1816
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Liberty.

The South American, a Metrical Tale, in four Cantos, with historical Notes; and other Poems.

James Scott Walker


Three Spenserians on the spirit of liberty in Scotland: "Gallia shall blush to view a highland plaid, | And see, triumphant still, that flag unfurled, | That bought, at WATERLOO, the FREEDOM of the world" p. 126. The volume concludes with The Field of Waterloo, an Ode, written in couplets.



When Scotia's hills with drifted snow are clad,
And lowering clouds obstruct the beams of day;—
When the chill north wind whistles bleak and sad,
And Nature shrinks — prophetic of decay:
Why does the mountaineer regardless stray,
And, wrapping close his plaid of varied dye,
Proudly from Grampian height the scene survey?
Thy charms, O gracious Liberty! supply
Health to his manly cheek, and rapture to his eye!

Daughter of heaven! where'er thy downy wing,
In joyful flight sweeps o'er the plains below,
A thousand odours forth thy pinions fling;
Beneath thy feet a thousand roses grow:
With thee the savage, who, with bended bow,
Roams the vast wild and draws the deadly string,
Will on his back the dying panther throw,
To his lone cave, well pleased, the victim bring,
Gaze o'er his vast domains, and think himself a king.

O who could slumber when the bugle strain,
To join th' embattled ranks thy votaries bade!
'Mid Britain's sons I trow the search were vain,
For ne'er did Briton pause to draw his blade,
When tyranny his iron sceptre swayed:
Nor for themselves alone, have vengeance hurled,—
Gallia shall blush to view a highland plaid,
And see, triumphant still, that flag unfurled,
That bought, at WATERLOO, the FREEDOM of the world.

[pp. 125-26]