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BYRON.-Born, 1788; Died, 1824. George Gordon, Lord Byron, was one of the greatest English poets of modern times. Badly brought up, his mind was unfortunately warped and morbid in its pride and sensitiveness, and an unhappy marriage still further affected him for evil. There is much in his poems to regret, but very much to admire. Perhaps had he lived longer he would have atoned for the perversities and evils of his
“ Childe Harold” and many other poems are, notwithstanding, a glorious legacy to the world.
THE NIGHT BEFORE WATERLO0.1
And all went merry as a marriage bell :-
Did ye not hear it? No; 'twas but the wind,
1 Waterloo, fought on Sunday,
June 18, 1815, between the English and their allies, under Wellington, and the French under N&
poleon. 2 revelry, festivity. The Duchess
of Richmond gave a grand ball
dance invites them, there is no thought of sleep till morning.
But hark! that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat,
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before ! Arm! arm! It is—it is—the cannon's opening roar!
Within a window'd niche of that high hall
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell; He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell !8
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
If evermore should meet those mutual eyes,
And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
6 The Duke of Brunswick.
battle of Jena, in 1807.
8 He was killed at Quatre Bras, imme
diately before Waterloo.
And near, the beat of the alarming drum,
the soldier ere the morning star; While throng'd the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering, with white lips—“ The foe! they come,
they come !"
And wild and high the “ Cameron's gathering ”9 rose !
The stirring memory of a thousand years;
And Ardennes13 waves above them her green leaves,
Of living valour, rolling on the foe
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
9 Cameron's gathering. High
land war tune. 10 Lochiel was the title of the chief of the clan Cameron.
yn is an old name for Scotland.
12 The English.
reaches or reached from the north-
The midnight brought the signal sound of strife,
Which her own clay shall cover-heap'd and pent, Rider and horse-friend, foe-in one red burial blent !
'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down
Over the waste of waters; like a veil,
Of one whose hate is masked but to assail.
And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale,
And all things, for a chance, had been cast loose, That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,
For yet they strove, although of no great use; There was no light in heaven but a few stars ;
The boats put off, o'ercrowded with their crews; She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port, And going down head foremost-sunk, in short. Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave
The stanzas that follow
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave;
And down she sucked with her the whirling wave,
Louder than the loud ocean-like a crash
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
[Some of the sailors had got off in an open boat.
And with them their two sons, of whom the one Was more robust and hardy to the view;
But he died early; and when he was gone, His nearest messmate told his sire, who threw
One glance on him, and said : “Heaven's will be done ! I can do nothing;” and he saw him thrown Into the deep without a tear or groan. The other father had a weaklier child,
Of a soft cheek, and aspect delicate; But the boy bore up long, and with a mild
And patient spirit held aloof his fate; Little he said, and now and then he smiled,
As if to win a part from off the weight