And so Strzelecki set out from Hannibal
Macarthur's station, leaving the girls behind
In Sydney.- All night the Nacki washed my mind
Like willow roots in water.- From the Geehi wall
The party climbed Mt Townsend through a whole
Avalanche of wild flowers only to find
The south peak topped it - much like one in Poland
Called Kosciuszko, Strzelecki claimed. The Pole
Scaled it alone, and when a cloud came down
Shutting the alpine vastness in a room
With his brief triumph, Strzelecki picked the bloom
Of one of those rare snowflowers sprung from stone
Remembering Adyna Turno and her love,
And joined the others happily enough.
„To Kosciusko” is the name shared by three sonnets written by John Keats, Leigh Hunt and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Coleridge's, the original, was written in December 1794 and published in the 16 December 1794 „Morning Chronicle” as the fifth of his Sonnets on Eminent Characters series.
Hunt and Keats were inspired to follow his poem with their own versions (under the same title) in November 1815 and December 1816, respectively.
Good Kosciuszko, thy great name alone
Is a full harvest whence to reap high feeling;
It comes upon us like the glorious pealing
Of the wide spheres — an everlasting tone.
And now it tells me, that in worlds unknown,
The names of heroes, burst from clouds concealing,
And changed to harmonies, for ever stealing
Through cloudless blue, and round each silver throne.
It tells me too, that on a happy day,
When some good spirit walks upon the earth,
Thy name with Alfred's, and the great of yore
Gently commingling, gives tremendous birth
To a loud hymn, that sounds far, far away
To where the great God lives for evermore.
Tis like thy patient valour thus to keep,
Great Kosciusko, to the rural shade,
While Freedom’s ill-found amulet still is made
Pretence for old aggression, and a heap
Of selfish mockeries. There, as in the sweep
Of stormier fields, thou earnest with thy blade,
Transform’d, not inly alter’d, to the spade,
Thy never yielding right to a calm sleep.
There came a wanderer, borne from land to land
Upon a couch, pale, many-wounded, mild,
His brow with patient pain dulcetly sour.
Men stoop’d with awful sweetness on his hand,
And kiss’d it; and collected Virtue smiled,
To think how sovereign her enduring hour.*
* The author heard Mrs.West (the artist's wife) very agreeably say,
- „The Duke of Bedford came in while my husband was painting Kosciuszko's portrait. He stooped down upon the General's hand as he recilned on the sofa, and kissed it; and I fell in love with him.” - This was Francis fifth Duke of Bedford, whose statue is in Russell Square.
O what a loud and fearful shriek was there,
As tho’ a thousand souls one death-groan pour’d!
Great KOSCIUSKO, 'neath an Hireling's sword,
His Country view'd.
— Hark! thro' the list'ning air
(As pauses the tir’d Cossac’s barb’rous yell
Of Triumph) on the chill and midnight gale
Rises with frantic burst or sadder swell.
The dirge of murder’d Hope! while Freedom pale
Bends in such anguish o’er her destin’d bier
As if from eldest time some Spirit meek
Had gather’d in a mystic urn each tear
That ever on a Patriot’s furrowed cheek
Fit channel found; and she had drained the bowl
In the mere wilfulness, and sick despair of soul!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge sonnet was published in December, 1794