Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

But see !-th' eclipse has past-the God of day
Shines forth rejoicing on his glorious way ;
No more the darkness broods upon the plain;
The hosts are met-to fight and bleed again.

Thus, at the moment, when from toils of state
Death, cloth'd in horrors, calls away

the great,
Strikes in his giant force--and with the blow
Levels the proud, and lays the mighty low;
Or, throws o'er scenes, where light and gładness dwelt,
Like Egypt's plague, a darkness to be felt:-
Oh! such eclipse the sternest spirit awes :
Then comes o'er faction's feuds a fearful pause ;
Its fierce harangues and wordy conflicts cease
In shuddering silence, strange, unwonted peace.
But soon again shall discord tear the land,
And faction shake on high her flaming brand ;
The strife tongues return, the jealous hate,
Envy's dark hints, and passion's loud debate.

Then at this sad, this sacred, time, ere yet
Self-interest blunts the edge of keen regret;
While natural feeling teaches all to blend
The rival's sigh with sorrows of the friend ;
Th’ impartial Muse shall shed her unbought tear
On hapless Londonderry's blood-stain'd bier.
Corruption's incense o'er his living head
She scorn'd to pour :-nor will defame him dead.
She weaves her wreath for an unconscious brow:-
But must not stoop to flatter-even now.

Lost Stewart ! in the grave untimely laid,
Who shall supply the void which thou hast made ?
Most are forgotten, if no longer seen;
When they are not, 'tis as they ne'er had been.
They die, and leave no vacuum.-When in fight
Falls the poor soldier battling for the right,
Quick steps his comrade to the gaping space,
And the firm ranks preserve their serried face.
But should their leader meet the mortal sword,
How felt his fall-how miss'd-

and how deplord ! Thus unrepair'd while long thy loss must be, Senates and kings shall vainly weep for theel

For them, to thee by blood and lineage tied ;
By close acquaintance with thy worth allied:--
For her, long link’d, long happy, in the bond
Of wedded love, not sacred more than fond:
Who shall disturb their consecrated grief,
With dull, tame, hacknied mockery of relief?
What hideous phantoms in her sleep inust rise,
What crushing pangs her heart must agonize ;

Since first the dreadful certainty shut out
The dizzy torpor of distracting doubt,
Who dares conceive ? --Such grief and such despair,
Heav'n in its mercy give her strength to bear!

Oh God! it is an awful thing to think
How greatness has expired-how worth can sink
In worse than dotage, sense, pow'r, memory flown;
And prostrate reason tumbled from her throne !
How the pure flame, where genius lent its ray,
Has died in darkness and in blood away!
How sets firm manhood's intellectual sun
In gloom, ere half its due career be run !

But the brain turns when thoughts like these arise And heaves the heart with unavailing sighs ; Till shock'd, and tortur'd, half to madness driv'n, Man fondly dares expostulate with Heav'n.

“ Heav'n, for thy sport was man to misery sent, Happier with more-or less-than thou hast lentNow idly wise, and impotently brave Almost an angel-how entire a slave Soaring on high-debas'd by grovelling lust Image of God and brother of the dust, Just raised above his fellow-brutes to know The more intense capacity of wo! Why hast thou givn the godlike stretch of thought To close in rayless horrors, when o'erwrought ? The glimpse of better things—how worse than vain Without the pow'r to grasp and to retain ? Bold aims, sublime aspirings—that but seem The brood at last of some distemper'd dream ? As empires, in dominion's pride elate, Fall, break, and crumble with th' unwieldy weight; Alike the Assyrian, Persian, Roman sway In fame when mightiest, nearesť to decay. He, too, most rais'd in honour, wisdom, worth, Sinks sudden lower than the least on earth; Shines like the shot-star, if he beams at allBright but to vanish-lofty but to fall !"

E'en piety might deem such murmurs just, Were man indeed a mass of quicken'd dust

; Doom'd but to rot, resolv'd into the clod, On earth unseen, forgotten by his God ; Nor heav'n-ward hope could point her cheering wand To happier scenes, and better worlds beyond.

Here, when the hues that gild the lif Seem bright and beauteous as the rain-bow's span; Seem in their joy to blend this earth with heaven, Like that triumphal arch of summer's even

man

[ocr errors]

Then, like their emblem, fugitive as fair,
They melt, and fade, and vanish into air.
Here all are dull deceits, vexatious toys;
Save the pure pleasure, which the child enjoys ;
The simple good to live, and feel he lives
Free mid the blessings nature freely gives :-
For when man toils and climbs ambition's steep,
Farewell the tranquil day, th untroubled sleep!
Farewell the steady pulse, the mind at ease,
The sense of pleasure from what most may please !

Then big with anxious cares hours come and go,
And deepen still, and deepen, in their wo:
But in its grief that moment stands alone,
When the poor fool calls earth's best prize his own;
Stands on the summit, every labour past,
And finds it cold and barren at the last:
He grasps the shadow-disabus'd, dismay'd,
He knows what seem'd a substance, is a shade.
Now with no farther hope, no farther care,
What, what, is left him but unmix'd despair ?
He mourns and curses life's illusions o'er ;-
This gain is dross, and he can gain no more.

Who would be mighty-who would climb to pow'r,
If still so dark the statesman's closing hour?
See Wolsey dying mid the wrecks of pride-
See the stabb'd Villiers and the banish'd Hyde
See Chatham drop, as on his battle-field,
There, where his thunders taught his foes to yield !
See the wan brow, and hear the patriot sighs,
Where Pitt, despairing of his country, dies!
Ere yet is dried on Britain's cheek the tear,
Fox follows fast his riyal to the bier.
Childless and friendless, Burke from life retires :
Mid want, fear, anguish, Sheridan expires.
Ah! to that fav'ring Senate must thou go,
Alas! unconscious of the coming blow ?
Too swift, too fatal, speeds the assassin's ball-
In blood thou liest unhappy Perceval !
Blood too, sad Romilly, must trace the line
That tells thy fate--that tells, poor Whitbread, thine !
Thus perish'd they, that went hefore--and now,
Once mighty Stewart, where and what art thou ?

Could but those dead, restor'd to earth, relate,
Or why they urg'd, or how they met their fate

e ; Say, in what horrors they resign'd their breath ; ou. What thoughts, what feelings, tore their souls in death ;&# Unlock their hearts-unbosom all their woes; simi Heav'n! what a scene of ills would they disclose litt om det

[ocr errors]

Ah! who are ye?

-Methinks e'en now they come,
Sent as sad warnings from their last long home:
With pensive mien they stand, and glassy stare,
And brows, yet heavy with the clouds of care;
Some bent and feeble ; some with fetters bound;
Some ghastly with the self-inflicted wound !
With solemn voice in hollow tones they say;
“Hence from ambition's fatal path away!
Rest as thou art-nor tempt the dazzling height,
Where pow'r, fame, influence, gleam with meteor light.
Rest as thou art- enough shall rack thy breast;
For life is but a burden at the best:
With no realities, but grief and pain,
False are its virtues, and its pleasures vain;
But of all vanities the vainest those,
For which we barter'd health and scorn'd repose ;-
Our doom on earth, to toil, defam'd, belied;
And our reward to die-as we have died !"

Yes ! o'er thine heart if lust of pow'r prevails,
Go, weigh such lot in reason's equal scales !
Full to the brim let treach'rous fortune grant
The

cup, for which thy warmest wishes pant.
Still is it bitter. Trace the man of state !
Him factious demagogues teach crowds to hate ;
Him all condemn, who have oppos’d in vain;
And few from conscience censure-most for gain ;-
Him sleepless envy views with jaundic d eye ;
While foil'd ambition swells the rabble's cry.
Haggard and grey with toil-ere age can plough
Its wrinkled furrows on fair manhood's brow,-
His flow'r of youth consuming labours blight,
Cares by the day, and watchings through the night:
Nor yet his doom mere sterner troubles seal,
And deep solicitude for Britain's weal;
But mix'd with these the dull minute detail,
The slow routine, vexatious, weary, stale :
No pause to thought's strong tension--no repose
Such as o'er humbler life its mantle throws :
Sweet intervals—when heart and mind unbend
In social converse with the wife or friend !
But darkness comes by long o'ertoiling nurst;
The reason reels-sense fails-and heart-strings burst;
While fraud and malice stand observant nigh,
Or to distort the truth, or forge the lie ;
Till struggling thoughts in wild succession roll,
Like waves in tempest, o'er the harass'd soul,
And fierce resolves, long pent, conceald, beneath
Break forth, like earthquakes; and explode in death!

If still thou murmurest at thine happier fate,
Still fondly, madly wishing to be great ;
Still deem'st that bliss in grandeur's cup mounts high,
With all that wealth can give, or pow'r supply ;
That golden still days rise, and days depart;
And constant raptures light the statesman's heart :-
On Stewart's think-just Heav'n! what thoughts were there?
Horror,--distraction, --frenzy,-gloom-despair !

Behold the mangled corse, and blood-staind knife,
The last sad scene of that eventful life!
Long he toild on-long strove--but-strove in vain
With ceaseless, anxious, soul-depressing pain ;
Long for his country bore the crushing yoke,
Till reason sunk at last, and bent, and broke.
Then the dark tempest of the mind arose ;
The gloom, which madness o'er the spirit throws ;
The stormy conflict, still and still renew'd,
In which man's heart at last must be subdu'd ;
Tumult and dizziness, and dreams that keep
Their horrid vigils in delirium's sleep ;
And dim oblivion of the present lot,
And frightful phantasies of what is not;
The fiend that tortures, and deludes the heart;
The busy dæmon, that will not depart ;
The boiling blood-worn frame,--and burning brain-
Thoughts stretched to frenzy now, as long to pain ;
The shatter'd nerves--the kindly temper sourd,
O’erwearied, o'erexcited, and o'erpower'd:-
Manhood destroy'd--the very nature changʻd,
And from itself, as from the world, estrang'd:
The peevish fretfulness of speech and air,
That starts from fond affection's tender care:
Till at the last, with desperate thirst to die,
He rose in wild convulsive energy ;
Swift in the vital passage plung'd the steel;
And fell—a martyr to the common weal!
While life, escaping by that hideous door,
Rush'd through the gash-and “all, indeed, was o'er the

Is it a dream ? or, oh! can this be hé,
A star of pow'r in England's galaxy ?
The Senate's oracle, the Council's stay,
Wise with the grave, and polish'd with the gay-
Still calmly firm, when fools would fain incense,
Mid rival taunts, or angry turbulence,
He was-no prouder step, or nobler mien,
In courts or festive halls than Stewart's seen ;
No abler tongue the jest or sneer repelld,
No bolder spirit insult ever quelld!

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »