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Yet it is music in the language spoken
Of thine own land ; and on her herald roll ; As bravely fought for, and as proud a token
As Caur de Lion's of a warrior's soul.
Thy garb—though Austria's bosom-star would frighten
That medal pale, as diamonds the dark mine, And George the Fourth wore, at his court at Brighton,
A more becoming evening dress than thine ;
Yet 'tis a brave one, scorning wind and weather,
And fitted for thy couch, on field and flood, As Rob Roy's tartan for the Highland heather,
Or forest green for England's Robin Hood.
Is strength a monarch's merit, like a whaler's ?
Thou art as tall, as sinewy, and as strong
Heroes in history, and gods in song.
Is beauty!—Thine has with thy youth departed;
But the love-legends of thy manhood's years, And she who perished, young and broken-hearted,
Are—but I rhyme for smiles and not for tears.
Is eloquence ?-Her spell is thine that reaches
The heart, and makes the wisest head its sport; And there's one rare, strange virtue in thy speeches,
The secret of their mastery—they are short.
The monarch mind, the mystery of commanding,
The birth-hour gift, the art Napoleon,
The hearts of millions till they move as one:
Thou hast it. At thy bidding men have crowded
The road to death as to a festival;
Who will believe ? Not I—for in deceiving
Lies the dear charm of life's delightful dream; I cannot spare the luxury of believing
That all things beautiful are what they seem ;
Who will believe that, with a smile whose blessing
Would, like the Patriarch's, soothe a dying hour, With voice as low, as gentle, and caressing,
As e'er won maiden's lip in moonlit bower ;
With look, like patient Job's, eschewing evil ;
With motions graceful as a bird's in air ; Thou art, in sober truth, the veriest devil
That e'er clenched fingers in a captive's hair!
That in thy breast there springs a poison fountain,
Deadlier than that where bathes the Upas-tree; And in thy wrath, a nursing cat-o'-mountain
Is calm as her babe's sleep compared with thee !
And underneath that face, like summer ocean's,
Its lip as moveless, and its cheek as clear, Slumbers a whirlwind of the heart's emotions,
Love, hatred, pride, hope, sorrow—all save fear.
Love-for thy land, as if she were thy daughter,
Her pipe in peace, her tomahawk in wars ; Hatred—of missionaries and cold water;
Pride—in thy rifle-trophies and thy scars;
Hope--that thy wrongs may be, by the Great Spirit,
Remembered and revenged when thou art gone ; Sorrow—that none are left thee to inherit
Thy name, thy fame, thy passions, and thy throne !
still her gray rocks tower above the sea That crouches at their feet, a conquered wave ; 'Tis a rough land of earth, and stone, and tree,
Where breathes no castled lord or cabined slave;
And friends will find a welcome, foes a grave ;
Theirs is a pure republic, wild, yet strong,
A “fierce democracie,” where all are true
And to their laws denominated blue ;
A vestal state, which power could not subdue, Nor promise win—like her own eagle's nest, Sacred—the San Marino of the West.
A justice of the peace, for the time being,
They bow to, but may turn him out next year ; They reverence their priest, but disagreeing
In price or creed, dismiss him without fear; They have a natural talent for foreseeing
And knowing all things; and should Park appear From his long tour in Africa, to show The Niger's source, they'd meet him with—“We know.”
They love their land, because it is their own,
And scorn to give aught other reason why;
And think it kindness to his majesty ;
Such are they nurtured, such they live and die:
Or wandering through the southern countries, teaching
The A B C from Webster's spelling-book ; Gallant and godly, making love and preaching,
And gaining by what they call "hook and crook,"
A decent living. The Virginians look
But these are but their outcasts. View them near
At home, where all their worth and pride is placed ; And there their hospitable fires burn clear,
And there the lowliest farmhouse hearth is graced With manly hearts, in piety sincere,
Faithful in love, in honour stern and chaste, In friendship warm and true, in danger brave, Beloved in life, and sainted in the grave.
And minds have there been nurtured, whose control
Is felt even in their nation's destiny;
And looked on armies with a leader's eye;
Whose leaves contain their country's history, And tales of love and war— listen to one Of the Green-Mountaineer—the Stark of Bennington.
When on that field his band the Hessians fought,
Briefly he spoke before the fight began : “Soldiers ! those German gentlemen are bought
For four pounds eight and sevenpence per man, By England's king; a bargain, as is thought.
Are we worth more? Let's prove it now we can ; For we must beat them, boys, ere set of sun, OR MARY STARK'S A WIDOW !”
It was done.
Hers are not Tempe’s nor Arcadia's spring,
Nor the long summer of Cathayan vales,
Such wild enchantment o'er Boccaccio's tales
Of life's best angel, Health, is on her gales Through sun and snow; and in the autumn time Earth has no purer and no lovelier clime.