Page images

No more to chiefs and ladies bright

The harp of Tara swells :
The chord alone that breaks at night,

Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus freedom now so seldom wakes,

The only throb she gives
Is when some heart indignant breaks,

To show that still she lives.



ENGLAND, 1788–1824

Childe Harold's Farewell to England


Adieu, adieu! my native shore

Fades o'er the waters blue;
The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar,

And shrieks the wild sea mew.
Yon sun that sets upon the sea,

We follow in his flight;
Farewell awhile to him and thee,

My native land — Good-night.


A few short hours and he will rise

To give the morrow birth;
And I shall hail the main and skies,

But not my mother earth.




Deserted is my own good hall,

Its hearth is desolate;
Wild weeds are gathering on the wall;

My dog howls at the gate.


“Come hither, hither, my little page!

Why dost thou weep and wail ?
Or dost thou dread the billows' rage,

Or tremble at the gale?
But dash the tear-drop from thine eye;

Our ship is swift and strong;
Our fleetest falcon scarce can fly

More merrily along."



“Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high,

I fear not wave nor wind :
Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I

Am sorrowful in mind;
For I have from my father gone,

A mother whom I love,
And have no friends, save thee alone,

But thee — and One above.


“My father blessed me fervently,

Yet did not much complain; But sorely will my mother sigh

Till I come back again. 'Enough, enough, my little lad!

Such tears become thine eye;


If I thy guileless bosom had,

Mine own would not be dry.”

The Night before Waterloo

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gather'd then
5 Her beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,

Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again, 10 And all went merry as a marriage bell; But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising


Did ye not hear it? - No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;

On with the dance ! let joy be unconfined; 15 No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet

To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet.
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before ! 20 Arm! arm ! it is—it is—the cannon's opening roar!

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,



And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated: who could guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!



And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While throng'd the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering with white lips — “The foe!

They come! they come !”



Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn the marshaling in arms — the day
Battle's magnificently stern array!
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent
The earth is cover'd thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heap'd and pent,
Rider and horse--friend, foe-in one red burial blent !




ENGLAND, 1793–1847

Abide with Me

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

5 Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour; 10 What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power ?

Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be ? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless :

Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. 15 Where is Death's sting? Where, Grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;

« PreviousContinue »