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And quick and tremulous flight, for shelter sought!
Fear was on every living thing: the earth
Trembled as she presaged some coming ill;
The voice of thunder spake; and in the midst
Of that proud city, in the midst of Rome,
The ground was riven in twain; and on the spot,
Where human steps had but so lately been,
There yawn'd a fearful gulf, dark as the powers
Of hell were gather'd there-no eye might scan
That fathomless abyss. The Augur's voice
Hath told the will of Heaven-naught may close
That gulf of terror, till it is the grave
Of all Rome holds most precious. Then speeds forth
A youthful warrior-" What is dear to Rome,
But patriot valour? Ye infernal Gods,
Who now look wrathful from your deep abodes,
Behold your ready sacrifice!" He comes,
Arm'd as for battle, save no plumed helm,
His black hair presses: he is on the steed
Which has so often borne him to the field.-
Young Curtius came, but with a brow as firm,
And cheek unchanged, as he was wont to wear,
When he essay'd the glorious strife of men;
Pride glanced upon his eye-but pride that seem'd
As a remembrance of the higher state
In which aspiring spirits move; whose thoughts
Of avarice, indolence, and selfish care,
The chains of meaner ones, have given way
Before the mighty fire of the high soul-
Whose hope is immortality, whose steps
Are steps of flame, on which the many gaze,
But dare not follow. He one moment paused,
And cast a farewell look on all around.
How beautiful must be the sky above,
And fair the earth beneath, to him who gives
A lingering look, and knows it is his last!-
Then onward urged his courser.-Hark! a voice
A wild shriek rings upon the air he turn'd,
And his glance fell on her, his own dear love.
She rush'd upon his bosom silently,
As if her life were in that last embrace.
All was so still around, that every sob,
And the heart's throb of agony, were heard.
He clasp'd her, without power to soothe her grief,
But press'd her coral lip did never flower
Yield fresher incense forth!-and kiss'd away
The tears on her pale cheek, then on her gazed.-
All his deep feeling, anguish, high resolves,
And love intense, were in that passionate glance.
He clasp'd her wildly, and his dark eye swam
In tenderness; but he has nerved his soul—
He has spurr'd on-and the dread gulf is closed!
THE FATE OF TYRANNY.
OPPRESSION dies: the tyrant falls:
The golden city bows her walls!
Jehovah breaks the avenger's rod.
The son of Wrath, whose ruthless hand
Hurl'd desolation o'er the land,
Has run his raging race, has closed the scene of blood.
Chiefs arm'd around behold their vanquish'd lord;
Nor spread the guardian shield, nor lift the loyal
He falls; and earth again is free:
Hark! at the call of Liberty,
All Nature lifts the choral song.
The fir-trees on the mountain's head,
Rejoice through all their pomp of shade;
The lordly cedars nod on sacred Lebanon:
Tyrant! they cry, since thy fell force is broke, Our proud heads pierce the skies, nor fear the wood
Hell, from her gulf profound,
Rouses at thine approach; and all around,
Her dreadful notes of preparation sound.
See, at the awful call,
Her shadowy heroes all,
E'en mighty kings, the heirs of empire wide,
Rising with solemn state, and slow,
From their sable thrones below,
Meet and insult thy pride.
What, dost thou join our ghostly train,
A flitting shadow light and vain?
Where is thy pomp, thy festive throng,
The revel dance, and wanton song?
Proud king! Corruption fastens on thy breast;
And calls her crawling brood, and bids them share
Oh Lucifer! thou radiant star;
Son of the Morn; whose rosy car
Flamed foremost in the van of day;
How art thou fallen, thou King of Light!
How fallen from thy meridian height!
Who saidst, The distant poles shall hear me and obey.
High o'er the stars my sapphire throne shall glow,
And, as Jehovah's self, my voice the heavens shall
He spake, he died. Distain'd with gore,
Beside yon yawning cavern hoar,
See where his livid corse is laid.
The aged pilgrim, passing by,
Surveys him long with dubious eye;
And muses on his fate, and shakes his reverend head. Just Heavens! is thus thy pride imperial gone?
Is this poor heap of dust the King of Babylon?
Is this the man, whose nod
Made the earth tremble; whose terrific rod
Levell'd her loftiest cities? Where he trod,
Famine pursued and frown'd;
Till Nature, groaning round,
Saw her rich realms transform'd to deserts dry;
While at his crowded prison's gate,
Grasping the keys of fate,
Stood stern Captivity.
Vain man! behold thy righteous doom;
Behold each neighbouring monarch's tomb;
The trophied arch, the breathing bust,
The laurel shades their sacred dust:
While thou, vile outcast, on this hostile plain, Moulder'st a vulgar corse, among the vulgar slain.
No trophied arch, no breathing bust
Shall dignify thy trampled dust:
No laurel flourish o'er thy grave.
For why, proud king, thy ruthless hand
Hurl'd desolation o'er the land,
And crush'd the subject race, whom kings are born
Eternal infamy shall blast thy name,
And all thy sons shall share their impious father's shame.
Rise, purple Slaughter! furious rise;
Unfold the terror of thine eyes;
Dart thy vindictive shafts around:
Let no strange land a shade afford,
No conquer'd nations call them lord;
Nor let their cities rise to curse the goodly ground.
For thus Jehovah swears; No name, no son,
No remnant shall remain of haughty Babylon.
Thus saith the righteous Lord:
My vengeance shall unsheathe the flaming sword
O'er all thy realms my fury shall be pour'd.
Where yon proud city stood,
I'll spread the stagnant flood;
And there the bittern in the sedge shall lurk,
Moaning with sullen strain:
While, sweeping o'er the plain,
Destruction ends her work.
Yes, on mine holy mountain's brow,
I'll crush this proud Assyrian foe.
The irrevocable word is spoke.
From Judah's neck the galling yoke
Spontaneous falls, she shines with wonted state; Thus by myself I swear, and what I swear is fate.
OH, he is worn with toil! the big drops run
Down his dark cheek: hold, hold thy merciless
Pale tyrant! for beneath thy hard command O'erwearied Nature sinks The scorching sun, As pitiless as proud Prosperity,
Darts on him his full beams; gasping he lies,
Arraigning with his looks the patient skies,
While that inhuman trader lifts on high
The mangling scourge. Oh, ye who at your ease
Sip the blood-sweeten'd beverage! thoughts like
Haply ye scorn: I thank thee, gracious God!
That I do feel upon my cheek the glow
Of indignation, when beneath the rod
A sable brother writhes in silent woe.
WRITTEN AT BUXTON.
O ROSY Health, heart-easy maid,
In garments light thy limbs array'd,
In smiles thy jocund features dress'd.
Of Heaven's best blessings thou the best;
Bright goddess, ever fair and young,
To thee my votive lays belong!