« PředchozíPokračovat »
A most bewildering smile,--there was a glance
There was another, drawn in after years:
her forehead in loose waves Unbraided, and upon her pale thin hand Her head was bent as if in pain--no trace Was left of that sweet gaiety which once Seem'd as grief could not darken it, as care
and leave behind no memory.
bitterness, and sighs That waste the breath of life,—these all were her's Whose image is before me.
She had given
Life's hope to a most fragile bark—to love!
TAKING OF THE BASTILLE.
The spectacles of a lifetime were indeed to be beheld within the compass of this one scene. The most vivid emotions to which all ranks and all ages are subject, were here in full play; all the various grouping which life affords was here presented; the entire elements of the scenery of human character were here congregated in infinite and magnificent combinations. The appeals to eye and ear alone were of unprecedented force; those addressed to the spirit equalled in stimulus the devotion of Leonidas in his defile, and excelled in pathos the meditation of Marius among more extensive ruins than those which were now tumbling around. From the heights of the fortress might be seen a heaving ocean of upturned faces, when the breeze dispersed at intervals the clouds of smoke which veiled the sun, and gave a dun and murky hue to whatever lay beneath. If a flood of sunshine now and then poured in to make a hundred thousand weapons glitter over the heads of the crowd, the black row of cannon belched forth their red fires to extinguish the purer light. The foremost of the people, with glaring eyes, and blackened and grinning faces, looked scarcely human, in their excess of eagerness, activity, and strength. Yet more terrific were the sounds: the clang of the tocsin at regular intervals, the shouts of the besiegers, the shrieks of the wounded, the roar of the fire which was consuming the guard-houses, the crash of the ruins falling on all sides, a heavy splash in the moat from time to time, as some one was toppled from the ramparts to be smothered in its mud,—and above all these
the triumphant cries of victory and liberty achieved,—these were enough to dizzy weak brains, and give inspiration to strong ones. Here were also the terrors which sooner or later chill the marrow of despotism, and the stern joy with which its retribution fires the heart of the patriot. Here were the servants of tyranny quailing before the glance of the people; kneeling soldiers craving mercy of mechanics, of women, of some of every class, whom, in execution of their fancied duty, they had outraged. Here were men shrinking from violence with a craven horror, and women driven by a sense of wrong to show how disgusting physical courage may be made. Here were also sons led on to the attack by their hitherto anxious fathers; husbands thrust forward into danger by their wives; and little children upreared by their mothers amidst the fire and smoke, to take one last look of the hated edifice which was soon to be levelled with the ground. The towers of palaces might be seen afar, where princes were quaking at this final assurance of the downfal of their despotic sway, knowing that the assumed sanctity of royalty was being wafted away with every puff of smoke which spread itself over the sky, and their irresponsibility melting in fires lighted by the hands which they had vainly attempted to fetter, and blown by the breath which they had imagined they could stifle. They had denied the birth of that liberty whose baptism in fire and in blood was now being celebrated in a many-voiced chant, with which the earth should ring for centuries. Some from other lands were already present to hear and join in it; some free Britons to aid, some wondering slaves of other despots to slink homewards with whispered tidings of its import; for from that day to this, the history of the fall of the Bastille has been told as a secret in the vineyards of Portugal, and among the groves of Spain, and in the patriotic conclaves of the youth of Italy, while it has been loudly and joyfully proclaimed from one end to the other of Great Britain, till her lisping children are familiar with the tale.
BRING BACK THE CHAIN!
It was an aged man, who stood
Beside the blue Atlantic sea; They cast his fetters by the flood,
And haild the time-worn captive-free! From his indignant eye there flash'd
A gleam his better nature gave, And while his tyrants shrunk abashid,
Thus spoke the spirit-stricken slave:
Bring back the chain, whose weight so long
These tortured limbs have vainly borne; The word of Freedom, from your tongue,
My weary ear rejects with scorn! 'Tis true, there was—there was a time,
I sigh’d, I panted to be free; And, pining for my sunny clime,
Bow'd down my stubborn knee.
“ Then I have stretch'd my yearning arms,
And shook in wrath my bitter chain;Then, when the magic word had charms,
I groan'd for liberty in vain! That freedom ye at length bestow,
And bid me bless my envied fate: Ye tell me, I am free to go
Where? I am desolate!
“ The boundless hope—the spring of joy,
Felt when the spirit's strength is young, Which slavery only can alloy,
The mockeries to which I clungThe eyes
whose fond and sunny ray Made life's dull lamp less dimly burn
The tones I pined for, day by day,
Can ye bid them return?
“ Bring back the chain! its clanking sound
Hath then a power beyond your own;
Too fondly loved, too early flown!
Gazed o'er the wild and swelling sea,
Ere one might hail me free!
“ Bring back the chain! that I
Dream as I dream'd-of bitter woe!
These traces now alone remain
Tears, and my iron chain!
“ Freedom! though doom'd in pain to live,
The freedom of the soul is mine;
Around my steps must ever twine.
Till then-I am a Slave!”
THE DAY OF REST.
How still the morning of the hallow'd day!