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But Linden saw another sight,
When the drum beat, at dead of night,
Commanding fires of death to light
The darkness of her scenery.
By torch and trumpet fast array'd,
Each horseman drew his battle-blade,
And furious every charger neigh’d,
To join the dreadful revelry.
Then shook the hills with thunder riven,
Then rush'd the steed to battle driven,
And louder than the bolts of heaven,
Far flash'd the red artillery.
But redder yet that light shall glow
On Linden's hills of stained snow,
And bloodier yet the torrent flow
Of Iser, rolling rapidly.
'Tis morn, but scarce yon level sun
Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun,
Where furious Frank, and fiery Hun,
Shout in their sulph'rous canopy.
The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Who rush to glory, or the grave!
Wave, Munich ! all thy banners wave,
And charge with all thy chivalry!
Few, few, shall part where many meet !
The snow shall be their winding-sheet,
And every turf beneath their feet
Shall be a soldier's sepulchre.
309. THE LAST MAN, All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The Sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume
I saw a vision in my sleep,
That gave my spirit strength to sweep
Adown the gulph of Time!
I saw the last of human mould,
That shall Creation's death behold,
As Adam saw her prime!
The Sun's eye had a sickly glare,
The Earth with age was wan,
The skeletons of nations were
Around that lonely man!
Some had expir'd in fight,-the brands
Still rusted in their bony hands;
In plague and famine some!
Earth's cities had no sound nor tread ;
And ships were drifting with the dead
To shores where all was dumb!
Yet, prophet-like, that lone one stood,
With dauntless words and high, That shook the sere leaves from the wood
As if a storm pass’d by, Saying, We are twins in death, proud Sun, Thy face is cold, thy race is run,
'Tis Mercy bids thee go. For thou ten thousand thousand years Hast seen the tide of human tears,
That shall no longer flow.
What though beneath thee man put forth
His pomp, his pride, his skill;
And arts that made fire, flood, and earth,
The vassals of his will ;-
Yet mourn I not thy parted sway,
Thou dim discrowned king of day :
For all those trophied arts
And triumphs that beneath thee sprang,
Heal'd not a passion or a pang
Entail'd on human hearts.
Go, let oblivion's curtain fall
Upon the stage of men,
Nor with thy rising beams recall
Life's tragedy again.
Its piteous pageants bring not back,
Nor waken flesh, upon the rack
Of pain anew to writhe ;
Stretch'd in disease's shapes abhorr’d,
Or mown in battle by the sword,
Like grass beneath the sithe.
Ev'n I am weary
skies To watch thy fading fire ;
Test of all sumless agonies,
Behold not me expire.
My lips that speak thy dirge of death
Their rounded gasp and gurgling breath
To see thou shalt not boast.
The eclipse of Nature spreads my pall,-
The majesty of Darkness shall
Receive my parting ghost !
This spirit shall return to Him
That gave its heavenly spark;
Yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim,
When thou thyself art dark !
No! it shall live again, and shine
In bliss unknown to beams of thine,
By Him recall’d to breath,
Who captive led captivity,
Who robb’d the grave of Victory,–
And took the sting from Death!
Go, Sun, while Mercy holds me up
On Nature's awful waste
To drink this last and bitter cup
Of grief that man shall taste-
Go, tell the night that hides thy face,
Thou saw'st the last of Adam's race,
On Earth's sepulchral clod,
The darkening universe defy
To quench his Immortality,
Or shake his trust in God!
WORDSWORTH, COLERIDGE, SOUTHEY, AND OTHER
William Wordsworth. 1770-1850. (Manual, pp. 446-451.)
310. FROM THE EXCURSION.'
-In that fair clime, the lonely herdsman, stretched On the soft grass, through half a summer's day, With music lulled his indolent repose : And, in some fit of weariness, if he, When his own breath was silent, chanced to hear A distant strain, far sweeter than the sounds Which his poor skill could make, his fancy fetched, Even from the blazing chariot of the sun, A beardless youth,' who touched a golden lute, And filled the illumined groves with ravishment. The nightly hunter, lifting up his
eyes Towards the crescent moon, with grateful heart Called on the lovely wanderer who bestowed That timely light, to share his joyous sport : And hence, a beaming goddess * with her nymphs, Across the lawn and through the darksome grove (Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes, By echo multiplied from rock or cave), Swept in the storm of chase, as moon and stars Glance rapidly along the clouded heaven, When winds are blowing strong. The traveller slaked His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thanked The Naiad. 3 –Sunbeams, upon distant hills Gliding apace, with shadows in their train, Might, with small help from fancy, be transformed Into fleet Oreads sporting visibly. The Zephyrs, fanning as they passed, their wings, Lacked not, for love, fair objects, whom they wooed
i Phæbus Apollo.
2 Diana. 3 Naiads, the nymphs of the springs; Oreads, those of the mountains.
With gentle whisper. Withered boughs grotesque,
Stripped of their leaves and twigs by hoary age,
From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth,
In the low vale, or on steep mountain-side;
And sometimes intermixed with stirring horns
Of the live deer, or goat's depending beard,—
These were the lurking Satyrs, a wild brood
Of gamesome deities; or Pan himself,
The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring god!
311. TINTERN ABBEY.
Five years have passid ; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters ; and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain springs
With a sweet inland murmur. Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
Which on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion, and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage ground, these orchard tufts,
Which, at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
Among the woods and copses, nor disturb
The wild green landscape. Once again I see
These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms
Green to the very door ; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up in silence from among the trees,
With some uncertain notice, as might seem,
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some hermit's cave, where, by his fire,
The hermit sits alone.
Though absent long,
These forms of beauty have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ’mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration-feelings, too,