صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

He told him of that precious blood

Which should his guilt efface; Told him that none are lost but they

Who turn from proffered grace.

He bade him pray, and knelt with him,

And joined him in his prayers ; And some who read the dreadful tale

Perhaps will aid with theirs. WESTBURY, 1798.

VERSES

SPOKEN IN THE THEATRE AT OXFORD, UPON THE INSTAL

LATION OF LORD GRENVILLE.

GRENVILLE, few

years

have had their course since last Exulting Oxford viewed a spectacle Like this day's pomp; and yet to those who

thronged These walls, which echoed then with Portland's

praise, What change hath intervened ! The bloom of

spring Is fled from many a cheek where roseate joy And beauty bloomed ; the inexorable grave Hath claimed its portion ; and the band of youths, Who then, collected here as in a port,

From whence to launch on Life's adventurous sea,
Stood on the beach, ere this have found their lots
Of good or evil. Thus the lapse of years,
Evolving all things in its quiet course,
Hath wrought for them; and though those years

have seen
Fearful vicissitudes, of wilder change
Than history yet had learnt, or old romance
In wildest mood imagined, yet these, too,
Portentous as they seem, not less have risen,
Each of its natural cause the sure effect,
All righteously ordained. Lo! kingdoms wrecked,
Thrones overturned, built up, then swept away
Like fabrics in the summer clouds, dispersed
By the same breath that heaped them; rightful kings,
Who, from a line of long-drawn ancestry,
Held the transmitted sceptre, to the axe
Bowing the anointed head; or dragged away
To eat the bread of bondage; or escaped
Beneath the shadow of Britannia's shield,
There only safe. Such fate have vicious courts,
Statesmen corrupt, and fear-struck policy,
Upon themselves drawn down; till Europe, bound
In iron chains, lies bleeding in the dust,
Beneath the feet of upstart tyranny :
Only the heroic Spaniard, he alone
Yet unsubdued in these degenerate days,
With desperate virtue, such as in old time
Hallowed Saguntum and Numantia's name,
Stands up against the oppressor undismayed.

So

may the Almighty bless the noble race, And crown with happy end their holiest cause !

Deem not these dread events the monstrous birth Of chance. And thou, O England! who dost ride Serene amid the waters of the flood, Preserving, even like the ark of old, Amid the general wreck, thy purer faith, Domestic loves, and ancient liberty,Look to thyself, O England! for be sure, Even to the measure of thine own desert, The cup

of retribution to thy lips Shall soon or late be dealt!

a thought that well Might fill the stoutest heart of all thy sons With awful apprehension. Therefore they Who fear the Eternal's justice bless thy name, Grenville, because the wrongs of Africa Cry out no more to draw a curse from Heaven On England; for if still the trooping sharks Track by the scent of death the accursed ship Freighted with human anguish, in her wake Pursue the chase, crowd round her keel, and dart Toward the sound contending, when they hear The frequent carcass from her guilty deck Dash in the opening deep, no longer now The guilt shall rest on England: but if yet There be among her children, hard of heart And seared of conscience, men who set at nought Her laws and God's own word, upon themselves Their sins be visited! The red-cross flag,

Redeemed from stain so foul, no longer now
Covereth the abomination.

This thy praise,
() Grenville! and, while nations roll away,
This shall be thy remembrance. Yea, when all
For which the tyrant of these abject times
Hath given his honorable name on earth,
His nights of innocent sleep, his hopes of heaven;
When all his triumphs and his deeds of blood,
The fretful changes of his feverish pride,
His midnight murders and perfidious plots,
Are but a tale of years so long gone by,
That they who read distrust the hideous truth,
Willing to let a charitable doubt
Abate their horror, Grenville, even then
Thy memory will be fresh among mankind;
Afric with all her tongues will speak of thee,
With Wilberforce and Clarkson, he whom Heaven
To be the apostle of this holy work
Raised up and strengthened, and upheld through all
His arduous toil. To end the glorious task,
That blessed, that redeeming deed was thine:
Be it thy pride in life, thy thought in death,
Thy praise beyond the tomb. The statesman's

fame Will fade, the conqueror's laurel-crown grow sear ; Fame's loudest trump upon the ear of Time Leaves but a dying echo: they alone Are held in everlasting memory Whose deeds partake of heaven. Long ages hence,

Nations unborn, in cities that shall rise
Along the palmy coast, will bless thy name;
And Senegal and secret Niger's shore,
And Calabar, no longer startled then
With sounds of murder, will, like Isis now,
Ring with the songs that tell of Grenville's praise.

KESWICK, 1810.

« السابقةمتابعة »