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Till despotism's towers be overthrown;
And in their stead
Liberty stand alone!
Dark lightning flashed from Rhoderick's eye--
“Soars thy presumption, then, so high,
Because a wretched kern ye slew,
Homage to name to Rhoderick Dhu?
He yields not, he to man or fate !
Thou add'st but fuel to my hate :
My clansman's blood demands revenge.--
Not yet prepared ?--By heaven, I change
My thought, and hold thy valour light
As that of some vain carpet knight,
And whose best boast is but to wear
A braid of his fair lady's hair.”
I thank thee, Rhoderic, for the word
It nerves my heart, it steels my sword;
For I have sworn this braid to stain
In the best blood that warms thy vein.
Now truce farewell! and ruth begone!
Yet think not that by thee alone
Proud chief! can courtesy be shown;
Though not from copse, or heath or cairn,
Start at my whistle clansmen stern,
Of this small horn one feeble blast
Would fearful odds against thee cast-
But fear not-doubt not—which thou wilt,
We try this quarrel hilt to hilt.
Then each at once his falchion drew-
Each on the ground his scabbard threw,
Each looked to sun, and stream, and plain,
As what they ne'er might see again;
Then, foot, and point, and eye opposed
In dubious strife, they darkly closed.
'Tis the sixth hour, The village clock strikes from the distant tower. The ploughman leaves the field : the traveller hears And to the inn spurs forward. Nature wears Her sweetest smile; the day star in the west Yet hovering, and the thistle's down at rest. And such, his labor done, the calm He knows Whose footsteps we have followed. Round him glows An atmosphere that brightens to the last ; The light, that shines, reflected from the Past,
And from the future too! Active in thought
Among old friends, old books; and not unsought
By the wise stranger :-in his morning hours
When gentle airs stir the fresh blowing flowers,
He muses, turning up the idle weed;
Or prunes, or grafts, or in the yellow mead
Watches his bees at hiving time; and now,
The ladder resting on the orchard bough
Culls the delicious fruit that hangs in air,
The purple plum, green fig, or golden pear,
Mid sparkling eyes, and hands uplifted there.
Age has now
Stamped with its signet that ingenuous brow;
And, mid his old hereditary trees,
Trees he has climb'd so oft, he sits and sees
His children's children playing round his knees:
Then happiest, youngest; when the quoit is flung,
When side by side the archers' bows are strung;
His to prescribe the place, adjudge the prize,
Envying no more the young their energies
Than they an old man when his words are wise ;
His a delight how pure—without alloy ;
Strong in their strength, rejoicing in their joy!
Now in their turn assisting, they repay
The anxious cares of many and many a day:
And now by those he loves relieved, restored,
His very wants and weaknesses afford
A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks,
Leaning on them, how oft he stops and talks,
While they look up! Their questions, their replies,
Fresh as the welling waters, round him rise,
Gladdening his spirit.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay,
There in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school :
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
Ī knew him well and every truant knew ;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face ;
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he ;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned:
Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
The love he bore in learning was his fault ;
The village all declared how much he knew,
'Twas certain he could write, and cypher too,
Lands he could measure, terms and tides preșage,
And e'en the story ran that he could gauge :
In arguing too, the parson owned his skill;
While words of learned length, and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around-
And still they gazed and still the wonder grew
That one small head could carry all he knew.
Hast thou, though suckled at fair Freedom's breast
Exported slavery to the conquered East?
Pull'd down the tyrants India served with dread,
And raised thyself a greater in their stead?
Gone hither arm'd and hungry, returned full
Fed from the richest mines of the Mogul,
A despot big with power obtained by wealth,
And that obtained by rapine and by stealth.
With Asiatick vices stor'd thy mind,
But left their virtues and thine own behind?
And having truck'd thy soul brought home the fee,
To tempt the poor to sell himself to thee?
Hast thou by statute shov'd from its design
The Saviour's feast, his own blest bread and wine,
And made the symbols of atoning grace
An office key, a picklock to a place,
That infidels may prove their title good