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The chance of life or death, the heroic boy
Dons his first arms; the coated scales of steel
Which o'er the tunic to his knees depend,
The hose, the sleeves of mail: bareheaded then
He stood. But when Count Pedro took the spurs,
And bent his knee in service to his son,
Alphonso from that gesture half drew back,
Starting in reverence, and a deeper hue
Spread o'er the glow of joy which flush'd his cheeks.
Do thou the rest, Pelayo! said the Count;

So shall the ceremony of this hour
Exceed in honour what in form it lacks."

"I will just read to you another passage, which, though of a different kind, is not less beautiful."

"Methinks if ye would know

How visitations of calamity

Affect the pious soul, 'tis shown ye there!

Look yonder at that cloud, which through the sky
Sailing alone, doth cross in her career
The rolling moon! I watch'd it as it came,

And deem'd the deep opaque would blot her beams ;
But, melting like a wreath of snow, it hangs
In folds of wavy silver round, and clothes
The orb with richer beauties than her own,
Then passing, leaves her in her light serene.—

"Thus having said, the pious sufferer sate,
Beholding with fix'd eyes that lovely orb,
Till quiet tears confused in dizzy light
The broken moonbeams. They too by the toil
Of spirit, as by travail of the day
Subdued, were silent, yielding to the hour.
The silver cloud diffusing slowly past,

And now into its airy elements

Resolved is gone; while through the azure depth

Alone in heaven the glorious Moon pursues
Her course appointed, with indifferent beams
Shining upon the silent hills around,
And the dark tents of that unholy host,
Who, all unconscious of impending fate,
Take their last slumber there. The camp is still;
The fires have moulder'd, and the breeze which stirs
The soft and snowy embers, just lays bare
At times a red and evanescent light,

Or for a moment wakes a feeble flame.
They by the fountain hear the stream below,
Whose murmurs, as the wind arose or fell,
Fuller or fainter reach the ear attuned.
And now the nightingale, not distant far,
Began her solitary song; and pour'd
To the cold moon a richer, stronger strain
Than that with which the lyric lark salutes
The new-born day. Her deep and thrilling song
Seem'd with its piercing melody to reach
The soul, and in mysterious unison

Blend with all thoughts of gentleness and love.
Their hearts were open to the healing power
Of nature; and the splendour of the night,
The flow of waters, and that sweetest lay

Came to them like a copious evening dew
Falling on vernal herbs which thirst for rain."



"I HAVE great delight," said Egeria one evening as she was communing with the Bachelor on the literary accomplishments of several great characters, "in reading those little poetical sketches in which some of the most eminent statesmen have occasionally unbended. I do not speak of statesmen who had a decided bias for authorship, and who have published books, but of such as, in some few moments of gayety and enjoyment, have drawn their fingers playfully over the strings of the lyre, and brought forth tunes and melodies that make one regret they had not more cultivated the art. The great Earl of Chatham has, in two or three instances, imitated Horace with much taste and freedom; but I think the following little piece by Sir William Blackstone, the celebrated judge and expounder of the principles of English law, is not inferior to some of the happiest effusions of the regular-bred poets. It is not certainly of a very high order of poetry, but the verses are imbued with elegance, and the sentiments breathe the feelings of an amiable heart.”


"As by some tyrant's stern command,
A wretch forsakes his native land,
In foreign climes condemn'd to roam,
An endless exile from his home,
Pensive he treads the destined way,

Till on some neighbouring mountain's brow
He stops, and turns his eyes below,
There, melting at the well-known view,
Drops a last tear, and bids adieu :-
So I, from thee thus doom'd to part,
Gay Queen of Fancy and of Art,
Reluctant move with doubtful mind,
Oft stop, and often look behind.

Companion of my tender age, Serenely gay and sweetly sage, How blithesome were we wont to rove By verdant hill or shady grove, Where fervent bees, with humming voice, Around the honied oak rejoice, And aged elms, with awful bend, In long cathedral walks extend: Lull'd by the lapse of gliding floods, Cheer'd by the warbling of the woods, How blest my days, my thoughts how free, In sweet society with thee! Then all was joyous, all was young, And years unheeded roll'd along.

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"But now the pleasing dream is o'er,
These scenes must charm me now no more.
Lost to the fields, and torn from you,
Farewell, a long-a last adieu !
Me wrangling courts and stubborn law
To smoke, and crowds, and cities draw.
There selfish faction rules the day,
And pride and avarice throng the way;
Diseases taint the murky air,
And midnight conflagrations glare;
Loose revelry and riot bold

In frighted streets their orgies hold;

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Or where in silence all is drown'd,
Fell murder walks his nightly round.
No room for peace-no room for you-
Adieu, celestial Nymph! adieu.

"Shakspeare, no more thy sylvan son, Nor all the art of Addison,

Pope's heaven-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease, Nor Milton's mighty self must please.

Instead of these, a formal band
With furs and coifs around me stand,
With sounds uncouth and accents dry
That grate the soul of harmony.
Each pedant sage unlocks his store
Of mystic, dark, discordant lore,
And points with tottering hand the ways
That lead me to the thorny maze.

"There, in a winding close retreat,
Is Justice doom'd to fix her seat;
There, fenced by bulwarks of the law,
She keeps the wondering world in awe ;
And there, from vulgar sight retired,
Like Eastern queens, is more admired.
O let me pierce the secret shade,
Where dwells the venerable maid,
There humbly mark, with reverend awe,
The guardian of Britannia's law;
Unfold with joy her sacred page,
The united boast of many an age;
Where mix'd, yet uniform, appears
The wisdom of a thousand years;
In that pure spring the bottom view,
Clear, deep, and regularly true;
And other doctrine thence imbibe,
Than lurk within the sordid tribe;

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