Page images
PDF
EPUB

Or dost thou turn thine eye

XV. Where coming squadrons gleam afar,

Spur on thy way !-since now thine ear
And fresher thunders wake the war,

Has brook'd thy veterans' wish to hear,
And oth's standards fly?

Who, as thy flight they eyed,
Think not that in yon columns, file

Exclaim’d, -while tears of anguish came, Thy conquering troops from Distant Dyle Wrung forth by pride, and rage, and shame,Is Blucher yet unknown?

'O, that he had but died !!!!! Or dwells not in ihy memory still,

But yet, to sum this hour of ill, (Heard frequent in thine hour of ill,).

Look, ere thou leavest the fatal hill,
What notes of hate and vengeance thrill

Back on yon broken ranks-
In Prussia's trumpet-tone?--*

Upon whose wild confusion gleams
What yet remains ?-shall it be thine

The moon, as on the troubled streams
To head the relics of thy line

When rivers break their banks,
In one dread effort more ? -

And, to the ruin'd peasant's eye,
The Roman lore thy leisure loved, t

Objects half seen roll swiftly by,
And thou canst tell what fortune proved

Down the dread current hurl'd-
That Chieftain, who, of, yore,

So mingle banner, wain, and gun,
Ambition's dizzy paths essay'd,

Where the tumultuous flight rolls on
And with the gladiators' aid

Of warriors, who, when morn begun, T
For empire enterprised-1

Defied a banded world.
He stood the cast his rashness play'd,

XVI.
Left not the victims he had made,

List--frequent to the hurrying rout,
Dug his red grave with his own blade,
And on the field he lost was laid,

The stern pussners' vengeful shout
Abhorr'd-but not despised.s

Tells, that upon their broken rear
Rages the Prussian's bloody spear.

So fell a shriek was none,
XIV.

When Beresina's icy food
But if revolves thy fainter thought

Redden'd and thaw'd with flame and blood, ** On safety--howsoever bought,

And, pressing on thy desperate way, Then turn thy fearful rein and ride,

Raised oft and long their wild hurra,
Though twice ten thousand men have died

The children of the Don.
On this eventful day,

Thine ear no yell of horror cleft
To gild the military fame

So ominous, when, all bereft
Which thou, for life, in traffic tame

Of aid, the valiant Polack left-tt
Wilt barter thus away:

Ay, left by thee-found soldier's graveit
Shall future ages tell this tale

In Leipsic's corpse-encumber'd wave. of inconsistence faint and trail?

Fate, in those various perils past, And art thou He of Lodi's bridge,

Reserved thee still some future cast;
Marengo's field, and Wagram's ridge ?

On the dread die thou now hast thrown,
Or is thy soul like mountain-tide,

Hangs not a single field alone,
That, swell’d by winter storm and shower

Nor one campaign-thy martial fame,
Rolls down in turbulence of power,

Thy empire, dynasty, and name,
A torrent fierce and wide;

Have felt the final stroke;
Reft of these aids, a rill obscure,

And now, o'er thy devoted head
Shrinking unnoticed, mean and poor,

The last stern vial's wrath is shed,
Whose channel shows display'd

The las: dread seal is broke.
The wrecks of its impetuous course,

XVII.
But not one symptom of the force

Since live thou wilt-refuse not now
By which these wrecks were made !

Before these demagogues to bow, of them, although the French author, already quoted, has put into even they, though they fell a little out of their ranks, were all their mouths the magnanimous sentiment, "The Guards never wounded before. Catiline himself was found, far from his ONE yield--they die" The same author has covered the plateau, or men, amidst the dead bodies of the enemy. breathing a little, with eminence, of St. Jean, which formed the British position, with an air of that fierceness still in his face which he had when alive redoubts and intrenchments which never had an existence. As Finally, in all his army, there was not so much as ope free citite the narrative which is in many respects curious, was written by taken prisoner, either in the engagement or in fight; for thes an eyewitness, he was probably deceived by the appearance of a spared their own lives as little as those of the enemy. The amy road and ditch which run along part of the bill. It may be also of the republic obtained the victory, indeed, but it was neither a mentioned, in criticising this work, that the writer mentions the cheap nor a joyful one, for their bravest men were either slam 10 Chateau of Hougomont to have been carried by the French, al battle or dangerously wou nded As there were many, 100, who though it was resolutely and successfully dr.tended during the went to view the field, either out of curiosity or a desire of plunder, whule action. The enemy, indeed, possessed themselves of the in turning over the dead bodies, some found a frierd, some a rewood by which it is surrounded, and at length set tire to the house lation, and some a guest ; others there were likewise who die itself; but the British (a detachment of the Guards, under the covered their enemies ; so that, through the whole army, there commund of Colonel Macdonnell, and afterwards of Colonel appeared a mixture of gladness and sorrow, joy and mourning. Home) made good the garden, and thus preserved, by their despe. -SALLUST) rate resistance, the post which covered the return of the Duke of $ (The MS. adds, Wellington's right flank.

"That pang survived, refuse not then . (MS.-" Or can thy memory fail to quote,

To humble thee before the men,
Heard to thy cost, the vengeful note

Late objects of thy scorn and hate,
Of Prussia's trumpet tone.'']

Who shall thy once-imperial fute + [" We observe a certain degree of similitude in some pagsages

Make wordy theine ot vain debate, of Mr. Scott's present work, to the compositions of Lord Byron,

And chaffer for thy crown and particularly his Lordship's Ode to Bonaparte ; and we think

As usurers wont, who suck the all thut whoever peruses · The Field of Waterloo,' with that Ode in

of the fool-hardy prodigal, his recollection, will be struck with this new resemblance. We

When on the giddy dice's fall allude principally to such passages as that which begins

His latest hope has flown. * The Roman lore thy leisure loved,' &c.

But yet, to sum," &c.) and to such lines an,

1 (MS.--"Where in one tide of terror run.
Now, see'st thou aught in this loved scene,

The warriors that, when mom begun.")
Can tell of that which late hath been ?'

(MS.-"So ominous a shriek was none,

Not even when Beresina's flood • So deem'st thou--so each mortal deems,

Was thaw'd by streams of iepid blood.") of that which is, from that which seems ;'

** (For an account of the death of Poniatowski at Leipsie, se lines, by the way, of which we cannot express any very gruat ad. Sir Walter Scott's Life of Bonaparte.] miration. This sort of influence, however, over even the principal ++ (MS.-" Not such were heard, when, all bereft writers of the day, (whether they are conscious of the influence or

of aid, the valiant Polack leftnot,) is one of the surest tests of genius, and one of the proudest

Ay, lett by thee-found gallant grave.") wibutes which it receives." - Monthly Review)

11 ("1, who with faith unshaken from the first, !1" When the engagement was ended, it evidently appeared Even when the tyrant seem'd to touch the skies, with what undaunted spirit and resolution Catiline's army bad Had look'd to see the high blown bubble burst, becn fired; for the body of every one was found on that very spot And for a fall conspicuous as his rise, which, during the battle, he had occupied ; those only excepted Even in that faith had look'd not for de feat who were forced from their posts by the Prætorian cobort; and So swift, so overwhelming, so complete."--SOCTHEY.

Late objects of thy scorn and hate,

For ne'er was field so sternly fought, Who shall thy once imperial fate

And ne'er was conquest dearer bought Make wordy theme of vain debate.

Here piled in common slaughter sleep Or shall we say, thou stoop'st less low

Those whom affection long shall weep : In seeking refuge from the foe,

Here rests the sire, that ne'er shall strain Against whose heart, in prosperous life,

His orphans to his heart again ;,
Thine hand hath ever held the knife?

The son, whom, on his native shore,
Such homage bath been paid

The parent's voice shall bless no more;
By Roman and by Grecian voice,

The bridegroom, who has hardly press'd
And there were honour in the choice,

His blushing consort to his breast ;
If it were freely made.

The husband, whom through many a year
Then safely come in one so low,-

Long love and mutual faith endear. So lost, --we cannot own a foe;

Thou canst not name one tender tie, Though dear experience bid us end,

But here dissolved its relics lie! In thee we ne'er can hail a friend.

O! when thou see'st some mourner's veil Come, howsoe'er-but do not hide

Shroud her thin form and visage pale, Close in thy heart that germ of pride,

Or mark'st the Matron's bursting tears Erewhile, by gifted bard espied, *

Stream when the stricken drum she hears : That "yet imperial hope;"!

Or see'st how manlier grief, suppress'd, Think not that for a fresh rebound,

Is labouring in a father's breast, -
To raise ambition from the ground,

With no inquiry vain pursue
We yield thee means or scope.

The cause, but think on Waterloo !
In safety come-but ne'er again
Hold type of independent reign;

XXI.
No islet calls thee lord,

Period of honour as of woes,
We leave thee no confederate band,

What bright careers 'twas thine to close ! No symbol of thy lost command,

Mark'd on thy roll of blood what names
To be a dagger in the hand

To Britain's memory, and to Fame's,
From which we wrench'd the sword.

Laid there their last immortal claims !

Thou saw'st in seas of gore expire
XVIII.

Redoubted Picton's soul of fire-
Yet, even in yon sequester'd spot,

Saw'st in the mingled carnage lie
May worthier conquest be thy lot

All that of Ponsonby could die-
Than yet thy life has known;

De LANCEY change Love's bridal-wreath,
Conquest, unbought by blood or harm,

For laurels from the hand of Death-11
That needs nor foreign aid nor arm,
A triumph all thine own.

Saw'st gallant Miller's failing eye

Still bent where Albion's banners fly,
Such waits thee when thou shalt control

And CAMERON, ** in the shock of steel,
Those passions wild, that stubborn soul,
That marr'd thy prosperous scene :-

Die like the offspring of Lochiel ;
Hear this—from no unmoved heart,

And generous Gordon,tt mid the strife,

Fall while he watch'd his leader's life. -
Which sighs, comparing what THOU ART
With what thou might'ST HAVE BEEN !"

Ah! though her guardian angel's shield

Fenced Britain's hero through the field,
XIX.

Fate not the less her power made known,
Thou, too, whose deeds of fame renewd

Through his friends' hearts to pierce his own! Bankrupt a nation's gratitude, To thine own noble heart must owe

XXII More than the meed she can bestow.

Forgive, brave Dead, the imperfect lay! For not a people's just acclaim,

Who may your names, your numbers, say? Not the full hail of Europe's fame,

What high-strung harp, what lofty line, Thy prince's smiles, thy state's decree,

To each the dear-earn'd praise assign, The ducal rank, the garter'd knee,

From high-born chiefs of martial fame Not these such pure delight afford

To the poor soldier's lowlier name? As that, when hanging up thy sword,

Lightly ye rose that dawning day, Well mayst thou think, "This honest steel

From your cold couch of swamp and clay, Was ever drawn for public weal;

To fill, before the sun was low, And, such was rightful Heaven's decree,

The bed that morning cannot know.Ne'er sheathed unless with victory!"

Oft may the tear the green sod steep,

And sacred be the heroes' sleep,
XX.
Look forth, once more, with soften'd heart,

Till time shall cease to run;
Ere from the field of fame we part;S

And ne'er beside their noble grave, Triumph and Sorrow border near,

May Britain pass and fail to crave And joy oft melts into a tear.

A blessing on the fallen brave Alas! what links of love that morn

Who fought with Wellington ! Has War's rude hand asunder torn!

$("We left the field of battle in such mood

As human hearts from thence should bear away, (MS -“but do not hide

And musing thus, our purposed route pursued,
Once more that secret germ of pride,

Which still through scenes of recent bloodshed lay.
Which erst yon gifted bard espied."|

Where Prussia late, with strong and storn delight, "1" The Desolator desolate!

llung on her fated foes to persecute their flight.". The Victor overthrown!

SOUTHEY.] The Arbiter of others' fate

(The Poet's friend, Colonel Sir William De Lancey, married A Suppliant for his own!

the beautiful daughter of Sir James Hall, Bart., in April, 1815, ls it some yet imperial hope,

and received his mortal wound on ihe 18th of June. See Captain That with such change can calmly cope ?

B. Hall's affecting narrative in the first series of his " Fragments Or dread of death alone?

of Voyages and Travels," vol. ji. p. 369.) To die a prince-or live a slave

1 (Colonel Miller, of the Guards-son to Sir Wm. Miller, Lord Thy choice is most ignobly brave!"

Glenlee. When mortally wounded in the attack on the Bois de : [" Tis done--but yesterday a King! BYRON'S Ode to Napoleon.) Bossu, he desired to see the colours of the regiment once more ero

he died. They were waved over his head, and the expiring officer And arm'd with King to strive

declared himself satisfied.) And now thou art a nameless thing i

* "* Colonel Cameron, of Fassiefern, so often distinguished in Is this the man of thousand thrones,

Lord Wellington's despatches from Spain, fell in the action at

Quatre Bras, (16th June, 1813.) while leading the 92d, or Gordon Who strew'd our earth with hostile bones,

Highlanders, to charge a body of cavalry, supported by infantry.'
And can he thus survive ?

-Paul's Letters, vol. vi.)
Since he, miscalled the Morning Star,
När man nor fiend hath fallen go far."

#1 (Colonel the Honourable Sir Alexander Gordon, brother to

the Earl of Aberdeen, who has erected a pillar on the spot where BYRON'S Ode to Napoleon.) he fell by the side of the Duke of Wellington.)

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

So abject-yet alive!

[ocr errors]

XXIII.

Such unexpected bursts of joy and wo, Farewell, sad Field! whose blighted face

Such fearful strife as that where we have striven Wears desolation's withering trace ;

Succeeding ages ne'er again shall know, Long shall my memory retain

Until the awful term when Thou shall cease to flow. Thy shatter'd'huts and trampled grain, With every mark of martial wrong,

Well hast thou stood, my Country!-the brave That scathe thy towers, fair Hougomont!*

fight Yet though thy garden's green arcade

Hast well maintain'd through good report and ill; The marksman's fatal post was made,

In thy just cause and in thy native might, Though on thy shatter'd beeches fell

And in heaven's grace and justice constant still; The blended rage of shot and shell,

Whether the banded prowess, strength, and skill Though from thy blacken'd portals torn,

Or half the world against tliee stood array'd, Their fall thy blighted fruit-trees mourn,

Or when, with better views and freer will, Has not such havoc bought a name

Beside thee Europe's noblest drew the blade,
Inmortal in the rolls of fame?

Each emulous in arms the Ocean Queen to aid.
Yes-Agincourt may be forgot,
And Cressy be an unknown spot,

Well art thou now repaid-though slowly rose,
And Blenheim's name be new;

And struggled long with mists thy blaze of fame, But still in story and in song,

While like the dawn that in the orieni glows For many an age remember'd long,

On the broad wave its earlier lustre came;t
Shall live the towers of Hougomont,

Then eastern Egypt saw the growing fame,
And field of Waterloo.

And Maida's myrtles gleam'd beneath its ray,
Where first the soldier, stung with generous shame

Rivali'd the heroes of the wat'ry way,
CONCLUSION.

And wash'd in foeman's gore unjust reproach away. Stern tide of human Time! that know'st not

Now, Island Empress, wave thy crest on high, rest, But, sweeping from the cradle to the tomb,

And bid the banner of thy Patron flow, Bear'st ever downward on thy dusky breast

Gallant Saint George, the flower of Chivalry,

For thou hast faced, like him, a dragon foe,
Successive generations to their doom;
While thy capacious stream has equal room

And rescued innocence from overthrow,
For the gay bark where Pleasure's streamers

And trampled down, like him, tyrannic might, sport,

And to the gazing world mayst proudly show And for the prison-ship of guilt and gloom,

The chosen emblem of thy sainted Knight, The fisher-skiff, and barge that bears a court,

Who quellid devouring pride, and vindicated right. Still wafting onward all to one dark silent port;

Yet mid the confidence of just renown, Stern tide of Time! through what mysterious

Renown dear-bought, but dearest thus acquired, change

Write, Britain, write the moral lesson down: Of hope and fear have our frail barks been driven!

'Tis not alone the heart with valour fired, For ne'er, before, vicissitude so strange

The discipline so dreaded and admired, Was to one race of Adam's offspring given,

In many a field of bloody conquest known; And sure such varied change of sea and heaven,

Such may by fame be lured, by gold be hired

'Tis constancy in the good cause alone, * (“Peyond these points the fight extended not,

Best justifies the meed thy valiant sons have won. Small theatre for such a tragedy ! Its breadth scarce more, from eastern Popelot To where the groves of Hougomont on high

Mr. Southey adds, in a note on these verses : So important a

battle, perhaps, was never before fought within so small an extent Rear in the west their venerable head,

of ground. I computed the distance between Hougomont and And cover with their shade the countless dead.

Popelot at three miles; in a straight line it might probably not er "But wouldst thou tread this celebrated ground,

ceed two and a half. And trace with understanding eyes a scene

“Our guide was very much displeased at the name which the Above all other fields of war renown'd.

battle had obtained in England, -'Why call it the battle of Water From western Hougomont thy way begin ;

loo?' he said, -'Call it Hougomont, call it La Haye Sainte, call it There was our strength on that side, and there first,

Popelot, -any thing but Waterloo.'"--Pugrimage to Waterloo.) In all its force, the storm of battle burst."-SOUTHBY.) † (MS.-"On the broad ocean first its lustre came."]

[ocr errors][merged small]

SONGS AND MISCELL A NIES.

« PreviousContinue »