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And that another hour, and they must fall
Like those who went before, and sleep as still
Beneath the silent sod,
A cold and cheerless sleep.
Yet why should thoughts like these intrude to scare
The vagrant Happiness, when she will deign
To smile upon us here,
A transient visitor?
Mortals ! be gladsome while ye have the power,
And laugh and seize the glittering lapse of joy ;
In time the bell will toll
That warns ye to your graves.
I to the woodland solitude will bend
My lonesome way–where Mirth's obstreperous shout
Shall not intrude to break
The meditative hour.
There will I ponder on the state of man,
Joyless and sad of heart, and consecrate
This day of jubilee
To sad reflection's shrine ;
And I will cast my fond eye far beyond
This world of care, to where the steeple loud
Shall rock above the sod,
Where I shall sleep in peace.
MAIDEN! wrap thy mantle round thee,
Cold the rain beats on thy breast :
Why should Horror's voice astound thee?
Death can bid the wretched rest!
All under the tree
Thy bed may be,
And thou mayst slumber peacefully.
Maiden! once gay Pleasure knew thee;
Now thy cheeks are pale and deep :
Love has been a felon to thee,
Yet, poor maiden, do not weep :
There's rest for thee
All under the tree,
Where thou wilt sleep most peacefully.
COMMENCEMENT OF A POEM ON DESPAIR.
Some to-Aonian lyres of silver sound
With winning elegance attune their song,
Form'd to sink lightly on the soothed sense,
And charm the soul with softest harmony;
'Tis then that Hope with sanguine eye' is seen
Roving through Fancy's gay futurity;
Her heart light dancing to the sounds of pleasure,
Pleasure of days to come.-Memory, too, then
Comes with her sister, Melancholy sad,
Pensively musing on the scenes of youth,
Scenes never to return.*
Such subjects merit poets used to raise
The attic verse harmonious; but for me
A dreadlier theme demands my backward hand,
And bids me strike the strings of dissonance
With frantic energy.
'Tis wan Despair I sing: if sing I can
Of him before whose blast the voice of Song,
And Mirth, and Hope, and Happiness all fly,
* Alluding to the two pleasing poems, the Pleasures of Hope and of Memory.
Nor ever dare return. His notes are heard
At noon of night, where on the coast of blood,
The lacerated son of Angola
Howls forth his sufferings to the moaning wind;
And, when the awful silence of the night
Strikes the chill death-dew to the murderer's heart,
He speaks in every conscience-prompted word
Half utter'd, half suppress'd-
'Tis him I sing-Despair-terrific name,
Striking unsteadily the tremulous chord
Of timorous terror-discord in the sound :
For to a theme revolting as is this,
Dare not I woo the maids of harmony,
Who love to sit and catch the soothing sound
Of lyre Æolian, or the martial bugle,
Calling the hero to the field of glory,
And firing him with deeds of high emprise,
And warlike triumph: but from scenes like mine
Shrink they affrighted, and detest the bard
Who dares to sound the hollow tones of horror.
Hence, then, soft maids,
And woo the silken zephyr in the bowers
By Heliconia's sleep-inviting stream:
For aid like yours I seek not; 'tis for powers
Of darker hue to inspire a verse like mine!
'Tis work for wizards, sorcerers,
Hither, ye furious imps of Acheron,
Nurslings of hell, and beings shunning light,
And all the myriads of the burning concave;
Souls of the damned ;-Hither, oh! come and join
The infernal chorus. 'Tis Despair I sing!
He, whose sole tooth inflicts a deadlier pang
Than all your tortures join'd. Sing, sing Despair !
Repeat the sound and celebrate his
Unite shouts, screams, and agonizing shrieks,
Till the loud pæan ring through hell's high vault,
And the remotest spirits of the deep
Leap from the lake, and join the dreadful song.
TO THE WIND. AT MIDNIGHT.
Blasts of the night! ye howl, as now
My shuddering casement loud
With fitful force ye beat.
Mine ear has dwelt in silent awe,
The howling sweep, the sudden rush;
And when the passing gale
Pour'd deep the hollow dirge-
THE EVE OF DEATH. IRREGULAR. Silence of death—portentous calm,
Those airy forms that yonder fly,
Denote that your void fore-runs a storm,
That the hour of fate is nigh.
I see, on the dim mist borne,
The spirit of battles rear his crest!
I see, I see, that ere the morn,
will forsake its hated rest, [breast. And the widow'd wife of Larrendill will beat her naked O'er the smooth bosom of the sullen deep,
No softly ruffling zephyrs fly;
But nature sleeps a deathless sleep,
For the hour of battle is nigh.
Not a loose leaf waves on the dusky oak,
But a creeping stillness reigns around;
Except when the raven, with ominous croak,
On the ear does unwelcomely sound.
I know, I know what this silence means;
I know what the raven saith-
Strike, oh, ye bards! the melancholy harp,
For this is the eve of death.
Behold, how along the twilight air
The shades of our fathers glide!
There Morven fled, with the blood-drench'd hair,
And Colma with
No gale around its coolness flings,
Yet sadly sigh the gloomy trees;
And hark! how the harp’s unvisited strings
Sound sweet! as if swept by a whispering breeze ! 'Tis done! the sun he has set in blood!
He will never set more to the brave;
Let us pour to the hero the dirge of death —
For to-morrow he hies to the grave.
Oh! who would cherish life,
And cling unto this heavy clog of clay,
Love this rude world of strife,
Where glooms and tempests cloud the fairest day;
And where, 'neath outward smiles Conceal'd, the snake lies feeding on its prey; Where pit-falls lie in every flowery way,
And sirens lure the wanderer to their wiles!
Hateful it is to me,
Its riotous railings and revengeful strife;
I'm tired with all its screams and brutal shouts Dinning the ear;-away-away-with life!
And welcome, oh! thou silent maid,
Who in some foggy vault art laid,