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And since those trappings first were new,
How many a cloudless day,
To rob the velvet of its hue,
Has come and pass'd away!
How many a setting sun hath made
That curious lattice-work of shade!
Crumbled beneath the hillock green,
The cunning hand must be,
That carv'd this fretted door, I ween,
Acorn, and fleur-de-lis ;
And now the worm hath done her part
In mimicking the chisel's art.
In days of yore (as now we call),
When the first James was king,
The courtly knight from yonder hall
His train did hither bring;
All seated round in order due,
With 'broider'd suit and buckled shoe.
On damask cushions deck'd with fringe,
All reverently they knelt:
Prayer-books, with brazen hasp and hinge,
In ancient English spelt,
Each holding in a lily hand,
Responsive to the priest's command.
Now, streaming down the vaulted aisle,
The sunbeam long and lone,
Illumes the characters awhile,
Of their inscription stone:
And there, in marble hard and cold,
The knight with all his train behold:
Outstretch'd together are express' 'd
He and my lady fair;
With hands uplifted on the breast,
In attitude of prayer;
Long-visag'd, clad in armour, he,—
With ruffled arm and bodice, she.
Set forth in order, as they died,
Their numerous offspring bend,
Devoutly kneeling side by side,
As if they did intend
For past omissions to atone,
By saying endless prayers in stone.
Those mellow days are past and dim;
But generations new,
In regular descent from him,
Have fill'd the stately pew;
And in the same succession go
To occupy the vault below.
And now the polish'd, modern squire,
And his gay train appear;
Who duly to the Hall retire,
A season every year:
And fill the seats with belle and beau,
As 'twas so many years ago.
Perchance, all thoughtless as they tread
The hollow-sounding floor
Of that dark house of kindred dead,
Which shall, as heretofore,
In turn receive to silent rest,
Another, and another guest;
The feather'd hearse and sable train,
In all their wonted state,
Shall wind along the village lane,
And stand before the gate;
Brought many a distant county through,
To join the final rendezvous.
And when the race is swept away,
All to their dusty beds,
Still shall the mellow evening ray
Shine gaily o'er their heads:
While other faces, fresh and new,
Shall fill the squire's respected pew.
A THUNDER-STORM!-the eloquence of heaven,
When every cloud is from its slumber riven;
Who hath not paus'd beneath its hollow groan,
And felt Omnipotence around him thrown?
With what a gloom the ush'ring scene appears!
The leaves all flutt'ring with instinctive fears,
The waters curling with a fellow dread,
A breezeless fervour round creation spread,
And, last, the heavy rain's reluctant shower,
With big drops patt'ring on the tree and bower,
While wizard shapes the bowing sky deform,—
All mark the coming of the thunder-storm!
Oh! now to be alone, on some grand height,
Where heaven's black curtains shadow all the sight,
And watch the swollen clouds their bosom clash,
While fleet and far the living lightnings flash ;—
To mark the caverns of the sky disclose
The furnace-flames that in their wombs repose,
And see the fiery arrows fall and rise,
In dizzy chase along the rattling skies;-
How stirs the spirit while the echoes roll,
And God, in thunder, rocks from pole to pole!
THE HEAD OF MEMNON.
IN Egypt's centre, when the world was young,
My statue soar'd aloft, a man-shap'd tower,
O'er hundred-gated Thebes, by Homer sung,
And built by Apis' and Osiris' power.
When the sun's infant eye more brightly blaz'd,
I mark'd the labours of unwearied Time;
And saw, by patient centuries up-rais'd,
Stupendous temples, obelisks sublime!
Hewn from the rooted rock, some mightier mound,
Some new Colossus more enormous springs,
So vast, so firm, that, as I gazed around,
I thought them, like myself, eternal things.
Than did I mark in sacerdotal state,
Psammis the king, whose alabaster tomb
(Such the inscrutable decrees of fate)
Now floats athwart the sea to share my
O Thebes, I cried, thou wonder of the world!
Still shalt thou soar, its everlasting boast:
When lo! the Persian standards were unfurl'd,
And fierce Cambyses led the invading host.
Where from the East a cloud of dust proceeds,
A thousand banner'd suns at once appear;
Nought else was seen:-but sound of neighing
And faint barbaric music met mine ear.
Onward they march, and foremost I descried,
A cuirass'd Grecian band, in phalanx dense,
Around them throng'd, in oriental pride,
Commingled tribes—a wild magnificence.
Dogs, cats, and monkeys in their van they show,
Which Egypt's children worship and obey;
They fear to strike a sacrilegious blow,
And fall-a pious, unresisting prey.
Then, havoc leaguing with infuriate zeal,
Palaces, temples, cities are o'erthrown;
Apis is stabb'd! Cambyses thrusts the steel,
And shuddering Egypt heav'd a general groan!
The firm Memnonium mock'd their feeble power,
Flames round its granite columns hiss'd in vain,-
The head of Isis frowning o'er each tower,
Look'd down with indestructible disdain.
Mine was a deeper and more quick disgrace:Beneath my shade a wondering army flock'd, With force combin'd, they wrench'd me from my
And earth beneath the dread concussion rock'd.
Nile from his banks receded with affright,
The startled Sphinx long trembled at the sound; While from each pyramid's astounding height,
The loosen'd stones slid rattling to the ground.