Lines Written on Hearing of the Surrender of Copenhagen
A Poem that bemoans the perceived national loss of honour, printed on the 14th of October, 1807.
The glory of Albion is tarnish’d with shame,
And the field of her might is the bourn of her fame;
Her giant strength blesses the nations no more,
And the race of the sun of her honour is o’er.
Like an eagle she soar’d in the youth of her pride,
And her joy was the battle of freedom guide;
As the fate-bearing lightning she sped on the wind,
And her young in the shade of her pinions reclin’d
Her haunt was the rock, and she chas’d in dismay
The vulture and wolf from her eyrie away:
And when the wild tempest howl’d hoarse o’er the wave,
Her delight was the weak from its fury to save.
But her giant strength blesses the nations no more,
And the race of the sun of her honour is o’er:
She hath tasted of blood and her anger hath hurl’d
The flame shaft of war o’er a desolate world.
O England! When Mercy soft-murmur’d her pray’r,
And bade thee the life-blood of nations to spare;
Thy soul was for war, and thy haughty behest
Chas’d the seraph of peace from thy merciless breast.
The seraph of peace from thy fury had fled,
In the gloom of the North she had pillow’d her head;
But thy vengeance pursu’d her – bewilder’d with care,
She awoke to fierce havock, to groans and despair!
O bring not the laurel-wreath constant to fame,
And rend not heavn’s concave with shouts of acclaim,
When the spoil and the plunder shall rise on the wave,-
The plunder of friends and the spoil of the brave!
For the triumph which liberty hallow’d is fled,
And the might of the tyrant has rag’d in its stead;
And chang’d is the radiance that stream’d o’er the heath,
To the warning of nations, the meteor of death!