BY WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
FOUNDED ON ANECDOTES RELATING TO ANIMALS,
WITH PRINTS, DESIGNED AND ENGRAVED BY WILLIAM BLAKE.
Three words of Horace may form an introduction to the following pages, the very words, which that amiable physician and poet, the late Dr. Cotton of St. Alban's, prefixed as a motto to his elegant and moral little volume of Visions in Verse:
"VIRGINIBUS PUERISQUE CANTO."
Or in plainer English prose:—The book is intended for young Readers.
BALLAD THE FIRST.
Of all the speechless friends of man The faithful dog I deem Deserving from the human clan The tenderest esteem:
This feeling creature form'd to love, To watch, and to defend, Was given to man by powers above, A guardian, and a friend!
I sing, of all e'er known to live The truest friend canine; And glory if my verse may give, Brave Fido! it is thine.
A dog of many a sportive trick, Tho' rough and large of limb. Fido would chase the floating stick When Lucy cried, "go swim."
And what command could Lucy give, Her dog would not obey? For her it seemed his pride to live, Blest in her gentle sway!
For conscious of her every care He strain'd each feeling nerve, To please that friend, his lady fair Commanded him to serve.
Of many friends to Lucy dear, One rose above the rest; Proclaim'd, in glory's bright career. The monarch of her breast.
Tender and brave, her Edward came To bid his fair adieu; To India call'd, in honour's name, To honour he was true.
The farewell rack'd poor Lucy's heart, Nor pain'd her lover less; And Fido, when he saw them part, Seem'd full of their distress.
Lucy, who thro' her tears descried His sympathetic air, "Go! with him, Fido!" fondly cried, "And make his life thy care!"
The dog her order understood, Or seem'd to understand, It was his glory to make good Affection's kind command.
How he obeyed;—the price how great His brave obedience cost, Fancy would faulter to relate, In wild conjecture lost.
But Truth and Love, the upright pair, Who witnessed Fido's worth, His wond'rous virtue shall declare, A lesson to the earth!
Not in the battle's gory tide, Nor in the stormy seas, No! Fido's noble faith was tried In scenes of sportive ease.
Often in India's sultry soil To brace the languid limb, 'Twas Edward's pleasure, after toil, To take a fearless swim.
Bold in a flood he lov'd to leap. When full the current flow'd; Nor dreamt the water, dark, and deep. The crocodile's abode.
And fearless he and Fido oft, Along the stream would glide; Their custom from the bank aloft To vault into the tide!
But once, when Edward had begun To cast his clothes aside, Round him his dog would anxious run, And much to check him tried.
So much, that had dumb Fido said "Avoid the stream to day!" Those words could scarce have plainer made What duty wish'd to say.
Edward, too eager to enjoy The sport, where danger lay, Scolds him for gestures, that annoy, And beats his guard away:
And naked now, and dreaming not How cruel was that blow, He hurries to the lofty spot, In haste to plunge below,
His faithful friend, with quicker pace, And now with silent tongue, Out-stript his master in the race, And swift before him sprung.
Heaven! how the heart of Edward swell'd Upon the river's brink, When his brave guardian he beheld A glorious victim sink!
Sink in a watery monster's jaw, That near the river's side Too late th' astonish'd Edward saw, And shriek'd, as Fido died.
In vain he shriek'd; and soon his tears His heart-felt loss deplore; "Lucy!" he cries, as if she hears, "Thy Fido is no more!"
"Calamitously lost, his form, So often thy delight! No artist's hand, with genius warm, Can rescue for thy sight;"
"But if 'tis sung by friendly bard How he resign'd his breath; Thy dog must win the world's regard, Immortal in his death!"
'Twas thus the feeling Edward griev'd, Nor could his grief divine, What honours, by pure love conceived, Brave Fido, would be thine!
When Lucy heard of Fido's fate, What showers of tears she shed! No cost would she have thought too great To celebrate the dead.
But gold had not the power to raise A semblance of her friend; Yet kind compassion, who surveys, Soon bids her sorrow end.
A sculptor, pity's genuine son! Knew her well-founded grief; And quickly, tho' he promised none, Gave her the best relief;
He, rich in Lucy's sister's heart, By love and friendship's aid, Of Fido, with the happiest art, A secret statue made.
By stealth in Lucy's chamber plac'd, It charm'd the mourner there, Till Edward, with new glory grac'd, Rejoin'd his faithful fair.
The marble Fido in their sight, Enhanc'd their nuptial bliss; And Lucy every morn, and night, Gave him a grateful kiss.
* * * * *
BALLAD THE SECOND.
Say, nature, on whose wond'rous reign Delighted fancy dwells, Of all thy numerous brutal train What animal excells?
What quadruped most nobly vies In virtue with mankind, Like man deliberately wise, And resolutely kind?
Beneath a form vast and uncouth Such excellence is found: Sagacious Elephant! thy truth, Thy kindness is renown'd.
More mild than sanguinary man, Whose servant thou hast prov'd, Oft in his frantic battle's van Thy bulk has stood unmoved:
There oft thy spirit griev'd, to see His murd'rous rage encrease, 'Till mad himself, he madden'd thee. Thou nobler friend to peace!
Acts of thy courage might occur To grace heroic song; But I thy gentle deeds prefer, Thou strongest of the strong!
Where India serves the British throne, In scenes no longer wild, A menial Elephant was known, Most singularly mild!
It was his custom, fresh and gay By his attendant led, Walking to water, every day, To pass a gard'ner's shed,
This gard'ner, of good natured fame, Admir'd the noble beast; And gave him, whensoe'er he came, A vegetable feast.
Some dainty, from his stall bestow'd, So made the beast his friend; 'Twas joy to see, at this abode, His blythe proboscis bend.
Not coarsely eager for his food, He seem'd his love to court, And oft delighted, as he stood. To yield his children sport.
As if to thank them for each gift, With tender, touching care, The boys he to his back would lift, And still caress them there.
In short his placid gambols seem'd Affection so profound, His friendship for this man was deem'd A wonder all around.
But O! can humour's giddy range Mislead the brutal mind? Can elephants their friendship change, As fickle as mankind?
See now the hero of my song, That theme of every tongue! Alone, and fierce, he stalks along, As if with frenzy stung:
See! to the gard'ner's well-known shed Impetuous he flies; Seizes his friend in silent dread, And lifts him to the skies.
High as his trunk the man can bear, Th' astonish'd man he bore, Who vainly struggled in the air, And trembled more and more.
So wild, so swift, the monster past, All deem'd him mad and fled.— Thro' a high window gently cast, With terror almost dead,
The astounded gard'ner view'd with awe The savage speed away; But soon with gratitude he saw The source of his dismay:
Unthought of source! for now inflam'd A ravenous tyger sprung, And at the window vainly aim'd To which he trembling clung.
And now with joy his heart strings swell, And blest he deems his lot; For the foil'd tyger as he fell, A latent marksman shot.
The Elephant returns:—O Heaven! How tender was his air, Seeing the friend, whose life was given To his preserving care!
For, conscious of the danger, he, Most providently kind, From unseen ill to set him free, Such rescue had designed.
Ye, whom a friend's dark perils pain, When terrors most unnerve him, Learn from this Elephant to strain Your sinews to preserve him.
* * * * *
BALLAD THE THIRD.
Nature, what heart may here by thee, Most truly brave be styled? The tender mother's it must be, When struggling for her child!
A Scottish tale, of serious truth, Will make the maxim clear, I heard it from a shepherd youth, As nature's self sincere.
On Scotland's wildest, loneliest ground, The subject of my tale Liv'd, where incumbent mountains frown'd High o'er her peaceful vale.
The heroine of nature, she No vain ambition knew, Her bairns and goats she nurs'd with glee, To love and labour true.
Her hut within the valley stood, Where thin grass grew alone, No shade had she from lofty wood. But much from towering stone.
For o'er her vale a mountain's crown, In loftiest horror, hung, A ravenous Eagle half way down, Nurs'd her imperial young.
Jessy herself, so was she call'd, Possess'd an eagle's eye, And her quick vision unappall'd Had mark'd the nest on high.
But of a fearless heart, she deem'd The royal bird her friend, Nor thought its rage, tho' fierce it scream'd, Would to her vale descend.
With plunder borne thro' distant air, She saw it stain the rock, Yet trusted it would nobly spare Her little neighbouring flock.
Ah Jessy, oft the fancied friend, Commits a cruel wrong; Weak neighbours seldom should depend On kindness from the strong.
No manly guard hast thou with thee A savage foe to scare, For thy good man far off to sea The distant billows bear.
That best of guards thou oft has known, But of his aid bereft, Two little boys with thee alone Are all thy treasures left.
The eldest grew with manly grace, His years yet barely seven, A stripling of a sweeter face, Has never gaz'd on Heaven.
He was indeed a friend most rare, To chear his lonely mother, And aid her in her constant care His little baby-brother.
With these to Jessy much endear'd, Whom from the world she hid, Three nurslings more she fondly rear'd, Two lambkins and a kid.
Most tender playmates all the five, None stray'd the vale beyond, They were the happiest imps alive, All of each other fond.
And Jessy all with joy survey'd, With joy her heart ran o'er, When they their little gambols play'd, She spinning at her door.
But how mischance will intervene: This spot of sweet delight, One eventide, became a scene Of anguish and affright.
The elder boy, gay Donald, chanc'd, Far from the door to play, Lest, now within the vale advanc'd, His kid might roam away.
The mother sat to watch the vale, Nor yet his sport forbid; But starts to see the Eagle sail Above the trembling kid.
The kid began to quake and cry; Not so the braver boy, The full-winged savage to defy Was his heroic joy.
Still nearer sail'd the undaunted bird, Its destin'd deed undone, And when its ravenous scream she heard The mother join'd her son.
Their shouts united, and each arm In bold protection spread, Secur'd the kid from real harm, Tho' now with fear half dead,
Some furlongs from their cottage sill, Now pass'd this anxious scene; There they had left, as safe from ill, The sleeping babe serene.
The savage bird the kid renounc'd, But round the cottage oft Rapid he wheel'd, and there he pounc'd, And bore the babe aloft.
Ah!—who can now that impulse paint, Which fires the mother's breast? Nor toil, nor danger, makes her faint; She seeks this Eagle's nest.
But first with courage clear, tho' warm, As guides the martial shock, When British tars prepare to storm A fortress on a rock.
She bids, to mark the Eagle's flight, Young Donald watch below, While she will mount the craggy height, And to his aerie go.
With filial hope her son, who knew Her courage and her skill, Watch'd to parental orders true, Magnanimously still.
And now, his mother out of sight, He fixt his piercing eye On crags, that blaz'd in solar light, Whence eagles us'd to fly.
He saw, as far as eye may ken, A crag with blood defil'd, And entering this aerial den The Eagle and the child.
The boy, tho' trusting much in God, With generous fear was fill'd; Aware, that, if those crags she trod, His mother might be kill'd.
His youthful mind was not aware How nature may sustain Life, guarded by maternal care From peril, and from pain.
And now he sees, or thinks he sees (His heart begins to pant) A woman crawling on her knees, Close to the Eagle's haunt.
It is thy mother, gallant boy, Lo! up her figure springs: She darts, unheard, with speechless joy Between the Eagle's wings.
Behold! her arms its neck enchain, And clasp her babe below: Th' entangled bird attempts in vain Its burthen to o'erthrow.
Now Heaven defend thee, mother bold, Thy peril is extreme: Thou'rt dead, if thou let go thy hold, Scar'd by that savage scream;
And bravely if thou keep it fast, What yet may be thy doom! This very hour may be thy last, That aerie prove thy tomb.
No! No! thank Heaven! O nobly done! O marvellous attack! I see thee riding in the sun, Upon the Eagle's back.
In vain it buffets with its wings, In vain it wheels around; Still screaming, in its airy rings, It sinks towards the ground.
Run, Donald, run! she has not stirr'd, And she is deadly pale: She's dead; and with the dying bird Descending to the vale.
Lo! Donald flies.—She touches earth: O form'd on earth to shine! O mother of unrivall'd worth, And sav'd by aid divine!
She lives unhurt—unhurt too lies The baby in her clasp; And her aerial tyrant dies Just strangled in her grasp.
What triumph swelled in Donald's breast, And o'er his features spread. When he his living mother prest, And held the Eagle dead!
Angels, who left your realms of bliss. And on this parent smil'd, Guard every mother brave as this, In rescuing her child!
* * * * *
BALLAD THE FOURTH.
Blest be the boy, by virtue nurst, Who knows not aught of fear's controul, And keeps, in peril's sudden burst, The freedom of an active soul.
Such was a lively Tuscan boy, Who lived the youthful Tasso's friend, Friendship and verse his early joy, And music, form'd with love to blend.
Love had inspir'd his tender frame, His years but two above eleven, The sister of his friend his flame! A lovely little light of Heaven!
Born in the same propitious year, Together nurst, together taught; Each learn'd to hold the other dear, In perfect unison of thought.
Their forms, their talents, and their talk, Seem'd match'd by some angelic powers, Ne'er grew upon a rose's stalk A sweeter pair of social flowers.
Fortunio was the stripling's name, Cornelia his affection's queen, Both to all eyes, where'er they came, Endear'd by their attractive mien.
For like a pair of fairy sprites, Endued with soft aetherial grace, Enrapt in musical delights They hardly seem'd of mortal race!
Often the youth, in early morn, Awak'd a social sylvan flute. To notes as gay, as Dian's horn, Or tender, as Apollo's lute.
Then, at his side, his sovereign fair Appear'd the rising day to greet, Uniting to his dulcet air Devotion's song divinely sweet.
A fund of joys, that never waste, Nature to this sweet pair had given; Invention, harmony, and taste, And fancy, brightest gift of Heaven!
In quest of many a new device, Thro' pathless scenes they joy'd to roam, Composing songs most wildly sweet, Heard, with parental pride, at home.
Delighted in a wood to rove, That near their native city spread; There of its gayest flowers they wove, A garland for each other's head.
One morn when this dear task was done, And just as each the other crown'd, Seeking deep, shade to 'scape the sun, A piteous spectacle they found.
It was a dead disfigur'd fawn, Its milk white haunch some monster tore; It perish'd in that morning's dawn, Nor had the sun yet dried its gore!
Cornelia, nature's genuine child, Caress'd the dead, with pity pale; It's mangled limb, with gesture mild, She shrouded in her sea-green veil.
The sympathetic pair agreed, To form a grave without a spade; Bury their fawn beneath a tree, And chaunt a requiem to his shade.
Fortunio had a rustic knife, With this their feeling task they plann'd, And often in a friendly strife, They claim'd it from each other's hand.
But ere their tedious toil advanc'd, Towards its kind and tender end, Cornelia, as her quick eye glanc'd, Saw, what escap'd her toiling friend.
It was a sight that well might shake, A little heart of stouter mould; A sight, that made Cornelia quake, And all her quivering fibres cold!
A furious Stag advancing sprung, Eager along the echoing wood, As if vindictive for his young, To reach the spot, where now they stood.
Cornelia scarce could stand, for she Began her guardian to entreat; Seizing his busy arm, to flee Far from the fawn before her feet.
The youth her painful terror saw, And with a manly sterness said, In a firm voice, inspiring awe, "Cornelia I must be obeyed."
"True love is brave, whate'er may chance— Behind this tree's protecting bole Stand thou—nor fear the Stag's advance, But trust to thy Fortunio's soul!"
The faithful maid, in double dread, Fear'd to offend him more than death; And now, as near the fierce foe sped, Behind the tree, she pants for breath.
Yet peeping thence in fond alarm, Most trembling for her guardian's life, She looks, expecting that his arm Would brandish his defensive knife.
Amazement kept the trembler mute, To see him hurl it far away, And from his bosom pluck his flute, And fearlessly begin to play.
The furious parent of the dead, Marking him near his blood-stain'd young, Aim'd at his breast with hostile head, As near the dauntless boy he sprung.
But ere the branching horns could reach, That object of ill-founded ire, Sounds of resistless magic teach Submission to the savage sire.
The young musician richly pour'd Notes from his pipe, so wond'rous sweet, A rav'nous pard must have ador'd, And melted at the minstrel's feet.
So softly plaintive was the strain, No living thing unmov'd could hear, What took from terror all its pain, And mixt delight with sorrow's tear.
The Stag with a pathetic grace Look'd up, most eloquently mute; And sighing in Fortunio's face, Now lick'd the hand, that held his flute.
Cornelia saw, with blest relief, The scene that every fear dismist; And sharing all his love and grief, Her foe, so humaniz'd, she kist.
Then by her brave musician's side, She fondly claspt his honour'd hand. "And give me credit now," she cried, "For staying at thy stern command."
"Henceforth, tho' plung'd in perils new, I shrink from none, if thou art near, But feel our sacred maxim true, That perfect love will cast out fear!"
"This Stag to thee will ever shew The gratitude, thy strains inspire! And those, who soothe a parent's woe, Are dear to Heaven's all-soothing sire."
"Our duty to this hapless fawn We will perform, and often fly To hail his grave at early dawn; Youth and misfortune claim a sigh!"
The lovely nymph prophetic spoke; The Stag, as taught by powers above, Oft met them at their fav'rite oak, And seem'd to bless their tender love.
Here oft the little fair retir'd; Here lov'd from gayer scenes withdrawn, To breathe, what harmony inspir'd— A dirge to memorize the fawn!
* * * * *
BALLAD THE FIFTH.
Who can forget fair freedom's bird, That has her genuine praises heard, Confirm'd by frequent proof? The patriot stork is sure to share The brave Batavian's generous care, While breeding on his roof,
In all her early, brightest, days, When Holland won immortal praise Her Spanish tyrant's dread! She play'd not her heroic part With spirit, nobler than the heart, Of one mild bird she bred.
It was a female Stork, whose mind Shew'd all the mother, bravely kind, In trial's fiercest hour; This bird had blest her happy lot, High-nested on a fisher's cot, As stedfast as a tower.
Her host, a man benignly mild, Was happy in a darling child Who now had woman's air; Her face intelligent and sweet, And her soft bosom was the seat Of kind courageous care.
The lovely girl was call'd Catau, She joy'd to make her neat hearth glow, For her returning sire; When from his distant toil he hied, To banquet by his daughter's side, Before his evening fire.
The child and parent liv'd alone: Each to the other long had shewn Such pure and perfect love, Comrades they wanted none beside, Both cherishing, with tender pride, Their Stork, who built above.
To their high chimney's top she sprung, Protecting there three callow young, Too feeble to descend: But oft she visited the ground, And in her youthful hostess found A playmate, and a friend.
In scenes of social care endear'd, As sure as supper time appear'd, The Stork a ready guest, Was constant at the damsel's side, And she with dainties was supplied, To carry to her nest.
But how among the dearest brood Calamity will oft intrude, And fairest hopes prevent; How quick can desolation's storm With horrid agonies deform, The scene of sweet content!
As early one autumnal eve, Catau was eager to receive Her father to his feast; She look'd without her door, and saw Aloft a little blaze of straw, That in the wind encreas'd.
Alas! from her high chimney's top A dangerous spark had chanc'd to drop, And fir'd the fav'rite nest! She sees the affrighted parent fly, Around her young, and seem to cry "Oh succour the distrest!"
Catau was an heroic maid, Most apt to lend a sufferer aid; With quick-ey'd zeal she found A ladder, and a triple fork, On which to lift each callow Stork, And guide them to the ground.
With pity's just, and dauntless, haste, She mounts the ladder rightly plac'd, She rears the guardian fork; Her heart expands, with hope elate, That she shall kindly snatch from fate Each tender little Stork.
Dear virtuous damsel, vainly brave, Thou must resign thy hopes to save These innocents from death! The faithless ladder breaks—the maid Escaping by angelic aid, Now scarce retains her breath.
Forgetting selfish fear, her eye Is fixt upon the scene on high, With anguish and despair; The dauntless bird, with wond'rous skill, A parent's duty to fulfil, Toils in the troubled air.
Two of the callow young she lays, Beyond the peril of the blaze; But while the last she rears, The other little ones distrest Crawl back within the burning nest, And aggravate her fears.
Now in the vex'd and heated air, She draws fresh courage from despair; She sees them gasp for breath; Tho' fiercer flames around her sprung, She settles on her dying young, And welcomes social death!
"My glorious bird," exclaims the maid, Who her brave fav'rite survey'd, While she expir'd above: "I will not at thy lot repine, But rather pray it may be mine, To die with those I love!"
BALLAD THE SIXTH.
Maternal love! thou wond'rous power, By no base fears controul'd, Tis truly thine, in danger's hour, To make the tender bold!
And yet, more marvellous! thy sway, Amid the pathless wild, Can humanize the beast of prey! And make the savage mild!
A traveller, on Afric's shore. Near to a forest's side, That shook with many a monster's roar, With hasty caution hied.
But suddenly, full in his way, A Panther he descries; Athwart his very road she lay, And fixt his fearful eyes.
With backward step, and watchful stare If refuge there may be; He hopes to gain, with trembling care, The refuge of a tree.
A fruitless hope—the Panther moves, Perceiving his intent, And vain his utmost caution proves Her purpose to prevent.
But no fierce purpose to destroy The dreadful beast impells; Her gesture, blending grief and joy, Far other motive tells.
Round him she fawns, with gentle pace; Her actions all entreat: She looks imploring in his face, And licks his hands and feet!
The traveller, a Roman born, Was of a generous mind; He never view'd distress with scorn, To all that breath'd most kind.
And soon all selfish fear apart, His native spirit rose, The suffering Panther won his heart, He only felt her woes.
"Jove help thee gracious beast," he cried, "Some evil wounds thee sore, And it shall be my joy and pride, Thy sorrows to explore!"
The beast his kindness understood, Fix'd on his robe a claw, And gently to the neighb'ring wood, Appear'd her friend to draw.
How little is the want of speech, When kindness rules the heart; Gesture will then all lessons teach, That language can impart!
The Roman, Caelius, was his name, By brave compassion sway'd, Conjectur'd all the Panther's aim, And gave her willing aid.
For in the forest with his guide, He hears her wailing young, To whom the tender beast replied. With a maternal tongue.
He sees them only in his thought, For in a curious snare, The hapless little creatures caught, Could only murmur there.
Deep in an earthy trap they lay, An iron grate above, Precluded them from chearful day, And from a mother's love!
But quicken'd by the touching sound, The little captives made, The generous Caelius clear'd the ground. And all the snare display'd.
Two vigorous cubs spring up to light, And to their parent haste; Caelius a third, in tenderer plight, Within the pit embrac'd!
For in he leap'd, to save the young, That seem'd to suffer harm; And swiftly from the pit he sprung, The cub beneath his arm.
The conscious nursling lick'd his cheek, With young endearment sweet, He kiss'd, and laid it safe, tho' weak, Before its parent's feet.
Too faint is language to describe, The Panther's grateful glee, Contemplating her little tribe, From deadly bondage free.
By gesture, that with meaning glows, All eloquence above, She largely, on her friend, bestows, Protection, thanks, and love!
Seeing him start, to hear a roar, That spoke the lion near, She guides him thro' her wood once more, And banishes his fear.
Here (when she brought him to his road) Her gesture said, "we part!" With friendship all her features glow'd, Each movement spoke her heart.
He shar'd her feelings. "Bless your den," He said, as he withdrew, "For gratitude has fled from men, And seems to live with you!"
* * * * *
THE GRATEFUL SNAKE.
BALLAD THE SEVENTH.
Ingratitude! of earth the shame! Thou monster, at whose hated name, The nerves of kindness ake; Would I could drive thee from mankind, By telling how a grateful mind, Once dignified a snake.
The tale is antient, and is sweet, To mortals, who with joy repeat, What soothes the feeling heart; The first of virtues, that may boast The power to soothe, and please it most, Sweet gratitude, thou art.
The reptile, whom thy beauties raise, Has an unquestion'd claim to praise, That justice will confirm! The Muses, with a graceful pride, May turn from thankless man aside, To celebrate a worm!
In Arcady, grave authors write, There liv'd a Serpent, the delight, Of an ingenuous child; Proud of his kindness, the brave boy. Fed and caress'd it with a joy, Heroically mild.
Pleased all his gambols to attend, The snake, his playfellow, and friend, Still in his sight he kept; The reptile, ever at his side, Obeys him waking, and with pride, Would watch him, while he slept!
Once ere her darling was awake, The anxious mother saw the snake, So twin'd around his arm, She begged her husband to convey The fondling serpent far away, For fear of casual harm.
The happy father of the child, Himself a being bravely mild, To her request attends; Conscious such comrades could not part Without great anguish of the heart, He fear'd to wound the friends.
They both were young, and both had shewn Affection into habit grown, With feelings most acute; Yet to a parent's duty just, Tho' griev'd to part them, part he must, The point bears no dispute.
But with a tenderness of mind That prov'd him truly not inclined, Their friendship to destroy; He form'd a plan, and held it good; To hurt as little as he could, The Serpent, or the boy.
To sleep he both with opiates lur'd, Then, in their slumber's bond secur'd, See in his arms they go! To woody scenes, where for the snake, (There left entranc'd) when he shall wake, Both food and shelter grow.
The slumbering boy awak'd at home, And miss'd his friend, and wish'd to roam, And seek the friend he miss'd: But hearing all his sire had done, Soon pacified, the grateful son, Could not such love resist.
He promis'd, for his mother's sake, Not to recall his exil'd snake, Nor wander to his wood; He was a boy of manly soul, And true to honour's just controul, He made his promise good.
Nature, to these divided friends Now in their separate lot attends; Time decks them as he flies; The child, a graceful stripling grows, And freedom on the snake bestows, A formidable size.
And now it chanc'd the Arcadian youth, Renown'd for courage, love and truth! Had sought a favourite maid; Led by her tender charms to roam, Forgetting distance from his home, Abroad too late he stay'd.
Sooner indeed he meant to start, To save a watchful parent's heart, And not one fear excite: But oft, as nature's records tell, Ere love can utter his farewell, Day melts into the night.
Eager to take the shortest road, That led to his remote abode, He thro' a forest sped; There, by the moon's slow rising beam, He saw a robber's faulchion gleam, High brandish'd o'er his head.
A hunter's javelin in his hand, He scorn'd the ruffian's base demand, And made the wretch recoil; But numbers from a thicket spring, The youth they hem within a ring, And threaten to despoil.
He, then alarm'd, calls loud for aid, And sudden from the rustling shade, A wond'rous sound they hear. The startled ruffians turned in dread; Some shriek'd, some shouted, and some fled, Their foe approaches near.
Against one wretch, of form uncouth, Who basely struck the encircled youth, And gave his foot a wound; This shadowy foe, of silent tongue, Had from his secret ambush sprung, And beat him to the ground,
Another, as he fled in haste, The youth's defender then embrac'd With such a deadly clasp; The villain fell, and in the strife Groan'd out his miserable life, In horror's speechless gasp.
Who can describe the youth's surprise, When by the moon-beam he descries The source of his escape! That aid, who crush'd his murd'rous foes, To meet his gratitude now rose. And in a serpent's shape.
"My Zoe!" (hear him now exclaim) The child had by that fondling name, Been used his snake to call: The reptile heard, and at the sound Began, with pitying care, around His wounded foot to crawl.
The blood she staunch'd, with tender tongue, Then higher to his hand she sprung, And lick'd with fond caress! Her gestures all this truth declare, "Thy Zoe makes thy life her care, And joys in her success!"
The wasting night now wears away; The youth's fond mother at his stay, To fear maternal yields; And doubting of some dire mischance, She hurries, ere the morn's advance, To seek him in the fields.
With what delight, with what amaze, Her eye her smiling son surveys, And rolling by his side, A serpent of triumphant air, Who seems his fond regard to share, And serve him as a guide!
For faithful Zoe would attend The footsteps of her wounded friend, 'Till he at home may rest; His mother learnt her wond'rous truth, And clasping the dear rescued youth, His brave confederate blest!
Zoe no more condemn'd to roam, Now grew an inmate of their home: The snake at Athens rear'd, The symbol of Minerva's power, Lodg'd as her servant in her tower, Was never more rever'd.
Zoe was the delight of all, Obedient to each friendly call, From all she honour won; But her the mother most caresst, And fondly shew'd to every guest, The guardian of her son!
* * * * *
THE FATAL HORSE.
BALLAD THE EIGHTH.
Of creatures that to man attend, His pastime, or his wealth; The Horse we cherish as a friend, To sickness and to health.
Bless them, who shield a steed from woe. By age from toil releas'd! And hated be the proud, who shew No mercy to their beast!
A wretch once doom'd, tho' rich and strong, His faithful horse to bleed, But tell his fate, my moral song, For that atrocious deed!
An antient knight, of Kentish race; Of his athletic frame Prone to indulge the passions base, Sir Geoffrin his name,
Against a priest indulg'd his rage, Who charitably good, To shield a widow's helpless age, His avarice withstood.
With abject choler fierce and hot, The knight perforce would gain, And blend her little garden plot, With his superb domain.
The priest, who, on that very ground, To soothe his wrath would strive, In frantic passion's fit he bound, And buried him alive!
The wretch was seiz'd with shame and fear, Tho' he his crime would boast: When suddenly he chanc'd to hear, His king lay off the coast!
'Twas gallant Harold, in that day, Elate with regal power; Becalm'd his stately vessel lay, Near Geoffrin's high tower.
The royal mercy to surprize, He now resolves with speed; "Haste, hither bring," he wildly cries, "My strongest favourite steed."
It was a steed of noblest kind, In spirit and in limb, On which the desp'rate knight design'd To the king's ship to swim!
Now by the swelling ocean's side, He mounts his courser brave! Spurs him with domineering pride, And plunges in the wave!
Us'd to his bold caprices oft, And equal to his weight, The courser toss'd his mane aloft, And swam with breast elate.
The knight now flourishes his sword, As near the ship he draws; The wond'rous sight strikes all on board, Who throng to find the cause:
The sailors round their sov'reign croud, Who on the vessels stern, Now hails the knight's approach aloud, Eager, his aim to learn.
"Provok'd by villains, one I slew, And own him rashly slain; Hence to thy clemency I flew, My pardon to obtain!"
"Now by St. George, thou vent'rous knight, Thy steed has nobly done; Swim back, and pardon make thee light, Thy pardon he has won!"
The knight now with a joyous spring His horse's neck embrac'd; Then blessing thrice his gracious king, He steer'd him back in haste.
Now, as he touch'd his native sand, And near his castle gate, He saw the weeping widow stand, And mock'd her mournful state.
"Woman, thy threats touch me no more, I ride on safety's wing; My brave horse brings me safe to shore, With pardon from my king!"
"Kings seem to grant what God denies, Trust my prophetic breath," (So the indignant dame replies) "That horse shall prove thy death!"
She spoke, and with a voice so keen, It search'd his inmost soul, And caus'd a storm of fearful spleen, Thro' his dark brain to roll
Half credulous, half wildly brave, Now doubt, now rage prevails: He stood like a black suspended wave, Struck by two adverse gales.
A doubt by superstition nurst, Made all just thoughts recede; Frantic he wav'd his sword, and pierc'd His life-preserving steed!
"Thy prophecies I thus destroy," He cried, "thou wretched crone; Threats on my days no more employ, But tremble for thy own."
Striding away, his steed he left In his pure blood to roll, He quickly, of all aid bereft, Breath'd out his nobler soul.
The boastful knight, now gay with pride By his successful crimes, Floating on folly's golden tide, Prosper'd in stormy times.
Ungrateful both to man and beast His sovereign he betray'd, And lent, ere Harold's empire ceas'd, The Norman treacherous aid.
The Norman tyrant much carest This proud and abject slave, And lands, by worthier lords possest, For his base succour gave.
Now years, since that eventful hour, In which his courser bled, Had pour'd increase of wealth, and pow'r On his aspiring head.
As near, with much enlarged estate, To his domain he drew; He chanc'd, before his castle gate, A signal scene to view.
The scene his war-steel'd nerves could shock, Seated on mossy stones The widow, leaning 'gainst a rock, Wept o'er his horse's bones.
Enrag'd from his new steed he vaults, Quick with his foot to spurn These bones, that bid his bloody faults To his base mind return.
The head, now bleach'd, his proud foot strikes With such indignant speed, The bone its fierce aggressor spikes; It is his turn to bleed.
The trivial wound the wrathful knight Disdains to search with care. But soon he finds, the wound tho' slight, Death lurks in ambush there.
Now to his bed of sorrow bound, By penitential pain, He seems, by this heart-reaching wound, A purer mind to gain.
Near to his couch he bids, with care, The widow to be brought, And speaks to her, with soften'd air, His self-correcting thought.
"True prophetess! I feel thee now; So God my crimes forgive, As I with thee true concord vow: In comfort may'st thou live."
"Behold upon this charter'd scroll, A pictur'd cottage stand, I give it thee, with all my soul, And its adjacent land."
"The only rent I will assume, Be this. At close of day, Sit thou, with pity, on my tomb, And for my spirit pray!"
"That tomb be rais'd by sculpture's aid, To warn men from my guilt; My horse's head beside me laid, Whose blood I basely spilt!"
He spoke, he died, the tomb was made, His statue look'd to Heaven! And daily then the widow pray'd, His crimes might be forgiven!
* * * * *
BALLAD THE NINTH.
Lovely woman! how brave is thy soul, When duty and love are combin'd! Then danger in vain would controul Thy tender, yet resolute mind.
Boulla thus in an African glade, In her season of beauty and youth, In the deadliest danger display'd All the quick-sighted courage of truth.
Tho' the wife of a peasant, yet none Her grandeur of heart rose above; And her husband was nature's true son In simplicity, labour, and love.
'Twas his task, and he manag'd it well, The herd of his master to guide, Where a marshy and desolate dell Daily drink to the cattle supplied.
In this toil a dear playfellow shar'd, A little, brave, sensible boy! Who nobly for manhood prepar'd, Made every kind office his joy.
One day as the dell they drew near, They perceiv'd all the cattle around Starting wild, in tumultuous fear, As if thunder had shaken the ground.
The peasant, in wonder and awe, Keenly search'd for the cause of their fright; Very soon it's just motive he saw, And he shudder'd himself at the sight;
For couch'd in the midst of the glade An enormous fierce Lion he view'd; His eye-balls shot flame thro' the shade, And with gore his vast jaw was imbru'd.
"Fly boy to thy mother, be sure! Dear child do not tremble for me! I fear not if thou art secure; I shall 'scape in the limbs of a tree."
He spoke, flying light as the breeze, His cattle were scatter'd before, Them he thought that the Lion would seize, And for human food hunger no more.
But athirst for the blood of a man, All the herd he in fury disdain'd; And leapt at the bough, as he ran, Which the peasant had rapidly gain'd.
He leapt, but he fail'd of his prey; For the peasant was happily higher: Beneath him, indignant, he lay, And watch'd him with vigilant ire.
The boy had his father obey'd, And ran for his rustic abode; And oft turning, that father survey'd, And hardly remember'd his road.
But when, with a burst of delight. His father he saw in a tree, He lost all his sense of affright, And his terror was turn'd into glee.
Then quick to his mother he sped, And quickly his story he told: As she heard it, she shudder'd with dread; But love made her suddenly bold.
She remember'd, that oft to her boy She a lesson of archery gave: Then the bow she resolv'd to employ, And by courage his father to save.
Soon forth from a curious old chest A bundle of arrows she drew; The gift of a warrior, their guest, And ting'd with a poisonous glue!
With a bow, that the chief us'd alone, Which her arm could not easily draw: This bow she preferr'd to her own, In these moments of hope and of awe.
And now they both haste from their cot, The stripling his mother before, And keenly he shew'd her the spot, As the bow he exultingly bore.
More cautious as now they advance, The boy, to his eager desire, Espied, with a love-guided glance, The half-shrouded head of his sire.
He leapt, with a rapturous joy; But, marking the Lion below, In silence the spirited boy Made ready the powerful bow.
From his mother an arrow he caught, In hope's youthful extacy hot; And softly said, quick as his thought, "O grant to my hand the first shot."
His entreaty she could not refuse, Yet hardly had time to consent; Impatient his aim not to lose, The stripling the bow would have bent.
He labour'd to bend it in vain; It surpass'd all the strength of his years: The brave boy full of anguish and pain, Let it fall to the ground with his tears.
His father beheld him with grief, Seeing both, he yet more and more grieves, While his eyes, as in search of relief, Look forth from his refuge of leaves.
But Boulla, who caught his keen eye, Now grasp'd her adventurous bow, And, with prayers addrest to the sky, She aim'd at the Lion below.
Good angels! her arrow direct! On its flight these dear beings depend, Whose kindness, by danger uncheck'd, Has deserv'd to find Heaven their friend.
See the beast! Lo! his eye-balls yet burn, On his prey he still gloats, with a yawn, Yet the woman he does not discern; And her bow is undauntedly drawn.
O love! it is thine to impart Such force, as none else can bestow— She has shot with the strength of her heart, She has pierced her infuriate foe.
While his jaws were enormously spread, (The truth of her archery see!) Thro' his cheek her sure arrow has sped; It fastens his flesh to the tree.
Too soon of her conquest secure, She runs within reach of his claw, But in tortures he cannot endure, He has struck her to earth with his paw.
Lo! anxious the peasant descends: Good peasant no more be afraid! Heaven sent her the bravest of friends, In the boy who has rush'd to her aid.
Before thou couldst spring to the ground, Her boy made her triumph complete; And contriving a marvellous wound, He has stretch'd her foe dead at her feet.
From the tree by his struggles releas'd, While he roll'd in his own blood afloat Brave Demba ran up to the beast, And darted ten shafts in his throat.
Their poisons collected afford Lethargic relief to his pangs; And Death! of all nature the lord! Thy shadows now rest on his fangs.
Now love! thy own fancy employ! For words are too feeble to trace The father, the mother, the boy, In triumph's extatic embrace.
* * * * *
BALLAD THE TENTH.
Kind Heaven will oft a lesson give If mortals are inclined to learn; To shew how simplest things that live, To kindness make a rich return.
Tho' fiction speaks of dying notes, Sung by the swan in death resign'd; Is there a tribe, that flies or floats, Of sense, or feeling, less refin'd?
Yet simple as this bird we deem, My faithful ballad shall attest, One Swan displayed on Thames's stream, A feeling and a friendly breast
Cecilia liv'd on Thames's bank, A young and lovely married fair; To creatures kind of every rank, A favourite Swan had own'd her care.
Her lord, a merchant, frank and young, By probity was known to thrive; Their bliss enliven'd every tongue, They were the happiest pair alive;
For to increase their nuptial joy And their domestic scene adorn; Heaven crown'd their blessings with a boy, A finer boy was never born.
His sportive life had only run To six short months, how brief a date! When gay Cecilia's darling son, Was threaten'd with a deadly fate!
Her garden had a terrace fair, Beneath it, full the river flow'd, There she enjoyed the evening air, Her favourite Swan there proudly row'd.
The mother in her active arms, To make her boy benignly mild; And nobly proof 'gainst all alarms, There oft would exercise her child.
A boat-house by the terrace side, Shelter'd a small and simple boat: And sometimes half way o'er the tide Chain'd to its home, it us'd to float.
Here she, her infant, and her maid, Sport with the Swan, and give it bread; While her gay boy, of nought afraid, With lively transport sees it fed.
'Tis June—a sultry tempest wild Impends, Cecilia would retire, But checks herself to teach her child, The vivid light'ning to admire.
Her noble mind delights to rear In early fortitude, her boy; That he the voice of God may hear, With admiration's awful joy!
While to regain the vessel's shed, Her maid an active pilot stands; She to the music o'er her head, Dances the child with dauntless hands.
But whirlwinds rise: the vessel reel'd, Heaven! the sweet parent is o'erthrown: Her falling head she fails to shield, Attentive to her child alone.
Tis the tornado's ruthless blast; The mother stunn'd, the babe it bears Far from her senseless frame! aghast The maid, in speechless horror glares!
Yet swiftly to its proper shore, The whirlwind now the vessel drives, Where by the elemental roar Alarm'd, Cecilia's lord arrives.
Into the boat behold him bound, He lifts his lifeless wife upright: She wakens to the thunder's sound; Her opening eyes regain the light.
"Where is my child?" she faintly cries; "Where is the child?" her lord rejoin'd: Poor heart-struck Susan nought replies, The child had vanished from her mind.
"My child! my child!" with terror's start She shrieks, in accents wild and shrill; And at her agony of heart, The very tempest's self grew still!
"Say if you saw him sink!" she cried, Wildly to Susan pale and wan: When quick her roving eye descried, The tall neck of her favourite Swan.
"My God! my God! 'tis thee I thank!" Exclaim'd the now exulting fair; "I see him wafted to the bank, His cradle form'd by heavenly care!"
She spoke, and all who heard her cry, Now saw the babe divinely nurst; The extatic sight from every eye, Made tears of grateful transport burst.
Between her silvery arching wings, The guardian bird had lodg'd the child; And forward as her broad foot springs, At every stroke the infant smil'd.
And with a heaven-implanted pride, Superbly rowing now to land; The brave bird has her charge denied To all, but to the mother's hand.
Cecilia feeling now no pains, Leans o'er the boat's advancing end; And aided by her lord reclaims, The present of her feather'd friend.
Now with delight the rescued boy, To her maternal bosom springs: The conscious Swan partakes their joy, And claps her proud triumphant wings.
Cecilia beads to weep and pray, She weeps with joy, no longer wan; And still on this returning day, Blesses the heaven-directed Swan!
THE HERMIT'S DOG.
BALLAD THE ELEVENTH.
Of dogs who sav'd a living friend, Most nobly, ye have read: Now to a nobler still attend, A guardian of the dead.
As o'er wild Alpine scenes I stray'd, Not far from that retreat, Where Bruno, with celestial aid, First plann'd his sacred seat.
An anchorite of noble mien, Attracted my regard; Majestic as that savage scene, Or as a Cambrian bard.
He to no silent dome belongs, The rock is his domain; It echoes to his nightly songs Devotion's lonely strain.
His mansion is a tranquil grot, Form'd in the living stone: My view of the sequester'd spot, I owe to chance alone.
For happening near his cell to rove, Enamour'd of the wild; I heard within a piny grove What seem'd a plaintive child.
The distant cry so struck my ear, I hasten'd to the ground, But saw surpris'd, as I drew near, The author of the sound.
No human form, yet one I thought, With human feelings fill'd, And from his tongue, by nature taught, Strange notes of sorrow thrill'd.
Unseen myself, I clearly saw A dog that couchant moan'd; He struck the hard earth with his paw, Then look'd at Heaven, and groan'd!
With silent caution I drew near, To mark this friend of man, Expressing grief in sobs so clear, It through my bosom ran!
The noble beast was black as jet, And as a lion large; He look'd as on a tombstone set, To hold the dead in charge.
Grand was his visage, round his neck Broad silver rings he wore; These rings, that his dark body deck, The cross of Malta bore.
I gaz'd, but soon my steps, tho' soft, Announced a stranger near; The brave beast bounded up aloft, Nor was I free from fear.
But soon his master's voice represt And call'd him to his side: And soon I was the hermit's guest, He was my guard and guide.
My own intrusion to excuse, The wond'rous dog I prais'd, Whose milder mien my eye reviews, Delighted and amaz'd!
"If I disturb thy calm retreat, Divinely calm indeed, The noble servant at thy feet, May for my pardon plead."
"That noble servant in my sight Whom strength and grace adorn, Announces, if I read aright, A master nobly born."
The sire replied, with graceful bend, "No not my servant, he! A noble independent friend, He deigns to live with me!"
"But, stranger, if you kindly rest, His story you shall hear, And all that makes my sable guest, Most singularly dear."
"Here it has been my chosen lot, Some awful years to spend! Few months have pass'd, since near this spot I gain'd this signal friend."
"This friend, with whom to live and die, Is now my dearest aim; He likes the world no more than I, And Hero is his name."
"Some two miles off, as near a wood, Of deepest gloom I stray'd; Struck by strange sounds, I wond'ring stood, They echoed from the shade."
"First like a noise in troubled dreams, But soon distinct I heard, A dog's triumphant bark, and screams, That spoke a dying bird."
"A bird of loud portentous note, One of the vulture race, Which shepherds will to death devote, In sanguinary chace."
"I thought some shepherd's joy to share, And hurried to the sound: To what I had expected there Far different scene I found."
"A man, of blood-bespotted vest, I saw upon the earth; And Malta's cross upon his breast, Spoke him of noble birth."
"Misfortune long had press'd him sore; I know not how he died; He had been dead two days or more, When I his corse descried."
"Him, as their prey, two vultures seek, With ravenous rage abhorr'd; But Hero guarded from their beak, The visage of his lord!"
"When first my eyes on Hero glanc'd, One vulture he had slain: The second scar'd as I advanced, Flew off in fearful pain."
"Enchanted with a guard so brave, So faithful to the dead: The wounded dog to soothe and save, With beating heart I sped."
"He lick'd my hand, by me carest, But him with grief I saw Half famish'd, and his gallant breast Gor'd by the vulture's claw!"
"Tho' anxious o'er his wounds I bend; By kindness or by force, I could not tempt this generous friend. To quit the pallid corse!"
"The body to my cell I bear; This mourner with it moved; Then he submitted to my care, And all my aid approv'd."
"In the soft stone, that's near my cell, I soon entomb'd the dead; With stone above I shield him well, And laurels round I spread."
"Oft to the spot with mournful praise, The mindful Hero springs, And in such notes, as he can raise, A requiem he sings."
"Dear faithful dog! if man to me Had half thy virtue shewn, From social life I should not flee, To roam the wild alone!"
"No! not alone, nor yet in woe, While here thy virtues shine, For I defy the world to shew Associate like to mine!"
The dog, he now press'd to his heart, Then utter'd this desire; "Stranger if thine a poet's art, Let Hero wake thy lyre!"
His wish was kind—may love so true. Ne'er want its wishes long: Thus from his fond suggestion grew, This tributary song.
* * * * *
BALLAD THE TWELFTH.
Not only men of stormy minds, The storms of trouble know, All creatures of this earth must find A share of earthly woe!
Ye whose pure hearts with pity swell, For pain by all incurr'd; Hear how affliction once befell, Serenity's sweet bird.
Ye fair, who in your carols praise The Halcyon's happy state; Hear in compassionate amaze, One Halcyon's hapless fate.
A nymph, Selina is her name, Lovely in mind and mien, When spring, however early, came, Was fond of walks marine.
Between a woman and a child, In tender charms she grew, And lov'd with fancy sweetly wild, The lonely shore to view.
Nature she studied, every spring, To all her offspring kind, And taught the birds of wildest wing, To trust her gentle mind.
Now brilliant in her youthful eye, The Halcyon's feathers flame; She wish'd a pair of these, tho' shy, Affectionately tame.
Nor wish'd she long, for such her care; Such her attractive skill; She makes e'en rovers of the air, Attentive to her will.
When stormy March had ceas'd to roar, Selina joy'd to rove; And watch a Halcyon on the shore, Within a little cove.
Familiariz'd by slow degrees, They met in friendly mood; 'Till her bright favourite on her knees, Would perch for offer'd food.
How joyous was Selina's breast, When thus she had prevail'd; Each coming of her radiant guest, How tenderly she hail'd.
It seem'd her guest, so frequent here, The damsel us'd to roam; And deem'd this little cove so dear, Her palace and her home.
When April's sun the coast had warm'd, New joy the nymph possest: She saw her favourite bird had form'd, A curious downy nest.
How did her tender heart rejoice, What prayers she then preferred, That she might with her tuneful voice, Delight the brooding bird.
Gay nature smil'd, the prayer she blest, Selina softly sung; And felt delight of higher zest; She nurst the callow young.
But Oh! when human pleasures rise, To enviable height; How subtly dark misfortune flies, To crush them in her flight.
One morn, as nigh the cove so dear, The quick Selina came: A sight, which caus'd her grievous fear, Convuls'd her tender frame!
Near it she draws, but entrance there A swelling sea denies; For hostile to her callow care, The cruel waters rise.
Close to this cove's contracted side, Three massive stones were laid; Oft in bare sand, now scarce descried, Fresh surges round them play'd.
To one, the nearest to the cell, Alarm'd, Selina wades; To mark how far the wild wave's swell, Her darling cove invades.
Behold she kneels! with folded hands, Kneels on the rugged stone: Whence now her anxious eye commands, The cell once deem'd her own!
How keen her anguish to survey, The tide fill half the cove; Forth from its seat, with savage sway, Her Halcyon's nest it drove.
The nest now floats, and from the shore, The tortur'd parent sprung, With wildest terror hovers o'er, And shrieks around her young!
Selina marks the barbarous sea, The leaky nest divide; And bold her little friends to free, She plunges in the tide!
The tender sinking tribe she caught, But ah! she caught too late! More rapid, than her generous thought, Was unrelenting fate.
In vain, with tender pity's clasp, To her warm breast she holds The young, whom death's remorseless grasp In his dark shade infolds.
Off flew the parent in despair, Her heart appears to burn; Nor can the sympathetic fair Persuade her to return.
She, bearing in her robe the dead, The parent calls anew; 'Till rising rocks, that near them spread, Conceals her from the view.
Here she despairing now to heal The wretched parent's pain, Sat on a rock, in sorrowing zeal, And kiss'd the dead again!
Her tender nerves confess'd a shock, To hear a sudden gun! A smuggler's vessel from the rock, She now perceives to run.
But with what grief the sound she heard; How pants her heart with dread, As she beholds her favourite bird Now fluttering o'er her head.
That flutter is the gasp of death! As conscious of it's nest, It breathes to her its parting breath, And falls upon her breast!
Weep not sweet nymph, with vain regret, Your favourite's lifeless state; But rather think that it has met An enviable fate.
Yes! to this gentle bird indeed, It's mercy Heaven has shewn; And in it's end you now may read An emblem of your own.
When you, dear nymph, have suffer'd all Your share of earthly woe; O may that portion be as small As mortal e'er may know!
Close in a death, like infant's rest, Those heaven-reflecting eyes; And dropping on an angel's breast, Be wafted to the skies!
* * * * *
BALLAD THE THIRTEENTH.
Now blest be Providence divine, Surpassing human skill! That often takes from things malign, The privilege of ill.
Good folks! who love a simple strain. That seems like fancy's sound; Rejoicing, when in nature's reign, The marvellous is found,
As strange a tale, as history knows, Accept in artless rhyme: An honest Greek relates in prose, This wonder of old time.
The antients gloried to describe, And held such wonders dear; For of the Psylli's signal tribe, 'Twas their delight to hear.
The Psylli were an Afric clan, Of wond'rous power possest; Fierce snakes, of enmity to man, They could with ease divest.
This gift they boasted with delight, A gift to them confin'd; Exemption from the viper's bite, Of most malignant kind.
This native gift they deem'd a test, To prove their genuine race; By every true-born child possest, Not granted to the base!
In brains that burn from Afric suns, Mad jealousy will rise, Till thro' the heart the frenzy runs, And bursts all tender ties.
A Lybian of this far fam'd clan, Had dream'd his wife untrue, And soon the madd'ning wretch began His child with hate to view.
That child, which till his fatal dream Was from base slander bred; The happy sire, with joy extreme, Had fondled, blest, and fed.
And never infant more deserv'd To prove his father's joy: Of two years old, and nobly nerv'd, A brave Herculean boy.
Nature, with passion, long at strife, Contended in his breast; Till to expose his infant's life, He form'd a deadly test!
No common trial would suffice, For his suspicious mind; His rage a trial would devise, Of most tremendous kind.
Sansado, so the wretch was nam'd, A cruel brother taught: With equal jealousy inflam'd, To aid his barb'rous thought.
Him, many a deadly snake to feed, Sansado would engage; And more, by many a noxious weed, Exasperate their rage.
And now the settled day arrives, Fixt for their savage joy; To risk two unprotected lives, Poor Neela and her boy.
For if, so jealous rage decreed, One reptile wounds the child; Neela upon that couch must bleed, They think she has defil'd.
God save thee Neela in a strife, By nature's heart abhorr'd: And God defend each hapless wife, Who has a jealous lord!
But see the brothers, bent on ill! Neela yet kind and calm, Beholds a knot of Snakes, that fill A basket made of palm!
No fear her blameless mind alarms: But quick with scornful joy, One basely holds her by the arms; One grasps her fondling boy.
The sire himself, with gesture wild, His thoughtless offspring takes; And seats his unoffending child Amidst these angry Snakes!
Angry at first, they foam'd around The boy, who on them prest; He unappall'd sat gayly crown'd, With many a shining crest!
Stretching his little hands he play'd, Unconscious of a fear, With all the monsters he survey'd, And smil'd at every spear.
Now free, but with a fixt disdain, Behold the mother stand! She frowns upon the brothers twain, Nor takes the proffer'd hand.
"Do not, dear wife, my kindness shun, Henceforth my comfort be; And let us jointly bless my son, Who witnesses for thee;"
So with quick speed Sansado cried, With mingled joy and shame: The noble Neela, thus replied, With eyes of temperate flame.
"No, I renounce thee, and thy roof: For Heaven who shields my young, Bids me abjure thy love, not proof 'Gainst slander's vip'rous tongue."
"It is my duty to desert A guard I must despise: Farewell weak man, my child unhurt On Providence relies."
"Now brave; a coward he might turn Beneath thy base controul; But from his mother he shall learn, The empire of the soul."
She spoke, she kept, with truth most rare, Her purpose nobly wild, And made, by her maternal care, A hero of her child.
* * * * *
BALLAD THE FOURTEENTH.
"Can mothers of our English isle, The pride of all the earth, From any tribe of tender brutes, A mother's duly learn?" So to a shepherd of the Alps, A guest of noble birth, A traveller of English race Said on the swain's return;
When bringing to his simple cot A Goat of signal grace, He, to his foreign guest, display'd The ornament she wore; It was a splendid silver toy, It's folds her neck embrace, And it's rich centre, highly wrought, This grateful motto bore:
Dear animal! This trinket wear, Mark of thy mental beauty! For teaching to an English fair, A mother's highest duty!
"Good shepherd thou hast much to tell, Some curious tender tale, Thy kindness I with joy accept, To rest beneath thy roof; For now I see an evening storm Is sweeping o'er the vale, And here in this thy airy nest I well can sleep aloof."
"But tell me, who has so adorn'd Thy tame and pretty Goat?"— "Ah! sir", (the white-hair'd shepherd said,) "It was a lovely fair; A lady of the sweetest face That ever eyes could note, But she was plung'd in darkest depths Of cruel craz'd despair."
"My Goat her guardian angel prov'd, As she herself allow'd, And hence her little neck appears So brilliant and so brave; No longer mine, she has a queen, Of whom she may be proud, And sure an angel might be proud So sweet a soul to save."
"But rest, sir, on my humble bench, And take my simple cheer, And I will tell you, all you ask, With hearty frank good will: A story of no trifling sort, In truth, you have to hear, Yet, like the most of mortal scenes, A mass of good and ill."
"But say, my pleasant, honest friend," (The traveller replied,) "Where is the lovely English fair, That you so much admire?"— "Before you hear where now she goes, (And God be still her guide!) Her sufferings here let me relate," (Rejoin'd the sighing sire.)
"Of all the sufferers I have seen, She was indeed the prime, That of a deeply wounded heart, Most keenly felt the throes: 'Twas agony to see her grief; And even at this time, My foolish eyes grow full of tears In thinking of her woes!"
"No! ne'er shall I forget that eve, When I beheld her first, Ah! little thought my dame and I Such guest with us would dwell; With pity my old woman's heart Was even like to burst, When this sweet lady first implor'd, A refuge in our cell."
"'I do not ask to live with you, I am not fit to live!' (The beauteous mourner meekly cried Approaching to our cot:) 'Your pity, to my babe and me, Good aged friends! may give All that we ask; to die with you, To die, and be forgot!'"
"'Twas so the piteous pilgrim spake, With eyes that glisten'd wild; For privilege to die with you, We give you all our gold; For bitterer want, than want of wealth, For want of love my child, My child, must, like his mother, waste, And both will soon be cold!"
"So speaking, to my dame she held A lovely little boy, Who speechless, yet seem'd sorely griev'd To see his mother weep; My good old dame is soft of heart. And children are her joy; So she, who cherished both her guests. Soon lull'd the babe to sleep."
"But sleep to that sweet lady's eyes Had seem'd to bid farewell, And sometimes she would wildly say, There's but one sleep for me! So deep her woe sunk in her heart: Tho' she was loath to tell, My tender dame, discreetly guess'd, What that deep woe must be."
"By cruel man, of cruel things, Most cruel in his love! This suffering innocent had been To darkest frenzy driven; Tho' in it's nature her soft heart Is gentle as a dove, And, save one frantic thought, ne'er had A fault to be forgiven!"
"That frantic thought was a desire, To end her wretched life; But you shall hear how nature strove To soothe her stormy breast: For all her struggles, one and all, She told my good old wife, And how this little darling Goat, She as her guardian-blest."
"To heal her grief we both had tried, But both had tried in vain. When this dear sufferer in our shed Three mournful weeks had spent: While sleep press'd on our aged eyes, One morn in heart-felt pain Bearing her baby in her arms, To yon high cliff she went."
"Her purpose was, as since she said, From base mankind to fly, And with her nursling on her breast To take a fatal leap; But when she scal'd the topmost crag, That seems to touch the sky, Her little infant shriek'd to view A precipice so deep!"
"His voice wak'd nature in her heart, She wish'd to die alone, And in a safe, and hollow rock, Her lovely babe she plac'd; Then thinking his pure life preserv'd, Yet bent to end her own; She to the summit mounts again, In wild and breathless haste!"
"The horrid precipice below She deems the vale of peace, And having in a parting prayer Pray'd fondly for her child, She feels a wish to look yet once Before her sufferings cease, If calm her heaven-commended babe In solitude has smil'd."
"With this desire she gently creeps With anxious love to view The mossy cove of hollow stone, Where he is softly laid; Now near that most attractive spot, By slow degrees, she drew, And there an unexpected sight She suddenly survey'd."
"It was my little darling Goat Who cherishing the boy, With copious draughts of morning milk His grateful lips supplied; Her tears burst forth: she kneel'd, she pray'd, But now she pray'd in joy, For Heaven had kindled in her breast A mother's vital pride."
"O how angelic was the light That on her visage shone! When now returning to our cot Her old friends she carest: And, all her wild delirium past, With self-reproof made known, The gracious wonders God had wrought, In her enlighten'd breast!"
"Your blessed Goat, my friends", she said, "With your indulgent leave, My comrade, thro' my future life My monitor shall be; For now with heart-reform'd, I hope, I, not too late, perceive, How Heaven this tender creature sent, Tho' dumb, to lecture me."
"I wish that all the earth might know, For suffering pride's relief, How this heaven-guided animal In scenes so roughly wild; A wicked mother has reclaim'd Who lost in selfish grief, Neglected nature's highest charge, The nursing of her child!"
"'Twas wounded pride, my good old friends, My heart you will not blame, That rack'd my agonizing breast, And set my brain on fire; The thought to fall from honour's sphere In undeserved shame, And see my baby, and myself; The torment of his sire!"
"No! No! his torment tho' preserv'd, Our lives shall never prove, His hard desertion we forgive! Desertion by constraint: From every angry passion free My lips shall only move, To utter blessings on his head, And never breathe complaint."
"Tho' of our marriage every proof Has basely been suppresst, By his proud father's cruel guile To wrong my babe and me:"— "My God!" (the traveller exclaims) By hope and doubt distrest, "Shepherd, if you would save my life, That lady let me see!"
"You must be patient noble sir," The gentle swain rejoins, "For she beneath her brother's care, With my good dame her guide, This morning to our city went That in the valley shines, Upon a safe and easy mule, By turns to walk and ride."
"Beneath her brother's care—you say, Then all my hope is fled, Yet no—perchance from India come, Heard you that brother's name?" "O yes! from India come, like one Returning from the dead; My blest Horatio, oft to him His sister would exclaim!"—
"Enough, good Heaven!" in transport now, In transport fondly wild, The stranger clasp'd the good old swain With tears of tender glee; "My father! yes!" he cried, "thy care Has sav'd my wife and child! And as a father to my heart Henceforward thou shalt be."
"Their sufferings rose not from my fault, But from the fault of one, Whom Heaven has call'd to his account, Whose faults I wish to hide; But vanish all ye sorrows past In joy's effulgent sun, And that sweet sufferer quick to cheer, Good father be my guide!"
"Ah noble sir! if you bestow So dear a name on me, Allow me, with a father's fears, To check your hasty joy; If you surprise her heart with bliss So wond'rous in degree, That tender frame, you wish to save, You surely will destroy."
"Be patient here, good sir, to night, As was your first intent, And by to-morrow's noon your eyes Shall look on their delight; For hither they will all return, As kindly as they went, And truly when you see them all, You'll see a goodly sight."
"But you must let my careful age Your eager love restrain, And suffer me in my odd guise. Your lady to prepare; To meet a burst of mortal bliss That might o'erset the brain Of such a tender feeling soul, Most delicately fair."
"Ah sir! old shepherd as I seem, I know the sex full well, In truth I studied nought beside, In all my early life; And underneath the cope of Heaven, No lady can there dwell, More worthy of the fondest care, Than your angelic wife."
The good old man so charm'd his guest, As they familiar grew, The stranger to his guidance bent, Tho' born of spirit high: At last the long'd-for hour was come, On what slow wings it flew! But now the dear returning group, They from the hill descry.
When he his distant friends espied, The fondly anxious swain, Station'd his guest, with beating heart, Behind his cottage door; And, in concealment, made him vow, That he would fixt remain, While cautious age pursued its plan, Within the porch before.
For these a spacious shady porch, Rais'd by the shepherd's skill, With creeping foliage sweetly grac'd, Presents a pleasant seat; Most grateful to the pilgrim's sight Just mounted up the hill, And there the shepherd and the Goat, Now wait their friends to greet.
And soon his favourite dog announced His near approaching dame, Who mounted on her mule arrived, Before her youngest guest; Supported by her brother's arm The sweet Amelia came, And bearing; with maternal pride, Her baby on her breast.
Seeing the Goat, the lively babe Put forth his hands and smil'd; The mother blest the grateful act With smiles of sweeter grace, And held him to his guardian nurse, While the delighted child Suffer'd the Goat's soft shaggy lips To fondle o'er his face!
"My Goat and I are prophets both!" The eager shepherd cried, "We both discover wond'rous good, And time will make it clear: Good for this heaven-protected babe, Our nursling and our pride, We of Amelia's lord have heard, What she will joy to hear."
"Yes, tho' he must not live for me, I in his life rejoice!" With eyes where sudden joy and pain, With mingled flashes shone, The fond Amelia faintly, said, And in a troubled voice: "He for his dear Amelia lives, And lives for her alone!"
So cried her latent lord, who now Rush'd from the cottage sill, And all the extacy indulged He could no more contain; It was a scene of speechless joy, That words would paint but ill, A moment of such joy o'erpays A century of pain.
Supremely happy, one and all, All blest their present lot, And all for England soon exchanged, That scene so sweetly wild: And well ye judge, by all these friends The Goat was ne'er forgot, No, she and every kid she bore Was cherish'd as a child.
* * * * *
THE BAYA: OR THE INDIAN BIRD.
BALLAD THE FIFTEENTH.
Let the Nightingale still be renown'd for her song, The Eagle for strength, and for softness the Dove, Higher praise to the Baya of India belongs, For gentle docility, duty and love.
The Baya, dear nymphs, is a delicate bird, Of intelligent zeal, in our climate unknown; A bird, in the service of lovers preferr'd To the turtle, that Venus regards as her own.
The Baya not only will bear in his beak The letter a youth to his nymph would convey; But if from her person some jewel he seek, This bird, at his nod, gently plucks it away.
It chanc'd in Circassia a lovely young maid, On her beautiful neck wore a crescent of gold, Hermossan, her lover, the trinket survey'd, And wish'd in his bosom the gem to infold.
A Baya he cherished, the first of its kind, At a call to accomplish his master's behest; This bird, who display'd both a heart, and a mind, He commission'd to rifle fair Azima's breast.
The bird's gentle manners she often had prais'd, And begg'd from her lover a vassal so sweet; "To the honour of serving you he shall be rais'd," Said her lover, "whenever his skill is complete."
The extent of his talents the youth wish'd to find, As the bird with new lessons be daily carest; To his skill and obedience this charge he assigned, To bring him the crescent from Azima's breast.
The bird who himself lov'd the damsel to court, On her shoulder first perch'd with endearment and joy; With his beak he then snapt it's strong silken support, And bore from her bosom the glittering toy.
The nymph half in anger the plunderer chac'd, But she fail'd to regain or the gem, or the cord; For gayly he flew; and with rapturous haste, His plunder consigned to the hand of his lord.
Her woman was charm'd, when the bird he perceiv'd, And more was he charm'd when the damsel advanc'd, For the nymph too in haste, half delighted, half griev'd, Demanded the crescent, on which her eye glanc'd.
'Twas a charm Turkish hands had once fixt on her neck But a charm that her lover refus'd to replace; "Thy hand my dear girl, with a gem let me deck, Of more magical force, of more luminous grace!"
"My bird and my ring, both of wonderous power! Dear Azima! now as thy treasures receive; For they both shall be thine, they are virtue's just dower And thro' life may they never my Azima leave."
"For O! if they leave thee, or lost, or destroy'd, That bliss, which our union I trust will ensure, Must vanish, and leave in each heart such a void, That our permanent anguish no magic can cure."
He spoke, and the bird on her shoulder he plac'd, Then pressing the hand of his delicate fair; That hand with a ring of one ruby he grac'd, With a motto in Arabic, "never despair!"
"Let these words my sweet love be a shield to thy heart, While I from thy sight am by fortune debarr'd; For a journey of months I to-morrow depart, But love will restore me, thy husband! thy guard!"
They kiss'd, and they parted: 'twas fortune's behest, Who rules over love with a tyrannous sway; But the nymph kiss'd her ring, and her bird she carest, When her eye could no longer Hermossan survey.
She said, as she play'd with her vigilant bird, "Thy name be Anglama, then best of thy kind:" Anglama to her a significant word, Express'd all the light of a luminous mind.
The bird seem'd with joy his new title to feel, At the sound of Anglama his eye was a flame, That flashed with intelligence, duty, and zeal, Her behests he obeyed at the sound of his name.
To prove and reward him, was Azima's pride. As round her he flew, upon liberty's wing; In her chamber she oft her lov'd ruby would hide. And exclaim, my Anglama, "go seek for my ring!"
However concealed the quick bird was so keen, He never once failed to bring back the lost gem; To his mistress he gave it with gesture serene, Her sweet-meats repaid him; he lived upon them.
How often the sport of an innocent breast, Is by Providence favour'd for some gracious end, And gentle dumb creatures, with kindness carest, That kindness repay in the shape of a friend!
But little sweet Azima dreamt, as she taught, Her bird thus to play with a jewel so dear; That the lesson his love with alacrity caught, Might soothe her with hope, in a season of fear.
That season approaches, gay Azima grew Of an old helpless father, the pride and the heir; Her treasures were coveted not by a few, And by one, of a heart not inclined to despair.
Hermossan's chief rival, an arrogant youth, An Armenian his father! his mother a Turk! That mother, more noted for cunning, than truth, On Azima's fancy had studied to work.
The crescent, to give her young bosom alarm, On the child she had fix'd with a soft silken cord; To persuade the gay nymph, by this magical charm, That none but a Mussulman must be her lord.
Hermossan a Persian, more noble and true. As to woman she rose, put those fancies to flight; But Ayesha, who watch'd with a mischievous view, Soon the ruby surveyed, and survey'd it with spite.
She saw, 'twas a talisman fashioned by love, Which she hoped to destroy by a daring device; And, purloining the ring, as it lay in a glove, With a diamond replaced it, far richer in price.
With her prize she escaped, from her visit uncheck'd; Soon a change so unwish'd, was to Azima known, She detested the diamond, with which she was deckt, Sent back the new gem, and demanded her own.
See Ayesha's bold son now with arrogance plead, To obtain for his parent the pardon of love! The damsel, indignant, abhors the base deed, Still demanding her ruby, all diamonds above.
The crafty Ayesha her son would persuade, That Azima's anger in time must decay; She knew not the truth of that resolute maid, And she vainly hoped much from an artful delay.
Yet her credulous spirit the talisman pains, Which she anxiously hides, with intent to destroy; While she to prepare a rich recompence feigns, For those, who may find this unfortunate toy.
Fair Azima suffers from sorrow and rage, But what can her rage or her sorrow achieve; Hermossan is absent: her father's weak age Only leaves her in fruitless affliction to grieve.
Her bird in sweet sympathy seems to lament, And to cheer her, in vain, his kind frolics he tries, When she says, "O my ring!" on her wishes intent, To seek it far off, from her window he flies.
In each flight, with new hope, she perceives her heart burn 'Till that hope she so often has cherished in vain, That she welcomes with tears his unjoyous return, And her health wastes away with vexation and pain.
All her pain was encreased, when this billet she read, "Thy Hermossan, my love, will be with thee at noon, When thy faith shall dispell all his amorous dread, And thy ruby's true radiance eclipse the false moon!"
In the morn's early season this billet she caught, In her bosom new hopes and new tenors now spring; At her window she stood, and in turbulent thought, "Once more my Anglama (she said) seek my ring!"
See, in tender obedience, Anglama depart And soon his swift pinions are out of her sight; But terror and hope are still felt in her heart, While her fancy pursues so momentous a flight.
Was it chance, or some angel, directed his sense, On a tree of Ayesha's fair garden to perch? No, with langour opprest, and in heat most intense, A delicate water allur'd his research.
At a wonderful depth this cool water reposed, In a well through a rock, in past centuries sunk; Ayesha's proud garden this wonder enclos'd, Whence often the gentle Anglama had drunk.
A stranger to fear, down the circular cave For soothing refreshment he often had flown; Now beside it he perched, and in silence, tho' brave, For a matron he sees, who draws near to the stone.
'Tis Ayesha herself, who induced by a dream, Came to bury the talisman deep in this well: Down she cast the lov'd ring: by the morning's bright beam In the eyes of Anglama it flash'd as it fell.
Alert as affection, more rapid than speech, He darts unperceived, the dear treasure to seek; Ere the stone in it's fall the deep water can reach, He o'ertakes; he has caught the lost gem in his beak!
Beware O Anglama! thy foes are abroad, Thou yet may'st be cross'd in thy faithful intent; If once thou art spied by the sharp eyes of fraud, Both her jewel, and thee, thy fair queen must lament.
As conscious of peril the provident bird Takes refuge unseen in a cleft of the well; Deposits his prize, and perceiving he's heard, Flies back in the shelter of silence to dwell.
There repose, thou best vassal to beauty endear'd! While my song to thy mistress most anxiously turns, To recount in thy absence what perils she fear'd; Now she freezes in dread, now her terror she spurns.
By her own noble soul she resolves to subdue The worst of all fears, that her fancy had crost; The life of Hermossan in danger she knew, Supposing she told how his ruby was lost.
She knew with Ayesha's fierce son he would fight, Were the story reveal'd of the ring and the glove, And she firmly exclaim'd, with heroic delight, "No, his life I will save, if I forfeit his love."
But O while new dangers Anglama detain, How eager she pants for a sight of his plume; At each sound she believes him returning again, But he's destined to lurk in the cavern's deep gloom.
The morning elapses, and noon now is near, But time can't out-travel the lover's quick pace; See Hermossan most true to his promise appear! With transport he flies to his fair one's embrace.
But O how his heart at her aspect recoils When he sees how the rose has decay'd on her cheek! "O God! is it thus I'm repaid for my toils," Was all, that affection had accents to speak.
Fond Azima trembling, yet brave in her heart, Now exclaims, "swear to grant me one eager desire, You must, or I die—nay my love! do not start, But swear by the sun's incorruptible fire!"
"Our ruby is gone, and my life too must go, Unless to relieve me you instantly swear; Not to meditate vengeance, whatever you know, On the persons who thus have occasion'd my care"
Hermossan confused, with quick pity replied, (Though Jealousy gave him her tremulous tones) "Yes, I swear, if you say, but to soothe my fond pride, That no rival of mine my lost talisman owns."
The maiden, whose soul was the spirit of truth, Scarcely knew how herself to absolve or condemn; Since she really surmiz'd a proud amorous youth Had obtain'd by his mother the magical gem.
The conflict distended her innocent breast, Half lifeless she sinks on Hermossan's strong arm; To his heart he in wonder her innocence prest, Not free, jealous honor! from thy rash alarm.
In a soft rising-breeze, yet she hardly has stirr'd, But her faint eyes unclose to admit the fresh air, And they now flash with joy in perceiving her bird; Who drops on her bosom, with "Never Despair."
Thrice blessed Anglama! what language can speak The joy not confined to thy patrons alone, While thy queen thus receives from thy dutiful beak The lesson engrav'd on the magical stone?
All terror, all sickness, all doubt, all distrust, Fly away from thy friends in this rapturous hour, And thee they esteem, to thy services just, A Phenix inshrin'd in Felicity's bower.
Fair reader! if wishing to fix on thy breast The magic most sure every grace to endear, As a gem on thy bosom let innocence rest, Embellishing beauty, and banishing fear!
* * * * *
BALLAD THE SIXTEENTH.
Virtue! thou hast spells divine, Spells, that savage force controul! What's the strongest charm of thine? Courage in a mother's soul.
Haste my song, the scene proclaim, That may prove the maxim true! Fair ones of maternal fame, Hark! for honour speaks to you.
Noblest of your noble band, Brave Marcella chanc'd to rove, Leading childhood in her hand, Thro' a deep and lonely grove:
See her child! how gay! how light! Twice two years her life has run, Like a young Aurora bright, Sporting near the rising sun.
Thro' a pass of sandy stone, Where autumnal foliage glow'd, While the quivering sun-beams shone, Lay their deep, and narrow road:
Now, as thro' the dale they pac'd, Pleas'd with its umbrageous charm, Lo! a fiery steed, in haste, Prancing, spreads a quick alarm,
Fiercest of Arabia's race, Force and beauty form'd his pride; Vainly tutor'd for the chace, Care he scorn'd, and rule defied.
Soon his rider had been flung, Tho' like Perseus, he adroit, Oft to flying coursers clung, Proud of every bold exploit!
Now, on foot, he tried in vain, Or to soften, or subdue This wild steed, whose leading rein, Short and tight he firmly drew:
But the more the horseman strove To restrain his fiery force, More he made the solemn grove Echo to his frantic course.
Snorting loud, with savage leer, All controuling powers to foil, See him plunge! and see him rear! Mocking all his leader's toil!
Fearless for himself alone, He, of courage bravely mild, Manly fear was frank to own For the mother, and her child:
For the beast, in barb'rous ire, To the child and mother rush'd; Both he deem'd must now expire, By the vicious monster crush'd:
For his rage, with forceful art, Still he fail'd to turn, or tame: Fear and pity fill'd his heart, And convuls'd his manly frame,
"Fly!" he cried, in accents weak, As the rampant courser sped; "Fly!" was all, that he could speak, Toss'd beneath the monster's head.
But without her child to fly, Brave Marcella now disdained: As her darling's guard to die, This her only hope remained.
On the bank, where pine-trees mixt, Thick to form an arching wood, At her back her child she fixt, And before it bravely stood:
Firm in voice, in soul elate, Then in solemn tone she cried, "With her features fixt as fate— Tell your father how I died."
Noble parent! nature saw, Virtue shining in thy soul, And with sudden, wond'rous awe Struck the beast, that spurn'd controul;
For, as if thy fixed eyes Darted fascinating flame, He, to thy devout surprise, Stood before thee fondly tame:
He, as touched by powers above, That can demons dispossess, View'd thee, with submissive love, Like a spaniel's meek caress.
Free from all maternal dread, Now 'twas thine to raise and chear Him, from whom the courser fled, Trembling yet with generous fear!
Fear soon turned to strong delight, When he saw the savage tam'd; And enchanted by the sight, Quick the horseman thus exclaim'd:
"God! I thank thee, I behold Wonders far surpassing thought More than fiction ever told, By maternal virtue wrought!"
"Virtue, in thy praises warm, I may speak how fair thou art: I have seen thy fairest form— Courage in a mother's heart."
The Dog The Eagle The Elephant The Stag The Stork The Panther The Grateful Snake The Fatal Horse The Lion The Swan The Hermit's Dog The Halcyon The Serpents The Goat The Baya The Horse