Ann Yearsley (1756-1806)
Jove , on Olympus, saw his planets roll;
World follow world, fill'd with his mighty soul;
Stars gently gliding through their destin'd course;
Winds waiting when his word should give them force;
Lightnings play harmless round the torrid zone, (5)
Whilst Afric's sons one moment ceas'd to moan---
Himself serene 'mid nature's gen'ral joy,
Heard his lov'd daughter thus deploring Troy:
"Fields of Ausonia!" oft the goddess sigh'd,
"Where my Æneas, where Ascanius died, (10)
How long shall Brutus (last of Trojan name)
There wander, lost to empire and to fame!"
As Venus mourn'd, a general languor grew,
Earth, parching, fail'd to drink refreshing dew;
Her flow'rets faded on her breast; the trees (15)
Sullenly yielded to the playful breeze;
Herds wander'd lonely; music left the vale;
Creation came not in the summer gale.---
So droop the virtues of the human heart,
When from its region Love is doom'd to part. (20)
Jove heard his daughter's soft complaint, and frown'd;
Obsequious thunder shook Olympus round:
Venus, though trembling, still was unsubdu'd,
She kneeling wept, her powerful pray'r renew'd:
"Almighty Sire! O hear thy anxious child, (25)
On suppliant Venus thou hast ever smil'd---
Pity my Brutus on Ausonia's shore,
Bestow some narrow realm, I ask no more;
Where, as thy awful mandate still denies
The tow'rs of Ilium ever more to rise, (30)
Brutus may, by some gen'rous nation blest,
Wear down a virtuous life, and with us rest."---
"Thy pray'r thou hast. Thy fav'rite yet shall reign,
And ride triumphant o'er the watry main."
"Swear, mighty Ruler, by the Stygian lake," (35)
Venus exclaim'd.---No more the Thund'rer spake,
Awful the pause he made!---"Goddess, how long
Will mean suspicion to thy sex belong?
Know, child, till confidence in woman shine,
She'll own no truth, nor credit oaths of mine." (40)
Venus cast down her beauteous eyes, asham'd;
She felt the injustice her great father blam'd:
He look'd tremendous in his pow'r, and swore
Brutus should hail him on Britannia's shore.
Soon wieldy fleets were rang'd along the coast, (45)
With brazen beaks prepar'd to meet an host:
Decks triple-bank'd six rows of oars contain'd:
Their helms they grasp'd, their canvass rightly strain'd;
Whilst Venus from her orb threw down her light,
And cheer'd the pilots through the weary night. (50)
The Tritons laughing to the surface rose;
Inviting sails caught ev'ry wind that blows;
High on the waves the lofty vessels steer'd,
Through the great deep Neptune himself was heard;
Th'impatient god emerging from his cell, (55)
From his white head ten thousand rivers fell;
Around him Zephyr fann'd: beneath him roll'd
The huge Leviathan in burnish'd gold;
His scales reflected rays of mingled light,
As jewels sparkle to the eye of night. (60)
Preceding all, the Nautilus was seen,
Camelion-like, array'd in blue and green,
With humid sail the pathless way to sweep,
Alluring Brutus o'er the treach'rous deep.
At length yon venerable cliffs appear'd: (65)
Enchanting minstrelsy around was heard.
By Jove directed, Venus left her doves,
Her thousand Graces, all her infant Loves,
To cool the spirit of relentless Mars,
Or soothe the goddess of the weeping stars; (70)
Whilst she impatient, hasten'd through the skies,
Expressive fervor trembling in her eyes,
Her light hair floated on the western wind,
Her lips dropp'd fragrance to dissolve the mind.
White fleecy clouds conceal'd her beauteous form, (75)
With her sweet breath e'en hoary North grew warm.
Neptune exclaim'd, "O Venus, fairest child,
Jove at thy birth on all creation smil'd;
The Loves coeval with thee fill'd the air,
With thee awoke the perfect, good, and fair; (80)
Harmony, Grace, Affection round thee press'd,
Sublimer Friendship took thee to her breast:
Through everlasting ages thou shalt reign,
To temper human woe, and soften pain.
Thine is the pow'r, when Destinies severe (85)
Torture the heart, or force the guiltless tear,
Or doom to languish on some shore forlorn
The soul's best object, never to return,
Still to prolong remembrance, nurse the fire,
Delude with hope, sweet confidence inspire, (90)
Till the poor lover feels his spirit glow,
His thoughts emblaz'd shoot o'er the wilds of snow;---
Then oceans sink, mountains his vision fly,
And one dear object fills his mental eye!
Th'unbounded universe shall still be thine, (95)
From Zembla's cave to Afric's burning line!"
Venus reply'd, serene with heav'nly grace,
"Brutus, the last of Priam's hapless race,
Approaches: Liberty his steps await;
Yield thou thy trident, 'tis the will of Fate; (100)
Be thou his friend: I to Olympus go:
The goddess will proclaim his deeds below."
No more she spake, to Neptune low she bow'd;
Her form, reclining on the fleecy cloud
Slowly ascended wrapt in lambent fire, (105)
To seek the bosom of th'eternal Sire!
The Trojan chief, as on the deck he stood,
Survey'd with joy the rock, the lofty wood.
Vallies progressively reveal'd to sight
Varied the landscape with a wild delight; (110)
He first to land, enraptur'd on the shore
Kneel'd first to Jove, then bad his host adore.
Calm was the sea, still ev'ry object round,
Descending anchors sightless lodging found.
"Indulgent Jove! ruler of earth and heav'n! (115)
To thee alone our grateful thanks be giv'n!
Thou hast preserv'd us from the dreary main,
Grant we may here in social bands remain;
In peace, and war, beneath thy awful shield
May Britons learn to conquer, and to yield; (120)
Adore thy laws, near thy eternal shrine
Hang high the shield of Liberty divine!"
Thrice bow'd the Trojans as their hero pray'd,
Thrice Jove invok'd, imploring future aid;
Religion gave refreshment to the soul: (125)
Whilst 'mid the forest rose a barb'rous howl;
No fruitless fears tranquillity could chase
From the warm bosoms of the weary race.
They sought repose: by contemplation fir'd,
To mark the Isle their chief alone retir'd. ( 130)
Enamell'd vales, streams stealing through the glade,
Nature in all her vernal charms display'd,
Salubrious air that fills the temp'rate zone
Here gave the human nerve a healthful tone.---
Rapture sublime! such as the artist knows (135)
When wildest beauty o'er his canvass grows,
When, ere his forms can rise, he sees them there,
Pours on his colours, and his forms appear---
So felt the chief, when on a verdant mound
A heav'nly figure stood with glory crown'd: (140)
Her shape majestic, as her mantle flew,
Was cloth'd beneath in robes of azure blue;
The sun's bright rays, reflected by her eyes,
Shot beaming mildness o'er the western skies;
Her bosom hid from day, as Dian's chaste, (145)
A shining cestus clasp'd her slender waist;
Sandals she wore of fabric rare and light,
Wing'd were her feet with pinions long and white,
As near the chief she drew with awful air,
Her right hand graceful held a warlike spear, (150)
Whose shaft bore high the emblem of renown,
The noblest gift of Jove, to man sent down---
No diadem usurp'd, or finely wrought
To press with pain and care, the seat of thought;
But the first cap the sons of order wear, (155)
When kings are fathers, and their subjects dear.
Its splendid surface blaz'd with deathless names
Of heroes panting 'mid despotic flames:
Navies for ever floating rose behind,
And furious lions seem'd to fight the wind. (160)
Her left arm careless fell, in part conceal'd
Liberty's bright invulnerable shield.
The wond'ring Trojan felt emotions new,
Rapture inspired and adoration grew:
But ere his senses fled, he faltering cry'd, (165)
"Who art thou?" " Liberty ," the power reply'd.
Prostrate the warrior fell.---Divine by birth,
Pity was hers; she rais'd him from the earth,
Reviv'd his spirit with a heav'nly smile:
"Know, Brutus, I'm the goddess of this isle: (170)
To guard these shores, and bless the Britons' line,
Venus and Jove here consecrate thee mine,
Their choice omniscient: welcome task to thee,
Since sons of virtue only can be free.
The hydra Anarchy I live to tame:--- (175)
She with Licentiousness usurps my name;
Her restless offspring shall misguided roam,
The foe of order ne'er shall find a home.
Let him my blessings never hope to know,
Who sternly bids a brother's blood to flow! (180)
Not such by Jove omnipotent design'd
To meliorate or humanize the mind.
Powers meant to give the social virtues birth,
Immortalize the man, and bless the earth,
Through ether now are flying to this coast, (185)
Where union is my Britons' strongest boast.
Before it traitors and barbarians fall:
Union, my great palladium, conquers all.
Return!---A warlike host with fatal darts
Are marching on to pierce thy Trojans' hearts, (190)
Who pant for Brutus.---Fly! I will be near,
Confide in Jove, to him address thy prayer;
'Tis his to conquer."---O'er the verdant field
She soar'd away: high blaz'd her awful shield.
Brutus, forewarn'd, retrac'd the lengthen'd way (195)
To where his navy, and his Trojans lay;
Thoughtful with future plans he onward steer'd.
No flying pendant, no tall mast appear'd.
Deep in the forest rose a barb'rous sound,
The woodlands trembled, echo labour'd round: (200)
His eye arrested, through the groves were seen
Gigantic mortals, painted red and green.
Around the waist huge serpents seem'd to twine,
Sun, moon, and stars on their large bosoms shine:
Wolves, tigers, objects of uncouth delight, (205)
On their wide shoulders dar'd the mimic fight.
The left arm rais'd to point the ruthless dart,
Reveal'd a Lion couching near the heart.
Nor less array'd, as if of terror vain,
Throng'd the young females of the giant train. (210)
Their flaxen hair fell low beneath the waist,
The tawny hide their fairer bodies grac'd---
Hides won by valour, sacred to their truth,
When o'er the chace Love led th'enraptur'd youth:
He oft at dawn arose, unnotic'd stray'd, (215)
Whilst safe embower'd repos'd his beauteous maid:
And ere she 'woke to bless the hunter's toil,
Near her cool dwelling, lay the tiger's spoil;
Or variegated plumage, to adorn
Her head, and raise less happy rivals' scorn.--- (220)
To dignify, deface, or hide her charms,
Her favourite gods were pictur'd round her arms.
Not all at once the deity appear'd,
His chin serv'd one day, and the next his beard;
Here a blue mouth, there a red eye display'd (225)
The pious spirit of the heathen maid.
When her god warm'd, or phrensy fir'd her soul,
She scoop'd the scull to form the votive bowl;
Fill'd it with juice press'd from the balmy flower,
Commix'd with dew, caught in her midnight hour; (230)
Rais'd high her incantation, call'd on Thor ,
Her god of love---her father's god of war.
Thor, monstrous idol, undelighted stood,
Nor heard the pray'r, nor gave the fleeting good;
Whether in war to conquest they aspir'd, (235)
Or softer blessings when with fury tir'd.
The prudent Brutus hasten'd to the coast,
Nor dar'd the council of the giant host.
When on the heath, leaving the woods behind,
He saw his pendants sporting on the wind. (240)
His Trojans had dispers'd, some caves explor'd,
Some run aloft, their Brutus all deplor'd:
To beasts at length they deem'd their chief a prey,
And pensive view'd the rocks and liquid way:
Their courage droop'd, their manly cheeks were wan, (245)
The mighty spring that mov'd their plan was gone.
Suddenly, on the plain his form they spied;
Shouts hoarsely broke o'er each tall vessel's side:
Echo return'd them from her deepest cell:
The Briton tribes gave an indignant yell. (250)
Scarcely it trembled on the Trojan ear
When clouds of arrows whizz'd through yielding air.
Brutus essay'd in vain his ships to reach,
A tribe rush'd on, and rang'd along the beach:
Adranus first, born of the mountain race, (255)
Of size herculean, and of satyr face,
Fiercely among the Trojans hurl'd the dart.
Brutus arriv'd, and pierc'd his furious heart.---
The hideous trunk fell lifeless to the ground,
The wrathful spirit flutter'd through the wound. (260)
A pause ensued, his friends invok'd his ghost,
Whilst from their ships rush'd down the Trojan host.
Zaunus came next, of swarthy Lara born,
Lara the maiden's and the matron's scorn;
She young neglected virtue: deaf to fame, (265)
Zaunus existed as the heir of shame:
The mother scorn'd---the poor neglected child
Soon robb'd the richer savage of the wild:
Untaught his mind, of rectitude bereft,
His soul grew sanguine, his employment theft: (270)
Frequently seizing, av'rice to assuage,
Fruits that lay ripening for the lip of age!
Talib, a Trojan youth, wore 'mid the fight
A spangled collar dazzling with its light;
Gift of his mother, when, by Fate's decree, (275)
She mourning trusted Talib to the sea.
Zaunus espied it, grasp'd the ruddy boy,
His wishes eager for the gaudy toy.
Talib's short falchion met the robber's face,
Struggling they fell each in a foe's embrace. (280)
The steel had cross'd the Briton's orbs of sight;
In one red vision Zaunus lost the light.
Twisting his hand in Talib's beauteous hair,
When on Ausonia's shore, a mother's care,
He monstrous e'en in anguish sought the prize, (285)
His touch more sensate from his loss of eyes.
The youth, to ease his throat, the band untied;
The thief once press'd it to his lips, and died.
Rude blasts come bursting through the leafy brake,
When first the spirits of the tempest wake--- (290)
They fight the rocks! reluctant shriek away,
Around th'horizon gather up the day
Beneath their sable wings that dark the sphere;
Whilst from their bosoms drops the big round tear.
Then swains who mark the omens of the hour, (295)
Conclude the rip'ning torrent soon must pour;
Tremble lest lightnings with their harvest play,
Or the black dæmons sweep their all away.
So Brutus anxious view'd the mighty throng
Thickening behind, thousands the woods among: (300)
Lamented war, stern foe to social good,
Mourn'd Britain early soil'd with Britons' blood:
Sounded retreat, his marshall'd troops obey'd:
He paus'd, to try if Mercy yet might plead.
How could he plead? how win th'indignant mind? (305)
To gesture only was his soul confin'd.
Awful the moment: for his anxious heart
A Briton aim'd th'inexorable dart.
Venus unseen the weapon blew aside,
On a young willow all its ardor died. (310)
Brutus undaunted smil'd, and bow'd him low,
The deathful arrow slacken'd on the bow.
His features shone, he pointed to the Sun,
Th'admiring Britons view'd him one by one.
Advanc'd their chiefs with wild but warlike grace, (315)
And woo'd by signs the man to fight or chase:
When Liberty , to Brutus only known,
Whisper'd, "To yield is to deserve a throne.
Let fall thy spear: my Britons are not slaves:
There lives no conqueror but the man who saves. (320)
Untaught, unpolish'd is the savage mind,
Yet firm in friendship, to affliction kind:
Deserve their love, their error will decay;
Order and beauty with their passions play:
Visions arise from interchange of thought, (325)
With dear refinement and instruction fraught.
To Love alone society must owe
The deep foundations of all bliss below:
Friendship, that cheers as summer suns decline,
Forgiveness, mercy, charity divine; (330)
All deeds refin'd, benevolent and free
Are but the branches---Love's the parent tree;
Sole attribute of Jove, in pity giv'n
To melt the soul, and form its taste for heav'n!
Regard my Britons with affection's eye, (335)
And to preserve thee, they will bravely die.
This Venus bids, now gliding through the grove---
War is no more: raise hymns of peace to Jove!"
No more she spake. Brutus her voice obey'd:
His shield, his helmet on the earth he laid. (340)
Dissolving influence thrill'd the Britons' hearts,
They clasp'd the chief, resign'd their deathful darts.
The Trojan host came mingling through the vale:---
Rapture's fair visions whisper'd in the gale:
Loves laughing with the Dryads on the green,(345)
With beauteous Flora gaily drest, were seen.
Peace threw her milk-white pinions o'er the Isle,
Plenty brought forth her blessings with a smile:
To arts or commerce turn'd each kindred host,
Liberty fix'd her bulwarks round the coast: (350)
Beneath her feet old Neptune wander'd slow,
To waft her navies o'er the rocks below.
As distant nations view'd the cap she wore,
Her heroes shone, her lion seem'd to roar.
All hail'd repose: Sol reach'd his summer sign, (355)
When men oppress'd beneath his rays recline:
Streams stole in silence through the lonely dell;
A sultry calm on the wide landscape fell.
Fill'd with the visions Liberty inspir'd,
Brutus afar through winding shades retir'd. (360)
Brown grew the foliage, as he onward went;
Cold drops on thick'ning brambles were besprent;
E'en at noon day so dank the path, the boughs
Let fall their tears at parting o'er his brows.
Still he advanc'd, and sought the sun in vain; (365)
No sun shone there, nor bask'd the reptile train.
Beneath an oak, close on his right, appear'd
A rustic altar, with rude pebbles rear'd;
The smoke still curling round the blushing flow'r,
Which drown'd in dew, no flame could yet devour: (370)
High hung the shield indented here and there,
The jointed corslet, with the dreadful spear.
"For whose pale ghost," exclaim'd th'astonish'd chief,
"Can Love or Friendship thus invoke relief?
Whate'er the doom of wand'ring shades below, (375)
The Styx they ne'er can pass to heal our woe.
Will good Anchises, Hector, Priam stray
Whence ceaseless Suns illume th'eternal day?
Peace to their manes!"---Sorrow check'd his tongue,
His father's image on his memory hung; (380)
The sigh ascended, fill'd with sacred awe;
His father fled made piety a law:
Remembrance made him sad, when through the shade
Appear'd a path narrow and slightly made.
Now Sol declining led eve's darker hues, (385)
Zephyr rov'd on to bear the pregnant dews
From flow'r to flow'r: each drooping bud regain'd
Th'elastic force in crystal drops contain'd:
Low'ring the clouds obscur'd the light, when near
A barbed arrow pass'd the warrior's ear. (390)
Back flew th'embracing boughs, the sacred oak
Receiv'd the weapon, and its fury broke:
Maternal warblers rous'd from slumber sprung---
Trembling they left their nests and callow young.
"Whoe'er thou art," the hero cried aloud, (395)
"If guilt or sorrow thou wouldst here enshroud,
I by command of Venus and of Jove
Approach to hail thee in this dreary grove."
"Hence, bold adventurer!" a voice replied,
"Who hast my melancholy seat descried; (400)
Know, none remains who shall my friendship share:
Begone, nor trust a wretch that seeks despair!"
"I will behold thee," Brutus cried: "the night
Nor random arrows shall preclude my sight:
Advance, if yet the world be worth thy care; (405)
For truant passion I can pardon spare."
Forth rush'd a beauteous maid, and pois'd her dart,
Resolv'd to plunge it in the hero's heart.
Speechless he stood: the moon, high in her race,
Shot transient light on his undaunted face; (410)
His sword though rais'd fell useless to the ground,
The lovely stranger felt a fancied wound;
Forgot her danger, feebly dropp'd the dart,
And fell the slave of self-created smart.
She would have spoke---Confusion check'd her tongue.(415)
With bow and quiver o'er her shoulder flung,
Silent she turn'd, majestic in her air,
Collecting firmness in her dumb despair:
A vestal robe enclos'd her beauteous form,
Her eyes an icy anchorite might warm. (420)
As she retiring bow'd with winning grace,
Brutus exclaim'd: "How cam'st thou to this place?"
"Too curious stranger, here I mourn a sire---
Who needs not thee---Ah safely yet retire!
His soul yet hovers o'er this scene with me. (425)
Begone! for Hermia is and will be free!
Yet, if the gods commission thee to prove
My humble sacrifice to filial love,
Learn, I am Trojan born: this treach'rous shore
Wreck'd my young hope: our vessel is no more. (430)
Our crew dispers'd, each youth pursu'd his plan;
My sire was wounded; here my woes began.
Within yon little cabin form'd of earth,
Our embers dying on too cold an hearth,
He fading sat; whilst I at dawn did rise, (435)
With fruitless anguish trembling in my eyes;
Fleet as the down that lives along the air
I cours'd for berries, sought the native pear,
And fruits that love the winter of the year.
For him I learn'd to send the fatal dart, (440)
For him my bow preserv'd my virgin heart.
His venerable head now rests on earth,
His soul ascends to Jove, who gave him birth:
And oft he'll stoop, through glory-skirted air,
To view his Hermia with paternal care. (445)
On yon rude altar, to his mem'ry rais'd,
Fruits, flow'rs, and fragrant cedars long have blaz'd:
To Jove I make no off'ring blest with life;
Jove turns from victims reeking with the knife.
Whilst on yon oak his warlike shield I hung, (450)
The song of ages, taught by him, I sung:
'Hail, sacred sire! safe in thy place of rest,
Heed not the pangs that rack thy Hermia's breast.
May thy low grave unprest be ever green,
Till some few summers end her labour'd scene; (455)
When, trusting to the sov'reign of the skies,
I'll sink, dear sire, to thee, and with thee rise.'
"Not so, dear Hermia! take me to thy heart:
'Tis Brutus speaks, who with thee ne'er can part.
Thy father left th'Ausonian shores with me, (460)
His ship like lightning cut the foaming sea:
We call'd him oft to check the burthen'd sail,
He heard us not, but flew before the gale.
She struck some sightless rock (we met no storm),
And roll'd away in undistinguish'd form. (465)
But since thee, precious relic, here I find,
Let one soft transport form one mutual mind:
Quit this sad scene, I'll lead thee forth to joy;
Free souls like ours can found another Troy."
Untutor'd Hermia with a sigh replied: (470)
"Go, gen'rous prince, and seek a happier bride.
Could I domestic peace or joy impart,
Imprest with woe contagious to the heart?
Forgive me, Brutus: till my hours expire,
I must lament my dear ill-fated sire."(475)
"I'll mourn with thee, indulge thy tedious grief,
And, sympathising with thee, give relief;
Till memory fade, and thy sad soul shall prove
Affliction banish'd by the breath of Love."
"Brutus, my father's friend, shall be my guide, (480)
O'er Hermia's spirit, o'er her fate preside!
Accept, brave chief, my arrows and my bow---
I follow thee; where'er thou bidd'st, I'll go;
Save that, when Sol winds up the weary year,
This grassy tomb shall drink my filial tear."(485)
He led her forth where rose an infant town,
Long since the seat of science and renown.
From three fair sons, the highest gifts of Heav'n,
To beauteous Hermia and her Brutus giv'n,
He that delights in tracing wondrous things (490)
Leads from oblivion a long race of kings.
Still Hermia mourn'd her sire. He seem'd to rove
With her invisible through ev'ry grove,
Guide threat'ning torrents harmless o'er her head,
Breathe in the air, and wander round her bed. (495)
With inward languishment her form declin'd;
She dress'd his grave, invok'd his banish'd mind:
At length in Brutus' arms resign'd her breath,
And sought her father through the gates of death.
"Dear proof of filial anguish, known to few,"--- (500)
Sad Brutus sigh'd---"may Jove our forms renew!
When round my eyes the Sisters weave the night,
O may I find thee in the fields of light!"
The Chief expir'd---That Brutus who could bind
In Order's silken band the Briton's mind, (505)
Slept with his Hermia in the grassy tomb,
Beneath the oak that yearly lost its bloom.
Here Liberty to breathe her woes retir'd,
Here ev'ry sigh she gave her warriors fir'd---
"Eternal Jove ," she cried, " be these thy care!" (510)
Tremendous thunder murmur'd through the air!
The concave vast, whose spacious circle binds
Unwieldy Tempest, with his hoary winds,
Divided; whilst the welkin trembled round,
And this dread fiat fill'd the great profound: (515)
"Not all shall die who love thy sacred charms."
Again her sons arose, and call'd for arms---
Her hair dishevell'd, on her cliffs she stood;
Reclaim'd her empire o'er the briny flood.
Neptune arose, his ev'ry wave uncurl'd: (520)
The Britons seiz'd the trident of the world.
Venus and Jove smil'd from their brightest sphere,
And godlike Order fix'd her standard here.