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A few essay'd the troubled soul to calm,
But dread prevail'd, and anguish, and alarm.
Now rose the water through the lessening sand,
And they seem'd sinking, while they yet could stand;
The sun went down, they look'd from side to side,
Nor aught except the gathering sea descried;
Dark and more dark, more wet, more cold it grew,
And the most lively bade to hope adieu;
Children, by love then lifted from the seas,
Felt not the waters at the parents' knees,
But wept aloud; the wind increas'd the sound,
And the cold billows, as they broke around.
"Once more, yet once again, with all our strength Cry to the land we may be heard at length!"
Vain hope, if yet unseen!
That sound of bliss! comes dashing to their shore;
Still, still the water rises; "Haste!" they cry,
Oh, hurry, seamen; in delay we die!"
(Seamen were these, who in their ship perceiv'd
The drifted boat, and thus her crew reliev'd.)
And now the keel just cuts the cover'd sand,
Now to the gunwale stretches
With trembling pleasure all confus'd embark,
And kiss the tackling of their welcome ark:
While the most giddy, as they reach the shore,
Think of their danger, and their God adore.
How meekly pil'd, how venerably grac'd,
This hamlet fane! by mellowing age imbrown'd,
And freckled like a rock of sea-worn hue.
No marble tombs of agonising pomp
Are here; but turf-graves of unfading green,
Where lov'd, yet lowly generations sleep:
And o'er them many a sabbath sigh is heav'd
From hearts that live on sadness from the tomb.
And such is thine, lone muser! by yon grave
Now ling'ring with a soul-expressive eye
Of sorrow. Corn-fields glowing brown, and bright
With promise, sumptuous in the noon-glare seen;
The meadows, speckled with a homeward tribe
Of village matrons, sons, and holy sires, -
The hymning birds, all music as they soar;
And those twin brooks, so beautifully glad,
That whisper happy secrets to the wind,
Such life and beauty by the landscape breath'd,
a tomb-shade overclouds it all,
A churchyard! 'tis a homely word, yet full
Of feeling; and a sound that o'er the heart
Might shed religion. In the gloom of graves
I read the curse primeval, and the Voice
That wreak'd it, seems to whisper by these tombs
Of village quiet, that around me lie
In green humility: can life, the dead
Among, be musing, nor to me advance
The spirit of her thought? True, Nature wears
No rustic mourning here: in golden play
Her sprightly grass-flowers wave; the random breeze
Hums in the noon, or with yon froward boughs
A murm'ring quarrel wakes: and yet how oft
In such a haunt, the insuppressive sigh
Is heard, while feelings that may pilot years
To glory, spring from out a minute's gloom!
How calmly gliding through the dark-blue sky
The midnight moon ascends! Her placid beams,
Through thinly scatter'd leaves, and boughs
Mottle with mazy shades the orchard slope;
Here, o'er the chestnut's fretted foliage, gray
And massy, motionless they spread; here shine
Upon the crags, deepening with blacker night
Their chasms; and there the glittering argentry
Ripples and glances on the confluent streams.
A lovelier, purer light than that of day
Rests on the hills, and oh! how awfully
Into that deep and tranquil firmament
The summits of Ausiva rise serene!
The watchman on the battlement partakes
The stillness of the solemn hour; he feels
The silence of the earth; the endless sound
Of flowing water soothes him, and the stars,
Which, in that brightest moon-light well-nigh
Scarce visible, as in the utmost depth
Of yonder sapphire infinite, are seen,
Draw on with elevating influence
Toward eternity the attemper'd mind.
TWAS on a sultry summer noon,
The sky was blue, the breeze was still,
And nature with the robes of June
Had cloth'd the slopes of Flodden hill;
As rode we slowly o'er the plain,
'Mid wayside flowers and sprouting grain ;
The leaves on every bough seem'd sleeping,
And wild bees murmur'd in their mirth
So pleasantly, it seem'd as earth
A jubilee was keeping!
And canst thou be, unto my soul
I said, that dread Northumbrian field, Where war's terrific thunder-roll
Above two banded kingdoms peal'd? From out the forest of his spears, Ardent imagination hears
The crash of Surrey's onward charging; While curtal-axe and broadsword gleam Oppos'd, a bright, wide, coming stream, Like Solway's tide enlarging.
Hark to the turmoil and the shout,
The war-cry and the cannon's boom!
Behold the struggle and the rout,
The broken lance, and draggled plume! Borne to the earth, with deadly force, Comes down the horseman and his horse; Round boils the battle like an ocean:
While stripling blithe and veteran stern, Pour forth their life-blood on the fern, Amid its fierce commotion!
Mown down like swaths of summer flowers,
Yes! on the cold earth there they lie,
The lords of Scotland's banner'd towers,
The chosen of her chivalry!
Commingled with the vulgar dead,
Perhaps lies many a mitred head;
And thou, the vanguard onwards leading,
Who left the sceptre for the sword,
For battle-field the festal board,
Liest low amid the bleeding!
Yes! here thy life-star knew decline, Though hope, that strove to be deceiv'd,
Shap'd thy long course to Palestine,
And what it wish'd full oft believ'd:
An unhewn pillar on the plain
Marks out the spot where thou wast slain;
There, pondering as I stood, and gazing
On its grey top, the linnet sang,
And o'er the slopes where conflict rang
The quiet sheep were grazing.
And were the nameless dead unsung,
The patriot and the peasant train,
Who like a phalanx round thee clung,
To find but death on Flodden plain?
No! many a mother's melting lay
Mourn'd o'er the bright flowers wede away:
And many a maid, with tears of sorrow,
Whose locks no more were seen to wave,
Wept for the beauteous and the brave,
Who came not on the morrow!
EAGLE of flowers! I see thee stand,
And on the sun's noon-glory gaze;
With eye like his thy lids expand,
And fringe their disk with golden rays; Though fix'd on earth, in darkness rooted there, Light is thine element, thy dwelling air,
So would mine eagle-soul descry,
Beyond the path where planets run,
The light of immortality,
The splendour of creation's sun;
Though sprung from earth, and hastening to the
In hope a flower of paradise to bloom,