Ode for His Majesty’s Birth Day, 1816 [poem by Michael Massey Robinson, 8 June 1816]

[Editor: A poem by Michael Massey Robinson, published in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 8 June 1816.]



His Majesty’s Birth Day, 1816.

By Mr. Michael Robinson.

ON the tall Cliffs that guard that Isle
Where Freedom shed her earliest Smile,
As calmly swell’d the silver Flood,
BRITANNIA’s Guardian Genius stood;
The Breath of Morn, the whisp’ring Breeze
Play’d lightly o’er the dimpled Seas;
On her right Side a Form was nigh,
Of Heav’n-born Race! — HUMANITY!
Her Cestus floated in the Wind,
And Olive Wreaths her Brow entwin’d;
The social Virtues, smiling, grac’d her Train,
And, as she spoke, thus flow’d her plaintive Strain:—

“This is the Land whose Fame, of old,
Your sacred seers, prophetic, told:—
This is the Land, that mark’d for Glory,
Still swells the proudest Page of Story;
And long-protected by a Pow’r Divine,
Thro’ unborn Ages shall unrivall’d shine.

But whilst thro’ ravag’d Climes, afar,
Terrific roars the Din of War —
Tho’ Albion’s Flag victorious waves,
And Glory guards her Warrior’s Graves,
Shall suff’ring Nature plead in vain? —
Unheeded mourn her Heroes slain?
Shall Pity’s Plaints be hush’d? Ah, no!
A Sigh shall swell for human Woe,
And Sympathy’s spontaneous Tear
Shall shine in native Lustre, here!

Tho’ dreadful gush’d the purple Flood
That ’whelm’d yon Fields with human Blood —
As long and fierce the Conflict grew
That shook the Plains of WATERLOO;
Where Fate with wond’ring Gaze look’d on,
As Glory mark’d her WELLINGTON!
Yet, the eventful Crisis past,
That Scene of Carnage was the last:—
Bore FREEDOM’S Shield, and won the Day!
From Heav’n’s red Arm the Bolt was hurl’d,
To crush the Spoiler of the World:—
Him, whom no sacred Pledge could bind
To Interests that unite Mankind:—
Who, when his shatter’d Legions, torn
In wild Confusion fled, forlorn,
Beheld, unmov’d, the ravag’d Field,
Nor paus’d one gen’rous Sigh to yield,
Tho’ BRITISH MERCY still look’d round to spare
The weltering Victims he had dragg’d to War!

The guilty Despot now no more
Distracts insulted EUROPE’S shore;
Sweet Peace resumes her halcyon Smile
And hails again her favorite Isle:—
Then seek, ye Swains, your native Vales;
Matrons pursue your evening Tales:
This bright’ning Morn shall bring, restor’d,
The Wanderers round your homely Board,
And lisping Innocents shall pour
Their Welcomes at the Cottage Door.

The Soldier now may talk of Wars,
Count his Escapes, and shew his Scars —
While wond’ring Inmates hear him tell,
How Fields were gain’d, and Warriors fell.
And should some sorrowing Kindred trace
One vacant, one deserted Place,
As Memory clings, with glist’ning Tears,
To some fond Hope of earlier Years;
The cherish’d Image of some Swain,
Now number’d with his Comrades slain —
Remember, no dire Conscripts drew
Your Youths from rural Toils, and you:—
That Zeal which rouz’d their Sires of Yore
To guard Imperial ALBION’S Shore,
Taught their proud Sons to meet their Country’s Claim,
And trace thro’ Glory the bright Path to Fame.

And lo! where rear’d by grateful Britons’ Hands
On their own Isle, yon Sanctuary stands —
Form’d from that Feeling Nature taught to flow
From public Sympathy to private Woe;
The Pride of Affluence, the poor Man’s Boast, —
A Gem more bright than decks Golconda’s Coast.
And when aspiring Domes, and Tow’rs sublime,
Shall droop, the Victims to relentless Time,
That sacred Fabric His rude Hand shall guard
As Patriot — Virtue’s Meed — and Valor’s bright Reward!

Thither shall helpless Orphans come,
And Widows find a shelt’ring Home;
Tho’ midst the Woes that War has spread,
Their Sires have fall’n, their Husbands bled:
Yet Glory gave their hallow’d Biers
Its proudest Test, their Country’s Tears;
And long shall Gratitude’s fond Trophy wave,
To shade with laurel’d Wreaths the Soldier’s Grave!

Ah! happy Land! thus gifted to dispense
Heav’ns dearest Attribute — BENEVOLENCE!
Where universal Bounty flows,
To soften individual Woes;
Unbounded as yon Billows roll,
The Impulse spreads from Pole to Pole;
Where chilling Zembla’s snow-capt Summit soars,
Or genial Suns pervade the Eastern Shores;
Where Soils, luxuriant, own a cult’ring Hand,

She paus’d — her Aspect glow’d with Radiance mild,
And ALBION’S GENIUS met her Hand and smil’d:—

“Oh, may this halcyon Morn,” she cry’d —
“So oft our Boast — so long our Pride;
While GEORGE, thro’ Years of Glory prov’d,
The KING rever’d — the SIRE belov’d;—
With bright returning Ray impart
Fresh Raptures to each BRITON’S HEART,
And Virtue’s tend’rest Cares assuage
The ling’ring Ills of suff’ring Age:


New South Wales, }
June 4th, 1816. }

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (Sydney, NSW), 8 June 1816, p. 2

Editor’s notes:
Spelling retained as in the original text:
cry’d (cried)
shew (show)

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