« VorigeDoorgaan »
his work is done!
moon or set of sun
Lay him low, lay him low,
In the clover or the snow!
What cares he? he cannot know;
WAR FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE.
O FIRST of human blessings, and supreme! Fair Peace! how lovely, how delightful thou! By whose wide tie the kindred sons of men Like brothers live, in amity combined And unsuspicious faith; while honest toil Gives every joy, and to those joys a right Which idle, barbarous rapine but usurps. Pure is thy reign.
What would not, Peace! the patriot bear for
What painful patience? What incessant care?
What mixed anxiety? What sleepless toil?
E'en from the rash protected, what reproach?
For he thy value knows; thy friendship he
To human nature: but the better thou,
The richer of delight, sometimes the more
Inevitable WAR, when ruffian force
Awakes the fury of an injured state.
E'en the good patient man whom reason rules,
Roused by bold insult and injurious rage,
With sharp and sudden check the astonished sons
Of violence confounds; firm as his cause
His bolder heart; in awful justice clad ;
His eyes effulging a peculiar fire :
And, as he charges through the prostrate war,
His keen arm teaches faithless men no more
To dare the sacred vengeance of the just.
In darkness, and pure and spangling snow Gleams faintly through the gloom that gathers round!
Hark to that roar, whose swift and deafening peals
In countless echoes through the mountains ring, Startling pale midnight on her starry throne ! Now swells the intermingling din; the jar Frequent and frightful of the bursting bomb; The falling beam, the shriek, the groan, the shout,
The ceaseless clangor, and the rush of men
Inebriate with rage ;-loud, and more loud
The discord grows; till pale death shuts the
And o'er the conqueror and the conquered draws
His cold and bloody shroud. Of all the men
Whom day's departing beam saw blooming there,
In proud and vigorous health; of all the hearts
That beat with anxious life at sunset there,
How few survive, how few are beating now!
All is deep silence, like the fearful calm
That slumbers in the storm's portentous pause;
Save when the frantic wail of widowed love
Comes shuddering on the blast, or the faint moan
With which some soul bursts from the frame of
Wrapt round its struggling powers.
The gray morn Dawns on the mournful scene; the sulphurous smoke
Before the icy wind slow rolls away,
And the bright beams of frosty morning dance
Along the spangling snow. There tracks of blood
Even to the forest's depth, and scattered arms,
And lifeless warriors, whose hard lineaments
Death's self could change not, mark the dreadful
AH! whence yon glare,
Of the outsallying victors; far behind, Black ashes note where their proud city stood. Within yon forest is a gloomy glen, That fires the arch of heaven ?— that dark-red Each tree which guards its darkness from the smoke day Blotting the silver moon? The stars are quenched Waves o'er a warrior's tomb.
War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, | And inextinguishable rage. All heaven
The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade, Resounded; and had earth been then, all earth
And to those royal murderers whose mean thrones Had to her centre shook.
Are bought by crimes of treachery and gore,
The bread they eat, the staff on which they lean.
Guards, garbed in blood-red livery, surround
Their palaces, participate the crimes
That force defends, and from a nation's rage
Secure the crown, which all the curses reach
That famine, frenzy, woe, and penury breathe.
These are the hired bravos who defend
The tyrant's throne.
The apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming cherubim, and golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
"Twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front
Presented stood in terrible array
Of hideous length: before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it joined,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold.
Deeds of eternal fame Were done, but infinite: for wide was spread That war,'and various: sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing, Tormented all the air; all air seemed then Conflicting fire.
Into their substance pent, which wrought them
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan ;
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
Out of such prison, though spirits of purest light,
Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
The rest, in imitation, to like arms
Betook them, and the neighboring hills uptore:
So hills amid the air encountered hills,
Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire,
That underground they fought in dismal shade;
Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game
Michael bid sound
The archangel trumpet; through the vast of To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped
Upon confusion rose.
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamor, such as heard in heaven till now
Was never; arms on armor clashing brayed
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise
Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew,
And flying vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rushed
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power
Which God hath in his mighty angels placed !)
Their arms away they threw, and to the hills
(For earth hath this variety from heaven,
Of pleasure situate in hill and dale),
Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they
From their foundations loosening to and fro,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
They plucked the seated hills, with all their load,
Uplifting bore them in their hands: amaze,
sure, and terror, seized the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turned,
and on their heads
Main promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions
Their armor helped their harm, crushed in and bruised
So spake the Son, and into terror changed
His countenance too severe to be beheld,
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
At once the four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night: under his burning wheels.
The steadfast empyrean shook throughout,
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon
Among them he arrived; in his right hand
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
Before him, such as in their souls infixèd
Plagues: they, astonished, all resistance lost,
All courage; down their idle weapons dropt;
O'er shields, and helms, and helmèd heads he
Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostráte,
That wished the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire.
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes;
One spirit in them ruled; and every eye
Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among the accursed, that withered all their
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven:
The overthrown he raised, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged,
Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursued
With terrors and with furies, to the bounds
And crystal wall of heaven; which, opening wide,
Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed
Into the wasteful deep: the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Urged them behind: headlong themselves they
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!
And of their wonted vigor left them drained,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, Yet half his strength he put not forth, but And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal ;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his
CATILINE TO THE ROMAN ARMY.
FROM "CATILINE," ACT V. SC. 2.
SOUND all to arms! (A flourish of trumpets.)
Call in the captains, — (To an officer.)
I would speak with them! (The officer goes.)
and welcome gallant
Now, Hope! away, Death! Welcome the clanging shield, the trumpet's yell, THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB. Welcome the fever of the mounting blood, That makes wounds light, and battle's crimson toil
Seem but a sport, — and welcome the cold bed,
And welcome wolf's and vulture's hungry throats,
Where soldiers with their upturned faces lie,
That make their sepulchres! We fight to-night.
(The soldiery enter.)
green, That host with their banners at sunset were seen: Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
FROM "HEBREW MELODIES.”
THE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the
fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Centurions! all is ruined! I disdain
To hide the truth from you. The die is thrown!
And now, let each that wishes for long life.
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is Put up his sword, and kneel for peace to Rome.
Ye all are free to go. What! no man stirs !
Not one! a soldier's spirit in you all?
Give me your hands! (This moisture in ny eyes Is womanish, 't will pass.) My noble hearts! That host on the morrow lay withered and Well have you chosen to die! For, in my mind, The grave is better than o'erburdened life;