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The story of his strife;
Better than funeral pomp or passing bell!
What tale of peril and self-sacrifice!
With hunger howling o'er the wastes of snow!
The lethargy of famine; the despair
Urging to labor, nervelessly pursued ; Toil done with skinny arms, and faces hued Like pallid masks, while dolefully behind Glimmered the fading embers of a mind! That awful hour, when through the prostrate band Delirium stalked, laying his burning hand
Upon the ghastly foreheads of the crew; The whispers of rebellion, faint and few At first, but deepening ever till they grew Into black thoughts of murder, such the throng Of horrors bound the hero. High the song Should be that hymns the noble part he played! Sinking himself, yet ministering aid
To all around him. By a mighty will
He stands, until spring, tardy with relief,
And the pale prisoners thread the world once more, To the steep cliffs of Greenland's pastoral shore Bearing their dying chief!
Time was when he should gain his spurs of gold From royal hands, who wooed the knightly state; The knell of old formalities is tolled,
And the world's knights are now self-consecrate. No grander episode doth chivalry hold
In all its annals, back to Charlemagne, Than that lone vigil of unceasing pain, Faithfully kept through hunger and through cold, By the good Christian knight, Elisha Kane !
THE OLD ADMIRAL.
ADMIRAL STEWART, U. S. N.
GONE at last,
That brave old hero of the past! His spirit has a second birth, An unknown, grander life;
Whether of iron or of oak
The ships we marshal at our country's need,
Lay him in the ground:
Let him rest where the ancient river rolls; Let him sleep beneath the shadow and the sound Of the bell whose proclamation, as it tolls, Is of Freedom and the gift our fathers gave. Lay him gently down:
The clamor of the town
Will not break the slumbers deep, the beautiful ripe sleep,
Of this lion of the wave,
Will not trouble the old Admiral in his grave.
Earth to earth his dust is laid.
On the shadow of a great ship leaves the shore ; Over cloudless western seas
Seeks the far Hesperides,
The islands of the blest,
Where no turbulent billows roar,
Where is rest.
His ghost upon the shadowy quarter stands
There all his martial mates, renewed and strong,
I see the happy Heroes rise
With gratulation in their eyes : "Welcome, old comrade," Lawrence cries; "Ah, Stewart, tell us of the wars ! Who win the glory and the scars?
How floats the skyey flag,- how many stars? Still speak they of Decatur's name,
Of Bainbridge's and Perry's fame?
Make ready, all:
Room for the Admiral!
Come, Stewart, tell us of the wars!"
EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN.
One the grisly King of Terrors; one a Bourbon, with his errors, late to conscience-clearing
Well his fevered pulse may flutter, and the priests their mass may mutter with such fervor
as they may :
Cross and chrysm, and genuflection, mop and mow, and interjection, will not frighten Death away.
By the dying despot sitting, at the hard heart's portals hitting, shocking the dull brain to work,
Death makes clear what life has hidden, chides what life has left unchidden, quickens
truth life tried to burke.
He but ruled within his borders after Holy Church's orders, did what Austria bade him do ;
By their guidance flogged and tortured; highborn men and gently nurtured chained with crime's felonious crew.
What if summer fevers gripped them, what ff winter freezings nipped them, till they rotted in their chains?
He had word of Pope and Kaiser; none could holier be or wiser; theirs the counsel, his the reins.
So he pleads excuses eager, clutching, with his fingers meagre, at the bedclothes as he speaks;
But King Death sits grimly grinning at the Bourbon's cobweb-spinning, -as each cobweb-cable breaks.
And the poor soul, from life's eylot, rudderless, without a pilot, drifteth slowly down the dark;
While 'mid rolling incense vapor, chanted dirge, and flaring taper, lies the body, stiff and stark.
BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE.
NOT a drum was heard, nor a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly, at dead of night,
No useless coffin inclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him; But he lay, like a warrior taking his rest, With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,
And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
But half of our heavy task was done,
When the clock tolled the hour for retiring; And we heard the distant and random gun That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory! We carved not a line, we raised not a stone, But we left him alone in his glory.
GEORGE VILLIERS, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. 1682.
SOME of their chiefs were princes of the land;
That every man with him was God or Devil.
LEUCONOMUS (beneath well-sounding Greek
Now, truth, perform thine office; waft aside The curtain drawn by prejudice and pride, Reveal (the man is dead) to wondering eyes This more than monster in his proper guise.
He loved the world that hated him; the tear
Like him crossed cheerfully tempestuous seas,
He had written praises of all kings whatever; He had written for republics far and wide,
And then against them bitterer than ever; For pantisocracy he once had cried
SHADWELL, THE DRAMATIST.
Now stop your noses, readers, all and some, For here's a tun of midnight work to come. Og, from a treason-tavern rolling home Round as a globe, and liquored every chink, Goodly and great he sails behind his link: With all this bulk there's nothing lost in Og,
Aloud, a scheme less moral than 't was clever; For every inch that is not fool is rogue ; Then grew a hearty anti-jacobin, A monstrous mass of foul, corrupted matter,
Had turned his coat, and would have turned As all the devils had spewed to make the batter.
Sporus, that mere white curd of asses' milk?
P. Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
The midwife laid her hand on his thick skull, With this prophetic blessing, "Be thou dull; Drink, swear, and roar, forbear no lewd delight Fit for thy bulk; do anything but write: Thou art of lasting make, like thoughtless men ; A strong nativity but for the pen ! Still thou mayst live, avoiding pen and ink": Eat opium, mingle arsenic in thy drink, I see, I see, 't is counsel given in vain, For treason botched in rhyme will be thy bane; Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck, 'Tis fatal to thy fame and to thy neck; Why should thy metre good King David blast? A psalm of his will surely be thy last. A double noose thou on thy neck dost pull To die for faction is a common evil, For writing treason and for writing dull. But to be hanged for nonsense is the devil. JOHN DRYDEN.
ODE TO RAE WILSON, ESQUIRE.
A WANDERER, Wilson, from my native land,
I guess the features : — in a line to paint
And call the devil over his own coals,
Those pseudo Privy-Councillors of God,
Who write down judgments with a pen hardnibbed ;
Ushers of Beelzebub's Black Rod, Commending sinners not to ice thick-ribbed, But endless flames, to scorch them like flax,
Yet sure of heaven themselves, as if they'd cribbed | Who looks on erring souls as straying pigs,
That must be lashed by law, wherever found,
Of such a character no single trace
A face decidedly not serious,
A face profane, that would not do at all
Till every farthing-candle ray
Well! be the graceless lineaments confest!
"Within the limits of becoming mirth ";-
Spontaneously to God should tend the soul,
Fresh from St. Andrew's college,
Should nail the conscious needle to the north?
It will not own a notion so unholy
As thinking that the rich by easy trips