Page images
PDF
EPUB

To the gallant three hundred whose glory

will never die • Follow,' and up the hill, up the hill, up

the hill, Follow'd the Heavy Brigade.

II

While squirrels from our fiery beech

Were bearing off the mast, You came, and look'd and loved the view

Long-known and loved by me, Green Sussex fading into blue

With one gray glimpse of sea;
And, gazing from this height alone,

We spoke of what had been
Most marvellous in the wars your own

Crimean eyes had seen;
And now - like old-world inns that take

Some warrior for a sign
That therewithin a guest may make

True cheer with honest wine -
Because you heard the lines I read

Nor utter'd word of blame,
I dare without your leave to head

These rhymings with your name,
Who know you but as one of those

I fain would meet again, Yet know you, as your England knows That you

and ali
Were soldiers to her heart's desire,

When, in the vanish'd year,
You saw the league-long rampart-fire

Flare from Tel-el-Kebir
Thro' darkness, and the foe was driven,

And Wolseley overthrew Arâbi, and the stars in heaven

Paled, and the glory grew.

The trumpet, the gallop, the charge, and

the might of the fight ! Thousands of horsemen had gather'd there

on the height, With a wing push'd out to the left and a

wing to the right, And who shall escape if they close ? but he

dash'd up alone Thro' the great gray slope of men, Sway'd his sabre, and held his own Like an Englishman there and then. All in a moment follow'd with force Three that were next in their fiery course, Wedged themselves in between horse and

horse, Fought for their lives in the narrow gap

they had madeFour amid thousands ! and up the hill, up

the hill, Gallopt the gallant three hundred, the

Heavy Brigade.

your men

III

THE CHARGE OF THE HEAVY

BRIGADE AT BALACLAVA

OCTOBER 25, 1854

1

The charge of the gallant three hundred,

the Heavy Brigade ! Down the hill, down the hill, thousands of

Russians, Thousands of horsemen, drew to the valley

- and stay'd; For Scarlett and Scarlett's three hundred

were riding by When the points of the Russian lancés

arose in the sky; And he call'd, · Left wheel into line !' and

they wheel’d and obey'd. Then he look'd at the host that had halted

he knew not why, And he turn'd half round, and he bade his

trumpeter sound To the charge, and he rode on ahead as he

waved his blade

Fell like a cannon-shot,
Burst like a thunderbolt,
Crash'd like a hurricane,
Broke thro' the mass from below,
Drove thro' the midst of the foe,
Plunged up and down, to and fro,
Rode flashing blow upon blow,
Brave Inniskillens and Greys
Whirling their sabres in circles of light !
And some of us, all in amaze,
Who were held for a while from the fight,
And were only standing at gaze,
When the dark-muffled Russian crowd
Folded its wings from the left and the

right, And roll’d them around like a cloud, 0, mad for the charge and the battle were

we, When our own good redcoats sank from

sight, Like drops of blood in a dark-gray sea, And we turn’d to each other, whispering,

all dismay'd, • Lost are the gallant three hundred of

Scarlett's Brigade !'

IV

POET.

V

• Lost one and all' were the words

Yet tho this cheek be gray, Mutter'd in our dismay;

And that bright hair the modern sun, But they rode like victors and lords

Those eyes the blue to-day, Thro' the forest of lances and swords You wrong me, passionate little friend. In the heart of the Russian hordes,

I would that wars should cease, They rode, or they stood at bay

I would the globe from end to end Struck with the sword-hand and slew,

Might sow and reap in peace, Down with the bridle-hand drew

And some new Spirit o'erbear the old, The foe from the saddle and threw

Or Trade re-frain the Powers Underfoot there in the fray

From war with kindly links of gold, Ranged like a storm or stood like a rock Or Love with wreaths of flowers. In the wave of a stormy day;

Slav, Teuton, Kelt, I count them all Till suddenly shock upon shock

My friends and brother souls, Stagger'd the mass from without,

With all the peoples, great and small, Drove it in wild disarray,

That wheel between the poles. For our men gallopt up with a cheer and But since our mortal shadow, Ill, a shout,

To waste this earth began And the foeman surged, and waver'd, and Perchance from some abuse of Will reel'd

In worlds before the man Up the hill, up the hill, up the hill, out of | Involving ours he needs must fight the field,

To make true peace his own, And over the brow and away.

He needs must combat might with might,

Or Might would rule alone;

And who loves war for war's own sake Glory to each and to all, and the charge Is fool, or crazed, or worse; that they made !

But let the patriot-soldier take Glory to all the three hundred, and all the His meed of fame in verse; Brigade !

Nay - tho' that realm were in the wrong

For which her warriors bleed, Note. — The three hundred’of the ' Heavy It still were right to crown with song Brigade' who made this famous charge were The warrior's noble deed the Scots Greys and the 2d squadron of Innis- A crown the Singer hopes may last, killens ; the remainder of the “Heavy Bri- For so the deed endures; gade' subsequently dashing up to their sup

But Song will vanish in the Vast; port.

And that large phrase of yours
The 'three' were Scarlett's aide-de-camp,
Elliot, and the trumpeter, and Shegog the

• A star among the stars,' my dear, orderly, who had been close behind him.

Is girlish talk at best;
For dare we dally with the sphere

As he did half in jest,

Old Horace ? •I will strike,' said he, EPILOGUE

• The stars with head sublime,' But scarce could see, as now we see,

The man in space and time,
Not this way will you set your name So drew perchance a happier lot
A star among the stars.

Than ours, who rhyme to-day.
The fires that arch this dusky dot

Yon myriad-worlded way
What way?

The vast sun-clusters' gather'd blaze,

World-isles in lonely skies,

Whole heavens within themselves, amaze You praise when you should blame Our brief humanities. The barbarism of wars.

And so does Earth; for Homer's fame, A juster epoch has begun.

Tho' carved in barder stone

IRENE.

POET.

IRENE.

The falling drop will make his name

As mortal as my own.

III

IRENE.

No!

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,

tilth and vineyard, hive and horse

and herd; All the charm of all the Muses

often flowering in a lonely word;

POET.

IV

Let it live then - ay, till when ?
Earth passes, all is lost
In what they prophesy, our wise men,

Sun-flame or sunless frost,
And deed and song alike are swept

Away, and all in vain
As far as man can see, except

The man himself remain;
And tho', in this lean age forlorn,

Too many a voice may cry
That man can have no after-morn,

Not yet of those am I.
The man remains, and whatsoe'er

He wrought of good or brave
Will mould him thro' the cycle-year

That dawns behind the grave.

Poet of the happy Tityrus

piping underneath his beechen bow

ers; Poet of the poet-satyr

whom the laughing shepherd bound

with flowers;

V

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying,

in the blissful years again to be, Summers of the snakeless meadow,

unlaborious earth and oarless sea;

And here the Singer for his art

Not all in vain may plead • The song that nerves a nation's heart

Is in itself a deed.'

VI Thou that seest Universal

Nature moved by Universal Mind; Thou majestic in thy sadness

at the doubtful doom of human

kind;

VII

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Then glided a vulturous beldam forth,

That on dumb death had thriven; They callid her •Reverence' here upon

earth, And “The Curse of the Prophet' in

heaven,

His wife and his child stood by him in

tears, But she — she push'd them aside.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »