Anna Laetitia Barbauld

------------------- A manly race
Of unsubmitting spirit, wise and brave;
Who still thro' bleeding ages struggled hard
To hold a generous undiminish'd state;
Too much in vain!


How raptur'd fancy burns, while warm in thought
I trace the pictur'd landscape; while I kiss
With pilgram lips devout, the sacred soil
Stain'd with the blood of heroes. CYRNUS, hail!**
Hail to thy rocky, deep indented shores,
And pointed cliffs, which hear the chafing deep
Incessant foaming round their shaggy sides.
Hail to thy winding bays, thy shelt'ring ports
And ample harbours, which inviting stretch
Their hospitable arms to every sail:
Thy numerous streams, that bursting from the cliffs
Down the steep channel'd rock impetuous pour
With grateful murmur: on the fearful edge
Of the rude precipice, thy hamlets brown
And straw-roof'd cots, which from the level vale
Scarce seen, amongst the craggy hanging cliffs
Seem like an eagle's nest aerial built.
Thy swelling mountains, brown with solemn shade
Of various trees, that wave their giant arms
O'er the rough sons of freedom; lofty pines,
And hardy fir, and ilex ever green,
And spreading chesnut, with each humbler plant,
And shrub of fragrant leaf, that clothes their sides
With living verdure; whence the clust'ring bee
Extracts her golden dews: the shining box,
And sweet-leav'd myrtle, aromatic thyme,
The prickly juniper, and the green leaf
Which feeds the spinning worm; while glowing bright
Beneath the various foliage, wildly spreads
The arbutus, and rears his scarlet fruit
Luxuriant, mantling o'er the craggy steeps;
And thy own native laurel crowns the scene.
Hail to thy savage forests, awful, deep:
Thy tangled thickets, and thy crowded woods,
The haunt of herds untam'd; which sullen bound
From rock to rock with fierce unsocial air,
And wilder gaze, as conscious of the power
That loves to reign amid the lonely scenes
Of unbroke nature: precipices huge,
And tumbling torrents; trackless desarts, plains
Fenc'd in with guardian rocks, whose quarries teem
With shining steel, that to the cultur'd fields
And sunny hills which wave with bearded grain
Defends their homely produce. LIBERTY,
The mountain Goddess, loves to range at large
Amid such scenes, and on the iron soi
Prints her majestic step. For these she scorns
The green enamel'd vales, the velvet lap
Of smooth savannahs, where the pillow'd head
Of luxury reposes; balmy gales,
And bowers that breath of bliss. For these, when first
This isle emerging like a beauteous gem
From the dark bosom of the Tyrrhene main
Rear'd its fair front, she mark'd it for her own,
And with her spirit warm'd. Her genuine sons,
A broken remnant, from the generous stock
Of ancient Greece, from Sparta's sad remains,
True to their high descent, preserv'd unquench'd
The sacred fire thro' many a barbarous age:
Whom, nor the iron rod of cruel Carthage,
Nor the dread sceptre of imperial Rome,
Nor bloody Goth, nor grisly Saracen,
Nor the long galling yoke of proud Liguria,
Could crush into subjection.


This is an excerpt from a longer poem.

Author's Notes:

The poem was written in the year 1769.

* The quote is taken from The Seasons "Autumn", by James Thomson.
 ** Cyrnus was another name for Corsica.

Main Location:

Corsica, France

Corsican leader, General Pasquale Paoli