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But who, when I am turned to clay,
Shall duly to her grave repair, And pluck the ragged moss away,
And weeds that have no business there?
And who with pious hand shall bring
The flowers she cherished, snow-drops cold, And violets that unheeded spring,
To scatter o'er her hallowed mould ?
And who, while memory loves to dwell
Upon her name for ever dear,
Shall feel his heart with passion swell,
And the bitter, bitter tear ?
I did it; and would Fate allow,
Should visit still, should still deplore;
But health and strength have left me now,
And I, alas! can weep no more.
Take then, sweet maid, this simple strain,
The last I offer at thy shrine ;
Thy grave must then undecked remain,
And all thy memory fade with mine.
And can thy soft persuasive look,
Thy voice that might with music vie, Thy air, that every gazer took,
Thy matchless eloquence of eye, Thy spirits frolicksome as good,
Thy courage by no ills dismayed, Thy patience by no wrongs subdued,
Thy gay good humour,-can they fade ? Perhaps ;-but sorrow dims my eye:
Cold turf, which I no more must view, Dear name, which I no more must sigh,
A long, a last, a sad adieu.
THE DYING GLADIATOR.
WILL then no pitying hand its succour lend,
The Gladiator's mortal throes to end ?
To free the unconquered mind, whose generous power
Triumphs o'er nature in her saddest hour?
Bowed low and full of death, his head declines,
Yet o'er his brow indignant valour shines,
Still glares his closing eye with angry light,
Now glares, now darkens with approaching night!
Think not, with terror heaves that sinewy breast!
'Tis vengeance visible and pain supprest;
Calm in despair, in agony sedate,
His proud soul wrestles with o'ermastering fate;
the conflict ends! he falls not yet!
Seems every nerve for one last effort set :
At once by death, death's lingering power to brave,
He will not sink, but plunge into the grave-
Exhaust his mighty soul in one last sigh,
And rally all life's energies to die !
Unfeared is now that cord, which oft ensnared
The baffled rival, whom his falchion spared :
Those clarions mute, which on the murderous stage,
Roused him to deeds of more than martial rage:
Once poised by peerless might, once dear to fame,
The shield, which could not guard, supports his frame;
His fixed eye dwells upon his faithless blade,
As if in silent agony he prayed ;
“O might I yet by one avenging blow,
“ Not shun my fate, but share it with my
Vain hope! the streams of life-blood fast descend;
That giant arm's up-bearing strength must bend :
Yet shall he scorn, procumbnet to betray
One dastard sign of anguish or dismay,
With one weak plaint to shame his parting breath,
In pangs sublime, magnificent in death.
But his were deeds unchronicled ;-his tomb
No patriot wreaths adorn ;--to cheer his doom,
No soothing thoughts arise of duties done,
Of trophied conquests for his country won;
And he, whose sculptured form gave deathless fame
To Ctesilas ; he dies--without a name!
Haply, to grace some Cæsar's pageant pride,
The hero-slave, or hireling champion died !
When Rome, degenerate Rome, for barbarous shows,
Bartered her virtue, glory, and repose,
Sold all that freemen prize, as great and good,
of death and theatres of blood !
There is a bird who, by his coat
And by the hoarseness of his note,
Might be supposed a crow;
A great frequenter of the church,
Where, bishop-like, he finds a perch,
And dormitory too.
Above the steeple shines a plate,
That turns and turns, to indicate
From what point blows the weather.
Look up--your brains begin to swim,
"Tis in the clouds—that pleases him,
He chooses it the rather.
Fond of the speculative height,
Thither he wings his airy flight,
And thence securely sees
The bustle and the rareeshow,
That occupy mankind below,
Secure and at his ease.
You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises,
If he should chance to fall.
No; not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,
Or troubles it at all.
He sees that this great roundabout,
The world, with all its motley rout,
Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs and its businesses,
Is no concern at all of his,
And says—what says he ?-Caw.
Thrice happy bird ! I too have seen
Much of the vanities of men;
And, sick of having seen them,
Would cheerfully these limbs resign
For such a pair of wings as thine,
And such a head between them.
AS IT IMPRESSED THE MIND OF THE POET IN 1810,
He who hath bent him o'er the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,)
And marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that's there,
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid cheek,
And—but for that sad shrouded eye,
That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now,
And but for that chill changeless brow,
Where cold obstruction's apathy
Appals the gazing mourner's heart,
As if to him it could impart
The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon ;
Yes, but for these, and these alone,
Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour,
He still might doubt the tyrant's power ;
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed,
The first, last look by death revealed!
Such is the aspect of this shore ;
'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more !
So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
We start, for soul is wanting there.
Hers is the loveliness in death,
That parts not quite with parting breath ;
But beauty with that fearful bloom,
That hue which haunts it to the tomb,
Expression's last receding ray,
A gilded halo hovering round decay,
The farewell beam of Feeling passed away!
Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth,
Which gleams, but warms no more its cherished earth.
TRIUMPHAL arch, that fillest the sky
When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud Philosophy
To teach me what thou art-
Still seem as to my childhood's sight,
A midway station given
For happy spirits to alight
Betwixt the earth and heaven.
Can all that Optics teach, unfold
Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold
Hid in thy radiant bow?
When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!