Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

XXX.
O'er vales that team with fruits, romantic hills,
(Ob, that such hills upheld a freeborn race!)
Whereon to gaze the eye with joyaunce fills,
Childe Harold wends through many a pleasant place.
Though sluggards deem it but a foolish chace,
And marvel men should quit their easy chair,
The toilsome way, and long, long league to trace,

Oh there is sweetness in the mountain air,
And life, that bloated Ease can never hope to share.

XXXI.
More bleak to view the hills at length recede,
And, less luxuriant smoother vales extend ;
Immense horizon-bounded plains succeed !
Far as the eye discerns, withouten end,
Spain's realms appear whereon her shepherds tend
Flocks whose rich fleece right well the reader knows,
Now must the pastor's arm his lambs defend ;

For Spain is compass'd by unyielding foes,
And all must shield their all, or share Subjection's woes.

XXXII.
Where Lusitania and her sister meet,
Deem ye what bounds tbe rival realms divide ?
Or ere the jealous queens of nations greet,
Doth Tayo interpose his mighty tide ?
Or dark Sierras rise in craggy pride ?
Or fence of art, like China's vasty wall ?
Ne barrier wall, ne river deep and wide,

Ne horrid crags, nor mountains dark and tall,
Rise like the rocks that part Hispania's land from Gaul.

XXXIII. But these between a silver streamlet glides, And scarce a name distinguisheth the brook, Though rival kingdoms press its verdant sides. Here leans the idle shepherd on his crook, And vacant on the rippling waves doth look, That peaceful still 'twixt bitterest foemen flow; For proud each peasant as the noblest duke; Well doth the Spanish bind the difference koow 'Twixt him and Lusian slave, the lowest of the low.

XXXIV. But e'er the mingling bounds have far been pass'd Dark Guadiana rolls his power along In sullen biliow, murmuring and vast, So noted ancient roundelays among. Whilome upon his banks did legions throng Of Moor and knight, in mailed splendour drest ; Here ceas'd the swift their race, here sunk the strong; The Paynim turban and the Christian crest Mix'd on the bleeding stream, by floating hosts oppress’d.

XXXV.
Oh, lovely Spain ! renown'd, romantic land !
Where is that standard which Pelagio bore,
When Cava's traitor-sire first call'd the band
That dy'd thy mountain streams with Gothic gore ?(7)
Where are those bloody banners which of yore
Wav'd o'er thy sons, victorious to the gale,
And drove at last the spoilers to their shore ?
Red gleam'd the cross, and wan’d the crescent pale,
While Afric's echoes thrill'd with Moorisb. matron's wail.

XXXVI. -
Teems not each ditty with the glorious tale?
Ah ! such alas! the hero's amplest fate!
When granite moulders and when records fail,
A peasant's plaint prolongs his dubious date.
Pride, bend thine eye from heav'n to thine estate !
See how the Mighty shrink into a song !
Can Volume, Pillar, Pile preserve thee great ?

Or must thou trust Tradition's simple tongue, (wrong? When Flattery sleeps with thee, and History does thee

XXXVII.
Awake, ye sons of Spain ! awake! advance !
Lo! Chivalry, your ancient goddess, cries,
But wields cot, as of old, her thirsty lance,
Nor shakes her crimson plumage in the skies :
Now on the smoke of blazing bolts she flies,
And speaks in thunder through yon engine's roar,
In every peal she calls."Awake ! ärise!"

Say, is her voice more feeble than of y'ore,
When her war-song was heard on Andalusia's shcre.

XXXVIII.
Hark!-heard you not those hoofs of dreadful note?
Sounds not the clang of conflict on the heath?
Saw ye not whom the reeking sabre smote;
Nor sav'd your brethren ere they sank beneath
Tyrants and tyrants’slaves ?-the fires of death,
The bale-fires flash on bigb;--from rock to rock
Each volley tells that thousands cease to breathe;

Death rides upon the sulphury Sirot,
Red Battle stamps his foot and nations feel the shock.

XXXIX.
Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deep'ning in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye tbat scorcheth all it glares upon ;
Restless it rolls, now fixed, and now anon
Flashing afar,--and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers to mark what deeds are done:
For on this morn three potent nations meet,
To shed before his shrine ihe blood he deems most sweet,

XL. By Heaven ! it is a splendid sight to see (For one who hath no friend; vo brother there)' Î'heir rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery, Their various arms that glitter in the air ! What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair, And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for their prey!, All join the chase, but few the triumph share;

The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away,
And Havoc scarce for joy can number their array.

XLI.
Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice ;
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high ;
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies ;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory;
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally
That fights for all but ever fights in vain,
Are met--as if at home they could not die

To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
And fertilize the field that each pretends to gain,

XLII,
I There shall they rotAmbition's honour'd fools!
Yes, Honour decks the turf that wraps their clay !
Vain

Sophistry ! in these behold the tools,
The broken tools, that tyrants cast away
By myriads, when they dare to pave their way
With human hears to what?-a dream alone.
Cau despots compass aught that hails their sway?

Or call with truth one span of earth their own,
Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone?

XLIII. Oh, Albuera! glorious field of grief! As o'er thy plain the Pilgrim prick'd his steed, Who could foresee thee, in a space so brief, A scene where miagliog foes should boast and bleed! Peace to the perish'd ! may the warrior's meed And tears of triumph their reward prolong! Till others fall where other chieftains lead

Thy name shall circle round the gaping throng,
And shine in worthless lays, the theme of transient song.

XLIV.
Enough of Battle's minions ! let them play
Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame;
Fame that will scarce reanimate their claỹ,
Though thousands fall to deck some single name:
In sooth 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim
Who strike, blest hirelings for their country's good,
And die, that living might have prov'd her shame?

Perish'd, perchance, in some domestic feud,
Or in a narrower sphere wild Rapine's path pursu'd.

XLV.
Full swiftly Harold wends his lonely way
Where proud Sevilla triumphs unsubdued;
Yet is she free-the spoiler's wish'd-for prey!
Soon, soon shall Conquest's fiery foot intrude,
Blackening her lovely domes with traces rude.
Inevitable hour!'Gainst fate to strive
Where Desolation plants her famish'd brood,

Is vain, or Ilion, Tyre might yet survive,
And Virtue vanquish all, and Murder cease to thrive.

XLVI.
But all unconcious of the coming doom,
The feast, the song, the revel here abounds;
Strange modes of merriment the hours consume,
Nor bleed these patriots with their country's wounds:
Not here war's clarion, but Love's rebeck sounds;
Here Folly still his votaries enthralls:
And young-eyed Lewdness walks her midnight rounds

Girt with the silent crimes of Capitals,
Still to the last kind Vice clings to the tott'ring walls.

XLVII.
Not so the rustic-with bis trembling mate
He lurks, nor casts his heavy eye afar,
Lest he should view bis vineyard desolate,
Blasted below the dun hot breath of war.
No more beneath soft Eve's consenting star
Fandango twirls his jocund castanet:
Ah, wonarchs ! could ye taste the mirth ye mar,

Not in the toils of Glory would ye fret ;
The hoarse full drum would sleep, and Man be happy yet

XLVIII.
How carols now the lusty muleteer ?
of love, romance, devotion is his lay,
As whilome he was wont the leagues to cheer.
His quick Bells wildly jingling on the way?
No! as he speeds, he chaunts;“ Viva el Rey!" (8)
And checks his song to execrate Godoy,
The royal wittol Charles, and curse the day

When first Spain's queen beheld the black-ey'd boy, And gore-fac'd Treason sprung from her adulterate joy.

XLIX. On yon long, level plaid, at distance crown'd With crags, whereon those Moorish turrets rest, Wide scatter'd hoof.marks dint the wounded ground; And, 'scath'd by fire, the green sward's darken'd vest Tells that the foe was Andalusia's guest: Here was the camp, the watch-fiame, and the host, Here the bold peasant stormed the dragon's nest ;

Still does he mark it with triumphant boast, And points to yonder cliffs, which oft were won and lost.

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »