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She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize--
Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Eight times emerging from the flood
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd,
From hence, ye Beauties! undeceived
When Britain first at Heaven's command
This was the charter of her land,
And guardian angels sung the strain:
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves !
The nations not so blest as thee
Must in their turn to tyrants fall,
Whilst thou shalt flourish great and free
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke ;
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame;
And work their woe and thy renown.
To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
And every shore it circles thine!
The Muses, still with Freedom found,
'Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Nor e'en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!'
-Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride
As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array :Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance;
'To arms !' cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quivering lance.
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe
With haggard eyes the Poet stood;
(Loose his beard and hoary hair
Stream'd like a meteor to the troubled air)
And with a master's hand and prophet's fire
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre:
'Hark, how each giant-oak and desert-cave
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, oh King! their hundred arms they wave,
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
'Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main :
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topt head.
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
I see them sit; They linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.
Weave the warp and weave the woof,
The winding sheet of Edward's race:
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright
The shrieks of death thro' Berkley's roof that ring,
She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs That tear st the bowels of thy mangled mate, From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
The scourge of heaven!
What terrors round him wait!
Amazement in his van, with flight combined,
And sorrow's faded form, and solitude behind.
'Mighty victor, mighty lord,
Low on his funeral couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
Is the sable warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes:
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm:
Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
That hush'd in grim repose expects his evening prey.
'Fill high the sparkling bowl,
The rich repast prepare;
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:
Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest. Heard ye the din of battle bray,
Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
Long years of havock urge their destined course,
Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
Now, brothers, bending o'er the accursed loom,
Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.
Edward, lo! to sudden fate
(Weave we the woof; The thread is spun ;)
Half of thy heart we consecrate.
(The web is wove; The work is done.)
-Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn :
In yon bright track that fires the western skies
They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
Descending slow their glittering skirts unroll?
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul!
No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail:
All hail, ye genuine kings! Britannia's issue, hail !
And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old
In bearded majesty, appear.
In the midst a form divine!
Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line: