The World's Best Poetry, Volume 8

Part 4 out of 9

The new is old, the old is new,
The cycle of a change sublime
Still sweeping through.

So wisely taught the Indian seer;
Destroying Seva, forming Brahm,
Who wake by turn Earth's love and fear,
Are one, the same.

Idly as thou, in that old day
Thou mournest, did thy sire repine;
So, in his time, thy child grown gray
Shall sigh for thine.

But life shall on and upward go;
The eternal step of Progress beats
To that great anthem, calm and slow,
Which God repeats.

Take heart!--the Waster builds again,--
A charmed life old Goodness hath;
The tares may perish,--but the grain
Is not for death.

God works in all things; all obey
His first propulsion from the night:
Wake thou and watch!--the world is gray
With morning light!


* * * * *



High walls and huge the body may confine,
And iron gates obstruct the prisoner's gaze,
And massive bolts may baffle his design,
And vigilant keepers watch his devious ways;
But scorns the immortal mind such base control:
No chains can bind it and no cell enclose.
Swifter than light it flies from pole to pole,
And in a flash from earth to heaven it goes.
It leaps from mount to mount; from vale to vale
It wanders, plucking honeyed fruits and flowers;
It visits home to hear the fireside tale
And in sweet converse pass the joyous hours;
'Tis up before the sun, roaming afar,
And in its watches wearies every star.


* * * * *


When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth's aching
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb
To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime
Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of Time.

Through the walls of hut and palace shoots the instantaneous throe,
When the travail of the Ages wrings earth's systems to and fro;
At the birth of each new Era, with a recognizing start,
Nation wildly looks at nation, standing with mute lips apart.
And glad Truth's yet mightier man-child leaps beneath the Future's

So the Evil's triumph sendeth, with a terror and a chill,
Under continent to continent, the sense of coming ill,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels his sympathies with God
In hot tear-drops ebbing earthward, to be drunk up by the sod,
Till a corpse crawls round unburied, delving in the nobler clod.

For mankind are one in spirit, and an instinct bears along,
Round the earth's electric circle, the swift flush of right or
Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity's vast frame
Through its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or shame;--
In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim.

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party thou shalt stand,
Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shakes the dust against our land?
Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet 'tis Truth alone is strong,
And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng
Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.

Backward look across the ages and the beacon-moments see,
That, like peaks of some sunk continent, jut through Oblivion's sea;
Not an ear in court or market for the low foreboding cry
Of those Crises, God's stern winnowers, from whose feet earth's
chaff must fly;
Never shows the choice momentous till the judgment hath passed by.

Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,--
Yet that scaffold sways the Future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great,
Slow of faith, how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate,
But the soul is still oracular; amid the market's din,
List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within,--
"They enslave their children's children who make compromise with

Slavery, the earthborn Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood,
Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth
with blood,
Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day,
Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey;--
Shall we guide his gory fingers where our helpless children play?

Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified,
And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes,--they were souls that stood
While the men they agonized for hurled the contumelious stone,
Stood serene, and down the future saw the golden beam incline
To the side of perfect justice, mastered by their faith divine,
By one man's plain truth to manhood and to God's supreme design.

By the light of burning heretics Christ's bleeding feet I track,
Toiling up new Calvaries ever with the cross that turns not back,
And these mounts of anguish number how each generation learned
One new word of that grand _Credo_ which in prophet-hearts hath
Since the first man stood God-conquered with his face to heaven

For Humanity sweeps onward: where to-day the martyr stands,
On the morrow crouches Judas with the silver in his hands;
Far in front the cross stands ready and the crackling fagots burn,
While the hooting mob of yesterday in silent awe return
To glean up the scattered ashes into History's golden urn.

'Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves
Of a legendary virtue carved upon our fathers' graves,
Worshippers of light ancestral make the present light a crime;--
Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their
Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, that make Plymouth rock

They were men of present valor, stalwart old iconoclasts,
Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all virtue was the Past's;
But we make their truth our falsehood, thinking that hath made us
Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while our tender spirits flee
The rude grasp of that Impulse which drove them across the sea.

They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our
Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar-fires;
Shall we make their creed our jailer? Shall we, in our haste to
From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away
To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

_December_, 1845.


* * * * *


[Footnote A: Arousing of Anti-Slavery agitation, when it was proposed
in Congress to abolish the "Missouri Compromise" and throw open the
Territories to slavery if their people should so vote.]


As when, on Carmel's sterile steep,
The ancient prophet bowed the knee,
And seven times sent his servant forth
To look toward the distant sea;

There came at last a little cloud,
Scarce larger than the human hand,
Spreading and swelling till it broke
In showers on all the herbless land;

And hearts were glad, and shouts went up,
And praise to Israel's mighty God,
As the sear hills grew bright with flowers,
And verdure clothed the valley sod,--

Even so our eyes have waited long;
But now a little cloud appears,
Spreading and swelling as it glides
Onward into the coming years.

Bright cloud of Liberty! full soon,
Far stretching from the ocean strand,
Thy glorious folds shall spread abroad,
Encircling our beloved land.

Like the sweet rain on Judah's hills,
The glorious boon of love shall fall,
And our bond millions shall arise,
As at an angel's trumpet-call.

Then shall a shout of joy go up,--
The wild, glad cry of freedom come
From hearts long crushed by cruel hands,
And songs from lips long sealed and dumb;

And every bondman's chain be broke,
And every soul that moves abroad
In this wide realm shall know and feel
The blessed Liberty of God.


* * * * *


John Brown of Ossawatomie spake on his dying day:
"I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery's pay;
But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free,
With her children, from the gallows-stair put up a prayer for me!"

John Brown of Ossawatomie, they led him out to die;
And lo! a poor slave-mother with her little child pressed nigh:
Then the bold, blue eye grew tender, and the old harsh face grew
As he stooped between the jeering ranks and kissed the negro's

The shadows of his stormy life that moment fell apart,
And they who blamed the bloody hand forgave the loving heart;
That kiss from all its guilty means redeemed the good intent,
And round the grisly fighter's hair the martyr's aureole bent!

Perish with him the folly that seeks through evil good!
Long live the generous purpose unstained with human blood!
Not the raid of midnight terror, but the thought which underlies;
Not the borderer's pride of daring, but the Christian's sacrifice.

Nevermore may yon Blue Ridges the Northern rifle hear,
Nor see the light of blazing homes flash on the negro's spear;
But let the free-winged angel Truth their guarded passes scale,
To teach that right is more than might, and justice more than mail!

So vainly shall Virginia set her battle in array;
In vain her trampling squadrons knead the winter snow with clay!
She may strike the pouncing eagle, but she dares not harm the dove;
And every gate she bars to Hate shall open wide to Love!


* * * * *


John Brown's body lies a-moldering in the grave,
John Brown's body lies slumbering in his grave--
But John Brown's soul is marching with the brave,
His soul is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His soul is marching on.

He has gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord;
He is sworn as a private in the ranks of the Lord,--
He shall stand at Armageddon with his brave old sword,
When Heaven is marching on.

He shall file in front where the lines of battle form,
He shall face to front when the squares of battle form--
Time with the column, and charge in the storm,
Where men are marching on.

Ah, foul Tyrants! do ye hear him where he comes?
Ah, black traitor! do ye know him as he comes,
In thunder of the cannon and roll of the drums,
As we go marching on?

Men may die, and molder in the dust--
Men may die, and arise again from dust,
Shoulder to shoulder, in the ranks of the Just,
When Heaven is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His soul is marching on.


* * * * *


Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat:
O, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me;
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.


* * * * *


[Footnote A: Fremont's proclamation of martial law in Missouri, in
August, 1861, declaring free all slaves of Rebels, was received with
ardor by the North, but annulled by President Lincoln as premature.]

Thy error, Fremont, simply was to act
A brave man's part, without the statesman's tact,
And, taking counsel but of common sense,
To strike at cause as well as consequence.
O, never yet since Roland wound his horn
At Roncesvalles has a blast been blown
Far-heard, wide-echoed, startling as thine own,
Heard from the van of freedom's hope forlorn!
It had been safer, doubtless, for the time,
To flatter treason, and avoid offence
To that Dark Power whose underlying crime
Heaves upward its perpetual turbulence.
But, if thine be the fate of all who break
The ground for truth's seed, or forerun their years
Till lost in distance, or with stout hearts make
A lane for freedom through the level spears,
Still take thou courage! God has spoken through thee,
Irrevocable, the mighty words, Be free!
The land shakes with them, and the slave's dull ear
Turns from the rice-swamp stealthily to hear.
Who would recall them now must first arrest
The winds that blow down from the free North-west,
Ruffling the Gulf; or like a scroll roll back
The Mississippi to its upper springs.
Such words fulfil their prophecy, and lack
But the full time to harden into things.


* * * * *


The winds that once the Argo bore
Have died by Neptune's ruined shrines,
And her hull is the drift of the deep-sea floor,
Though shaped of Pelion's tallest pines.
You may seek her crew on every isle
Fair in the foam of AEgean seas,
But out of their rest no charm can wile
Jason and Orpheus and Hercules.

And Priam's wail is heard no more
By windy Ilion's sea-built walls;
Nor great Achilles, stained with gore,
Shouts "O ye gods, 'tis Hector falls!"
On Ida's mount is the shining snow,
But Jove has gone from its brow away;
And red on the plain the poppies grow
Where the Greek and the Trojan fought that day.

Mother Earth, are the heroes dead?
Do they thrill the soul of the years no more?
Are the gleaming snows and the poppies red
All that is left of the brave of yore?
Are there none to fight as Theseus fought,
Far in the young world's misty dawn?
Or teach as gray-haired Nestor taught?
Mother Earth, are the heroes gone?

Gone? In a grander form they rise.
Dead? We may clasp their hands in ours,
And catch the light of their clearer eyes,
And wreathe their brows with immortal flowers.
Wherever a noble deed is done,
'Tis the pulse of a hero's heart is stirred;
Wherever Right has a triumph won,
There are the heroes' voices heard.
Their armor rings on a fairer field
Than the Greek and the Trojan fiercely trod;
For Freedom's sword is the blade they wield,
And the gleam above is the smile of God.
So, in his isle of calm delight,
Jason may sleep the years away;
For the heroes live, and the sky is bright,
And the world is a braver world to-day.


* * * * *


[On hearing the bells ring on the passage of the Constitutional
Amendment abolishing slavery.]

It is done!
Clang of bell and roar of gun
Send the tidings up and down.
How the belfries rock and reel!
How the great guns, peal on peal,
Fling the joy from town to town!

Ring, O bells!
Every stroke exulting tells
Of the burial hour of crime.
Loud and long, that all may hear,
Ring for every listening ear
Of Eternity and Time!

Let us kneel:
God's own voice is in that peal,
And this spot is holy ground.
Lord, forgive us! What are we,
That our eyes this glory see,
That our ears have heard the sound!

For the Lord
On the whirlwind is abroad;
In the earthquake he has spoken;
He has smitten with his thunder
The iron walls asunder,
And the gates of brass are broken!

Loud and long
Lift the old exulting song;
Sing with Miriam by the sea:
He has cast the mighty down;
Horse and rider sink and drown;
He has triumphed gloriously!

Did we dare,
In our agony of prayer,
Ask for more than He has done?
When was ever his right hand
Over any time or land
Stretched as now beneath the sun?

How they pale,
Ancient myth and song and tale,
In this wonder of our days,
When the cruel rod of war
Blossoms white with righteous law,
And the wrath of man is praise!

Blotted out!
All within and all about
Shall a fresher life begin;
Freer breathe the universe
As it rolls its heavy curse
On the dead and buried sin.

It is done!
In the circuit of the sun
Shall the sound thereof go forth.
It shall bid the sad rejoice,
It shall give the dumb a voice,
It shall belt with joy the earth!

Ring and swing,
Bells of joy! On morning's wing
Send the song of praise abroad!
With a sound of broken chains,
Tell the nations that He reigns,
Who alone is Lord and God!


* * * * *


Let Liberty run onward with the years,
And circle with the seasons; let her break
The tyrant's harshness, the oppressor's spears;
Bring ripened recompenses that shall make
Supreme amends for sorrow's long arrears;
Drop holy benison on hearts that ache;
Put clearer radiance into human eyes,
And set the glad earth singing to the skies.

Clean natures coin pure statutes. Let us cleanse
The hearts that beat within us; let us mow
Clear to the roots our falseness and pretence,
Tread down our rank ambitions, overthrow
Our braggart moods of puffed self-consequence,
Plough up our hideous thistles which do grow
Faster than maize in May time, and strike dead
The base infections our low greeds have bred.


* * * * *



* * * * *




Now went forth the morn,
Such as in highest heaven, arrayed in gold
Empyreal; from before her vanished night,
Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain
Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.

* * * * *

The apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat,
Idol of majesty divine, enclosed
With flaming cherubim, and golden shields;
Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now
'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left,
A dreadful interval, and front to front
Presented stood in terrible array
Of hideous length: before the cloudy van,
On the rough edge of battle ere it joined,
Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced,
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold.


Michael bid sound
The archangel trumpet; through the vast of heaven
It sounded, and the faithful armies rung
Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze
The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined
The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose,
And clamor, such as heard in heaven till now
Was never; arms on armor clashing brayed
Horrible discord, and the madding wheels
Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise
Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss
Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew,
And flying vaulted either host with fire.
So under fiery cope together rushed
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage. All heaven
Resounded; and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook.

* * * * *

Deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite: for wide was spread
That war, and various: sometimes on firm ground
A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing,
Tormented all the air; all air seemed then
Conflicting fire.

* * * * *

Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power
Which God hath in his mighty angels placed!)
Their arms away threw, and to the hills
(For earth hath this variety from heaven,
Of pleasures situate in hill and dale),
Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew,
From their foundations loosening to and fro,
They plucked the seated hills, with all their load,
Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
Uplifting bore them in their hands: amaze,
Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel host,
When coming towards them so dread they saw
The bottom of the mountains upward turned,
. . . . and on their heads
Main promontories flung, which in the air
Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed;
Their armor helped their harm, crushed in and bruised
Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain
Implacable, and many a dolorous groan;
Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind
Out of such prison, though spirits of purest light,
Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown.
The rest, in imitation, to like arms
Betook them, and the neighboring hills uptore:
So hills amid the air encountered hills,
Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire,
That underground they fought in dismal shade;
Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game
To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped
Upon confusion rose.


So spake the Son, and into terror changed
His countenance too severe to be beheld,
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.
At once the four spread out their starry wings
With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs
Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound
Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host.
He on his impious foes right onward drove,
Gloomy as night: under his burning wheels
The steadfast empyrean shook throughout.
All but the throne itself of God. Full soon
Among them he arrived; in his right hand
Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent
Before him, such as in their souls infixed
Plagues: they, astonished, all resistance lost,
All courage; down their idle weapons dropt;
O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode
Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostrate,
That wished the mountains now might be again
Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire.
Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes;
One spirit in them ruled; and every eye
Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among the accursed, that withered all their strength,
And of their wonted vigor left them drained,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven:
The overthrown he raised, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged,
Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursued
With terrors and with furies, to the bounds
And crystal wall of heaven; which, opening wide,
Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed
Into the wasteful deep: the monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Urged them behind: headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.


* * * * *



The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale.
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!


* * * * *



TAMBURLAINE.--But now, my boys, leave off and list to me,
That mean to teach you rudiments of war:
I'll have you learn to sleep upon the ground,
March in your armor through watery fens,
Sustain the scorching heat and freezing cold,
Hunger and thirst, right adjuncts of the war,
And after this to scale a castle wall,
Besiege a fort, to undermine a town,
And make whole cities caper in the air.
Then next the way to fortify your men:
In champion grounds, what figure serves you best,
For which the quinque-angle form is meet,
Because the corners there may fall more flat
Whereas the fort may fittest be assailed,
And sharpest where the assault is desperate.
The ditches must be deep; the counterscarps
Narrow and steep; the walls made high and broad;
The bulwarks and the rampires large and strong,
With cavalieros and thick counterforts,
And room within to lodge six thousand men.
It must have privy ditches, countermines,
And secret issuings to defend the ditch;
It must have high argins and covered ways,
To keep the bulwark fronts from battery,
And parapets to hide the musketers;
Casemates to place the great artillery;
And store of ordnance, that from every flank
May scour the outward curtains of the fort,
Dismount the cannon of the adverse part,
Murder the foe, and save the walls from breach.
When this is learned for service on the land,
By plain and easy demonstration
I'll teach you how to make the water mount,
That you may dry-foot march through lakes and pools,
Deep rivers, havens, creeks, and little seas,
And make a fortress in the raging waves,
Fenced with the concave of monstrous rock,
Invincible by nature of the place.
When this is done then are ye soldiers,
And worthy sons of Tamburlaine the Great.

CALYPHAS.--My lord, but this is dangerous to be done:
We may be slain or wounded ere we learn.

TAMBURLAINE.--Villain! Art thou the son of Tamburlaine,
And fear'st to die, or with a curtle-axe
To hew thy flesh, and make a gaping wound?
Hast thou beheld a peal of ordnance strike
A ring of pikes, mingled with shot and horse,
Whose shattered limbs, being tossed as high as Heaven,
Hang in the air as thick as sunny motes,
And canst thou, coward, stand in fear of death?
Hast thou not seen my horsemen charge the foe,
Shot through the arms, cut overthwart the hands,
Dyeing their lances with their streaming blood,
And yet at night carouse within my tent,
Filling their empty veins with airy wine,
That, being concocted, turns to crimson blood.--
And wilt thou shun the field for fear of wounds?
View me, thy father, that hath conquered kings,
And with his horse marched round about the earth
Quite void of scars and clear from any wound,
That by the wars lost not a drop of blood,--
And see him lance his flesh to teach you all.
(_He cuts his arm._)
A wound is nothing, be it ne'er so deep;
Blood is the god of war's rich livery,
Now look I like a soldier, and this wound
As great a grace and majesty to me,
As if a chain of gold, enamelled,
Enchased with diamonds, sapphires, rubies,
And fairest pearl of wealthy India,
Were mounted here under a canopy,
And I sate down clothed with a massy robe,
That late adorned the Afric potentate,
Whom I brought bound unto Damascus' walls.
Come, boys, and with your fingers search my wound,
And in my blood wash all your hands at once,
While I sit smiling to behold the sight.
Now, my boys, what think ye of a wound?

CALYPHAS.--I know not what I should think of it; methinks it is a
pitiful sight.

CELEBINUS.--'Tis nothing: give me a wound, father.

AMYRAS.--And me another, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE.--Come, sirrah, give me your arm.

CELEBINUS.--Here, father, cut it bravely, as you did your own.

TAMBURLAINE.--It shall suffice thou darest abide a wound:
My boy, thou shalt not lose a drop of blood
Before we meet the army of the Turk;
But then run desperate through the thickest throngs,
Dreadless of blows, of bloody wounds, and death;
And let the burning of Larissa-walls,
My speech of war, and this my wound you see,
Teach you, my boys, to bear courageous minds,
Fit for the followers of great Tamburlaine!


* * * * *



Sound all to arms! (_A flourish of trumpets._)
Call in the captains,-- (_To an officer_)
I would speak with them!

(_The officer goes._)

Now, Hope! away,--and welcome gallant Death!
Welcome the clanging shield, the trumpet's yell,--
Welcome the fever of the mounting blood,
That makes wounds light, and battle's crimson toil
Seem but a sport,--and welcome the cold bed,
Where soldiers with their upturned faces lie,--
And welcome wolf's and vulture's hungry throats,
That make their sepulchres! We fight to-night.

(_The soldiery enter._)

Centurions! all is ruined! I disdain
To hide the truth from you. The die is thrown!
And now, let each that wishes for long life
Put up his sword, and kneel for peace to Rome.
Ye all are free to go. What! no man stirs!
Not one! a soldier's spirit in you all?
Give me your hands! (This moisture in my eyes
Is womanish,--'twill pass.) My noble hearts!
Well have you chosen to die! For, in my mind,
The grave is better than o'erburdened life;
Better the quick release of glorious wounds,
Than the eternal taunts of galling tongues;
Better the spear-head quivering in the heart,
Than daily struggle against fortune's curse;
Better, in manhood's muscle and high blood,
To leap the gulf, than totter to its edge
In poverty, dull pain, and base decay.
Once more, I say,--are ye resolved?

(_The soldiers shout_, "All! All!")

Then, each man to his tent, and take the arms
That he would love to die in,--for, _this hour_,
We storm the Consul's camp. A last farewell!

(_He takes their hands._)

When next we meet,--we'll have no time to look,
How parting clouds a soldier's countenance.
Few as we are, we'll rouse them with a peal
That shall shake Rome!
Now to your cohorts' heads;--the word's--Revenge!


* * * * *


Before proud Rome's imperial throne
In mind's unconquered mood,
As if the triumph were his own,
The dauntless captive stood.
None, to have seen his free-born air,
Had fancied him a captive there.

Though, through the crowded streets of Rome,
With slow and stately tread,
Far from his own loved island home,
That day in triumph led,--
Unbound his head, unbent his knee,
Undimmed his eye, his aspect free.

A free and fearless glance he cast
On temple, arch, and tower,
By which the long procession passed
Of Rome's victorious power;
And somewhat of a scornful smile
Upcurled his haughty lip the while.

And now he stood, with brow serene,
Where slaves might prostrate fall,
Bearing a Briton's manly mien
In Caesar's palace hall;
Claiming, with kindled brow and cheek,
The liberty e'en there to speak.

Nor could Rome's haughty lord withstand
The claim that look preferred,
But motioned with uplifted hand
The suppliant should be heard,--
If he indeed a suppliant were
Whose glance demanded audience there.

Deep stillness fell on all the crowd,
From Claudius on his throne
Down to the meanest slave that bowed
At his imperial throne;
Silent his fellow-captive's grief
As fearless spoke the Island Chief:

"Think not, thou eagle Lord of Rome,
And master of the world,
Though victory's banner o'er thy dome
In triumph now is furled,
I would address thee as thy slave,
But as the bold should greet the brave!

"I might, perchance, could I have deigned
To hold a vassal's throne,
E'en now in Britain's isle have reigned
A king in name alone,
Yet holding, as thy meek ally,
A monarch's mimic pageantry.

"Then through Rome's crowded streets to-day
I might have rode with thee,
Not in a captive's base array,
But fetterless and free,--
If freedom he could hope to find,
Whose bondage is of heart and mind.

"But canst thou marvel that, freeborn,
With heart and soul unquelled,
Throne, crown, and sceptre I should scorn,
By thy permission held?
Or that I should retain my right
Till wrested by a conqueror's might?

"Rome, with her palaces and towers,
By us unwished, unreft,
Her homely huts and woodland bowers
To Britain might have left;
Worthless to you their wealth must be,
But dear to us, for they were free!

"I might have bowed before, but where
Had been thy triumph now?
To my resolve no yoke to bear
Thou ow'st thy laurelled brow;
Inglorious victory had been thine,
And more inglorious bondage mine.

"Now I have spoken, do thy will;
Be life or death my lot,
Since Britain's throne no more I fill,
To me it matters not.
My fame is clear; but on my fate
Thy glory or thy shame must wait."

He ceased; from all around upsprung
A murmur of applause,
For well had truth and freedom's tongue
Maintained their holy cause.
The conqueror was the captive then;
He bade the slave be free again.


* * * * *



My voice is still for war.
Gods! can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slavery or death?
No; let us rise at once, gird on our swords,
And at the head of our remaining troops
Attack the foe, break through the thick array
Of his thronged legions, and charge home upon him.
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.
Rise! Fathers, rise! 'tis Rome demands your help:
Rise, and revenge her slaughtered citizens,
Or share their fate! The corpse of half her senate
Manures the fields of Thessaly, while we
Sit here deliberating, in cold debate,
If we should sacrifice our lives to honor,
Or wear them out in servitude and chains.
Rouse up, for shame! our brothers of Pharsalia
Point at their wounds, and cry aloud,--"To battle!"
Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow,
And Scipio's ghost walks unrevenged amongst us.


* * * * *


It was the wild midnight,--
A storm was on the sky;
The lightning gave its light,
And the thunder echoed by.

The torrent swept the glen,
The ocean lashed the shore;
Then rose the Spartan men,
To make their bed in gore!

Swift from the deluge ground
Three hundred took the shield;
Then, silent, gathered round
The leader of the field!

He spake no warrior word,
He bade no trumpet blow,
But the signal thunder roared,
And they rushed upon the foe.

The fiery element
Showed, with one mighty gleam,
Rampart, and flag, and tent,
Like the spectres of a dream.

All up the mountain's side,
All down the woody vale,
All by the rolling tide
Waved the Persian banners pale.

And foremost from the pass,
Among the slumbering band,
Sprang King Leonidas,
Like the lightning's living brand.

Then double darkness fell,
And the forest ceased its moan;
But there came a clash of steel,
And a distant dying groan.

Anon, a trumpet blew,
And a fiery sheet burst high,
That o'er the midnight threw
A blood-red canopy.

A host glared on the hill;
A host glared by the bay;
But the Greeks rushed onward still,
Like leopards in their play.

The air was all a yell,
And the earth was all a flame,
Where the Spartan's bloody steel
On the silken turbans came;

And still the Greek rushed on
Where the fiery torrent rolled,
Till like a rising sun
Shone Xerxes' tent of gold.

They found a royal feast,
His midnight banquet, there;
And the treasures of the East
Lay beneath the Doric spear.

Then sat to the repast
The bravest of the brave!
That feast must be their last,
That spot must be their grave.

They pledged old Sparta's name
In cups of Syrian wine,
And the warrior's deathless fame
Was sung in strains divine.

They took the rose-wreathed lyres
From eunuch and from slave,
And taught the languid wires,
The sounds that Freedom gave.

But now the morning star
Crowned Oeta's twilight brow;
And the Persian horn of war
From the hills began to blow.

Up rose the glorious rank,
To Greece one cup poured high,
Then hand in hand they drank,
"To immortality!"

Fear on King Xerxes fell,
When, like spirits from the tomb,
With shout and trumpet knell,
He saw the warriors come.

But down swept all his power,
With chariot and with charge;
Down poured the arrows' shower.
Till sank the Dorian's targe.

They gathered round the tent,
With all their strength unstrung;
To Greece one look they sent,
Then on high their torches flung.

The king sat on the throne,
His captains by his side,
While the flame rushed roaring on,
And their Paean loud replied.

Thus fought the Greek of old!
Thus will he fight again!
Shall not the self-same mould
Bring forth the self-same men?


* * * * *



Again to the battle, Achaians!
Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance;
Our land,--the first garden of Liberty's-tree,--
Has been, and shall yet be, the land of the free;
For the cross of our faith is replanted,
The pale dying crescent is daunted,
And we march that the footprints of Mahomet's slaves
May be washed out in blood from our forefathers' graves.
Their spirits are hovering o'er us,
And the sword shall to glory restore us.

Ah! what though no succor advances,
Nor Christendom's chivalrous lances
Are stretched in our aid?--Be the combat our own!
And we'll perish or conquer more proudly alone;
For we've sworn by our country's assaulters,
By the virgins they've dragged from our altars,
By our massacred patriots, our children in chains,
By our heroes of old, and their blood in our veins,
That, living, we will be victorious,
Or that, dying, our deaths shall be glorious.

A breath of submission we breathe not:
The sword that we've drawn we will sheathe not:
Its scabbard is left where our martyrs are laid,
And the vengeance of ages has whetted its blade.
Earth may hide, waves engulf, fire consume us;
But they shall not to slavery doom us:
If they rule, it shall be o'er our ashes and graves:--
But we've smote them already with fire on the waves.
And new triumphs on land are before us;--
To the charge!--Heaven's banner is o'er us.

This day--shall ye blush for its story;
Or brighten your lives with its glory?--
Our women--oh, say, shall they shriek in despair,
Or embrace us from conquest, with wreaths in their hair?
Accursed may his memory blacken,
If a coward there be that would slacken
Till we've trampled the turban, and shown ourselves worth
Being sprung from and named for, the godlike of earth.
Strike home!--and the world shall revere us
As heroes descended from heroes.

Old Greece lightens up with emotion!
Her inlands, her isles of the ocean,
Fanes rebuilt, and fair towns, shall with jubilee ring,
And the Nine shall new hallow their Helicon's spring.
Our hearts shall be kindled in gladness,
That were cold, and extinguished in sadness;
Whilst our maidens shall dance with their white waving arms,
Singing joy to the brave that delivered their charms,--
When the blood of yon Mussulman cravens
Shall have crimsoned the beaks of our ravens!


* * * * *



At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour
When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
Should tremble at his power.
In dreams, through camp and court, he bore
The trophies of a conqueror;
In dreams his song of triumph heard;
Then wore his monarch's signet-ring,
Then pressed that monarch's throne--a king;
As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
As Eden's garden bird.

At midnight, in the forest shades,
Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,--
True as the steel of their tried blades,
Heroes in heart and hand.
There had the Persian's thousands stood,
There had the glad earth drunk their blood,
On old Plataea's day;
And now there breathed that haunted air
The sons of sires who conquered there,
With arm to strike, and soul to dare,
As quick, as far, as they.

An hour passed on, the Turk awoke:
That bright dream was his last;
He woke--to hear his sentries shriek,
"To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!"
He woke--to die midst flame, and smoke,
And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke,
And death-shots falling thick and fast
As lightnings from the mountain-cloud;
And heard, with voice as trumpet loud,
Bozzaris cheer his band:
"Strike--till the last armed foe expires;
Strike--for your altars and your fires;
Strike--for the green graves of your sires,
God, and your native land!"

They fought--like brave men, long and well;
They piled that ground with Moslem slain:
They conquered--but Bozzaris fell,
Bleeding at every vein.
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile when rang their proud hurrah,
And the red field was won;
Then saw in death his eyelids close
Calmly, as to a night's repose,
Like flowers at set of sun.

Come to the bridal chamber, Death,
Come to the mother, when she feels,
For the first time, her first-born's breath;
Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke;
Come in consumption's ghastly form,
The earthquake shock, the ocean storm;
Come when the heart beats high and warm,
With banquet song and dance and wine,--
And thou art terrible; the tear,
The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier,
And all we know, or dream, or fear
Of agony, are thine.

But to the hero, when his sword
Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be.
Come when his task of fame is wrought;
Come with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought;
Come in her crowning hour,--and then
Thy sunken eye's unearthly light
To him is welcome as the sight
Of sky and stars to prisoned men;
Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
Of brother in a foreign land;
Thy summons welcome as the cry
That told the Indian isles were nigh
To the world-seeking Genoese,
When the land-wind, from woods of palm,
And orange-groves, and fields of balm,
Blew o'er the Haytian seas.

Bozzaris! with the storied brave
Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
Rest thee; there is no prouder grave,
Even in her own proud clime.
She wore no funeral weeds for thee,
Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume,
Like torn branch from death's leafless tree,
In sorrow's pomp and pageantry,
The heartless luxury of the tomb.
But she remembers thee as one
Long loved, and for a season gone.
For thee her poet's lyre is wreathed,
Her marble wrought, her music breathed;
For thee she rings the birthday bells;
Of thee her babes' first lisping tells;
For thine her evening prayer is said
At palace couch and cottage bed.
Her soldier, closing with the foe,
Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow;
His plighted maiden, when she fears
For him, the joy of her young years,
Thinks of thy fate, and checks her tears.
And she, the mother of thy boys,
Though in her eye and faded cheek
Is read the grief she will not speak,
The memory of her buried joys,--
And even she who gave thee birth,--
Will, by her pilgrim-circled hearth,
Talk of thy doom without a sigh;
For thou art freedom's now, and fame's,--
One of the few, the immortal names
That were not born to die.


* * * * *


Now the third and fatal conflict for the Persian throne was done,
And the Moslem's fiery valor had the crowning victory won.

Harmosan, the last and boldest the invader to defy,
Captive, overborn by numbers, they were bringing forth to die.

Then exclaimed that noble captive: "Lo, I perish in my thirst;
Give me but one drink of water, and let then arrive the worst!"

In his hand he took the goblet: but awhile the draught forbore,
Seeming doubtfully the purpose of the foeman to explore.

Well might then have paused the bravest--for, around him, angry foes
With a hedge of naked weapons did the lonely man enclose.

"But what fear'st thou?" cried the caliph; "is it, friend, a secret blow?
Fear it not! our gallant Moslems no such treacherous dealing know.

"Thou may'st quench thy thirst securely, for thou shalt not die before
Thou hast drunk that cup of water--this reprieve is thine--no more!"

Quick the satrap dashed the goblet down to earth with ready hand,
And the liquid sank forever, lost amid the burning sand.

"Thou hast said that mine my life is, till the water of that cup
I have drained; then bid thy servants that spilled water gather up!"

For a moment stood the caliph as by doubtful passions stirred--
Then exclaimed: "For ever sacred must remain a monarch's word.
Bring another cup, and straightway to the noble Persian give:
Drink, I said before, and perish--now I bid thee drink and live!"


* * * * *



Then cried my Cid--"In charity, as to the rescue--ho!"
With bucklers braced before their breasts, with lances pointing low,
With stooping crests and heads bent down above the saddle-bow,
All firm of hand and high of heart they roll upon the foe.
And he that in a good hour was born, his clarion voice rings out,
And clear above the clang of arms is heard his battle shout:
"Among them, gentlemen! Strike home for the love of charity!
The champion of Bivar is here--Ruy Diaz--I am he!"
Then bearing where Bermuez still maintains unequal fight,
Three hundred lances down they come, their pennons flickering white;
Down go three hundred Moors to earth, a man to every blow;
And when they wheel, three hundred more, as charging back they go.
It was a sight to see the lances rise and fall that day;
The shivered shields and riven mail, to see how thick they lay;
The pennons that went in snow-white came out a gory red;
The horses running riderless, the riders lying dead;
While Moors call on Mohammed, and "St. James!" the Christians cry,
And sixty score of Moors and more in narrow compass lie.

From the Spanish.
Translation of JOHN ORMSBY.

* * * * *


"Your horse is faint, my King, my Lord! your gallant horse is sick,--
His limbs are torn, his breast is gored, on his eye the film is thick;
Mount, mount on mine, O mount apace, I pray thee, mount and fly!
Or in my arms I'll lift your Grace,--their trampling hoofs are nigh!

"My King, my King,! you're wounded sore,--the blood runs from your feet;
But only lay a hand before, and I'll lift you to your seat;
Mount, Juan, for they gather fast!--I hear their coming cry,--
Mount, mount, and ride for jeopardy,--I'll save you though I die!

"Stand, noble steed! this hour of need,--be gentle as a lamb;
I'll kiss the foam from off thy mouth,--thy master dear I am,--
Mount, Juan, mount; whate'er betide, away the bridle fling,
And plunge the rowels in his side.--My horse shall save my King!

"Nay, never speak; my sires, Lord King, received their land from yours,
And joyfully their blood shall spring, so be it thine secures;
If I should fly, and thou, my King, be found among the dead,
How could I stand 'mong gentlemen, such scorn on my gray head?

"Castile's proud dames shall never point the finger of disdain,
And say there's one that ran away when our good lords were slain!
I leave Diego in your care,--you'll fill his father's place;
Strike, strike the spur, and never spare--God's blessing on your Grace!"

So spake the brave Montanez, Butrago's lord was he;
And turned him to the coming host in steadfastness and glee;
He flung himself among them, as they came down the hill,--
He died, God wot! but not before his sword had drunk its fill.

From the Spanish.

* * * * *



[Olaf Trygvesoen from Ireland is trying to introduce Christianity, and
reclaim his father's kingdom, in Norway, and has invaded the realm of
Earl Hakon, a formidable heathen usurper, who, after defeat in battle,
unsuccessfully attempts to have King Olaf assassinated by Thorer
Klake, one of his adherents. But Olaf slays Klake, and now visits
Hakon, lying hid in a peasant's hut.]

_Enter_ OLAF TRYGVESOeN, _muffled up in a gray cloak,
with a broad hat on his head._

HAKON [_without looking up_].--
My valiant Thorer Klake, hast come at last?
Hast been successful? Dost thou bring to me
What thou didst promise? Answer, Thorer Klake.

OLAF.--All things have happened as they should, my lord;
But pardon Thorer that he does not come
And bring himself King Olaf's head to thee--
'Twas difficult for him. Thor knows he had
A sort of loathing that himself should bring it,
And so he sent me.

HAKON.--Well, 'tis good; away,
And deeply bury it in the dark earth.
I will not look on it myself: my eye
Bears not such sights,--they reappear in dreams.
Bury the body with it. Tell thy lord
That he shall come at once.

OLAF.--He is asleep.


OLAF.--A midday slumber; he lies stretched
Stiffly beneath a shadowy elder-tree.

HAKON.--Then wake him up. [_Aside._] Asleep, Asleep, and after such
A deed--Ha! Thorer, I admire thee;
Thou hast rare courage. [_Aloud._] Thrall, go wake him up.

OLAF.--But wilt thou first not look at Olaf's head?

HAKON.--No; I have said no.

OLAF.--Thou dost think, my lord,
That perhaps it is a horrid frightful sight:
It is not so, my lord; for Olaf's head
Looks fresh and sound as any in the land.

HAKON.--Away, I tell thee!

OLAF.--I ne'er saw the like:
I always heard that Hakon was a hero,
Few like him in the North,--and does he fear
To see a lifeless and a corpseless head?
How wouldst thou tremble then, my lord, if thou
Shouldst see it on his body?

HAKON [_turning round angrily_].--
Thrall, thou darest!
Where hast thou got it?

OLAF [_takes his hat off, and throws off his cloak_].--
On my shoulders, Earl.
Forgive me that I bring it thee myself
In such a way: 'twas easiest for me.

HAKON.--What, Olaf! Ha! what treachery is here?

OLAF.--Old gray-beard, spare thy rash, heroic wrath.
Attempt not to fight Olaf, but remember
That he has still his head upon his body,
And that thy impotent, gray-bearded strength
Was only fitting for the headless Olaf.

HAKON [_rushes at him_].--
Ha, Hilfheim!

OLAF [_strikes his sword, and says in a loud voice_].--
So, be quiet now, I say,
And sheathe thy sword again. My followers
Surround the house; my vessels are a match
For all of thine, and I myself have come
To win the country in an honest fight.
Thyself hast urged me with thy plots to do it.
Thou standest like a despicable thrall
In his own pitfall caught at last; but I
Will make no use of these advantages
Which fate has granted me. I am convinced
That I may boldly meet thee face to face.
Thy purpose, as thou seest, has wholly failed,
And in his own blood does thy Thorer swim.
Thou seest 'twere easy for me to have seized thee;
To strike thee down were even easier still:
But I the Christian doctrine do confess,
And do such poor advantages despise.
So choose between two courses. Still be Earl
Of Hlade as thou wast, and do me homage,
Or else take flight; for when we meet again
'Twill be the time for red and bleeding brows.

HAKON [_proudly and quietly_].--
My choice is made. I choose the latter, Olaf.
Thou callest me a villain and a thrall;
That forces up a smile upon my lips.
Olaf, one hears indeed that thou art young;
It is by mockery and arrogance
That one can judge thy age. Now, look at me
Full in the eyes; consider well my brow:
Hast thou among the thralls e'er met such looks?
Dost think that cunning or that cowardice
Could e'er have carved these wrinkles on my brow?
I did entice thee hither. Ha! 'tis true
I knew that thou didst wait but for a sign
To flutter after the enticing bait;
That in thy soul thou didst more highly prize
Thy kinship with an extinct race of kings
Than great Earl Hakon's world-renowned deeds;
That thou didst watch the opportunity
To fall upon the old man in his rest.
Does it astonish thee that I should wish
Quickly to rid myself of such a foe?
That I deceived a dreamer who despised
The mighty gods,--does that astonish thee?
Does it astonish thee that I approved
My warrior's purpose, since a hostile fate
Attempted to dethrone, not only me,
But all Valhalla's gods?

OLAF.--Remember, Hakon,--
Remember, Hakon, that e'en thou thyself
Hast been a Christian; that thou wast baptized
By Bishop Popo, and that thou since then
Didst break thy oath. How many hast thou broken?

HAKON.--Accursed forever may that moment be
When by the cunning monk I was deceived,
And let myself be fooled by paltry tricks.
He held a red-hot iron in his hand,
After by magic he had covered it
With witches' ointment.

OLAF.--O thou blind old man!
Thy silver hair does make me pity thee.

HAKON.--Ha! spare thy pity; as thou seest me here,
Thou seest the last flash and the latest spark
Of ancient Northern force and hero's life;
And that, with all thy fever-stricken dreams,
Proud youth, thou shalt be powerless to quench.
I well do know it is the Christian custom
To pity, to convert, and to amend.
Our custom is to heartily despise you,
To ruminate upon your fall and death,
As foes to gods and to a hero's life.
That Hakon does, and therein does consist
His villainy. By Odin, and by Thor,
Thou shalt not quench old Norway's warlike flame
With all thy misty dreams of piety.

OLAF.--'Tis well: fate shall decide. We separate,
And woe to thee when next we meet again.

HAKON.--Aye, woe to me if then I crush thee not.

OLAF.--Heaven shall strike thee with its fiery might!

HAKON.--No, with his hammer Thor the cross will smite!

Translation of SIR FRANK C. LASCELLES.

* * * * *



Lie still, old Dane, below thy heap!
A sturdy-back and sturdy-limb,
Whoe'er he was, I warrant him
Upon whose mound the single sheep
Browses and tinkles in the sun,
Within the narrow vale alone.

Lie still, old Dane! This restful scene
Suits well thy centuries of sleep:
The soft brown roots above thee creep,
The lotus flaunts his ruddy sheen,
And,--vain memento of the spot,--The
turquoise-eyed forget-me-not.

Lie still! Thy mother-land herself
Would know thee not again: no more
The Raven from the northern shore
Hails the bold crew to push for pelf,
Through fire and blood and slaughtered kings
'Neath the black terror of his wings.

And thou,--thy very name is lost!
The peasant only knows that here
Bold Alfred scooped thy flinty bier,
And prayed a foeman's prayer, and tost
His auburn head, and said, "One more
Of England's foes guards England's shore,"

And turned and passed to other feats,
And left thee in thine iron robe,
To circle with the circling globe,
While Time's corrosive dewdrop eats
The giant warrior to a crust
Of earth in earth, and rust in rust.

So lie: and let the children play
And sit like flowers upon thy grave
And crown with flowers,--that hardly have
A briefer blooming-tide than they;--
By hurrying years urged on to rest,
As thou within the Mother's breast.


* * * * *


Ha! there comes he, with sweat, with blood of Romans,
And dust of the fight all stained! Oh, never
Saw I Hermann so lovely!
Never such fire in his eyes!

Come! I tremble for joy; hand me the Eagle
And the red dripping sword! come, breathe, and rest thee;
Rest thee here in my bosom;
Rest from the terrible fight!

Rest thee, while from thy brow I wipe the big drops,
And the blood from thy cheek!--that cheek, how glowing!
Hermann! Hermann! Thusnelda
Never so loved thee before!

No, not then, when thou first in old oak shadows,
With that manly brown arm didst wildly grasp me!
Spell-bound I read in thy look
That immortality then

Which thou now hast won. Tell to the forests,
Great Augustus, with trembling, amidst his gods now,
Drinks his nectar; for Hermann,
Hermann immortal is found!

"Wherefore curl'st thou my hair? Lies not our father
Cold and silent in death? Oh, had Augustus
Only headed his army,--
_He_ should lie bloodier there!"

Let me lift up thy hair; 'tis sinking, Hermann:
Proudly thy locks should curl above the crown now!
Sigmar is with the immortals!
Follow, and mourn him no more!


* * * * *


Fear not, O little flock! the foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow,
Dread not his rage and power;
What though your courage sometimes faints?
His seeming triumph o'er God's saints
Lasts but a little hour.

Be of good cheer; your cause belongs
To him who can avenge your wrongs,
Leave it to him, our Lord.
Though hidden now from all our eyes,
He sees the Gideon who shall rise
To save us, and his word.

As true as God's own word is true,
Not earth or hell with all their crew
Against us shall prevail.
A jest and by-word are they grown;
God is with us, we are his own,
Our victory cannot fail.

Amen, Lord Jesus; grant our prayer!
Great Captain, now thine arm make bare;
Fight for us once again!
So shall the saints and martyrs raise
A mighty chorus to thy praise,
World without end! Amen.

From the German of MICHAEL ALTENBURG.

* * * * *


Sword, on my left side gleaming,
What means thy bright eye's beaming?
It makes my spirit dance
To see thy friendly glance.

"A valiant rider bears me;
A free-born German wears me:
That makes my eye so bright;
That is the sword's delight."

Yes, good sword, I _am_ free,
And love thee heartily,
And clasp thee to my side,
E'en as the plighted bride.

"And I to thee, by Heaven,
My light steel life have given;
When shall the knot be tied?
When wilt thou take thy bride?"

The trumpet's solemn warning
Shall hail the bridal morning,
When cannon-thunders wake,
Then my true-love I take.

"O blessed, blessed meeting!
My heart is wildly beating:
Come, bridegroom, come for me;
My garland waiteth thee."

Why in the scabbard rattle,
So wild, so fierce for battle?
What means this restless glow?
My sword, why clatter so?

"Well may thy prisoner rattle;
My spirit yearns for battle.
Rider, 'tis war's wild glow
That makes me tremble so."

Stay in thy chamber near,
My love; what wilt thou here?
Still in thy chamber bide;
Soon, soon I take my bride.

"Let me not longer wait:
Love's garden blooms in state,
With roses bloody-red,
And many a bright death-bed."

Now, then, come forth, my bride!
Come forth, thou rider's pride!
Come out, my good sword, come!
Forth to thy father's home!

"O, in the field to prance
The glorious wedding dance!
How, in the sun's bright beams,
Bride-like the clear steel gleams!"

Then forward, valiant fighters!
And forward, German riders!
And when the heart grows cold,
Let each his love infold.

Once on the left it hung,
And stolen glances flung;
Now clearly on your right
Doth God each fond bride plight.

Then let your hot lips feel
That virgin cheek of steel;
One kiss,--and woe betide
Him who forsakes the bride.

Now let the loved one sing;
Now let the clear blade ring,
Till the bright sparks shall fly,
Heralds of victory!

For, hark! the trumpet's warning
Proclaims the marriage morning;
It dawns in festal pride;
Hurrah, thou Iron Bride!

From the German of KARL THEODOR KOeRNER.

* * * * *


The weary night is o'er at last!
We ride so still, we ride so fast!
We ride where Death is lying.
The morning wind doth coldly pass,
Landlord! we'll take another glass,
Ere dying.

Thou, springing grass, that art so green,
Shall soon be rosy red, I ween,
My blood the hue supplying!
I drink the first glass, sword in hand,
To him who for the Fatherland
Lies dying!

Now quickly comes the second draught,
And that shall be to freedom quaffed
While freedom's foes are flying!
The rest, O land, our hope and faith!
We'd drink to thee with latest breath,
Though dying!

My darling!--ah, the glass is out!
The bullets ring, the riders shout--
No time for wine or sighing!
There! bring my love the shattered glass--
Charge! On the foe! no joys surpass
Such dying!

From the German of GEORG HERWEGH.
Translation of ROSSITER W. RAYMOND.

* * * * *


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