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THE FESTAL HOUR.

WHEN are the lessons given
That shakes the startled earth? When wakes the foe
While the friend sleeps! When falls the traitor's blow!

When are proud sceptres riven,
High hope o'erthrown? --It is when lands rejoice,
When cities blaze and lift the exulting voice,
And wave their banners to the kindling heaven!

Fear ye the festal hour!
When mirth o'erflows, then tremble S'Twas a night
Of gorgeous revel, wreaths, and dance, and light,

When through the regal bower
The trumpet peald, ere yet the song was done,
And there were shrieks in golden Babylon,
And trampling armies, ruthless in their power.

The marble shrines were crown'd:
Young voices, through the blue Athenian sky,
And Dorian reeds, made summer-melody,

And censers waved around ;
And lyres were strung and bright libations pour'd !
When, through the streets, flash'd out th' avenging sword
Fearless and free, the sword with myrtles bound !*

Through Rome a triumph pass'd.
Rich in her sun-god’s mantling beams went by
That long array of glorious pageantry,

With shout and trumpet-blast.
An empire's gems their starry splendor shed
O’er the proud march; a king in chains was led ;
A stately victor, crown'd and robed, came last.t

And many a Dryad's bower
Had lent the laurels which, in waving play,
Stirr'd the warm air, and glisten'd round his way,

As a quick-flashing shower.
-O'er his own porch, meantime, the cypress hung,
Through his fair halls a cry of anguish rung-
Woe for the dead the father's broken flower!

A sound of lyre and song,
In the still night, went floating o’er the Nile,
Whose waves, by many an old mysterious pile,

Swept with that voice along;

* The sword of Harmodius.

† Paulus Æmilius, one of whose sons died a few days before, and another shortly after, his triumph on the conquest of Macedon, when Perseus, king of that country, was led in chains.

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And lamps were shining o'er the red wine's foam
Where a chief revell’d in a monarch's dome,
And fresh rose-garlands deck'd a glittering throng.

'Twas Antony that bade
The joyous chords ring out !-but strains arose
Of wilder omen at the banquet's close!

Sounds, by no mortal made,*
Shook Alexandria through her streets that night,
And pass'd—and with another sunset's light,
The kingly Roman on his bier was laid,

Bright 'midst its vineyards lay
The fair Campanian city,t with its towers
And temples gleaming through dark olive-bowen,

Clear in the golden day;
Joy was around it as the glowing sky,
And crowds had fill'd its halls of revelry,
And all the sunny air was music's way.

A cloud came o'er the face
Of Italy's rich heaven its crystal blue
Was changed, and deepen'd to a wrathful hue

Of night, o'ershadowing space,
As with the wings of death-in all his power
Vesuvius woke, and hurld the buming shower,
And who could tell the buried city's place ?

Such things have been of yore,
In the gay regions where the citrons blow,
And purple summers all their sleepy glow

On the grape-clusters pour ;
And where the palms to spicy winds are waving,
Along clear seas of melting sapphire, laving,
As with a flow of light, their southern shore.

Turn we to other climes !
Far in the Druid-Isle a feast was spread,
"Midst the rock-altars of the warrior dead : 1

And ancient battle-rhymes
Were chanted to the harp; and yellow mead
Went flowing round, and tales of martial deed,
And lofty songs of Britain's elder time;

* See the description given by Plutarch, in his life of Antony, of the supernatural sounds heard in the streets of Alexandria, the night before Antony's death.

† Herculaneum, of which it is related, that all the inhabitants were assembled in the theatres, when the shower of ashes which covered the city descended.

Stonehenge, said by some traditions to have been erected to the memory of Ambrosius, an early British king; and by others mentioned as a monumental record of the massacre of British chiefs here allu to.

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But ere the giant-fane
Cast its broad shadows on the robe of even,
Hush'd were the bards, and in the face of heaven,

O’er that old burial-plain
Flashed the keen Saxon dagger !-Blood was streaming
Where late the mead-cup to the sun was gleaming,
And Britain's hearths were heap'd that night in vain

For they return'd no more!
They that went forth at morn, with reckless heart,
In that fierce banquets mirth to bear their part;

And, on the rushy floor,
And the bright spears and bucklers of the walls,
The high wood-fires were blazing in their halls;
But not for them they slept—their feast was o'er !
Fear

ye

the festal hour!
Ay, tremble when the cup of joy o'erflows!
Tame down the swelling heart!—the bridal rose,

And the rich myrtle's flower
Have veil'd the sword !-Red wines have sparkled fast
From venom'd goblets, and soft breezes pass'd,
With fatal perfume, through the revel's bower.

Twine the young glowing wreath!
But pour not all your spirit in the song,
Which through the sky'e deep azure floats along,

Like summer's quickening breath!
The ground is hollow in the path of mirth :
Oh! far too daring seems the joy of earth,
So darkly press'd and girdled in by death!

SONG OF THE BATTLE OF MORGARTEN

p" In the year 1315, Switzerland was invaded by Duke Leopold of

Austria, with a formidable army. It is well attested that this prince repeatedly declared he would trample the audacious rustics under his feet;' and that he had procured a large stock of cordage, for the purpose of binding their chiefs, and putting them to death.

“The 15th of October, 1315, dawned. The sun darted its first rays on the shields and armor of the advancing host; and this being the first army ever known to have attempted the frontiers of the cantons, the Swiss viewed its long line with various emotions. Montfort de Tettnang led the cavalry into the narrow pass, and soon filled the whole space between the mountain (Mount Sattel) and the lake. The fifty men on the eminence (above Morgarten

raised a sudden shout, and rolled down heaps of rocks and stones among the crowded ranks. The confederates on the mountain, perceiving the impression made by this attack, rushed down in close array, and sell upon the flank of the disordered column. With massy clubs they dashed in pieces the armor of the enemy, and dealt their blows and thursts with long pikes. The narrowness of the defile admitted of no evolutions, and a slight frost having injured the road, the horses were impeded in all their motions ; many leaped into the lake; all were startled; and at last the whole column gave way, and fell snddenly back on the infantry; and these last, as the nature of the country did not allow them to open their files, were run over by the fugitives, and many of them trampled to death. A general route ensued, and Duke Leopold was, with much difficulty, rescued by a peasant, who led him to Winterthur, where the historian of the times saw him arrive in the evening, pale, sullen, and dismayed."-PLANTA's History of the Helvetic Confederacy.)

THE wine-month* shone in its golden prime,

And the red grapes clustering hung,
But a deeper sound, through the Switzer's clime,
Than the vintage music, rung.

A sound, through vaulted cave,

A sound, through echoing glen,
Like the hollow swell of a rushing wave;

-'Twas the tread of steel-girt men.
And a trumpet, pealing wild and far,

'Midst the ancient rocks was blown, Till the Alps replied to that voice of war With a thousand of their own.

And through the forest-glooms

Flash'd helmets to the day,
And the winds were tossing knightly plumes,

Like the larch-boughs in their play.
In Hasli's † wilds there was gleaming steel,

As the host of the Austrian pass'd;
And the Schreckhorn'st rocks, with a savage peal,
Made mirth of his clarion's blast.

Up’midst the Righi’sy snows,

The stormy march was heard,
With the charger's tramp, whence fire-sparks rose,

And the leader's gathering word.
But a band, the noblest band of all,

Through the rude Morgarten strait, With blazon'd streamers, and lances tall,

Moved onwards in princely state,

* Wine-month, the German name for October.

Hasli, a wild district in the canton of Berne. # Schreckhorn, the peak of terror, a mountain in the canton of Berne. Righi, a mountain in the canton of Schwytz.

They came with heavy chains,

For the race despised so long-
But amidst his Alp-domains,

The herdsman's arm is strong!
The sun was reddening the clouds of morn

When they enter'd the rock-defile,
And shrill as a joyous hunter's horn
Their bugles rung the while.

But on the misty height,

Where the mountain-people stood, There was stillness, as of night,

When storms at distance brood.
There was stillness, as of deep dead night,

And a pause--but not of fear,
While the Switzers gazed on the gathering might
Of the hostile shield and spear.

On wound those columns bright

Between the lake and wood,
But they look'd not to the misty height

Where the mountain-people stood.
The pass was fillid with their serried power,

All helm'd and mail-array'd,
And their steps had sounds like a thunder-shower
In the rustling forest-shade.

There were prince and crested knight,

Hemm'd in by cliff and flood,
When a shout arose from the misty height

Where the mountain-people stood.
And the mighty rocks came bounding down,

Their startled foes among,
With a joyous whirl from the summit thrown
-Oh! the herdsman's arm is strong!

They came like lauwine* hurld

From Alp to Alp in play,
When the echoes shout through the snowy world

And the pines are borne away.
The fir-woods crash'd on the mountain-side,

And the Switzers rush'd from high,
With a sudden charge, on the flower and pride
Of the Austrian chivalry :

Like hunters of the deer,

They storm'd the narrow dell,
And first in the shock, with Uri's spear,

Was the arm of William Tell.
* Lauwine, the Swiss name for the avalanche.

t William Tell's name is particularly mentioned amongst the confederates at Morgarten.

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