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DIRGE OF ALARIC, THE VISIGOTH.
The bulwarks down; the rudder gone; the boats stove at the chains;
But, courage still, brave mariners! - the Bower yet remains,
And not an inch to flinch he deigns, save when ye pitch sky-high;
Then moves his head, as though he said, "Fear nothing; here am I !”
Swing in your strokes in order let foot and hand keep time!
Your blows make music sweeter far than any steeple's chime;
But while ye swing your sledges, sing; and let the burden be,
The anchor is the anvil-king, and royal craftsmen we !
Strike in, strike in! the sparks begin to dull their rustling red;
Our hammers ring with sharper din, our work will soon be sped:
Our anchor soon must change his bed of fiery rich array
For a hammock at the roaring bows, or an oozy couch of clay;
Our anchor soon must change the lay of merry craftsmen here
For the yeo heave-o, and the heave-away, and the sighing seamen's cheer.
O, trusted and trustworthy guard, if thou hadst life like me,
What pleasures would thy toils reward beneath the deep green sea!
O, deep sea-diver, who might then behold such sights as thou?
The hoary monsters' palaces! methinks what joy 't were now
To go plump plunging down amid the assembly of the whales,
And feel the churned sea round me boil beneath their scourging tails!
O, broad-armed fisher of the deep, whose sports can equal thine?
The Dolphin weighs a thousand tons that tugs thy cable line;
And night by night 't is thy delight, thy glory day by day,
Through sable sea and breaker white, the giant game to play;
But, shamer of our little sports! forgive the name I gave:
A fisher's joy is to destroy- thine office is to save.
LIII. DIRGE OF ALARIC,* THE VISIGOTH.
WHEN I am dead, no pageant train
Shall waste their sorrows at my bier,
Nor worthless pomp of homage vain
Stain it with hypocritic tear;
For I will die as I did live,
Nor take the boon I can not give.
Ye shall not raise a marble bust
Upon the spot where I repose;
Ye shall not fawn before my dust,
In hollow circumstance of woes;
Nor sculptured clay, with lying breath,
Insult the clay that moulds beneath.
Ye shall not pile, with servile toil,
Your monuments upon my breast;
Nor yet within the common soil
Lay down the wreck of power to rest,
* Alaric stormed and spoiled the city of Rome, and was afterwards buried in the channel of the river Busentinus, the water of which had been diverted from its course that the body might be interred.
Where man can boast that he has trod
On him that was "the scourge of God."
But ye the mountain stream shall turn,
And lay its secret channel bare,
And hollow, for your sovereign's urn,
A resting-place for ever there;
Then bid its everlasting springs
Flow back upon the King of Kings;
And never be the secret said,
Until the deep give up his dead.
My gold and silver ye shall fling
Back to the clods that gave them birth;-
The captured crowns of many a king,
The ransom of a conquered earth:
For e'en though dead, will I control
The trophies of the Capitol,
But when beneath the mountain tide
Ye 've laid your monarch down to rot,
Ye shall not rear upon its side
Pillar or mound to mark the spot:
For long enough the world has shook
Beneath the terrors of my look;
And now that I have run my race,
The astonished realms shall rest a space.
My course was like a river deep,
And from the northern hills I burst,
Across the world in wrath to sweep,
And where I went the spot was cursed;
Nor blade of grass again was seen
Where Alaric and his hosts had been.
See how their haughty barriers fail
Beneath the terror of the Goth!
Their iron-breasted legions quail
Before my ruthless sabaoth! *
And low the Queen † of empires kneels,
And grovels at my chariot-wheels!
Not for myself did I ascend
In judgment my triumphal car;
'Twas God alone on high did send
The avenging Scythian to the war,
A Hebrew word, signifying armies, hosts.
To shake abroad, with iron hand,
The appointed scourge of His command.
With iron hand that scourge I reared
O'er guilty king and guilty realm;
Destruction was the ship I steered,
And Vengeance sat upon the helm!
When launched in fury on the flood,
I plowed my way through seas of blood,
And in the stream their hearts had spilt
Washed out the long arrears of guilt!
Across the everlasting Alp
I poured the torrent of my powers,
And feeble Cæsars shrieked for help
In vain within their seven-hilled towers!
I quenched in blood the brightest gem
That glittered in their diadem;
And struck a darker, deeper dye
In the purple of their majesty;
And bade my northern banners shine
Upon the conquered Palatine.*
Before the name of Attila. EDWARD EVERETT.
LIV. THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS.
HERE halt we our march, and pitch our tent,
On the rugged forest ground,
And light our fire with the branches rent
By the winds from the beeches round.
The Palatine was one of the soven hills of Rome. Augustus had his palace here.
Wild storms have torn this ancient wood,
But a wilder is at hand,
With hail of iron and rain of blood,
To sweep and scathe the land.
How the dark waste rings with voices shrill,
That startle the sleeping bird!
To-morrow eve must the voice be still,
And the step must fall unheard.
The Briton lies by the blue Champlain,
In Ticonderoga's towers;
And ere the sun rise twice again,
The towers and the lake are ours!
Fill up the bowl from the brook that glides
Where the fire-flies light the brake:
A ruddier juice the Briton hides
In his fortress by the lake.
Build high the fire, till the panther leap
From his lofty perch in fright;
And we'll strengthen our weary arms with sleep, For the deeds of to-morrow night.
LV. THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY.
UNFADING Hope! when life's last embers burn,-
When soul to soul, and dust to dust, return,-
Heaven to thy charge resigns the awful hour:
O, then thy kingdom comes, Immortal Power!
What though each spark of earth-born rapture fly
The quivering lip, pale check, and closing eye!
Bright to the soul thy scraph hands convey
The morning dream of life's eternal day :-
Thenthen, the triumph and the trance begin,
And all the phoenix spirit burns within!
O, deep-enchanting prelude to repose!
The dawn of bliss! the twilight of our woes!
Yet half I hear the parting spirit sigh,
It is a dread and awful thing to die!
Mysterious worlds, untraveled by the sun,
Where Time's far-wandering tide has never run!
From your unfathomed shades, and viewless spheres,
A warning comes, unheard by other cars:
THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY.
Tis Heaven's commanding trumpet, long and loud,
Like Sinai's thunder, pealing from the cloud!
While Nature hears, with terror-mingled trust,
The shock that hurls her fabric to the dust;
And, like the trembling Hebrew, when he trod
The roaring waves, and called upon his God,
With mortal terrors clouds immortal bliss,
And shrieks, and hovers o'er the dark abyss.
Daughter of Faith, awake! arise! illume
The dread unknown, the chaos of the tomb !
Melt and dispel, ye specter-doubts, that roll
Cimmerian darkness o'er the parting soul!
Fly, like the moon-eyed herald of Dismay,
Chased on his night-steed by the star of day!
The strife is o'er, the pangs of nature close,
And life's last rapture triumphs o'er her woes.
Hark! as the spirit eyes, with eagle gaze,
The noon of heaven, undazzled by the blaze,
On heavenly winds, that waft her to the sky,
Float the sweet tones of star-born melody,
Wild as that hallowed anthem sent to hail
Bethlehem's shepherds in the lonely vale,
When Jordan hushed its waves, and midnight still
Watched on the holy towers of Zion hill!
Soul of the just! companion of the dead!
Where is thy home, and whither art thou fled?
Back to its heavenly source thy being goes,
Swift as the comet wheels to whence he rose ⚫
Doomed on his airy path a while to burn,
And doomed, like thee, to travel and return;
Hark! from the world's exploring center driven,
With sounds that shook the firmament of heaven,
Careers the fiery giant, fast and far,
On bickering wheels and adamantine car;
From planet whirled to planet more remote,
He visits realms beyond the reach of thought;
But wheeling homeward, when his course is run,
Curbs the red yoke, and mingles with the sun.
So hath the traveler of earth unfurled
Her trembling wings, emerging from the world;
And, o'er the path by mortal never trod,
Sprung to her source