Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

I dream'd that, on ocean afloat,

Far hence to the westward I sail'd, While the billows high lifted the boat,

And the fresh blowing breeze never fail'd.

In the steerage a woman I saw,

Such at least was the form that she wore, Whose beauty impressed me with awe,

Ne'er taught me by woman before. She sat, and a shield by her side

Shed light, like a sun on the waves, And smiling divinely, she cried

“I go to make freemen of slaves.".

Then raising her voice to a strain,

The sweetest that ear ever heard,
She sung of the slave's broken chain,

Wherever her glory appear’d.
Some clouds which had over us hung,

Fled, chas'd by her melody clear,
And methought, while she liberty sung,

'Twas liberty only to hear.

Thus swiftly dividing the flood,

To a slave-cultur'd island we came,
Where a demon, her enemy, stood,

Oppression his terrible name.
In his hand, as the sign of his sway,

A scourge hung with lashes he bore,
And stood looking out for his prey,

From Africa's sorrowful shore.

But soon, as approaching the land

That goddess-like woman he view'd, The scourge he let fall from his hand,

With the blood of his subjects imbru’d. I saw him both sicken and die,

And the moment the monster expir'd, Heard shouts that ascended the sky From thousands with rapture inspir'd.

Awaking, how could I but muse

At what such a dream should betide: But soon my ear caught the glad news,

What serv'd my weak thought for a guide ;That Britannia, renown'd o'er the waves

For the hatred she ever has shown To the black-sceptr'd rulers of slaves, Resolves to have none of her own.

[blocks in formation]

Clime of the unforgotten brave !
Whose land, from plain to mountain cave,
Was Freedom's home or Glory's grave!
Shrine of the mighty ! can it be,
That this is all remains of thee?-BYRON.

In the history of the abolition of slavery which I gave you in the last chapter, I was obliged to anticipate the order of time by some few years, that the narrative might not be interrupted. We must now go back therefore to the commencement of the reign of George IV. This king was, in habits and disposition, very different from his father. He was a man of excellent abilities and education, and fond of every thing connected with elegance, and taste, and the fine arts; so that he was considered the most accomplished gentleman in Europe. But he did not possess those more sterling and valuable qualities which had rendered George III. so much beloved by his people; nor that regard for religion which had entitled him to the character of a Christian king.

The coronation of George IV. was celebrated with great magnificence; and he was crowned not only in England but in Hanover too, when he visited that country soon after his accession, He went also to Ireland and Scotland, and was well received in both. England was at this time in a very prosperous state; trade and commerce flourished, for there were no desolating wars now to impoverish the country, and to check the vigour and activity of business. But during the course of this reign, hostilities broke out in distant parts of the world, notwithstanding the peace at home. In 1824 there was a war in India, between the English and the Burmese. This war lasted about four years, and occasioned much suffering to the British Army, both from sickness, and from the attacks of the enemy. It ended however very advantageously for our country; and our possessions in that part of India were secured by the peace which followed.

Not long after, another great battle was fought in a country nearer home; but this was for the protection of others, rather than for the benefit of ourselves. Perhaps you will guess, from the lines at the beginning of the chapter, that this battle had something to do with Greece, and you may feel interested in it

on that account. No doubt, you are acquainted with the early history of Greece. We have all loved to read that history in our younger days, and have pored over the accounts of wars and battles, and the lives of the poets and philosophers, the statesmen and soldiers, of those times, with the pleasure which the recollection of great men and great deeds always excites. You will remember how the former inhabitants of that little territory resisted the aggressions of foreign powers; and how vigorously, and successfully too, they resisted the attempts made against them by the kings of Persia, and their great armies. Those times have long since passed away. The glory of Greece, like that of other countries, came to an end; and instead of being free and independent, she fell under the power of nations greater or stronger than herself. We cannot think of this fallen greatness without a feeling of sorrow; and were we to visit the shores of Greece, and to gaze on the ruins which might remind us of her former prosperous days, we might well mingle with that feeling of sorrow, a serious reflection or two on the changes of time, and the transitory nature of all earthly things.

The eternal surge
Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar
Our bubbles ; as the old burst, new emerge,
Lash'd from the foam of ages; while the graves
Of empires heave but like some passing waves.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »