Sydney Thompson Dobell

(1824-1874 / England)

The Magyar's New-Year-Eve - Poem by Sydney Thompson Dobell

By Temèsvar I hear the clarions call:
The year dies. Let it die. It lived in vain.
Gun booms to gun along the looming wall,
Another year advances o'er the plain.
The Despot hails it from his bannered keep:
Ah, Tyrant, is it well to break a bondsman's sleep?


He might have dreamed, and solved the conscious throes
Of Time and Fate in some soft vision blest:
Sighed his thick breath in childhood's happy woes,
Or spent the starry tumult of the breast
On some dear dreamland maid, nor known how high
The blind heart beats to hours like this. 'Tis nigh!


Lo in the air a trouble and a strife;
I feel the future. Mighty days to come
Strain the strong leash a moment into Life:
Shapes beckon: voices clamour and are dumb:
And viewless nations charge upon the blast
That blows the spectral host to silence, and is past.


Hark, hark! the great hour strikes! The stroke peals 'one;'
Again! again! God! Have the earth and sky
Stopped breathing? Will it never end? 'Tis done.
The years are rent asunder with a cry,
The big world groans from all her gulphs and caves,
And sleeping Freedom stirs, and rocks the martyrs' graves.


Oh. ye far Few, who, battle-worn and grey,
Watch from wild peaks the plains where once ye bled,
Oh ye who but in fortune less than they
Keep the lone vigil of the immortal Dead,
Behold! And, like a fire from steep to steep,
Draw, draw the dreadful swords whereon ye lean and weep!


And oh you great brave harvest, that, war-ploughed
And sown with men, a grateful country yields,
You bearded youth who, beardless, saw the proud
Ancestral glories of those smoking fields
That now beneath ten grassy years lie cold,
Rise! Shew your children how your fathers fought of old!


But we are fettered, and a bondsman's ire,
Howe'er it flash, can only end in show'rs.
Who shall unlade these limbs? Alas, the fire
Of passion will not melt such chains as ours;
We have but heated them in wrath of men
To harden them in women's tears. What then?


Less than both hands at once what Freeman gives
To Freedom? Stand up where the Tyrant stands,
Draw in one breath the strength of slavish lives,
Lift the twin justice of your loaded hands,
And with that double thunder in the veins
Launch on his fated head the vengeance of your chains!


They hear! I see them thro' dissolving night!
Like sudden woods they rise upon the hills!
The mountains stream with a descending sight,
The hollow ear of vacant landscape fills,
From side to side the living landscape warms,
To arms! Yon bleeding cloud is spread! Day breaks! To arms!


Aye, Tyrant, the day breaks. Look up and fear.
To arms! A greater day than day is born!
To arms! A larger light than light is near!
A blacker night than midnight foams with morn!
Arise, arise, my Country, from the flood!
Arise, thou god of day, and dye the east with blood!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010



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