1 "Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
2 Confusion on thy banners wait,
3 Tho' fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing
4 They mock the air with idle state.
5 Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
6 Nor even thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
7 To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
8 From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!"
9 Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride
10 Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
11 As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
12 He wound with toilsome march his long array.
13 Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance;
14 To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiv'ring lance.
15 On a rock, whose haughty brow
16 Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
17 Rob'd in the sable garb of woe,
18 With haggard eyes the poet stood;
19 (Loose his beard, and hoary hair
20 Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air)
21 And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
22 Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre;
23 "Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave,
24 Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
25 O'er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave,
26 Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
27 Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
28 To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
29 "Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
30 That hush'd the stormy main;
31 Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
32 Mountains, ye mourn in vain
33 Modred, whose magic song
34 Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topp'd head.
35 On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
36 Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale:
37 Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail;
38 The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
39 Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
40 Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes,
41 Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
42 Ye died amidst your dying country's cries--
43 No more I weep. They do not sleep.
44 On yonder cliffs, a griesly band,
45 I see them sit, they linger yet,
46 Avengers of their native land:
47 With me in dreadful harmony they join,
48 And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line:--
49 "'Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
50 The winding sheet of Edward's race.
51 Give ample room, and verge enough
52 The characters of hell to trace.
53 Mark the year, and mark the night,
54 When Severn shall re-echo with affright
55 The shrieks of death, thro' Berkley's roofs that ring,
56 Shrieks of an agonising King!
57 She-Wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
58 That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate,
59 From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
60 The scourge of Heav'n. What terrors round him wait!
61 Amazement in his van, with Flight combin'd,
62 And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
63 "'Mighty victor, mighty lord,
64 Low on his funeral couch he lies!
65 No pitying heart, no eye, afford
66 A tear to grace his obsequies.
67 Is the Sable Warrior fled?
68 Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
69 The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born?
70 Gone to salute the rising Morn.
71 Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the Zephyr blows,
72 While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
73 In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
74 Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
75 Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway,
76 That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey.
77 "'Fill high the sparkling bowl,
78 The rich repast prepare;
79 Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast.
80 Close by the regal chair
81 Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
82 A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.
83 Heard ye the din of battle bray,
84 Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
85 Long years of havoc urge their destin'd course
86 And thro' the kindred squadrons mow their way.
87 Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
88 With many a foul and midnight murther fed,
89 Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame,
90 And spare the meek usurper's holy head.
91 Above, below, the rose of snow,
92 Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
93 The bristled Boar in infant-gore
94 Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
95 Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom
96 Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.
97 "'Edward, lo! to sudden fate
98 (Weave we the woof. The thread is spun)
99 Half of thy heart we consecrate.
100 (The web is wove. The work is done.)'
101 Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
102 Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn!
103 In yon bright track, that fires the western skies!
104 They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
105 But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
106 Descending slow their glitt'ring skirts unroll?
107 Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,
108 Ye unborn Ages, crowd not on my soul!
109 No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail.
110 All-hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail!
111 "Girt with many a baron bold
112 Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
113 And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old
114 In bearded majesty appear.
115 In the midst a form divine!
116 Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line;
117 Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,
118 Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace.
119 What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
120 What strings of vocal transport round her play!
121 Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear;
122 They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
123 Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,
124 Waves in the eye of Heav'n her many-colour'd wings.
125 "The verse adorn again
126 Fierce War, and faithful Love,
127 And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction drest.
128 In buskin'd measures move
129 Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
130 With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
131 A voice, as of the cherub-choir,
132 Gales from blooming Eden bear;
133 And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
134 That lost in long futurity expire.
135 Fond impious man, think'st thou, yon sanguine cloud,
136 Rais'd by thy breath, has quench'd the orb of day?
137 To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
138 And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
139 Enough for me: with joy I see
140 The different doom our Fates assign.
141 Be thine Despair, and scept'red Care,
142 To triumph, and to die, are mine."
143 He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height
144 Deep in the roaring tide he plung'd to endless night.
Written by Thomas Gray and published in Odes by Mr. Gray in 1757.