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To paint a siege, wherein more men were slain,
Than in thy Greek gazette of that campaign ; And yet, like all men else, I must allow,
To vie with thee would be about as vain As for a brook to cope with ocean's flood; But still we moderns equal you in blood
And fact is truth, the grand desideratum!
There should be, ne’ertheless, a slight substratum.
Great deeds are doing—how shall I relate 'em ?
LXXXII. Oh, ye great bulletins of Bonaparte !
Oh, ye less grand long lists of kill'd and wounded ! Shade of Leonidas ! who fought so hearty,
When my poor Greece was once, as now, surrounded! Oh, Cæsar's Commentaries ! now impart ye,
Shadows of glory! (lest I be confounded)
every year, And almost every day, in sad reality,
Some sucking hero is compell’d to rear, 'Who, when we come to sum up the totality
Of deeds to human happiness most dear,
Are things immortal to immortal man,
An uniform to boys is like a fan
But deems himself the first in glory's van.
would find What that is—ask the pig who sees the wind !
Because he runs before it like a pig;
Say that he scuds before it like a brig,
This canto, ere my Muse perceives fatigue.
The hum of armies gathering rank on rank!
Along the leaguer'd wall and bristling bank Of the arm'd river, while with straggling light
The stars peep through the vapourş dim and dank, Which curl in curious wreaths-How soon the smoke Of hell shall pall them in a deeper cloak !
That awful pause, dividing life from death,
Thousands of whom were drawing their last breath ! A moment—and all will be life again!
The march! the charge ! the shouts of either faith! Hurra! and Allah ! and—one moment moreThe death-cry drowning in the battle's roar.
NOTE TO CANTO VII.
Was teaching his recruits to use the bayonet.
Fact: Souvaroff did this in person.
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,
To wield them in their terrible array.
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.
But could we know them in detail, perchance,
War's merit it by no means might enhance,
As hath been done, mere conquest to advance.
Whereas the other, after all its glare,
Which (it may be) has not much left to spare-
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.
Not so Leonidas and Washington,
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 watch-word, till the future shall be free,
Nought to be seen save the artillery's flame,
And in the Danube's waters shone the same,
Long booming of each peal on peal, o'ercame
Beyond the Russian batteries a few toises,
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 ;
In the same moment, loud as even the roar
Hurling defiance : city, stream, and shore Resounded “Allah !" and the clouds which close
With thick’ning canopy the conflict o'er,
But of the portion which attack'd by water,
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.