« PreviousContinue »
СХ. That drinks and still is dry. At last they perish'd :
His second son was levell’d by a shot;
Of all the five, on bayonets met his lot;
Had been neglected, ill-used, and what not,
As great a scorner of the Nazarene
Who only saw the black-eyed girls in green,
On earth, in Paradise; and, when once seen,
In heaven, I know not, nor pretend to guess ;
To tough old heroes, and can do no less;
A field of battle's ghastly wilderness,
In lopping off your lately married men
And the sad second moon grows dim again,
To wish him back a bachelor now and then. . And thus your houri (it may be) disputes Of these brief blossoms the immediate fruits.
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,
As though there were one heaven and none besides,
That when the very lance was in his heart,
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 :
The good old khan—who long had ceased to see Houris, or aught except his florid race,
like cedars round him gloriously, When he beheld his latest hero grace
The earth, which he became like a fell'd tree,
Stopp'd as if once more willing to concede
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 And felt—though done with life-he was alone.
his children gone,
Upon the Russian steel his breast he flung,
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 blood-shot eyes, all red with strife, They honour'd such determined scorn of life.
Where the chief pacha calmly held his post :
And baffled the assaults of all their host;
If yet the city's rest were won or lost ;
Among the scorching ruins he sat smoking
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 puffd his pipe's ambrosial gales, As if he had three lives as well as tails.
Himself or bastion, little matter'd now :
Ismail 's no more! The crescent's silver bow
But red with no redeeming gore : the glow
All that the body perpetrates of bad ;
All that the devil would do if run stark mad;
All by which hell is peopled, or as sad
Was shown, and some more noble heart broke through Its bloody bond, and saved perhaps some pretty
Child, or an aged helpless man or two-
Where thousand loves, and ties, and duties grow?
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
your own in after times, 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 throneThough Ireland starve, great George weighs twenty stone.
There was an end of Ismail —hapless town!
And redly ran his blushing waters down.
Rose still; but fainter were the thunders grown :
one thing ne'ertheless 't is bt to praise
The Russian arny upon this occasion, A virtue much in fashion now-a-days,
And therefore worthy of commemoration :
Perhaps the season's chill, and their long station
Might here and there occur some violation
As when the French, that dissipated nation, Take towns by storm : no causes can
guess, Except cold weather and commiseration ; But all the ladies, save some twenty score, Were almost as much virgins as before.
Which show'd a want of lanthorns, or of taste
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.
So that some disappointment there ensued
Of "single blessedness," and thought it good (Since it was not their fault, but only fate,
To bear these crosses) for each waning prude
Were also heard to wonder in the din (Widows of forty were these birds long caged)
“Wherefore the ravishing did not begin!
There was small leisure for superfluous sin ;
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 dispatch ;
And here exactly follows what he said :
Glory to God and to the Empress !” (Powers Eternal! such names mingled!) “ Ismail 's ours !"
Since “Menė, Menė, Tekel," and “Upharsin,"
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.