyre explore !
Bright-ey'd Fancy, hovering o'er,
Scatters from her pictur'd urn
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
But ah! 'tis heard no more-
Oh! lyre divine, what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? though he inherit
Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
That the Theban eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion
Through the azure deep of air:
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the Sun:
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the good how far—but far above the great.
Owen's praise demands my song,
Owen swift, and Owen strong;
Fairest flower of Roderic's stem,
Gwyneth's shield, and Britain's gem.
He nor heaps his brooded stores,
Nor all profusely pours;
Lord of every regal art,
Liberal hand, and open heart.
Big with hosts of mighty name,
Squadrons three against him came;
This the force of Eirin hiding,
Side by side as proudly riding,
On her shadow long and gay
Lochlin plows the watery way :
There the Norman sails afar
Catch the winds and join the war:
Black and huge along they sweep,
Burthens of the angry deep-
Dauntless on his native sands
The dragon-son of Mona stands;
In glittering arms and glory drest,
High he rears his ruby crest.