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Earthward it glided with a swift descent:
"I, the Guardian of this Land,
"Speak not now of toilsome duty —
Days are come of festive beauty; “Haste, Virgins, haste!—the flowers which summer
"But the green thickets plenteously shall yield
"That will be welcome, if by you entwined! “Haste, Virgins, haste; - and you, ye Matrons grave,
"Go forth with rival youthfulness of mind, "And gather what ye find
"Of hardy laurel and wild holly boughs,
"To deck your stern defenders' modest brows!
"Such simple gifts prepare,
Though they have gained a worthier meed ; "And in due time shall share
"Those palms and amaranthine wreaths,
"In realms where everlasting freshness breathes!"
And lo! with crimson banners proudly streaming, And upright weapons innocently gleaming,
Along the surface of a spacious plain,
Advance in order the redoubted bands,
And there receive green chaplets from the hands Of a fair female train,
Maids and Matrons
In robes of purest white, –
While from the crowd burst forth a rapturous noise
By the cloud-capt hills retorted,
And a throng of rosy boys
In loose fashion told their joys, —
And grey-haired Sires, on staffs supported,
Looked round- and by their smiling seemed to say, Thus strives a grateful Country to display
The mighty debt which nothing can repay!
Anon, I saw, beneath a dome of state,
The starry heavens through splendour of the show,
That they, who asked not, might partake the cheer,
Where'er the wild winds were allowed to blow!
Breathed from a soft and lonely instrument,
That kindled recollections
Of agonized affections;
And, though some tears the strain attended,
peace of spirit, and sublime content!
-But garlands wither, -festal shows depart, Like dreams themselves; and sweetest sound,
Albeit of effect profound,
It was and it is gone!
Victorious England! bid the silent Art
Reflect, in glowing hues that shall not fade,
These high achievements, even as she arrayed With second life the deed of Marathon,
Upon Athenian walls:
may she labour for thy civic halls;
Graced with such gifts as Sculpture can bestow,
With gratulation thoroughly benign!
And ye, Pierian sisters, sprung from Jove And sage Mnemosyne, full long debarred From first mansions, exiled all too long From many a consecrated stream and grove, Dear native regions where ye wont to rove, Chaunting for patriot heroes the reward
Now (for, though truth descending from above
And for a moment meet my soul's desires!
That I, or some more favoured Bard, may hear
Own that the progeny of this fair Isle