1795.2 - "Ode, Written on the Opening of the Last Campaign"

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1795.2
Ode,
Written on the Opening of the Last Campaign

"N. "
[Amelia Alderson (later Opie)][1]
The Cabinet, I (1795), pp. 309-310

Spring! thy impatient bloom restrain,
    Nor wake so soon thy genial pow'r,
For, deeds of death must hail thy reign,
    And clouds of fate around thee low'r.
Alas! not all thy store of charms
    For patriot hearts can comfort find,
Or lull to peace the dread alarms
    Which rack the friends of human kind.
In vain thy balmy breath to me
    Scents with its sweets the ev'ning gale;
In vain the violet's charms I see,
    Or fondly mark thy primrose pale.
To me thy softest zephyrs breathe,
    Of sorrow's soul-distracting tone,
To me thy most attractive wreath
    Seems ting'd with human blood alone.
Arrest thy steps, thou source of love,
    Thou genial friend of joy and life
Let not thy smile propitious prove
    To works of carnage, scenes of strife.
Bid Winter all his frowns recall,
    And back his icy footsteps trace;
Again the soil in frost inthrall,
    And check the War-fiend's murd'rous chace.
Ah, fruitless pray'r! thy hand divine
    MUST on the teeming season lead,
And (contrast dire!) at War's red shrine
    Must bid unnumber'd victims bleed.
But not in vain—if on this hour
    The fate of Freedom shall depend—
If o'er this earth th' Eternal Pow'r
    The scale of Justice now extend.
For then, O Spring, thy sun shall see
    The patriot flame triumphant shine;
GALLIA shall bid the world be free,
    And WAR his blood-stain'd throne resign!


Notes

1. "N." is the signature of Amelia Alderson (1769-1853) before she became Amelia Opie. A somewhat altered version of this poem is included in her book entitled The Warrior's Return (London, 1808), p. 121.

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Published @ RC

September 2004