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A cloud came o'er the face
Of Italy's rich heaven!-its crystal blue
Was changed and deepen'd to a wrathful hue
Of night, o'ershadowing space,
As with the wings of death !-in all his pow'r
Vesuvius woke, and hurld the burning show'r,
And who could tell the buried city's place?
Such things have been of yore,
In the gay regions where the citrons blow,
And purple summers all their sleepy glow,
On the grape-clusters pour;
And where the palms to spicy winds are waving
Along clear seas of melted sapphire, laving,
As with a flow of light, their Southern shore.
Turn we to other climes !
Far in the Druid-Isle a feast was spread,
Midst the rock-altars of the warrior-dead,
And ancient battle.rhymes
Were chaunted to the harp ; and yellow mead
Went flowing round, and tales of martial deed,
And lofty songs of Britain's elder time.
But ere the giant-fane
Cast its broad shadows on the robe of even,
Hush'd were the bards, and in the face of heaven,
O'er that old burial plain
Flash'd the keen Saxon daggers !-Blood was streaming,
Where late the mead-cup to the sun was gleaming,
And Britain's hearths were heap'd that night in vain.
For they return'd no more,
They that went forth at morn, with reckless heart,
In that fierce banquet's mirth to bear their part ;
And on the rushy floor,
And the bright spears and bucklers of the walls
The high wood-fires were blazing in their halls ;
But not for them-they slept-their feast was o'er !
the festal hour !
Aye, tremble when the cup of joy o'erflows!
Tame down the swelling heart !--the bridal rose,
And the rich myrtle's flow'r,
Have veil'd the sword!— Red wines have sparkled fast
From venom'd goblets, and soft breezes pass'd
With fatal perfume through the revel's bow'r.
Stonehenge, said by some traditions to have been erected to the memory of Ambrosius, an early British king; and by others, mentioned as a monumental record of the massacre of British chiefs here alluded 10.
Twine the young glowing wreath
But pour not all your spirit in the song,
Which through the sky's deep azure floats along,
Like summer's quick’ning breath!
The ground is hollow in the path of mirth,
Oh! far too daring seems the joy of earth,
So darkly press'd and girdled in by death!
What dost thou here, brave Swiss ?
Forgett'st thou thus thy native clime,
The lovely land of thy bright spring-time?
The land of thy home, with its free delights,
And fresh green valleys, and mountain-heights?
Can the stranger's yield thee bliss ?
What welcome cheers thee now? Dar'st thou lift thine eye to gaze around? Where are the peaks, with their snow-wreaths crown'd? Where is the song, on the wild winds borne, Or the ringing peal of the joyous horn,
Or the peasant's fearless brow?
But thy spirit is far away! Where a greeting waits thee in kindred eyes, Where the white Alps look through the sunny skies, With the low Senn cabins, and pastures free, And the sparkling blue of the Glacier-sea,
And the summits cloth'd with day.
Back, noble child of Tell!
Back to the wild, and the silent glen,
And the frugal board of peasant-men:
Dost thou seek the friend, the lov'd one here?
-Away! not a true Swiss heart is near,
Against thine own to swell!
See Note (1) to “ The League of the Alps."