Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

be thus deluded into the loss of the one and the violation of the other? To give an unlimited credit and support for the steady perseverance in measures not proposed for our Parliamentary advice, but dictated and forced upon us, in measures, I say, my lords, which have reduced this late flourishing Empire to ruin and contempt? "But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world; now none so poor to do her reverence." I use the words of a poet; but, though it be poetry, it is no fiction. It is a shameful truth that not only the power and strength of this country are wasting away and expiring, but her well-earned glories, her true honor, and substantial dignity are sacrificed.

France, my lords, has insulted you; she has encouraged and sustained America; and, whether America be wrong or right, the dignity of this country ought to spurn at the officious insult of French interference. The ministers and ambassadors of those who are called rebels and enemies are in Paris; in Paris they transact the reciprocal interests of America and France. Can there be a more mortifying insult? Can even our ministers sustain a more humiliating disgrace? Do they dare to resent it? Do they presume even to hint a vindication of their honor, and the dignity of the state, by requiring the dismission of the plenipotentiaries of America? Such is the degradation to which they have reduced the glories of England!

The people whom they affect to call contemptible rebels, but whose growing power has at last obtained the name of enemies; the people with whom they have engaged this country in war, and against whom they now command our implicit support in every measure of desperate hostility, this people, despised as rebels, or ac

-

knowledged as enemies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, their interests consulted, and their ambassadors entertained, by your inveterate enemy, and our ministers dare not interpose with dignity or effect! Is this the honor of a great kingdom? Is this the indignant spirit of England, who "but yesterday" gave law to the house of Bourbon? My lords, the dignity of nations demands a decisive conduct in a situation like this.

My lords, this ruinous and ignominious situation, where we cannot act with success, nor suffer with honor, calls upon us to remonstrate in the strongest and loudest language of truth, to rescue the ear of majesty from the delusions which surround it. The desperate state of our arms abroad is in part known. I love and honor the English troops. No man thinks more highly of them than I do. I know their virtues and their valor. I know they can achieve anything except impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility.

You cannot, I venture to say, you cannot conquer America. Your armies in the last war effected everything that could be effected; and what was it? It cost a numerous army, under the command of a most able general (Lord Amherst), now a noble lord in this house, a long and laborious campaign to expel five thousand Frenchmen from French America. My lords, you cannot conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing and suffered much. Besides the sufferings, perhaps total loss, of the Northern force, the best appointed army that ever took the field, commanded by Sir William Howe, has retired from the

American lines. He was obliged to relinquish his attempt, and with great delay and danger to adopt a new and distinct plan of operations. We shall soon know, and in any event have reason to lament, what may have happened since. As to conquest, therefore, my lords, I repeat, it is impossible.

You may swell every expense and every effort still more extravagantly, pile and accumulate every assistance you can buy or borrow, traffic and barter with every little pitiful German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign despot, your efforts are forever vain and impotent, doubly so from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates, to an incurable resentment, the minds of your enemies, to overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty! If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms,

never,

never, never.

XCII. ALPINE SCENERY.

[ocr errors]

BYRON.

BOVE me are the Alps,

A

The palaces of Nature; whose vast walls Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps, And throned Eternity in icy halls

Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls The avalanche, the thunderbolt of snow!

----

All that expands the spirit, yet appalls, Gather around these summits, as to show

How earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below.

Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake

With the wide world I've dwelt in is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
To waft me from distraction: once I loved

Torn ocean's roar; but thy soft murmuring Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.

It is the hush of night; and all between

Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen,

Save darkened Jura, whose capped heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,

Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more.

He is an evening reveler, who makes

His life an infancy, and sings his fill;
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill;
But that is fancy for the starlight dews

All silently their tears of love distill,
Weeping themselves away till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.

Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven,

If, in your bright leaves, we would read the fate
Of men and empires, - 't is to be forgiven,

That, in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,

And claim a kindred with you; for ye are

A beauty and a mystery, and create

In us such love and reverence from afar,

That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star.

The sky is changed! and such a change! O Night
And Storm and Darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light

Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,

From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder! — not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue;
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps who call to her aloud!

―――

And this is in the night: Most glorious night,
Thou wert not sent for slumber; let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight, —
A portion of the tempest and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again 't is black; and now the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.

Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye,
With night and clouds and thunder, and a soul
To make these felt and feeling, well may be

-the far roll

Things that have made me watchful:
Of your departing voices is the knell
Of what in me is sleepless, if I rest.
But where, of ye, O tempests! is the goal?
Are
ye
like those within the human breast?
Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PředchozíPokračovat »