Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

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!

Fear ye 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.

: 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 quickening 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!

EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

[ocr errors]

MARIUS AMONGST THE RUINS OF CARTHAGE.

(Marius, during the time of his exile, seeking refuge in Africa, bad landed

at Carthage ; when an officer, sent by the Roman governor of Africa, came, and thus addressed him : “ Marius, I come from the Prætor Sextilius, to tell you, that be forbids you to set foot in Africa. If you obey not, he will support the senate's decree, and treat you as a public enemy.” Marius, upon hearing this, was struck dumb with grief and indignation. He uttered not a word for some time, but regarded the officer with a menacing aspect. At length, the oificer inquired what answer he should carry to the governor ? “ Go and tell him," said the unfortunate man, with a sigh, “ that thou hast seen the exiled Marius

sitting on the ruins of Carthage.”-See Plutarch.] 'Twas noon—and Afric's dazzling sun on high, With fierce resplendence fill'd th' unclouded sky;"! No zephyr wav'd the palm's majestic head, it! And smooth alike the seas and desert spread; While, desolate, beneath a blaze of light, Silent and lonely, as at dead of night, The wreck of Carthage lay—her prostrate Fanes:'? Had strew'd their precious marble o'er the plains

Dark weeds and grass the columin had o'ergrown,
The lizard bask'd upon the altar-stone;
'Whelm'd by the ruins of their own abodes,
Had sunk the forms of heroes and of gods;
While neår, dread offspring of the burning day
Coild, 'midst forsaken lialls, the serpent lay.

There came an exile, long by fate pursued,
To shelter in that awful solitude.
Well did that wanderer's high, yet faded mien,
Suit the sad grandeur of the desert scene;
Shadow'd, not veil'd, by locks of wintry snow,
Pride sat, still mighty, on his furrow'd brow;
Time had not quench'd the terrors of his eye,
Nor tam'd his glance of fierce ascendancy;
While the deep meaning of his features told,
Ages of thought had o'er his spirit rollid,
Nor dim’d the fire that might not be controllid;
And still did power invest his stately form,
Shatter'd, but yet unconquer'd, by the storm.

But slow his step- and where, not yet o'erthrown,
Still tower'd a pillar, 'midst the waste alone ;
Faint with long toil, his weary limbs he laid,
To slumber in its solitary shade.
He slept—and darkly, on his brief repose,
Th’ indignant genius of the scene arose.
Clouds robed his dim unearthly form, and spread
Mysterious gloom around his crownless head-

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Crownless, but regal still With stern disdain,
The kingly shadow seem'd to lift his chain,
Gazd on the palm, his ancient sceptre torn,
And his

eye

kindl'd with immortal scorn!
“ And sleep'st thou, Roman ?” cried his voice aus-

tere;
“ Shall son of Latium find a refuge here?
Awake! arise! to speed the hour of fate,
When Rome shall fall, as Carthage, desolate !
Go! with her children's flower, the free, the brave,
People the silent chambers of the grave;
So shall the course of ages yet to be,
More swiftly waft the day, avenging me!

[ocr errors]

66 Yes ! froin the awful gulf of years to come, ? ;?
I hear a voice that prophecies her doom;
I see the trophies of her pride decay,
And her long line of triumphs pass away,
Lost in the depths of time-while sinks the star
That led her march of heroes from afar !

[ocr errors]

“ Lo ! from the frozen forests of the North,
The sons of slaughter pour in myriads forth !
Who shall awake the mighty?-will thy woe,
City of thrones ! disturb the realms below?
Call on the dead to hear thee! let thy cries
Summon their shadowy legions to arise.
Array the ghosts of conquerors on thy walls !
- Barbarians revel in their ancient halls !

And their lost children bend the subject-knees
'Midst the proud tombs and trophies of the free!

“ Bird of the sun! dread eagle ! born on high,
A creature of the empyreal-Thou, whose eye
Was lightning to the earth—whose pinion war'd,
In haughty triumph, o'er a world enslav'd;
Sink from thy hear'ns ! for glory’s noon is o'er,
And rushing storms shall bear thee on no more !
Closd is thy regal course--thy crest is torn,
And thy plume banish'd from the realms of morn.
The shaft hath reach'd thee !_rest with chiefs and

kings,
Who conquer’d in the shadow of thy wings !
Sleep! while thy foes exult around their prey,
And share thy glorious heritage of day !

“ But darker years shall mingle with the past,
And deeper vengeance shall be mine at last.
O’er the seven hills I see destruction spread,
And empire's widow veils with dust her head !
Her gods forsake each desolated shrine,
Her temples moulder to the earth, like mine;
Midst fallen palaces she sits alone,
Calling heroic shades from ages gone,
Or bids the nations, ʼmidst her Desarts wait,
To learn the fearful Oracles of Fate.

“ Still sleep’st thou, Roman ? Son of victory! rise ! Wake to obey th' avenging destinies !

« VorigeDoorgaan »