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WARSAW's last champion from her height survey'd,
Wide o'er the fields, a waste of ruin laid ;-
“Oh, heaven !” he cried, “ my bleeding country save !
Is there no hand on high to shield the brave ?
Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains,
Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains !
By that dread name we wave the sword on high,
And swear for her to live with her to die !"
He said, and on the rampart-heights array'd
His trusty warriors, few, but undismay'd ;
Firm paced and slow, a horrid front they form,
Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm ;
Low murmuring sounds along their banners fly,
Revenge or death,—the watchword and reply;
Then peal'd the notes omnipotent to charm,
And the loud tocsin toll'd their last alarm !
In vain, alas ! in vain, ye gailant few !
From rank to rank your volley'd thunder flew ;-
Oh! bloodiest picture in the book of Time,
Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime;
Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe,
Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe!
Dropped from her nerveless grasp the shatter'd spear,
Closed her bright eye, and curb’d her high career ;
Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell,
And Freedom shriek’d, as Kosciusko fell !
The sun went down,-nor ceased the carnage there ;
Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air :
On Prague's proud arch the fires of ruin glow,
His blood-dyed waters murmuring far below;
The storm prevails, the rampart yields a way,
Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay !-
Hark! as the smouldering piles with thunder fall,
A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call !
Earth shook,-red meteors flash'd along the sky,
And conscious Nature shudder'd at the cry!
How sweet and solemn is the midnight scene !
The silver moon, unclouded, holds her way
Through skies where I could count each little star;
The fanning west-wind scarcely stirs the leaves;
The river, rushing o'er its pebbled bed,
Imposes silence with a stilly sound.
In such a place as this, at such an hour
(If ancestry can be in aught believed),
Descending spirits have conversed with man,
And told the secrets of the world unknown.
O WAR, what art thou ? After the brightest conquest, what remains Of all thy glories ? For the vanquish'd-chains : For the proud victor—what ? Alas! to reign O'er desolated nations,-a drear waste, By one man's crime, by one man's lust of pow'r, Unpeopled! Naked plains and ravaged fields Succeed to smiling harvests, and the fruits Of peaceful olive, luscious fig and vine ! Here--rifled temples are the cavern'd dens Of savage beasts, or haunt of birds obscene ; There—populous cities blacken in the sun, And in the gen'ral wreck proud palaces Lie undistinguish’d, save by the dun smoke Of recent conflagration! Wher the song Of dear-bought joy, with many a triumph swellid, Salutes the victor's ear, and soothes his pride, How is the grateful harmony profaned With the sad díssonance of virgins' cries, Who mourn their brothers slain! Of matrons hoar, Who clasp their wither'd hands, and fondly ask With iteration shrill—their slaughter'd sons ! How is the laurel's verdure stain'd with blood, Aud soild with widows' tears !
The wall on which we tried our graving skill,
The very name we carved subsisting still ;
The bench on which we sat while deep employ'd,
Though mangled, hack'd, and hew'd, not yet destroy'd;
The little ones, unbutton'd, glowing hot,
Playing our games, and on the very spot;
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw
The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw;
To pitch the ball into the grounded hat,
Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat :
The pleasing spectacle at once excites
Such recollection of our own delights,
That, viewing it, we seem almost t' obtain
Our innocent, sweet, simple years again.
This fond attachment to the well-known place,
Whence first we started into life's long race,
Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway,
We feel it even in age, and at our latest day.
WHEN with a serious musing I behold
The grateful and obsequious marigold,
How duly every morning she displays
Her open breast, when Titan spreads his rays;
How she observes him in his daily walk,
Still bending towards him her small slender stalk;
How, when he down declines, she droops and mourns,
Bedew'd as 'twere with tears, till he returns ;
And how she veils her flowers when he is gone,
As if she scorn'd to be look'd on
By an inferior eye; or did contemn
To wait upon a meaner light than him.
When thus I meditate, methinks the flowers
Have spirits far more generous than ours,
And give us fair examples, to despise
The servile fawnings and idolatries
Wherewith we court these earthly things below,
Which merit not the service we bestow.
But, O my God, though grovelling I appear
Upon the ground, and have a rooting here,
Which hails me downward ; yet in my
To that which is above me I aspire,
And all my best affections I profess
To Him that is the Son of Righteousness.