Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Up from the ground he sprung, and gazed,

But who can paint that gaze?
They hush'd their very hearts, who saw

Its horror and amaze;
They might have chain’d him, as before

That stony form he stood,
For the power was stricken from his arm,

And from his cheek the blood!

Father!" at length he murmur'd low,

And wept like childhood then,-
Talk not of grief till thou hast seen

The tears of warlike men!
He thought on all his glorious hopes—

On all his high renown,-
Then flung the falchion from his side,

And in the dust sat down.

66

And covering with his steel-gloved hands

His darkly mournful brow,
No more, there is no more,” he said,

To lift the sword for now.
My King is false, my hope betray’d,

My father-oh! the worth, The glory and the loveliness,

Are pass'd away from earth!”

Then, starting from the ground once more,

He seized the Monarch's rein,
Amid the pale and wilderd looks

Of all the courtier train;
And with a fierce, o’ermastering grasp,

The rearing war-horse led,
And sternly set them face to facem

The King before the dead!

“ Came I not here upon thy pledge,

My father's hand to kiss ?-
Be still, and gaze thou on, false King!

And tell me what is this!
The look, the voice, the heart I sought-

Give answer, where are they?
If thou wouldst clear thy perjured soul,

Put life in this cold clay!

“ Into these glassy eyes put light,

Be still! keep down thine ire,-
Bid these cold lips a blessing speak:-

This earth is not my sire!
Give me back him for whom I strove,

For whom my blood was shed !-
Thou canst not—and a King!–His dust

Be mountains on thy head!"

He loosed the rein; his slack hand fell!

Upon the silent face
He cast one long, deep, troubled look,-

Then turn’d from that sad place!
His hope was crush’d, his after-fate

Untold in martial strain,-
His banner led the spears no more

Among the hills of Spain!

BRUTUS OVER THE DEAD BODY OF LUCRETIA.

Thus, thus, my friends! fast as our breaking hearts
Permitted utterance, we have told our story:
And now, to say one word of the imposture-
The mask necessity has made me wear.

When the ferocious malice of your king-
King, do I call him!—when the monster, Tarquin,
Slew, as most of you may well remember,
My father, Marcus, and my elder brother,
Envying at once their virtues and their wealth,
How could I hope a shelter from his power,
But in the false face I have worn so long?

Would you know why I summon'd you together?
Ask

ye what brings me here? Behold this dagger, Clotted with gore! Behold that frozen corse! See where the lost Lucretia sleeps in death! She was the mark and model of the time, The mould in which each female face was form’d, The very shrine and sacristy of virtue! The worthiest of the worthy: Not the nymph Who met old Numa in his hallow'd walks, And whisperd in his ear her strains divine, Can I conceive beyond her!--the young choir Of vestal virgins bent to her!-Such a mind Might have abash'd the boldest libertine, And turn’d desire to reverential love And holiest affection! Oh, my countrymen! You all can witness, when that she went forth It was a holiday in Rome; old age Forgot its crutch; labour its task; all ran; And mothers, turning to their daughters, cried, “There, there's Lucretia!”—Now, look ye where she lies, That beauteous flower, that innocent sweet rose, Torn up by ruthless violence-gone! gone! Say_would you seek instructions? would

you

seek What

ye should do ?-Ask ye yon conscious walls
Which saw his poison'd brother, saw the incest
Committed there, and they will cry, Revenge!—
Ask yon deserted street, where Tullia drove
O'er her dead father's corse, 'twill cry, Revenge!

Ask yonder Senate-house, whose stones are purple
With human blood, and it will cry, Revenge!
Go to the tomb where lies his murder'd wife,
And the poor queen, who loved him as her son,
Their unappeased ghosts will shriek, Revenge!
The temples of the gods, the all-viewing heaven,-
The gods themselves--shall justify the cry,
And swell the general sound— Revenge! Revenge!

INVECTIVE AGAINST HASTINGS.

Had a stranger, at this time, gone into the province of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of Sujah Dowla, that man, who, with a savage heart, had still great lines of character, and who, with all his ferocity in war, had still, with a cultivating hand, preserved to his country the riches which it derived from benignant skies and a prolific soil—if this stranger, ignorant of all that had happened in the short interval, and observing the wide and general devastation, and all the horrors of the scene of plains unclothed and brown—of vegetables búrned up and extinguished-of villages depopulated, and in ruins--of temples unroofed and perishing—of reservoirs broken down and dry-he would naturally inquire, what war has thus laid waste the fertile fields of this once beautiful and opulent country-what civil dissensions have happened, thus to tear asunder and separate the happy societies that once possessed those villages-what disputed succession—what religious rage has, with unholy violence, demolished those temples, and disturbed fervent, but unobtruding piety, in the exercise of its duties?

- What merciless enemy has thus spread the horrors of fire and sword—what severe visitation of providence has dried up the fountain, and

taken from the face of the earth every vestige of verdure?Or, rather, what monsters have stalked over the country, tainting and poisoning, with pestiferous breath, what the voracious appetite could not devour? To such questions, what must be the answer? No wars have ravaged these lands, and depopulated these villages-no civil discords have been felt-no disputed succession—no religious rageno merciless enemy-no affliction of providence, which, while it scourged for the moment, cut off the sources of resuscitation--no voracious and poisoning monsters—no, all this has been accomplished by the friendship, generosity, and kindness of the English nation! They have embraced us with their protecting arms, and, lo, these are the fruits of their alliance! What, then, shall we be told, that under such circumstances, the exasperated feelings of a whole people thus goaded and spurred on to clamour and resistance, were excited by the poor and feeble influence of the Begums? When we hear the description of the paroxysm, fever, and delirium, into which despair had thrown the natives, when, on the banks of the polluted Ganges, panting for death, they tore more widely open the lips of their gaping wounds to accelerate their dissolution, and while their blood was issuing, presented their ghastly eyes to heaven, breathing their last and fervent prayer, that the dry earth might not be suffered to drink their blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of God, and rouse the eternal providence to avenge the wrongs of their country; will it be said, that this was brought about by the incantations of these Begums in their secluded Zenana? or that they could inspire this enthusiasm and this despair into the breasts of a people who felt no grievance, and had suffered no torture? What motive, then, could have such influence in their bosoms? What motive? That which nature, the common parent, plants in the bosom of man, and which, though it may be less active in the Indian than in the

« НазадПродовжити »