ページの画像
PDF
ePub

WILLIAM COWPER.

BORN 1731.
DIED 1800.

OTHER WRITINGS:- Table Talk; The Task; Translation of Homer.

Boadicea:

BOADICEA.- Queen of the Iceni (Norfolk and Suffolk), rebelled against the Romans, but was conquered by Suetonius Paulinus.

In despair she committed suicide, A.D. 61.

WAHEN the British warrior Queen,

Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought with an indignant mien

Counsel of her country's gods :

Sage beneath the spreading oak

Sat the Druid, hoary chief,
Ev'ry burning word he spoke

Full of rage and full of grief :

« Princess ! if our agèd eyes

Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, 'Tis because resentment ties

All the terrors of our tongues.

“ Rome shall perish—write that word

In the blood that she has spilt ; Perish, hopeless and abhorr'd,

Deep in ruin as in guilt.

“Rome, for empire far renown'd,

Tramples on a thousand states ; Soon her pride shall kiss the ground

Hark! the Gaul is at her gates !

5 Other Romans shall arise,

Heedless of a soldier's name; Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,

Harmony the path to fame.

“Then the progeny that springs

From the forests of our land, Arm'd with thunder, clad with wings,

Shall a wider world command.

" Regions Cæsar never knew

Thy posterity shall sway; Where his eagles never flew,

None invincible as they."

Such the bard's prophetic words

Pregnant with celestial fire, Bending, as he swept the chords

Of his sweet but awful lyre.

She, with all a monarch’s pride,

Felt them in her bosom glow;
Rush'd to battle, fought, and died:

Dying, hurld them at the foe.

“ Ruffians, pitiless as proud,

Heav'n awards the vengeance due :
Empire is on us bestow'd,

Shame and ruin wait for you.”

the Winter Palk at Noon

cat

HERE is in souls a sympathy with sounds, And as the mind is pitched the ear is pleased With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave; Some chord in unison with what we hear Is touched within us, and the heart replies. How soft the music of those village bells, Falling at intervals upon the ear In cadence sweet, now dying all away, Now pealing loud again, and louder still, Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on ! With easy force it opens all the cells Where memory slept. Wherever I have heard A kindred melody, the scene recurs, And with it all its pleasures and its pains.

Such comprehensive views the spirit takes,
That in a few short moments I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his course)
The windings of my way through many years.
Short as in retrospect the journey seems,
It seemed not always short; the rugged path
And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn,
Moved many a sigh at its disheartening length.
Yet feeling present evils, while the past
Faintly impress the mind, or not at all,
How readily we wish time spent revoked,
That we might try the ground again, where once
(Through inexperience, as we now perceive)
We missed that happiness we might have found !
Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend,
A father, whose authority, in show
When most severe, and mustering all its force,
Was but the graver countenance of love;
Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might

lower,
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a blessing in its darkest frown,
Threatening at once and nourishing the plant.
We loved, but not enough, the gentle hand
That reared us. At a thoughtless age, allured
By every gilded folly, we renounced
His sheltering side, and wilfully forewent
That converse, which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life

The boy's neglected sire ! a mother too,
That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still,
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed
The playful humour; he could now endure
(Himself grown sober in the vale of tears)
And feel a parent's presence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth
Till time has stolen away the slighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the world the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all pray oft amiss,
And, seeking grace to improve the prize they

hold,
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.

The night was winter in his roughest mood; The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon Upon the southern side of the slant hills, And where the woods fence off the northern

blast, The season smiles, resigning all its rage, And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue Without a cloud, and white without a speck The dazzling splendour of the scene below.

Again the harmony comes o'er the vale ; And through the trees I view the embattled

tower, Whence all the music. I again perceive The soothing influence of the wafted strains,

« 前へ次へ »