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DUNCAN,

AN ODE.

I.
1 ABASH'D the rebel squadrons yield
2 MACBETH, the victor of the field,
3 Exulting, past the blasted wild;
4 And where his dark o'erhanging towers
5 Frown on the heath, with pleasures mild
6 Now DUNCAN hastes to wing the hours
7 Sweet are the rosy beams that chase
8 The angry tempest from the sky;
9 When winds have shook the mountain's base,
10 Sweet is the zephyr's balmy sigh;
11 But sweeter to the breast the social charms
12 Whose grateful rapture sooths the toil of arms.
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II.
13 'Twas not the season when the storm
14 Of winter wears its savage form;
15 Black'ning all, the frozen North
16 Wildly spreads its awful wings,
17 From yon bare summit rushes forth,
18 And on that barren desart, flings
19 All the rapid torrents might,
20 When with turbulence they sweep,
21 Mingling, with the winds of might,
22 Sounds majestically deep
23 When nature form'd the hideous waste, she frown'd,
24 And gave to horror its deserted bound.
III.
25 'Twas not the hour when magic spells
26 Rock the heath's untrodden cells;
27 When slow the wither'd forms arise
28 From caves, which night with lasting sway,
29 Ever shrouds from mortal eyes,
30 Nor divides one hour with day
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31 Sounds unmeet for mortal ear
32 Chill with dread the human frame,
33 Then unreal shapes appear
34 By the blue unhallow'd flame
35 Discordance strange disturbs the gentle air,
36 And pois'nous taints the thick'ning breezes bear.
IV.
37 The western sun's departing ray
38 Bright on the lofty turrets lay,
39 That threw the shadow's length'ning line
40 At solemn distance far below;
41 And where the gather'd clouds recline
42 On yon dark cliff's terrific brow,
43 There stood a venerable seer,
44 Whose prophetic soul could trace
45 Distant ages hast'ning near,
46 And all that fill'd the unborn space
47 The prophet gaz'd, with sudden frenzy fir'd,
48 Saw deeds undone, and spoke with lips inspir'd:
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V.
49 "Hail, Scotia's Monarch! greatly brave,
50 Skill'd to conquer, charm'd to save!
51 Whose pitying hand inverts the lance,
52 And meekly drops the slacken'd bow;
53 Whose gracious eye with mercy's glance
54 Has ever gaz'd on human woe!
55 MACBETH, the castle gate unbar,
56 MACBETH, prepare the social board
57 Haste, from rugged toils of war,
58 Haste, and hail thy sov'reign lord!
59 With music be the genial banquet crown'd,
60 And bid thy vaulted roofs with joy rebound.
VI.
61 "Ha! dread visions hang in air!
62 I see a bloody dagger glare!
63 Deeds that ask the gloom of night
64 Are imag'd in yon troubl'd sky
65 Now a gleam of fatal light
66 Flashes on my aching eye!
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67 DUNCAN, shun that conscious tower
68 Fiends the social banquet pile!
69 Murder waits the midnight hour,
70 Murder lurks in beauty's smile!
71 Vain my prophetic voice! he hies away
72 Where, scowling o'er the couch, death calls his prey.
VII.
73 "Sacred victim! bath'd in gore,
74 Haunt the hideous scene no more
75 Rest, unquiet spirit, rest!
76 Great revenge the heavens prepare;
77 View thy murd'rer's tortur'd breast,
78 And pity all that labours there!
79 See the look, and hear the groan,
80 Mark a bleeding soul in pain!
81 Reason trembles on her throne,
82 Furies seize the burning brain
83 Unpitied, and accurst shall be his doom,
84 While rising honours flourish round thy tomb.
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VIII.
85 "Thy mem'ry shall for ever last,
86 And fame, untir'd, repeat the past
87 Deep in the mystic clouds of time
88 I see a poet call'd to birth
89 I hear a lyre, whose source sublime
90 With wonder thrills the list'ning earth!
91 The mighty bard, with 'potent art,'
92 Shall nature's perfect semblance give,
93 Unlock the springs that move the heart,
94 And bid the human passions live
95 Still in his heav'n-taught page shall DUNCAN bleed,
96 And future ages tremble as they read!"

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): DUNCAN, AN ODE.
Themes: supernatural; war
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Poems on various subjects: with introductory remarks on the present state of science and literature in France. London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1823, pp. [101]-106. 

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Helen Maria Williams