« ZurückWeiter »
of stupefaction, sensuality, and effemivacy, which are its worst and most fatal disease: they dispel apathy, foster a generous and energetic spirit, accustom the body to wholesome exercise and toil, and nerve the mind against the hour of adversity and privation.
It is well remembered that, when, at the close of the late reign, the celebrated Dr. Brown, in his “Estimate," represented this nation, as sunk into the lowest state of femine debility, the energy of Lord Chatham's administration, and the vigorous war which he carried on, electrified the kingdom, and raised it in a short period to a point of unexampled glory and renown, both for its wisdom and its heroism. Have we not seen similar effects from the late war? Compare the energy of the present race of males in all ranks of society, with the habits of those who predominated in society, during the peace, which followed the American contest! There is a vigour and hardihood in the rising generation, worthy of less luxurious times !
But how long we shall keep off the baneful effects, which commerce never fails at last to produce, I dare not inquire ! My imagination at least will never fail to be best pleased with the manners of ages approaching nearer to those of chivalry! For this reason I shall here venture to insert a poem, congenial to these sentiments, which has hitherto lain unnoticed among my papers.
Lines on the figure of a Warrior, dressed in Feudal
Armour, his shield adorned with an ancient heraldric coat; a Baronial castle in the lack ground, on the highest tower of which is displayed a banner, bearing the same insignia; drawn and presented to the author by the Rev. C. W.*
“ So shone th' heroic chief in days of old;
Ferocious days, and days of wild alarm,
* One, who after one and thirty years of uninterrupted friendship, and after having buffeted with the rage of the yellow fever in the Atlantic, and having afterwards visited all the shores of the Mediterranean, and wit. nessed the horrors and the glories of the tremendous night, which was illuminated by the battle of the Nile, is returned safe to form one of the few props and comforts of the author's life.
Who gain rich lands, and feed luxurious boards,
Rude was the pile, that from th' impendingbrow Of some steep rock upon the wave below Oft look'd with fearful grandeur; loud the blast Rav'd on its walls, and thro' its turrets past; Chill were its sunless rooms, and drear the aisles Along whose length the night breeze told her tales; Massive the walls, thro' which the genial day Strove with warm breath in vain to win its way: 50 But jocund was its hall; and gay the feast That spoke the genuine gladness of the breast, When rang'd its hospitable boards, along The warlike bands renew'd th' heroic song;
Or told wild tales, or drank with greedy ear
Rough were the scenes, as was the master's mind,
When War's alarms no more around him rag'd, In sports amid these scenes the Chief engag'd; Sports, that became his hardy form When Light First 'gan to streak the flying mists of Night, 80 From bis rough couch he sprung; his bugle blew, And round him each impatient hunter drew; Then forth the steed of wondrous swiftness came, And thro' the woods he sought th' affrighted game; From morn to eve, woods, plains, and vales and hills With the loud echo of his voice he fills; No toil fatigues him, and no danger stays; Perils the zest of his amusement raise; 12
Then home to gorgeous balls and blazing fires,
O age of luxury! O days of ease! The restless, vigorous, soul ye ne'er can please! Within your stagnant lakes Corruption breeds, And on your flowers vile sensual Meanness feeds! 100 As when foul pests have gather'd in the sky And o'er the globe the death-charg'd vapours fly, Soon as the mighty Tempest drives his blasts, And thro' the lurid gloom his lightuing casts, Vanish the congregated brood of ills, And heath and sunshine all the landscape fills; So, when wan Indolence and timid Joy, The native spirit of the mind destroy, And fiends of Hell, and sprites of loathsome Pain, Self-love, Lust, Gluttony, and Hate, enchain; 110 The toils of war, the battle's thundering storm The sleepy current of the soul reform; The loaded bosom purge, and bid it flame With the pure throbbings of a generous fame, And light with hope, and airy with the fire Of blest Ambition, up to Heaven aspire!"*
* I had just finished this Essay, when I received the two following from a most valuable and respected Correspondent.