Genius of England! wherefore to the earth
Is thy plumed helm, thy peerless sceptre cast?
Thy courts of late with minstrelsy and mirth
Rang jubilant, and dazzling pageants past;
Kings, heroes, martial triumphs, nuptial rites--
Now, like a cypress, shiver'd by the blast,
Or mountain-cedar, which the lightning smites,
In dust and darkness sinks thy head declined,
Thy tresses streaming wild on ocean's reckless wind.
Art thou not glorious?--In that night of storms,
When He, in Power's supremacy elate,
Gaul's fierce Usurper! fulminating fate,
The Goth's barbaric tyranny restored,
And science, art, and all life's fairer forms,
Sunk to the dark dominion of the sword:
Didst thou not, champion of insulted man!
Confront this stern Destroyer in his pride?
Didst thou not crush him in the battle shock,
While recent victory shouted in his van,
And shrunk the nations, shadow'd by his stride?
Yea, chain him howling to yon desert rock,
Where, thronging ghastly from uncounted graves,
His victims murmur 'midst the groans of waves,
And mock his soul's despair, his deep blaspheming ban!
Nor erst, in Liberty's avenging day,
When, launching lightnings in her wrath divine,
She rose, and gave to never-dying fame,
Platæ, Marathon, Thermopylæ,
Did each, did all, sublimer laurels twine
Round Græcia's conquering brows, than Waterloo on thine!
Then, wherefore, Albion! terror-struck, subdued,
Sitt'st thou, thy state foregone, thy banner furl'd?
What dire infliction shakes that fortitude,
Which propt the falling fortunes of the world?--
Hush! hark! portentous, like a withering spell
From lips unblest--strange sounds mine ear appal;
Now the dread omens more distinctly swell--
That thrilling shriek from Claremont's royal hall,
The death-note peal'd from yon terrific bell,
The deepening gale with lamentation swoln--
These, Albion! these, too eloquently tell,
That from her radiant sphere, thy brightest star has fall'n!
And art thou gone?--graced vision of an hour!
Daughter of Monarchs! gem of England's crown!
Thou loveliest lily! fair imperial flower!
In beauty's vernal bloom to dust gone down;
Gone when, dispers'd each inauspicious cloud,
In blissful sunshine 'gan thy hopes to glow:
From pain's fierce grasp, no refuge but the shroud,
Destin'd a Mother's pangs, but not her joys, to know.
Lost excellence! what harp shall hymn thy worth,
Nor wrong the theme? conspicuously in thee,
Beyond the blind pre-eminence of birth,
Shone Nature in her own regality!
Coerced, thy Spirit smiled, sedate in pride,
Fixt as the pine, while circling storms contend;
But, when in Life's serener duties tried,
How sweetly did its gentle essence blend,
All-beauteous in the wife, the daughter, and the friend!
Not lull'd in langours, indolent and weak,
Nor winged by pleasure, fled thy early hours;
But ceaseless vigils blanch'd thy virgin cheek,
In silent Study's dim-sequester'd bowers:
Propitious there, to thy admiring mind,
With brow unveil'd, consenting Science came;
There Taste awoke her sympathies refined;
There Genius, kindling his etherial flame,
Led thy young soul the Muse's heights to dare,
And mount on Milton's wing, and breathe empyreal air!
But chiefly, conscious of thy promised throne,
Intent to grace that destiny sublime;
Thou sought'st to make the historic page thine own,
And win the treasures of recorded time;
The forms of polity, the springs of power,
Exploring still with inexhausted zeal;
Still, the pole-star which led thy studious hour
Through Thought's unfolding tracts--thy Country's weal!
While Fancy, radiant with unearthly charms,
Thus breathed the whisper Wisdom sanctified:
"Eliza's, Anna's glories, arts, or arms,
Beneath thy sway shall blaze revivified,
And still prolonged, and still augmenting, shine
Interminably bright in thy illustrious line!"
'Tis past--thy name, with every charm it bore,
Melts on our souls, like music heard no more,
The dying minstrel's last ecstatic strain,
Which mortal hand shall never wake again--
But, if, blest spirit! in thy shrine of light,
Life's visions rise to thy celestial sight;
If that bright sphere where raptured seraphs glow,
Permit communion with this world of woe;
And sore, if thus our fond affections deem,
Hope mocks us not, for Heaven inspires the dream--
Benignant shade! the beatific kiss
That seal'd thy welcome to the shores of bliss,
No holier joy instill'd, than then wilt feel
If thine the task thy kindred's woes to heal;
If hovering yet, with viewless ministry,
In scenes which Memory consecrates to thee,
Thou soothe with binding balm which grief endears,
A Sire's, a Husband's, and--a Mother's tears!--
Till Pity's self expire, a Nation's sighs,
Spontaneous incense! o'er thy tomb shall rise:
And, 'midst the dark vicissitudes that wait
Earth's balanced empires in the scales of Fate,
Be thou OUR angel-advocate the while,
And gleam, a guardian saint, around thy native isle!