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Being grenadiers, they mounted one by one,
Cheerful as children climb the breasts of mothers, O'er the entrenchment and the palisade, ('). Quite orderly, as if upon parade.
And this was admirable ; for so hot
The fire was, that were red Vesuvius loaded, Besides its lava, with all sorts of shot
And shells or hells, it could not more have goaded. Of officers a third fell on the spot,
A thing which victory by no means boded To gentlemen engaged in the assault : Hounds, when the huntsman tumbles, are at fault.
But here I leave the general concern,
To track our hero on his path of fame : He must his laurels separately earn ;
For fifty thousand heroes, name by name,
A couplet, or an elegy to claim,
(1) [" Les troupes, déjà débarquées, se portèrent à droite pour s'emparer d'un batterie; et celles débarquées plus bas, principalement composées des grenadiers de Fanagorie, escaladaient le retranchement et la palissade.”. Hist. de la Nouvelle Russie, tom. iii. p. 210.]
To the Gazette—which doubtless fairly dealt
In ditches, fields, or wheresoe'er they felt Their clay for the last time their souls encumber ;
Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt In the despatch : I knew a man whose loss Was printed Grove, although his name was Grose. (1)
Juan and Johnson join'd a certain corps,
And fought away with might and main, not knowing The which they had never trod before,
And still less guessing where they might be going; But on they march’d, dead bodies trampling o'er,
Firing, and thrusting, slashing, sweating, glowing, But fighting thoughtlessly enough to win, To their two selves, one whole bright bulletin.
Thus on they wallow'd in the bloody mire
Of dead and dying thousands, — sometimes gaining A yard or two of ground, which brought them nigher
To some odd angle for which all were straining; At other times, repulsed by the close fire,
Which really pour'd as if all hell were raining Instead of heaven, they stumbled backwards o’er A wounded comrade, sprawling in his gore.
(1) A fact: see the Waterloo Gazettes. I recollect remarking at the time to a friend :-“ There is fame! a man is killed, his name is Grose, and they print it Grove." I was at college with the deceased, who was a very amiable and clever man, and his society in great request for his wity gaiety, and “ Chansons à boire.”
Though 't was Don Juan's first of fields, and though
The nightly muster and the silent march
So much as under a triumphal arch,
A glance on the dull clouds (as thick as starch, Which stiffen'd heaven) as if he wish'd for day ;Yet for all this he did not run away.
There have been and are heroes who begun
Frederic the Great from Molwitz deign'd to run, For the first and last time; for, like a pad,
Or hawk, or bride, most mortals after one Warm bout are broken into their new tricks, And fight like fiends for pay or politics.
He was what Erin calls, in her sublime
be Punic; (The antiquarians (1) who can settle time,
Which settles all things, Roman, Greek, or Runic, Swear that Pat's language sprung from the same clime
With Hannibal, and wears the Tyrian tunic
(1) See General Valancey and Sir Lawrence Parsons.
A thing of impulse and a child of song;
Or the sensation (if that phrase seem wrong), And afterward, if he must needs destroy,
In such good company as always throng To battles, sieges, and that kind of pleasure, No less delighted to employ his leisure;
But always without malice: if he warr'd
Or loved, it was with what we call “ the best Intentions," which form all mankind's trump card,
To be produced when brought up to the test. The statesman, hero, harlot, lawyer - ward
Off each attack, when people are in quest Of their designs, by saying they meant well; 'Tis pity“ that such meaning should pave hell.” (1)
I almost lately have begun to doubt
Whether hell's pavement if it be so paved Must not have latterly been quite worn out,
Not by the numbers good intent hath saved, But by the mass who go below without
Those ancient good intentions, which once shaved And smooth'd the brimstone of that street of hell Which bears the greatest likeness to Pall Mall.
(1) The Portuguese proverb says that “hell is paved with good intentions."
Juan, by some strange chance, which oft divides
Warrior from warrior in their grim career, Like chastest wives from constant husbands' sides Just at the close of the first bridal
year, By one of those odd turns of
I don't know how the thing occurr'd- it might
Be that the greater part were kill'd or wounded, And that the rest had faced unto the right
About; a circumstance which has confounded
Of his whole army, which so much abounded
Juan, who had no shield to snatch, and was
No Cæsar, but a fine young lad, who fought He knew not why, arriving at this pass,
Stopp'd for a minute, as perhaps he ought
(1) [“ The Nervii marched to the number of sixty thousand, and fell upon Cæsar, as he was fortifying his camp, and had not the least notion of so sudden an attack. They first routed his cavalry, and then surrounded the twelfth and the seventh legions, and killed all the officers. Had not Cæsar snatched a buckler from one of his own men, forced his way through the combatants before him, and rushed upon the barbarians; or had not the tenth legion, seeing his danger, ran from the heights where they were posted, and mowed down the enemy's ranks, not one Roman would have survived the battle.” – PLUTARCH. ]