페이지 이미지

Thou weep'st!-I tremble. Thou hast seen the slain Pressing a bloody turf-the young and fair,

With their pale beauty strewing o'er the plain

Where hosts have met-speak!-answer!--was he there?
Oh!-hath his smile departed? Could the grave
Shut o'er those bursts of bright and tameless glee?-
No! I shall yet behold his dark locks wave-
That look gives hope-I knew it could not be!

Still weep'st thou, wanderer? Some fond mother's glance
O'er thee, too, brooded in thine early years!
Think'st thou of her, whose gentle eye, perchance,
Bathed all thy faded hair in parting tears?

Speak, for thy tears disturb me!-What art thou?-
Why dost thou hide thy face-yet, weeping on?
Look up!-Oh! is it?—that wan cheek and brow!—
Is it?-alas!-yet joy!-my Son, my Son!


OH! bless'd of heaven, who not the languid songs

Of luxury, the siren!-not the bribes

Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils

Of pageant honour, can seduce to leave

Those ever-blooming sweets, which, from the store
Of nature, fair imagination culls,

To charm the enliven'd soul! What-though not all
Of mortal offspring can attain the height
Of envied life-though only few possess
Patrician treasures, or imperial state;
Yet nature's care, to all her children just,
With richer treasures, and an ampler state,
Endows at large whatever happy man
Will deign to use them.

His the city's pomp,

The rural honours his!

Whate'er adorns

The princely dome, the column and the arch,
The breathing marble and the sculptured gold,
Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim,
His tuneful breast enjoys! For him, the spring
Distils her dews, and from the silken gem
Its lucid leaves unfolds!-for him, the hand
Of Autumn tinges every fertile branch

With blooming gold, and blushes like the morn!
Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings;
And still new beauties meet his lonely walk,
And loves unfelt attract him! Not a breeze
Flies o'er the meadow-not a cloud imbibes
The setting sun's effulgence-not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade
Ascends; but whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure, unreproved! Nor thence partakes
Fresh pleasure only; for the attentive mind,
By this harmonious action on her powers,
Becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft
In outward things to meditate the charm
Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home,
To find a kindred order to exert

Within herself this elegance of love—

This fair-inspired delight! Her temper'd powers
Refine at length; and every passion wears
A chaster, milder, more attractive mien!
But if to ampler objects—if to gaze
On nature's form, where, negligent of all
These lesser graces, she assumes the port
Of that Eternal Majesty that weigh'd

The world's foundations-if to these, the mind
Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far

Will be the change, and nobler! Would the forms
Of servile custom cramp her generous powers?

Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear?
Lo! she appeals to Nature-to the winds
And rolling waves-the sun's unwearied course-
The elements and seasons: all declare

For what the Eternal Maker has ordain'd

The powers of man. We feel within ourselves
His energy divine: he tells the heart,

He meant he made us to behold and love
What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being; to be great like Him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the man

Whom nature's works instruct, with God himself
Holds converse; grows familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions; acts upon his plan;
And forms to his, the relish of his soul.


THOUGH the whole race of man is doomed to dissolution, and we are all hastening to our long home; yet at each successive moment, life and death seem to divide between them the dominion of mankind, and life to have the larger share. It is otherwise in war: death reigns there without a rival, and without control. War is the work, the element, or rather the sport and triumph of Death, who glories not only in the extent of his conquest, but in the richness of his spoil. In the other methods of attack, in the other forms which death assumes, the feeble and the aged, who at the best can live but a short time, are usually the victims; here, they are the vigorous and the strong. It is remarked by the most ancient of poets, that in peace children bury their parents, in war parents bury their children: nor is the


difference small. Children lament their parents, sincerely indeed, but with that moderate and tranquil sorrow, which it is natural for those to feel who are conscious of retaining many tender ties, many animating prospects. Parents mourn for their children with the bitterness of despair; the aged parent, the widowed mother, loses, when she is deprived of her children, every thing but the capacity of suffering; her heart, withered and desolate, admits no other object, cherishes no other hope. It is Rachael weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not.

But, to confine our attention to the number of the slain, would give us a very inadequate idea of the ravages of the sword. The lot of those who perish instantaneously may be considered, apart from religious prospects, as comparatively happy, since they are exempt from those lingering diseases and slow torments to which others are liable. We cannot see an individual expire, though a stranger or an enemy, without being sensibly moved, and prompted by compassion to lend him every assistance in our power. Every trace of resentment vanishes in a moment: every other emotion gives way to pity and terror. In these last extremities we remember nothing but the respect and tenderness due to our common nature. What a scene, then, must a field of battle present, where thousands are left without assistance, and without pity, with their wounds exposed to the piercing air, while the blood, freezing as it flows, binds them to the earth, amidst the trampling of horses, and the insults of an enraged foe! If they are spared by the humanity of the enemy, and carried from the field, it is but a prolongation of torment. Conveyed in uneasy vehicles, often to a remote distance, through roads almost impassable, they are lodged in ill-prepared receptacles for the wounded and the sick, where the variety of distress baffles all the efforts of humanity and skill, and renders it impossible to give to each the attention he demands. Far from their native

home, no tender assiduities of friendship, no well known voice, no wife, or mother, or sister, is near to soothe their sorrows, relieve their thirst, or close their eyes in death! Unhappy man!-and must you be swept into the grave unnoticed and unnumbered, and no friendly tear be shed for your sufferings, or mingled with your dust.

We must remember, however, that as a very small proportion of a military life is spent in actual combat, so it is a very small part of its miseries which must be ascribed to this source. More are consumed by the rust of inactivity than by the edge of the sword; confined to a scanty or unwholesome diet, exposed in sickly climates, harassed with tiresome marches and perpetual alarms; their life is a continual scene of hardships and dangers. They grow familiar with hunger, cold, and watchfulness. Crowded into hospitals and prisons, contagion spreads among their ranks, till the ravages of disease exceed those of the enemy.

We have hitherto adverted only to the sufferings of those who are engaged in the profession of arms, without taking into our account the situation of the countries which are the scene of hostilities. How dreadful to hold every thing at the mercy of an enemy, and to receive life itself as a boon dependent on the sword! How boundless the fears which such a situation must inspire, where the issues of life and death are determined by no known laws, principles, or customs, and no conjecture can be formed of our destiny, except as far as it is dimly deciphered in characters of blood, in the dictates of revenge, and the caprices of power! Conceive but for a moment, the consternation which the approach of an invading army would impress on the peaceful villages in our own neighbourhood. When you have placed yourselves for an instant in that situation, you will learn to sympathise with those unhappy countries which have sustained the ravages of arms. But how is it possible to give you an idea of these horrors? Here, you behold rich

« 이전계속 »