Images de page
PDF
ePub

England's heart is sound enough,
Unshaken and serene,
Like her oak-trees, true and tough,
And old,—but glad and green !
England's heart! All Europe hurled
To ruin, strife, and death,
Sees yet one Zoar in all the world
The Goshen of the earth!
England's heart is sound enough,-
And—though the skies be dark,
Though winds be loud, and waves be rough-
Safe as Noah's ark !
England's heart,-ay God be praised,
That thus, in patriot pride,
An English cheer can yet be raised
Above the stormy tide :
Safe enough and sound enough,
It thrills the heart to feel
A man's a bit of English stuff,
True from head to heel!

TUPPER's Ballads and Poems.

XVII. THE TRIUMPHS OF OUR LANGUAGE.

“ I CANNOT forbear to remark, that however toilsome in general, and however unproductive in part, may be the labours endured in the collection and arrangement of the materials for an English Dictionary, the author of it has it in his power, at the present æra, to congratulate himself upon the enjoyment of a prospect, much more rich and spacious than could fall to the lot of the compiler of a similar work in any language of the European Continent :

· The world is all before him.' And, perhaps, no subject of philosophic contemplation, possessing a livelier interest, can be proposed to a thoughtful and enlightened mind, than a comparison of the field of renown, which even 240 years ago was sketched by the graphic powers of a very humble poet of our own country, with that over which the more lofty genius of the Roman lyric bard extended its survey. When the former imagined himself soaring on wing, 'non usitata, nec tenui,' he prescribes the shores of the Bosphorus, the Syrtes of Getulia, and the Hyperborean plains, to be the utmost confines of his flight; he was content that the Colchian and the Dacian should become familiar with his name,

and that the peritus Iber, Rhodanique potor,' should rehearse his song. Our poet, Daniel, animated probably by the spirit of discovery and

THE TRIUMPHS OF OUR LANGUAGE.

85

general enterprize, for which the princes of the house of Tudor, and the illustrious men who adorned that period of our history, are so distinguished, depictures to his fancy far more ample and resplendent scenes of glory: not, indeed, in personal exultation for the offspring of his own muse especially, but in patriotic pride for the language in which he wrote.

“ These scenes are no longer imaginary: "The treasures of our tongue' are spread over continents, scattered among islands in the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere, from the unformed occident, to the strange shores of unknowing nations in the East.' The sun, indeed, now never sets upon the empire of Great Britain. Not one hour of the twenty-four, in which the earth completes her diurnal revolution; not one round of the minute-hand of the dial is allowed to pass in which, on some portion of the surface of the globe, the air is not filled with accents that are ours.' They are heard in the ordinary transactions of life; or in the administration of law, or in the deliberations of the senate-house or council-chamber; in the offices of private devotion, or in the public observance of the rites and duties of a common faith.”Richardson, conclusion of Preface to English Dictionary.

Now gather all our Saxon bards,

Let harps and hearts be strung,
To celebrate the triumphs of

Our own good Saxon tongue ;
For stronger far than hosts that march

With battle-flags unfurled,
It goes with FREEDOM, THOUGHT, and TRUTH,

To rouse and rule the world.

Stout Albion learns its household lays

On every surf-worn shore,
And Scotland hears its echoing far

As Orkney's breakers roar-
From Jura's crags and Mona's hills

It floats on every gale,
And warms with eloquence and song

The homes of Innisfail.

On many a wide and swarming deck,

It scales the rough wave's crest,
Seeking its peerless heritage-

The fresh and fruitful West :
It climbs New England's rocky steeps,

As victor mounts a throne;
Niagara knows and greets the voice

Still mightier than its own.

It spreads where winter piles deep snows

On bleak Canadian plains,
And where, on Essequibo's banks,

Eternal summer reigns :
It glades Acadia's misty coasts,

Jamaica's glowing isle,
And bides where, gay with early flowers,

Green prairies smile. It tracks the loud swift Oregon

Through sunset valleys rolled, And soars where Californian brooks

Wash down their sands of gold.

It sounds in Borneo's camphor groves,

On seas of fierce Malay,
In fields that curb old Ganges' flood,

And towers of proud Bombay :
It wakes up Aden's flashing eyes,

Dusk brows, and swarthy limbsThe dark Liberian soothes her child

With English cradle hymns.

Tasmania's maids are wooed and won

In gentle Saxon speech ; Australian boys read Crusoe's life

By Sydney's sheltered beach : It dwells where Afric's southmost capes

Meet oceans broad and blue, And Nieuveld's rugged mountains gird

The wide and waste Karroo.

It kindles realms so far apart,

That while its praise you sing,
These may be clad with autumn's fruits,

And those with flowers of spring :
It quickens lands whose meteor-lights

Flame in an arctic sky,
And lands for which the Southern Cross

Hangs its orbed fires on high.

It goes with all that prophets told,

And righteous kings desired, With all that great apostles taught,

And glorious Greeks admired;

[blocks in formation]

With Shakspeare's deep and wondrous verse,

And Milton's loftier mind,
With Alfred's laws, and Newton's lore,

To cheer and bless mankind.
Mark, as it spreads, how deserts bloom,

And error flies away,
As vanishes the mist of night

Before the star of day!
But grand as are the victories

Whose monuments we see,
These are but as the dawn which speaks

Of noontide yet to be.
Take heed, then, heirs of Saxon fame,

Take heed, nor once disgrace
With deadly pen or spoiling sword

Our noble tongue and race.
Go forth prepared in every clime

To love and help each other,
And judge that they who counsel strife

Would bid you smite—a brother.
Go forth, and jointly speed the time,

By good men prayed for long,
When Christian states, grown just and wise,

Will scorn revenge and wrong ;
When earth's oppressed and savage tribes

Shall cease to pine or roam,
All taught to prize these English words-
FAITH, FREEDOM, HEAVEN, and HOME.

J. G. Lyona.

XVIII.-RULE BRITANNIA. “What availed it to Spain to possess the key of the Mediterranean, or to Egypt to have the means of opening the most direct route to the East Indies ? What protection did the iron-bound chain of the Himalaya afford to the degraded Hindoo or the Alps to the doomed denizen of the vale of the Po? Behold, a race of sturdy islanders from the north of the Atlantic, driven from their shores by the very gloom of their own ungenial climate, snatch from the Spaniards the frowning rock of Gibraltar, seize upon Malta, Corfu, and as many harbours as are likely to answer their purposes, proclaim the Mare Internum, a British lake, establish a canal, a railway-a line of aerial steam carriages if needed-athwart thé Libyan desert, and rido gallantly with their steamers to the East and West, encompassing the globe in their gigantic dominion. Talk of bright skies, of elastic paradisaical atmosphere, of fertile soil, of happy alternation of hill and dale !-man, unless braced by the discipline of a stern Spartan education, rots like a rank weed among the luxuries of a southern climate,--and the centre of action, and consequently of all social preeminence, is removed to a barren land, under

a dense canopy of damp fogs, where spring resembles a rehearsal of the flood, and · Winter erds in July to recommence in August. It is thus that mankind improve the bountiful gifts of their Creator."— Foreign and Colonial Quarterly Review.

WHEN Britain first, at Heaven's command,

Arose from out the azure main,
This was the charter of the land,

And guardian angels sung this strain :
“ Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
Britons never will be slaves !"
The nations, not so blessed as thee,

Must in their turn to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,

The dread and envy of them all.
Still more majestic shalt thou rise,

More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies

Serves but to root thy native oak.
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame:

All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse thy generous flame,

But work their woe and thy renown.
To thee belongs the rural reign,

Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,

And every shore it circles thine.
The Muses, still with freedom found,'

Shall to thy happy coast repair ;
Blest isle ! with matchless beauty crowned,

And manly hearts to guard the fair :
“Rule, Britannia, rule the waves,
Britons never will be slaves !"

THOMPSON.

1. “True poets are the objects of my reverence and my love, and the constant sources of my delight. I know that the most of them, from the earliest times to thuse of Buchanan, have been the strenuous enemies of despotism."-Milton.

« PrécédentContinuer »