« PreviousContinue »
Low murmuring sounds along their banners fly,
REVENGE OR DEATH! the watchword and reply ;
Then pealed the notes omnipotent to charm,
And the loud tocsin thrilled her last alarm !
In vain alas! in vain, ye gallant few !
From rank to rank, your volley'd thunders flew,
Oh! bloodiest picture in the book of time!
Sarmatia fell unwept, without a crime ;
Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe,
Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe!
Dropped from her nerveless grasp the shattered spear,
Closed her bright eye, and curbed her high career;
Hope for a season bade the world farewell!
And FREEDOM shrieked, as KOSCIUSKO FELL!
The sud went down, nor ceased the carnage there,
Tumultuous murder shook the midnight air-
On PRAGUE's proud arch the fires of ruin glow,
His blood-dyed waters murmuring far below,
The storm prevails, the rampart yields a way,
Bursts the wild cry of horror and dismay !
Hark! as the mouldering piles with thunder fall,
A thousand shrieks for hopeless mercy call!
Earth shook-red meteors flashed along the sky,
And conscious nature shuddered at the cry!
Departed spirits of the migḥty dead!
Ye that at Marathon and Leuctra bled !
Friends of the world ! restore your swords to man,
Fight in his sacred cause and lead the van!
Yet for Sarmatia's tears of blood atone,
And make her arm puissant as your own.
Oh, once again to freedom's cause return,
The patriot TELL-the BRUCE OF BANNOCKBURN.
FRIENDS, Romans, Countrymen ! lend me your ears,
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones ;
So let it be with Cæsar! The noble Brutus
Hath told you Cæsar was ambitious-
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Cæsar answered it!
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-
For Brutus is an honourable man!
So they are all, all! honourable men-
Come I to speak in Cæsar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me-
But Brutus says he was ambitious-
And Brutus is an honourable man !
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill;
Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious ?
When that the poor have cried, Cæsar hath wept,
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff;
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious-
And Brutus is an honourable man !
You all did see, that on the Lupercal,
I thrice presented him a kingly crown;
Which he did thrice refuse; was this ambition ?-
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And sure he is an honourable man!
I speak, not to disprove what Brutus spoke;
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love himn once; not without cause :
What cause with holds you then to mourn for him;
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason ! Bear with me!
My heart is in the coffin there with Cæsar;
And I must pause till it come back to me! (weeps)
But yesterday the word of Cæsar might
Have stood against the world—now lies he there,
And none so poor to do him reverence !
O masters! If I were disposed to stir
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,
Who, you all know, are honourable men-
I will not do them wrong; I rather choose
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,
Than I will wrong such honourable men!
But here's a parchment with the seal of Cæsar-
I found it in his closet-'tis his will !
Let but the commons hear this testament-
Which, pardon me, I do not mean to read,
And they will go and kiss dear Cæsar's wounds,
And dip their napkins in his sacred blood;
Yea, beg a hair of him for memory,
And, dying, mention it within their wills,
Bequeathing it as a rich legacy
Unto their issue !
If you have tears prepare to shed them now,
You all do know this mantle! I remember
The first time ever Cæsar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening in his tent-
That day he overcame the Nervii !
Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through!
See what a rent the envious Casca made!
Through this—the well beloved Brutus stabbed !
And as he plucked his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Cæsar followed it!
As rushing out of doors to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knocked or no;
For Brutus as you know, was Cæsar's angel!
Judge, O ye gods, how dearly Cæsar loved him!
This, this was the unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Cæsar saw him stab!
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Quite vanquished him. Then burst his mighty heart,
And in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statue-
(Which all the while ran blood !) Great Cæsar fell!
Oh what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us, fell down ;
Whilst bloody treason flourished over us!
Oh, now you weep, and I perceive you feel
The dint of pity : these are gracious drops !
Kind souls! what! weep you when you but behold
Our Cæsar's vesture wounded ?-look you here!
Here is himself-marred, as you see, by traitors !
Good friends! sweet friends ! let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny!
They that have done this deed are honourable !
What private griefs they have, alas ! I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable!
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts !
I am no orator as Brutus is;
But as you know me all, a plain, blunt man,
That love my friend--and that they know full well,
That gave me public leave to speak of him ;
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech
To stir men's blood; I only speak right on!
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Cæsar's wounds, poor, poor, dumb mouths !
And bid them speak for me. But were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue
In every wound of Cæsar, that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny!
BRUTUS JUSTIFYING HIMSELF FOR HAVING
ROMANS, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause; and be silent, that you may hear.
Believe me for mine honour; and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe.
Censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I
that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer : Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had
you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves ; than that Cæsar were dead, to live all freemen? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; bat, as he was ambitious, I slew him. There are tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valour, and death for his ambition. Who's here so base, that would be a bondman? if any, speak; for him have I offended. Who's here so rude, that would not be a Roman? if any, speak; for him have I offended. Who's here so vile, that will not love his country? if any, speak; for him have I offended.--I pause for a reply.
None?—then none have I offended.— I have done no more to Cæsar, than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol ; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony; who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the Commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this I depart. That, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
ODE ON ST. CECILIA's* DAY.
DESCEND, ye Nine, descend and sing!
The breathing instruments inspire !
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly-pleasing strain,
Let the warbling lute complain :
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around, the shrill echoes rebound :
While in more lengthened notes and slow,
The deep majestic solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies;
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats ;
Till by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay and melt away
In a dying, dying fall.
By music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low,
Warriors she fires with animating sounds;
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds ;
Melancholy lifts her head;
Morpheus rouses from his bed ;
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes;
Listening envy drops her snakes!
Intestine war no more our passions wage,
And giddy factions hear away their rage.
When through all the infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,
Love, strong as death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appeared,
O’er all the dreary coasts !
Dreadful gleams, dismal screams,
Fires that glow, shrieks of woe,
Sullen moans, hollow groans,
And cries of tortured ghosts ;
St. Cecilia, who is said to have invented the Organ, suffered martyrdom in the reign of M. Aurelius Antoninus, November 22, on which day, for many hundred years, a musical festival was held to her honour in various parts of Christendom.