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But soon he knew himself the most unfit
Of men to herd with Man; with whom he held
Little in common; untaught to submit
His thoughts to others, though his soul was quell'd
In youth by his own thoughts; still uncompellid,
He would not yield dominion of his mind
To spirits against whom his own rebell’d;
Proud though in desolation; which could find
A life within itself, to breathe without mankind.
XIII. Where rose the mountains, there to him were frien is; Where roll'd the ocean, thereon was his home; Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends, He had the passion and the power to roam ; The desert, forest, cavern, breaker's foam, Were unto him companionship; they spake A mutual language, clearer than the tome
Of his land's tongue, which he would oft forsake For Nature's pages glass'd by sunbeams on the lake.
XIV. Like the Chaldean, he could watch the stars, Till he had peopled them with beings bright As their own beams; and earth, and earth-born jars, And human frailties, were forgotten quite : Could he have kept his spirit to that flight He had been happy; but this clay will sink Its spark immortal, envying it the light
To which it mounts, as if to break the link That keeps us from yon heaven which woos us to its brink.
But in Man's dwellings he became a thing
Restless and worn, and stern and wearisome,
Droop'd as a wild-born falcon with clipt wing,
To whom the boundless air alone were home:
Then came his fit again, which to o'ercome,
As eagerly the barr'd-up bird will beat
His breast and beak against his wiry dome
Till the blood tinge his plumage, so the heat
Of his impeded soul would through his bosom eat.
XVI. Self-exiled Harold wanders forth again, With nought of hope left, but with less of gloom ; The very knowledge that he lived in vain, That all was over on this side the tomb, Had made Despair a smilingness assume, Which, though 't were wild, -as on the plunder'd wreck When mariners would madly meet their doom
With draughts intemperate on the sinking deck,Did yet inspire a cheer, which he forbore to check.
Stop !—for thy tread is on an Empire's dust!
An Earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below!
Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust?
Nor column trophied for triumphal show!
None; but the moral's truth tells simpler so,
As the ground was before, thus let it be ;-
How that red rain hath made the harvest grow!
And is this all the world has gain'd by thee,
Thou first and last of fields ! king-making Victory?
There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gather'd then
Her Beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage-bell ;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
Did ye not hear it?-No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance ! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet-
But hark !—that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat ;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm! Arm! it is—it is—the cannon's opening roar!
Within a window'd niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain ; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deem'd it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretch'd his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell:
He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated; who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!
And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While throng'd the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering, with white lips—“ The foe! They come! they come!”
XXVI. And wild and high the “ Cameron's gathering" rose ! The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes :How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills, Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers With the fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years, And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears!