---anankta ton pantà´n huperbal-
lonta chronon makarà´n.
Pindar. Hymn. frag. 33


As the mountain-torrent rages,
Loud, impetuous, swift, and strong,
So the rapid streams of ages
Rolls with ceaseless tide along.
Man's little day what clouds o'ercast!
How soon his longest day is past!
All-conquering DEATH, in solemn date unfurl'd,
Comes, like the burning desert blast,
And sweeps him from the world.
The noblest works of human pow'r
In vain resist the fate-fraught hour;
The marble hall, the rock-built tow'r,
Alike submit to destiny:
OBLIVION's awful storms resound;
The massy columns fall around;
The fabric totters to the ground,
And darkness veils its 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;
Truths more sublime than bard or sage can teach
This pomp of ruin presses on the heart.
Whence rose that dim, mysterious sound,
That breath'd in hollow murmurs 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 thought 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 glory,
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 fire,
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;
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'd;
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'd;
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,
Bright as 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;
The matchless virtues of her godlike mind
Are stamp'd conspicuous on her angel-face.


Hail, sacred shade, to NaATURE 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 the empire of the globe.


Along the wild and wasted plain
His veteran bands the ROMAN monarch led,
And rolled 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 trembling 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, uncouth and dread,
With wither'd cheek, and hoary head,
Swift as the death-fire cleaves the sky,
Swept on sounding pinions by?
'Twas TIME: I know the FOE OF KINGS,
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 fire
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,
And mould'ring tombs,
The wrecks of vanity and pow'r.
One shadowy tint enwraps the plain;
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,
With 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 king's 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 fire,
The priest, with wild and glowing eye,
Bade the flow'r-bound victim die;
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 anguish, deep and slow,
He told the coming hour of woe;
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 DEATH!


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 air;
Echoing through the darken'd skies,
Wildly-mingling murmurs rise,