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History can only take things in the gross;
But could we know them in detail, perchance In balancing the profit and the loss,
War’s merit it by no means might enhance, To waste so much gold for a little dross,
As hath been done, mere conquest to advance. The drying up a single tear has more Of honest fame, than shedding seas of gore.
And why?-because it brings self-approbation;
Whereas the other, after all its glare,
Which it may be) has not much left to spare, A higher title, or a loftier station,
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.
And such they are- and such they will be found:
Not so Leonidas and Washington, Whose every battle-field is holy ground,
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 watchword till the future shall be free.
The night was dark, and the thick mist allow'd
Nought to be seen save the artillery's flame, Which arch'd the horizon like a fiery cloud,
And in the Danube's waters shone the same-(1) A mirror'd hell! the volleying roar, and loud
Long booming of each peal on peal, o'ercame The ear far more than thunder; for Heaven's flashes Spare, or smite rarely-man's make millions ashes !
The column order'd on the assault scarce pass'd
Beyond the Russian batteries a few toises, When 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 ; While the whole rampart blazed like Etna, when The restless Titan hiccups in his den.()
(1) [" La nuit était obscure; un brouillard épais ne nous permettait de distinguer autre chose que le feu de notre artillerie, dont l'horizon était embra de tous côtés : ce feu, partant du milieu du Danube, se réfle chissait sur les eaux, et offrait un coup d'ail très-singulier.” – Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, tom. iii. p. 209.]
(2) [“ 'A peine eut-on parcouru l'espace de quelques toises au-delà des batteries, que les Turcs, qui n'avaient point tiré pendant toute la nuit, s'apperçevant de nos mouvemens, commencèrent de leur côté un feu très-vif, qui embrasa le reste de l'horizon : mais ce fut bien autre chose lorsque, avancés davantage, le feu de la mousqueterie commença dans toute l'étendue du rempart que nous appercevions. Ce fut alors que la place parut à nos yeux comme un volcan dont le feu sortait de toutes par. ties." - Ibid. p. 209.]
And one enormous shout of “ Allah !" (1) rose
In the same moment, loud as even the roar Of war's most mortal engines, to their foes
Hurling defiance : city, stream, and shore Resounded “ Allah!” and the clouds which close
With thick'ning canopy the conflict o'er, Vibrate to the Eternal name. Hark! through All sounds it pierceth “ Allah! Allah! Hu!" (2)
The columns were in movement one and all,
But of the portion which attack'd by water, Thicker than leaves the lives began to fall, (3)
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 :" (4) If he speak truth, she is Christ's sister, and Just now behaved as in the Holy Land.
(1) [“ Un cri universel d'Allah ! qui se répétait tout autour de la ville, vint encore rendre plus extraordinaire cet instant, dont il est impossible de se faire une idée." — Hist. de la N. R. p. 209.]
(2) Allah Hu! is properly the war cry of the Mussulmans, and they dwell on the last syllable, which gives it a wild and peculiar effect.
(3) [" Toutes les colonnes étaient en mouvement; celles qui attaquaient par eau commandées par le général Arseniew, essuyèrent un feu épou. vantable, et perdirent avant le jour un tiers de leurs officiers.” — Ibid.]: (4)
“ But Thy * most dreaded instrument
In working out a pure intent,
WORDSWORTH's Thanksgiving Ode. ;
* To wit, the Deity's : this is perhaps as pretty a pedigree for murder as ever was found out by Garter King at Arms. What would have been said, had any free-spoken people discovered such a lineage ?
The Prince de Ligne was wounded in the knee ;
Count Chapeau-Bras, too, had a ball between His
cap and head, (1) which proves the head to be Aristocratic as was ever seen, Because it then received no injury
More than the cap; in fact, the ball could mean No harm unto a right legitimate head : “ Ashes to ashes” — why not lead to lead ?
Also the General Markow, Brigadier,
Insisting on removal of the prince
All common fellows, who might writhe and wince, And shriek for water into a deaf ear,
The General Markow, who could thus evince His sympathy for rank, by the same token, To teach him greater, had his own leg broken.(2)
Three hundred cannon threw up their emetic,
And thirty thousand muskets Aung their pills Like hail, to make a bloody diuretic.(3)
Mortality! thou hast thy monthly bills;
(1) [" Le Prince de Ligne fut blessé au genou ; le Duc de Richelieu eut une balle entre le fond de son bonnet et sa téte."- Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, t. iii. p. 210.]
(2) [" Le brigadier Markow, insistant pour qu'on emportât le prince blessé, reçut un coup de fusil qui lui fracassa le pied.” – Ibid. p. 210.]
(3) [“ Trois cents bouches à feu vomissaient sans interruption, et trente mille fusils alimentaient sans relâche une grêle de balles.” — Ibid. p. 210.]
Thy plagues, thy famines, thy physicians, yet tick, ,
Like the death-watch, within our ears the ills Past, present, and to come ; — but all may yield To the true portrait of one battle-field.
There the still varying pangs, which multiply
Until their very number makes men hard By the infinities of agony,
Which meet the gaze, whate'er it may regard – The groan, the roll in dust, the all-white eye
Turn’d back within its socket,- these reward Your rank and file by thousands, while the rest May win perhaps a riband at the breast !
Yet I love glory ;-glory's a great thing:
age Maintain'd at the expense of your good king:
A moderate pension shakes full many a sage, And heroes are but made for bards to sing,
Which is still better; thus in verse to wage Your wars eternally, besides enjoying Half-pay for life, make mankind worth destroying.
The troops, already disembark'd, push'd on
To take a battery on the right; the others, Who landed lower down, their landing done,
Had set to work as briskly as their brothers :