Oh, happier thought! can we be made the same:—
It is enough in sooth that once we bore
These fardels of the heart—the heart whose sweat was gore.
Hark! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds,
A long low distant murmur of dread sound,
Such as arises when a nation bleeds
With some deep and immedicable wound;—
Through storm and darkness yawns the rending ground—
The gulf is thick with phantoms, but the Chief
Seems royal still, though with her head discrowned,
And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief—
She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no relief.
- [Compare Hamlet, act iii. sc. 1, line 76—
"Who would these fardels bear?"]
- [Charlotte Augusta (b. January 7, 1796), only daughter of the Prince Regent, was married to Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, May 2, 1816, and died in childbirth, November 6, 1817.
Other poets produced their dirges; but it was left to Byron to deal finely, and as a poet should, with a present grief, which was felt to be a national calamity.
Southey's "Funeral Song for the Princess Charlotte of Wales" was only surpassed in feebleness by Coleridge's "Israel's Lament." Campbell composed a laboured elegy, which was "spoken by Mr.... at Drury Lane Theatre, on the First Opening of the House after the Death of the Princess Charlotte, 1817;" and Montgomery wrote a hymn on "The Royal Infant, Still-born, November 5, 1817."
Not a line of these lamentable effusions has survived; but the poor, pitiful story of common misfortune, with its tragic irony, uncommon circumstance, and far-reaching consequence, found its vates sacer in the author of Childe Harold.]