Abbildungen der Seite

She, with all a monarch's pride,

Felt them in her bofom glow :
Rushed to battle, fought, and died;
Dying hurled them at the foe.

XI. Ruffians, pitilefs as proud,

Heaven awards the vengeance due ; Empire is on us beftowed,

Shame and ruin wait for you.

[merged small][ocr errors]


THERE was a time when Ætna's filent fire
Slept unperceived, the mountain yet entire ;
When, conscious of no danger from below,
She towered a cloud-capt pyramid of snow.
No thunders shook with deep inteftine sound
The blooming groves, that girdled her around.
Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines
(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines)
The peasant's hopes, and not in vain, assured,
In peace upon her floping fides matured.
When on a day, like that of the laft doom,
A conflagration labouring in her womb,
She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,
That shook the circling seas and folid earth.
Dark and voluminous the vapours rise,
And hang their horrors in the neighbouring skies,
While through the stygian veil, that blots the day,
In dazzling ftreaks the vivid lightnings play.
But oh! what muse, and in what powers of song,
Can trace the torrent as it burns along?

Havoc and devaftation in the van,
It marches o'er the proftrate works of man,
Vines, olives, herbage, forefts disappear, I
And all the charms of a Sicilian year.

Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass;
Without a soil to invite the tiller's care,
Or blade, that might redeem it from despair.
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live.
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
Oh bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats,
Oh charming paradise of short-lived sweets !
The self-fame gale, that wafts the fragrance round,
Brings to the diftant ear a sullen found:
Again the mountain feels the imprisoned foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below.
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.

Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws, Who write in blood the merits of your cause, Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence, Glory your aim, but justice your pretence ; Behold in Ætna's emblematic fires The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires !

Faft by the stream, that bounds your juft domain, And tells you were ye have a right to reign, A nation dwells, not envious of your throne, Studious of peace, their neighbours', and their own. Ill-fated race! how deeply muft they rue Their only crime, vicinity to you! The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad, Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road; At every step beneath their feet they tread The life of multitudes, a nation's bread! Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress Before them, and behind a wilderness. Famine, and peftilence, her first-born son, Attend to finish what the sword begun; And echoing praises, such as fiends might earn, And folly pays, refound at your return. A calm succeeds--but plenty, with her train Of heart felt joys, succeeds not soon again, And years of pining indigence muft show What scourges are the gods that rule below. Yet man,

laborious man by Now degrees, (Such is his thirft of opulence and ease) Plies all the finews of induftrious toil, Gleans up the refuse of the general fpoil, Rebuilds the towers, that smoked upon the plain, And the sun gilds the shining spires again.

Increasing commerce and reviving art Renew the quarrel on the conquerors part; And the sad leffon must be learned once more, That wealth within is ruin at the door. What are ye, monarchs, laurelled heroes, say, But Etnas of the suffering world ye fway? Sweet nature, stripped of her embroidered robe, Deplores the wasted regions of her globe; And ftands a witness at truth's awful bar, To prove you there, destroyers as ye are.

Oh place me in some heaven-protected ille, Where peace, and equity, and freedom smile; Where no volcano pours his fiery flood, No crested warrior dips his plume in blood; Where power secures what industry has won; Where to succeed is not to be undone ; A land, that diftant tyrants hate in vain, In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign!

« ZurückWeiter »