Mary Robinson ( )

Ode to Valour

Inscribed to Colonel Banastre Tarleton]

Lord of the dauntless breast, and stedfast mien! 
Who, robd in majesty sublime, 
Sat in thy eagle-wafted car, 
And led the hardy sons of war, 
With head erect, and eye serene, 
Amidst the arrowy showr; 
When unsubdued, from clime to clime, 
YOUNG AMMON taught exulting Fame 
Oer earths vast space to sound the glories of thy name. 

ILLUSTRIOUS VALOUR ! from whose glance, 
Each recreant passion shrinks dismayd; 
To whom benignant Heaven consignd, 
All that can elevate the mind; 
Tis THINE, in radiant worth arrayd, 
To rear thy glittring helmet high, 
And with intrepid front, defy 
Stern FATEs uplifted arm, and desolating lance, 
When, from the CHAOS of primeval Night, 
This wondrous ORB first sprung to light; 
And poisd amid the sphery clime 
By strong Attractions powr sublime, 
Its whirling course began; 
With sacred spells encompassd round, 
Each element observd its bound, 
Earths solid base, huge promontories bore; 
Curbd OCEAN roard, claspd by the rocky shore; 
And midst metallic fires, translucent rivers ran. 

All nature ownd thOMNIPOTENTs command! 
Luxuriant blessings deckd the vast domain; 
HE bade the budding branch expand; 
And from the teeming ground calld forth the cherishd grain; 
Salubrious springs from flinty caverns drew; 
Enamelld verdure oer the landscape threw; 
HE taught the scaly host to glide 
Sportive, amidst the limpid tide; 
HIS breath sustaind the EAGLEs wing; 
With vocal sounds bade hills and valleys ring; 
Then, with his Word supreme, awoke to birth 

VALOUR! thy pure and sacred flame
Diffusd its radiance oer his mind; 
From THEE he learnt the fiery STEED to tame; 
And with a flowry band, the speckled PARD to bind; 
Guarded by Heavens eternal shield, 
He taught each living thing to yield; 
Wondring, yet undismayd he stood, 
To mark the SUNs fierce fires decay; 
Fearless, he saw the TYGER play; 
While at his stedfast gaze, the LION crouchd subdued! 

From age to age on FAMEs bright roll, 
Thy glorious attributes have shone!
Thy influence soothes the soldiers pain, 
Whether beneath the freezing pole, 
Or basking in the torrid zone, 
Upon the barren thirsty plain. 
Led by thy firm and daring hand, 
Oer wastes of snow, oer burning sand, 
INTREPID TARLETON chasd the foe, 
And smild in DEATHs grim face, and bravd his withring blow! 

When late on CALPEs rock, stern VICTRY stood, 
Hurling swift vengeance oer the bounding flood; 
Each winged bolt illumd a flame, 
IBERIAs vaunting sons to tame; 
While oer the dark unfathomd deep, 
The blasts of desolation blew, 
Fierce lightnings hovring round the frowning steep, 
Midst the wild waves their fatal arrows threw; 
Loud roard the cannons voice with ceaseless ire, 
While the vast BULWARK glowd,a PYRAMID OF FIRE!

Then in each BRITONs gallant breast, 
Benignant VIRTUE shone confest ! 
When Death spread wide his direful reign, 
And shrieks of horror echoed oer the main; 
Eager they flew, their wretched foes to save 
From the dread precincts of a whelming grave; 
THEN, VALOUR was thy proudest hour! 
THEN, didst thou, like a radiant GOD, 
Check the keen rigours of th avenging rod, 
And with soft MERCYs hand subdue the scourge of POWR! 

When fading, in the grasp of Death, 
ILLUSTRIOUS WOLFE on earths cold bosom lay; 
His anxious soldiers thronging round, 
Bathd with their tears each gushing wound; 
As on his pallid lip the fleeting breath, 
In faint, and broken accents, stole away, 
Loud shouts of TRIUMPH filld the skies! 
To Heaven he raisd his gratelul eyes; 
TIS VICTRYS VOICE, the Hero cried! 

TARLETON, thy mind, above the POETs praise 
Asks not the labourd task of flattring lays!
As the rare GEM with innate lustre glows, 
As round the OAK the gadding Ivy grows, 
So shall THY WORTH, in native radiance live! 
So shall the MUSE spontaneous incense give! 
Th HISTORIC page shall prove a lasting shrine, 
Where Truth and Valour shall THY laurels twine; 
Where,with thy name, recording FAME shall blend 

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  2. The Widows Home
  3. To Cesario
  4. The Poor Singing Dame
  5. Sonnet to Evening

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