Imágenes de páginas

There lie interr'd the more illustrious dead.
The wind is up: hark! how it howls ! Methinks,
Till now, I never heard a sound so dreary;
Doors creak, and windows clap, and night's foul bird
Rook'd in the spire screains loud ; the gloomy ailes
Black plaster'd, and hung round with shreds of

And tatter'd coats of arms send back the sound
Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults,
The mansions of the dead. Rous'd from their slumbers,
In grim array the grizly spectres rise,
Grin horrible, and obstinately sullen
Pass and repass, hush'd as the foot of night.
Again! the screech-owl shrieks : ungracious sound!
I'll hear no more; it makes one's blood run chill.

Quite round the pile, a row of rev'rend elms, . Coæval near with that, all ragged shew, Long lash'd by the rude winds : some rift half down Their branchless trunks; others so thin a-top, That scarce two crows could lodge in the same tree. Strange things, the neighbours say, have happen'd here: Wild shrieks have issued from the hollow tombs, Dead men have come again, and walk'd about; And the great bell has toll'd, unrung, untouch'd. Such tales their cheer, at wake or gossiping, When it draws near to witching-time of night.

Oft in the lone church-yard at night I've seen, By glimpse of moon-shine, cheq’ring thro' the trees, The school-boy, with his satchel in his hand, Whistling aloud to bear his courage up, And lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones (With nettles skirted, and with moss o'ergrown) That tell in homely phrase who lie below; Sudden he starts ! and hears, or thinks he hears, The sound of something purring at his heels : Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him, Till out of breath he overtakes his fellows; Who gather round, and wonder at the tale Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly, That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand

O'er some new-open'd grave; and, strange to tell !
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.
The new-

made widow too I've sometimes spied,
Sad sight! slow-moving o'er the prostrate dead :
Listless she crawls along in doleful black,
While bursts of sorrow gush from either eye,
Fast-falling down her now untasted cheek.
Prone on the lonely grave of the dear man
She drops ; whilst busy meddling, memory
In barbarous succession, musters up
The past endearments of their softer hours,
Tenacious of its theme. Still, still she thinks
She sees him, and indulging the fond thought,
Clings yet more closely to the senseless turf,
Nor heeds the passenger who looks that way.

Invidious Grave ! how dost thou rend in sunder Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one! A tye more stubborn far than nature's band, Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul! Sweetner of life, and solder of society ! I owe thee much. Thou hast deserv'd from me, Far, far beyond what I can ever pay. Oft have I prov'd the labors of thy love, And the warm efforts of the gentle heart Anxious to please. O! when my friend and I In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on, Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank, Where the pure limpid stream has slid along In grateful errors thro' the underwood Sweet murm'ring; methought the shrill-tongu'd thrush Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd every note; The eglantine smell’d sweeter, and the rose Assum'd a dye more deep; whilst every flower Vied with his fellow plant in luxury Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day Seem's too, too much in haste : still the full heart Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed, Not to return, how painful the remembrance !

[ocr errors]

DullGrave! thou spoil'st the dance of youthfulblood,
Strik'st out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And every smirking feature from the face ;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now? the inan of health
Complexionally pleasant ? where the droll?
Whose every look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made ev'n thick-lipp'd musing Melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware! Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them !

Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Cæsars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth,
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discover'd globe,
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamper'a,
And had not room enough to do its work ?
Alas ! how slim, dishonorably slim !
And cramm'd into a space we blush to name.
Proud royalty ! how alter'd in thy looks !
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone?
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar ? Pliant and powerless now,
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife:
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd,
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hop'd for in the peaceful Grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Araby's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honors by the heralds duly paid
In mode and form, ev'n to a very scruples
O cruel irony ! these come too late ;



And only mock whom they were meant to honor.
Surely, there's not a dungeon-slave that's buried
In the highway, unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent
Above the vulgar-born, to rot in state!

But see! the well-plum'd hearse comes nodding on,
Stately and slow; and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door, and live upon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour
To mimic sorrow, when the heart's not sad!
How rich the trappings, now they're all unfurl'd
And glittering in the sun ! Triumphant entries
Of conquerors, and coronation pomps,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluts of people
Retard the unwieldy show; whilst from the casements,
And houses tops, ranks behind ranks close wedg'd,
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste ?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcass
That's fall'n into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible? Ye undertakers ! tell us,
'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceald, for which
You make this mighty stir ? 'Tis wisely done :
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The Painter casts discreetly into shades.

Proud lineage, now how little thou appear'st!
Below the envy of the private man!
Honor, that meddlesome officious ill,
Pursues thee e'en to death ; nor there stops short.
Strange persecution ! when the grave itself
Is no protection from rude sufferance.

Absurd ! to think to over-reach the grave,
And from the wreck of names to rescue ours !
The best concerted schemes men lay for fame
Die fast away : only themselves die faster.
The far-fam'd sculptor, and the laureld bard,
Those bold insurers of eternal fame,

Supply their little feeble aids in vain.
The tapering pyramid, the Egyptian's pride,
And wonder of the world! whose spiky top
Has wounded the thick cloud, and long outliv'd
The angry shaking of the winter's storm;
Yet spent at last by th' injuries of heav'n,
Shatter'd with age, and furrow'd o'er with years,'
The mystic cone with hieroglyphics crusted,
Gives way. O lamentable sight! at once
The labor of whole ages lumbers down ;
A hideous and mis-shapen length of ruins.
Sepulchral columns wrestle but in vain
With all-subduing Time; her cankering hand
With calm deliberate malice wasteth them :
Worn on the edge of days, the brass consumes,
The busto moulders, and the deep cut marble,
Unsteady to the steel, gives up its charge.
Ambition, half convicted of her folly,
Hangs down the head, and reddens at the tale.

Here all the mighty troublers of the earth,
Who swam to sov'reign rule thro' seas of blood;
The oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
Who ravag'd kingdoms, and laid empires waste,
And in a cruel wantonness of power
Thinn'd states of half their people, and gave up
To want the rest; now, like a storm that's spent,
Lie hush'd and meanly sneak behind thy covert.
Vain thought! to hide them from the general scorn
That haunts and dogs them like an injur'd ghost
Implacable. Here too the petty tyrant,
Whose scant domains geographer ne'er notic'd,
And, well for neighb'ring grounds, of arm as short,
Who fix'd his iron talons on the poor,
And grip'd them like some lordly beast of prey,
Deaf to the forceful cries of gnawing hunger,
And piteous plaintive voice of misery
(As if a slave was not a shred of nature,
Of the same common nature with his lord ;)
Now tame and humble, like a child that's whipp'd,
Shakes hands with dust,and calls the worm his kipsman;

« AnteriorContinuar »