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DESPOND who will-I heard a voice exclaim,
Though fierce the assault, and shatter'd the defence, It cannot be that Britain's social frame,
The glorious work of time and providence,
Before a flying season's rash pretence,
Should fall; that She, whose virtue put to shame,
When Europe prostrate lay, the Conqueror's aim,
Should perish, self-subverted. Black and dense
The cloud is; but brings that a day of doom
Her sun is up the while,
That orb whose beams round Saxon Alfred shone :
Then laugh, ye innocent Vales! ye Streams, sweep on,
Nor let one billow of our heaven-blest Isle
Toss in the fanning wind a humbler plume."
IN THE FRITH OF CLYDE, AILSA CRAG.
SINCE risen from ocean, ocean to defy,
Appeared the Crag of Ailsa, ne'er did morn
With gleaming lights more gracefully adorn
His sides, or wreathe with mist his forehead high :
Now, faintly darkening with the sun's eclipse,
Still is he seen, in lone sublimity,
Towering above the sea and little ships;
For dwarfs the tallest seem while sailing by,
Each for her haven; with her freight of Care,
Pleasure, or Grief, and Toil that seldom looks
Into the secret of to-morrow's fare;
Though poor, yet rich, without the wealth of books,
Or aught that watchful Love to Nature owes
For her mute Powers, fix'd Forms, or transient Shows.
ARRAN! a single-crested Teneriffe,
A St. Helena next--in shape and hue,
Varying her crowded peaks and ridges blue;
Who but must covet a cloud-seat, or skiff
Built for the air, or wingèd Hippogriff?
That he might fly, where no one could pursue,
From this dull Monster and her sooty crew;
And, as a God, light on thy topmost cliff.
Impotent wish! which reason would despise
If the mind knew no union of extremes,
No natural bond between the boldest schemes
Ambition frames, and heart-humilities.
Beneath stern mountains many a soft vale lies,
And lofty springs give birth to lowly streams.
ON REVISITING DUNOLLY CASTLE.
[See former series, p. 157.]
THE captive Bird was gone ;-to cliff or moor
Perchance had flown, delivered by the storm;
Or he had pined, and sunk to feed the worm :
Him found we not; but, climbing a tall tower,
There saw, impaved with rude fidelity
Of art mosaic, in a roofless floor,
An Eagle with stretched wings, but beamless eye-
An Eagle that could neither wail nor soar.
Effigy of the Vanished-(shall I dare
To call thee so?) or symbol of fierce deeds
And of the towering courage which past times
Rejoiced in-take, whate'er thou be, a share,
Not undeserved, of the memorial rhymes
That animate my way where'er it leads!
NOT to the clouds, not to the cliff, he flew ;
But when a storm, on sea or mountain bred,
Came and delivered him, alone he sped
Into the castle-dungeon's darkest mew.
Now, near his master's house in open view
He dwells, and hears indignant tempests howl,
Kennelled and chained. Ye tame domestic fowl,
Beware of him! Thou, saucy cockatoo,
Look to thy plumage and thy life!—The roe,
Fleet as the west wind, is for him no quarry;
Balanced in ether he will never tarry,
Eyeing the sea's blue depths. Poor Bird! even so
Doth man of brother man a creature make
That clings to slavery for its own sad sake.