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Of superstition, and tyrannic sway
Spirit of Tell! and art thou doom'd to see
- That land subdued by Slavery’s basest slaves,
By men, whose lips pronounce the sacred name
Of Liberty, then kiss the despot's foot ?
Helvetia! had'st thou to thyself been true,
Thy dying sons had triumph'd as they fell :
But 'twas a glorious effort, tho’ in vain.
Aloft thy genius ʼmid the sweeping clouds,
The flag of Freedom spread; bright in the storm,
The streaming meteor wav'd, and far it gleam'd;
But, ah ! 'twas transient as the Iris' arch,
Glanc'd from Leviathan's ascending shower,
When ʼmid the mountain waves heaving his head.
Already had the friendly-seeming foe
Possess'd the snow-pil'd ramparts of the land ;
Down like an avalanche (20) they rolld, they
The temple, palace, cottage, every work
Of art and nature, in one common ruin.
The dreadful crush is o'er, and peace ensues,
The peace of desolation, gloomy, still :
* Each day is like a Sabbath; but, alas !
No Sabbath-service glads the seventh day;
No more the happy villagers are seen,
Winding adown the rock-hewn paths that wont
To lead their footsteps to the house of prayer ;
But, far apart, assembled in the depth
Of solitudes, perhaps a little group
Of aged men, and orphan boys, and maids
Bereft, list to the breathings of the holy man
Who spurns an oath of fealty to the power
Of rulers chosen by a tyrant's nod.
No more, as dies the rustling of the breeze,
Is heard the distant vesper-hymn ; no more
At gloamin hour, the plaintive strain (21) that
His country to the Switzer's heart, delights The loosening team; or if some shepherd boy Attempt the strain, his voice soon faltering stops ; He feels his country now a foreign land.
O SCOTLAND! can'st thou for a moment brook
The mere imagination, that a fate
Like this can e'er be thine, that o'er those hills,
And dear-bought vales, whence WALLACE,
Repell’d proud EDWARD's multitudinous hordes,
A Gallic foe, that abject race, should rule ?
No, no ! let never hostile standard touch
Thy shore : rush, rush into the dashing brine, And crest each wave with steel; and should the
Of slavery's footstep violate the strand,
Let not the tardy tide efface the mark ;
Sweep off the stigma with a sea of blood.
But truce with war, at best a dismal theme,
Thrice happy he who, far in Scottish glen
Retir'd, (yet ready at his country's call,)
Has left the restless emmet-hill of man!
He never longs to read the sadd’ning tale
Of endless wars; and seldom does he hear
The tale of woe; and ere it reaches him,
Rumour, so loud when new, has died away
Into a whisper, on the memory borne
Of casual traveller :- As on the deep,
Far from the sight of land, when all around
Is waveless calm, the sudden tremulous swell,
That gently heaves the ship, tells, as it rolls,
Of earthquakes dread, and cities overthrown.
O SCOTLAND! much I love thy tranquil dales ; But most on Sabbath eve, when low the sun Slants through the upland copse, 'tis my delight, Wandering, and stopping oft, to hear the song Of kindred praise arise from humble roofs; Or when the simple service ends, to hear The lifted latch, and mark the gray-hair'd man, The father and the priest, walk forth alone Into his garden-plat or little field, To commune with his God in secret prayer,To bless the Lord, that in his downward years His children are about him : sweet meantime,