The tyrants of the world from hell’s abysm
Summoned the demons of revenge and pride,
The countless hosts in whom they did confide, –
And gathering round the flag of despotism
The priest, the slave, and the liberticide, –
All who had bound men’s souls within their den, –
Tore down the loftiest cedar of the height,
The tree sublime; and, drunk with anger then,
Threatened in ghastly bands our few astonished men.
The little ones, confounded, trembled then
At their appalling fury; and their brow
Against the Lord of Hosts these impious men
Uplifting, sought with Heaven-insulting vow,
The triumph of thy people’s overthrow, –
Their armed hands extending, and their crest
Moving omnipotent, because that thou
Wert as a tower of refuge, to invest
All whom man’s quenchless hope had prompted to resist.
Thou said those insolent and scornful ones;
“Knows not this earth the vengeance of our wrath,
The strength of our illustrious fathers’ thrones?
Or did the Roman power avail? Or hath
Rebellious Greece, in her triumphant path,
Scattered the seeds of freedom on your land?
Italia!Austria!Who shall save you both?
Is it your God? – Ha ha!Shall he withstand
The glory of our might, our conquering right hand?
“Our Rome, now tamed and humbled, into tears
And psalms converts her songs of freedom’s rights;
And for her sad and conquered children fears
The carnage of more Cannae’s fatal fights,
Now Asia with her discord disunites;
Spain threatens with her horrors to asail
All who still harbour Moorish proselytes;
Each nation’s throne a traitor crew doth veil;
And, though in concord joined, what could their might avail?
“Earth’s haughtiest nations tremble and obey,
And to our yoke their necks in peace incline.
And peace, for their salvation, of us pray,
Cry, ‘Peace!’ but that means death, when monarchs sign.
Vain is their hope!Their lights obscurely shine!
Their valiant gone, their virgins in our powers,
Their glories to our sceptres they resign:
From Nile to Euphrates and Tiber’s towers.
Whate’er the all-seeing sun looks down on, all is ours.”
“Thou, Lord! Who wilt not suffer that thy glory
They should usurp who in their might put trust,
Hearing the vauntings of these anarchs hoary,
These holy ones beheld, whose horrid lust
Of triumph did thy sacred altars crust
With blood; nor wouldst thou longer that the base
Should he permitted to oppress thy just,
Then, mocking, cry to Heaven, “Within what place
Abides the God of these? Where hideth he his face?”
For the due glory of thy righteous name,
For the just vengeance of thy race oppressed,
For the deep woes the wretched loud proclaim,
In pieces hast thou dashed the dragon’s crest,
And clipped the wings of the destroying pest:
Back to his cave he draws his poisonous fold,
And trembling hisses; then in torpid breast
Buries his fear:for thou, to Babel sold
Captive, no more on earth thy Zion wilt behold.
Portentous Egypt, now with discord riven,
The avenging fire and hostile spear affright;
And the smoke, mounting to the light of heaven,
O’erclouds her cities in its pall of night:
In tears and solitude she mourns the sight,
But thou, O Graecia! The fierce tyrant’s stay,
The glory of her excellence and might,
Dost thou lament, old Ocean Queen, thy prey,
Nor fearing God, dost seek thine own regenerate day?
Wherefore, ingrate, didst thou adorn thy daughters
In foul adultery with an impious race?
Why thus confederate in the unholy slaughters
Of those whose burning hope is thy disgrace?
With mournful heart, yet hypocritic face,
Follow the life abhorred of that vile crew?
God’s sharpened sword thy beauty shall efface,
Falling in vengeance on thy neck.O, who,
Thou lost one his right hand in mercy shall subdue?
But thou, O pride of ocean! Lofty Tyre!
Whoin thy ships so high and glorious stood,
O’ershadowing earth’s limits, and whose ire
With trembling filled this orb’s vast multitude;
How have ye ended, fierce and haughty brood?
What power hath marked your sins and slaveries foul,
Your neck until this cruel yoke subdued?
God, to avenge us, clouds thy sunlike soul,
And causes on thy wise this blinding storm to roll.
Howl, ships of Tarsus, howl! For, lo! Destroyed
Lies your high hope.Oppressors of the free!
Lost is your strength, your glory is defied.
Thou tyrant-shielder, who shall pity thee?
And thou, O Asia! Who didst bow the knee
To Baal, in vice immerged, who shall atone
For thy idolatries?For God doth see
Thine ancient crimes, who silent prayers have flown
For vengeance unto Heaven before his judgment throne.
Those who behold thy mighty arms when shattered,
And Ocean flowing naked of thy pines,
Over his weary waves triumphant scattered
So long, but now wreck-strewn, in awful signs,
Shall say, beholding thy deserted shrines,
“Who ‘gainst the fearful One hath daring striven?
The Lord of our Salvation their designs
O’erturned, and, for the glory of his heaven,
To man’s devoted race this victory hath given.”
ODE TO DON JOHN OF
When from the vaulted sky,
Struck by the bolt and volleyed fire of Jove,
Enceladus, who proudly strove
To rear to heaven his impious head,
Fell headlong upon Etna’s rocky bed;
And she, who long had boldly stood
Against the powers on high,
By thousand deaths undaunted, unsubdued,
Rebellious Earth – her fury spent,
Before the sword of Mars unwilling bent:
In heaven’s pure serene,
To his bright lyre, whose strings melodious rung,
Unshorn Apollo sweetly sung,
And sprang the joyous numbers round,
His youthful brows with gold and laurel bound,
Listening the sweet, immortal strain,
And all the lucid spheres, night’s wakeful train,
That swift pursues their ceaseless way,
Forgot their course, suspended by his lay.
Hushed was the stormy sea,
At the sweet sound the boisterous waves were laid,
The noise of rushing winds was stayed;
And with the gentle breath of pleasure
The Muses sang, according with his measure.
In wildest strain of rapture lost,
He sung the victory,
The power and the glory, of the heavenly host;
The horrid mien and warlike mood,
The fatal pride, of Titanian brood:
Of Pallas, Attic maid,
The Gorgon terrors and the fiery spear;
Of him, whose voice the billows fear,
The valor proved in deadly fight;
Of Hercules the strength and vengeful might.
But long he praised thy dauntless heart,
And sweetest prelude made,
Singing, Bistonian Mars, thy force and art;
Thine arm victorious, which o’erthrew
The fiercest of the bold Phlegrean crew!