« PreviousContinue »
And he hath polluted that altar's fane,
Like the demon of wrath descending;
And they who worshipp'd shall never again
In its marble courts be bending.
For low they are sleeping the sleep of the slain;
They are laid in death's long slumbers;
And that altar-stone hath a crimson stain,
From the heart's best blood of numbers.
And none now regard those windows high,
Nor gaze on that antique story;
And its beautiful, chequering lustres lie
On a pavement soil'd and gory.
That mighty one hath forged a chain
For that city so wise and glorious;
Her children of freedom no more remain;
Her wealth hath lured the victorious.
And her boasted name is a boast no more;
And past is her pride of bravery;
And they who never were bound before
Are wearing the bonds of slavery.
Her walls, and her domes, and her princely towers,
And her fleet's imperial token,
Are seen no more; and in distant bowers
The hearts of the great are broken.
He has parted hence, and rapine and fire
Have levell'd that love-hallow'd dwelling,
And she, who erst had her heart's desire,
With anguish the gale is swelling.
And she, whose tresses of raven hair
That nuptial morn were braided,
Is pale with the frenzy of wild despair,
Like a drooping lily faded.
And those they loved, in the field of fight,
Are cold in the pale moon's beaming,
Where the raven rests from its weary flight,
Its dolorous dirges screaming.
HOUR of an Empire's overthrow!
The Princes from the feast were gone,
The Idol flame was burning low ;-
"T was midnight upon Babylon.
That night the feast was wild and high;
That night was Sion's gold profaned;
The seal was set to blasphemy;
The last deep cup of wrath was drain'd.
'Mid jewell'd roof and silken pall,
Belshazzar on his couch was flung;
A burst of thunder fill'd the hall-
He heard-but 't was no mortal tongue-
"King of the East, the trumpet calls,
That calls thee to a tyrant's grave;
A curse is on thy palace walls-
A curse is on thy guardian wave:
"A surge is in Euprates' bed,
That never fill'd its bed before;
A surge, that, ere the morn be red,
Shall load with death its haughty shore. "Behold a tide of Persian steel!
A torrent of the Median car;
Like flame their gory banners wheel;
Rise, King, and arm thee for the war!"
Belshazzar gazed; the voice was past-
The lofty chamber fill'd with gloom;
But echoed on the sudden blast
The rushing of a mighty plume.
He listen'd; all again was still;
He heard no chariot's iron clang;
He heard the fountain's gushing rill,
The breeze that through the roses sang.
He slept; in sleep wild murmurs came;
A vision'd splendour fired the sky;
He heard Belshazzar's taunted name;
He heard again the Prophet cry-
"Sleep, Sultan! 't is thy final sleep,
Or wake, or sleep, the guilty dies.
The wrongs of those who watch and weep,
Around thee and thy nation rise."
He started; 'mid the battle's yell,
He saw the Persian rushing on;
He saw the flames around him swell;
Thou'rt ashes! King of Babylon.
THERE's a white stone placed upon yonder tomb, Beneath is a soldier lying,
The death-wound came amid sword and plume, When banner and ball were flying.
Yet now he sleeps, the turf on his breast,
By wet wild flowers surrounded;
The church shadow falls o'er his place of rest,
Where the steps of his childhood bounded.
There were tears that fell from manly eyes,
There was woman's gentle weeping,
And the wailing of age and infant cries,
O'er the grave where he lies sleeping.
He had left his home in his spirit's pride,
With his father's sword and blessing;
He stood with the valiant side by side,
His country's wrongs redressing.
He came again, in the light of his fame,
When the red campaign was over;
One heart that in secret had kept his name
Was claim'd by the soldier lover.
But the clond of strife came up on the sky;
He left his sweet home for battle:
And his young child's lisp for the loud war-cry,
And the cannon's long death-rattle.
He came again,--but an alter'd man:
The path of the grave was before him, And the smile that he wore was cold and wan, For the shadow of death hung o'er him.
He spoke of victory,-spoke of cheer:-
These are words that are vainly spoken
To the childless mother or orphan's ear,
Or the widow whose heart is broken.
A helmet and sword are engraved on the stone, Half-hidden by yonder willow;
There he sleeps, whose death in battle was won, But, who died on his own home-pillow!
THE AMERICAN EAGLE.
BIRD of the heavens! whose matchless eye
Alone can front the blaze of day,
And, wand'ring through the radiant sky
Ne'er from the sunlight turns away;
Whose ample wing was made to rise
Majestic o'er the loftiest peak,
On whose chill tops the winter skies,
Around thy nest, in tempests, speak.
What ranger of the winds can dare,
Proud mountain king! with thee compare;
Or lift his gaudier plumes on high
Before thy native majesty,
When thou hast ta'en thy seat alone,
Upon thy cloud-encircled throne?
Bird of the cliffs! thy noble form
Might well be thought almost divine;
Born for the thunder and the storm,
The mountain and the rock are thine;
And there, where never foot has been,
Thy eyrie is sublimely hung,
Where louring skies their wrath begin,
And loudest lullabies are sung
By the fierce spirit of the blast,
When, his snow mantle o'er him cast,
He sweeps across the mountain top,
With a dark fury naught can stop,
And wings his wild unearthly way
Far through the clouded realms of day.
Bird of the sun! to thee-to thee
The earliest tints of dawn are known,
And 'tis thy proud delight to see
The monarch mount his gorgeous
Throwing the crimson drapery by,
That half impedes his glorious way;
And mounting up the radiant sky,
E'en what he is, the king of day!
Before the regent of the skies
Men shrink and veil their dazzled eyes;
But thou, in regal majesty,
Hast kingly rank as well as he;
And with a steady, dauntless gaze
Thou meet'st the splendour of his blaze.