Thomas Love Peacock.

Palmyra, and other poems online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryThomas Love PeacockPalmyra, and other poems → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

% JU.













aacn, SI co.v dpfj^ovioc, xocroicrKsuoc^srai.







Palmyra 3

Notes on Palmyra 31

The Visions of Love 49

Maria's Return to her Native Cottage 6i

FiOLFAR, King of Norway 69

Notes on Fiolfar 89


Henriette 95

The Old Man's Complaint 98

On the Death of C. Pembroke, Esq 101

The Rainbow 103

Ellen 105

The Lord's Prayer, paraphrased lOo

Farewell to Matilda 108



Mira 112

Amarillisj from the Pastor Fido 115

Clonar and Tlamin 118

Foldath in the Cavern of Moma 122

Dreams J from Petronius Arbiter 124

Pindar on tlie Edipse of the Sun 126

To a young Lady, netting 129


Levi Moses 133

Slender's Love Elegy 137

A Fragment 140




Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors.
My very noble and approv'd good masters.
With all my love I do commend me to you :
And now, good friends, when you shall judgment

In censure of my seeming, I beseech you.


Speak of me as I am 3 nothing extenuate.

Nor aught set down in malice. Note you this:

Time has not sow'd a grizzle on my face:

The golden mark I seek to hit, is not

To look quite through the deeds of men, and shew

The very age and body of the time

Its form and pressure. With a simple wreath,

CuU'd from the book and volume of my brain,

I come before you. Yet alas ! raethinks

I hear a voice cry: '' horrible ! most horrible!

Ye Gods! how vilely does this cynic rhyme!

Oh! he's as tedious as a twice-told tale.

Worse than the forc'd gait of a shuffling nag!"

Though all that I can do is little worth

With your displeasure piec'd, my good intent

May cany through itself: no levell'd malice


Infects one comma in the course I hold.

Under your good correction, if I speed.

And my invention thrive, then will I say.

Your love deserves my thanks : so farewell^ gentlemen.


' avaxra rwv 77'a vrwy UTTsf jSaA-

KovroL y^^ovov y.'XKCc^cuv. Find.


As the mountain-torrent rages,
Loud, impetuous, swift, and strong,

So tlie rapid stream of ages
Rolls with ceaseless tide along.

Man's little day what cloads o'ercast!

How soon his longest date is past!
All-conqu'ring Death, in solemn state unftirl'd,

Comes, hke the burning desert-blast.
And sweeps him from the world.

The noblest works of human pow'r

In vain resist the fate-fraught hour 3

The marble hall, the rock-built tow'r.


Alike submit to destiny :
Oblivion's awful storms resound^
* The massy columns fall around 5

t The fabric totters to the ground.
And darkness veils it's memory!

'Mid Syria's barren world of sand,

*^,_. Where Thedmor's marble wastes expand.

Where Desolation, on the blasted plain.

Has fix'd his adamantine throne,

I mark, in silence and alone.

His melancholy reign.

These silent wrecks, more eloquent than speech.

Full many a tale of awful note impart j

Truths more sublime than bard or sage can teach

"-" - This pomp of iiiia presses on the heart.

Whence rose tliat dim, mysterious sound.

That breath'd in hollow murmui's round?


As sweeps the gale
Along the vale,
- Where many a mould'ring tomb is spread.
Awe-struck, I hear.
In fancy's ear.
The voices of th' illustrious dead :
As slow they pass along, they seem to sigh,
Man, and the works of man, are only born to die !'


As scatter' d round, a dreary space.

Ye spirits of the wise and just!
In reverential tliought I trace

The mansions of your sacred dust.
Enthusiast Fancy, rob'd in light.
Pours on the air her many-sparkling rays.
Redeeming from Oblivion's deep'ning night
The deeds of ancient days.


The mighty forms of chiefs of old.
To Virtue dear, and Patriot Truth sublime.

In feeble splendor I behold.
Discover' d dimly through the mists of Time,
As through the vapours of the mountain-stream
With pale reflection glows the sun's declining beam.


Still as twilight's mantle hoary

Spreads progressive on the sky,
See^ in visionary gloiy,

Darkly-thron'd, they sit on high.
But whose the forms, oh Fame, declare.
That crowd majestic on the air ?
Bright Goddess ! come, on rapid wings.
To tell the mighty deeds of kings.
Where art thou, Fame ?
Each honor' d name


From thy eternal roll unfold :

Awake the lyre_,

In songs of lire.
To chiefs renown'd in days of old.

I call in vain !

The welcome strain
Of praise to them no more shall sound :

Their actions bright

Must sleep in night.
Till Time shall cease his mystic round.
The dazzling glories of their day
The stream of years has swept away 3
Their names, that struck the foe with fear^
Shall ring no more on mortal ear !


Yet faithful Memory's raptur'd eye
Can still the godlike form descry.


Of him^ who, on Euphrates' shore,
From Sapor's brow his blood-stain'd laurels tore.
And bade the Roman banner stream unfurl'dj
When the stern Genius of the startling waves
Beheld on Persia's host of slaves

■ Tumultuous ruin hurl'd!
Meek Science too, and Taste refin'd.

The grave with deathless flow'rs have dress'd.
Of him whose virtue-kindling mind
Their ev'ry charm supremely bless'dj
Who trac'd the mazy warblings of the lyre
With all a critic's art, and all a poet's fire.


Where is the bard, in these degen'rate days.
To whom the muse the blissful meed awards.

Again the dithyrambic song to raise.

And strike the golden harp's responsive chords?


Be his alone the song to swell.
The all-transcendent praise to tell

Of yon immortal form.
That bursting through the veil of years.
In changeless majesty appears,
Brightas the sun-beams thro' the scatt'ring storm !

What countless charms around her rise !
What dazzling splendor sparkles in her eyes !
On her radiant brow enshrin'd,
Minerva's beauty blends with Juno's grace j

The matchless virtues of her godlike mind
Are stamp' d conspicuous on her angel-face.


Hail, sacred shade, to Nature dear!
Though sorrow clos'd thy bright career.
Though clouds obscur'd thy setting day,
Thy fame shall never pass away !


Long shall the mind's unfading gaze
Retrace thy pow'r's meridian blaze.
When o'er Arabian deserts, vast and wild.

And Egypt's land, (where Reason's wakeful eye
First on the birth of Art and Science smil'd.
And bade the shades of mental darkness fly)
And o'er Assyria's many-peopled plains.

By Justice led, thy conqu'ring armies pour'd.
When humbled nations kiss'd thy silken chains.
Or fled dismay'd from Zabdas' victor-sword :
Yet vain the hope to share the purple robe.
Or snatch from Roman arms tlie empire of the globe.


Along the wild and wasted plain
His vet'ran bands tlie Roman monarch led.
And roU'd his burning wheels o'er heaps of slain :


The prowling chacal heard afar
The devastating yell of war.
And rush'd, with gloomy howl, to banquet on the dead !

For succour to Palmyra's walls

Her tremW-ng subjects fled, confounded,
But wide amid her regal halls

The whirling fires resounded.
Onward the hostile legions pour'd :

Nor beauteous youth, nor helpless age.
Nor female charms, by savage breasts ador'd.
Could check the Roman's barb'rous rage.
Or blunt the murd'rous sword.
Loud, long, and fierce, the voice of slaughter roar'd
The night-shades fell, the work of death was o'er.
Palmyra's sun had set, to rise no more!



What mystic form, uncoutli and dread,
*" - ' With wither'd cheek, and hoaiy head.
Swift as the death-fire cleaves the sky.
Swept on sounding pinions by ?
'Twas Time: I know the Foe of KingSj
His scythe, and sand, and eagle wings :
He cast a burning look around.
And wav'd his bony hand, and frown'd.
Far from the spectre's scowl of lire
Fancy's feeble forms retire.
Her air-born phantoms melt away.
Like stars before the rising day.


Yes, all are flown !
I stand alone.
At ev'ning's calm and pensive hour,


*">-« — - "Mid wasted domes,
jv.,«-.^- .-And mould'ring tombs.
The wrecks of vanity and pow'r.
One shadowy tint enwraps the plain j

No form is near^ no sounds intrude.
To break the melancholy reign
Of silence and of solitude.
How oft, in scenes like these, since Time began,
Widi downcast eye has Contemplation trod.
Far from the haunts of Folly, Vice, and Man,

To hold sublime communion with her God!
How oft, in scenes like these, the pensive sage

Has mourn'd the hand of Fate, severely just.
War's wasteful course, and Death's unsparing rage.

And dark Oblivion, frowning in the dust!
Has mark'd the tombs, that kings o'erthrown declare.
Just wept their fall, and sunk to join them there!



In yon proud fane, majestic in decay.

How oft of old the swelling hymn arose.
In loud thanksgiving to the Lord of Day,
Or pray'r for vengeance on triumphant foes !
'Twas there, ere yet Aurelian's hand

/ -Had kindled Ruin's smould'ring brand.

As slowly mov'd the sacred choir
Around the altar's rising lire.
The priest, with wild and glowing eye,
Bade the flow'r-bound victim dicj
And while he fed the incense-flame,

"With many a holy mystery.
Prophetic inspiration came

To teach th' impending destiny.
And shook his venerable frame
With most portentous augury!


In notes of angxiish, deep and slow_,
He told the coming hour of woej
The youths and maids, with terror pale^,
In breathless torture heard the tale,

And silence hung

On ev'ry tongue.
While thus the voice prophetic rung :


" Whence was the hollow scream of fear.
Whose tones appall'd my shrinking ear?
Whence was the modulated cry.
That seem'd to swell, and hasten by?
What sudden blaze illum'd the night ?
Ha! 'twas Destruction's meteor-light!
Whence was the whirlwind's eddying breath ?
Ha ! 'twas the fiery blast of De ath !



'^ See! the mighty God of Battle

Spreads abroad his crimson train !
Discord's myriad voices rattle

O'er the terror-shaken plain.
Banners stream, and helmets glare,
Show' ring arrows hiss in airj
Echoing through the darken' d skies.
Wildly-mingling murmurs rise.
The clash of splendor-beaming steel.

The buckler ringing hollowly.
The cymbal's silver-sounding peal,

The last deep groan of agony.
The hurrying feet
Of wild retreat.

The length' ning shout of victory!



O'er our plains the vengeful stranger

Pours, with hostile hopes elate :
Who shall check tlie coming danger?

Who escape the coming fate ?
Thou ! that through the heav'ns afar.

When the shades of night retire.
Proudly roll'st tliy shining car.

Clad in sempiternal fire !
Thou ! from whose benignant light

Fiends of darkness, strange and fell.
Urge their ebon-pinion' d flight

To the central caves of hell ! *

Sun ador'd! attend our call !
Must tliy favor' d people fall ?
Must we leave our smiling plains.
To groan beneath the stranger's chains ?


Rise, supreme in heav'nly pow'r.
On our foes destruction show'r^
Bid thy fatal arrows fly.
Till their armies sink and die j
Through their adverse legions spread
Pale DISEASE, and with'ring dread.
Wild confusion's fev'rish glare.
Horror, madness, and despair!


*' Woe to thy numbers fierce and rude.

Thou madly-rushing multitude.
Loud as the tempest tliat o'er ocean raves !

Woe to the nations proud and sti-ong.

That rush tumultuously along.
As rolls the foaming stream its long-resounding waves !

As the noise of mighty seas.

As tlie loudly-murmuring breeze.


Shall gath'ring nations rush, a pow'rful band:
Rise^ God of Light, in burning wrath severe.
And stretchy to blast their proud career.
Thy arrow-darting hand!
Then shall their ranks to certain fate be giv'n.

Then on their course Despair her fires shall cast.
Then shall they fly, to endless ruin driv'n.
As flies the thistle-down before the mountain-blast!


" Alas ! in vain, in vain we call !
The stranger triumphs in our fall !
And Fate comes on, with ruthless frown^
To strike Palmyra's splendor down.
Urg'd by the steady breath of Time,
The desert- whirlwind sweeps sublime.

The eddying sands in mountain-columns rise :
Borne on the pinions of the gale.


In one concenter' d cloud they sail^

Along the darken'd skies.
It falls! it falls! on Thedmor's walls
^^,»._.. The whelming weight of ruin falls !
Th' avenging thunder-bolt is hmi'd,,
Her pride is blotted from the world.

Her name unknown in story :
The trav'Uer on her scite shall stand.
And seek^ amid the desert-sand.
The records of her glory !
Her palaces are crush'd, her tow'rs o'erthrown.
Oblivion follows stern, and marks her for his own !'


How oft, the festal board around.
These time-worn walls among,

Has rung the full symphonious sound
Of rapture-breathing song !


Ah ! little thought the wealthy proud^
When rosy pleasure laugh' d aloud.
That here, amid their ancient land.

The wand'rer of the distant days

Should mark, with sorrow-clouded gaze.
The mighty wilderness of sandj
While not a sound should meet his ear.

Save of the desert-gales that sweep.

In modulated murmurs deep,
"'"""" The wasted graves above.
Of those who once had revell'd here.
In happiness and love !


Short is the space to man assign'd

This earthly vale to tread j
He wanders, erring, weak, and blind.

By adverse passions led.


LovE^ the balm of ev'ry woe_,

The dearest blessing man can knowj

Jealousy^ whose pois'nous breath

Blasts affection's op'ning bud 3
Stern Despair,, that laughs in death;

Black Revenge, that bathes in blood;
FeaR;, that his form in darkness shrouds.

And trembles at the whisp'ring air;
And Hope, that pictures on the clouds
Celestial visions, false, but fair;
All rule by turns :
To-day he burns
With ev'ry pang of keen disti'ess;
To-morrow's sky
Bids sorrow fly
Witli dreams of promis'd happiness.



From the earliest twilight-ray.

That mark'd Creation's natal day.
Till yesterday's declining fire.

Thus still have roll'd, perplex'd by strife.

The many-clashing wheels of life.
Aid still shall roll, till Time's last beams expire.
Aid thus, in ev'ry age, in ev'ry clime.

While circling years shall fly,
TIb varying deeds that mark the present time

tVill be but shadows of the days gone by.


ilong the desolated shore,
"Where, broad and swift, Euphrates flows,
Tb trav'ller's anxious eye can trace no more

"he spot where once the auEEN of cities rose.
Whre old Peksepolis sublimely tow'r'd,


In cedar-groves embow'r'd,
— _,A rudely- splendid \vreck alone remains.

The course of Fate no pomp or pow'r can slun.
r*^"" '-Pollution tramples on thy giant-fanes^
Oh City of the Sun!
Fall'n are the Tyrian domes of wealth andjoy^
The hundred gates of Th e b e s , the to w'rs of Ik o y j
In shame and sorrow pre-ordain' d to cease.
Proud Salem met th' irrevocable doomj
In darkness sunk the arts and arms of Gree there we see
them ranged in rows of such length, that similar to


$4 ' NOTES.

rows of trees, they deceive the sight, and assume the
appearance of continued walls. If from this striking
scene we cast our eyes upon the ground, another, al-
miost as varied, presents itself^ on all sides we be-
hold nothing but subverted shafts, some entire, others
shattered to pieces, or dislocated in their joints j and
on which side soever we look, the earth is strewed
with vast stones half buried, with broken entabla-
tures, damaged capitals, mutilated frizes, disfigured
reliefs, effaced sculptures, violated tombs, and altars
defiled by dust. — Volney's Travels in Syria.

Stanza 2. Line 2. Thedmor's marble wastes.

Or, at the purple dawn of day,

Tadmor's marble wastes survey. Grainger,

Of several ancient ways of writing this name, the
^e$i/.o§ of the Alexandiian copy comes nearest to tlie
pronunciation of die present Arabs. — "Wood,

I have adopted this pronunciation, as more poetical
than Tedmor or Tadmor.


St. 5. L. 2. Can still the godlike form descry.
At tlie time when the East trembled at the name
of Sapor, he received a present not unworthy of the
greatest kings j a long train of camels, laden with
the most rare and valuable merchandises. The rich
oifering was accompanied by an epistle, respectful
but not ser\ale, from Odenathus, one of the noblest
and most opulent senators of Palmyra. '' Who is
this Odenathus" (said the haughty victor, and he
commanded that the presents should be cast into the
Euphrates), '^ that he thus insolently presumes to
write to his lord ? If he entertain a hope of mitigating
his punishment, let him fall prostrate before the foot
of our throne, with his hands bound behind his back.
Should he hesitate, swift destruction shall be poured
on his head, on his whole race, and on his country."
The desperate extremity to which the Palmyrenian
was reduced, called into action all tlie latent powers
of his soul. He met Sapor j but he met him in
arms. Infusing his own spirit into a little army, col-


lected from the villages of Syria^ and the tents of the
desertj he hovered round the Persian host, harassed
their retreat, carried oif part of the treasure, and,
what was dearer than any treasure, several of tlie
women of the Great King, who was at last obliged
to repass the Euphrates, with some marks of haste
and confusion. By this exploit, Odenathus laid the
foundation of his future fame and fortunes. The
majesty of Rome, oppressed by a Persian, was pro-
tected by a Syrian or Arab of Palmyra. — Gibbon.

St. 5. L. 11. Of him whose virtue-kindling mind.

St. 6. L. 11. What countless charms around her rise!
Aurehan had no sooner secured the person and
provinces of Tetricus, than he turned his arms against
Zenobia, the celebrated queen of Palmyra and the
East. Modem Europe has produced several illus-
trious women who have sustained with glory the


weight of empire, nor is our own age destitute of
such distinguished characters. But Zenobia is per-
haps the only female, whose superior genius broke
through the serv^ile indolence imposed on her sex by
the climate and manners of Asia. She claimed her
descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt, equalled
in beauty her ancestor Cleopatra, and far surpassed
that princess in chastity and valour, Zenobia was
esteemed tlie most lovely, as well as the most heroic
of her sex. She was of a dark complexion (for in
speaking of a lady these trifles become important).
Her teeth were of a pearly whiteness, and her large
black eyes sparkled with uncommon fire, tempered
by the most attractive sweetness. Her voice was
strong and harmonious. Her manly understanding
was strengthened and adorned by study. She was
not ignorant of the Latin tongue, but possessed in
equal perfection the Greek, the Syriac, and the
Egyptian languages. She had drawn up for her own
use an epitome of oriental history, and fimiliarly


compared the beauties of Homer and Plato^ under

1 3 4

Online LibraryThomas Love PeacockPalmyra, and other poems → online text (page 1 of 4)