Imágenes de páginas
PDF

How oft the Patriot banners rose or fell,

Now arch'd with fire-sparks as the bomb was Still honor'd in defeat as victory!

flung, For that sad pageant of events to be,

And redd'ning now with conflagration's glare, Show'd every form of fight by field and flood; | While by the fatal light the foes for storm prepare. Slaughter and Ruin, shouting forth their glee, Beheld, while riding on the tempest scud,

LIV. The waters choked with slain, the earth bedrench'd While all around was danger, strife, and fear, with blood!

While the earth shook, and darken'd was the

sky,

LI.
Then Zaragoza—blighted be the tongue

That names thy name without the honor due !
For never hath the harp of Minstrel rung,

Of faith so felly proved, so firmly true!
Mine, sap, and bomb, thy shatter'd ruins knew,

Each art of war's extremity had room,
Twice from thy half-sack'd streets the foe with-

drew,
And when at length stern fate decreed thy

doom, They won not Zaragoza, but her children's bloody

And wide Destruction stunn'd the listening ear,

Appalld the heart, and stupefied the eye,Afar was heard that thrice-repeated cry,

In which old Albion's heart and tongue unite, Whene'er her soul is up, and pulse beats high,

Whether it hail the wine-cup or the fight, And bid each arm be strong, or bid each heart be

light.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

LV.
Don Roderick turn'd him as the shout grew

loud ?
A varied scene the changeful vision show'd,
For, where the ocean mingled with the cloud,

A gallant navy stemm'd the billows broad. From mast and stern St. George's symbol flow'd,

Blent with the silver cross to Scotland dear; Mottling the sea their landward barges row'd, And flash'd the sun on bayonet, brand, and spear,

[cheer. And the wild beach return'd the seaman's jovial

Yet raise thy head, sad city! Though in chains,

Enthrall'd thou canst not be! Arise, and claim Reverence from every heart where Freedom reigns,

[dame, For what thou worshippest !—thy sainted She of the Column, honor'd be her name,

By all, whate'er their creed, who honor love! And like the sacred relics of the flame,

That gave some martyr to the bless'd above,
To every loyal heart may thy sad embers prove !

LIII.
Nor thine alone such wreck. Gerona fair!

Faithful to death thy heroes shall be sung,
Manning the towers while o'er their heads the air

Swart as the smoke from raging furnace hung; Now thicker dark’ning where the mine was

sprung, Now briefly lighten'd by the cannon's flare, 1 See Appendix, Note M. 2 MS." Don Roderick turn'd him at the sudden cry." 3 MS._"Right for the shore annumber'd barges row'd."

LVI.
It was a dread, yet spirit-stirring sight!

The billows foam'd beneath a thousand oars,
Fast as they land the red-cross ranks unite,

Legions on legions bright’ning all the shores. Then banners rise, and cannon-signal roars,

Then peals the warlike thunder of the drum, Thrills the loud fife, the trumpet-flourish pours, And patriot hopes awake, and doubts are dumb,

[come! For, bold in Freedom's cause, the bands of Ocean

4 Compare with this passage, and the Valor, Bigotry, and Ambition of the previous stanzas, the celebrated personification of War, in the first canto of Childe Harold :

“ By heaven! it is a splendid sight to see

(For one who hath no friend, no brother there)
Their rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery,
Their varions arms, that glitter in the air!
What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair
And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey !
All join the chase, but few the triumph share,

The grave shall bear the chiefest prize away,
And Havoc scarce for joy can number their array.
" Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice;

Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high ;
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies ;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory!
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally
That fights for all, but ever fights in vain,
Are met-as if at home they could not die-

To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
And fertilize the field that each pretends to gain."

" Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,

His blood-red tresses deep'ning in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon :
Restless it rolls, now fix'd, and now anon
Flasbing afar,-and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers, to mark what deeds are done;

For on this mom three potent nations meet
To shed before his shrine the blood he deems most sweet.

LVII.

His jest while each blithe comrade round him A various host they came—whose ranks display

flings, Each mode in which the warrior meets the And moves to death with military glee: [free, fight,

Boast, Erin, boast them! tameless, frank, and The deep battalion locks its firm array,

In kindness warm, and fierce in danger know, And meditates his aim the marksman light; Rough nature's children, humorous as she: Far glance the light of sabres flashing bright, 1 And He, yon Chieftain-strike the proudest Where mounted squadrons shake the echoing

tone

- [own. mead,"

Of thy bold harp, green Isle - the Hero is thine Lacks not artillery breathing flame and night, Nor the fleet ordnance whirld by rapid steed,

LXI. That rivals lightning's flash in ruin and in speed. Now on the scene Vimeira should be shown,

On Talavera's fight should Roderick gaze, LVIII.

And hear Corunna wail her battle won, A various host-from kindred realms they came, And see Busaco's crest with lightning blaze:25 Brethren in arms, but rivals in renown

But shall fond fable mix with heroes' praise ? For yon fair bands shall merry England claim, Hath Fiction's stage for Truth's long triumphs And with their deeds of valor deck her crown.

room? Hers their bold port, and hers their martial frown, And dare her wild-flowers mingle with the bays, And hers their scorn of death in freedom's That claim a long eternity to bloom [tomb! cause,

Around the warrior's crest, and o'er the warrior's Their eyes of azure, and their locks of brown, And the blunt speech that bursts without a

LXII. pause,

Or may I give adventurous Fancy scope, And freeborn thoughts, which league the Soldier And stretch a bold hand to the awful veil with the Laws.

That hides futurity from anxious hope,

Bidding beyond it scenes of glory hail,
LIX.

And painting Europe rousing at the tale
And, 01 loved warriors of the Minstrel's land! Of Spain's invaders from her confines hurl'd,

Yonder your bonnets nod, your tartans wave! While kindling nations buckle on their mail, The rugged form may mark the mountain band, And Fame, with clarion-blast and wings unAnd harsher features, and a mien more grave;

furl'd,

[Worlds But ne'er in battle-field throbb'd heart so brave, To Freedom and Revenge awakes an injured As that which beats beneath the Scottish plaid;

LXIII. And when the pibroch bids the battle rave, O vain, though anxious, is the glance I cast,

And level for the charge your arms are laid, Since Fate has mark'd futurity her own: Where lives the desperate foe that for such unset Yet fate resigns to worth the glorious past, staid !

The deeds recorded, and the laurels won. Then, though the Vault of Destinybe gone,

King, Prelate, all the phantasms of my brain, Hark! from yon stately ranks what laughter Melted away like mist-wreaths in the sun, rings,

Yet grant for faith, for valor, and for Spain, Mingling wild mirth with war's stern min- One note of pride and fire, a Patriot's parting strelsy,

strain 18

[ocr errors]

O" The nation will arise regenerato ;

Strong in her second youth and beautiful,
And like a spirit that hath shaken off
The clog of dull mortality, shall Spain
Arise in glory."--SOUTHEY's Roderick.

1 MS. "the dusty mead."

3 “* The landing of the English is admirably described ; nor is there any thing finer in the whole poem than the following passage (stanzas lv. Ivi. Ivii.), with the exception always of the three concluding lines, which appear to us to be very nearly as bad as possible."-JEFFREY.

3 The three concluding stanzas (lviii. lix. Ix.) are elaborate ; but we think, on the whole, successful. They will probably be oftener quoted than any other passage in the poem."-JEFFREY.

4 MS." His jest each careless comrade round him flings." 6 For details of the battle of Vimeira, fought 21st Aug. 1808 -of Corunna, 16th Jan. 1809--of Talavera, 28th July, 1809— and of Basaco, 27th Sept. 1810—See Sir Walter Scott's Life of Napoieon, volume vi. under these dates.

7 See Appendix, Note N.

8 "For a mere introduction to the exploits of our English commanders, the story of Don Roderick's sins and confessions, -the minute description of his army and attendants,--and the whole interest and machinery of the enchanted vault, with the greater part of the Vision itself, are far too long and elaborate. They withdraw our curiosity and attention from the objects for which they had been bespoken, and gradually engage them upon a new and independent series of romantic adventures, in

The Vision of Don Roderick.

IV.
Yet not because Alcoba's mountain-hawk

Hath on his best and bravest made her food,
In numbers confident, yon Chief shall baulk

His Lord's imperial thirst for spoil and blood: For full in view the promised conquest stood,

And Lisbon's matrons from their walls, might

CONCLUSION.

sum

* Who shall command Estrella's mountain-tide | The myriads that had half the world subdued, Back to the source, when tempest-chafed, to And hear the distant thunders of the drum, hie?

That bids the bands of France to storm and havoc Who, when Gascogne's vex'd gulf is raging wide,

come. Shall hush it as a nurse her infant's cry? His magic power let such vain boaster try,

And when the torrent shall his voice obey, Four moons have heard these thunders idly roll'd, And Biscay's whirlwinds list his lullaby,

Have seen these wistful myriads eye their Let him stand forth and bar mine eagles' way,

prey, And they shall heed his voice, and at his bidding

As famish'd wolves survey a guarded foldstay.

But in the middle path a Lion lay!

At length they move—but not to battle fray, II.

Nor blaze yon fires where meets the manly “ Else ne'er to stoop, till high on Lisbon's towers

fight; They close their wings, the symbol of our yoke,

Beacons of infamy, they light the way And their own sea hath whelm'd yon red-cross Where cowardice and cruelty unite [flight! Powers !"

To damn with double shame their ignominious Thus, on the summit of Alverca's rock, To Marshal, Duke, and Peer, Gaul's Leader spoke.

VI. While downward on the land his legions press, O triumph for the Fiends of Lust and Wrath! Before them it was rich with vine and flock,

Ne'er to be told, yet ne'er to be forgot, [path! And smiled like Eden in her summer dress; What wanton horrors mark'd their wreckful Behind their wasteful march, a reeking wilder The peasant butcher'd in his ruin'd cot, ness.

The hoary priest even at the altar shot, fflame,

Childhood and age given o'er to sword and

Woman to infamy ;-no crime forgot, And shall the boastful Chief maintain his word, By which inventive demons might proclaim Though Heaven hath heard the wailings of Immortal hate to man, and scorn of God's great the land,

name! Though Lusitania whet her vengeful sword, Though Britons arm and WELLINGTON command!

The rudest sentinel, in Britain born, No! grim Busaco's iron ridge shall stand

With horror paused to view the havoc done, An adamantine barrier to his force; [band, Gave his poor crust to feed some wretch forAnd from its base shall wheel his shatter'd

lorn,

[gun. As from the unshaken rock the torrent hoarse Wiped his stern eye, then fiercer grasp'd his Bears off its broken waves, and seeks a devious Nor with less zeal shall Britain's peaceful son course.

Exult the debt of sympathy to pay;

III.

VII.

which it is not easy to see how Lord Wellington and Bong | English and French uniforms. The vast and elaborate vestiparte can bave any concern. But, on the other hand, no bule, in short, in which we had been so long detained, sooner is this new interest excited, -no sooner have we surrendered our imaginations into the hands of this dark enchanter,

Where wonders wild of Arabesque combine and heated our fancies to the proper pitch for sympathizing in

• With Gothic imagery of darker shade,' the fortones of Gothic kings and Moorish invaders, with their

Moorish invaders, with their has no corresponding palace attached to it; and the long no imposing accompaniments of harnessed knights, ravished dam

vitiate we are made to serve to the mysterious powers of rosels, and enchanted statues, than the whole romantic group mance is not repaid, after all, by an introduction to their awful Fanishes at once from our sight; and we are hurried, with

presence."-JEFFREY. minds yet disturbed with those powerful apparitions, to the comparatively sober and cold narration of Bonaparte's villa- 1

! MS.-"Who shall command the torrent's headlong tide." nies, and to draw battles between mere mortal combatants in ... See Appendix, Note 0. 3 Ibid. Note P.

Riches nor poverty the tax shall shun,

Nor prince nor peer, the wealthy nor the gay, Nor the poor peasant's might, nor bard's more worthless lay!

VIII.
But thou-unfoughten wilt thou yield to Fate,

Minion of Fortune, now miscall'd in vain!
Can vantage-ground no confidence create,

Marcella's pass, nor Guarda's mountain-chain? Vainglorious fugitive ! yet turn again!

Behold, where, named by some prophetic Seer, Flows Honor's Fountain, as foredoom'd the stain

From thy dishonor'd name and arms to clearFallen Child of Fortune, turn, redeem her favor

here!

Say, thou hast left his legions in their blood,

Deceived his hopes, and frustrated thine own;
Say, that thine utmost skill and valor shown,

By British skill and valor were outvied;
Last say, thy conqueror was WELLINGTON !

And, if he chafe, be his own fortune tried-
God and our cause to friend, the venture we'll

abide.

XII.
But you, ye heroes of that well-fought day,

How shall a bard, unknowing and unknown,
His meed to each victorious leader pay,

Or bind on every brow the laurels wont
Yet fain my harp would wake its boldest tone,

O'er the wide sea to hail CADOGAN brave;
And he, perchance, the minstrel-note might

own, Mindful of meeting brief that Fortune gave Mid yon far western isles that hear the Atlantic

rave.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

X.
O vainly gleams with steel Agueda's shore,

Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuava's plain,
And front the flying thunders as they roar,

With frantic charge and tenfold odds, in vain! And what avails thee that, for CAMERON slain," Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was given

(rein, Vengeance and grief gave mountain-rage the And, at the bloody spear-point headlong driven,

heaven. Thy Despot's giant guards fled like the rack of

XIV
O who shall grudge him Albuera's bays,

Who brought a race regenerate to the field,
Roused them to emulate their fathers' praise,
Temper'd their headlong rage, their courage

steeld,
And raised fair Lusitania’s fallen shield,

And gave new edge to Lusitania's sword,
And taught her sons forgotten arms to wield-

[ocr errors][merged small]

1 The MS. has, for the preceding five lines

pedantries of his profession-but playing the general and the “ And in pursuit vindictive hurried on,

hero when most of our military commanders would have And O, survivor sad! to you belong

exhibited the drill sergeant, or at best the adjutant. These Tributes from each that Britain calls her son,

campaigns will teach us what we have long needed to know From all her nobles, all her wealthier throng,

that success depends not on the nice drilling of regiments, bat To her poor peasant's mite, and minstrel's poorer song."

upon the grand movements and combinations of an army.

We have been hitherto polishing hinges, when we should bave See Appendix, Note Q.

studied the mechanical anion of a huge machine. Now, our The literal translation of Frentes d'Honoro.

army begin to see that the grand sacre, as the French call it, • See Appendix, Note R.

Ibid. Note 8.

consists only in union, joint exertion, and concerted more On the 26th of April, 1811, Scott writes thas to Mr. Morritt : ment. This will enable us to meet the dogs on fair terms & "I rejoice with the heart of a Scotsman in the success of to numbers, and for the rest, My soul and body on the action Lord Wellington, and with all the pride of a seer to boot. I both."-Life, vol. iii. p. 313. have been for three years proclaiming him as the only man we! See Appendix, Editor's Note T. had to trust to a man of talent and genius--not deterred by MS. "O who shall grudge yon chief the victor's bays." obstacles, nor fettered by prejudices, not immured within the See Appendix, Note U.

[ocr errors]

Shiver'd my harp, and burst its every chord, He dream'd ʼmid Alpine cliffs of Athole's hill, If it forget thy worth, victorious BERESFORD! And heard in Ebro's roar his Lyndoch’s lovely rill."

XVII. Not on that bloody field of battle won,

O hero of a race renown'd of old, Though Gaul's proud legions roll'd like mist Whose war-cry oft has waked the battle-swell away,

Since first distinguish'd in the onset bold, Was half his self-devoted valor shown,

Wild sounding when the Roman rampart fell! He gaged but life on that illustrious day ; By Wallace' side it rung the Southron's knell, But when he toil'd those squadrons to array, Alderne, Kilsythe, and Tibber, own'd its fame,

Who fought like Britons in the bloody game, Tummell's rude pass can of its terrors tell, Sharper than Polish pike or assagay,

But ne'er from prouder field arose the name, He braved the shafts of censure and of shame, Than when wild Ronda learn'd the conquering And, dearer far than life, he pledged a soldier's

shout of GRÆME !
fame.

XVIII.
XVI.

But all too long, through seas unknown and dark, Nor be his praise o'erpast who strove to hide

(With Spenser's parable I close my tale, Beneath the warrior's vest affection's wound, By shoal and rock hath steer'd my venturous Whose wish Heaven for his country's weal de

bark, nied;

And landward now I drive before the gale. Danger and fate he sought, but glory found. And now the blue and distant shore I hail, From clime to clime, where'er war's trumpets And nearer now I see the port expand, sound,

And now I gladly furl my weary sail, The wanderer went; yet, Caledonia ! still

And as the prow light touches on the strand, Thine was his thought in march and tented | I strike my red-cross flag and bind my skiff to ground;

land."

On the long voiage whereto she is bent:
Well may she speede, and fairely finish her intent!"

Faërie Queene, book i, canto 12.

1 MS." Not greater on that mount of strife and blood,

While Gaul's proud legiong roll'd like mist away,
And tides of gore stain'd Albuera's flood,

And Poland's shatter'd lines before him lay,
And clarions hail'd him victor of the day.

Not greater when he toil'd yon legions to array,

'Twas life he perill'd in that stubborn game, And life 'gainst honor when did soldier weigh?

But, self-devoted to his generous aim,

Far dearer than his life, the hero pledged his fame." 2 MS.- Nor be his meed o'erpast who sadly tried

With valor's wreath to hide affection's wound,

To whom his wish Heaven for our weal denied.3 MS." From war to war the wanderer went his round,

Yet was his soul in Caledonia still ;

Hers was his thought," &c. 4 MS.

"fairy rill." " These lines excel the noisier and more general panegyrics of the commanders in Portugal, as much as the sweet and thrilling tones of the harp surpass an ordinary flourish of drums and trumpets."--Quarterly Revier.

** Perhaps it is our nationality which makes us like better the tribute to General Grahame-though there is something, We believe, in the softness of the sentiment that will be felt, even by English readers, as a relief from the exceeding clamor and loud boastings of all the surrounding stanzas."--Edinbargk Review.

• See Appendix, Note V.

7“No comparison can be fairly instituted between compositions so wholly different in style and designation as the present poem and Mr. Scott's former productions. The present pooin neither has, nor, from its nature, could have the interest which arises from an eventful plot, or a detailed delineation of character; and we shall arrive at a far more accurate estimation of its merits by comparing it with The Bard' of Gray, or that particular scene of Ariosto, where Bradamante beholds the wonders of Merlin's tomb. To this it has many strong and evident features of resemblance; but, in our opinion, greatly surpasses it both in the dignity of the objects represented, and the picturesque effect of the machinery.

“We are inclined to rank The Vision of Don Roderick, not only above. The Bard,' but (excepting Adam's Vision from the Mount of Paradise, and the matchless beauties of the sixth book of Virgil) above all the historical and poetical prospects which have come to our knowledge. The scenic representation is at once gorgeous and natural; and the language, and imagery, is altogether as spirited, and bears the stamp of more care and polish than even the most celebrated of the author's former productions. If it please as less than these, we must attribute it in part perhaps to the want of contrivance, and in a still greater degree to the nature of the subject itself, which is deprived of all the interest derived from suspense or sympathy, and, as far as it is connected with modern politics, represents a scene too near our immediate inspection to admit the interposition of the magic glass of fiction and poetry.”-Quarterly Review, October, 1811.

** Now, strike your sailes, yee jolly mariners,

For we be come unto a quiet rode,
Where we must land some of our passengers,

And light this weary vessell of her lode.
Here she a while may make her safe abode,

Till she repaired have her tackles spent And wants supplide ; and then againe abroad

" The Vision of Don Roderick has been received with less | interest by the public than any of the author's other per

« AnteriorContinuar »