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All ages and all nations rise,
And every grain of earth
Is startled into birth.
Like gliding mists the shadowy forms
Through the deep valley spread, And like descending clouds in storms
Lower round the mountain's head.
O'er the wide champaign while they pass,
Their footsteps yield no sound,
A dew-drop to the ground.
Among the undistinguished hosts,
My wondering eyes explore Awful, sublime, terrific ghosts,
Heroes and kings of yore;
Tyrants, the comets of their kind,
Whose withering influence ran Through all the promise of the mind,
And smote and mildewed man ;
Sages, the Pleiades of earth,
Whose genial aspects smiled,
O'er all the human wild.
Yon gloomy ruffian, gashed and gored,
Was he whose fatal skill
And taught the art to kill.
Behind him skulks a shade, bereft
Of fondly-worshipped fame; He built the Pyramids, but left
No stone to tell his name.
Who is the chief, with visage dark
As tempests when they roar?—
Through storms of death and seas of graves
He steered with steadfast eye; His path was on the desert waves,
His compass in the sky.
ΤΙ youth who lifts his graceful hand,
Struck the unshapen block,
A Venus from the rock.
Trembling with ecstacy of thought,
Behold the Grecian maid,
To trace a slumberer's shade.
Sweet are the thefts of love :-she stole
His image while he lay, Kindled the shadow to a soul,
And breathed that soul through clay.
Yon listening nymph, who looks behind
With countenance of fire,
And framed the Æolian lyre.
All hail !—the Sire of Song appears,
The Muse's eldest-born ;
He from the depth of caverned woods,
That echoed to his voice, Bade mountains, valleys, winds, and floods,
And earth and heaven rejoice.
Though charmed to meekness while he sung,
The wild beasts round him ran, This was the triumph of his tongue
It tamed the heart of man.
Dim through the mist of twilight times
The ghost of Cyrus walks ;
Relentless Hannibal, in pride
Of sworn, fixed hatred, lowers; Cæsar--t is Brutus at his side
In peerless grandeur towers.
With moonlight softness Helen's charms
Dissolve the spectred gloom,
Portending Ilion's doom.
But Homer ;-see the bard arise ;
And hark !-he strikes the lyre ; The Dardan warriors lift their eyes,
The Argive chiefs respire.
And while his music rolls along,
The towers of Troy sublime, Raised by the magic breath of song,
Mock the destroyer Time.
For still around the eternal walls
The storms of battle rage;
Bewept in every age.
Genius of Homer! were it mine
To track thy fiery car,
A radiant evening star,
What theme, what laurel might the muse
Reclaim from ages fled ?
To summon from the dead?
Yonder his shadow flits away:
Thou shalt not thus depart;
And tell me who thou art.
'Tis Alfred :- In the rolls of Fame,
And on a midnight page, Blazes his broad refulgent name, The watch-light of his age.
A Danish winter, from the north,
Howled o'er the British wild,
And all the desert smiled.
Back to the deep he rolled the waves,
By mad invasion hurled ;
Defiance to the world.
And still that voice o'er land and sea
Shall Albion's foes appal;
Hear it and tremble, Gaul !
But lo! the phantoms fade in flight,
Like fears that cross the mind, Like meteors gleaming through the night,
Like thunders on the wind.
The vision of the tomb is past;
Beyond it, who can tell
Immortal spirits dwell?
I know not, but I soon shall know,
When life's sore conflicts cease, When this desponding heart lies low,
And I shall rest in peace.
For see, on Death's bewildering wave,
The rainbow Hope arise,
That bends beyond the skies.
The pledge of bliss to man; Time with eternity combines,
And grasps them in a span.
A HERMITAGE. WHOSE is this humble dwelling-place, The flat turf roof with flowers o'ergrown? Ah! here the tenant's name I trace, Moss-covered, on the threshold stone. Well, he has peace within and rest, Though nought of all the world beside; Yet, stranger, deem not him unblest, Who knows not avarice, lust, nor pride. Nothing he asks, nothing he cares For all that tempts or troubles round; He craves no feast, no finery wears, Nor once o'ersteps his narrow bound. No need of light, though all be gloom, To cheer his eye,—that eye is blind; No need of fire in this small room, He recks not tempest, rain, or wind. No gay companion here; no wife To gladden home with true-love smiles; No children,-from the woes of life To win him with their artless wiles. Nor joy nor sorrow enter here, Nor throbbing heart nor aching limb; No sun, no moon, no stars appear, And man and brute are nought to him. This dwelling is a hermit's cave, With space alone for one poor bed; This dwelling is a mortal's grave, Its sole inhabitant is dead.
What bird, in beauty, flight, or song,
Can with the Bard compare, Who sang as sweet, and soared as strong, As ever child of air ?