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And yet amidst that joy and uproar,
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep,
Brave hearts! to Britain's pride
On the deck of fame that died,—
With the gallant good Riou,
Soft sigh the winds of heaven o'er their grave!
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Of the brave!
THE ONEYDA'S DEATH-SONG.
[From Gertrude of Wyoming, Part III.]
Hushed were his Gertrude's lips, but still their bland
With love that could not die; and still his hand
She presses to the heart no more that felt.
Ah heart! where once each fond affection dwelt,
And features yet that spoke a soul more fair.
Mute, gazing, agonizing as he knelt,
Of them that stood encircling his despair,
He heard some friendly words ;—but knew not what they were.
For now, to mourn their judge and child, arrives
Then mournfully the parting bugle bid
Its farewell, o'er the grave of worth and truth ;
His face on earth; -him watched in gloomy ruth
Casting his Indian mantle o'er the youth,
He watch'd, beneath its folds, each burst that came Convulsive, ague-like across his shuddering frame!
'And I could weep ;'-th' Oneyda chief
'But that I may not stain with grief
The death-song of my father's son,
Or bow this head in woe;
For by my wrongs and by my wrath
(That fires you heav'n with storms of death)
And we shall share, my Christian boy,
The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy!
'But thee, my flower, whose breath was given
By milder genii o'er the deep,
The spirits of the white man's heaven
Forbid not thee to weep;
Nor will the Christian host,
Nor will thy father's spirit grieve
To see thee, on the battle's eve,
She was the rainbow to thy sight!
'To-morrow let us do or die!
But when the bolt of death is hurled,
Shall Outalissi roam the world?
Seek we thy once-loved home?—
Its echoes and its empty tread
Would sound like voices from the dead.
'Or shall we cross yon mountains blue,
A thousand warriors drew the shaft?
The desert serpent dwells alone,
Where grass o'ergrows each mouldering bone, And stones themselves to ruin grown,
Like me, are death-like old :
Then seek we not their camp-for there
'But hark, the trump!-to-morrow thou
Because I may not stain with grief
[JOHN HOOKHAM FRERE was born in London in 1769, and died at Malta in 1846. The first part of his Whistlecraft poem was published in 1817 as the Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft of Stow-Market in Suffolk, Harness and Collar Makers. In the following year a second part was issued with the first under the title of The Monks and the Giants; but the work was never completed. Frere contributed much to the Anti-Jacobin, 1797–8, and translated several of the plays of Aristophanes. His Works in Verse and Prose, with a prefatory Memoir, were published in 1872 by his nephews, W. E., and Sir Bartle Frere.]
Frere's versions of the Aristophanic Comedy have an established reputation for spirit of rendering and mastery of metre. His translations from the Poema del Cid, which were printed in Southey's Chronicle, have also a fine balladic lilt; but their literal fidelity to the Spanish has been lately challenged. Of his original work, the best examples are to be found in the Anti-Facobin and the Whistlecraft fragment. He had a hand in all the great successes of the former,-notably the immortal Needy KnifeGrinder and the excellent imitations of Darwin and Schiller in the Loves of the Triangles and The Rovers. For The Monks and the Giants he adopted an eight-line stanza based upon that of the Italians. It had already been used by Harrington, Drayton, Fairfax, and (as we have seen) in later times by Gay; it had even been used by Frere's contemporary, William Tennant; but to Frere belongs the honour of giving it the special characteristics which Byron afterwards popularised in Beppo and Don Juan. Structurally the ottava rima of Frere singularly resembles that of Byron, who admitted that Whistlecraft was his ‘immediate model.' But notwithstanding the cleverness and versatility of The Monks and the Giants, its interest was too remote and its plan too uncertain to command any but an eclectic audience. Moreover, it was almost immediately eclipsed by Beppo. Byron, taking up the stanza with equal skill and greater genius, filled it with the vigour of his personality, and made it a measure of his own, which it has ever since been hazardous for inferior poets to attempt.
FROM THE MONKS AND THE GIANTS.'
And certainly they say, for fine behaving
Their manners were refined and perfect-saving
They looked a manly, generous generation;
Beards, shoulders, eyebrows, broad, and square, and thick,
To give the lie, pull noses, stab and kick;
The ladies looked of an heroic race
At first a general likeness struck your eye,
Large eyes, with ample eyebrows arched and high;
Majestical, reserved, and somewhat sullen ;
Sir Gawain may be painted in a word—
He was a perfect loyal Cavalier ;
His courteous manners stand upon record,
The proverb says, As brave as his own sword;