Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

210

CORNELIA: A SCENIC ANECDOTE.

Shall shed eclipse, and every high-born youth
Shall seek the blessing of Cornelia's hand!—
Why turn averse-Cast in the fairest mould
Of Nature's graceful forms, thou mayst command,
E'en with the youthful, foremost note and choice!
But where's thy rich attire; thy ornaments?—
Reject those widowy weeds; display thy gems
Which wont t'outblaze the sun; thy jewels bind
On thy white arms, which Symmetry confess'd
Has mark'd her own: amid thy auburn hair,
Let the rich ruby with the diamond's light
Contend for lustre; whilst thy brilliant eyes,
Than both more bright, shall pour enchantment round.
Corn. Flattery, the joy and food of our light sex,
Ne'er pleas'd my sober ear: the grace of form
To Nature's hand we owe; and to presume on that,
Is the weak folly which has sunk our sex
To hold a second place, where the good gods
Ne'er meant distinction: for they, bounteous, form'd
Our minds alike capacious, active, strong,

As those of boasting man; open like them
To every energy from science drawn.

Fulv. I'll not dispute the point, though schoolmen might;
But come, thy robes and ornaments call forth,
Such as adorn'd thee when thou shon'st a wife:
For rumour says that thy connubial vows
Again shall rise!-To make thee Egypt's Queen,
(Says Fame) great Ptolemy thy hand entreats!

Corn. And vainly must be sue: Sempronius' wife,
And Scipio's daughter, knows no second choice!
The marital pure joys of union'd hearts
Can rise but once; with me, those joys have left
A train of duties to fulfil, which bar

The interruption of a second lord !—
Thou ask'st me, where my ornaments, my gems?
I have them stor'd, in vast profusion pil'd;
And they shall meet thine eye: luxurious grown
And wanton to excess in my display,

They are my morning's gaze, my noontide joy,
And evening's constant solace: gem by gem
I count them o'er; I polish and new-sort
The sparkling dear delights; then make them show

In

CORNELIA: A SCENIC ANECDOTE,

In novel forms and fancies: thou shalt see
In what fautastic devious shapes and shades
I strive to give them lustre.-There they range!

(The Drop scene rises, and discovers SIX CHILDREN— Sempronia is embroidering a Scarf-Caius studying. a Scroll Tiberius examining the Globe-The other younger Chilaren variously occupied.) Aud yet thou seest but part, but little part, Of my stor❜d ornaments and richest pride!

· Fulv. Thou wondrous woman! let thy noble mind
Excuse my flippant comment. Thy renown
Shall through the lapse of ages yet unborn
Command the voice of praise; while female fame,
Inventive of new titles for desert,
Shall stop at thine, The Mother of the Gracchi!

Corn. T is all I ask; and should these stripling boys,
In riper age, but rise their country's friends,
In field and council, my desire 's fulfill'd!-
For this, e'en in these tender infant years,
I point them out the way. The poet's page
I oft unfold, and thence as oft select
Some bold essays of rhetoric; one, Caius, now
Thus plausively accoutred, shall recite.
Caius, observe due accent, gesture, pause;
But chiefly treasure in thy youthful mind
The solemn subject, thy dear country's weal!
Her sacred rights; her never-broken faith;
Her hate of tyrants, and her love of truth!-
The poet paints a land encompass'd round
With fell Invasion's terrors, in the guise
Of subtle friendship; deep-mask'd enmity,
Assuming fair the name of mild reform!-
This, the brave leader of the threaten'd land
Lays bare to his bold troops, before he leads
Their well train'd bands to meet th' advancing foe:
The host arrang'd in brighten'd arms, and hearts
Disdaining fear, attend their general's voice;
Which calls them now to victory or death.

211

Caius. "This hour, O Grecians, countrymen, and friends!
Your wives, your children, your paternal seats,
Your fathers, country, liberty, and laws,
Have sent you hither; from your infant age

Laborious,

CORNELIA: A SCENIC ANECDOTE.'

Laborious, active, virtuous, brave, and free!
To match your valour with ignoble foes;
In war unskili'd, to discipline untrain'd:
To whom defeat is neither grief nor shame;
Who ask no fruit from victory but spoil!
These are the flow'r of Asia's host: the rest
Who fill their boasted numbers are a crowd
Forc'd from their dwellings to the bloody field!
From whom till now, with jealous eye, their lord
Has still withheld the instruments of war-
A servile people; taught with patient soul
To bear the rapine, cruelty, and spurns
Of Xerxes' military banos, and pine
In servitude, the slaves of his designs!
But here each eye

Flames with impatient ardour; and your breasts
Too long their swelling spirit have confin'd!—
Go then, ye sons of liberty, and sweep
These bondmen from the earth: resistless rend
The glittering standard from their servile hands:
Hurl to the ground their ignominious heads,
The warrior's helm profaning! Think the shades
Of your forefathers rear their sacred brows,
Here to enjoy the triumph of their sons!"*

Fulv. Thanks, youthful orator; thy ripen'd pow'rs
I well foresee, shall claim the meed of praise
For rhetoric's fascination; and shall lead
Thy hearers' hearts and judgments to thy theme.
Corn. Oh! may his voice, as in his fancied scene,
Still prompt to patriot deeds his countrymen!
And may his arms, conspicuous as a star
Of planetary influence, still pour
Confusion o'er his foes; whilst they impart
New vigour to the war his country leads!
And when by age and toils of state o'erborne,
Deep in Retirement's simple shade withdrawn,

212

* This speech is an enlargement of the address of Leonidas to his troops, in Glover's Poem. It stands in its present form in the tragic drama of Thermopyla or Repulsed Invasion: a three-act piece, by our author, principally taken from Glover's Poem, and four times most splendidly exhibited in May 1805, at Dr. Burney's naval academy at Gosport.

He

CORNELIA: A SCENIC ANECDOTE.

He to his household gods and rural cares
Devotes his latter day; should Rome's proud foes
E'en then presume to threat her sacred walls;
Oh! may he, like his great progenitor,
Hoar Cincinnatus, awful from the plough
Again emerge;-again new laurel-wreaths
Snatch from the glorious heights of victory,
As at the patriot trumpet's ardent sound
He springs to arms, and dares again the field!

Semp. Then would I to my Mars-like brother chant
That animating strain of harmony,
Whose every note, striking the patriot ear,
Bears on to deeds worthy Cornelia's son !
(Sings-Air, "The Soldier tir'd.")

Corn. Thus, Fulvia, hast thou seen my vanity:
My pride, ambition, centring all in fame;
In patriot fame, for these my springing race!
I feel, that when a wily faithless foe,
Vindictive, haughty, fierce, flush'd with success,
Against our country (guarded by the gods!)
Points his assailing arms; my glorious boys,
Fir'd by their grandsire's, mighty Scipio's, soul,
All terrible in arms may stand arrang'd
In martial panoply; and valorous move
To sweep invasion hence, or greatly die!
While from warm Gratitude's transmitting hand
Shall rise their sculptur'd forms or sacred busts,
Exemplars high to their remotest race,

To emulate the Gracchi's patriot naine !-(Comes forward.}
Hence may reflection bear her marking eye,
To Britain's conflicts in these arduous times;
When fierce Ambition's spirit rages, wild

Through Europe's rounds, and (save this happy isle)
The nations tremulate beneath the scourge!
Well, the rude trial dauntless Britons meet
With phalanx'd front; united, brave, and free!
All little jars dismiss'd; all difference sunk;
And every private care in one absorpt,
Our altars, throne, and country to defend !
While from the gen'rous patriot passion springs
A host of minor virtues:-charity,

Which narrowing bounds disdains of sect or clime!

213

Temperance,

214

TALAVERÀ.

Temperance, of healthful bloom, forgetting self,
When by the public call'd, to yield her aid!
Patience, enduring all, by Hope sustain'd;
Pure lineal Love, alike by son and sire
Heartfelt reciprocal; Friendship, alert
In deeds unask'd, dispensing Honour's gifts;
Firm Fortitude, of lion-port and brow;
Valour, thrice arm'd in Rectitude's great cause;
Bounteous Benevolence, with influence bland,
Extending wide its all-pervading rays,

At Merit's call or Science' humblest claim:
This truth confirm'd by the presenting scene

1 feel with joy :—with gratitude I bow. (Curtain falls.)

TALAVERA.

[From the Morning Chronicle, Aug. 17.]
TH
HE day had dawn'd, the sun was low,
When, like a river's winter flow,
Swell'd by the mountains' melted snow,
On sudden came the rushing foe
To suatch a laurell'd victory.
And many an eye that hails that sight,
And brightens at the coming fight,
Like eagles in their aery flight,
Shall bid the setting sun good night,
Amid the shouts of victory.

On as they rush, and rushing raise
Vain shouts anticipating praise,
They feel the still and steady gaze,
That all their fiery blood allays,

And awes a noisy enemy.
Lo! gloomy as a polar night,
Ere thunder gives electric light,
Collected in their sober might,
The men of England meet the fight,
And stem the dashing enemy.
On! on! Old England bids you on!
The foe are fierce, and two to one;
Now! now! or never must be done
A deed of fame-a battle won,

To match with Cressy's victory!

Then

« ПредишнаНапред »