Part 3 out of 3
God! how awful sounds that volley,
Bellowing through the mist and rain!
Was not that the Highland slogan?
Let me hear that shout again!
Oh, for prophet eyes to witness
How the desperate battle goes!
Cumberland! I would not fear thee,
Could my Camerons see their foes.
Sound, I say, the charge at venture--
'Tis not naked steel we fear;
Better perish in the melee
Than be shot like driven deer;
Hold! the mist begins to scatter!
There in front 'tis rent asunder,
And the cloudy bastion crumbles
Underneath the deafening thunder;
There I see the scarlet gleaming!
Now, Macdonald--now or never!--
Woe is me, the clans are broken!
Father, thou art lost for ever!
Chief and vassal, lord and yeoman,
There they lie in heaps together,
Smitten by the deadly volley,
Rolled in blood upon the heather;
And the Hanoverian horsemen,
Fiercely riding to and fro,
Deal their murderous strokes at random.--
Ah, my God! where am I now?
Will that baleful vision never
Vanish from my aching sight?
Must those scenes and sounds of terror
Haunt me still by day and night?
Yea, the earth hath no oblivion
For the noblest chance it gave,
None, save in its latest refuge--
Seek it only in the grave!
Love may die, and hatred slumber,
And their memory will decay,
As the watered garden recks not
Of the drought of yesterday;
But the dream of power once broken,
What shall give repose again?
What shall charm the serpent-furies
Coiled around the maddening brain?
What kind draught can nature offer
Strong enough to lull their sting?
Better to be born a peasant
Than to live an exiled king!
Oh, these years of bitter anguish!--
What is life to such as me,
With my very heart as palsied
As a wasted cripple's knee!
Suppliant-like for alms depending
On a false and foreign court,
Jostled by the flouting nobles,
Half their pity, half their sport.
Forced to hold a place in pageant,
Like a royal prize of war,
Walking with dejected features
Close behind his victor's car,
Styled an equal--deemed a servant--
Fed with hopes of future gain--
Worse by far is fancied freedom
Than the captive's clanking chain!
Could I change this gilded bondage
Even for the dusky tower,
Whence King James beheld his lady
Sitting in the castle bower;
Birds around her sweetly singing,
Fluttering on the kindling spray,
And the comely garden glowing
In the light of rosy May.
Love descended to the window--
Love removed the bolt and bar--
Love was warder to the lovers
From the dawn to even-star.
Wherefore, Love, didst thou betray me?
Where is now the tender glance?
Where the meaning looks once lavished
By the dark-eyed Maid of France?
Where the words of hope she whispered,
When around my neck she threw
That same scarf of broidered tissue,
Bade me wear it and be true--
Bade me send it as a token
When my banner waved once more
On the castled Keep of London,
Where my fathers' waved before?
And I went and did not conquer--
But I brought it back again--
Brought it back from storm and battle--
Brought it back without a stain;
And once more I knelt before her,
And I laid it at her feet,
Saying, "Wilt thou own it, Princess?
There at least is no defeat!"
Scornfully she looked upon me
With a measured eye and cold--
Scornfully she viewed the token,
Though her fingers wrought the gold;
And she answered, faintly flushing,
"Hast thou kept it, then, so long?
Worthy matter for a minstrel
To be told in knightly song!
Worthy of a bold Provencal,
Pacing through the peaceful plain,
Singing of his lady's favour,
Boasting of her silken chain,
Yet scarce worthy of a warrior
Sent to wrestle for a crown.
Is this all that thou hast brought me
From thy fields of high renown?
Is this all the trophy carried
From the lands where thou hast been?
It was broidered by a Princess,
Canst thou give it to a Queen?"
Woman's love is writ in water!
Woman's faith is traced in sand!
Backwards--backwards let me wander
To the noble northern land:
Let me feel the breezes blowing
Fresh along the mountain-side;
Let me see the purple heather,
Let me hear the thundering tide,
Be it hoarse as Corrievreckan
Spouting when the storm is high--
Give me but one hour of Scotland--
Let me see it ere I die!
Oh, my heart is sick and heavy--
Southern gales are not for me;
Though the glens are white with winter,
Place me there, and set me free;
Give me back my trusty comrades--
Give me back my Highland maid--
Nowhere beats the heart so kindly
As beneath the tartan plaid!
Flora! when thou wert beside me,
In the wilds of far Kintail--
When the cavern gave us shelter
From the blinding sleet and hail--
When we lurked within the thicket,
And, beneath the waning moon,
Saw the sentry's bayonet glimmer,
Heard him chant his listless tune--
When the howling storm o'ertook us,
Drifting down the island's lee,
And our crazy bark was whirling
Like a nutshell on the sea--
When the nights were dark and dreary,
And amidst the fern we lay,
Faint and foodless, sore with travel,
Waiting for the streaks of day;
When thou wert an angel to me,
Watching my exhausted sleep--
Never didst thou hear me murmur--
Couldst thou see how now I weep!
Bitter tears and sobs of anguish,
Unavailing though they be:
Oh, the brave--the brave and noble--
That have died in vain for me!
"CHARLES EDWARD AT VERSAILLES"
_Could I change this gilded bondage
Even for the dusky tower
Whence King James beheld his lady
Sitting in the castle bower_.--p. 168.
James I. of Scotland, one of the most accomplished kings that ever sate
upon a throne, is the person here indicated. His history is a very
strange and romantic one. He was son of Robert III., and immediate
younger brother of that unhappy Duke of Rothesay who was murdered at
Falkland. His father, apprehensive of the designs and treachery of
Albany, had determined to remove him, when a mere boy, for a season from
Scotland; and as France was then considered the best school for the
education of one so important from his high position, it was resolved to
send him thither, under the care of the Earl of Orkney, and Fleming of
Cumbernauld. He accordingly embarked at North Berwick, with little
escort--as there was a truce for the time between England and Scotland;
and they were under no apprehension of meeting with any vessels, save
those of the former nation. Notwithstanding this, the ship which carried
the Prince was captured by an armed merchantman, and carried to London,
where Henry IV., the usurping Bolingbroke, utterly regardless of
treaties, committed him and his attendants to the Tower.
"In vain," says Mr. Tytler, "did the guardians of the young Prince
remonstrate against this cruelty, or present to Henry a letter from the
King his father, which, with much simplicity, recommended him to the
kindness of the English monarch, should he find it necessary to land in
his dominions. In vain did they represent that the mission to France was
perfectly pacific, and its only object the education of the prince at
the French court. Henry merely answered by a poor witticism, declaring
that he himself knew the French language indifferently well, and that
his father could not have sent him to a better master. So flagrant a
breach of the law of nations, as the seizure and imprisonment of the
heir-apparent, during the time of truce, would have called for the most
violent remonstrances from any government, except that of Albany. But to
this usurper of the supreme power, the capture of the Prince was the
most grateful event which could have happened; and to detain him in
captivity became, from this moment, one of the principal objects of his
future life; we are not to wonder, then, that the conduct of Henry not
only drew forth no indignation from the governor, but was not even
followed by any request that the prince should be set at liberty.
"The aged King, already worn out by infirmity, and now broken by
disappointment and sorrow, did not long survive the captivity of his
son. It is said the melancholy news were brought him as he was sitting
down to supper in his palace of Rothesay in Bute, and that the effect
was such upon his affectionate but feeble spirit, that he drooped from
that day forward, refused all sustenance, and died soon after of a
James was finally incarcerated in Windsor Castle, where he endured an
imprisonment of nineteen years. Henry, though he had not hesitated to
commit a heinous breach of faith, was not so cruel as to neglect the
education of his captive. The young King was supplied with the best
masters; and gradually became an adept in all the accomplishments of the
age. He is a singular exception from the rule which maintains that
monarchs are indifferent authors. As a poet, he is entitled to a very
high rank indeed, being, I think, in point of sweetness and melody of
verse, not much inferior to Chaucer. From the window of his chamber in
the Tower, he had often seen a young lady, of great beauty and grace,
walking in the garden; and the admiration which at once possessed him
soon ripened into love. This was Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the
Earl of Somerset and niece of Henry IV., and who afterwards became his
queen. How he loved and how he wooed her is told in his own beautiful
poem of "The King's Quhair," of which the following are a few stanzas:--
"Now there was made, fast by the towris wall,
A garden fair; and in the corners set
An arbour green, with wandis long and small
Railed about, and so with trees set
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,
That lyf was none walking there forbye,
That might within scarce any wight espy.
"So thick the boughis and the leavis greene
Beshaded all the alleys that there were,
And mids of every arbour might be seen
The sharpe, greene, sweete juniper,
Growing so fair, with branches here and there,
That, as it seemed to a lyf without,
The boughis spread the arbour all about.
"And on the smalle greene twistis sat
The little sweet nightingale, and sung
So loud and clear the hymnis consecrat
Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among,
That all the gardens and the wallis rung
Right of their song.
"And therewith cast I down mine eyes again,
Where as I saw, walking under the tower,
Full secretly, now comen here to plain,
The fairest or the freshest younge flower
That e'er I saw, methought, before that hour:
For which sudden abate, anon astart
The blood of all my body to my heart.
"And though I stood abasit for a lite,
No wonder was; for why? my wittis all
Were so o'ercome with pleasance and delight--
Only through letting of my eyen fall--
That suddenly my heart became her thrall
For ever of free will, for of menace
There was no token in her sweete face."
_Wherefore, Love, didst thou betray me?
Where is now the tender glance?
Where the meaning looks once lavished
By the dark-eyed Maid of France?_--p. 168.
There appears to be no doubt that Prince Charles was deeply attached to
one of the princesses of the royal family of France. In the interesting
collection called "Jacobite Memoirs," compiled by Mr. Chambers from the
voluminous MSS. of Bishop Forbes, we find the following passage from the
narrative of Donald Macleod, who acted as a guide to the wanderer whilst
traversing the Hebrides:--"When Donald was asked, if ever the Prince
used to give any particular toast, when they were taking a cup of cold
water, or the like; he said that the Prince very often drank to the
Black Eye--by which, said Donald, he meant the second daughter of
France, and I never heard him name any particular health but that alone.
When he spoke of that lady--which he did frequently--he appeared to be
more than ordinarily well pleased."
THE OLD SCOTTISH CAVALIER
The "gentle Locheill" may he considered as the pattern of a Highland
Chief. Others who headed the insurrection may have been actuated by
motives of personal ambition, and by a desire for aggrandisement; but no
such charge can be made against the generous and devoted Cameron. He
was, as we have already seen, the first who attempted to dissuade the
Prince from embarking in an enterprise which he conscientiously believed
to be desperate; but, having failed in doing so, he nobly stood firm to
the cause which his conscience vindicated as just, and cheerfully
imperilled his life, and sacrificed his fortune, at the bidding of his
master. There was no one, even among those who espoused the other side,
in Scotland, who did not commiserate the misfortunes of this truly
excellent man, whose humanity was not less conspicuous than his valour
throughout the civil war, and who died in exile of a broken heart.
Perhaps the best type of the Lowland Cavalier of that period, may be
found in the person of Alexander Forbes, Lord Pitsligo, a nobleman whose
conscientious views impelled him to take a different side from that
adopted by the greater part of his house and name. Lord Forbes, the head
of this very ancient and honourable family, was one of the first
Scottish noblemen who declared for King William. Lord Pitsligo, on the
contrary, having been educated abroad, and early introduced to the
circle at Saint Germains, conceived a deep personal attachment to the
members of the exiled line. He was anything but an enthusiast, as his
philosophical and religious writings, well worthy of a perusal, will
show. He was the intimate friend of Fenelon, and throughout his whole
life was remarkable rather for his piety and virtue, than for keenness
in political dispute.
After his return from France, Lord Pitsligo took his seat in the
Scottish Parliament, and his parliamentary career has thus been
characterised by a former writer. "Here it is no discredit either to
his head or heart to say, that, obliged to become a member of one of the
contending factions of the time, he adopted that which had for its
object the independence of Scotland, and restoration of the ancient race
of monarchs. The advantages which were in future to arise from the great
measure of a national union were so hidden by the mist of prejudice,
that it cannot be wondered at if Lord Pitsligo, like many a
high-spirited man, saw nothing but disgrace in a measure forced on by
such corrupt means, and calling in its commencement for such mortifying
national sacrifices. The English nation, indeed, with a narrow, yet not
unnatural, view of their own interest, took such pains to encumber and
restrict the Scottish commercial privileges that it was not till the
best part of a century after the event that the inestimable fruits of
the treaty began to be felt and known. This distant period Lord Pitsligo
could not foresee. He beheld his countrymen, like the Israelites of
yore, led into the desert; but his merely human eye could not foresee
that, after the extinction of a whole race--after a longer pilgrimage
than that of the followers of Moses--the Scottish people should at
length arrive at that promised land, of which the favourers of the Union
held forth so gay a prospect.
"Looking upon the Act of Settlement of the Crown, and the Act of
Abjuration, as unlawful, Lord Pitsligo retired to his house in the
country, and threw up attendance on Parliament. Upon the death of Queen
Anne he joined himself in arms with a general insurrection of the
Highlanders and Jacobites, headed by his friend and relative the Earl of
"Mar, a versatile statesman and an able intriguer, had consulted his
ambition rather than his talents when he assumed the command of such an
enterprise. He sunk beneath the far superior genius of the Duke of
Argyle; and after the undecisive battle of Sheriffmuir, the confederacy
which he had formed, but was unable to direct, dissolved like a
snow-ball, and the nobles concerned in it were fain to fly abroad. This
exile was Lord Pitsligo's fate for five or six years. Part of the time
he spent at the Court, if it can be called so, of the old Chevalier de
Saint George, where existed all the petty feuds, chicanery, and crooked
intrigues which subsist in a real scene of the same character, although
the objects of the ambition which prompts such arts had no existence.
Men seemed to play at being courtiers in that illusory court, as
children play at being soldiers."
It would appear that Lord Pitsligo was not attainted for his share in
Mar's rebellion. He returned to Scotland in 1720, and resided at his
castle in Aberdeenshire, not mingling in public affairs, but gaining,
through his charity, kindness, and benevolence, the respect and
affection of all around him. He was sixty-seven years of age when
Charles Edward landed in Scotland. The district in which the estates of
Lord Pitsligo lay was essentially Jacobite, and the young cavaliers only
waited for a fitting leader to take up arms in the cause. According to
Mr. Home, his example was decisive of the movement of his neighbours:
"So when he who was so wise and prudent declared his purpose of joining
Charles, most of the gentlemen in that part of the country who favoured
the Pretender's cause, put themselves under his command, thinking they
could not follow a better or safer guide than Lord Pitsligo." His
Lordship's own account of the motives which urged him on is
peculiar:--"I was grown a little old, and the fear of ridicule stuck to
me pretty much. I have mentioned the weightier considerations of a
family, which would make the censure still the greater, and set the more
tongues agoing. But we are pushed on, I know not how,--I thought--I
weighed--and I weighed again. If there was any enthusiasm in it, it was
of the coldest kind; and there was as little remorse when the affair
miscarried, as there was eagerness at the beginning."
The writer whom I have already quoted goes on to say--"To those friends
who recalled his misfortunes of 1715, he replied gaily, 'Did you ever
know me absent at the second day of a wedding?' meaning, I suppose, that
having once contracted an engagement, he did not feel entitled to quit
it while the contest subsisted. Being invited by the gentlemen of the
district to put himself at their head, and having surmounted his own
desires, he had made a farewell visit at a neighbour's house, where a
little boy, a child of the family, brought out a stool to assist the old
nobleman in remounting his horse. 'My little fellow.' said Lord
Pitsligo, 'this is the severest rebuke I have yet received, for
presuming to go on such an expedition.'
"The die was however cast, and Lord Pitsligo went to meet his friends
at the rendezvous they had appointed in Aberdeen. They formed a body of
well-armed cavalry, gentlemen and their servants, to the number of a
hundred men. When they were drawn up in readiness to commence the
expedition, the venerable nobleman, their leader, moved to their front,
lifted his hat, and, looking up to heaven, pronounced, with a solemn
voice, the awful appeal,--'O Lord, thou knowest that our cause is just!'
then added the signal for departure--'March, gentlemen!'
"Lord Pitsligo, with his followers, found Charles at Edinburgh, on 8th
October 1745, a few days after the Highlanders' victory at Preston.
Their arrival was hailed with enthusiasm, not only on account of the
timely reinforcement, but more especially from the high character of
their leader. Hamilton of Bangour, in an animated and eloquent eulogium
upon Pitsligo, states that nothing could have fallen out more
fortunately for the Prince than his joining them did--for it seemed as
if religion, virtue, and justice were entering his camp, under the
appearance of this venerable old man; and what would have given sanction
to a cause of the most dubious right, could not fail to render sacred
the very best."
Although so far advanced in years, he remained in arms during the whole
campaign, and was treated with almost filial tenderness by the Prince.
After Culloden, he became, like many more, a fugitive and an outlaw,
but succeeded, like the Baron of Bradwardine, in finding a shelter upon
the skirts of his own estate. Disguised as a mendicant, his secret was
faithfully kept by the tenantry; and although it was more than surmised
by the soldiers that he was lurking somewhere in the neighbourhood, they
never were able to detect him. On one occasion he actually guided a
party to a cave on the sea-shore, amidst the rough rocks of Buchan,
where it was rumoured that he was lying in concealment; and on another,
when overtaken by his asthma, and utterly unable to escape from an
approaching patrol of soldiers, he sat down by the wayside, and acted
his assumed character so well, that a good-natured fellow not only gave
him alms, but condoled with him on the violence of his complaint.
For ten years he remained concealed, but in the mean time both title and
estate were forfeited by attainder. His last escape was so very
remarkable, that I may be pardoned for giving it in the language of the
author of his memoirs.
"In March 1756, and of course long after all apprehension of a search
had ceased, information having been given to the commanding officer at
Fraserburgh, that Lord Pitsligo was at that moment at the house of
Auchiries, it was acted upon with so much promptness and secrecy that
the search must have proved successful but for a very singular
occurrence. Mrs. Sophia Donaldson, a lady who lived much with the
family, repeatedly dreamt, on that particular night, that the house was
surrounded by soldiers. Her mind became so haunted with the idea, that
she got out of bed, and was walking through the room, in hopes of giving
a different current to her thoughts before she lay down again; when, day
beginning to dawn, she accidentally looked out at the window as she
passed it in traversing the room, and was astonished at actually
observing the figures of soldiers among some trees near the house. So
completely had all idea of a search been by that time laid asleep, that
she supposed they had come to steal poultry--Jacobite poultry-yards
affording a safe object of pillage for the English soldiers in those
days. Mrs. Sophia was proceeding to rouse the servants, when her sister,
having awaked, and inquiring what was the matter, and being told of
soldiers near the house, exclaimed in great alarm, that she feared they
wanted something more than hens. She begged Mrs. Sophia to look out at a
window on the other side of the house, when not only were soldiers seen
in that direction, but also an officer giving instructions by signal,
and frequently putting his fingers to his lips, as if enjoining silence.
There was now no time to be lost in rousing the family, and all the
haste that could be made was scarcely sufficient to hurry the venerable
man from his bed into a small recess, behind the wainscot of an
adjoining room, which was concealed by a bed, in which a lady, Miss
Gordon of Towie, who was there on a visit, lay, before the soldiers
obtained admission. A most minute search took place. The room in which
Lord Pitsligo was concealed did not escape. Miss Gordon's bed was
carefully examined, and she was obliged to suffer the rude scrutiny of
one of the party, by feeling her chin, to ascertain that it was not a
man in a lady's night-dress. Before the soldiers had finished their
examination in this room, the confinement and anxiety increased Lord
Pitsligo's asthma so much, and his breathing became so loud, that it
cost Miss Gordon, lying in bed, much and violent coughing, which she
counterfeited, in order to prevent the high breathings behind the
wainscot from being heard.
It may be easily conceived what agony she would suffer, lest, by
overdoing her part, she should increase suspicion, and in fact lead to a
discovery. The ruse was fortunately successful. On the search through
the house being given over, Lord Pitsligo was hastily taken from his
confined situation, and again replaced in bed; and, as soon as he was
able to speak, his accustomed kindness of heart made him say to his
servant--'James, go and see that these poor fellows get some breakfast
and a drink of warm ale, for this is a cold morning; they are only doing
their duty, and cannot bear me any ill-will.' When the family were
felicitating each other on his escape, he pleasantly observed--'A poor
prize, had they obtained it--an old dying man!'"
This was the last attempt made on the part of government to seize on the
persons of any of the surviving insurgents. Three years before, Dr.
Archibald Cameron, a brother of Locheill, having clandestinely revisited
Scotland, was arrested, tried, and executed for high treason at Tyburn.
The government was generally blamed for this act of severity, which was
considered rather to have been dictated by revenge than required for the
public safety. It is, however, probable that they might have had secret
information of certain negotiations which were still conducted in the
Highlands by the agents of the Stuart family, and that they considered
it necessary, by one terrible example, to overawe the insurrectionary
spirit. This I believe to have been the real motive of an execution
which otherwise could not have been palliated: and, in the case of Lord
Pitsligo, it is quite possible that the zeal of a partisan may have led
him to take a step which would not have been approved of by the
ministry. After the lapse of so many years, and after so many scenes of
judicial bloodshed, the nation would have turned in disgust from the
spectacle of an old man, whose private life was not only blameless, but
exemplary, dragged to the scaffold, and forced to lay down his head in
expiation of a doubtful crime: and this view derives corroboration from
the fact that, shortly afterwards, Lord Pitsligo was tacitly permitted
to return to the society of his friends, without further notice or
Dr. King, the Principal of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, has borne the
following testimony to the character of Lord Pitsligo. "Whoever is so
happy, either from his natural disposition, or his good judgment,
constantly to observe St. Paul's precept, 'to speak evil of no one' will
certainly acquire the love and esteem of the whole community of which he
is a member. But such a man is the _rara avis in terris_; and, among all
my acquaintance, I have known only one person to whom I can with truth
assign this character. The person I mean is the present Lord Pitsligo of
Scotland. I not only never heard this gentleman speak an ill word of any
man living, but I always observed him ready to defend any other person
who was ill spoken of in his company. If the person accused were of his
acquaintance, my Lord Pitsligo would always find something good to say
of him as a counterpoise. If he were a stranger, and quite unknown to
him, my lord would urge in his defence the general corruption of
manners, and the frailties and infirmities of human nature.
"It is no wonder that such an excellent man, who, besides, is a polite
scholar, and has many other great and good qualities, should be
universally admired and beloved--insomuch, that I persuade myself he has
not one enemy in the world. At least, to this general esteem and
affection for his person, his preservation must be owing; for since his
attainder he has never removed far from his own house, protected by men
of different principles, and unsought for and unmolested by government."
To which eulogy it might be added, by those who have the good fortune to
know his representatives, that the virtues here acknowledged seem
hereditary in the family of Pitsligo.
The venerable old nobleman was permitted to remain without molestation
at the residence of his son, during the latter years of an existence
protracted to the extreme verge of human life. And so, says the author
of his memoirs, "In this happy frame of mind,--calm and full of
hope,--the saintly man continued to the last, with his reason unclouded,
able to study his favourite volume, enjoying the comforts of friendship,
and delighting in the consolations of religion, till he gently 'fell
asleep in Jesus.' He died on the 21st of December, 1762, in the
eighty-fifth year of his age; and to his surviving friends the
recollection of the misfortunes which had accompanied him through his
long life was painfully awakened even in the closing scene of his mortal
career--as his son had the mortification to be indebted to a stranger,
now the proprietor of his ancient inheritance by purchase from the
crown, for permission to lay his father's honoured remains in the vault
which contained the ashes of his family for many generations."
Such a character as this is well worthy of remembrance; and Lord
Pitsligo has just title to be called the last of the old Scottish
Cavaliers. I trust that, in adapting the words of the following little
ballad to a well-known English air, I have committed no unpardonable
[Footnote 3: See _Blackwood's Magazine_ for May 1829.--Article "Lord
THE OLD SCOTTISH CAVALIER
Come listen to another song,
Should make your heart beat high,
Bring crimson to your forehead,
And the lustre to your eye;--
It is a song of olden time,
Of days long since gone by,
And of a Baron stout and bold
As e'er wore sword on thigh!
Like a brave old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
He kept his castle in the north,
Hard by the thundering Spey;
And a thousand vassals dwelt around
All of his kindred they.
And not a man of all that clan
Had ever ceased to pray
For the Royal race they loved so well,
Though exiled far away
From the steadfast Scottish cavaliers,
All of the olden time!
His father drew the righteous sword
For Scotland and her claims,
Among the loyal gentlemen
And chiefs of ancient names
Who swore to fight or fall beneath
The standard of King James,
And died at Killiecrankie pass
With the glory of the Graemes;
Like a true old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
He never owned the foreign rule,
No master he obeyed,
But kept his clan in peace at home,
From foray and from raid;
And when they asked him for his oath,
He touched his glittering blade,
And pointed to his bonnet blue,
That bore the white cockade:
Like a leal old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
At length the news ran through the land--
THE PRINCE had come again!
That night the fiery cross was sped
O'er mountain and through glen;
And our old Baron rose in might,
Like a lion from his den,
And rode away across the hills
To Charlie and his men,
With the valiant Scottish cavaliers,
All of the olden time!
He was the first that bent the knee
When the STANDARD waved abroad,
He was the first that charged the foe
On Preston's bloody sod;
And ever, in the van of fight,
The foremost still he trod,
Until, on bleak Culloden's heath,
He gave his soul to God,
Like a good old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
Oh! never shall we know again
A heart so stout and true--
The olden times have passed away,
And weary are the new:
The fair White Rose has faded
From the garden where it grew,
And no fond tears save those of heaven
The glorious bed bedew
Of the last old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
BLIND OLD MILTON
Place me once more, my daughter, where the sun
May shine upon my old and time-worn head,
For the last time, perchance. My race is run;
And soon amidst the ever-silent dead
I must repose, it may be, half forgot.
Yes! I have broke the hard and bitter bread
For many a year, with those who trembled not
To buckle on their armour for the fight,
And set themselves against the tyrant's lot;
And I have never bowed me to his might,
Nor knelt before him--for I bear within
My heart the sternest consciousness of right,
And that perpetual hate of gilded sin
Which made me what I am; and though the stain
Of poverty be on me, yet I win
More honour by it, than the blinded train
Who hug their willing servitude, and bow
Unto the weakest and the most profane.
Therefore, with unencumbered soul I go
Before the footstool of my Maker, where
I hope to stand as undebased as now!
Child! is the sun abroad? I feel my hair
Borne up and wafted by the gentle wind,
I feel the odours that perfume the air,
And hear the rustling of the leaves behind.
Within my heart I picture them, and then
I almost can forget that I am blind,
And old, and hated by my fellow-men.
Yet would I fain once more behold the grace
Of nature ere I die, and gaze again
Upon her living and rejoicing face--
Fain would I see thy countenance, my child,
My comforter! I feel thy dear embrace--
I hear thy voice, so musical, and mild,
The patient, sole interpreter, by whom
So many years of sadness are beguiled;
For it hath made my small and scanty room
Peopled with glowing visions of the past.
But I will calmly bend me to my doom,
And wait the hour which is approaching fast,
When triple light shall stream upon mine eyes,
And heaven itself be opened up at last
To him who dared foretell its mysteries.
I have had visions in this drear eclipse
Of outward consciousness, and clomb the skies,
Striving to utter with my earthly lips
What the diviner soul had half divined,
Even as the Saint in his Apocalypse
Who saw the inmost glory, where enshrined
Sat He who fashioned glory. This hath driven
All outward strife and tumult from my mind,
And humbled me, until I have forgiven
My bitter enemies, and only seek
To find the straight and narrow path to heaven.
Yet I am weak--oh! how entirely weak,
For one who may not love nor suffer more!
Sometimes unbidden tears will wet my cheek,
And my heart bound as keenly as of yore,
Responsive to a voice, now hushed to rest,
Which made the beautiful Italian shore,
In all its pomp of summer vineyards drest,
An Eden and a Paradise to me.
Do the sweet breezes from the balmy west
Still murmur through thy groves, Parthenope,
In search of odours from the orange bowers?
Still on thy slopes of verdure does the bee
Cull her rare honey from the virgin flowers?
And Philomel her plaintive chaunt prolong
'Neath skies more calm and more serene than ours,
Making the summer one perpetual song?
Art thou the same as when in manhood's pride
I walked in joy thy grassy meads among,
With that fair youthful vision by my side,
In whose bright eyes I looked--and not in vain?
O my adored angel! O my bride!
Despite of years, and woe, and want, and pain,
My soul yearns back towards thee, and I seem
To wander with thee, hand in hand, again,
By the bright margin of that flowing stream.
I hear again thy voice, more silver-sweet
Than fancied music floating in a dream,
Possess my being; from afar I greet
The waving of thy garments in the glade,
And the light rustling of thy fairy feet--
What time as one half eager, half afraid,
Love's burning secret faltered on my tongue,
And tremulous looks and broken words betrayed
The secret of the heart from whence they sprung.
Ah me! the earth that rendered thee to heaven
Gave up an angel beautiful and young,
Spotless and pure as snow when freshly driven:
A bright Aurora for the starry sphere
Where all is love, and even life forgiven.
Bride of immortal beauty--ever dear!
Dost thou await me in thy blest abode?
While I, Tithonus-like, must linger here,
And count each step along the rugged road;
A phantom, tottering to a long-made grave,
And eager to lay down my weary load!
I, who was fancy's lord, am fancy's slave.
Like the low murmurs of the Indian shell
Ta'en from its coral bed beneath the wave,
Which, unforgetful of the ocean's swell,
Retains within its mystic urn the hum
Heard in the sea-grots where the Nereids dwell--
Old thoughts still haunt me--unawares they come
Between me and my rest, nor can I make
Those aged visitors of sorrow dumb.
Oh, yet awhile, my feeble soul, awake!
Nor wander back with sullen steps again;
For neither pleasant pastime canst thou take
In such a journey, nor endure the pain.
The phantoms of the past are dead for thee;
So let them ever uninvoked remain,
And be thou calm, till death shall set thee free.
Thy flowers of hope expanded long ago,
Long since their blossoms withered on the tree:
No second spring can come to make them blow,
But in the silent winter of the grave
They lie with blighted love and buried woe.
I did not waste the gifts which nature gave,
Nor slothful lay in the Circean bower;
Nor did I yield myself the willing slave
Of lust for pride, for riches, or for power.
No! in my heart a nobler spirit dwelt;
For constant was my faith in manhood's dower;
Man--made in God's own image--and I felt
How of our own accord we courted shame,
Until to idols like ourselves we knelt,
And so renounced the great and glorious claim
Of freedom, our immortal heritage.
I saw how bigotry, with spiteful aim,
Smote at the searching eyesight of the sage,
How error stole behind the steps of truth,
And cast delusion on the sacred page.
So, as a champion, even in early youth
I waged my battle with a purpose keen;
Nor feared the hand of terror, nor the tooth
Of serpent jealousy. And I have been
With starry Galileo in his cell,
That wise magician with the brow serene,
Who fathomed space; and I have seen him tell
The wonders of the planetary sphere,
And trace the ramparts of heaven's citadel
On the cold flag-stones of his dungeon drear.
And I have walked with Hampden and with Vane--
Names once so gracious to an English ear--
In days that never may return again.
My voice, though not the loudest, hath been heard
Whenever freedom raised her cry of pain,
And the faint effort of the humble bard
Hath roused up thousands from their lethargy,
To speak in words of thunder. What reward
Was mine, or theirs? It matters not; for I
Am but a leaf cast on the whirling tide,
Without a hope or wish, except to die.
But truth, asserted once, must still abide,
Unquenchable, as are those fiery springs
Which day and night gush from the mountain-side,
Perpetual meteors girt with lambent wings,
Which the wild tempest tosses to and fro,
But cannot conquer with the force it brings.
Yet I, who ever felt another's woe
More keenly than my own untold distress;
I, who have battled with the common foe,
And broke for years the bread of bitterness;
Who never yet abandoned or betrayed
The trust vouchsafed me, nor have ceased to bless,
Am left alone to wither in the shade,
A weak old man, deserted by his kind--
Whom none will comfort in his age, nor aid!
Oh! let me not repine! A quiet mind,
Conscious and upright, needs no other stay;
Nor can I grieve for what I leave behind,
In the rich promise of eternal day.
Henceforth to me the world is dead and gone,
Its thorns unfelt, its roses cast away:
And the old pilgrim, weary and alone,
Bowed down with travel, at his Master's gate
Now sits, his task of life-long labour done,
Thankful for rest, although it comes so late,
After sore journey through this world of sin,
In hope, and prayer, and wistfulness to wait,
Until the door shall ope, and let him in.
Hermotimus, the hero of this ballad, was a philosopher, or rather a
prophet, of Clazomenae, who possessed the faculty, now claimed by the
animal-magnetists, of effecting a voluntary separation between his soul
and body; for the former could wander to any part of the universe, and
even hold intercourse with supernatural beings, whilst the senseless
frame remained at home. Hermotimus, however, was not insensible to the
risk attendant upon this disunion; since, before attempting any of these
aerial flights, he took the precaution to warn his wife, lest, ere the
return of his soul, the body should be rendered an unfit or useless
receptacle. This accident, which he so much dreaded, at length occurred;
for the lady, wearied out by a succession of trances, each of longer
duration than the preceding, one day committed his body to the flames,
and thus effectually put a stop to such unconnubial conduct. He received
divine honours at Clazomenae, but must nevertheless remain as a terrible
example and warning to all husbands who carry their scientific or
spiritual pursuits so far as to neglect their duty to their wives.
It is somewhat curious that Hermotimus is not the only person (putting
the disciples of Mesmer and Dupotet altogether out of the question) who
has possessed this miraculous power. Another and much later instance is
recorded by Dr. George Cheyne, in his work entitled, _The English
Malady, or a Treatise of Nervous Diseases_, as having come under his own
observation; and, as this case is exactly similar to that of the
Prophet, it may amuse the reader to see how far an ancient fable may be
illustrated, and in part explained, by the records of modern science.
Dr. Cheyne's patient was probably cataleptic; but the worthy physician
must be allowed to tell his own story.
"Colonel Townshend, a gentleman of honour and integrity, had for many
years been afflicted with a nephritic complaint. His illness increasing,
and his strength decaying, he came from Bristol to Bath in a litter, in
autumn, and lay at the Bell Inn. Dr. Baynard and I were called to him,
and attended him twice a-day; but his vomitings continuing still
incessant and obstinate against all remedies, we despaired of his
recovery. While he was in this condition, he sent for us one morning; we
waited on him with Mr. Skrine, his apothecary. We found his senses
clear, and his mind calm: his nurse and several servants were about him.
He told us he had sent for us to give him an account of an odd sensation
he had for some time observed and felt in himself; which was, that, by
composing himself, _he could die or expire when he pleased_; and yet by
an effort, or somehow, he could come to life again, which he had
sometimes tried before he had sent for us. We heard this with surprise;
but, as it was not to be accounted for upon common principles, we could
hardly believe the fact as he related it, much less give any account of
it; unless he should please to make the experiment before us, which we
were unwilling he should do, lest, in his weak condition, he might carry
it too far. He continued to talk very distinctly and sensibly above a
quarter of an hour about this surprising sensation, and insisted so much
on our seeing the trial made, that we were at last forced to comply. We
all three felt his pulse first--it was distinct, though small and
thready, and his heart had its usual beating. He composed himself on his
back, and lay in a still posture for some time: while I held his right
hand, Dr. Baynard laid his hand on his heart, and Mr. Skrine held a
clean looking-glass to his mouth. I found his pulse sink gradually, till
at last I could not find any by the most exact and nice touch. Dr.
Baynard could not feel the least motion in his heart, nor Mr. Skrine the
least soil of breath on the bright mirror he held to his mouth; then
each of us by turns examined his arm, heart, and breath, but could not,
by the nicest scrutiny, discover the least symptom of life in him. We
reasoned a long time about this odd appearance as well as we could, and
all of us judging it inexplicable and unaccountable; and, finding he
still continued in that condition, we began to conclude that he had
indeed carried the experiment too far; and at last were satisfied he was
actually dead, and were just ready to leave him. This continued about
half an hour. As we were going away, we observed some motion about the
body; and, upon examination, found his pulse and the motion of his heart
gradually returning. He began to breathe gently and speak softly. We
were all astonished to the last degree at this unexpected change; and,
after some further conversation with him, and among ourselves, went away
fully satisfied as to all the particulars of this fact, but confounded
and puzzled, and not able to form any rational scheme that might account
"Wilt not lay thee down in quiet slumber?
Weary dost thou seem, and ill at rest;
Sleep will bring thee dreams in starry number--
Let him come to thee and be thy guest.
Midnight now is past--
Husband! come at last--
Lay thy throbbing head upon my breast."
"Weary am I, but my soul is waking;
Fain I'd lay me gently by thy side,
But my spirit then, its home forsaking,
Through the realms of space would wander wide--
What would be thy lot,
If I came not back to thee, my bride?"
"Music, like the lute of young Apollo,
Vibrates even now within mine ear;
Soft and silver voices bid me follow,
Yet my soul is dull and will not hear.
Waking it will stay:
Let me watch till day--
Fainter will they come, and disappear."
"Speak not thus to me, my own--my dearest!
These are but the phantoms of thy brain;
Nothing can befall thee which thou fearest,
Thou shalt wake to love and life again.
Were this sleep thy last,
I should hold thee fast,
Thou shouldst strive against me but in vain."
"Eros will protect us, and will hover,
Guardian-like, above thee all the night,
Jealous of thee, as of some fond lover
Chiding back the rosy-fingered light--
He will be thine aid:
Canst thou feel afraid
When _his_ torch above us burneth bright?"
"Lo! the cressets of the night are waning--
Old Orion hastens from the sky;
Only thou of all things art remaining
Unrefreshed by slumber--thou and I.
Sound and sense are still;
Even the distant rill
Murmurs fainter now, and languidly."
"Come and rest thee, husband!"--And no longer
Could the young man that fond call resist:
Vainly was he warned, for love was stronger--
Warmly did he press her to his breast.
Warmly met she his;
Kiss succeeded kiss,
Till their eyelids closed with sleep oppressed.
Soon Aurora left her early pillow,
And the heavens grew rosy-rich, and rare;
Laughed the dewy plain and glassy billow,
For the Golden God himself was there;
And the vapour-screen
Rose the hills between,
Steaming up, like incense, in the air.
O'er her husband sate Ione bending--
Marble-like and marble-hued he lay;
Underneath her raven locks descending,
Paler seemed his face, and ashen gray,
And so white his brow--
White and cold as snow--
"Husband! Gods! his soul hath passed away!"
Raise ye up the pile with gloomy shadow--
Heap it with the mournful cypress-bough!--
And they raised the pile upon the meadow,
And they heaped the mournful cypress too;
And they laid the dead
On his funeral bed,
And they kindled up the flames below.
Swiftly rose they, and the corse surrounded,
Spreading out a pall into the air;
And the sharp and sudden crackling sounded
Mournfully to all the watchers there.
Soon their force was spent,
And the body blent
With the embers' slow-expiring glare.
Night again was come; but oh, how lonely
To the mourner did that night appear!
Peace nor rest it brought, but sorrow only,
Vain repinings and unwonted fear.
Dimly burned the lamp--
Chill the air and damp--
And the winds without were moaning drear.
Hush! a voice in solemn whispers speaking
Breaks within the twilight of the room;
And Ione, loud and wildly shrieking,
Starts and gazes through the ghastly gloom.
Nothing sees she there--
All is empty air,
All is empty as a rifled tomb.
Once again the voice beside her sounded,
Low, and faint, and solemn was its tone--
"Nor by form nor shade am I surrounded,
Fleshly home and dwelling have I none.
They are passed away--
Woe is me! to-day
Hath robbed me of myself, and made me lone."
"Vainly were the words of parting spoken;
Evermore must Charon turn from me.
Still my thread of life remains unbroken,
And unbroken ever it must be;
Only they may rest
Whom the Fates' behest
From their mortal mansion setteth free."
"I have seen the robes of Hermes glisten--
Seen him wave afar his serpent-wand;
But to me the Herald would not listen--
When the dead swept by at his command,
Not with that pale crew
Durst I venture too--
Ever shut for me the quiet land."
"Day and night before the dreary portal,
Phantom-shapes, the guards of Hades, lie;
None of heavenly kind, nor yet of mortal,
May unchallenged pass the warders by.
None that path may go,
If he cannot show
His last passport to eternity."
"Cruel was the spirit-power thou gavest--
Fatal, O Apollo, was thy love!
Pythian! Archer! brightest God and bravest,
Hear, O hear me from thy throne above!
Let me not, I pray,
Thus be cast away:
Plead for me--thy slave--O plead to Jove!"
"I have heard thee with the Muses singing--
Heard that full, melodious voice of thine,
Silver-clear throughout the ether ringing--
Seen thy locks in golden clusters shine;
And thine eye, so bright
With its innate light,
Hath ere now been bent so low as mine."
"Hast thou lost the wish--the will--to cherish
Those who trusted in thy godlike power?
Hyacinthus did not wholly perish;
Still he lives, the firstling of thy bower;
Still he feels thy rays,
Fondly meets thy gaze,
Though but now the spirit of a flower."
"Hear me, Phoebus! Hear me and deliver!
Lo! the morning breaketh from afar--
God! thou comest bright and great as ever--
Night goes back before thy burning car;
All her lamps are gone--
Lingers still for thee--the blessed star!"
"Hear me, Phoebus!"--And therewith descended
Through the window-arch a glory-gleam,
All effulgent--and with music blended,
For such solemn sounds arose as stream
From the Memnon-lyre,
When the morning fire
Gilds the giant's forehead with its beam.
"Thou hast heard thy servant's prayer, Apollo;
Thou dost call me, mighty God of Day!
Fare-thee-well, Ione!"--And more hollow
Came the phantom-voice, then died away.
When the slaves arose,
Not in calm repose,
Not in sleep, but death, their mistress lay.
On the holy mount of Ida,
Where the pine and cypress grow,
Sate a young and lovely woman,
Weeping ever, weeping low.
Drearily throughout the forest
Did the winds of autumn blow,
And the clouds above were flying,
And Scamander rolled below.
"Faithless Paris! cruel Paris!"
Thus the poor deserted spake--
"Wherefore thus so strangely leave me?
Why thy loving bride forsake?
Why no tender word at parting?
Why no kiss, no farewell take?
Would that I could but forget thee--
Would this throbbing heart might break!
"Is my face no longer blooming?
Are my eyes no longer bright?
Ah! my tears have made them dimmer,
And my cheeks are pale and white.
I have wept since early morning,
I will weep the livelong night;
Now I long for sullen darkness,
As I once have longed for light.
"Paris! canst thou then be cruel?
Fair, and young, and brave thou art--
Can it be that in thy bosom
Lies so cold, so hard a heart?
Children were we bred together--
She who bore me suckled thee;
I have been thine old companion,
When thou hadst no more but me.
"I have watched thee in thy slumbers,
When the shadow of a dream
Passed across thy smiling features,
Like the ripple of a stream;
And so sweetly were the visions
Pictured there with lively grace,
That I half could read their import
By the changes on thy face.
"When I sang of Ariadne,
Sang the old and mournful tale,
How her faithless lover, Theseus,
Left her to lament and wail;
Then thine eyes would fill and glisten,
Her complaint could soften thee:
Thou hast wept for Ariadne--
Theseus' self might weep for me!
"Thou may'st find another maiden
With a fairer face than mine--
With a gayer voice, and sweeter,
And a spirit liker thine:
For if e'er my beauty bound thee,
Lost and broken is the spell;
But thou canst not find another
That will love thee half so well.
"O thou hollow ship that bearest
Paris o'er the faithless deep,
Wouldst thou leave him on some island,
Where alone the waters weep?
Where no human foot is moulded
In the wet and yellow sand--
Leave him there, thou hollow vessel!
Leave him on that lonely land!
"Then his heart will surely soften,
When his foolish hopes decay,
And his older love rekindle,
As the new one dies away.
Visionary hills will haunt him,
Rising from the glassy sea,
And his thoughts will wander homewards
Unto Ida and to me.
"O! that like a little swallow
I could reach that lonely spot!
All his errors would be pardoned,
All the weary past forgot.
Never should he wander from me--
Never should he more depart,
For these arms would be his prison,
And his home would be my heart."
Thus lamented fair Oenone,
Weeping ever, weeping low,
On the holy mount of Ida,
Where the pine and cypress grow.
In the self-same hour Cassandra
Shrieked her prophecy of woe,
And into the Spartan dwelling
Did the faithless Paris go.
THE BURIED FLOWER
In the silence of my chamber,
When the night is still and deep,
And the drowsy heave of ocean
Mutters in its charmed sleep,
Oft I hear the angel-voices
That have thrilled me long ago,--
Voices of my lost companions,
Lying deep beneath the snow.
O, the garden I remember,
In the gay and sunny spring,
When our laughter made the thickets
And the arching alleys ring!
O the merry burst of gladness!
O the soft and tender tone!
O the whisper never uttered
Save to one fond ear alone!
O the light of life that sparkled
In those bright and bounteous eyes!
O the blush of happy beauty,
Tell-tale of the heart's surprise:
O the radiant light that girdled
Field and forest, land and sea,
When we all were young together,
And the earth was new to me:
Where are now the flowers we tended?
Withered, broken, branch and stem;
Where are now the hopes we cherished?
Scattered to the winds with them.
For ye, too, were flowers, ye dear ones!
Nursed in hope and reared in love,
Looking fondly ever upward
To the clear blue heaven above:
Smiling on the sun that cheered us,
Rising lightly from the rain,
Never folding up your freshness
Save to give it forth again:
Never shaken, save by accents
From a tongue that was not free,
As the modest blossom trembles
At the wooing of the bee.
O! 'tis sad to lie and reckon
All the days of faded youth,
All the vows that we believed in,
All the words we spoke in truth.
Severed--were it severed only
By an idle thought of strife,
Such as time might knit together;
Not the broken chord of life!
O my heart! that once so truly
Kept another's time and tune,
Heart, that kindled in the spring-tide,
Look around thee in the noon.
Where are they who gave the impulse
To thy earliest thought and flow?
Look around the ruined garden--
All are withered, dropped, or low!
Seek the birth-place of the lily,
Dearer to the boyish dream
Than the golden cups of Eden,
Floating on its slumbrous stream;
Never more shalt thou behold her--
She, the noblest, fairest, best:
She that rose in fullest beauty,
Like a queen, above the rest.
Only still I keep her image
As a thought that cannot die;
He who raised the shade of Helen
Had no greater power than I.
O! I fling my spirit backward,
And I pass o'er years of pain;
All I loved is rising round me,
All the lost returns again.
Blow, for ever blow, ye breezes,
Warmly as ye did before!
Bloom again, ye happy gardens,
With the radiant tints of yore!
Warble out in spray and thicket,
All ye choristers unseen;
Let the leafy woodland echo
With an anthem to its queen!
Lo! she cometh in her beauty,
Stately with a Juno grace,
Raven locks, Madonna-braided
O'er her sweet and blushing face:
Eyes of deepest violet, beaming
With the love that knows not shame--
Lips, that thrill my inmost being
With the utterance of a name.
And I bend the knee before her,
As a captive ought to bow,--
Pray thee, listen to my pleading,
Sovereign of my soul art thou!
O my dear and gentle lady,
Let me show thee all my pain,
Ere the words that late were prisoned
Sink into my heart again.
Love, they say, is very fearful
Ere its curtain be withdrawn,
Trembling at the thought of error
As the shadows scare the fawn.
Love hath bound me to thee, lady,
Since the well-remembered day
When I first beheld thee coming
In the light of lustrous May.
Not a word I dared to utter--
More than he who, long ago,
Saw the heavenly shapes descending
Over Ida's slopes of snow:
When a low and solemn music
Floated through the listening grove,
And the throstle's song was silenced,
And the doling of the dove:
When immortal beauty opened
All its grace to mortal sight,
And the awe of worship blended
With the throbbing of delight.
As the shepherd stood before them
Trembling in the Phrygian dell,
Even so my soul and being
Owned the magic of the spell;
And I watched thee ever fondly,
Watched thee, dearest! from afar,
With the mute and humble homage
Of the Indian to a star.
Thou wert still the Lady Flora
In her morning garb of bloom;
Where thou wert was light and glory,
Where thou wert not, dearth and gloom.
So for many a day I followed
For a long and weary while,
Ere my heart rose up to bless thee
For the yielding of a smile,--
Ere thy words were few and broken
As they answered back to mine,
Ere my lips had power to thank thee
For the gift vouchsafed by thine.
Then a mighty gush of passion
Through my inmost being ran;
Then my older life was ended,
And a dearer course began.
Dearer!--O, I cannot tell thee
What a load was swept away,
What a world of doubt and darkness
Faded in the dawning day!
All my error, all my weakness,
All my vain delusions fled:
Hope again revived, and gladness
Waved its wings above my head.
Like the wanderer of the desert,
When, across the dreary sand,
Breathes the perfume from the thickets
Bordering on the promised land;
When afar he sees the palm-trees
Cresting o'er the lonely well,
When he hears the pleasant tinkle
Of the distant camel's bell:
So a fresh and glad emotion
Rose within my swelling breast,
And I hurried swiftly onwards
To the haven of my rest.
Thou wert there with word and welcome,
With thy smile so purely sweet;
And I laid my heart before thee,
Laid it, darling, at thy feet!--
O ye words that sound so hollow
As I now recall your tone!
What are ye but empty echoes
Of a passion crushed and gone?
Wherefore should I seek to kindle
Light, when all around is gloom?
Wherefore should I raise a phantom
O'er the dark and silent tomb?
Early wert thou taken, Mary!
In thy fair and glorious prime,
Ere the bees had ceased to murmur
Through the umbrage of the lime.
Buds were blowing, waters flowing,
Birds were singing on the tree,
Every thing was bright and glowing,
When the angels came for thee.
Death had laid aside his terror,
And he found thee calm and mild,
Lying in thy robes of whiteness,
Like a pure and stainless child.
Hardly had the mountain violet
Spread its blossoms on the sod,
Ere they laid the turf above thee,
And thy spirit rose to God.
Early wert thou taken, Mary!
And I know 'tis vain to weep--
Tears of mine can never wake thee
From thy sad and silent sleep.
O away! my thoughts are earthward!
Not asleep, my love, art thou!
Dwelling in the land of glory
With the saints and angels now.
Brighter, fairer far than living,
With no trace of woe or pain,
Robed in everlasting beauty,
Shall I see thee once again,
By the light that never fadeth,
Underneath eternal skies,
When the dawn of resurrection
Breaks o'er deathless Paradise.
THE OLD CAMP
WRITTEN IN A ROMAN FORTIFICATION IN BAVARIA
There is a cloud before the sun,
The wind is hushed and still,
And silently the waters run
Beneath the sombre hill.
The sky is dark in every place,
As is the earth below:
Methinks it wore the self-same face
Two thousand years ago.
No light is on the ancient wall,
No light upon the mound;
The very trees, so thick and tall,
Cast gloom, not shade, around.
So silent is the place and cold,
So far from human ken,
It hath a look that makes me old,
And spectres time again.
I listen, half in thought to hear
The Roman trumpet blow--
I search for glint of helm and spear
Amidst the forest bough:
And armour rings, and voices swell--
I hear the legion's tramp,
And mark the lonely sentinel
Who guards the lonely camp.
Methinks I have no other home,
No other hearth to find;
For nothing save the thought of Rome
Is stirring in my mind.
And all that I have heard or dreamed,
And all I had forgot,
Are rising up, as though they seemed
The household of the spot.
And all the names that Romans knew
Seem just as known to me,
As if I were a Roman too--
A Roman born and free:
And I could rise at Caesar's name,
As though it were a charm
To draw sharp lightning from the tame,
And brace the coward's arm.
And yet, if yonder sky were blue,
And earth were sunny gay,
If nature wore the summer hue
That decked her yesterday,
The mound, the trench, the rampart's space,
Would move me nothing more
Than many a sweet sequestred place
That I have marked before.
I could not feel the breezes bring
Rich odours from the trees;
I could not hear the linnets sing,
And think on themes like these.
The painted insects as they pass
In swift and motley strife,
The very lizard in the grass
Would scare me back to life.
Then is the past so gloomy now
That it may never bear
The open smile of nature's brow,
Or meet the sunny air?
I know not that--but joy is power,
However short it last;
And joy befits the present hour,
If sadness fits the past.
DANUBE AND THE EUXINE
"Danube, Danube! wherefore com'st thou
Red and raging to my caves?
Wherefore leap thy swollen waters
Madly through the broken waves?
Wherefore is thy tide so sullied
With a hue unknown to me;
Wherefore dost thou bring pollution
To the old and sacred sea?"
"Ha! rejoice, old Father Euxine!
I am brimming full and red;
Noble tidings do I carry
From my distant channel-bed.
I have been a Christian river
Dull and slow this many a year,
Rolling down my torpid waters
Through a silence morne and drear;
Have not felt the tread of armies
Trampling on my reedy shore;
Have not heard the trumpet calling,
Or the cannon's gladsome roar;
Only listened to the laughter
From the village and the town,
And the church-bells, ever jangling,
As the weary day went down.
So I lay and sorely pondered
On the days long since gone by,
When my old primaeval forests
Echoed to the war-man's cry;
When the race of Thor and Odin
Held their battles by my side,
And the blood of man was mingling
Warmly with my chilly tide.
Father Euxine! thou rememb'rest
How I brought thee tribute then--
Swollen corpses, gashed and gory,
Heads and limbs of slaughter'd men?
Father Euxine! be thou joyful!
I am running red once more--
Not with heathen blood, as early,
But with gallant Christian gore!
For the old times are returning,
And the Cross is broken down,
And I hear the tocsin sounding
In the village and the town;
And the glare of burning cities
Soon shall light me on my way--
Ha! my heart is big and jocund
With the draught I drank to-day.
Ha! I feel my strength awakened,
And my brethren shout to me;
Each is leaping red and joyous
To his own awaiting sea.
Rhine and Elbe are plunging downward
Through their wild anarchic land,
Everywhere are Christians falling
By their brother Christians' hand!
Yea, the old times are returning,
And the olden gods are here!
Take my tribute, Father Euxine,
To thy waters dark and drear.
Therefore come I with my torrents,
Shaking castle, crag, and town;
Therefore, with the shout of thunder,
Sweep I herd and herdsman down;
Therefore leap I to thy bosom,
With a loud triumphal roar--
Greet me, greet me, Father Euxine,
I am Christian stream no more!"
THE SCHEIK OF SINAI IN 1830
FROM THE GERMAN OF FREILIGRATH
"Lift me without the tent, I say,--
Me and my ottoman,--
I'll see the messenger myself!
It is the caravan
From Africa, thou sayest,
And they bring us news of war?
Draw me without the tent, and quick!
As at the desert well
The freshness of the purling brook
Delights the tired gazelle,
So pant I for the voice of him
That cometh from afar!"
The Scheik was lifted from his tent,
And thus outspake the Moor:--
"I saw, old Chief, the Tricolor
On Algiers' topmost tower--
Upon its battlements the silks
Of Lyons flutter free.
Each morning, in the market-place,
The muster-drum is beat,
And to the war-hymn of Marseilles
The squadrons pace the street.
The armament from Toulon sailed:
The Franks have crossed the sea."
"Towards the south, the columns marched
Beneath a cloudless sky:
Their weapons glittered in the blaze
Of the sun of Barbary;
And with the dusty desert sand
Their horses' manes were white.
The wild marauding tribes dispersed
In terror of their lives;
They fled unto the mountains
With their children and their wives,
And urged the clumsy dromedary
Up the Atlas' height."
"The Moors have ta'en their vantage-ground,
The volleys thunder fast--
The dark defile is blazing
Like a heated oven-blast;
The lion hears the strange turmoil,
And leaves his mangled prey--
No place was that for him to feed;
And thick and loud the cries,
Feu!--Allah! Allah!--En avant!
In mingled discord rise;
The Franks have reached the summit--
They have won the victory!"
"With bristling steel, upon the top
The victors take their stand:
Beneath their feet, with all its towns,
They see the promised land--
From Tunis, even unto Fez,
From Atlas to the seas.
The cavaliers alight to gaze,
And gaze full well they may,
Where countless minarets stand up
So solemnly and gray,
Amidst the dark-green masses
Of the flowering myrtle-trees."
"The almond blossoms in the vale;
The aloe from the rock
Throws out its long and prickly leaves,
Nor dreads the tempest's shock:
A blessed land, I ween, is that,
Though luckless is its Bey.
There lies the sea--beyond lies France!
Her banners in the air
Float proudly and triumphantly--
A salvo! come, prepare!
And loud and long the mountains rang
With that glad artillery."
"'Tis they!" exclaimed the aged Scheik.
"I've battled by their side--
I fought beneath the Pyramids!
That day of deathless pride--
Red as thy turban, Moor, that eve,
Was every creek in Nile!
But tell me--" and he griped his hand--
"Their Sultaun. Stranger, say--
His form--his face--his posture, man?
Thou saw'st him in the fray?
His eye--what wore he?" But the Moor
Sought in his vest awhile.
"Their Sultaun, Scheik, remains at home
Within his palace walls:
He sends a Pasha in his stead
To brave the bolts and balls.
He was not there. An Aga burst
For him through Atlas' hold.
Yet I can show thee somewhat too.
A Frankish Cavalier
Told me his effigy was stamped
Upon this medal here--
He gave me with others
For an Arab steed I sold."
The old man took the golden coin:
Gazed steadfastly awhile,
If that could be the Sultaun
Whom from the banks of Nile
He guided o'er the desert path--
Then sighed and thus spake he--
"'Tis not _his_ eye--'tis not _his_ brow--
Another face is there:
I never saw this man before--
His head is like a pear!
Take back thy medal, Moor--'tis not
That which I hoped to see."
EPITAPH OF CONSTANTINE KANARIS
FROM THE GERMAN OF WILHELM MUeLLER
I am Constantine Kanaris:
I, who lie beneath this stone,
Twice into the air in thunder
Have the Turkish galleys blown.
In my bed I died--a Christian,
Hoping straight with Christ to be;
Yet one earthly wish is buried
Deep within the grave with me--
That upon the open ocean
When the third Armada came,
They and I had died together,
Whirled aloft on wings of flame.
Yet 'tis something that they've laid me
In a land without a stain:
Keep it thus, my God and Saviour,
Till I rise from earth again!
THE REFUSAL OF CHARON
FROM THE ROMAIC
Why look the distant mountains
So gloomy and so drear?
Are rain-clouds passing o'er them,
Or is the tempest near?
No shadow of the temptest
Is there, nor wind nor rain--
'Tis Charon that is passing by,
With all his gloomy train.
The young men march before him,
In all their strength and pride;
The tender little infants,
They totter by his side;
The old men walk behind him,
And earnestly they pray--
Both old and young imploring him
To grant some brief delay.
"O Charon! halt, we pray thee,
Beside some little town,
Or near some sparkling fountain,
Where the waters wimple down!
The old will drink and be refreshed,
The young the disc will fling,
And the tender little children
Pluck flowers beside the spring."
"I will not stay my journey,
Nor halt by any town,
Near any sparkling fountain,
Where the waters wimple down:
The mothers coming to the well,
Would know the babes they bore,
The wives would clasp their husbands,
Nor could I part them more."
[Footnote 4: According to the superstition of the modern Greeks, Charon
performs the function which their ancestors assigned to Hermes, of
conducting the souls of the dead to the other world.]