A natural horror sinks my shuddering soul.
It is not him, not the bold enemy
That rushes fiercely on the healthful breast.
For such I have no fear. ’Tis this dull jail
That makes the hero and the coward one!
Oft, amid princes in the senate house,
Weary of long debate in narrow walls,
I've felt the air grow heavy, and rushed forth
And flung me on my horse, with one deep breath,
Impatient for a far and free career.
Then went I forth amid the pleasant fields,
Rich with sweet nature's bounty, fair with flowers,
Or golden with the early harvest's corn:
The heaven above us shed its blessings round.
I felt more keenly my humanity,
And lofty impulses, and generous thoughts,
Swelled in my bounding veins. To serve mankind
Was uppermost in the young hunter's thoughts.
Then was the soldier ready to make good
His right against a world—his glorious right!
When freedom, terrible, swept like a storm
Through meadow, forest, valley, swelling on;
Scorning the petty boundaries wherewith man
Would fence his portion from a brother's claim.
Ah, Memory! thou art a spectre now
Of the fair happiness I once possessed.
Fate ! that hast made the past but as a dream,
False fate ! wilt thou deny me that bold death
I never feared before the open sun?
Hast thou prepared a foretaste of the tomb
In this my vault-like prison? I am cold,—
I draw a difficult breath amid the damp
Exhaling from these old sepulchral stones.
I shudder at yon pallet, as it were
A new made grave laid open at my feet.
Oh, care! that art death's shadow, leave me now.
Ah, when hath Egmont been so all alone