Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

86.

[ocr errors]

EXCELSIOR. – H. W. Longfellow.
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,

Excelsior !
His brow was sad ; his

eye

beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath ;
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

Excelsior!
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright:
Above, the spectral glaciers shone;
And from his lips escaped a groan,

Excelsior!
* Try not the Pass !” the old man said ,
“ Dark lowers the tempest overhead ;
The roaring torrent is deep and wide !”
And loud that clarion voice replied,

Excelsior !
“O, stay,” the maiden said, " and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye;
But still he answered, with a sigh,

Excelsior!
“Beware the pine-tree's withered branch !
Beware the awful avalanche!
This was the peasant's last Good-night;
A voice replied, far up the height,

Excelsior!
At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried, through the startled air,

Excelsior!
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping, in his hand of ice,
That banner with the strange device,

Excelsior!
There, in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay;

And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,

Excelsior !

37. TO THE RAINBOW. - Thomas Campbell. TRIUMPHAL arch, that fill'st the sky

When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud philosophy

To teach me what thou art:
Still seem, as to my childhood's sight,

A midway station given,
For happy spirits to alight,

Betwixt the earth and Heaven.
Can all that optics teach unfold

Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold

Hid in thy radiant bow ?
When Science from Creation's face

Enchantment's veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place

To cold material laws!
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,

But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams

Was woven in the sky.
When, o'er the green, undeluged earth,

Heaven's covenant thou didst shine, How came the world's gray fathers forth

To watch thy sacred sign!
And when its yellow lustre smiled

O'er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child

To bless the bow of God.
Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,

The first-made anthem rang
On earth delivered from the deep,

And the first poet sang.
Nor ever shall the Muse's eye

Unraptured greet thy beam;
Theme of primeval prophecy,

Be still the poet's theme !

The earth to thee her incense yields,

The lark thy welcome sings,
When, glittering in the freshened fields,

The snowy mushroom springs.
How glorious is thy girdle cast

O'er mountain, tower, and town
Or mirrored in the ocean vast,

A thousand fathoms down!

As fresh in yon horizon dark,

As young, thy beauties scem,
As when the eagle from the ark

First sported in thy beam.
For, faithful to its sacred page,

Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
Nor lets the type grow pale with age

That first spoke peace to man.

38. GLENARA.

- Thomas Campbell. 0! HEARD you yon pibroch sound sad in the gale, Where a band cometh slowly, with weeping and wail ? 'T is the chief of Glenara laments for his dear; And her sire and her people are called to her bier. Glenara came first, with the mourners and shroud ; Her kinsmen they followed, but mourned not aloud; Their plaids all their bosoms were folded around ; They marched all in silence, — they looked to the ground. In silence they passed over mountain and moor, To a heath where the oak-tree grew lonely and hoar : “ Now here let us place the gray-stone of her cairn; Why speak ye no word ?” said Glenara the stern. “ And tell me, I charge you, ye clan of my spouse, Why fold ye your mantles, why cloud ye your brows?" So spake the rude chieftain : no answer is made, But each mantle, unfolding, a dagger displayed. “ I dreamed of my lady, I dreamed of her shroud," Cried a voice from the kinsmen, all wrathful and loud; “ And empty that shroud and that coffin did seem : Glenara! Glenara! now read me my dream!” 0! pale grew the check of that chieftain, I ween, When the shroud was unclosed, and no body was seen : Then a voice from the kinsmen spoke louder in scorn — "T was the youth that had loved the fair Ellen of Lorn:

“I dreamed of my lady, I dreamed of her grief,
I dreamed that her lord was a barbarous chief;
On the rock of the ocean fair Ellen did seem ;
Glenara! Glenara! now read me my dream!
In dust low the traitor has knelt to the ground,
And the desert revealed where his lady was found :
From a rock of the ocean that beauty is borne :
Now joy to the House of fair Ellen of Lorn!

39. THE O'KAVANAGH.-J. A. Shea. The Saxons had met, and the banquet was spread, And the wine in fleet circles the jubilee led; And the banners that hung round the festal that night Seemed brighter by far than when lifted in fight. In came the O’Kavanagh, fair as the morn, When earth to new beauty and vigor is born ; They shrank from his glance like the waves from the prow, For nature's nobility sat on his brow. Attended alone by his vassal and bard, No trumpet to herald, no clansmen to guard, He came not attended by steed or by steel : No danger he knew, for no fear did he feel. In eye, and on lip, his high confidence smiled, So proud, yet so knightly — so gallant, yet mild; He moved like a god through the light of that hall, And a smile, full of courtliness, proffered to all. “Come pledge us, lord chieftain! come pledge us !” they cried : Unsuspectingly free to the pledge he replied ; And this was the peace-branch O'Kavanagh bore, “The friendships to come, not the feuds that are o'er !” But, minstrel, why cometh a change o'er thy theme? Why sing of red battle — what dream dost thou dream? Ha! “ Treason!” is the cry,

and Revenge!” is the call, As the swords of the Saxons surrounded the hall ! A kingdom for Angelo's mind, to portray Green Erin's undaunted avenger that day; The far-flashing sword, and the death-darting eye, Like some comet commissioned with wrath from the sky Through the ranks of the Saxon he hewed his red way, — Through lances, and sabres, and hostile array ; And, mounting his charger, he left them to tell The tale of that feast, and its bloody farewell.

66

And now on the Saxons his clansmen advance,
With a shout from each heart, and a soul in each lance :
He rushed, like a storm, o'er the night-covered heath,
And swept through their ranks like the angel of death.
Then hurrah! for thy glory, young chieftain, hurrah !
0! had we such lightning-souled heroes to-day,
Again would our "sunburst” expand in the gale
And Freedom exult o'er the

green

Innisfail !

40. ODE ON THE PASSIONS. - William Collins.

WHEN Music, Heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she

sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell;
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possessed beyond the Muse's painting,
By turns, they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined :
Till once, 't is said, when all were fired,
Filled with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatched her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each - for Madness ruled the hour
Would prove his own expressive power.
First, Fear his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewildered laid ;
And back recoiled, he knew not why,

Even at the sound himself had made. Next, Anger rushed, his eyes on fire,

In lightnings owned his secret stings: In one rude clash he struck the lyre,

And swept, with hurried hands, the strings. With woful measures, wan Despair –

Low sullen sounds ! - his grief beguiled; A solemn, strange, and mingled air;

'T was sad, by fits, — by starts, 't was wild. But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,

What was thy delighted measure ?

Still it whispered promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail !

Still would her touch the strain prolong; And, from the rocks, the woods, the vale,

« ZurückWeiter »