Imágenes de páginas

Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light : 10 And they did live by watchfires--and the thrones,

The palaces of crowned kings--the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons ; cities were consumed,

And men were gather'd round their blazing homes 15 To look once more into each other's face;

Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch :
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;

Forests were set on fire--but hour by hour
20 They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks

Extinguish'd with a crash--and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits

The flashes fell upon them ; some lay down
25 And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest

Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled ;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up

With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
30 The pall of a past world ; and then again

With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds

And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,

And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes 35-Came tame and tremulous ; and vipers crawl'd

And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food :
And War, which for a moment was no more,

Did glut himself again ;-a meal was bought 40 With blood, and each sat sullenly apart

Gorging himself in gloom : no love was left ;
All earth was but one thought-and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang

Of famine fed upon all entrails—men 45 Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;

The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse,

and kept

The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay, 50 Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead

Lured their lank jaws ; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand

Which answer'd not with a caress-he died. 55 The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two

Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies; they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place

Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things 60 For an unholy usage; they raked up,

And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame

Which was a mockery; then they lifted up 65 Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld

Each other's aspects-saw, and shriek’d, and died-
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow

Famine had written Fiend. The world was void, 70 The populous and the powerful was a lump,

Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,

And nothing stirred within their silent depths ; 75 Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,

And their masts fell down piecemeal ; as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge-
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,

The moon their mistress had expired before ; 80 The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,

And the clouds perish'd : Darkness had no need
Of aid from them-She was the universe. Byron.

[blocks in formation]

The land is not wholly free from the contamination of à traffic, at which every feeling of humanity must forever revolt--I mean the African slave trade. Neither public sentiment, nor the law, has hitherto been able entirely 5 to put an end to this odious and abominable trade. At

the moment when God, in his mercy, has blessed the Christian world with an universal peace, there is reason to fear, that to the disgrace of the christian name and

character, new efforts are making for the extension of 10 this trade, by subjects and citizens of Christian states,

in whose hearts no sentiment of humanity or justice inhabits, and over whom neither the fear of God nor the fear of man exercises a control. In the sight of

our law, the African slave trader is a pirate and a felon; 15 and in the sight of heaven, an offender far beyond the

ordinary depth of human guilt. There is no brighier part of our history, than that which records the measures which have been adopted by the government, at

an early day, and at different times since, for the sup20 pression of this traffic; and I would call on all the true

sons of New-England, to co-operate with the laws of man, and the justice of heaven. If there be within the extent of our knowledge or influence, any participation

in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves here, to extirpate 25 and destroy it. It is not fit, that the land of the Pil

grims should bear the shame longer. I hear the sound of the hammer, I see the smoke of the furnaces where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs.

I see the visages of those, who by stealth, and at mid30 night, labour in this work of hell, foul and dark, as

may become the artificers of such instruments of misery and torture. Let that spot be purified, or let it cease to be of New-England. Let it be purified, or let

it be set aside froin the Christian world ; let it be put 35 out of the circle of human sympathies and human re

gards, and let civilized man henceforth have no communion with it.

I would invoke those who fill the seats of justice, and all who minister at her altar, that they execute the 40 wholesome and necessary severity of the law. I invoke

the ministers of our religion, that they proclaim its denunciation of these crimes, and add its solemn sanctions to the authority of human laws. If the pulpit be silent,

whenever, or wherever, there may be a sinner bloody 45 with this guilt, within the hearing of its voice, the pulpit is false to trust. I call on the fair merchant, who has reaped his harvest upon the seas, that he assist in scourging from those seas the worst pirates which ever

infested them. That ocean, which seems to ware with 50 a gentle magnificence to waft the burdens of an honest

commerce, and to roll along its treasures with a conscious pride ; that ocean, which hardy industry regards, even when the winds have ruffled its surface, as a field

of grateful toil; what is it to the victim of this oppres55 sion, when he is brought to its shores, and looks forth

upon it, for the first time, from beneath chains, and bleeding with stripes? What is it to him, but a wide spread prospect of suffering, anguish, and death? Nor

do the skies smile longer, nor is the air longer fragrant 60 to him. The sun is cast down from heaven. An in

human and accursed traffic has cut him off in his manhood, or in his youth, from every enjoyment belonging to his being, and every blessing which bis Creator intended for him.


[ocr errors]

59. Dream of Clarence. O, I have passed a miserable night, So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights, That, as I am a Christian faithful man,

I would not spend another such a night, 5 Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days : So full of dismal terror was the time.

Methought, that I had broken from the Tower, And was embarked to cross to Burgundy ;

And, in my company, my brother Gloster, 10 Who from my cabin tempted me to walk

Upon the hatches; thence we looked toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster,

That had befallen us. As we pac'd along 15 Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,

Methought, that Gloster stumbled ; and, in falling,
Struck me, that sought to stay him, overboard,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
0, then methought, what pain it was to drown !

20 What dreadful noise of waters in my ears!

What sights of ugly death within mine eyes !
Methought, I saw a thousand fearful wrecks;
A thousand men, that fishes gnawed upon ;

Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, 25 Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels ;

All scattered in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's sculls ; and, in those holes


did once inhabit, there were crept,
As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
30 That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by.

-Often did I strive
To yield the ghost ; but still the envious flood

Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth 35 To find the empty, vast, and wandering air ;

But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.

My dream was lengthened after life ;
O, then began the tempest to my soul !
40 I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,

With that grim ferryman which poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger-soul,

Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick ; 45 Who cried aloud-"What scourge for perjury

Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?"
And so he vanished. Then came wandering by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair

Dabbled in blood ! and he shrieked out aloud50 “Clarence is come---false, fleeting, perjured Clarence,

--That stabbed me in the field by Tewksbury ;--
Seize on him, furies, take him to your torments !".
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends

Environed me, and howled in mine ears
55 Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise,

I trembling waked ; and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in hell;
Such terrible impression made my dream.


« AnteriorContinuar »