Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




The purple robe was o’er him flung—
    They hail’d him Chief in Rome—
But yet a tear unbidden sprung,
    He sigh’d to leave his home.

He look’d to Heaven—it sweetly smiled,
    He look’d to Earth—and there
The flowers of Spring, untrained and wild,
    Shed fragrance on the air;

A stream beside his Cottage stray’d
    And murmur’d as it went;
The Birds, in varied plumes arrayed,
    Their gentle music lent.

All Nature seem’d at peace,—the breeze;
    That lightly wander’d by,
Scarce shook the foliage of the trees,
    ’Twas soft as Beauty’s sigh.

“And who would leave a scene like this,
    “To tread the battle field,
“And change life’s peaceful hours of bliss,
    “For all that war can yield!

“There’s music in the charging note,
    “To Warrior’s spirits dear;
“But sweeter airs at evening float
    “In mingled softness here. [Page 156]

“The shouts of triumph—loud and long,
    “May ring o’er earth and sea:
“But yet Attilia’s evening song
    “Has sweeter charms for me.”

’Twas no unmanly childish fear
    That bade his spirit sigh;
But thoughts like these, which swell’d the tear,
    That dimm’d the Roman’s eye. [Page 157]