The World's Best Poetry, Volume 8
Author: Various
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[Footnote A: Fremont's proclamation of martial law in Missouri, in August, 1861, declaring free all slaves of Rebels, was received with ardor by the North, but annulled by President Lincoln as premature.]

Thy error, Fremont, simply was to act A brave man's part, without the statesman's tact, And, taking counsel but of common sense, To strike at cause as well as consequence. O, never yet since Roland wound his horn At Roncesvalles has a blast been blown Far-heard, wide-echoed, startling as thine own, Heard from the van of freedom's hope forlorn! It had been safer, doubtless, for the time, To flatter treason, and avoid offence To that Dark Power whose underlying crime Heaves upward its perpetual turbulence. But, if thine be the fate of all who break The ground for truth's seed, or forerun their years Till lost in distance, or with stout hearts make A lane for freedom through the level spears, Still take thou courage! God has spoken through thee, Irrevocable, the mighty words, Be free! The land shakes with them, and the slave's dull ear Turns from the rice-swamp stealthily to hear. Who would recall them now must first arrest The winds that blow down from the free North-west, Ruffling the Gulf; or like a scroll roll back The Mississippi to its upper springs. Such words fulfil their prophecy, and lack But the full time to harden into things.


* * * * *


The winds that once the Argo bore Have died by Neptune's ruined shrines, And her hull is the drift of the deep-sea floor, Though shaped of Pelion's tallest pines. You may seek her crew on every isle Fair in the foam of AEgean seas, But out of their rest no charm can wile Jason and Orpheus and Hercules.

And Priam's wail is heard no more By windy Ilion's sea-built walls; Nor great Achilles, stained with gore, Shouts "O ye gods, 'tis Hector falls!" On Ida's mount is the shining snow, But Jove has gone from its brow away; And red on the plain the poppies grow Where the Greek and the Trojan fought that day.

Mother Earth, are the heroes dead? Do they thrill the soul of the years no more? Are the gleaming snows and the poppies red All that is left of the brave of yore? Are there none to fight as Theseus fought, Far in the young world's misty dawn? Or teach as gray-haired Nestor taught? Mother Earth, are the heroes gone?

Gone? In a grander form they rise. Dead? We may clasp their hands in ours, And catch the light of their clearer eyes, And wreathe their brows with immortal flowers. Wherever a noble deed is done, 'Tis the pulse of a hero's heart is stirred; Wherever Right has a triumph won, There are the heroes' voices heard. Their armor rings on a fairer field Than the Greek and the Trojan fiercely trod; For Freedom's sword is the blade they wield, And the gleam above is the smile of God. So, in his isle of calm delight, Jason may sleep the years away; For the heroes live, and the sky is bright, And the world is a braver world to-day.


* * * * *


[On hearing the bells ring on the passage of the Constitutional Amendment abolishing slavery.]

It is done! Clang of bell and roar of gun Send the tidings up and down. How the belfries rock and reel! How the great guns, peal on peal, Fling the joy from town to town!

Ring, O bells! Every stroke exulting tells Of the burial hour of crime. Loud and long, that all may hear, Ring for every listening ear Of Eternity and Time!

Let us kneel: God's own voice is in that peal, And this spot is holy ground. Lord, forgive us! What are we, That our eyes this glory see, That our ears have heard the sound!

For the Lord On the whirlwind is abroad; In the earthquake he has spoken; He has smitten with his thunder The iron walls asunder, And the gates of brass are broken!

Loud and long Lift the old exulting song; Sing with Miriam by the sea: He has cast the mighty down; Horse and rider sink and drown; He has triumphed gloriously!

Did we dare, In our agony of prayer, Ask for more than He has done? When was ever his right hand Over any time or land Stretched as now beneath the sun?

How they pale, Ancient myth and song and tale, In this wonder of our days, When the cruel rod of war Blossoms white with righteous law, And the wrath of man is praise!

Blotted out! All within and all about Shall a fresher life begin; Freer breathe the universe As it rolls its heavy curse On the dead and buried sin.

It is done! In the circuit of the sun Shall the sound thereof go forth. It shall bid the sad rejoice, It shall give the dumb a voice, It shall belt with joy the earth!

Ring and swing, Bells of joy! On morning's wing Send the song of praise abroad! With a sound of broken chains, Tell the nations that He reigns, Who alone is Lord and God!


* * * * *


Let Liberty run onward with the years, And circle with the seasons; let her break The tyrant's harshness, the oppressor's spears; Bring ripened recompenses that shall make Supreme amends for sorrow's long arrears; Drop holy benison on hearts that ache; Put clearer radiance into human eyes, And set the glad earth singing to the skies.

Clean natures coin pure statutes. Let us cleanse The hearts that beat within us; let us mow Clear to the roots our falseness and pretence, Tread down our rank ambitions, overthrow Our braggart moods of puffed self-consequence, Plough up our hideous thistles which do grow Faster than maize in May time, and strike dead The base infections our low greeds have bred.


* * * * *



* * * * *




Now went forth the morn, Such as in highest heaven, arrayed in gold Empyreal; from before her vanished night, Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain Covered with thick embattled squadrons bright, Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.

* * * * *

The apostate in his sun-bright chariot sat, Idol of majesty divine, enclosed With flaming cherubim, and golden shields; Then lighted from his gorgeous throne, for now 'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left, A dreadful interval, and front to front Presented stood in terrible array Of hideous length: before the cloudy van, On the rough edge of battle ere it joined, Satan, with vast and haughty strides advanced, Came towering, armed in adamant and gold.


Michael bid sound The archangel trumpet; through the vast of heaven It sounded, and the faithful armies rung Hosanna to the Highest: nor stood at gaze The adverse legions, nor less hideous joined The horrid shock. Now storming fury rose, And clamor, such as heard in heaven till now Was never; arms on armor clashing brayed Horrible discord, and the madding wheels Of brazen chariots raged; dire was the noise Of conflict; overhead the dismal hiss Of fiery darts in flaming volleys flew, And flying vaulted either host with fire. So under fiery cope together rushed Both battles main, with ruinous assault And inextinguishable rage. All heaven Resounded; and had earth been then, all earth Had to her centre shook.

* * * * *

Deeds of eternal fame Were done, but infinite: for wide was spread That war, and various: sometimes on firm ground A standing fight, then, soaring on main wing, Tormented all the air; all air seemed then Conflicting fire.

* * * * *

Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power Which God hath in his mighty angels placed!) Their arms away threw, and to the hills (For earth hath this variety from heaven, Of pleasures situate in hill and dale), Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew, From their foundations loosening to and fro, They plucked the seated hills, with all their load, Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops Uplifting bore them in their hands: amaze, Be sure, and terror, seized the rebel host, When coming towards them so dread they saw The bottom of the mountains upward turned, . . . . and on their heads Main promontories flung, which in the air Came shadowing, and oppressed whole legions armed; Their armor helped their harm, crushed in and bruised Into their substance pent, which wrought them pain Implacable, and many a dolorous groan; Long struggling underneath, ere they could wind Out of such prison, though spirits of purest light, Purest at first, now gross by sinning grown. The rest, in imitation, to like arms Betook them, and the neighboring hills uptore: So hills amid the air encountered hills, Hurled to and fro with jaculation dire, That underground they fought in dismal shade; Infernal noise! war seemed a civil game To this uproar; horrid confusion heaped Upon confusion rose.


So spake the Son, and into terror changed His countenance too severe to be beheld, And full of wrath bent on his enemies. At once the four spread out their starry wings With dreadful shade contiguous, and the orbs Of his fierce chariot rolled, as with the sound Of torrent floods, or of a numerous host. He on his impious foes right onward drove, Gloomy as night: under his burning wheels The steadfast empyrean shook throughout. All but the throne itself of God. Full soon Among them he arrived; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in their souls infixed Plagues: they, astonished, all resistance lost, All courage; down their idle weapons dropt; O'er shields, and helms, and helmed heads he rode Of thrones and mighty seraphim prostrate, That wished the mountains now might be again Thrown on them, as a shelter from his ire. Nor less on either side tempestuous fell His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels Distinct alike with multitude of eyes; One spirit in them ruled; and every eye Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire Among the accursed, that withered all their strength, And of their wonted vigor left them drained, Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen. Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked His thunder in mid volley; for he meant Not to destroy, but root them out of heaven: The overthrown he raised, and as a herd Of goats or timorous flock together thronged, Drove them before him thunderstruck, pursued With terrors and with furies, to the bounds And crystal wall of heaven; which, opening wide, Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed Into the wasteful deep: the monstrous sight Struck them with horror backward, but far worse Urged them behind: headlong themselves they threw Down from the verge of heaven; eternal wrath Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.


* * * * *



The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green, That host with their banners at sunset were seen: Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown, That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride: And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale. With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail; And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal; And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!


* * * * *



TAMBURLAINE.—But now, my boys, leave off and list to me, That mean to teach you rudiments of war: I'll have you learn to sleep upon the ground, March in your armor through watery fens, Sustain the scorching heat and freezing cold, Hunger and thirst, right adjuncts of the war, And after this to scale a castle wall, Besiege a fort, to undermine a town, And make whole cities caper in the air. Then next the way to fortify your men: In champion grounds, what figure serves you best, For which the quinque-angle form is meet, Because the corners there may fall more flat Whereas the fort may fittest be assailed, And sharpest where the assault is desperate. The ditches must be deep; the counterscarps Narrow and steep; the walls made high and broad; The bulwarks and the rampires large and strong, With cavalieros and thick counterforts, And room within to lodge six thousand men. It must have privy ditches, countermines, And secret issuings to defend the ditch; It must have high argins and covered ways, To keep the bulwark fronts from battery, And parapets to hide the musketers; Casemates to place the great artillery; And store of ordnance, that from every flank May scour the outward curtains of the fort, Dismount the cannon of the adverse part, Murder the foe, and save the walls from breach. When this is learned for service on the land, By plain and easy demonstration I'll teach you how to make the water mount, That you may dry-foot march through lakes and pools, Deep rivers, havens, creeks, and little seas, And make a fortress in the raging waves, Fenced with the concave of monstrous rock, Invincible by nature of the place. When this is done then are ye soldiers, And worthy sons of Tamburlaine the Great.

CALYPHAS.—My lord, but this is dangerous to be done: We may be slain or wounded ere we learn.

TAMBURLAINE.—Villain! Art thou the son of Tamburlaine, And fear'st to die, or with a curtle-axe To hew thy flesh, and make a gaping wound? Hast thou beheld a peal of ordnance strike A ring of pikes, mingled with shot and horse, Whose shattered limbs, being tossed as high as Heaven, Hang in the air as thick as sunny motes, And canst thou, coward, stand in fear of death? Hast thou not seen my horsemen charge the foe, Shot through the arms, cut overthwart the hands, Dyeing their lances with their streaming blood, And yet at night carouse within my tent, Filling their empty veins with airy wine, That, being concocted, turns to crimson blood.— And wilt thou shun the field for fear of wounds? View me, thy father, that hath conquered kings, And with his horse marched round about the earth Quite void of scars and clear from any wound, That by the wars lost not a drop of blood,— And see him lance his flesh to teach you all. (He cuts his arm.) A wound is nothing, be it ne'er so deep; Blood is the god of war's rich livery, Now look I like a soldier, and this wound As great a grace and majesty to me, As if a chain of gold, enamelled, Enchased with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, And fairest pearl of wealthy India, Were mounted here under a canopy, And I sate down clothed with a massy robe, That late adorned the Afric potentate, Whom I brought bound unto Damascus' walls. Come, boys, and with your fingers search my wound, And in my blood wash all your hands at once, While I sit smiling to behold the sight. Now, my boys, what think ye of a wound?

CALYPHAS.—I know not what I should think of it; methinks it is a pitiful sight.

CELEBINUS.—'Tis nothing: give me a wound, father.

AMYRAS.—And me another, my lord.

TAMBURLAINE.—Come, sirrah, give me your arm.

CELEBINUS.—Here, father, cut it bravely, as you did your own.

TAMBURLAINE.—It shall suffice thou darest abide a wound: My boy, thou shalt not lose a drop of blood Before we meet the army of the Turk; But then run desperate through the thickest throngs, Dreadless of blows, of bloody wounds, and death; And let the burning of Larissa-walls, My speech of war, and this my wound you see, Teach you, my boys, to bear courageous minds, Fit for the followers of great Tamburlaine!


* * * * *



Sound all to arms! (A flourish of trumpets.) Call in the captains,— (To an officer) I would speak with them!

(The officer goes.)

Now, Hope! away,—and welcome gallant Death! Welcome the clanging shield, the trumpet's yell,— Welcome the fever of the mounting blood, That makes wounds light, and battle's crimson toil Seem but a sport,—and welcome the cold bed, Where soldiers with their upturned faces lie,— And welcome wolf's and vulture's hungry throats, That make their sepulchres! We fight to-night.

(The soldiery enter.)

Centurions! all is ruined! I disdain To hide the truth from you. The die is thrown! And now, let each that wishes for long life Put up his sword, and kneel for peace to Rome. Ye all are free to go. What! no man stirs! Not one! a soldier's spirit in you all? Give me your hands! (This moisture in my eyes Is womanish,—'twill pass.) My noble hearts! Well have you chosen to die! For, in my mind, The grave is better than o'erburdened life; Better the quick release of glorious wounds, Than the eternal taunts of galling tongues; Better the spear-head quivering in the heart, Than daily struggle against fortune's curse; Better, in manhood's muscle and high blood, To leap the gulf, than totter to its edge In poverty, dull pain, and base decay. Once more, I say,—are ye resolved?

(The soldiers shout, "All! All!")

Then, each man to his tent, and take the arms That he would love to die in,—for, this hour, We storm the Consul's camp. A last farewell!

(He takes their hands.)

When next we meet,—we'll have no time to look, How parting clouds a soldier's countenance. Few as we are, we'll rouse them with a peal That shall shake Rome! Now to your cohorts' heads;—the word's—Revenge!


* * * * *


Before proud Rome's imperial throne In mind's unconquered mood, As if the triumph were his own, The dauntless captive stood. None, to have seen his free-born air, Had fancied him a captive there.

Though, through the crowded streets of Rome, With slow and stately tread, Far from his own loved island home, That day in triumph led,— Unbound his head, unbent his knee, Undimmed his eye, his aspect free.

A free and fearless glance he cast On temple, arch, and tower, By which the long procession passed Of Rome's victorious power; And somewhat of a scornful smile Upcurled his haughty lip the while.

And now he stood, with brow serene, Where slaves might prostrate fall, Bearing a Briton's manly mien In Caesar's palace hall; Claiming, with kindled brow and cheek, The liberty e'en there to speak.

Nor could Rome's haughty lord withstand The claim that look preferred, But motioned with uplifted hand The suppliant should be heard,— If he indeed a suppliant were Whose glance demanded audience there.

Deep stillness fell on all the crowd, From Claudius on his throne Down to the meanest slave that bowed At his imperial throne; Silent his fellow-captive's grief As fearless spoke the Island Chief:

"Think not, thou eagle Lord of Rome, And master of the world, Though victory's banner o'er thy dome In triumph now is furled, I would address thee as thy slave, But as the bold should greet the brave!

"I might, perchance, could I have deigned To hold a vassal's throne, E'en now in Britain's isle have reigned A king in name alone, Yet holding, as thy meek ally, A monarch's mimic pageantry.

"Then through Rome's crowded streets to-day I might have rode with thee, Not in a captive's base array, But fetterless and free,— If freedom he could hope to find, Whose bondage is of heart and mind.

"But canst thou marvel that, freeborn, With heart and soul unquelled, Throne, crown, and sceptre I should scorn, By thy permission held? Or that I should retain my right Till wrested by a conqueror's might?

"Rome, with her palaces and towers, By us unwished, unreft, Her homely huts and woodland bowers To Britain might have left; Worthless to you their wealth must be, But dear to us, for they were free!

"I might have bowed before, but where Had been thy triumph now? To my resolve no yoke to bear Thou ow'st thy laurelled brow; Inglorious victory had been thine, And more inglorious bondage mine.

"Now I have spoken, do thy will; Be life or death my lot, Since Britain's throne no more I fill, To me it matters not. My fame is clear; but on my fate Thy glory or thy shame must wait."

He ceased; from all around upsprung A murmur of applause, For well had truth and freedom's tongue Maintained their holy cause. The conqueror was the captive then; He bade the slave be free again.


* * * * *



My voice is still for war. Gods! can a Roman senate long debate Which of the two to choose, slavery or death? No; let us rise at once, gird on our swords, And at the head of our remaining troops Attack the foe, break through the thick array Of his thronged legions, and charge home upon him. Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest, May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage. Rise! Fathers, rise! 'tis Rome demands your help: Rise, and revenge her slaughtered citizens, Or share their fate! The corpse of half her senate Manures the fields of Thessaly, while we Sit here deliberating, in cold debate, If we should sacrifice our lives to honor, Or wear them out in servitude and chains. Rouse up, for shame! our brothers of Pharsalia Point at their wounds, and cry aloud,—"To battle!" Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow, And Scipio's ghost walks unrevenged amongst us.


* * * * *


It was the wild midnight,— A storm was on the sky; The lightning gave its light, And the thunder echoed by.

The torrent swept the glen, The ocean lashed the shore; Then rose the Spartan men, To make their bed in gore!

Swift from the deluge ground Three hundred took the shield; Then, silent, gathered round The leader of the field!

He spake no warrior word, He bade no trumpet blow, But the signal thunder roared, And they rushed upon the foe.

The fiery element Showed, with one mighty gleam, Rampart, and flag, and tent, Like the spectres of a dream.

All up the mountain's side, All down the woody vale, All by the rolling tide Waved the Persian banners pale.

And foremost from the pass, Among the slumbering band, Sprang King Leonidas, Like the lightning's living brand.

Then double darkness fell, And the forest ceased its moan; But there came a clash of steel, And a distant dying groan.

Anon, a trumpet blew, And a fiery sheet burst high, That o'er the midnight threw A blood-red canopy.

A host glared on the hill; A host glared by the bay; But the Greeks rushed onward still, Like leopards in their play.

The air was all a yell, And the earth was all a flame, Where the Spartan's bloody steel On the silken turbans came;

And still the Greek rushed on Where the fiery torrent rolled, Till like a rising sun Shone Xerxes' tent of gold.

They found a royal feast, His midnight banquet, there; And the treasures of the East Lay beneath the Doric spear.

Then sat to the repast The bravest of the brave! That feast must be their last, That spot must be their grave.

They pledged old Sparta's name In cups of Syrian wine, And the warrior's deathless fame Was sung in strains divine.

They took the rose-wreathed lyres From eunuch and from slave, And taught the languid wires, The sounds that Freedom gave.

But now the morning star Crowned Oeta's twilight brow; And the Persian horn of war From the hills began to blow.

Up rose the glorious rank, To Greece one cup poured high, Then hand in hand they drank, "To immortality!"

Fear on King Xerxes fell, When, like spirits from the tomb, With shout and trumpet knell, He saw the warriors come.

But down swept all his power, With chariot and with charge; Down poured the arrows' shower. Till sank the Dorian's targe.

They gathered round the tent, With all their strength unstrung; To Greece one look they sent, Then on high their torches flung.

The king sat on the throne, His captains by his side, While the flame rushed roaring on, And their Paean loud replied.

Thus fought the Greek of old! Thus will he fight again! Shall not the self-same mould Bring forth the self-same men?


* * * * *



Again to the battle, Achaians! Our hearts bid the tyrants defiance; Our land,—the first garden of Liberty's-tree,— Has been, and shall yet be, the land of the free; For the cross of our faith is replanted, The pale dying crescent is daunted, And we march that the footprints of Mahomet's slaves May be washed out in blood from our forefathers' graves. Their spirits are hovering o'er us, And the sword shall to glory restore us.

Ah! what though no succor advances, Nor Christendom's chivalrous lances Are stretched in our aid?—Be the combat our own! And we'll perish or conquer more proudly alone; For we've sworn by our country's assaulters, By the virgins they've dragged from our altars, By our massacred patriots, our children in chains, By our heroes of old, and their blood in our veins, That, living, we will be victorious, Or that, dying, our deaths shall be glorious.

A breath of submission we breathe not: The sword that we've drawn we will sheathe not: Its scabbard is left where our martyrs are laid, And the vengeance of ages has whetted its blade. Earth may hide, waves engulf, fire consume us; But they shall not to slavery doom us: If they rule, it shall be o'er our ashes and graves:— But we've smote them already with fire on the waves. And new triumphs on land are before us;— To the charge!—Heaven's banner is o'er us.

This day—shall ye blush for its story; Or brighten your lives with its glory?— Our women—oh, say, shall they shriek in despair, Or embrace us from conquest, with wreaths in their hair? Accursed may his memory blacken, If a coward there be that would slacken Till we've trampled the turban, and shown ourselves worth Being sprung from and named for, the godlike of earth. Strike home!—and the world shall revere us As heroes descended from heroes.

Old Greece lightens up with emotion! Her inlands, her isles of the ocean, Fanes rebuilt, and fair towns, shall with jubilee ring, And the Nine shall new hallow their Helicon's spring. Our hearts shall be kindled in gladness, That were cold, and extinguished in sadness; Whilst our maidens shall dance with their white waving arms, Singing joy to the brave that delivered their charms,— When the blood of yon Mussulman cravens Shall have crimsoned the beaks of our ravens!


* * * * *



At midnight, in his guarded tent, The Turk was dreaming of the hour When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent, Should tremble at his power. In dreams, through camp and court, he bore The trophies of a conqueror; In dreams his song of triumph heard; Then wore his monarch's signet-ring, Then pressed that monarch's throne—a king; As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing, As Eden's garden bird.

At midnight, in the forest shades, Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,— True as the steel of their tried blades, Heroes in heart and hand. There had the Persian's thousands stood, There had the glad earth drunk their blood, On old Plataea's day; And now there breathed that haunted air The sons of sires who conquered there, With arm to strike, and soul to dare, As quick, as far, as they.

An hour passed on, the Turk awoke: That bright dream was his last; He woke—to hear his sentries shriek, "To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!" He woke—to die midst flame, and smoke, And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke, And death-shots falling thick and fast As lightnings from the mountain-cloud; And heard, with voice as trumpet loud, Bozzaris cheer his band: "Strike—till the last armed foe expires; Strike—for your altars and your fires; Strike—for the green graves of your sires, God, and your native land!"

They fought—like brave men, long and well; They piled that ground with Moslem slain: They conquered—but Bozzaris fell, Bleeding at every vein. His few surviving comrades saw His smile when rang their proud hurrah, And the red field was won; Then saw in death his eyelids close Calmly, as to a night's repose, Like flowers at set of sun.

Come to the bridal chamber, Death, Come to the mother, when she feels, For the first time, her first-born's breath; Come when the blessed seals That close the pestilence are broke, And crowded cities wail its stroke; Come in consumption's ghastly form, The earthquake shock, the ocean storm; Come when the heart beats high and warm, With banquet song and dance and wine,— And thou art terrible; the tear, The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier, And all we know, or dream, or fear Of agony, are thine.

But to the hero, when his sword Has won the battle for the free, Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word, And in its hollow tones are heard The thanks of millions yet to be. Come when his task of fame is wrought; Come with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought; Come in her crowning hour,—and then Thy sunken eye's unearthly light To him is welcome as the sight Of sky and stars to prisoned men; Thy grasp is welcome as the hand Of brother in a foreign land; Thy summons welcome as the cry That told the Indian isles were nigh To the world-seeking Genoese, When the land-wind, from woods of palm, And orange-groves, and fields of balm, Blew o'er the Haytian seas.

Bozzaris! with the storied brave Greece nurtured in her glory's time, Rest thee; there is no prouder grave, Even in her own proud clime. She wore no funeral weeds for thee, Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume, Like torn branch from death's leafless tree, In sorrow's pomp and pageantry, The heartless luxury of the tomb. But she remembers thee as one Long loved, and for a season gone. For thee her poet's lyre is wreathed, Her marble wrought, her music breathed; For thee she rings the birthday bells; Of thee her babes' first lisping tells; For thine her evening prayer is said At palace couch and cottage bed. Her soldier, closing with the foe, Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow; His plighted maiden, when she fears For him, the joy of her young years, Thinks of thy fate, and checks her tears. And she, the mother of thy boys, Though in her eye and faded cheek Is read the grief she will not speak, The memory of her buried joys,— And even she who gave thee birth,— Will, by her pilgrim-circled hearth, Talk of thy doom without a sigh; For thou art freedom's now, and fame's,— One of the few, the immortal names That were not born to die.


* * * * *


Now the third and fatal conflict for the Persian throne was done, And the Moslem's fiery valor had the crowning victory won.

Harmosan, the last and boldest the invader to defy, Captive, overborn by numbers, they were bringing forth to die.

Then exclaimed that noble captive: "Lo, I perish in my thirst; Give me but one drink of water, and let then arrive the worst!"

In his hand he took the goblet: but awhile the draught forbore, Seeming doubtfully the purpose of the foeman to explore.

Well might then have paused the bravest—for, around him, angry foes With a hedge of naked weapons did the lonely man enclose.

"But what fear'st thou?" cried the caliph; "is it, friend, a secret blow? Fear it not! our gallant Moslems no such treacherous dealing know.

"Thou may'st quench thy thirst securely, for thou shalt not die before Thou hast drunk that cup of water—this reprieve is thine—no more!"

Quick the satrap dashed the goblet down to earth with ready hand, And the liquid sank forever, lost amid the burning sand.

"Thou hast said that mine my life is, till the water of that cup I have drained; then bid thy servants that spilled water gather up!"

For a moment stood the caliph as by doubtful passions stirred— Then exclaimed: "For ever sacred must remain a monarch's word. Bring another cup, and straightway to the noble Persian give: Drink, I said before, and perish—now I bid thee drink and live!"


* * * * *



Then cried my Cid—"In charity, as to the rescue—ho!" With bucklers braced before their breasts, with lances pointing low, With stooping crests and heads bent down above the saddle-bow, All firm of hand and high of heart they roll upon the foe. And he that in a good hour was born, his clarion voice rings out, And clear above the clang of arms is heard his battle shout: "Among them, gentlemen! Strike home for the love of charity! The champion of Bivar is here—Ruy Diaz—I am he!" Then bearing where Bermuez still maintains unequal fight, Three hundred lances down they come, their pennons flickering white; Down go three hundred Moors to earth, a man to every blow; And when they wheel, three hundred more, as charging back they go. It was a sight to see the lances rise and fall that day; The shivered shields and riven mail, to see how thick they lay; The pennons that went in snow-white came out a gory red; The horses running riderless, the riders lying dead; While Moors call on Mohammed, and "St. James!" the Christians cry, And sixty score of Moors and more in narrow compass lie.

From the Spanish. Translation of JOHN ORMSBY.

* * * * *


"Your horse is faint, my King, my Lord! your gallant horse is sick,— His limbs are torn, his breast is gored, on his eye the film is thick; Mount, mount on mine, O mount apace, I pray thee, mount and fly! Or in my arms I'll lift your Grace,—their trampling hoofs are nigh!

"My King, my King,! you're wounded sore,—the blood runs from your feet; But only lay a hand before, and I'll lift you to your seat; Mount, Juan, for they gather fast!—I hear their coming cry,— Mount, mount, and ride for jeopardy,—I'll save you though I die!

"Stand, noble steed! this hour of need,—be gentle as a lamb; I'll kiss the foam from off thy mouth,—thy master dear I am,— Mount, Juan, mount; whate'er betide, away the bridle fling, And plunge the rowels in his side.—My horse shall save my King!

"Nay, never speak; my sires, Lord King, received their land from yours, And joyfully their blood shall spring, so be it thine secures; If I should fly, and thou, my King, be found among the dead, How could I stand 'mong gentlemen, such scorn on my gray head?

"Castile's proud dames shall never point the finger of disdain, And say there's one that ran away when our good lords were slain! I leave Diego in your care,—you'll fill his father's place; Strike, strike the spur, and never spare—God's blessing on your Grace!"

So spake the brave Montanez, Butrago's lord was he; And turned him to the coming host in steadfastness and glee; He flung himself among them, as they came down the hill,— He died, God wot! but not before his sword had drunk its fill.

From the Spanish. Translation of JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART.

* * * * *



[Olaf Trygvesoen from Ireland is trying to introduce Christianity, and reclaim his father's kingdom, in Norway, and has invaded the realm of Earl Hakon, a formidable heathen usurper, who, after defeat in battle, unsuccessfully attempts to have King Olaf assassinated by Thorer Klake, one of his adherents. But Olaf slays Klake, and now visits Hakon, lying hid in a peasant's hut.]

Enter OLAF TRYGVESOeN, muffled up in a gray cloak, with a broad hat on his head.

HAKON [without looking up].— My valiant Thorer Klake, hast come at last? Hast been successful? Dost thou bring to me What thou didst promise? Answer, Thorer Klake.

OLAF.—All things have happened as they should, my lord; But pardon Thorer that he does not come And bring himself King Olaf's head to thee— 'Twas difficult for him. Thor knows he had A sort of loathing that himself should bring it, And so he sent me.

HAKON.—Well, 'tis good; away, And deeply bury it in the dark earth. I will not look on it myself: my eye Bears not such sights,—they reappear in dreams. Bury the body with it. Tell thy lord That he shall come at once.

OLAF.—He is asleep.


OLAF.—A midday slumber; he lies stretched Stiffly beneath a shadowy elder-tree.

HAKON.—Then wake him up. [Aside.] Asleep, Asleep, and after such A deed—Ha! Thorer, I admire thee; Thou hast rare courage. [Aloud.] Thrall, go wake him up.

OLAF.—But wilt thou first not look at Olaf's head?

HAKON.—No; I have said no.

OLAF.—Thou dost think, my lord, That perhaps it is a horrid frightful sight: It is not so, my lord; for Olaf's head Looks fresh and sound as any in the land.

HAKON.—Away, I tell thee!

OLAF.—I ne'er saw the like: I always heard that Hakon was a hero, Few like him in the North,—and does he fear To see a lifeless and a corpseless head? How wouldst thou tremble then, my lord, if thou Shouldst see it on his body?

HAKON [turning round angrily].— Thrall, thou darest! Where hast thou got it?

OLAF [takes his hat off, and throws off his cloak].— On my shoulders, Earl. Forgive me that I bring it thee myself In such a way: 'twas easiest for me.

HAKON.—What, Olaf! Ha! what treachery is here?

OLAF.—Old gray-beard, spare thy rash, heroic wrath. Attempt not to fight Olaf, but remember That he has still his head upon his body, And that thy impotent, gray-bearded strength Was only fitting for the headless Olaf.

HAKON [rushes at him].— Ha, Hilfheim!

OLAF [strikes his sword, and says in a loud voice].— So, be quiet now, I say, And sheathe thy sword again. My followers Surround the house; my vessels are a match For all of thine, and I myself have come To win the country in an honest fight. Thyself hast urged me with thy plots to do it. Thou standest like a despicable thrall In his own pitfall caught at last; but I Will make no use of these advantages Which fate has granted me. I am convinced That I may boldly meet thee face to face. Thy purpose, as thou seest, has wholly failed, And in his own blood does thy Thorer swim. Thou seest 'twere easy for me to have seized thee; To strike thee down were even easier still: But I the Christian doctrine do confess, And do such poor advantages despise. So choose between two courses. Still be Earl Of Hlade as thou wast, and do me homage, Or else take flight; for when we meet again 'Twill be the time for red and bleeding brows.

HAKON [proudly and quietly].— My choice is made. I choose the latter, Olaf. Thou callest me a villain and a thrall; That forces up a smile upon my lips. Olaf, one hears indeed that thou art young; It is by mockery and arrogance That one can judge thy age. Now, look at me Full in the eyes; consider well my brow: Hast thou among the thralls e'er met such looks? Dost think that cunning or that cowardice Could e'er have carved these wrinkles on my brow? I did entice thee hither. Ha! 'tis true I knew that thou didst wait but for a sign To flutter after the enticing bait; That in thy soul thou didst more highly prize Thy kinship with an extinct race of kings Than great Earl Hakon's world-renowned deeds; That thou didst watch the opportunity To fall upon the old man in his rest. Does it astonish thee that I should wish Quickly to rid myself of such a foe? That I deceived a dreamer who despised The mighty gods,—does that astonish thee? Does it astonish thee that I approved My warrior's purpose, since a hostile fate Attempted to dethrone, not only me, But all Valhalla's gods?

OLAF.—Remember, Hakon,— Remember, Hakon, that e'en thou thyself Hast been a Christian; that thou wast baptized By Bishop Popo, and that thou since then Didst break thy oath. How many hast thou broken?

HAKON.—Accursed forever may that moment be When by the cunning monk I was deceived, And let myself be fooled by paltry tricks. He held a red-hot iron in his hand, After by magic he had covered it With witches' ointment.

OLAF.—O thou blind old man! Thy silver hair does make me pity thee.

HAKON.—Ha! spare thy pity; as thou seest me here, Thou seest the last flash and the latest spark Of ancient Northern force and hero's life; And that, with all thy fever-stricken dreams, Proud youth, thou shalt be powerless to quench. I well do know it is the Christian custom To pity, to convert, and to amend. Our custom is to heartily despise you, To ruminate upon your fall and death, As foes to gods and to a hero's life. That Hakon does, and therein does consist His villainy. By Odin, and by Thor, Thou shalt not quench old Norway's warlike flame With all thy misty dreams of piety.

OLAF.—'Tis well: fate shall decide. We separate, And woe to thee when next we meet again.

HAKON.—Aye, woe to me if then I crush thee not.

OLAF.—Heaven shall strike thee with its fiery might!

HAKON.—No, with his hammer Thor the cross will smite!


* * * * *



Lie still, old Dane, below thy heap! A sturdy-back and sturdy-limb, Whoe'er he was, I warrant him Upon whose mound the single sheep Browses and tinkles in the sun, Within the narrow vale alone.

Lie still, old Dane! This restful scene Suits well thy centuries of sleep: The soft brown roots above thee creep, The lotus flaunts his ruddy sheen, And,—vain memento of the spot,—The turquoise-eyed forget-me-not.

Lie still! Thy mother-land herself Would know thee not again: no more The Raven from the northern shore Hails the bold crew to push for pelf, Through fire and blood and slaughtered kings 'Neath the black terror of his wings.

And thou,—thy very name is lost! The peasant only knows that here Bold Alfred scooped thy flinty bier, And prayed a foeman's prayer, and tost His auburn head, and said, "One more Of England's foes guards England's shore,"

And turned and passed to other feats, And left thee in thine iron robe, To circle with the circling globe, While Time's corrosive dewdrop eats The giant warrior to a crust Of earth in earth, and rust in rust.

So lie: and let the children play And sit like flowers upon thy grave And crown with flowers,—that hardly have A briefer blooming-tide than they;— By hurrying years urged on to rest, As thou within the Mother's breast.


* * * * *


Ha! there comes he, with sweat, with blood of Romans, And dust of the fight all stained! Oh, never Saw I Hermann so lovely! Never such fire in his eyes!

Come! I tremble for joy; hand me the Eagle And the red dripping sword! come, breathe, and rest thee; Rest thee here in my bosom; Rest from the terrible fight!

Rest thee, while from thy brow I wipe the big drops, And the blood from thy cheek!—that cheek, how glowing! Hermann! Hermann! Thusnelda Never so loved thee before!

No, not then, when thou first in old oak shadows, With that manly brown arm didst wildly grasp me! Spell-bound I read in thy look That immortality then

Which thou now hast won. Tell to the forests, Great Augustus, with trembling, amidst his gods now, Drinks his nectar; for Hermann, Hermann immortal is found!

"Wherefore curl'st thou my hair? Lies not our father Cold and silent in death? Oh, had Augustus Only headed his army,— He should lie bloodier there!"

Let me lift up thy hair; 'tis sinking, Hermann: Proudly thy locks should curl above the crown now! Sigmar is with the immortals! Follow, and mourn him no more!


* * * * *


Fear not, O little flock! the foe Who madly seeks your overthrow, Dread not his rage and power; What though your courage sometimes faints? His seeming triumph o'er God's saints Lasts but a little hour.

Be of good cheer; your cause belongs To him who can avenge your wrongs, Leave it to him, our Lord. Though hidden now from all our eyes, He sees the Gideon who shall rise To save us, and his word.

As true as God's own word is true, Not earth or hell with all their crew Against us shall prevail. A jest and by-word are they grown; God is with us, we are his own, Our victory cannot fail.

Amen, Lord Jesus; grant our prayer! Great Captain, now thine arm make bare; Fight for us once again! So shall the saints and martyrs raise A mighty chorus to thy praise, World without end! Amen.

From the German of MICHAEL ALTENBURG.

* * * * *


Sword, on my left side gleaming, What means thy bright eye's beaming? It makes my spirit dance To see thy friendly glance. Hurrah!

"A valiant rider bears me; A free-born German wears me: That makes my eye so bright; That is the sword's delight." Hurrah!

Yes, good sword, I am free, And love thee heartily, And clasp thee to my side, E'en as the plighted bride. Hurrah!

"And I to thee, by Heaven, My light steel life have given; When shall the knot be tied? When wilt thou take thy bride?" Hurrah!

The trumpet's solemn warning Shall hail the bridal morning, When cannon-thunders wake, Then my true-love I take. Hurrah!

"O blessed, blessed meeting! My heart is wildly beating: Come, bridegroom, come for me; My garland waiteth thee." Hurrah!

Why in the scabbard rattle, So wild, so fierce for battle? What means this restless glow? My sword, why clatter so? Hurrah!

"Well may thy prisoner rattle; My spirit yearns for battle. Rider, 'tis war's wild glow That makes me tremble so." Hurrah!

Stay in thy chamber near, My love; what wilt thou here? Still in thy chamber bide; Soon, soon I take my bride. Hurrah!

"Let me not longer wait: Love's garden blooms in state, With roses bloody-red, And many a bright death-bed." Hurrah!

Now, then, come forth, my bride! Come forth, thou rider's pride! Come out, my good sword, come! Forth to thy father's home! Hurrah!

"O, in the field to prance The glorious wedding dance! How, in the sun's bright beams, Bride-like the clear steel gleams!" Hurrah!

Then forward, valiant fighters! And forward, German riders! And when the heart grows cold, Let each his love infold. Hurrah!

Once on the left it hung, And stolen glances flung; Now clearly on your right Doth God each fond bride plight. Hurrah!

Then let your hot lips feel That virgin cheek of steel; One kiss,—and woe betide Him who forsakes the bride. Hurrah!

Now let the loved one sing; Now let the clear blade ring, Till the bright sparks shall fly, Heralds of victory! Hurrah!

For, hark! the trumpet's warning Proclaims the marriage morning; It dawns in festal pride; Hurrah, thou Iron Bride! Hurrah!


* * * * *


The weary night is o'er at last! We ride so still, we ride so fast! We ride where Death is lying. The morning wind doth coldly pass, Landlord! we'll take another glass, Ere dying.

Thou, springing grass, that art so green, Shall soon be rosy red, I ween, My blood the hue supplying! I drink the first glass, sword in hand, To him who for the Fatherland Lies dying!

Now quickly comes the second draught, And that shall be to freedom quaffed While freedom's foes are flying! The rest, O land, our hope and faith! We'd drink to thee with latest breath, Though dying!

My darling!—ah, the glass is out! The bullets ring, the riders shout— No time for wine or sighing! There! bring my love the shattered glass— Charge! On the foe! no joys surpass Such dying!

From the German of GEORG HERWEGH. Translation of ROSSITER W. RAYMOND.

* * * * *


A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers, There was lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of woman's tears; But a comrade stood beside him, while his life-blood ebbed away, And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he might say. The dying soldier faltered, and he took that comrade's hand, And he said, "I nevermore shall see my own, my native land; Take a message, and a token, to some distant friends of mine, For I was born at Bingen,—at Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my brothers and companions, when they meet and crowd around, To hear my mournful story, in that pleasant vineyard ground, That we fought the battle bravely, and when the day was done, Full many a corse lay ghastly pale beneath the setting sun; And, mid the dead and dying, were some grown old in wars,— The death-wound on their gallant breasts, the last of many scars; And some were young, and suddenly beheld life's morn decline,— And one had come from Bingen,—fair Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my mother that her other son shall comfort her old age; For I was still a truant bird, that thought his home a cage. For my father was a soldier, and even as a child My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of struggles fierce and wild; And when he died, and left us to divide his scanty hoard, I let them take whate'er they would,—but kept my father's sword; And with boyish love I hung it where the bright light used to shine, On the cottage wall at Bingen,—calm Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with drooping head, When the troops come marching home again with glad and gallant tread, But to look upon them proudly, with a calm and steadfast eye, For her brother was a soldier too, and not afraid to die; And if a comrade seek her love, I ask her in my name To listen to him kindly, without regret or shame, And to hang the old sword in its place (my father's sword and mine) For the honor of old Bingen,—dear Bingen on the Rhine.

"There's another,—not a sister; in the happy days gone by You'd have known her by the merriment that sparkled in her eye; Too innocent for coquetry,—too fond for idle scorning,— O friend! I fear the lightest heart makes sometimes heaviest mourning! Tell her the last night of my life (for, ere the moon be risen, My body will be out of pain, my soul be out of prison),— I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow sunlight shine On the vine-clad hills of Bingen,—fair Bingen on the Rhine.

"I saw the blue Rhine sweep along,—I heard, or seemed to hear, The German songs we used to sing, in chorus sweet and clear; And down the pleasant river, and up the slanting hill, The echoing chorus sounding, through the evening calm and still; And her glad blue eyes were on me, as we passed, with friendly talk, Down many a path beloved of yore, and well-remembered walk! And her little hand lay lightly, confidingly in mine,— But we'll meet no more at Bingen,—loved Bingen on the Rhine."

His trembling voice grew faint and hoarse,—his grasp was childish weak,— His eyes put on a dying look,—he sighed and ceased to speak; His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of life had fled,— The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land is dead! And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly she looked down On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody corses strewn; Yes, calmly on that dreadful scene her pale light seemed to shine, As it shone on distant Bingen,—fair Bingen on the Rhine.


* * * * *



On Linden, when the sun was low, All bloodless lay the untrodden snow, And dark as winter was the flow Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

But Linden saw another sight When the drum beat, at dead of night, Commanding fires of death to light The darkness of her scenery.

By torch and trumpet fast arrayed, Each horseman drew his battle-blade, And furious every charger neighed, To join the dreadful revelry.

Then shook the hills with thunder riven, Then rushed the steeds to battle driven, And louder than the bolts of heaven Far flashed the red artillery.

But redder yet that light shall glow On Linden's hills of stained snow, And bloodier yet the torrent flow Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

'Tis morn, but scarce yon level sun Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun, Where furious Frank and fiery Hun Shout in their sulphurous canopy.

The combat deepens. On, ye brave, Who rush to glory, or the grave! Wave, Munich! all thy banners wave, And charge with all thy chivalry!

Few, few shall part where many meet! The snow shall be their winding-sheet, And every turf beneath their feet Shall be a soldier's sepulchre.


* * * * *



Now glory to the Lord of hosts, from whom all glories are! And glory to our sovereign liege, King Henry of Navarre! Now let there be the merry sound of music and the dance, Through thy corn-fields green, and sunny vines, O pleasant land of France! And thou, Rochelle, our own Rochelle, proud city of the waters, Again let raptures light the eyes of all thy mourning daughters; As thou wert constant in our ills, be joyous in our joys; For cold and stiff and still are they who wrought thy walls annoy. Hurrah! hurrah! a single field hath turned the chance of war! Hurrah! hurrah! for Ivry, and Henry of Navarre.

Oh! how our hearts were beating, when, at the dawn of day, We saw the army of the League drawn out in long array; With all its priest-led citizens, and all its rebel peers, And Appenzel's stout infantry, and Egmont's Flemish spears. There rode the brood of false Lorraine, the curses of our land; And dark Mayenne was in the midst, a truncheon in his hand; An as we looked on them, we thought of Seine's empurpled flood, And good Coligni's hoary hair all dabbled with his blood; And we cried unto the living God, who rules the fate of war, To fight for His own holy name, and Henry of Navarre.

The king has come to marshal us, in all his armor drest; And he has bound a snow-white plume upon his gallant crest. He looked upon his people, and a tear was in his eye; He looked upon the traitors, and his glance was stern and high. Right graciously he smiled on us, as rolled from wing to wing, Down all our line, a deafening shout: God save our lord the king! "And if my standard-bearer fall, as fall full well he may— For never saw I promise yet of such a bloody fray— Press where you see my white plume shine amidst the ranks of war, And be your oriflamme to-day the helmet of Navarre."

Hurrah! the foes are moving. Hark to the mingled din, Of fife, and steed, and trump, and drum, and roaring culverin. The fiery duke is pricking fast across Saint Andre's plain, With all the hireling chivalry of Guelders and Almayne. Now by the lips of those ye love, fair gentlemen of France, Charge for the golden lilies—upon them with the lance! A thousand spurs are striking deep, a thousand spears in rest. A thousand knights are pressing close behind the snow-white crest; And in they burst, and on they rushed, while, like a guiding star, Amidst the thickest carnage blazed the helmet of Navarre.

Now, God be praised, the day is ours: Mayenne hath turned his rein; D'Aumale hath cried for quarter; the Flemish count is slain; Their ranks are breaking like thin clouds before a Biscay gale; The field is heaped with bleeding steeds, and flags, and cloven mail. And then we thought on vengeance, and, all along our van, Remember Saint Bartholomew! was passed from man to man. But out spake gentle Henry—"No Frenchmen is my foe: Down, down, with every foreigner, but let your brethren go." Oh! was there ever such a knight, in friendship or in war, As our sovereign lord, King Henry, the soldier of Navarre?

Right well fought all the Frenchmen who fought for France to-day; And many a lordly banner God gave them for a prey. But we of the religion have borne us best in fight; And the good lord of Rosny hath ta'en the cornet white— Our own true Maximilian the cornet white hath ta'en, The cornet white with crosses black, the flag of false Lorraine. Up with it high; unfurl it wide—that all the host may know How God hath humbled the proud house which wrought His Church such woe. Then on the ground, while trumpets sound their loudest point of war, Fling the red shreds, a footcloth meet for Henry of Navarre.

Ho! maidens of Vienna; ho! matrons of Lucerne— Weep, weep, and rend your hair for those who never shall return. Ho! Philip, send, for charity, thy Mexican pistoles, That Antwerp monks may sing a mass for thy poor spearmen's souls. Ho! gallant nobles of the League, look that your arms be bright; Ho! burghers of St. Genevieve, keep watch and ward to-night; For our God hath crushed the tyrant, our God hath raised the slave, And mocked the counsel of the wise, and the valor of the brave. Then glory to His holy name, from whom all glories are; And glory to our sovereign lord, King Henry of Navarre!


* * * * *


You know we French stormed Ratisbon: A mile or so away, On a little mound, Napoleon Stood on our storming-day; With neck out-thrust, you fancy how, Legs wide, arms locked behind, As if to balance the prone brow, Oppressive with its mind.

Just as perhaps he mused, "My plans That soar, to earth may fall, Let once my army-leader Lannes Waver at yonder wall," Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew A rider, bound on bound Full-galloping; nor bridle drew Until he reached the mound.

Then off there flung in smiling joy, And held himself erect By just his horse's mane, a boy: You hardly could suspect (So tight he kept his lips compressed, Scarce any blood came through), You looked twice ere you saw his breast Was all but shot in two.

"Well," cried he, "Emperor, by God's grace We've got you Ratisbon! The marshal's in the market-place, And you'll be there anon To see your flag-bird flap his vans Where I, to heart's desire, Perched him!" The chief's eye flashed; his plans Soared up again like fire.

The chief's eye flashed; but presently Softened itself, as sheathes A film the mother-eagle's eye When her bruised eaglet breathes: "You're wounded!" "Nay," his soldier's pride Touched to the quick, he said: "I'm killed, sire!" And, his chief beside, Smiling, the boy fell dead.


* * * * *


The work is done! the spent flame burns no more, The furnace fires smoke and die, The iron flood boils over. Ope the door, And let the haughty one pass by! Roar, mighty river, rush upon your course, A bound,—and, from your dwelling past, Dash forward, like a torrent from its source, A flame from the volcano cast! To gulp your lava-waves earth's jaws extend, Your fury in one mass fling forth,— In your steel mould, O Bronze, a slave descend, An emperor return to earth! Again NAPOLEON,—'tis his form appears! Hard soldier in unending quarrel, Who cost so much of insult, blood, and tears, For only a few boughs of laurel!

For mourning France it was a day of grief, When, down from its high station flung, His mighty statue, like some shameful thief, In coils of a vile rope was hung; When we beheld at the grand column's base, And o'er a shrieking cable bowed, The stranger's strength that mighty bronze displace To hurrahs of a foreign crowd; When, forced by thousand arms, head-foremost thrown, The proud mass cast in monarch mould Made sudden fall, and on the hard, cold stone Its iron carcass sternly rolled. The Hun, the stupid Hun, with soiled, rank skin, Ignoble fury in his glance, The emperor's form the kennel's filth within Drew after him, in face of France! On those within whose bosoms hearts hold reign, That hour like remorse must weigh On each French brow,—'tis the eternal stain, Which only death can wash away! I saw, where palace-walls gave shade and ease, The wagons of the foreign force; I saw them strip the bark which clothed our trees, To cast it to their hungry horse. I saw the Northman, with his savage lip, Bruising our flesh till black with gore, Our bread devour,—on our nostrils sip The air which was our own before!

In the abasement and the pain,—the weight Of outrages no words make known,— I charged one only being with my hate: Be thou accursed, Napoleon! O lank-haired Corsican, your France was fair, In the full sun of Messidor! She was a tameless and a rebel mare, Nor steel bit nor gold rein she bore; Wild steed with rustic flank;—yet, while she trod,— Reeking with blood of royalty, But proud with strong foot striking the old sod, At last, and for the first time, free,— Never a hand, her virgin form passed o'er, Left blemish nor affront essayed; And never her broad sides the saddle bore, Nor harness by the stranger made. A noble vagrant,—with coat smooth and bright, And nostril red, and action proud,— As high she reared, she did the world affright With neighings which rang long and loud. You came; her mighty loins, her paces scanned, Pliant and eager for the track; Hot Centaur, twisting in her mane your hand, You sprang all booted to her back. Then, as she loved the war's exciting sound, The smell of powder and the drum, You gave her Earth for exercising ground, Bade Battles as her pastimes come! Then, no repose for her,—no nights, no sleep! The air and toil for evermore! And human forms like unto sand crushed deep, And blood which rose her chest before! Through fifteen years her hard hoofs' rapid course So ground the generations, And she passed smoking in her speed and force Over the breast of nations; Till,—tired in ne'er earned goal to place vain trust, To tread a path ne'er left behind, To knead the universe and like a dust To uplift scattered human kind,— Feebly and worn, and gasping as she trode, Stumbling each step of her career, She craved for rest the Corsican who rode. But, torturer! you would not hear; You pressed her harder with your nervous thigh, You tightened more the goading bit, Choked in her foaming mouth her frantic cry, And brake her teeth in fury-fit. She rose,—but the strife came. From farther fall Saved not the curb she could not know,— She went down, pillowed on the cannon-ball, And thou wert broken by the blow!

Now born again, from depths where thou wert hurled, A radiant eagle dost thou rise; Winging thy flight again to rule the world, Thine image reascends the skies. No longer now the robber of a crown,— The insolent usurper,—he, With cushions of a throne, unpitying, down Who pressed the throat of Liberty,— Old slave of the Alliance, sad and lone, Who died upon a sombre rock, And France's image until death dragged on For chain, beneath the stranger's stroke,— NAPOLEON stands, unsullied by a stain: Thanks to the flatterer's tuneful race The lying poets who ring praises vain, Has Caesar 'mong the gods found place! His image to the city-walls gives light; His name has made the city's hum,— Still sounded ceaselessly, as through the fight It echoed farther than the drum. From the high suburbs, where the people crowd, Doth Paris, an old pilgrim now, Each day descend to greet the pillar proud, And humble there his monarch brow;— The arms encumbered with a mortal wreath, With flowers for that bronze's pall, (No mothers look on, as they pass beneath,— It grew beneath their tears so tall!)— In working-vest, in drunkenness of soul, Unto the fife's and trumpet's tone, Doth joyous Paris dance the Carmagnole Around the great Napoleon.

Thus, Gentle Monarchs, pass unnoted on! Mild Pastors of Mankind, away! Sages, depart, as common brows have gone, Devoid of the immortal ray! For vainly you make light the people's chain; And vainly, like a calm flock, come On your own footsteps, without sweat or pain, The people,—treading towards their tomb. Soon as your star doth to its setting glide, And its last lustre shall be given By your quenched name,—upon the popular tide Scarce a faint furrow shall be riven. Pass, pass ye on! For you no statue high! Your names shall vanish from the horde: Their memory is for those who lead to die Beneath the cannon and the sword; Their love, for him who on the humid field By thousands lays to rot their bones; For him, who bids them pyramids to build,— And bear upon their backs the stones!

From the French of AUGUSTE BARBIER.

* * * * *



I praised the speech, but cannot now abide it, That warre is sweet to those that have not try'd it; For I have proved it now and plainly see't, It is so sweet, it maketh all things sweet. At home Canaric wines and Greek grow lothsome; Here milk is nectar, water tasteth toothsome. There without baked, rost, boyl'd, it is no cheere; Bisket we like, and Bonny Clabo here. There we complain of one wan roasted chick; Here meat worse cookt ne're makes us sick. At home in silken sparrers, beds of Down, We scant can rest, but still tosse up and down; Here we can sleep, a saddle to our pillow, A hedge the Curtaine, Canopy a Willow. There if a child but cry, O what a spite! Here we can brook three larums in one night. There homely rooms must be perfumed with Roses; Here match and powder ne're offend our noses. There from a storm of rain we run like Pullets; Here we stand fast against a shower of bullets. Lo, then how greatly their opinions erre, That think there is no great delight in warre; But yet for this, sweet warre, He be thy debtor, I shall forever love my home the better.


* * * * *


Dark fell the night, the watch was set, The host was idly spread, The Danes around their watchfires met, Caroused, and fiercely fed.

The chiefs beneath a tent of leaves And Guthrum, king of all, Devoured the flesh of England's beeves, And laughed at England's fall. Each warrior proud, each Danish earl, In mail of wolf-skin clad, Their bracelets white with plundered pearl, Their eyes with triumph mad.

From Humber-land to Severn-land, And on to Tamar stream, Where Thames makes green the towery strand, Where Medway's waters gleam,— With hands of steel and mouths of flame They raged the kingdom through; And where the Norseman sickle came, No crop but hunger grew.

They loaded many an English horse With wealth of cities fair; They dragged from many a father's corse The daughter by her hair. And English slaves, and gems and gold, Were gathered round the feast; Till midnight in their woodland hold, O, never that riot ceased.

In stalked a warrior tall and rude Before the strong sea-kings; "Ye Lords and Earls of Odin's brood, Without a harper sings. He seems a simple man and poor, But well he sounds the lay; And well, ye Norseman chiefs, be sure, Will ye the song repay."

In trod the bard with keen cold look, And glanced along the board, That with the shout and war-cry shook Of many a Danish lord. But thirty brows, inflamed and stern, Soon bent on him their gaze, While calm he gazed, as if to learn Who chief deserved his praise.

Loud Guthrum spake,—"Nay, gaze not thus, Thou Harper weak and poor! By Thor! who bandy looks with us Must worse than looks endure. Sing high the praise of Denmark's host, High praise each dauntless Earl; The brave who stun this English coast With war's unceasing whirl."

The Harper slowly bent his head, And touched aloud the string; Then raised his face, and boldly said, "Hear thou my lay, O King! High praise from every mouth of man To all who boldly strive, Who fall where first the fight began, And ne'er go back alive.

"Fill high your cups, and swell the shout, At famous Regnar's name! Who sank his host in bloody rout, When he to Humber came. His men were chased, his sons were slain, And he was left alone. They bound him in an iron chain Upon a dungeon stone.

"With iron links they bound him fast; With snakes they filled the hole, That made his flesh their long repast, And bit into his soul.

"Great chiefs, why sink in gloom your eyes? Why champ your teeth in pain? Still lives the song though Regnar dies! Fill high your cups again! Ye too, perchance, O Norseman lords! Who fought and swayed so long, Shall soon but live in minstrel words, And owe your names to song.

"This land has graves by thousands more Than that where Regnar lies. When conquests fade, and rule is o'er, The sod must close your eyes. How soon, who knows? Not chief, nor bard; And yet to me 'tis given, To see your foreheads deeply scarred, And guess the doom of Heaven.

"I may not read or when or how, But, Earls and Kings, be sure I see a blade o'er every brow, Where pride now sits secure. Fill high the cups, raise loud the strain! When chief and monarch fall, Their names in song shall breathe again, And thrill the feastful hall."

Grim sat the chiefs; one heaved a groan, And one grew pale with dread, His iron mace was grasped by one, By one his wine was shed. And Guthrum cried, "Nay, bard, no more We hear thy boding lay; Make drunk the song with spoil and gore! Light up the joyous fray!" "Quick throbs my brain,"—so burst the song,— To hear the strife once more. The mace, the axe, they rest too long; Earth cries, My thirst is sore. More blithely twang the strings of bows Than strings of harps in glee; Red wounds are lovelier than the rose Or rosy lips to me.

"O, fairer than a field of flowers, When flowers in England grew, Would be the battle's marshalled powers, The plain of carnage new. With all its death before my soul The vision rises fair; Raise loud the song, and drain the bowl! I would that I were there!"

Loud rang the harp, the minstrel's eye Rolled fiercely round the throng; It seemed two crashing hosts were nigh, Whose shock aroused the song. A golden cup King Guthrum gave To him who strongly played; And said, "I won it from the slave Who once o'er England swayed."

King Guthrum cried, "'Twas Alfred's own; Thy song befits the brave: The King who cannot guard his throne Nor wine nor song shall have." The minstrel took the goblet bright, And said, "I drink the wine To him who owns by justest right The cup thou bid'st be mine. To him, your Lord, O shout ye all! His meed be deathless praise! The King who dares not nobly fall, Dies basely all his days."

"The praise thou speakest," Guthrum said, "With sweetness fills mine ear; For Alfred swift before me fled, And left me monarch here. The royal coward never dared Beneath mine eye to stand. O, would that now this feast he shared, And saw me rule his land!"

Then stern the minstrel rose, and spake, And gazed upon the King,— "Not now the golden cup I take, Nor more to thee I sing. Another day, a happier hour, Shall bring me here again: The cup shall stay in Guthrum's power, Till I demand it then."

The Harper turned and left the shed, Nor bent to Guthrum's crown; And one who marked his visage said It wore a ghastly frown. The Danes ne'er saw that Harper more, For soon as morning rose, Upon their camp King Alfred bore, And slew ten thousand foes.


* * * * *


[A modernized form of the old ballad of the "Hunting o' the Cheviot." Some circumstances of the battle of Olter-bourne (A.D. 1388) are woven into the ballad, and the affairs of the two events are confounded. The ballad preserved in the "Percy Reliques" is probably as old as 1574. The one following is not later than the time of Charles II]

God prosper long our noble king, Our lives and safeties all; A woful hunting once there did In Chevy-Chace befall.

To drive the deer with hound and horn Earl Piercy took his way; The child may rue that is unborn The hunting of that day.

The stout Earl of Northumberland A vow to God did make, His pleasure in the Scottish woods Three summer days to take,—

The chiefest harts in Chevy-Chace To kill and bear away. These tidings to Earl Douglas came, In Scotland where he lay;

Who sent Earl Piercy present word He would prevent his sport. The English earl, not fearing that, Did to the woods resort.

With fifteen hundred bowmen bold, All chosen men of might, Who knew full well in time of need To aim their shafts aright.

The gallant greyhounds swiftly ran To chase the fallow deer; On Monday they began to hunt, When daylight did appear;

And long before high noon they had A hundred fat bucks slain; Then, having dined, the drovers went To rouse the deer again.

The bowmen mustered on the hills, Well able to endure; And all their rear, with special care, That day was guarded sure.

The hounds ran swiftly through the woods The nimble deer to take, That with their cries the hills and dales An echo shrill did make.

Lord Piercy to the quarry went, To view the slaughtered deer; Quoth he, "Earl Douglas promised This day to meet me here;

"But if I thought he would not come, No longer would I stay;" With that a brave young gentleman Thus to the earl did say:—

"Lo, yonder doth Earl Douglas come,— His men in armor bright; Full twenty hundred Scottish spears All marching in our sight;

"All men of pleasant Tividale, Fast by the river Tweed;" "Then cease your sports," Earl Piercy said, "And take your bows with speed;

"And now with me, my countrymen, Your courage forth advance; For never was there champion yet, In Scotland or in France,

"That ever did on horseback come, But if my hap it were, I durst encounter man for man, With him to break a spear."

Earl Douglas on his milk-white steed, Most like a baron bold, Rode foremost of his company, Whose armor shone like gold.

"Show me," said he, "whose men you be, That hunt so boldly here, That, without my consent, do chase And kill my fallow-deer."

The first man that did answer make, Was noble Piercy, he— Who said, "We list not to declare, Nor show whose men we be:

"Yet will we spend our dearest blood Thy chiefest harts to slay." Then Douglas swore a solemn oath, And thus in rage did say:—

"Ere thus I will out-braved be, One of us two shall die; I know thee well, an earl thou art,— Lord Piercy, so am I.

"But trust me, Piercy, pity it were, And great offence, to kill Any of these our guiltless men, For they have done no ill.

"Let you and me the battle try, And set our men aside." "Accursed be he," Earl Piercy said, "By whom this is denied."

Then stepped a gallant squire forth, Witherington was his name, Who said, "I would not have it told To Henry, our king, for shame,

"That e'er my captain fought on foot, And I stood looking on. You two be earls," said Witherington, "And I a squire alone;

"I'll do the best that do I may, While I have power to stand; While I have power to wield my sword I'll fight with heart and hand."

Our English archers bent their bows,— Their hearts were good and true; At the first flight of arrows sent, Full fourscore Scots they slew.

Yet stays Earl Douglas on the bent, As chieftain stout and good; As valiant captain, all unmoved, The shock he firmly stood.

His host he parted had in three, As leader ware and tried; And soon his spearmen on their foes Bore down on every side.

Throughout the English archery They dealt full many a wound; But still our valiant Englishmen All firmly kept their ground.

And throwing straight their bows away, They grasped their swords so bright; And now sharp blows, a heavy shower, On shields and helmets light.

They closed full fast on every side,— No slackness there was found; And many a gallant gentleman Lay gasping on the ground.

In truth, it was a grief to see How each one chose his spear, And how the blood out of their breasts Did gush like water clear.

At last these two stout earls did meet; Like captains of great might, Like lions wode, they laid on lode, And made a cruel fight.

They fought until they both did sweat, With swords of tempered steel, Until the blood, like drops of rain, They trickling down did feel.

"Yield thee, Lord Piercy," Douglas said, "In faith I will thee bring Where thou shalt high advanced be By James, our Scottish king.

"Thy ransom I will freely give, And this report of thee,— Thou art the most courageous knight That ever I did see."

"No, Douglas," saith Earl Piercy then, "Thy proffer I do scorn; I will not yield to any Scot That ever yet was born."

With that there came an arrow keen Out of an English bow, Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart,— A deep and deadly blow;

Who never spake more words than these: "Fight on, my merry men all; For why, my life is at an end; Lord Piercy sees my fall."

Then leaving life, Earl Piercy took The dead man by the hand; And said, "Earl Douglas, for thy life Would I had lost my land.

"In truth, my very heart doth bleed With sorrow for thy sake; For sure a more redoubted knight Mischance did never take."

A knight amongst the Scots there was Who saw Earl Douglas die, Who straight in wrath did vow avenge Upon the Earl Piercy.

Sir Hugh Mountgomery was he called, Who, with a spear full bright, Well mounted on a gallant steed, Ran fiercely through the fight;

And past the English archers all, Without a dread or fear; And through Earl Piercy's body then He thrust his hateful spear.

With such vehement force and might He did his body gore, The staff ran through the other side A large cloth-yard and more.

So thus did both these nobles die, Whose courage none could stain. An English archer then perceived The noble earl was slain.

He had a bow bent in his hand, Made of a trusty tree; An arrow of a cloth-yard long To the hard head haled he.

Against Sir Hugh Mountgomery So right the shaft he set, The gray goose wing that was thereon In his heart's blood was wet.

This fight did last from break of day Till setting of the sun; For when they rung the evening-bell The battle scarce was done.

With stout Earl Piercy there were slain Sir John of Egerton, Sir Robert Ratcliff, and Sir John, Sir James, that bold baron.

And with Sir George and stout Sir James, Both knights of good account. Good Sir Ralph Raby there was slain, Whose prowess did surmount.

For Witherington my heart is woe That ever he slain should be, For when his legs were hewn in two, He knelt and fought on his knee.

And with Earl Douglas there was slain Sir Hugh Mountgomery, Sir Charles Murray, that from the field One foot would never flee;

Sir Charles Murray of Ratcliff, too,— His sister's son was he; Sir David Lamb, so well esteemed, But saved he could not be.

And the Lord Maxwell in like case Did with Earl Douglas die: Of twenty hundred Scottish spears, Scarce fifty-five did fly.

Of fifteen hundred Englishmen, Went home but fifty-three; The rest in Chevy-Chace were slain, Under the greenwood tree.

Next day did many widows come, Their husbands to bewail; They washed their wounds in brinish tears. But all would not prevail.

Their bodies, bathed in purple blood, They bore with them away; They kissed them dead a thousand times, Ere they were clad in clay.

The news was brought to Edinburgh, Where Scotland's king did reign, That brave Earl Douglas suddenly Was with an arrow slain:

"O heavy news," King James did say; "Scotland can witness be I have not any captain more Of such account as he."

Like tidings to King Henry came Within as short a, space, That Piercy of Northumberland Was slain in Chevy-Chace:

"Now God be with him," said our King, "Since 'twill no better be; I trust I have within my realm Five hundred as good as he:

"Yet shall not Scots or Scotland say But I will vengeance take; I'll be revenged on them all For brave Earl Piercy's sake."

This vow full well the king performed After at Humbledown; In one day fifty knights were slain With lords of high renown;

And of the rest, of small account, Did many hundreds die: Thus endeth the hunting of Chevy-Chace, Made by the Earl Piercy.

God save the king, and bless this land, With plenty, joy, and peace; And grant, henceforth, that foul debate 'Twixt noblemen may cease.


* * * * *


[A confused echo of the Scotch expedition which should have brought the Maid of Norway to Scotland, about 1285.]

The king sits in Dunfermline town, Drinking the blude-red wine, "O whare will I get a skeely skipper, To sail this new ship of mine!"

O up and spake an eldern knight, Sat at the king's right knee,— "Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor, That ever sailed the sea."

Our king has written a braid letter, And sealed it with his hand, And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens, Was walking on the strand.

"To Noroway, to Noroway, To Noroway o'er the faem; The king's daughter of Noroway, 'Tis thou maun bring her hame."

The first word that Sir Patrick read, Sae loud loud laughed he; The neist word that Sir Patrick read, The tear blinded his e'e.

"O wha is this has done this deed, And tauld the king o' me, To send us out, at this time of the year, To sail upon the sea?

"Be it wind, be it weet, be it hail, be it sleet, Our ship must sail the faem; The king's daughter of Noroway, 'Tis we must fetch her hame."

They hoysed their sails on Monenday morn, Wi' a' the speed they may; They hae landed in Noroway, Upon a Wodensday.

They hadna been a week, a week, In Noroway, but twae, When that the lords o' Noroway Began aloud to say,—

"Ye Scottishmen spend a' our king's goud, And a' our queenis fee." "Ye lie, ye lie, ye liars loud! Fu' loud I hear ye lie.

"For I brought as much white monic, As gane[A] my men and me, And I brought a half-fou[B] o' gude red goud, Out o'er the sea wi' me.

"Make ready, make ready, my merrymen a'! Our gude ship sails the morn." "Now, ever alake, my master dear, I fear a deadly storm!

"I saw the new moon, late yestreen, Wi' the auld moon in her arm; And, if we gang to sea, master, I fear we'll come to harm."

They hadna sailed a league, a league, A league but barely three, When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud, And gurly grew the sea.

The ankers brak, and the topmasts lap, It was sic a deadly storm; And the waves cam o'er the broken ship, Till a' her sides were torn.

"O where will I get a gude sailor, To take my helm in hand, Till I get up to the tall top-mast, To see if I can spy land?"

"O here am I, a sailor gude, To take the helm in hand, Till you go up to the tall top-mast; But I fear you'll ne'er spy land."

He hadna gane a step, a step, A step but barely are, When a bout flew out of our goodly ship, And the salt sea it came in.

"Gae, fetch a web o' silken claith, Another o' the twine, And wap them into our ship's side, And let na the sea come in."

They fetched a web o' the silken claith, Another o' the twine, And they wapped them round that gude ship's side, But still the sea came in.

O laith, laith, were our gude Scots lords To weet their cork-heeled shoon! But lang or a' the play was played, They wat their hats aboon.

And mony was the feather-bed, That flattered on the faem; And mony was the gude lord's son, That never mair cam hame.

The ladyes wrang their fingers white, The maidens tore their hair, A' for the sake of their true loves; For them they'll see na mair.

O lang, lang, may the ladyes sit, Wi' their fans into their hand, Before they see Sir Patrick Spens Come sailing to the strand!

And lang, lang, may the maidens sit, Wi' their goud kaims in their hair, A' waiting for their ain dear loves! For them they'll see na mair.

O forty miles off Aberdeen, 'Tis fifty fathoms deep, And there lies gude Sir Patrick Spens, Wi' the Scots lords at his feet.

[Footnote A: Suffice.]

[Footnote B: The eighth part of a peck.]


* * * * *


[This ballad exists in Denmark, and in other European countries. The Scotch point out Blackhouse, on the wild Douglas Burn, a tributary of the Yarrow, as the scene of the tragedy.]

"Rise up, rise up, now, Lord Douglas," she says, "And put on your armor so bright; Let it never be said, that a daughter of thine Was married to a lord under night.

"Rise up, rise up, my seven bold sons, And put on your armor so bright, And take better care of your youngest sister, For your eldest's awa the last night."

He's mounted her on a milk-white steed, And himself on a dapple grey, With a bugelet horn hung down by his side, And lightly they rade away.

Lord William lookit o'er his left shoulder, To see what he could see, And there he spyed her seven brethren bold, Come riding over the lea.

"Light down, light down, Lady Marg'ret," he said, "And hold my steed in your hand, Until that against your seven brothers bold, And your father, I mak a stand."

She held his steed in her milk-white hand, And never shed one tear, Until that she saw her seven brethren fa', And her father hard fighting, who loved her so dear.

"O hold your hand, Lord William!" she said, "For your strokes they are wond'rous sair; True lovers I can get many a ane, But a father I can never get mair."

O she's ta'en out her handkerchief, It was o' the holland sae fine, And aye she dighted her father's bloody wounds, That were redder than the wine.

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