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Let then grammarians rail and let foreigners sigh for thy sign-posts,
Wandering lost in thy maze, thy wilds of magnificent growth,
Call thee incongruous, wild, of rule and of reason defiant; In thy wildness a grand freedom of character find.
So, with irregular outline, tower up the sky-piercing moun
Rearing o'er yawning chasms, lofty precipitous steeps, Spreading o'er ledges unclimbable, meadows and slopes of green smoothness,
Bearing the flowers in their clefts, losing their peaks in the clouds.
Therefore it is that I praise thee, and never can cease from rejoicing,
Thinking that good, stout English is mine and my ancestors' tongue.
Give me its varying music, the flow of its free modulation,
I will not covet the full roll of the glorious Greek,
Luscious and feeble Italian, Latin so formal and stately,
French with its nasal lisp, nor German inverted and harsh.
Not while our organ can speak with its many and wonder-
Play on the soft flute of love, blow the loud trumpet of war, Sing with the high sesquialtro, or, drawing its full diapason, Shake all the air with the grand storm of its pedals and
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB
BY GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen;
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!
And there lay the steed with his nostrils all wide,
But through them rolled not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances uplifted, the trumpet unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY WARRIOR
Who is the happy warrior? Who is he
Whom every man in arms should wish to be?
It is the generous spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought: Whose high endeavors are an inward light That make the path before him always bright; Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn; Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, But makes his moral being his prime care; Who, doom'd to go in company with pain, And fear, and bloodshed, miserable train! Turns his necessity to glorious gain; In face of these doth exercise a power Which is our human nature's highest dower; Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves Of their bad influence, and their good receives; By objects which might force the soul to abate Her feeling, render'd more compassionate; Is placable-because occasions rise
So often that demand such sacrifice;
More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure,
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
"Tis he whose law is reason; who depends Upon that law as on the best of friends;
Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
To evil for a guard against worse ill,
And what in quality or act is best
Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
He fixes good on good alone, and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows;
Who, if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means; and there will stand
On honorable terms, or else retire,
And in himself possess his own desire;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim;
And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait
For wealth, or honors, or for worldly state;
Whom they must follow; on whose head must fall,
Like showers of manna, if they come at all;
Whose powers shed round him in the common strife, Or mild concerns of ordinary life,
A constant influence, a peculiar grace;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has join'd
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a lover; and attired
With sudden brightness, like a man inspired;
And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw;
Or if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need:
-He who, tho thus endued as with a sense
And faculty for storm and turbulence,
Is yet a soul whose master bias leans
To homefelt pleasures and to gentle scenes;
Sweet images! which, whereso'er he be,
Are at his heart; and such fidelity
It is his darling passion to approve;
More brave for this, that he hath much to love:
'Tis, finally, the man, who, lifted high,
Conspicuous object in a nation's eye,
Or left unthought of in obscurity,-
Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
Prosperous or adverse, to his wish or not,
Plays, in the many games of life, that one
Where what he most doth value must be won;
Whom neither shape of danger can dismay,
Nor thought of tender happiness betray;
Who, not content that former worth stand fast,
Looks forward, persevering to the last,
From well to better, daily self-surpassed:
Who, whether praise of him must walk the earth
Forever, and to noble deeds give birth,
Or he must go to dust without his fame,
And leave a dead, unprofitable name,
Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of heaven's applause:
This is the happy warrior; this is he
Whom every man in arms should wish to be.