Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Yet ah! why should they know their fate? .Since sorrow never comes too late,

And happiness too swiftly flies. Thought would destroy their Paradise No more; where ignorance is bliss, "Tis folly to be wise.

THE BARD.

A PINDARIO ODE.
I.

"RUIN seize thet, ruthless king!
Confusion on thy banners wait!
Though fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's* twisted mail,
Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail

To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!'
Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
Stout Glo'stert stood aghast in speechless trance:
To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiver
ing lance.

On a rock, whose haughty brow

Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Rob'd in the sable garb of woe,

With haggard eyes the poet stood;

(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air,)
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.

"Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, oh king! their hundred arms they wave
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,

To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.

[blocks in formation]

No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
I see them sit, they linger yet,

Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line. Wallows beneath the thorny shade.

II.

Weave the warp, and weave the woof, The winding-sheet of Edward's race: Give ample room, and verge enough

The characters of Hell to trace.

[blocks in formation]

Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright
The shrieks of death, through Berkeley's roofs that (The web is wove.

ring,*

Shrieks of an agonizing king;

[blocks in formation]

Revere his consort's* faith, his father'st fame
And spare the meek usurper'st holy head.
Above, below, the rose of snow,
Twin'd with her blushing foe we spread:
The bristled boar in infant gore

Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.

& Death of that king, abandoned by his children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers and his

mistress.

Edward the Black Prince, dead some time before his father.

Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom,
Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom

III.

"Edward, lo! to sudden fate

(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun.)
Half of thy heart we consecrate.¶
The work is done.)'
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn :
In yon bright track, that fires the western skies,
They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight!
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
No more our long-lost Arthur** we bewail.
All-hail, ye genuine kings;†† Britannia's issue, hail

"Girt with many a baron bold,

Sublime their starry fronts they rear;

And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old,

In bearded majesty, appear.

In the midst a form divine!

Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line ;
Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,
Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace.
What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
What strains of vocal transport round her play,
Hear from the grave, great Taliessin,‡‡ hear;
They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,
Waves in the eye of Heaven her many-color'd
wings.

* Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, who struggled hard to save her husband and her crown.

Henry the Fifth.

Henry the Sixth, very near being canonized. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the

crown.

§ The white and red roses, devices of York and Lan.

caster.

The silver-boar was the badge of Richard the Third; whence he was usually known in his own time by the name of The Boar.

¶ Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen at Northampton, Geddington, Waltham, and other places.

** It was the common belief of the Welsh nation, that King Arthur was still alive in Fairy-land, and should re. turn again to reign over Britain.

Both Merlin and Taliessin had prophesied, that the Welsh should regain their sovereignty over this island;

Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster.

** Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward which seemed to be accomplished in the house of Tudor

the Fifth, Richard Duke of York, &c. believed to be murdered secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Cæsar.

Taliessin, chief of the bards, flourished in the sixth century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his countrymen.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

THE DESCENT OF ODIN.

AN ODE.

[From the same.]

IN BARTHOLINUS, DE CAUSIS CONTEMNENDE MORTIS: HAFNIE, 1689, QUARTO.

Upreis Odinn allda gautr, &c.

UPROSE the King of Men with speed,

. And saddled straight his coal-black steed;
Down the yawning steep he rode,
That leads to Hela's* drear abode.
Him the Dog of Darkness spied,

His shaggy throat he open'd wide,
While from his jaws, with carnage fill'd.
Foum and human gore distill'd;
Hoarse he bays with hideous din,
Eyes that glow, and fangs that grin;
And long pursues, with fruitless yell,
The father of the powerful spell.
Onward still his way he takes,

(The groaning Earth beneath him shakes,) Till full before his fearless eyes The portals nine of Hell arise.

Right against the eastern gate,
By the moss-grown pile he sate;
Where long of yore to sleep was laid
The dust of the prophetic maid.
Facing to the northern clime,
Thrice he trac'd the Runic rhyme;
Thrice pronounc'd, in accents dread,
The thrilling verse that wakes the dead;
Till from out the hollow ground
Slowly breath'd a sullen sound.

Pr. What call unknown, what charms presume,

To break the quiet of the tomb?
Who thus afflicts my troubled sprite,
And drags me from the realms of night?
Long on these mouldering bones have beat
The winter's snow, the summer's heat,
The drenching dews, and driving rain!
Let me, let me sleep again.

Who is he, with voice unblest,

That calls me from the bed of rest?

O. A traveller, to thee unknown,

Is he that calls, a warrior's son.
Thou the deeds of light shalt know;
Tell me what is done below,
For whom yon glittering board is spread,
Drest for whom yon golden bed?

Pr. Mantling in the goblet see
The pure beverage of the bee,
O'er it hangs the shield of gold;
'Tis the drink of Balder bold:
Balder's head to death is given,
Pain can reach the sons of Heaven!
Unwilling I my lips unclose:
Leave me, leave me, to repose.

O. Once again my call obey,
Prophetess, arise, and say

What danger Odin's child await,
Who the author of his fate?

Pr. In Hoder's hand the hero's doom:
His brother sends him to the tomb
Now my weary lips I close :
Leave me, leave me, to repose.

O. Prophetess, my spell obey: Once again arise, and say, Who th' avenger of his guilt, By whom shall Hoder's blood be spilt! Pr. In the caverns of the west, By Odin's fierce embrace comprest, A wondrous boy shall Rinda bear, Who ne'er shall comb his raven-hair, Nor wash his visage in the stream, Nor see the Sun's departing beam: Till he on Hoder's corse shall smile, Flaming on the funeral pile. Now my weary lips I close: Leave me, leave me, to repose.

O. Yet awhile my call obey, Prophetess, awake, and say, What virgins these, in speechless woe, That bend to earth their solemn brow, That their flaxen tresses tear,

And snowy veils, that float in air. Tell me whence their sorrows rose. Then I leave thee to repose.

Pr. Ha! no traveller art thou, King of Men, I know thee now, Mightiest of a mighty line.

O. No boding maid of skill divine Art thou, nor prophetess of good; But mother of the giant-brood!

Pr. Hie thee hence, and boast at home,
That never shall inquirer come
To break my iron-sleep again;

Till Lokt has burst his ten-fold chain.
Never, till substantial Night
Has reassum'd her ancient right;
Till wrapp'd in flames, in ruin hurl'd,
Sinks the fabric of the world.

THE TRIUMPHS OF OWEN.‡

A FRAGMENT.

FROM MR. EVANS'S SPECIMENS OF THE WELSII POETRY; LONDON, 1764, QUARTO.

OWEN's praise demands my song,
Owen swift, and Owen strong;
Fairest flower of Roderic's stem,
Gwyneth's shield, and Britain's gem.

Lok is the evil being, who continues in chains till the twilight of the gods approaches, when he shall break his bonds; the human race, the stars, and Sun, shall disappear; the earth sink in the seas, and fire consume the skies: even Odin himself and his kindred deities shall perish. For a further explanation of this mythology, see Mallet's Introduction to the History of Denmark, 1755, quarto.

• Niflheimr, the Hell of the Gothic nations, consisted

Owen succeeded his father Griffin in the principality of nine worlds, to which were devoted all such as died of of North Wales, A. D. 112. This battle was fought near

sickness, old age, or by any other means than in battle: forty years afterwards.

over it presided Hela, the goddess of death.

§ North Wales.

He nor neaps his brooded stores,
Nor all protusely pours,
Lord of every regal art,
Liberal hand, and open heart.
Big with hosts of mighty name,
Squadrons three against him came;
This the force of Eirin hiding,
Side by side as proudly riding,
On her shadow long and gay
Lochlin plows the watery way:
There the Norman sails afar
Catch the winds, and join the war;
Black and huge along they sweep,
Burthens of the angry deep.

Dauntless on his native sands The dragon-sont of Mona standr;

• Denmark.

The red dragon is the device of Cadwallader, which

all his descendants bore on their banners.

In glittering arms and glory drest,
High he rears his ruby crest.
There the thundering strokes begin.
There the press, and there the din;
Talymalfra's rocky shore
Echoing to the battle s roar,
Where his glowing eyeballs turn,
Thousand banners round him burn.
Where he points his purple spear,
Hasty, hasty rout is there,
Marking with indignant eye
Fear to stop, and shame to fly.
There Confusion, Terror's child,
Conflict fierce, and Ruin wild,
Agony, that pants for breath,
Despair and honorable Death.

« ZurückWeiter »