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DIRGE OF ALARIC THE VISIGOTH.

169

And where I went the spot was cursed,
Nor blade of grass again was seen
Where Alaric and his hosts had been.

See how their haughty barriers fail

Beneath the terror of the Goth,
Their iron-breasted legions quail

Before my ruthless sabaoth,
And low the queen of empires kneels,
And grovels at

my chariot-wheels.

Not for myself did I ascend

In judgment my triumphal car;
'Twas God alone on high did send

The avenging Scythian to the war,
To shake abroad, with iron-hand,
The appointed scourge of his command.

With iron hand that scourge I reared

O'er guilty king and guilty realm;
Destruction was the ship I steered,

And vengeance sat upon the helm,
When, launched in fury on the flood,
I ploughed my way through seas of blood,
And, in the stream their hearts had spilt,
Washed out the long arrears of guilt.

Across the everlasting Alp

I poured the torrent of my powers,
And feeble Cæsars shrieked for help,

In vain, within their seven-hilled towers;
I quenched in blood the brightest gem
That glittered in their diadem,
And struck a darker, deeper die,
In the purple of their majesty,
And bade my northern banners shine
Upon the conquered Palatine.

My course is run, my errand done;

I go to Him from whom I came; But never yet shall set the sun

Of glory that adorns my name; And Roman hearts shall long be sick, When men shall think of Alaric.

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My course is run, my errand done ;

But darker ministers of fate, Impatient, round the eternal throne,

And in the caves of vengeance, wait; And soon mankind shall blench away Before the name of Attila.

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THE LAST EVENING BEFORE ETERNITY.

BY

J. A.

HILLHOUSE.

By this, the sun his westering car drove low:
Round his broad wheel full many a lucid cloud
Floated, like happy isles, in seas of gold :
Along the horizon castled shapes were piled,
Turrets and towers, whose fronts, embattled, gleamed
With yellow light: smit by the slanting ray,
A ruddy beam the canopy reflected;
With deeper light the ruby blushed; and thick
Upon the seraphs' wings the glowing spots
Seemed drops of fire. Uncoiling from its staff,
With fainter wave, the gorgeous ensign hung,
Or, swelling with the swelling breeze, by fits
Cast off, upon the dewy air, huge flakes
Of golden lustre. Over all the hill,
The heavenly legions, the assembled world,
Evening her crimson tint for ever drew.

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Round I gazed, Where, in the purple west, no more to dawn, Faded the glories of the dying day. Mild twinkling through a crimson-skirted cloud The solitary star of evening shone. While gazing wistful on that peerless light, Thereafter to be seen no more, (as, oft In dreams, strange images will mix,) sad thoughts Passed o'er my soul. Sorrowing, I cried, Farewell, Pale, beauteous planet, that displayst so soft, Amid yon glowing streak, thy transient beam, A long, a last farewell! Seasons have changed, Ages and empires rolled, like smoke, away; But thou, unaltered, beamst as silver fair As on thy birthnight. Bright and watchful eyes, From palaces and bowers, have hailed thy gem With secret transport. Natal star of love, And souls that love the shadowy hour of fancy, How much I owe thee, how I bless thy ray! How oft thy rising o'er the hamlet green, Signal of rest, and social converse sweet, Beneath some patriarchal tree, has cheered The peasant's heart, and drawn his benison !

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Death found strange beauty on that polished brow,
And dashed it out. There was a tint of rose
On cheek and lip;—he touched the veins with ice,
And the rose faded. Forth from those blue eyes
There spake a wishful tenderness

-a doubt
Whether to grieve or sleep, which innocence
Alone may wear. With ruthless haste, he bound
The silken fringes of those curtaining lids
For ever.

There had been a murmuring sound,
With which the babe would claim its mother's ear,
Charming her even to tears. The spoiler set
The seal of silence. But there beamed a smile
So fixed and holy from that cherub brow-
Death gazed, and left it there ;-He dared not steal
The signet-ring of Heaven.

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