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"They say it was a shocking sight,
After the field was won,
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.
"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay-nay, my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory:
"And everybody praised the Duke,
Who such a fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why, that I cannot tell," said he; "But 'twas a famous victory."
THE glories of our birth and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against fate :
Death lays his icy hands on kings;
Sceptre and crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill;
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath,
When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds! Upon death's purple altar, now,
See where the victor victim bleeds!
All heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.
THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES.
ON what foundation stands the warrior's pride,
How just his hopes, let Swedish Charles decide;
A frame of adamant, a soul of fire,
No dangers fright him, and no labours tire;
O'er love, o'er fear, extends his wide domain,
Unconquer'd lord of pleasure and of pain;
No joys to him pacific sceptres yield;
War sounds the trump, he rushes to the field.
Behold surrounding kings their powers combine,
And one capitulate, and one resign:
Peace courts his hand and spreads her charms in vain,
"Think nothing gain'd," he cried, " till nought remain-
On Moscow's walls, till Gothic standards fly,
And all be mine beneath the Polar sky!"
The march begins in military state,
And nations on his eye suspended wait;
Stern famine guards the solitary coast,
And winter barricades the realms of frost.
He comes-nor want nor cold his course delay,
Hide, blushing glory, hide Pultowa's day!
The vanquish'd hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his misery in distant lands;
Condemn'd a needy suppliant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not chance at last her error mend?
Did no subverted empire mark his end?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound,
Or hostile millions press him to the ground?—
His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
WHEN day declining sheds a milder gleam,
What time the May-fly haunts the pool or stream;
When the still owl skims round the grassy mead,
What time the timorous hare limps forth to feed ;
Then be the time to steal adown the vale,
And listen to the vagrant cuckoo's tale;
To hear the clamorous curlew call his mate,
Or the soft quail his tender tale relate ;
To see the swallow skim the darkening plain,
Belated, to support her infant train;
To mark the swift, in rapid giddy ring,
Dash round the steeple, unsubdued of wing:
Amusive birds! say, where your hid retreat,
When the frost rages, and the tempests beat?
Whence your return, by such nice instinct led,
When spring, soft season, lifts her bloomy head?
Such baffled searches mock man's prying pride,-
The God of nature is your secret guide!
While deep'ning shades obscure the face of day,
To yonder bench, leaf-shelter'd, let us stray,
Till blended objects fail the swimming sight,
And all the fading landscape sinks in night;
To hear the drowsy dorr come brushing by,
With buzzing wing, or the shrill cricket cry;
To see the feeding bat glance through the wood;
To catch the distant falling of the flood:
While o'er the cliff th' awaken'd churn-owl hung,
Through the still gloom protracts his chattering song;
While high in air, and poised upon his wings,
Unseen, the soft, enamour'd wood-lark sings;
These, nature's works, the curious mind employ,
Inspire a soothing melancholy joy;
As fancy warms, a pleasing kind of pain
Steals o'er the cheek, and thrills the creeping vein.
Each rural sight, each sound, each smell combine,
The tinkling sheep-bell, or the breath of kine;
The new-mown hay, that scents the swelling breeze,
Or cottage-chimney smoking through the trees.