Scott's introduction to Canto I of Marmion was written in November, 1806. Nelson had died at Trafalgar in October, 1805; Pitt after Austerlitz in January, 1806; Fox in September of the same year. The opening lines of the poem reflect the gloom in England at Napoleon's unbroken successes on the Continent.

To mute and to material things
New life revolving summer brings;
The genial call dead Nature hears,
And in her glory reappears.

But oh! my country's wintry state
What second spring shall renovate?
What powerful call shall bid arise
The buried warlike and the wise;
The mind that thought for Britain's weal,
The hand that grasp'd the victor steel?
The vernal sun new life bestows
Even on the meanest flower that blows;
But vainly, vainly may he shine
Where glory weeps o'er Nelson's shrine;
And vainly pierce the solemn gloom,
That shrouds, O Pitt, thy hallowed tomb!

Deep grav'd in every British heart,
O never let those names depart!
Say to your sons,-Lo, here his grave,
Who victor died on Gadite wave.

To him, as to the burning levin,
Short, bright, resistless course was given.

21. levin] lightning.





Where'er his country's foes were found,
Was heard the fated thunder's sound,
Till burst the bolt on yonder shore,
Roll'd, blaz'd, destroy'd,-and was no more.

Nor mourn ye less his perish'd worth
Who bade the conqueror go forth,
And launch'd that thunderbolt of war
On Egypt, Hafnia, Trafalgar;
Who, born to guide such high emprize,
For Britain's weal was early wise;
Alas! to whom the Almighty gave,
For Britain's sins, an early grave!
His worth who, in his mightiest hour,
A bauble held the pride of power,
Spurn'd at the sordid lust of pelf,
And serv'd his Albion for herself;
Who, when the frantic crowd amain
Strain'd at subjection's bursting rein,
O'er their wild mood full conquest gain'd,
The pride, he would not crush, restrain'd,
Show'd their fierce zeal a worthier cause,





And brought the freeman's arm to aid the freeman's laws.

Had'st thou but liv'd, though stripp'd of power, 45 A watchman on the lonely tower,

Thy thrilling trump had rous'd the land,

When fraud or danger were at hand;

By thee, as by the beacon-light,

Our pilots had kept course aright;

As some proud column, though alone,

Thy strength had propp'd the tottering throne:

Now is the stately column broke,

The beacon-light is quench'd in smoke,

The trumpet's silver sound is still,

The warder silent on the hill!



Oh think, how to his latest day,

When Death, just hovering, claim'd his prey,
With Palinure's unalter'd mood,

Firm at his dangerous post he stood;

Each call for needful rest repell'd,

With dying hand the rudder held,
Till, in his fall, with fateful sway,
The steerage of the realm gave way!
Then, while on Britain's thousand plains,
One unpolluted church remains,
Whose peaceful bells ne'er sent around
The bloody tocsin's maddening sound,
But still, upon the hallow'd day,

Convoke the swains to praise and pray;
While faith and civil peace are dear,
Grace this cold marble with a tear,-
He, who preserved them, Pitt, lies here!

Nor yet suppress the generous sigh,
Because his rival slumbers nigh;
Nor be thy requiescat dumb,
Lest it be said o'er Fox's tomb.
For talents mourn, untimely lost,
When best employ'd, and wanted most;
Mourn genius high, and lore profound,
And wit that lov'd to play, not wound;
And all the reasoning powers divine,
To penetrate, resolve, combine;
And feelings keen, and fancy's glow,-
They sleep with him who sleeps below:
And, if thou mourn'st they could not save
From error him who owns this grave,
Be every harsher thought suppress'd,
And sacred be the last long rest.
Here, where the end of earthly things
Lays heroes, patriots, bards, and kings;
Where stiff the hand, and still the tongue,

Of those who fought, and spoke, and sung;

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Here, where the fretted aisles prolong
The distant notes of holy song,
As if some angel spoke agen,

'All peace on earth, good-will to men;'
If ever from an English heart,
O, here let prejudice depart,
And, partial feeling cast aside,
Record, that Fox a Briton died!
When Europe crouch'd to France's yoke,
And Austria bent, and Prussia broke,
And the firm Russian's purpose brave,
Was barter'd by a timorous slave,
Even then dishonour's peace he spurn'd,
The sullied olive-branch return'd,
Stood for his country's glory fast,
And nail'd her colours to the mast!
Heaven, to reward this firmness, gave
A portion in this honour'd grave,
And ne'er held marble in its trust,
Of two such wondrous men the dust.

SIR W. SCOTT (from Marmion).





14. Nelson's shrine. In St. Paul's Cathedral.

20. on Gadite wave, i. e. at the battle of Trafalgar, which is not far from Cadiz (L. Gades).

30. On Egypt. At the Battle of the Nile, 1798.

Hafnia. Copenhagen (1801).

32. early wise. Pitt the younger was Prime Minister at twenty-four. Both father and son died poor men, in spite of many opportunities their position gave them for gaining wealth.

The next few lines refer to Pitt's stern treatment of agitators in England during the French Revolution, and his plan for the defence of England when invasion was threatened.

38. Albion. England.

59. Palinure. The steersman who refused to give up the helm to the god of sleep. Virgil, Aeneid, v. 854.

68. tocsin's. The tocsin is an alarm-bell rung as a call to


76. requiescat (in pace). May he rest in peace. often written on tombstones.

A prayer

102. When Europe crouched. Fox, a consistent supporter of Liberty and the French Revolution, took office after Pitt's death. Finding it impossible to come to terms with Napoleon and save Europe, he carried on the war just as vigorously as Pitt had done.

103. Austria bent. A reference to the defeat of the Austrians by Napoleon at the battle of Austerlitz in 1805, which destroyed the Third Coalition.

Prussia broke. After the battle of Jena in 1806. (See introduction to 'Sonnets to Liberty-vi, After Jena', p. 51).

105. timorous slave. The Czar, Alexander I, came to terms with Napoleon at the Treaty of Tilsit, 1807.



Clarkson spent practically all his life in working for the abolition of the slave trade. Wilberforce was the main mover in the Commons, but Clarkson gave him the facts with which he was able to convince Parliament of the horrors of the traffic.

CLARKSON! it was an obstinate hill to climb:
How toilsome-nay, how dire-it was, by thee
Is known; by none, perhaps, so feelingly
But thou, who, starting in thy fervent prime,
Didst first lead forth that enterprise sublime,
Hast heard the constant Voice its charge repeat,
Which, out of thy young heart's oracular seat,
First roused thee. O true yoke-fellow of Time,
Duty's intrepid liegeman, see, the palm
Is won, and by all Nations shall be worn!
The blood-stained Writing is for ever torn;
And thou henceforth wilt have a good man's calm,
A great man's happiness; thy zeal shall find
Repose at length, firm friend of human kind!



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