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The nation was awakened by that deafening shot.

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Who Said The World Was Fair

Words & music: d. hall, s. allen
If theres enough to go around why cant I get mine
If everybody knows theyve been lied to
If everybody knows it, then why are they waiting
On a gas line
I think it must be a test to weed the best from the rest
But whatever they are doing is driving us
Out of our minds
Driving us out of our minds
But we always take it cause
Who said the world was fair
Or that we should care
What a way of thinking
The sun is free enough
Its shining there, shining there out of our reach
But if they can, theyll find a way
To make us pay for what we get
When we lay out on the beach

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The Nation Builders

A handful of workers seeking the star of a strong intent -
A handful of heroes scattered to conquer a continent -
Thirst, and fever, and famine, drought, and ruin, and flood,
And the bones that bleach on the sandhill, and the spears that redden with blood;
And the pitiless might of the molten skies, at noon, on the sun-cracked plain,
And the walls of the northern jungles, shall front them ever in vain,
Till the land that lies like a giant asleep shall wake to the victory won,
And the hearts of the Nation Builders shall know that the work is done.


To North, on the seas of summer, where the pearl flotillas swim,
To East, where the axe is ringing in the heart of the ranges grim,
On the plains where the free wind bloweth by never a tree or shrub,
On the pine-topped slopes where the settler carves a home in the tropic scrub,
On fields where the miner sleeps unstirred by the ceaseless monotone
And crash of the stampers night and day at work on the milk-white stone,
'Tis war and stress, with never a pause to mourn for a stout heart gone,
Till the souls of the Nation Builders shall know that the work is done.


On the deck of the lonely light-ship, in the sand of the new-found West,
Where strong men fall and die like sheep in the thirst of the golden quest,
By the dry stock routes, by the burnt-up creeks, where the cattle sink and fail,
By the coral reefs, where the bêching boats swing on 'neath the sun-tanned sail,
In the wild ravine where the searcher's gold is bought with his own heart's blood,
In the dark of the drive where the miner's life goes out with the swirling flood,
'Tis war and stress, with never a pause to mourn for a stout heart gone,
Till the lives of the Nation Builders have paid for the victory won.


In the glare and steam of the cities, the thunder and chatter of wheel,
By the teeming wharves, where the liners lie at rest on an even keel,
In the strife of a swelling commerce, at the desk in the dull routine
Where the soul of a man is warped and sunk to the soul of a mere machine,
In the flash of the wire to west and north, in the hum of the restless street,
In the pulse of the toiling press that beats all night in a fever heat,
Where the weary brain and the pen plod on 'neath the white electric light -
Tho' we fail and fall still the fight goes on; and ever our sons shall fight,
Till the land that lies like a giant asleep shall wake to the victory won,
And the hearts of the Nation Builders shall know that the work is done.


We are but the hands of the Builder, who toileth and frameth afar;
System, and order, and sequence; sun, and planet, and star -
Faint sparks of a Mighty Genius, a breath of the Over Soul,
Who shapes the thought of the workers wherever his worlds may roll.
On! tho' we grope and blunder, the trend of our aim is true!
On! there is death in dalliance whilst yet there is work to do,
Till the land that lies like a giant asleep shall wake to the victory won,
And the eyes of the Master Worker shall see that the work is done.

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From The Moment You Awakened

From the moment you awakened,
To face a new day.
As fresh as the leaving,
Of scented morning dew.
It was you who made decisions,
To address as you presented yourself...
With choices you alone made.

From the moment you awakened,
Until you made accusations...
To place blame on someone else,
For that which you alone chose to do...
Is to say to anyone within listening distance,
From the moment you awakened...
To face the day,
You premeditated to find excuses to make.

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That Moment...when the Button was Pressed Parody Ted HUGHES – Crow

When the button was pressed and the mushroom cloud
finally drifted away
like an ozone layer stripped from the stratosphere

And the only face left in the world
lay melted
between waxed hands sticky with weight,

and the genes were mated forever
and the greens mutated forever
and the shadow-doll lolled upon the gravel
of the abandoned world

Alongside the abandoned gavel
and the bell that tinkled never
God returned to Her drawing-board
to discover the decimal point of error.

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The World Was Silent Then

THE WORLD WAS SILENT THEN

The world was silent then-
Six million Jews among them more than one- and one- half million children murdered by the Nazis and their helpers-
And now when from one end of the world to another
One hears ‘The Jews are cancer’ and ‘We will wipe out the microbe Israel’ and ‘Every one of the Zionist dogs must be shot
And when Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah and Kardawi and Imam this and Imam that scream for the blood of every Jew in Israel-
It is business as usual at the U.N.
And more North Koreans missiles in Iran
And Russian uranium at Bushehr
And Chinese technical help for the Revolutionary Islamic regime
And cowardice from the West,
And mild mild mild protest from an occasional leader here or there-

The world is largely silent again
The Jews are a small small people and Israel is twenty-thousand kilometers all in all-
And after all who has the oil and one eighth of the earth and more than fifty nations and with them too the most progressive of the most enlightened of the most extreme Left?

‘So why not let it be done
Another few million Jews gone
What difference does it make anyway?
They’re troublemakers aren’t they? ’

The world is largely silent again
And we can we our friends contend with them all
And overcome?

Pray pray for Israel good people wherever you are
We are in a long struggle to survive
And it is not going to be easy.

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State Of The Nation

You can walk, or you can run
You dont have to be someone
I went on a summer cruise
Upon an ocean born to lose
My brother said that he was dead
I saw his face and shook my head
Can you see where we cant be
Were losing our blood in the sea
cause its the state of the nation
Thats holding our salvation
Yes, its the state of the nation
Thats holding our salvation
Oh, the state of the nation
Is causing deprivation
Oh, the state of the nation
Is causing deprivation
From my home I traveled far
I drove in my stolen car
When it broke down, I kissed the ground
cause I dont kiss when youre around
I dont find that I have been
The portrait of an only son
If thats the case, then who could tell
Where my story had begun?
Cause its the state of the nation
Thats holding our salvation
Yes, its the state of the nation
Thats holding our salvation
Yes, the state of the nation
Thats causing deprivation
Oh, the state of the nation
Thats causing deprivation
Even now, Im all alone
Behind a wall thats made of stone
I think about where we have been
And all the sights that could be seen
I know it all could be worthwhile
If only I could force a smile
Now we turn our backs to the sea
The shame of a nation well never be
Cause its the state of the nation
Thats holding our salvation
Yes, its the state of the nation
Thats holding our salvation
Oh, the state of the nation
Is causing deprivation
Yes, the state of the nation
Is causing deprivation

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Youth Of The Nation

The last day of the rest of my life
I wish i would've known,
Cause i would've kissed my mama goodbye
I didn't tell her that i loved her and how much i care
Or thank my pops for all the talks,
And all the wisdom he shared
Unaware, I just did what i always do
Everyday, the same routine
Before I skate off to school
Who knew that this day wasn't like the rest
Instead of taking the test,
I took two to the chest
Call me blind, but I didn't see it coming
Everybody was running
But I couldn't hear nothing
Except gun blasts, it happened so fast
I didn't really know this kid
Though I sit by him in class
Maybe this kid was reaching out for love
Or maybe for a moment,
He forgot who he was.
Or maybe this kid just wanted to be hugged
Whatever it was,
I know it's because
Chorus:
We are, we are.... the youth of the nation
We are, we are.... youth of the nation
We are, we are.... the youth of the nation
We are, we are.... youth of the nation
Little suzy, she was only twelve
She was given the whirl
With every chance to excel
Hang with the boys and hear the stories they tell
She might act kind of proud
But no respect for herself
She finds love in all the wrong places
The same situations
Just with different faces
Changed up her pace since her daddy left her
Too bad he never told her
She deserved much better.
Johnny boy always played the fool
He broke all the rules
So you would think he was cool
He was never really one of the guys
No matter how hard he tried
Often thought of suicide
It's kind of hard when you ain't got no friends
He put his life to an end
They might remember him then
You cross the line and there's no turning back
Told the world how he felt
With the sound of a gat
Chorus
Who's to blame for the lives that tragedies claim
No matter what you say
It don't take away the pain
That i feel inside, i'm tired of all the lies
Don't nobody know why
It's the blind leading the blind
I guess that's the way the story goes
Will it ever make sense
Somebody's got to know
There's got to be more to life than this
There's got to be more to everything
I thought exists
Chorus

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And that the thought was just another day/I da je misao bila još samo jedan dan

And that the thought was just another day
No one has said as yet
An unsaid one that cracks with the boughs
Still being dawned for a day to be
I knew for
The outbreak slippery among the fingers
Pours down the beads of sunbeams through the clouds
No one has said as yet
The sides of the world folded on a sheet of paper
An origami of unspreadedness
Unwritten hours sealed in emptiness
On the first geometry class where we will learn
We're perhaps a square with headless points
Marked ABCD
In an alphabet of beheaded words
No one has said as yet no one has dared
The distant counting of Euclid's vows
Xenon's accounts and Pythagoras' secrets
Hung around the neck of a bird
That due to gold of knowledge cannot fly
No one has shaped as yet
A mathematical axiom at the top part of an operational table
Edged by formulae algorhithms
By which Reason the mother of order
Protectively hides the chaos of the possible
We'll be silent about the tents
Under which we've hidden security particles
Precious dust of knowledge in the urn light we'll store
We'll be silent about the warm blankets of thoughts
Covering dreams in an early morning
The marbles of small deceptions the spherical many colouring
We could be stolen them all
And to stand like nothing facing the loveless world
Only Love can do
Who we've never been enough

I da je misao bila još samo jedan dan
Niko rekao nije
Nedorečen što s granjem puca
A za riječ osvanut znala sam jer
Svanuće klizavo medj prstima
Brojanice sunčevih zraka kroz oblake sipa
Niko nije rekao
Na listu papira presavijene stranice svijta
Origami neotklopljenosti
Neispisivanjem sati zapečaćen u prazno
Na prvom času geometrije gdje saznaćemo
Da možda smo samo naučen kvadrat obezglavljenih tjemena
Obilježenih ABVG
Azbukom odrubljene riječi
Niko nije rekao niko nije smio
Daleka prebrojavanja Euklidovih zavjeta
Zenonovih računa Pitagorinih tajni
O vrat ptice obješenih
Što od zlata znanja otežala ne može da leti
Niko nije oblikovao
Matematički aksiom na vrhu operacionog stola
Oivičen formulama algoritmima
Kojim Razum majka reda vješto prikriva
Haos mogućeg
Prećutaćemo šatore pod kojim
Skrili smo truni sigurnosti
Dragocjeni prah saznanja u urnu laku pohraniti
Prećutaćemo toplu ćebad misli
U rano jutro snom pokriveni
Klikere sitnih obmana male šarene sferičnosti
Sve bi mogli nam ukrasti
A stajati k'o ništa spram svijeta bez ljubavi
Može samo Ljubav
Koja nikad dovoljno nismo

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How the Land was Won

The future was dark and the past was dead
As they gazed on the sea once more –
But a nation was born when the immigrants said
"Good-bye!" as they stepped ashore!
In their loneliness they were parted thus
Because of the work to do,
A wild wide land to be won for us
By hearts and hands so few.

The darkest land 'neath a blue sky's dome,
And the widest waste on earth;
The strangest scenes and the least like home
In the lands of our fathers' birth;
The loneliest land in the wide world then,
And away on the furthest seas,
A land most barren of life for men –
And they won it by twos and threes!

With God, or a dog, to watch, they slept
By the camp-fires' ghastly glow,
Where the scrubs were dark as the blacks that crept
With "nulla" and spear held low;
Death was hidden amongst the trees,
And bare on the glaring sand
They fought and perished by twos and threes –
And that's how they won the land!

It was two that failed by the dry creek bed,
While one reeled on alone –
The dust of Australia's greatest dead
With the dust of the desert blown!
Gaunt cheek-bones cracking the parchment skin
That scorched in the blazing sun,
Black lips that broke in a ghastly grin –
And that's how the land was won!

Starvation and toil on the tracks they went,
And death by the lonely way;
The childbirth under the tilt or tent,
The childbirth under the dray!
The childbirth out in the desolate hut
With a half-wild gin for nurse –
That's how the first were born to bear
The brunt of the first man's curse!

They toiled and they fought through the shame of it –
Through wilderness, flood, and drought;
They worked, in the struggles of early days,
Their sons' salvation out.
The white girl-wife in the hut alone,
The men on the boundless run,
The miseries suffered, unvoiced, unknown –
And that's how the land was won.

No armchair rest for the old folk then –
But, ruined by blight and drought,
They blazed the tracks to the camps again
In the big scrubs further out.
The worn haft, wet with a father's sweat,
Gripped hard by the eldest son,
The boy's back formed to the hump of toil –
And that's how the land was won!

And beyond Up Country, beyond Out Back,
And the rainless belt, they ride,
The currency lad and the ne'er-do-well
And the black sheep, side by side;
In wheeling horizons of endless haze
That disk through the Great North-west,
They ride for ever by twos and by threes –
And that's how they win the rest.

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Loud Without the Wind Was Roaring

Loud without the wind was roaring
Through th' autumnal sky;
Drenching wet, the cold rain pouring,
Spoke of winter nigh.
All too like that dreary eve,
Did my exiled spirit grieve.

Grieved at first, but grieved not long,
Sweet—how softly sweet!—it came;
Wild words of an ancient song,
Undefined, without a name.

'It was spring, and the skylark was singing';
Those words they awakened a spell;
They unlocked a deep fountain, whose springing,
Nor absence, nor distance can quell.

In the gloom of a cloudy November
They uttered the music of May;
They kindled the perishing ember
Into fervour that could not decay.

Awaken, o'er all my dear moorland,
West-wind, in thy glory and pride!
Oh! call me from valley and lowland,
To walk by the hill-torrent's side!

It is swelled with the first snowy weather;
The rocks they are icy and hoar,
And sullenly waves the long heather,
And the fern leaves are sunny no more.

There are no yellow stars on the mountain
The bluebells have long died away
From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain—
From the side of the wintry brae.

But lovelier than corn-fields all waving
In emerald, and vermeil, and gold,
Are the heights where the north-wind is raving,
And the crags where I wandered of old.

It was morning: the bright sun was beaming;
How sweetly it brought back to me
The time when nor labour nor dreaming
Broke the sleep of the happy and free!

But blithely we rose as the dawn-heaven
Was melting to amber and blue,
And swift were the wings to our feet given,
As we traversed the meadows of dew.

For the moors! For the moors, where the short grass
Like velvet beneath us should lie!
For the moors! For the moors, where each high pass
Rose sunny against the clear sky!

For the moors, where the linnet was trilling
Its song on the old granite stone;
Where the lark, the wild sky-lark, was filling
Every breast with delight like its own!

What language can utter the feeling
Which rose, when in exile afar,
On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling,
I saw the brown heath growing there?

It was scattered and stunted, and told me
That soon even that would be gone:
It whispered, 'The grim walls enfold me,
I have bloomed in my last summer's sun.'

But not the loved music, whose waking
Makes the soul of the Swiss die away,
Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking
Than, for me, in that blighted heath lay.

The spirit which bent 'neath its power,
How it longed—how it burned to be free!
If I could have wept in that hour,
Those tears had been heaven to me.

Well—well; the sad minutes are moving,
Though loaded with trouble and pain;
And some time the loved and the loving
Shall meet on the mountains again!

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Emily Brontë

Loud Without the Wind Was Roaring

Loud without the wind was roaring
Through th' autumnal sky;
Drenching wet, the cold rain pouring,
Spoke of winter nigh.
All too like that dreary eve,
Did my exiled spirit grieve.

Grieved at first, but grieved not long,
Sweet—how softly sweet!—it came;
Wild words of an ancient song,
Undefined, without a name.

'It was spring, and the skylark was singing';
Those words they awakened a spell;
They unlocked a deep fountain, whose springing,
Nor absence, nor distance can quell.

In the gloom of a cloudy November
They uttered the music of May;
They kindled the perishing ember
Into fervour that could not decay.

Awaken, o'er all my dear moorland,
West-wind, in thy glory and pride!
Oh! call me from valley and lowland,
To walk by the hill-torrent's side!

It is swelled with the first snowy weather;
The rocks they are icy and hoar,
And sullenly waves the long heather,
And the fern leaves are sunny no more.

There are no yellow stars on the mountain
The bluebells have long died away
From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain—
From the side of the wintry brae.

But lovelier than corn-fields all waving
In emerald, and vermeil, and gold,
Are the heights where the north-wind is raving,
And the crags where I wandered of old.

It was morning: the bright sun was beaming;
How sweetly it brought back to me
The time when nor labour nor dreaming
Broke the sleep of the happy and free!

But blithely we rose as the dawn-heaven
Was melting to amber and blue,
And swift were the wings to our feet given,
As we traversed the meadows of dew.

For the moors! For the moors, where the short grass
Like velvet beneath us should lie!
For the moors! For the moors, where each high pass
Rose sunny against the clear sky!

For the moors, where the linnet was trilling
Its song on the old granite stone;
Where the lark, the wild sky-lark, was filling
Every breast with delight like its own!

What language can utter the feeling
Which rose, when in exile afar,
On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling,
I saw the brown heath growing there?

It was scattered and stunted, and told me
That soon even that would be gone:
It whispered, 'The grim walls enfold me,
I have bloomed in my last summer's sun.'

But not the loved music, whose waking
Makes the soul of the Swiss die away,
Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking
Than, for me, in that blighted heath lay.

The spirit which bent 'neath its power,
How it longed—how it burned to be free!
If I could have wept in that hour,
Those tears had been heaven to me.

Well—well; the sad minutes are moving,
Though loaded with trouble and pain;
And some time the loved and the loving
Shall meet on the mountains again!

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Uncle Ned’s Tales: How The Flag Was Saved

‘TWAS a dismal winter's evening, fast without came down the snow,
But within, the cheerful fire cast a ruddy, genial glow
O'er our pleasant little parlor, that was then my mother's pride.
There she sat beside the glowing grate, my sister by her side;
And beyond, within the shadow, in a cosy little nook
Uncle Ned and I were sitting, and in whispering tones we spoke.
I was asking for a story he had promised me to tell,—
Of his comrade, old Dick Hilton, how he fought and how he fell;
And with eager voice I pressed him, till a mighty final cloud
Blew he slowly, then upon his breast his grisly head he bowed,
And, musing, stroked his gray mustache ere he began to speak,
Then brushed a tear that stole along his bronzed and furrowed cheek.
'Ah, no! I will not speak to-night of that sad tale,' he cried,
'Some other time I'll tell you, boy, about that splendid ride.
Your words have set me thinking of the many careless years
That comrade rode beside me, and have caused these bitter tears;
For I loved him, boy,—for twenty years we galloped rein to rein,—
In peace and war, through all that time, stanch comrades had we been.
As boys we rode together when our soldiering first began.
And in all those years I knew him for a true and trusty man.
One who never swerved from danger,—for he knew not how to fear,—
If grim Death arrayed his legions, Dick would charge him with a cheer.
He was happiest in a struggle or a wild and dangerous ride:
Every inch a trooper was he, and he cared for naught beside.
He was known for many a gallant deed: to-night I'll tell you one,
And no braver feat of arms was by a soldier ever done.
'Twas when we were young and fearless, for 'twas in our first campaign,
When we galloped through the orange groves and fields of sunny Spain.
Our wary old commander was retiring from the foe,
Who came pressing close upon us, with a proud, exulting show.
We could hear their taunting laughter, and within our very sight
Did they ride defiant round us,—ay, and dared us to the fight.
But brave old Picton heeded not, but held his backward track,
And smiling said the day would come to pay the Frenchmen back.
And come it did: one morning, long before the break of day,
We were standing to our arms, all ready for the coming fray.
Soon the sun poured down his glory on the hostile lines arrayed,
And his beams went flashing brightly back from many a burnished blade,
Soon to change its spotless luster for a reeking crimson stain,
In some heart, then throbbing proudly, that will never throb again.
When that sun has reached his zenith, life and pride will then have fled,
And his beams will mock in splendor o'er the ghastly heaps of dead.
Oh, 'tis sad to think how many—but I wander, lad, I fear;
And, though the moral's good, I guess the tale you'd rather hear.
Well, I said that we were ready, and the foe was ready, too;
Soon the fight was raging fiercely,—thick and fast the bullets flew,
With a bitter hiss of malice, as if hungry for the life
To be torn from manly bosoms in the maddening heat of strife.
Distant batteries were thundering, pouring grape and shell like rain,
And the cruel missiles hurtled with their load of death and pain,
Which they carried, like fell demons, to the heart of some brigade,
Where the sudden, awful stillness told the havoc they had made.
Thus the struggle raged till noon, and neither side could vantage show;
Then the tide of battle turned, and swept in favor of the foe!
Fiercer still the cannon thundered,—wilder screamed the grape and shell,—
Onward pressed the French battalions,—back the British masses fell!
Then, as on its prey devoted, fierce the hungered vulture swoops,
Swung the foeman's charging squadrons down upon our broken troops.
Victory hovered o'er their standard,—on they swept with maddened shout,
Spreading death and havoc round them, till retreat was changed to rout!
'Twas a saddening sight to witness; and, when Picton saw them fly,
Grief and shame were mixed and burning in the old commander's eye.
We were riding in his escort, close behind him, on a height
Which the fatal field commanded; thence we viewed the growing flight.
'But, my lad, I now must tell you something more about that hill,
And I'll try to make you see the spot as I can see it still.
Bight before us, o'er the battle-field, the fall was sheer and steep;
On our left the ground fell sloping, in a pleasant, grassy sweep,
Where the aides went dashing swiftly, bearing orders to and fro,
For by that sloping side alone they reached the plain below.
On our right—now pay attention, boy—a yawning fissure lay,
As if an earthquake's shock had split the mountain's side away.
And in the dismal gulf, far down, we heard the angry roar
Of a foaming mountain torrent, that, mayhap, the cleft had wore,
As it rushed for countless ages through its black and secret lair;
But no matter how 'twas formed, my lad, the yawning gulf was there.
And from the farther side a stone projected o'er the gorge,—
'Twas strange to see the massive rock just balanced on the verge;
It seemed as if an eagle's weight the ponderous mass of stone
Would topple from its giddy height, and send it crashing down.
It stretched far o'er the dark abyss; but, though 'twere footing good,
'Twas twenty feet or more from off the side on which we stood.
Beyond the cleft a gentle slope went down and joined the plain,—
Now, lad, back to where we halted, and again resume the rein.
I said our troops were routed. Far and near they broke and fled,
The grape-shot tearing through them, leaving lanes of mangled dead.
All order lost, they left the fight,—they threw their arms away,
And joined in one wild panic rout,—ah! 'twas a bitter day!

'But did I say that all was lost? Nay, one brave corps stood fast,
Determined they would never fly, but fight it to the last.
They barred the Frenchman from his prey, and his whole fury braved,—
One brief hour could they hold their ground, the army might be saved.
Fresh troops were hurrying to our aid,—we saw their glittering head,—
Ah, God! how those brave hearts were raked by the death-shower of lead!
But stand they did: they never flinched nor took one backward stride,
They sent their bayonets home, and then with stubborn courage died.
But few were left of that brave band when the dread hour had passed,
Still, faint and few, they held their flag above them to the last.
But now a cloud of horsemen, like a shadowy avalanche,
Sweeps down: as Picton sees them, e'en his cheek is seen to blanch.
They were not awed, that little band, but rallied once again,
And sent us back a farewell cheer. Then burst from reckless men
The anguished cry, ' God help them!' as we saw the feeble flash
Of their last defiant volley, when upon them with a crash
Burst the gleaming lines of riders,—one by one they disappear,
And the chargers' hoofs are trampling on the last of that brave square!
On swept the squadrons! Then we looked where last the band was seen:
A scarlet heap was all that marked the place where they had been!
Still forward spurred the horsemen, eager to complete the rout;
But our lines had been reformed now, and five thousand guns belched out
A reception to the squadrons,—rank on rank was piled that day
Every bullet hissed out ' Vengeance!' as it whistled on its way.

'And now it was, with maddened hearts, we saw a galling sight:
A French hussar was riding close beneath us on the right,—
He held a British standard! With insulting shout he stood,
And waved the flag,—its heavy folds drooped down with shame and blood,—
The blood of hearts unconquered: 'twas the flag of the stanch corps
That had fought to death beneath it,—it was heavy with their gore.
The foreign dog! I see him as he holds the standard down,
And makes his charger trample on its colors and its crown!
But his life soon paid the forfeit: with a cry of rage and pain,
Hilton dashes from the escort, like a tiger from his chain.
Nought he sees but that insulter; and he strikes his frightened horse
With his clenched hand, and spurs him, with a bitter-spoken curse,
Straight as bullet from a rifle—but, great Lord! he has not seen,
In his angry thirst for vengeance, the black gulf that lies between!
All our warning shouts unheeded, starkly on he headlong rides,
And lifts his horse, with bloody spurs deep buried in his sides.

God's mercy! does he see the gulf? Ha! now his purpose dawns
Upon our minds, as nearer still the rocky fissure yawns:
Where from the farther side the stone leans o'er the stream beneath,
He means to take the awful leap! Cold horror checks our breath,
And still and mute we watch him now: he nears the fearful place;
We hear him shout to cheer the horse, and keep the headlong pace.
Then comes a rush,—short strides,—a blow!—the horse bounds wildly on,
Springs high in air o'er the abyss, and lands upon the stone!
It trembles, topples 'neath their weight! it sinks! ha! bravely done!
Another spring,—they gain the side,—the ponderous rock is gone
With crashing roar, a thousand feet, down to the flood below,
And Hilton, heedless of its noise, is riding at the foe!
'The Frenchman stared in wonder: he was brave, and would not run,
'Twould merit but a coward's brand to turn and fly from one.
But still he shuddered at the glance from 'neath that knitted brow:
He knew 'twould be a death fight, but there was no shrinking now.
He pressed his horse to meet the shock: straight at him Hilton made,
And as they closed the Frenchman's cut fell harmless on his blade;
But scarce a moment's time had passed ere, spurring from the field,
A troop of cuirassiers closed round and called on him to yield.
One glance of scorn he threw them,—all his answer in a frown,—
And riding at their leader with one sweep he cut him down;
Then aimed at him who held the flag a cut of crushing might,
And split him to the very chin!—a horrid, ghastly sight!
He seized the standard from his hand; but now the Frenchmen close,
And that stout soldier, all alone, fights with a hundred foes!
They cut and cursed,—a dozen swords were whistling round his head;
He could not guard on every side,—from fifty wounds he bled.
His saber crashed through helm and blade, as though it were a mace;
He cut their steel cuirasses and he slashed them o'er the face.
One tall dragoon closed on him, but he wheeled his horse around,
And cloven through the helmet went the trooper to the ground.
But his saber blade was broken by the fury of the blow,
And he hurled the useless, bloody hilt against the nearest foe;
Then furled the colors round the pole, and, like a leveled lance,
He charged with that red standard through the bravest troops of France!
His horse, as lion-hearted, scarcely needed to be urged,
And steed and rider bit the dust before him as he charged.
Straight on he rode, and down they went, till he had cleared the ranks,
Then once again he loosed the rein and struck his horse's flanks.
A cheer broke from the French dragoons,—a loud, admiring shout!—
As off he rode, and o'er him shook the tattered colors out.
Still might they ride him down: they scorned to fire or to pursue,—
Brave hearts! they cheered him to our lines,—their army cheering, too!
And we—what did we do? you ask. Well, boy, we did not cheer,
Nor not one sound of welcome reached our hero comrade's ear;
But, as he rode along the ranks, each soldier's head was bare,—
Our hearts were far too full for cheers,—we welcomed him with prayer.
Ah, boy, we loved that dear old flag!—ay, loved it so, we cried
Like children, as we saw it wave in all its tattered pride!
No, boy, no cheers to greet him, though he played a noble part,—
We only prayed 'God bless him!' but that prayer came from the heart.
He knew we loved him for it,—he could see it in our tears,—
And such silent earnest love as that is better, boy, than cheers.
Next day we fought the Frenchman, and we drove him back, of course,
Though we lost some goodly soldiers, and old Picton lost a horse.
But there I've said enough: your mother's warning finger shook,—
Mind, never be a soldier, boy!—now let me have a smoke.'

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The Lay of the Last Minstrel: Canto II.

I.
If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale moonlight;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild, but to flout, the ruins grey.
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light's uncertain shower
Streams on the ruin'd central tower;
When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
Then go-but go alone the while-
Then view St. David's ruin'd pile;
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair!

II
Short halt did Deloraine make there;
Little reck'd he of the scene so fair;
With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong,
He struck full loud, and struck full long.
The porter hurried to the gate-
'Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?'
'From Branksome I,' the warrior cried;
And straight the wicket open'd wide:
For Branksome's Chiefs had in battle stood,
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
And lands and livings, many a rood,
Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.

III
Bold Deloraine his errand said;
The porter bent his humble head;
With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
And noiseless step, the path he trod,
The arched cloister, far and wide,
Rang to the warrior's clanking stride,
Till, stooping low his lofty crest,
He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest,
And lifted his barred aventayle,
To hail the Monk of St Mary's aisle.

IV
'The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me,
Says, that the fated hour is come,
And that to-night I shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb.'
From sackcloth couch the Monk arose,
With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;
A hundred years had flung their snows
On his thin locks and floating beard.

V
And strangely on the Knight look'd he,
And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide;
'And, darest thou, Warrior! seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would hide?
My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn;
For threescore years, in penance spent,
My knees those flinty stones have worn:
Yet all too little to atone
For knowing what should ne'er be known.
Would'st thou thy very future year
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
Yet wait thy latter end with fear-
Then, daring Warrior, follow me!-

VI
'Penance, father, will I none;
Prayer know I hardly one;
For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
Save to patter an Ave Mary,
When I ride on a Border foray.
Other prayer can I none;
So speed me my errand, and let me be gone.'-

VII
Again on the Knight look'd the Churchman old,
And again he sighed heavily;
For he had himself been a warrior bold,
And fought in Spain and Italy.
And he thought on the days that were long since by,
When his limbs were strong, and his courage was high:-
Now, slow and faint, he led the way,
Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay;
The pillar'd arches were over their head,
And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.

VIII
Spreading herbs, and flowerets bright,
Glisten'd with the dew of night;
Nor herb, nor floweret, glisten'd there,
But was carved in the cloister-arches as fair.
The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,
Then into the night he looked forth;
And red and bright the streamers light
Were dancing in the glowing north.
So had he seen in fair Castille,
The youth in glittering squadrons start;
Sudden the flying jennet wheel,
And hurl the unexpected dart.
He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,
That spirits were riding the northern light.

IX
By a steel-clenched postern door,
They enter'd now the chancel tall;
The darken'd roof rose high aloof
On pillars lofty and light and small;
The key-stone, that lock'd each ribbed aisle,
Was a fleur-de-lys, or a quatre-geuille,
The corbells were carved grotesque and grim;
And the pillars, with cluster'd shafts so trim,
With base and with capital flourish'd around,
Seem'd bundles of lances which garlands had bound.

X
Full many a scutcheon and banner riven,
Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,
Around the screenëd altar's pale;
And there the dying lamps did burn,
Before thy low and lonely urn,
O gallant Chief of Otterburne!
And thine, dark Knight of Liddesdale!
O fading honours of the dead!
O high ambition, lowly laid!

XI
The moon on the east oriel shone
Through slender shafts of shapely stone,
By foliaged tracery combined;
Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand
'Twixt poplars straight the ozier wand,
In many a freakish know, had twined;
Then framed a spell, when the work was done,
And changed the willow-wreaths to stone.
The silver light, so pale and faint,
Shew'd many a prophet, and many a saint,
Whose image on the glass was dyed;
Full in the midst, his Cross of Red
Triumphant Michael brandished,
And trampled the Apostate's pride.
The moon-beam kiss'd the holy pane,
And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.

XII
They sate them down on a marble stone,
(A Scottish monarch slept below);
Thus spoke the Monk, in solemn tone:-
'I was not always a man of woe;
For Paynim coutries have I trod,
And fought beneath the Cross of God:
Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear,
And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.

XIII
'In these far climes it was my lot
To meet the wondrous Michael Scott,
A wizard, of such dreaded fame,
Than when, in Salmanca's cave,
Him listed his magic wand to wave,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame!
Some of his skill he taught to me;
And Warrior, I could say to thee
The words that cleft Eildon hills in three,
And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone:
But to speak them were a deadly sin;
And for having but thought them my heart within,
A treble penance must be done.

XIV
'When Michael lay on his dying bed,
His conscience was awakened:
He bethought him of his sinful deed,
And he gave me a sign to come with speed;
I was in Spain when the morning rose,
But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
The words may not again be said,
That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid;
They would rend they Abbay's massy nave,
And pile it in heaps above his grave.

XV
'I swore to bury his Mighty Book,
That never mortal might therein look;
And never to tell where it was hid,
Save at his Chief of Branksome's need:
And when that need was past and o'er,
Again the volume to restore.
I buried him on St. Michael's night,
When the bell toll'd one, and the moon was bright,
And I dug his chamber among the dead,
When the floor of the chancel was stained red,
That his patron's cross might over him wave,
And scare the fiends from the Wizard's grave.

XVI
'It was a night of woe and dread,
When Michael in the tomb I laid!
Strange sounds along the chancel pass'd,
The banners waved without a blast;'-
-Still spoke the Monk, when the bell toll'd one!-
I tell you, that a braver man
Than William of Deloraine, good at need,
Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed;
Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,
And his hair did bristle upon his head.

XVII
'Lo, Warrior! now, the Cross of Red
Points to the grave of the mighty dead;
Within it burns a wondrous light,
To chase the spirits that love the night:
That lamp shall burn unquenchably,
Until the eternal doom shall be.'-
Slowly moved the Monk to the broad flagstone,
Which the bloody Cross was traced upon:
He pointed to a secret nook;
An iron bar the Warrior took;
And the Monk made a sign with his wither'd hand,
The grave's huge portal to expand.

XVIII
With beating heart to the task he went;
His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent;
With bar of iron heaved amain,
Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
It was by dint of passing strength,
That he moved the massy stone at length.
I would you had been there, to see
How the light broke forth so gloriously,
Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,
And through the galleries far aloof!
No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:
It shone like haaven's own blessed light,
And, issuing from the tomb,
Show'd th Monk's cowl, and visage pale,
Danced on the dark-brow'd Warrior's mail,
And kiss'd his waving plume.

XIX
Before their eyes the Wizard lay,
As if he had not been dead a day.
His hoary beard in silver roll'd,
He seem'd some seventy winters old;
A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round,
With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,
Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea;
His left hand held his Book of Might;
A silver cross was in his right;
The lamp was placed beside his knee;
High and majestic was his look,
At which the fellest fiends had shook,
And all unruffled was his face:
They trusted his soul had gotten grace.

XX
Often had William of Deloraine
Rode through the battle's bloody plain,
And trampled down the warriors slain,
And neither known remorse nor awe;
Yet now remorse and awe he own'd;
His breath came thick, his head swam round,
When this strange scene of death he saw,
Bewilder'd and unnerved he stood,
And the priest pray'd fervently and loud:
With eyes averted prayed he;
He might not endure the sight to see,
Of the man he had loved so brotherly.

XXI
And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd,
Thus unto Deloraine he said:-
'Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,
Or, Warrior, we may dearly rue;
For those, thou may'st not look upon,
Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!'-
Then Deloraine, in terror, took
From the cold hand the Mighty Book,
With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound:
He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd;
But the glare of the sepulchral light,
Perchance, had dazzled the warrior's sight.

XXII
When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,
The night return'd in double gloom;
For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few;
And, as the Knight and Priest withdrew,
With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
They hardly might the postern gain.
'Tis said, as through the aisles they pass'd,
They heard strange noises on the blast:
And through the cloister-galleries small,
Which at mid-height thread the cancel wall,
Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,
And voices unlike the voice of man;
As if the fiends kept holiday,
Because these spells were brought to day.
I cannot tell how the truth may be;
I say the tale as 'twas said to me.

XXIII
'Now, hie thee hence,' the Father said,
'And when we are on death-bed laid,
O may our dear Ladye, and sweet St. John,
Forgive our souls for the deed we have done!'
The Monk return'd him to his cell,
And many a prayer and penance sped;
When the convent met at the noontide bell-
The Monk of St. Mary's aisle was dead!
Before the cross was the body laid,
With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he pray'd.

XXIV
The Knight breathed free in the morning wind,
And strove his hardihood to find:
He was glad when he pass'd the tombstones grey,
Which girdle round the fair Abbaye;
For the mistic Book, to his bosom prest,
Felt like a load upon his breast;
And his joints, with nerves of iron twined,
Shook, like the aspen leaves in wind.
Full fain was he when the dawn of day
Began to brighten Cheviot grey;
He joy'd to see the cheerful light,
And he said Ave Mary, as well he might.

XXV
The sun had brighten'd Cheviot grey,
The sun had brighten'd the Carter's side;
And soon beneath the rising day
Smiled Branksome Towers and Teviot's tide.
The wild birds told their warbling tale,
And waken'd every flower that blows;
And peeped forth the violet pale,
And spread her breast the mountain rose.
And lovelier than the rose so red,
Yet paler than the violet pale,
She early left her sleepless bed,
The fairest maid of Teviotdale.

XXVI
Why does fair Margarent so early awake?
And don her kirtle so hastilie;
And the silken knots, which in hurry she would make,
Why tremble her slender fingers to tie;
Why does she stop, and look often around,
As she glides down the secret stair;
And why does she pat the shaggy bloodhound,
As he rouses him up from his lair;
And, though she passes the postern alone,
Why is not the watchman's bugle blown?

XXVII
The ladye steps in doubt and dread,
Lest her watchful mother hear her tread;
The lady caresses the rough blood-hound,
Lest his voice should waken the castle round,
The watchman's bugle is not blown,
For he was her foster-father's son;
And she glides through the greenwood at dawn of light
To meet Baron Henry her own true knight.

XXVIII
The Knight and ladye fair are met,
And under the hawthorn's boughs are set.
A fairer pair were never seen
To meet beneath the hawthorn green.
He was stately, and young, and tall;
Dreaded in battle, and loved in hall:
And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid,
Lent to her cheek a livelier red;
When the half sigh her swelling breast
Against the silken ribbon prest;
When her blue eyes their secret told,
Though shaded by her locks of gold-
Where whould you find the peerless fair,
With Margarent of Branksome might compare!

XXIX
And now, fair dames, methinks I see
You listen to my minstrelsy;
Your waving locks ye backward throw,
And sidelong bend your necks of snow;
Ye ween to hear a melting tale,
Of two true lovers in a dale;
And how the Knight, with tender fire,
To paint his faithful passion strove;
Swore he might at her feet expire,
But never, never, cease to love;
And how she blush'd, and how she sigh'd.
And, half consenting, half denied,
And said that she would die a maid;-
Yet, might the bloody feud be stay'd,
Henry of Cranstoun, and only he,
Margaret of Branksome's choice should be.

XXX
Alas! fair dames, you hopes are vain!
My harp has lost the enchanting strain;
Its lightness would my age reprove;
My hairs are grey, my limbs are old,
My heart is dead, my veins are cold:
I may not, must not, sing of love.

XXXI
Beneath an oak, moss'd o'er by eld,
The Baron's Dwarf his courser held,
And held his crested helm and spear:
That Dwarf was scarce an earthly man,
If the tales were true that of him ran
Through all the Border far and near.
'Twas said, when the Baron a-hunting rode,
Through Reedsdale's glens, but rarely trod,
He heard a voice cry, 'Lost! lost! lost!'
And, like a tennis-ball by racket toss'd,
A leap, of thirty feet and three,
Made from the gorse this elfin shape,
Distorted like some dwarfish ape,
And lighted at Lord Cranstoun's knee.
'Tis said that five good miles he rade,
To rid him of his company;
But where he rode one mile, the Dwarf ran four,
And the Dwarf was first at the castle door.

XXXII
Use lessens marvel, it is said:
This elvish Dwarf with the Baron staid;
Little he ate, and less he spoke,
Nor mingled with the menial flock:
And oft apart his arms he toss'd,
And often mutter'd 'Lost! lost! lost!'
He was waspish, arch, and litherlie,
But well Lord Carnstoun served he:
And he of his service was full fain;
For once he had been ta'en, or slain,
An it had not been for his ministry.
All between Home and Hermitage,
Talk'd of Lord Cranstoun's Goblin-Page.

XXXIII
For the Baron went on Pilgrimage,
And took with him this elvish Page,
To Mary's Chapel of the Lowes;
For there beside our Ladye's lake,
An offering he had sworn to make,
And he would pay his vows.
But the Ladye of Branksome gather'd a band
Of the best that would ride at her command:
The trysting place was Newark Lee.
Wat of Harden came thither amain,
And thither came John of Thirlestane,
And thither came William of Deloraine;
They were three hundred spears and three.
Through Douglas-burn, up Yarrow strem,
Their horses prance, their lances gleam.
They came to St. Mary's lake ere day;
But the chapel was void, and the Baron away.
They burn'd the chapel for very rage,
And cursed Lord Cranstoun's Goblin-Page.

XXXIV
And now, in Branksome's good green wood,
As under the aged oak he stood,
The Baron's courser pricks his ears,
As if a distant noise he hears.
The Dwarf waves his long lean arm on high,
And signs to the lovers to part and fly;
No time was then to vow or sigh.
Fair Margaret through the hazel grove,
Flew like the startled cushat-dove:
The Dwarf the stirrup held and rein;
Vaulted the Knight on his steed amain,
And, pondering deep that morning's scene,
Rode eastward through the hawthorns green.
While thus he pour'd the lengthen'd tale
The Minstrel's voice began to fail:
Full slyly smiled the observant page,
And gave the wither'd hand of age
A goblet crown'd with mighty wine,
The blood of Velez' scorched vine.
He raised the silver cup on high,
And, while the big drop fill'd his eye
Pray'd God to bless the Duchess long,
And all who cheer'd a son of song.
The attending maidens smiled to see
How long, how deep, how zealously
The precious juice the Minstrel quaff'd;
And he, embolden'd by the draught,
Look'd gaily back to them, and laugh'd.
The cordial nectar of the bowl
Swell'd his old veins, and cheer'd his soul;
A lighter, livelier prelude ran,
Ere thus his tale again began.

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The Ride to Melrose, from The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

CANTO I.XIX.
The Lady sought the lofty hall,
Where many a bold retainer lay,
And with jocund din among them all,
Her son pursued his infant play.
A fancied moss-trooper, the boy
The truncheon of a spear bestrode,
And round the hall right merrily
In mimic foray rode.
Even bearded knights, in arms grown old,
Share in his frolic gambols bore,
Albeit their hearts of rugged mould
Were stubborn as the steel they wore.
For the gray warriors prophesied
How the brave boy, in future war,
Should tame the Unicorn's pride,
Exalt the Crescent and the Star.XX.

The Ladye forgot her purpose high
One moment and no more;
One moment gazed with a mother's eye,
As she paused at the arched door:
Then from amid the armed train,
She called to her William of Deloraine.XXI.

A stark moss-trooping Scott was he
As e'er couch'd Border lance by knee:
Through Solway sands, through Tarras moss,
Blindfold he knew the paths to cross;
By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds;
In Eske or Liddel, fords were none,
But he would ride them, one by one;
Alike to him was time or tide,
December's snow or July's pride;
Alike to him was tide or time,
Moonless midnight or matin prime:
Steady of heart and stout of hand
As ever drove prey from Cumberland;
Five times outlawed had he been
By England's King and Scotland's Queen.XXII.

'Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Mount thee on the wightest steed;
Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride,
Until thou come to fair Tweedside;
And in Melrose's holy pile
Seek thou the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Greet the father well from me;
Say that the fated hour is come,
And to-night he shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb:
For this will be St. Michael's night,
And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright;
And the Cross of bloody red
Will point to the grave of the mighty dead.XXIII

'What he gives thee, see thou keep;
Stay not thou for food or sleep:
Be it scroll or be it book,
Into it, knight, thou must not look;
If thou readest, thou art lorn!
Better hadst thou ne'er been born.'XXIV.
'O swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed,
Which drinks of the Teviot clear;
Ere break of day,' the warrior 'gan say,
'Again will I be here:
And safer by none may thy errand be done,
Than, noble dame, by me;
Letter nor line know I never a one,
Were't my neck-verse at Hairibee.'XXV.

Soon in his saddle sate he fast,
And soon the steep descent he past,
Soon cross'd the sounding barbican,
And soon the Teviot side he won.
Eastward the wooded path he rode,
Green hazels o'er his basnet nod;
He pass'd the Peel of Goldiland,
And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand;
Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound,
Where Druid shades still flitted round:
In Hawick twinkled many a light;
Behind him soon they set in night;
And soon he spurr'd his courser keen
Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.XXVI.

The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark:
'Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark.'
'For Branksome, ho!' the knight rejoin'd,
And left the friendly tower behind.
He turned him now from Teviotside,
And, guided by the tinkling rill,
Northward the dark ascent did ride,
And gained the moor at Horsliehill;
Broad on the left before him lay,
For many a mile, the Roman way.XXVII.

A moment now he slack'd his speed,
A moment breathed his panting steed;
Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band,
And loosen'd in the sheath his brand.
On Minto-crags the moonbeams glint,
Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint,
Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest
Where falcons hang their giddy nest,
Mid cliffs from whence his eagle eye
For many a league his prey could spy;
Cliffs doubling, on their echoes borne,
The terrors of the robber's horn;
Cliffs, which for many a later year
The warbling Doric reed shall hear,
When some sad swain shall teach the grove,
Ambition is no cure for love.XXVIII.


Unchallenged, thence pass'd Deloraine
To ancient Riddel's fair domain,
Where Aill, from mountains freed,
Down from the lakes did raving come;
Each wave was crested with tawny foam,
Like the mane of a chestnut steed.
In vain! no torrent, deep or broad,
Might bar the bold moss-trooper's road.XXIX.


At the first plunge the horse sunk low,
And the water broke o'er the saddlebow;
Above the foaming tide, I ween,
Scarce half the charger's neck was seen:
For he was barded from counter to tail,
And the rider was armed complete in mail;
Never heavier man and horse
Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force.
The warrior's very plume, I say,
Was daggled by the dashing spray:
Yet, through good heart and Our Ladye's grace,
At length he gain'd the landing-place.XXX


Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,
And sternly shook his plumed head,
As glanced his eye o'er Halidon:
For on his soul the slaughter red
Of that unhallow'd morn arose,
When first the Scott and Carr were foes;
When royal James beheld the fray,
Prize to the victor of the day;
When Home and Douglas in the van
Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan,
Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear
Reek'd on dark Elliot's Border spear.XXXI.


In bitter mood he spurred fast,
And soon the hated heath was past:
And far beneath, in lustre wan,
Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran:
Like some tall rock with lichens gray,
Seem'd dimly huge, the dark Abbaye.
When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung,
Now midnight lauds were in Melrose sung.
The sound upon the fitful gale
In solemn wise did rise and fail,
Like that wild harp whose magic tone
Is waken'd by the winds alone.
But when Melrose he reach'd, 'twas silence all:
He meetly stabled his steed in stall,
And sought the convent's lonely wall.CANTO II.I.
If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,

Go visit it by the pale moonlight;

For the gay beams of lightsome day

Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.

When the broken arches are black in night,

And each shafted oriel glimmers white;

When the cold light's uncertain shower

Streams on the ruin'd central tower;

When buttress and buttress, alternately,

Seem framed of ebon and ivory;

When silver edges the imagery,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;

When distant Tweed is heard to rave,

And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,

Then go--but go alone the while--

Then view St. David's ruin'd pile;

And, home returning, soothly swear,

Was never scene so sad and fair!II.

Short halt did Deloraine make there;

Little reck'd he of the scene so fair

With dagger's hilt on the wicket strong

He struck full loud, and struck full long.

The porter hurried to the gate--

'Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?'

'From Branksome I,' the warrior cried;

And straight the wicket open'd wide:

For Branksome's chiefs had in battle stood

To fence the rights of fair Melrose;

And lands and livings, many a rood

Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.III.

Bold Deloraine his errand said;

The porter bent his humble head;

With torch in hand, and feet unshod,

And noiseless step the path he trod;

The arched cloister, far and wide,

Rang to the warrior's clanking stride,

Till, stooping low his lofty crest,

He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest,

And lifted his barred aventayle

To hail the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.IV.

'The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;

Says that the fated hour is come,

And that to-night I shall watch with thee,

To win the treasure of the tomb.'

From sackcloth couch the monk arose,

With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;

A hundred years had flung their snows

On his thin locks and floating beard.V.

And strangely on the knight look'd he,

And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide;

'And darest thou, warrior, seek to see

What heaven and hell alike would hide?

My breast in belt of iron pent,

With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn;

For threescore years, in penance spent,

My knees those flinty stones have worn;

Yet all too little to atone

For knowing what should ne'er be known.

Would'st thou thy every future year

In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,

Yet wait thy latter end with fear--

Then, daring warrior, follow me!'VI.

'Penance, father, will I none;

Prayer know I hardly one;

For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,

Save to patter an Ave Mary,

When I ride on a Border foray.

Other prayer can I none;

So speed me my errand, and let me be gone.'VII.

Again on the knight look'd the churchman old,

And again he sighed heavily;

For he had himself been a warrior bold,

And fought in Spain and Italy.

And he thought on the days that were long since by,

When his limbs were strong, and his courage was high:

Now, slow and faint, he led the way

Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay;

The pillar'd arches were over their head,

And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead,VIII.

Spreading herbs and flowerets bright,

Glisten'd with the dew of night;

Nor herb nor floweret glisten'd there,

But was carved in the cloister-arches as fair.

The monk gazed long on the lovely moon,

Then into the night he looked forth;

And red and bright the streamers light

Were dancing in the glowing north.

So had he seen in fair Castile

The youth in glittering squadrons start;

Sudden the flying jennet wheel,

And hurl the unexpected dart.

He knew, by the streamers that shot so bright,

That spirits were riding the northern light.IX.

By a steel-clenched postern door

They enter'd now the chancel tall;

The darken'd roof rose high aloof

On pillars lofty and light and small:

The key-stone that lock'd each ribbed aisle,

Was a fleur-de-lys or a quatre-feuille;


The corbells were carved grotesque and grim;


And the pillars, with cluster'd shafts so trim,


With base and with capital flourish'd around,


Seem'd bundles of lances which garlands had bound.X


Full many a scutcheon and banner riven


Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,


Around the screened altar's pale;


And there the dying lamps did burn


Before thy low and lonely urn,


O gallant chief of Otterburne!


And thine, dark knight of Liddesdale!


O fading honours of the dead!


O high ambition lowly laid!XI.


The moon on the east oriel shone


Through slender shafts of shapely stone,


By foliaged tracery combined;


Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand


'Twixt poplars straight the osier wand


In many a freakish knot had twined;


Then framed a spell when the work was done,


And changed the willow wreaths to stone.


The silver light, so pale and faint,


Show'd many a prophet and many a saint,


Whose image on the glass was dyed;


Full in the midst, his Cross of Red


Triumphant Michael brandished,


And trampled the Apostate's pride.


The moon-beam kiss'd the holy pane,


And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.XII.


They sate them down on a marble stone,--


A Scottish monarch slept below;--


Thus spoke the monk, in solemn tone:


'I was not always a man of woe;


For Paynim countries I have trod,


And fought beneath the Cross of God:


Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear,


And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.XIII.


'In these far climes it was my lot


To meet the wondrous Michael Scott;


A wizard of such dreaded fame


That when, in Salamanca's cave,


Him listed his magic wand to wave,


The bells would ring in Notre Dame!


Some of his skill he taught to me;


And, warrior, I could say to thee


The words that cleft Eildon hills in three,


And bridled the Tweed with a eurb of stone:


But to speak them were a deadly sin;


And for having but thought them my heart within,


A treble penance must be done.XIV.


'When Michael lay on his dying bed,


His conscience was awakened;


He bethought him of his sinful deed,


And he gave me a sign to come with speed:


I was in Spain when the morning rose,


But I stood by his bed ere evening close.


The words may not again be said


That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid;


They would rend this Abbaye's messy nave,


And pile it in heaps above his grave.XV


'I swore to bury his Mighty Book,


That never mortal might therein look;


And never to tell where it was hid,


Save at his Chief of Branksome's need:


And when that need was past and o'er,


Again the volume to restore.


I buried him on St. Michael's night,


When the bell toll'd one, and the moon was bright,


And I dug his chamber among the dead


When the floor of the chancel was stained red,


That his patron's cross might over him wave,


And scare the fiends from the wizard's grave.XVI.


'It was a night of woe and dread


When Michael in the tomb I laid;


Strange sounds along the chancel pass'd,


The banners waved without a blast'--


Still spoke the monk, when the bell toll'd one!--


I tell you that a braver man


Than William of Deloraine, good at need,


Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed;


Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,


And his hair did bristle upon his head.XVII.


'Lo, warrior! now, the Cross of Red


Points to the grave of the mighty dead;


Within it burns a wondrous light,


To chase the spirits that love the night:


That lamp shall burn unquenchably,


Until the eternal doom shall be.'


Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone


Which the bloody Cross was traced upon:


He pointed to a secret nook;


An iron bar the warrior took;


And the monk made a sign with his wither'd hand,


The grave's huge portal to expand.XVIII.


With beating heart to the task he went;


His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent;


With bar of iron heaved amain


Till the toil-drops fell from his brows like rain.


It was by dint of passing strength


That he moved the messy stone at length.


I would you had been there to see


How the light broke forth so gloriously,


Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,


And through the galleries far aloof!


No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:


It shone like heaven's own blessed light,


And, issuing from the tomb,


Show'd the monk's cowl and visage pale,


Danced on the dark-brow'd warrior's mail,


And kiss'd his waving plume.XIX.


Before their eyes the wizard lay,


As if he had not been dead a day.


His hoary beard in silver roll'd,


He seem'd some seventy winters old;


A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round,


With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,


Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea:


His left hand held his Book of Might,


A silver cross was in his right,


The lamp was placed beside his knee:


High and majestic was his look,


At which the fellest fiend had shook,


And all unruffled was his face:


They trusted his soul had gotten grace.XX.


Often had William of Deloraine


Rode through the battle's bloody plain,


And trampled down the warriors slain,


And neither known remorse nor awe;


Yet now remorse and awe he own'd;


His breath came thick, his head swam round,


When this strange scene of death he saw,


Bewilder'd and unnerv'd he stood,


And the priest pray'd fervently and loud:


With eyes averted prayed he;


He might not endure the sight to see


Of the man he had loved so brotherly.XXI.


And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd,


Thus unto Deloraine he said:


'Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,


Or, warrior, we may dearly rue;


For those thou may'st not look upon,


Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!'


Then Deloraine in terror took


From the cold hand the Mighty Book,


With iron clasp'd and with iron bound:


He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd;


But the glare of the sepulchral light


Perchance had dazzled the warrior's sight.XXII.


When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb,


The night return'd in double gloom;


For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few;


And, as the knight and priest withdrew,


With wavering steps and dizzy brain,


They hardly might the postern gain.


'Tis said, as through the aisles they pass'd,


They heard strange noises on the blast;


And through the cloister-galleries small,


Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall,


Loud sobs, and laughter louder ran,


And voices unlike the voice of man;


As if the fiends kept holiday


Because these spells were brought to day.


I cannot tell how the truth may be;


I say the tale as 'twas said to me.XXIII.


`Now, hie thee hence,' the father said,


`And when we are on death-bed laid,


O may our dear Ladye and sweet St. John


Forgive our souls for the deed we have done!


The monk returned him to his cell,


And many a prayer and penance sped;


When the convent met at the noontide bell,


The Monk of St. Mary's aisle was dead!


Before the cross was the body laid


With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he pray'd.XXIV.


The knight breathed free in the morning wind,


And strove his hardihood to find:


He was glad when he pass'd the tombstones gray


Which girdle round the fair Abbaye;


For the mystic book, to his bosom prest,


Felt like a load upon his breast;


And his joints, with nerves of iron twined,


Shook like the aspen leaves in wind.


Full fain was he when the dawn of day


Began to brighten Cheviot gray;


He joy'd to see the cheerful light,


And he said Ave Mary as well as he might.

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Canto the Eighth

I
Oh blood and thunder! and oh blood and wounds!
These are but vulgar oaths, as you may deem,
Too gentle reader! and most shocking sounds:
And so they are; yet thus is Glory's dream
Unriddled, and as my true Muse expounds
At present such things, since they are her theme,
So be they her inspirers! Call them Mars,
Bellona, what you will -- they mean but wars.

II
All was prepared -- the fire, the sword, the men
To wield them in their terrible array.
The army, like a lion from his den,
March'd forth with nerve and sinews bent to slay, --
A human Hydra, issuing from its fen
To breathe destruction on its winding way,
Whose heads were heroes, which cut off in vain
Immediately in others grew again.

III
History can only take things in the gross;
But could we know them in detail, perchance
In balancing the profit and the loss,
War's merit it by no means might enhance,
To waste so much gold for a little dross,
As hath been done, mere conquest to advance.
The drying up a single tear has more
Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.

IV
And why? -- because it brings self-approbation;
Whereas the other, after all its glare,
Shouts, bridges, arches, pensions from a nation,
Which (it may be) has not much left to spare,
A higher title, or a loftier station,
Though they may make Corruption gape or stare,
Yet, in the end, except in Freedom's battles,
Are nothing but a child of Murder's rattles.

V
And such they are -- and such they will be found:
Not so Leonidas and Washington,
Whose every battle-field is holy ground,
Which breathes of nations saved, not worlds undone.
How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound!
While the mere victor's may appal or stun
The servile and the vain, such names will be
A watchword till the future shall be free.

VI
The night was dark, and the thick mist allow'd
Nought to be seen save the artillery's flame,
Which arch'd the horizon like a fiery cloud,
And in the Danube's waters shone the same --
A mirror'd hell! the volleying roar, and loud
Long booming of each peal on peal, o'ercame
The ear far more than thunder; for Heaven's flashes
Spare, or smite rarely -- man's make millions ashes!

VII
The column order'd on the assault scarce pass'd
Beyond the Russian batteries a few toises,
When up the bristling Moslem rose at last,
Answering the Christian thunders with like voices:
Then one vast fire, air, earth, and stream embraced,
Which rock'd as 't were beneath the mighty noises;
While the whole rampart blazed like Etna, when
The restless Titan hiccups in his den.

VIII
And one enormous shout of "Allah!" rose
In the same moment, loud as even the roar
Of war's most mortal engines, to their foes
Hurling defiance: city, stream, and shore
Resounded "Allah!" and the clouds which close
With thick'ning canopy the conflict o'er,
Vibrate to the Eternal name. Hark! through
All sounds it pierceth "Allah! Allah Hu!"

IX
The columns were in movement one and all,
But of the portion which attack'd by water,
Thicker than leaves the lives began to fall,
Though led by Arseniew, that great son of slaughter,
As brave as ever faced both bomb and ball.
"Carnage" (so Wordsworth tells you) "is God's daughter:"
If he speak truth, she is Christ's sister, and
Just now behaved as in the Holy Land.

X
The Prince de Ligne was wounded in the knee;
Count Chapeau-Bras, too, had a ball between
His cap and head, which proves the head to be
Aristocratic as was ever seen,
Because it then received no injury
More than the cap; in fact, the ball could mean
No harm unto a right legitimate head:
"Ashes to ashes" -- why not lead to lead?

XI
Also the General Markow, Brigadier,
Insisting on removal of the Prince
Amidst some groaning thousands dying near, --
All common fellows, who might writhe and wince,
And shriek for water into a deaf ear, --
The General Markow, who could thus evince
His sympathy for rank, by the same token,
To teach him greater, had his own leg broken.

XII
Three hundred cannon threw up their emetic,
And thirty thousand muskets flung their pills
Like hail, to make a bloody diuretic.
Mortality! thou hast thy monthly bills;
Thy plagues, thy famines, thy physicians, yet tick,
Like the death-watch, within our ears the ills
Past, present, and to come; -- but all may yield
To the true portrait of one battle-field;

XIII
There the still varying pangs, which multiply
Until their very number makes men hard
By the infinities of agony,
Which meet the gaze whate'er it may regard --
The groan, the roll in dust, the all-white eye
Turn'd back within its socket, -- these reward
Your rank and file by thousands, while the rest
May win perhaps a riband at the breast!

XIV
Yet I love glory; -- glory's a great thing: --
Think what it is to be in your old age
Maintain'd at the expense of your good king:
A moderate pension shakes full many a sage,
And heroes are but made for bards to sing,
Which is still better; thus in verse to wage
Your wars eternally, besides enjoying
Half-pay for life, make mankind worth destroying.

XV
The troops, already disembark'd, push'd on
To take a battery on the right; the others,
Who landed lower down, their landing done,
Had set to work as briskly as their brothers:
Being grenadiers, they mounted one by one,
Cheerful as children climb the breasts of mothers,
O'er the entrenchment and the palisade,
Quite orderly, as if upon parade.

XVI
And this was admirable; for so hot
The fire was, that were red Vesuvius loaded,
Besides its lava, with all sorts of shot
And shells or hells, it could not more have goaded.
Of officers a third fell on the spot,
A thing which victory by no means boded
To gentlemen engaged in the assault:
Hounds, when the huntsman tumbles, are at fault.

XVII
But here I leave the general concern,
To track our hero on his path of fame:
He must his laurels separately earn;
For fifty thousand heroes, name by name,
Though all deserving equally to turn
A couplet, or an elegy to claim,
Would form a lengthy lexicon of glory,
And what is worse still, a much longer story:

XVIII
And therefore we must give the greater number
To the Gazette -- which doubtless fairly dealt
By the deceased, who lie in famous slumber
In ditches, fields, or wheresoe'er they felt
Their clay for the last time their souls encumber; --
Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt
In the despatch: I knew a man whose loss
Was printed Grove, although his name was Grose.

XIX
Juan and Johnson join'd a certain corps,
And fought away with might and main, not knowing
The way which they had never trod before,
And still less guessing where they might be going;
But on they march'd, dead bodies trampling o'er,
Firing, and thrusting, slashing, sweating, glowing,
But fighting thoughtlessly enough to win,
To their two selves, one whole bright bulletin.

XX
Thus on they wallow'd in the bloody mire
Of dead and dying thousands, -- sometimes gaining
A yard or two of ground, which brought them nigher
To some odd angle for which all were straining;
At other times, repulsed by the close fire,
Which really pour'd as if all hell were raining
Instead of heaven, they stumbled backwards o'er
A wounded comrade, sprawling in his gore.

XXI
Though 't was Don Juan's first of fields, and though
The nightly muster and the silent march
In the chill dark, when courage does not glow
So much as under a triumphal arch,
Perhaps might make him shiver, yawn, or throw
A glance on the dull clouds (as thick as starch,
Which stiffen'd heaven) as if he wish'd for day; --
Yet for all this he did not run away.

XXII
Indeed he could not. But what if he had?
There have been and are heroes who begun
With something not much better, or as bad:
Frederic the Great from Molwitz deign'd to run,
For the first and last time; for, like a pad,
Or hawk, or bride, most mortals after one
Warm bout are broken into their new tricks,
And fight like fiends for pay or politics.

XXIII
He was what Erin calls, in her sublime
Old Erse or Irish, or it may be Punic
(The antiquarians who can settle time,
Which settles all things, Roman, Greek, or Runic,
Swear that Pat's language sprung from the same clime
With Hannibal, and wears the Tyrian tunic
Of Dido's alphabet; and this is rational
As any other notion, and not national); --

XXIV
But Juan was quite "a broth of a boy,"
A thing of impulse and a child of song;
Now swimming in the sentiment of joy,
Or the sensation (if that phrase seem wrong),
And afterward, if he must needs destroy,
In such good company as always throng
To battles, sieges, and that kind of pleasure,
No less delighted to employ his leisure;

XXV
But always without malice: if he warr'd
Or loved, it was with what we call "the best
Intentions," which form all mankind's trump card,
To be produced when brought up to the test.
The statesman, hero, harlot, lawyer -- ward
Off each attack, when people are in quest
Of their designs, by saying they meant well;
'T is pity "that such meaning should pave hell."

XXVI
I almost lately have begun to doubt
Whether hell's pavement -- if it be so paved --
Must not have latterly been quite worn out,
Not by the numbers good intent hath saved,
But by the mass who go below without
Those ancient good intentions, which once shaved
And smooth'd the brimstone of that street of hell
Which bears the greatest likeness to Pall Mall.

XXVII
Juan, by some strange chance, which oft divides
Warrior from warrior in their grim career,
Like chastest wives from constant husbands' sides
Just at the close of the first bridal year,
By one of those odd turns of Fortune's tides,
Was on a sudden rather puzzled here,
When, after a good deal of heavy firing,
He found himself alone, and friends retiring.

XXVIII
I don't know how the thing occurr'd -- it might
Be that the greater part were kill'd or wounded,
And that the rest had faced unto the right
About; a circumstance which has confounded
Caesar himself, who, in the very sight
Of his whole army, which so much abounded
In courage, was obliged to snatch a shield,
And rally back his Romans to the field.

XXIX
Juan, who had no shield to snatch, and was
No Caesar, but a fine young lad, who fought
He knew not why, arriving at this pass,
Stopp'd for a minute, as perhaps he ought
For a much longer time; then, like an as
(Start not, kind reader; since great Homer thought
This simile enough for Ajax, Juan
Perhaps may find it better than a new one) --

XXX
Then, like an ass, he went upon his way,
And, what was stranger, never look'd behind;
But seeing, flashing forward, like the day
Over the hills, a fire enough to blind
Those who dislike to look upon a fray,
He stumbled on, to try if he could find
A path, to add his own slight arm and forces
To corps, the greater part of which were corses.

XXXI
Perceiving then no more the commandant
Of his own corps, nor even the corps, which had
Quite disappear'd -- the gods know howl (I can't
Account for every thing which may look bad
In history; but we at least may grant
It was not marvellous that a mere lad,
In search of glory, should look on before,
Nor care a pinch of snuff about his corps): --

XXXII
Perceiving nor commander nor commanded,
And left at large, like a young heir, to make
His way to -- where he knew not -- single handed;
As travellers follow over bog and brake
An "ignis fatuus;" or as sailors stranded
Unto the nearest hut themselves betake;
So Juan, following honour and his nose,
Rush'd where the thickest fire announced most foes.

XXXIII
He knew not where he was, nor greatly cared,
For he was dizzy, busy, and his veins
Fill'd as with lightning -- for his spirit shared
The hour, as is the case with lively brains;
And where the hottest fire was seen and heard,
And the loud cannon peal'd his hoarsest strains,
He rush'd, while earth and air were sadly shaken
By thy humane discovery, Friar Bacon!

XXXIV
And as he rush'd along, it came to pass he
Fell in with what was late the second column,
Under the orders of the General Lascy,
But now reduced, as is a bulky volume
Into an elegant extract (much less massy)
Of heroism, and took his place with solemn
Air 'midst the rest, who kept their valiant faces
And levell'd weapons still against the glacis.

XXXV
Just at this crisis up came Johnson too,
Who had "retreated," as the phrase is when
Men run away much rather than go through
Destruction's jaws into the devil's den;
But Johnson was a clever fellow, who
Knew when and how "to cut and come again,"
And never ran away, except when running
Was nothing but a valorous kind of cunning.

XXXVI
And so, when all his corps were dead or dying,
Except Don Juan, a mere novice, whose
More virgin valour never dreamt of flying
From ignorance of danger, which indues
Its votaries, like innocence relying
On its own strength, with careless nerves and thews, --
Johnson retired a little, just to rally
Those who catch cold in "shadows of Death's valley."

XXXVII
And there, a little shelter'd from the shot,
Which rain'd from bastion, battery, parapet,
Rampart, wall, casement, house, -- for there was not
In this extensive city, sore beset
By Christian soldiery, a single spot
Which did not combat like the devil, as yet,
He found a number of Chasseurs, all scatter'd
By the resistance of the chase they batter'd.

XXXVIII
And these he call'd on; and, what's strange, they came
Unto his call, unlike "the spirits from
The vasty deep," to whom you may exclaim,
Says Hotspur, long ere they will leave their home.
Their reasons were uncertainty, or shame
At shrinking from a bullet or a bomb,
And that odd impulse, which in wars or creeds
Makes men, like cattle, follow him who leads.

XXXIX
By Jove! he was a noble fellow, Johnson,
And though his name, than Ajax or Achilles,
Sounds less harmonious, underneath the sun soon
We shall not see his likeness: he could kill his
Man quite as quietly as blows the monsoon
Her steady breath (which some months the same still is):
Seldom he varied feature, hue, or muscle,
And could be very busy without bustle;

XL
And therefore, when he ran away, he did so
Upon reflection, knowing that behind
He would find others who would fain be rid so
Of idle apprehensions, which like wind
Trouble heroic stomachs. Though their lids so
Oft are soon closed, all heroes are not blind,
But when they light upon immediate death,
Retire a little, merely to take breath.

XLI
But Johnson only ran off, to return
With many other warriors, as we said,
Unto that rather somewhat misty bourn,
Which Hamlet tells us is a pass of dread.
To Jack howe'er this gave but slight concern:
His soul (like galvanism upon the dead)
Acted upon the living as on wire,
And led them back into the heaviest fire.

XLII
Egad! they found the second time what they
The first time thought quite terrible enough
To fly from, malgré all which people say
Of glory, and all that immortal stuff
Which fills a regiment (besides their pay,
That daily shilling which makes warriors tough) --
They found on their return the self-same welcome,
Which made some think, and others know, a hell come.

XLIII
They fell as thick as harvests beneath hail,
Grass before scythes, or corn below the sickle,
Proving that trite old truth, that life's as frail
As any other boon for which men stickle.
The Turkish batteries thrash'd them like a flail,
Or a good boxer, into a sad pickle
Putting the very bravest, who were knock'd
Upon the head, before their guns were cock'd.

XLIV
The Turks, behind the traverses and flanks
Of the next bastion, fired away like devils,
And swept, as gales sweep foam away, whole ranks:
However, Heaven knows how, the Fate who levels
Towns, nations, worlds, in her revolving pranks,
So order'd it, amidst these sulphury revels,
That Johnson and some few who had not scamper'd,
Reach'd the interior "talus" of the rampart.

XLV
First one or two, then five, six, and a dozen,
Came mounting quickly up, for it was now
All neck or nothing, as, like pitch or rosin,
Flame was shower'd forth above, as well 's below,
So that you scarce could say who best had chosen,
The gentlemen that were the first to show
Their martial faces on the parapet,
Or those who thought it brave to wait as yet.

XLVI
But those who scaled, found out that their advance
Was favour'd by an accident or blunder:
The Greek or Turkish Cohorn's ignorance
Had palisado'd in a way you'd wonder
To see in forts of Netherlands or France
(Though these to our Gibraltar must knock under) --
Right in the middle of the parapet
Just named, these palisades were primly set:

XLVII
So that on either side some nine or ten
Paces were left, whereon you could contrive
To march; a great convenience to our men,
At least to all those who were left alive,
Who thus could form a line and fight again;
And that which farther aided them to strive
Was, that they could kick down the palisades,
Which scarcely rose much higher than grass blades.

XLVIII
Among the first, -- I will not say the first,
For such precedence upon such occasions
Will oftentimes make deadly quarrels burst
Out between friends as well as allied nations:
The Briton must be bold who really durst
Put to such trial John Bull's partial patience,
As say that Wellington at Waterloo
Was beaten -- though the Prussians say so too; --

XLIX
And that if Blucher, Bulow, Gneisenau,
And God knows who besides in "au" and "ow,"
Had not come up in time to cast an awe
Into the hearts of those who fought till now
As tigers combat with an empty craw,
The Duke of Wellington had ceased to show
His orders, also to receive his pensions,
Which are the heaviest that our history mentions.

L
But never mind; -- "God save the King!" and Kings!
For if he don't, I doubt if men will longer --
I think I hear a little bird, who sings
The people by and by will be the stronger:
The veriest jade will wince whose harness wrings
So much into the raw as quite to wrong her
Beyond the rules of posting, -- and the mob
At last fall sick of imitating Job.

LI
At first it grumbles, then it swears, and then,
Like David, flings smooth pebbles 'gainst a giant;
At last it takes to weapons such as men
Snatch when despair makes human hearts less pliant.
Then comes "the tug of war;" -- 't will come again,
I rather doubt; and I would fain say "fie on 't,"
If I had not perceived that revolution
Alone can save the earth from hell's pollution.

LII
But to continue: -- I say not the first,
But of the first, our little friend Don Juan
Walk'd o'er the walls of Ismail, as if nursed
Amidst such scenes -- though this was quite a new one
To him, and I should hope to most. The thirst
Of glory, which so pierces through and through one,
Pervaded him -- although a generous creature,
As warm in heart as feminine in feature.

LIII
And here he was -- who upon woman's breast,
Even from a child, felt like a child; howe'er
The man in all the rest might be confest,
To him it was Elysium to be there;
And he could even withstand that awkward test
Which Rousseau points out to the dubious fair,
"Observe your lover when he leaves your arms;"
But Juan never left them, while they had charms,

LIV
Unless compell'd by fate, or wave, or wind,
Or near relations, who are much the same.
But here he was! -- where each tie that can bind
Humanity must yield to steel and flame:
And he whose very body was all mind,
Flung here by fate or circumstance, which tame
The loftiest, hurried by the time and place,
Dash'd on like a spurr'd blood-horse in a race.

LV
So was his blood stirr'd while he found resistance,
As is the hunter's at the five-bar gate,
Or double post and rail, where the existence
Of Britain's youth depends upon their weight,
The lightest being the safest: at a distance
He hated cruelty, as all men hate
Blood, until heated -- and even then his own
At times would curdle o'er some heavy groan.

LVI
The General Lascy, who had been hard press'd,
Seeing arrive an aid so opportune
As were some hundred youngsters all abreast,
Who came as if just dropp'd down from the moon,
To Juan, who was nearest him, address'd
His thanks, and hopes to take the city soon,
Not reckoning him to be a "base Bezonian"
(As Pistol calls it), but a young Livonian.

LVII
Juan, to whom he spoke in German, knew
As much of German as of Sanscrit, and
In answer made an inclination to
The general who held him in command;
For seeing one with ribands, black and blue,
Stars, medals, and a bloody sword in hand,
Addressing him in tones which seem'd to thank,
He recognised an officer of rank.

LVIII
Short speeches pass between two men who speak
No common language; and besides, in time
Of war and taking towns, when many a shriek
Rings o'er the dialogue, and many a crime
Is perpetrated ere a word can break
Upon the ear, and sounds of horror chime
In like church-bells, with sigh, howl, groan, yell, prayer,
There cannot be much conversation there.

LIX
And therefore all we have related in
Two long octaves, pass'd in a little minute;
But in the same small minute, every sin
Contrived to get itself comprised within it.
The very cannon, deafen'd by the din,
Grew dumb, for you might almost hear a linnet,
As soon as thunder, 'midst the general noise
Of human nature's agonising voice!

LX
The town was enter'd. Oh eternity! --
"God made the country and man made the town,"
So Cowper says -- and I begin to be
Of his opinion, when I see cast down
Rome, Babylon, Tyre, Carthage, Nineveh,
All walls men know, and many never known;
And pondering on the present and the past,
To deem the woods shall be our home at last

LXI
Of all men, saving Sylla the man-slayer,
Who passes for in life and death most lucky,
Of the great names which in our faces stare,
The General Boon, back-woodsman of Kentucky,
Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere;
For killing nothing but a bear or buck, he
Enjoy'd the lonely, vigorous, harmless days
Of his old age in wilds of deepest maze.

LXII
Crime came not near him -- she is not the child
Of solitude; Health shrank not from him -- for
Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,
Where if men seek her not, and death be more
Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguiled
By habit to what their own hearts abhor --
In cities caged. The present case in point I
Cite is, that Boon lived hunting up to ninety;

LXIII
And what's still stranger, left behind a name
For which men vainly decimate the throng,
Not only famous, but of that good fame,
Without which glory's but a tavern song --
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
Which hate nor envy e'er could tinge with wrong;
An active hermit, even in age the child
Of Nature, or the man of Ross run wild.

LXIV
'T is true he shrank from men even of his nation,
When they built up unto his darling trees, --
He moved some hundred miles off, for a station
Where there were fewer houses and more ease;
The inconvenience of civilisation
Is, that you neither can be pleased nor please;
But where he met the individual man,
He show'd himself as kind as mortal can.

LXV
He was not all alone: around him grew
A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,
Whose young, unwaken'd world was ever new,
Nor sword nor sorrow yet had left a trace
On her unwrinkled brow, nor could you view
A frown on Nature's or on human face;
The free-born forest found and kept them free,
And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

LXVI
And tall, and strong, and swift of foot were they,
Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions,
Because their thoughts had never been the prey
Of care or gain: the green woods were their portions;
No sinking spirits told them they grew grey,
No fashion made them apes of her distortions;
Simple they were, not savage; and their rifles,
Though very true, were not yet used for trifles.

LXVII
Motion was in their days, rest in their slumbers,
And cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil;
Nor yet too many nor too few their numbers;
Corruption could not make their hearts her soil;
The lust which stings, the splendour which encumbers,
With the free foresters divide no spoil;
Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes
Of this unsighing people of the woods.

LXVIII
So much for Nature: -- by way of variety,
Now back to thy great joys, Civilisation!
And the sweet consequence of large society,
War, pestilence, the despot's desolation,
The kingly scourge, the lust of notoriety,
The millions slain by soldiers for their ration,
The scenes like Catherine's boudoir at threescore,
With Ismail's storm to soften it the more.

LXIX
The town was enter'd: first one column made
Its sanguinary way good -- then another;
The reeking bayonet and the flashing blade
Clash'd 'gainst the scimitar, and babe and mother
With distant shrieks were heard Heaven to upbraid:
Still closer sulphury clouds began to smother
The breath of morn and man, where foot by foot
The madden'd Turks their city still dispute.

LXX
Koutousow, he who afterward beat back
(With some assistance from the frost and snow)
Napoleon on his bold and bloody track,
It happen'd was himself beat back just now;
He was a jolly fellow, and could crack
His jest alike in face of friend or foe,
Though life, and death, and victory were at stake;
But here it seem'd his jokes had ceased to take:

LXXI
For having thrown himself into a ditch,
Follow'd in haste by various grenadiers,
Whose blood the puddle greatly did enrich,
He climb'd to where the parapet appears;
But there his project reach'd its utmost pitch
('Mongst other deaths the General Ribaupierre's
Was much regretted), for the Moslem men
Threw them all down into the ditch again.

LXXII
And had it not been for some stray troops landing
They knew not where, being carried by the stream
To some spot, where they lost their understanding,
And wander'd up and down as in a dream,
Until they reach'd, as daybreak was expanding,
That which a portal to their eyes did seem, --
The great and gay Koutousow might have lain
Where three parts of his column yet remain.

LXXIII
And scrambling round the rampart, these same troops,
After the taking of the "Cavalier,"
Just as Koutousow's most "forlorn" of "hopes"
Took like chameleons some slight tinge of fear,
Open'd the gate call'd "Kilia," to the groups
Of baffled heroes, who stood shyly near,
Sliding knee-deep in lately frozen mud,
Now thaw'd into a marsh of human blood.

LXXIV
The Kozacks, or, if so you please, Cossacques
(I don't much pique myself upon orthography,
So that I do not grossly err in facts,
Statistics, tactics, politics, and geography) --
Having been used to serve on horses' backs,
And no great dilettanti in topography
Of fortresses, but fighting where it pleases
Their chiefs to order, -- were all cut to pieces.

LXXV
Their column, though the Turkish batteries thunder'd
Upon them, ne'ertheless had reach'd the rampart,
And naturally thought they could have plunder'd
The city, without being farther hamper'd;
But as it happens to brave men, they blunder'd --
The Turks at first pretended to have scamper'd,
Only to draw them 'twixt two bastion corners,
From whence they sallied on those Christian scorners.

LXXVI
Then being taken by the tail -- a taking
Fatal to bishops as to soldiers -- these
Cossacques were all cut off as day was breaking,
And found their lives were let at a short lease --
But perish'd without shivering or shaking,
Leaving as ladders their heap'd carcasses,
O'er which Lieutenant-Colonel Yesouskoi
March'd with the brave battalion of Polouzki: --

LXXVII
This valiant man kill'd all the Turks he met,
But could not eat them, being in his turn
Slain by some Mussulmans, who would not yet,
Without resistance, see their city burn.
The walls were won, but 't was an even bet
Which of the armies would have cause to mourn:
'T was blow for blow, disputing inch by inch,
For one would not retreat, nor t' other flinch.

LXXVIII
Another column also suffer'd much: --
And here we may remark with the historian,
You should but give few cartridges to such
Troops as are meant to march with greatest glory on:
When matters must be carried by the touch
Of the bright bayonet, and they all should hurry on,
They sometimes, with a hankering for existence,
Keep merely firing at a foolish distance.

LXXIX
A junction of the General Meknop's men
(Without the General, who had fallen some time
Before, being badly seconded just then)
Was made at length with those who dared to climb
The death-disgorging rampart once again;
And though the Turk's resistance was sublime,
They took the bastion, which the Seraskier
Defended at a price extremely dear.

LXXX
Juan and Johnson, and some volunteers,
Among the foremost, offer'd him good quarter,
A word which little suits with Seraskiers,
Or at least suited not this valiant Tartar.
He died, deserving well his country's tears,
A savage sort of military martyr.
An English naval officer, who wish'd
To make him prisoner, was also dish'd:

LXXXI
For all the answer to his proposition
Was from a pistol-shot that laid him dead;
On which the rest, without more intermission,
Began to lay about with steel and lead --
The pious metals most in requisition
On such occasions: not a single head
Was spared; -- three thousand Moslems perish'd here,
And sixteen bayonets pierced the Seraskier.

LXXXII
The city's taken -- only part by part --
And death is drunk with gore: there's not a street
Where fights not to the last some desperate heart
For those for whom it soon shall cease to beat.
Here War forgot his own destructive art
In more destroying Nature; and the heat
Of carnage, like the Nile's sun-sodden slime,
Engender'd monstrous shapes of every crime.

LXXXIII
A Russian officer, in martial tread
Over a heap of bodies, felt his heel
Seized fast, as if 't were by the serpent's head
Whose fangs Eve taught her human seed to feel:
In vain he kick'd, and swore, and writhed, and bled,
And howl'd for help as wolves do for a meal --
The teeth still kept their gratifying hold,
As do the subtle snakes described of old.

LXXXIV
A dying Moslem, who had felt the foot
Of a foe o'er him, snatch'd at it, and bit
The very tendon which is most acute
(That which some ancient Muse or modern wit
Named after thee, Achilles), and quite through 't
He made the teeth meet, nor relinquish'd it
Even with his life -- for (but they lie) 't is said
To the live leg still clung the sever'd head.

LXXXV
However this may be, 't is pretty sure
The Russian officer for life was lamed,
For the Turk's teeth stuck faster than a skewer,
And left him 'midst the invalid and maim'd:
The regimental surgeon could not cure
His patient, and perhaps was to be blamed
More than the head of the inveterate foe,
Which was cut off, and scarce even then let go.

LXXXVI
But then the fact's a fact -- and 't is the part
Of a true poet to escape from fiction
Whene'er he can; for there is little art
In leaving verse more free from the restriction
Of truth than prose, unless to suit the mart
For what is sometimes called poetic diction,
And that outrageous appetite for lies
Which Satan angles with for souls, like flies.

LXXXVII
The city's taken, but not render'd! -- No!
There's not a Moslem that hath yielded sword:
The blood may gush out, as the Danube's flow
Rolls by the city wall; but deed nor word
Acknowledge aught of dread of death or foe:
In vain the yell of victory is roar'd
By the advancing Muscovite -- the groan
Of the last foe is echoed by his own.

LXXXVIII
The bayonet pierces and the sabre cleaves,
And human lives are lavish'd everywhere,
As the year closing whirls the scarlet leaves
When the stripp'd forest bows to the bleak air,
And groans; and thus the peopled city grieves,
Shorn of its best and loveliest, and left bare;
But still it falls in vast and awful splinters,
As oaks blown down with all their thousand winters.

LXXXIX
It is an awful topic -- but 't is not
My cue for any time to be terrific:
For checker'd as is seen our human lot
With good, and bad, and worse, alike prolific
Of melancholy merriment, to quote
Too much of one sort would be soporific; --
Without, or with, offence to friends or foes,
I sketch your world exactly as it goes.

XC
And one good action in the midst of crimes
Is "quite refreshing," in the affected phrase
Of these ambrosial, Pharisaic times,
With all their pretty milk-and-water ways,
And may serve therefore to bedew these rhymes,
A little scorch'd at present with the blaze
Of conquest and its consequences, which
Make epic poesy so rare and rich.

XCI
Upon a taken bastion, where there lay
Thousands of slaughter'd men, a yet warm group
Of murder'd women, who had found their way
To this vain refuge, made the good heart droop
And shudder; -- while, as beautiful as May,
A female child of ten years tried to stoop
And hide her little palpitating breast
Amidst the bodies lull'd in bloody rest.

XCII
Two villainous Cossacques pursued the child
With flashing eyes and weapons: match'd with them,
The rudest brute that roams Siberia's wild
Has feelings pure and polish'd as a gem, --
The bear is civilised, the wolf is mild;
And whom for this at last must we condemn?
Their natures? or their sovereigns, who employ
All arts to teach their subjects to destroy?

XCIII
Their sabres glitter'd o'er her little head,
Whence her fair hair rose twining with affright,
Her hidden face was plunged amidst the dead:
When Juan caught a glimpse of this sad sight,
I shall not say exactly what he said,
Because it might not solace "ears polite;"
But what he did, was to lay on their backs,
The readiest way of reasoning with Cossacques.

XCIV
One's hip he slash'd, and split the other's shoulder,
And drove them with their brutal yells to seek
If there might be chirurgeons who could solder
The wounds they richly merited, and shriek
Their baffled rage and pain; while waxing colder
As he turn'd o'er each pale and gory cheek,
Don Juan raised his little captive from
The heap a moment more had made her tomb.

XCV
And she was chill as they, and on her face
A slender streak of blood announced how near
Her fate had been to that of all her race;
For the same blow which laid her mother here
Had scarr'd her brow, and left its crimson trace,
As the last link with all she had held dear;
But else unhurt, she open'd her large eyes,
And gazed on Juan with a wild surprise.

XCVI
Just at this instant, while their eyes were fix'd
Upon each other, with dilated glance,
In Juan's look, pain, pleasure, hope, fear, mix'd
With joy to save, and dread of some mischance
Unto his protégée; while hers, transfix'd
With infant terrors, glared as from a trance,
A pure, transparent, pale, yet radiant face,
Like to a lighted alabaster vase; --

XCVII
Up came John Johnson (I will not say "Jack,"
For that were vulgar, cold, and commonplace
On great occasions, such as an attack
On cities, as hath been the present case):
Up Johnson came, with hundreds at his back,
Exclaiming; -- "Juan! Juan! On, boy! brace
Your arm, and I'll bet Moscow to a dollar
That you and I will win St. George's collar.

XCVIII
"The Seraskier is knock'd upon the head,
But the stone bastion still remains, wherein
The old Pacha sits among some hundreds dead,
Smoking his pipe quite calmly 'midst the din
Of our artillery and his own: 't is said
Our kill'd, already piled up to the chin,
Lie round the battery; but still it batters,
And grape in volleys, like a vineyard, scatters.

XCIX
"Then up with me!" -- But Juan answer'd, "Look
Upon this child -- I saved her -- must not leave
Her life to chance; but point me out some nook
Of safety, where she less may shrink and grieve,
And I am with you." -- Whereon Johnson took
A glance around -- and shrugg'd -- and twitch'd his sleeve
And black silk neckcloth -- and replied, "You're right;
Poor thing! what's to be done? I'm puzzled quite."

C
Said Juan: "Whatsoever is to be
Done, I'll not quit her till she seems secure
Of present life a good deal more than we."
Quoth Johnson: "Neither will I quite ensure;
But at the least you may die gloriously."
Juan replied: "At least I will endure
Whate'er is to be borne -- but not resign
This child, who is parentless, and therefore mine."

CI
Johnson said: "Juan, we've no time to lose;
The child's a pretty child -- a very pretty --
I never saw such eyes -- but hark! now choose
Between your fame and feelings, pride and pity; --
Hark! how the roar increases! -- no excuse
Will serve when there is plunder in a city; --
I should be loth to march without you, but,
By God! we'll be too late for the first cut."

CII
But Juan was immovable; until
Johnson, who really loved him in his way,
Pick'd out amongst his followers with some skill
Such as he thought the least given up to prey;
And swearing if the infant came to ill
That they should all be shot on the next day;
But if she were deliver'd safe and sound,
They should at least have fifty rubles round,

CIII
And all allowances besides of plunder
In fair proportion with their comrades; -- then
Juan consented to march on through thunder,
Which thinn'd at every step their ranks of men:
And yet the rest rush'd eagerly -- no wonder,
For they were heated by the hope of gain,
A thing which happens everywhere each day --
No hero trusteth wholly to half pay.

CIV
And such is victory, and such is man!
At least nine tenths of what we call so; -- God
May have another name for half we scan
As human beings, or his ways are odd.
But to our subject: a brave Tartar khan --
Or "sultan," as the author (to whose nod
In prose I bend my humble verse) doth call
This chieftain -- somehow would not yield at all:

CV
But flank'd by five brave sons (such is polygamy,
That she spawns warriors by the score, where none
Are prosecuted for that false crime bigamy),
He never would believe the city won
While courage clung but to a single twig. -- Am I
Describing Priam's, Peleus', or Jove's son?
Neither -- but a good, plain, old, temperate man,
Who fought with his five children in the van.

CVI
To take him was the point. The truly brave,
When they behold the brave oppress'd with odds,
Are touch'd with a desire to shield and save; --
A mixture of wild beasts and demigods
Are they -- now furious as the sweeping wave,
Now moved with pity: even as sometimes nods
The rugged tree unto the summer wind,
Compassion breathes along the savage mind.

CVII
But he would not be taken, and replied
To all the propositions of surrender
By mowing Christians down on every side,
As obstinate as Swedish Charles at Bender.
His five brave boys no less the foe defied;
Whereon the Russian pathos grew less tender,
As being a virtue, like terrestrial patience,
Apt to wear out on trifling provocations.

CVIII
And spite of Johnson and of Juan, who
Expended all their Eastern phraseology
In begging him, for God's sake, just to show
So much less fight as might form an apology
For them in saving such a desperate foe --
He hew'd away, like doctors of theology
When they dispute with sceptics; and with curses
Struck at his friends, as babies beat their nurses.

CIX
Nay, he had wounded, though but slightly, both
Juan and Johnson; whereupon they fell,
The first with sighs, the second with an oath,
Upon his angry sultanship, pell-mell,
And all around were grown exceeding wroth
At such a pertinacious infidel,
And pour'd upon him and his sons like rain,
Which they resisted like a sandy plain

CX
That drinks and still is dry. At last they perish'd --
His second son was levell'd by a shot;
His third was sabred; and the fourth, most cherish'd
Of all the five, on bayonets met his lot;
The fifth, who, by a Christian mother nourish'd,
Had been neglected, ill-used, and what not,
Because deform'd, yet died all game and bottom,
To save a sire who blush'd that he begot him.

CXI
The eldest was a true and tameless Tartar,
As great a scorner of the Nazarene
As ever Mahomet pick'd out for a martyr,
Who only saw the black-eyed girls in green,
Who make the beds of those who won't take quarter
On earth, in Paradise; and when once seen,
Those houris, like all other pretty creatures,
Do just whate'er they please, by dint of features.

CXII
And what they pleased to do with the young khan
In heaven I know not, nor pretend to guess;
But doubtless they prefer a fine young man
To tough old heroes, and can do no less;
And that's the cause no doubt why, if we scan
A field of battle's ghastly wilderness,
For one rough, weather-beaten, veteran body,
You'll find ten thousand handsome coxcombs bloody.

CXIII
Your houris also have a natural pleasure
In lopping off your lately married men,
Before the bridal hours have danced their measure
And the sad, second moon grows dim again,
Or dull repentance hath had dreary leisure
To wish him back a bachelor now and then.
And thus your houri (it may be) disputes
Of these brief blossoms the immediate fruits.

CXIV
Thus the young khan, with houris in his sight,
Thought not upon the charms of four young brides,
But bravely rush'd on his first heavenly night.
In short, howe'er our better faith derides,
These black-eyed virgins make the Moslems fight,
As though there were one heaven and none besides, --
Whereas, if all be true we hear of heaven
And hell, there must at least be six or seven.

CXV
So fully flash'd the phantom on his eyes,
That when the very lance was in his heart,
He shouted "Allah!" and saw Paradise
With all its veil of mystery drawn apart,
And bright eternity without disguise
On his soul, like a ceaseless sunrise, dart: --
With prophets, houris, angels, saints, descried
In one voluptuous blaze, -- and then he died,

CXVI
But with a heavenly rapture on his face.
The good old khan, who long had ceased to see
Houris, or aught except his florid race
Who grew like cedars round him gloriously --
When he beheld his latest hero grace
The earth, which he became like a fell'd tree,
Paused for a moment, from the fight, and cast
A glance on that slain son, his first and last.

CXVII
The soldiers, who beheld him drop his point,
Stopp'd as if once more willing to concede
Quarter, in case he bade them not "aroynt!"
As he before had done. He did not heed
Their pause nor signs: his heart was out of joint,
And shook (till now unshaken) like a reed,
As he look'd down upon his children gone,
And felt -- though done with life -- he was alone

CXVIII
But 't was a transient tremor; -- with a spring
Upon the Russian steel his breast he flung,
As carelessly as hurls the moth her wing
Against the light wherein she dies: he clung
Closer, that all the deadlier they might wring,
Unto the bayonets which had pierced his young;
And throwing back a dim look on his sons,
In one wide wound pour'd forth his soul at once.

CXIX
'T is strange enough -- the rough, tough soldiers, who
Spared neither sex nor age in their career
Of carnage, when this old man was pierced through,
And lay before them with his children near,
Touch'd by the heroism of him they slew,
Were melted for a moment: though no tear
Flow'd from their bloodshot eyes, all red with strife,
They honour'd such determined scorn of life.

CXX
But the stone bastion still kept up its fire,
Where the chief pacha calmly held his post:
Some twenty times he made the Russ retire,
And baffled the assaults of all their host;
At length he condescended to inquire
If yet the city's rest were won or lost;
And being told the latter, sent a bey
To answer Ribas' summons to give way.

CXXI
In the mean time, cross-legg'd, with great sang-froid,
Among the scorching ruins he sat smoking
Tobacco on a little carpet; -- Troy
Saw nothing like the scene around: -- yet looking
With martial stoicism, nought seem'd to annoy
His stern philosophy; but gently stroking
His beard, he puff'd his pipe's ambrosial gales,
As if he had three lives, as well as tails.

CXXII
The town was taken -- whether he might yield
Himself or bastion, little matter'd now:
His stubborn valour was no future shield.
Ismail's no more! The crescent's silver bow
Sunk, and the crimson cross glared o'er the field,
But red with no redeeming gore: the glow
Of burning streets, like moonlight on the water,
Was imaged back in blood, the sea of slaughter.

CXXIII
All that the mind would shrink from of excesses;
All that the body perpetrates of bad;
All that we read, hear, dream, of man's distresses;
All that the devil would do if run stark mad;
All that defies the worst which pen expresses;
All by which hell is peopled, or as sad
As hell -- mere mortals who their power abuse --
Was here (as heretofore and since) let loose.

CXXIV
If here and there some transient trait of pity
Was shown, and some more noble heart broke through
Its bloody bond, and saved perhaps some pretty
Child, or an agéd, helpless man or two --
What's this in one annihilated city,
Where thousand loves, and ties, and duties grew?
Cockneys of London! Muscadins of Paris!
Just ponder what a pious pastime war is.

CXXV
Think how the joys of reading a Gazette
Are purchased by all agonies and crimes:
Or if these do not move you, don't forget
Such doom may be your own in aftertimes.
Meantime the Taxes, Castlereagh, and Debt,
Are hints as good as sermons, or as rhymes.
Read your own hearts and Ireland's present story,
Then feed her famine fat with Wellesley's glory.

CXXVI
But still there is unto a patriot nation,
Which loves so well its country and its king,
A subject of sublimest exultation --
Bear it, ye Muses, on your brightest wing!
Howe'er the mighty locust, Desolation,
Strip your green fields, and to your harvests cling,
Gaunt famine never shall approach the throne --
Though Ireland starve, great George weighs twenty stone.

CXXVII
But let me put an end unto my theme:
There was an end of Ismail -- hapless town!
Far flash'd her burning towers o'er Danube's stream,
And redly ran his blushing waters down.
The horrid war-whoop and the shriller scream
Rose still; but fainter were the thunders grown:
Of forty thousand who had mann'd the wall,
Some hundreds breathed -- the rest were silent all!

CXXVIII
In one thing ne'ertheless 't is fit to praise
The Russian army upon this occasion,
A virtue much in fashion now-a-days,
And therefore worthy of commemoration:
The topic's tender, so shall be my phrase --
Perhaps the season's chill, and their long station
In winter's depth, or want of rest and victual,
Had made them chaste; -- they ravish'd very little.

CXXIX
Much did they slay, more plunder, and no less
Might here and there occur some violation
In the other line; -- but not to such excess
As when the French, that dissipated nation,
Take towns by storm: no causes can I guess,
Except cold weather and commiseration;
But all the ladies, save some twenty score,
Were almost as much virgins as before.

CXXX
Some odd mistakes, too, happen'd in the dark,
Which show'd a want of lanterns, or of taste --
Indeed the smoke was such they scarce could mark
Their friends from foes, -- besides such things from haste
Occur, though rarely, when there is a spark
Of light to save the venerably chaste:
But six old damsels, each of seventy years,
Were all deflower'd by different grenadiers.

CXXXI
But on the whole their continence was great;
So that some disappointment there ensued
To those who had felt the inconvenient state
Of "single blessedness," and thought it good
(Since it was not their fault, but only fate,
To bear these crosses) for each waning prude
To make a Roman sort of Sabine wedding,
Without the expense and the suspense of bedding.

CXXXII
Some voices of the buxom middle-aged
Were also heard to wonder in the din
(Widows of forty were these birds long caged)
"Wherefore the ravishing did not begin!"
But while the thirst for gore and plunder raged,
There was small leisure for superfluous sin;
But whether they escaped or no, lies hid
In darkness -- I can only hope they did.

CXXXIII
Suwarrow now was conqueror -- a match
For Timour or for Zinghis in his trade.
While mosques and streets, beneath his eyes, like thatch
Blazed, and the cannon's roar was scarce allay'd,
With bloody hands he wrote his first despatch;
And here exactly follows what he said: --
"Glory to God and to the Empress!" (Powers
Eternal! such names mingled!) "Ismail's ours."

CXXXIV
Methinks these are the most tremendous words,
Since "Mene, Mene, Tekel," and "Upharsin,"
Which hands or pens have ever traced of swords.
Heaven help me! I'm but little of a parson:
What Daniel read was short-hand of the Lord's,
Severe, sublime; the prophet wrote no farce on
The fate of nations; -- but this Russ so witty
Could rhyme, like Nero, o'er a burning city.

CXXXV
He wrote this Polar melody, and set it,
Duly accompanied by shrieks and groans,
Which few will sing, I trust, but none forget it --
For I will teach, if possible, the stones
To rise against earth's tyrants. Never let it
Be said that we still truckle unto thrones; --
But ye -- our children's children! think how we
Show'd what things were before the world was free!

CXXXVI
That hour is not for us, but 't is for you:
And as, in the great joy of your millennium,
You hardly will believe such things were true
As now occur, I thought that I would pen you 'em;
But may their very memory perish too! --
Yet if perchance remember'd, still disdain you 'em
More than you scorn the savages of yore,
Who painted their bare limbs, but not with gore.

CXXXVII
And when you hear historians talk of thrones,
And those that sate upon them, let it be
As we now gaze upon the mammoth's bones,
"And wonder what old world such things could see,
Or hieroglyphics on Egyptian stones,
The pleasant riddles of futurity --
Guessing at what shall happily be hid,
As the real purpose of a pyramid.

CXXXVIII
Reader! I have kept my word, -- at least so far
As the first Canto promised. You have now
Had sketches of love, tempest, travel, war --
All very accurate, you must allow,
And epic, if plain truth should prove no bar;
For I have drawn much less with a long bow
Than my forerunners. Carelessly I sing,
But Phoebus lends me now and then a string,

CXXXIX
With which I still can harp, and carp, and fiddle.
What farther hath befallen or may befall
The hero of this grand poetic riddle,
I by and by may tell you, if at all:
But now I choose to break off in the middle,
Worn out with battering Ismail's stubborn wall,
While Juan is sent off with the despatch,
For which all Petersburgh is on the watch.

CXL
This special honour was conferr'd, because
He had behaved with courage and humanity --
Which last men like, when they have time to pause
From their ferocities produced by vanity.
His little captive gain'd him some applause
For saving her amidst the wild insanity
Of carnage, -- and I think he was more glad in her
Safety, than his new order of St. Vladimir.

CXLI
The Moslem orphan went with her protector,
For she was homeless, houseless, helpless; all
Her friends, like the sad family of Hector,
Had perish'd in the field or by the wall:
Her very place of birth was but a spectre
Of what it had been; there the Muezzin's cal
To prayer was heard no more! -- and Juan wept,
And made a vow to shield her, which he kept.

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Emily Dickinson

The Himmaleh was known to stoop

481

The Himmaleh was known to stoop
Unto the Daisy low—
Transported with Compassion
That such a Doll should grow
Where Tent by Tent—Her Universe
Hung out its Flags of Snow—

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When the creation was not there

When the creation was not there

The darkness stood before its own eyes

A signified without any signifier

And the void burst in loud cries

Unlocking the untold treasure

That silence held in her indeterminate purse

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The Wind was Rough which Tore

The wind was rough which tore
That leaf from its parent tree
The fate was cruel which bore
The withering corpse to me

We wander on we have no rest
It is a dreary way

What shadow is it
That ever moves before [my] eyes
It has a brow of ghostly whiteness

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The Poem Was Feelings / Somehow Beyond Words

The poem was feelings
Somehow beyond words-
But without words
It could not be a poem-

There was no poem
There were feelings that wanted to be a poem
And could not-

And there were poems elsewhere
That belonged to other worlds
To other writers and readers.

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As The Day Was Passing

The waves lapped gently to the shore
as a flotilla of sailboats rested
in corridors on the water
with their white sails stained crimson
by the setting sun
an evocative silence cloaked each and every one
as they nudged against their mooring
to each gentle wave that passed by.
A tourniquet of lovers
stood watching by the shore
as the day was passing
to be with us no more.


13 October 2009

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