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XXXVIII. Hark!-heard you not those hoofs of dreadful note? Sounds not the clang of conflict on the heath! Saw ye not whom the reeking sabre smote; Nor sav'd your brethren ere they sank beneath Tyrants and tyrants' slaves !--the fires of death, The bale-fires flash on high;—from rock to rock Each volley tells that thousands cease to breathe ;.
Death rides upon the sulphury Siroc,
Red Battle stamps his foot and nations feel the shock.
Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deep’ning in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon ;
Restless it rolls, now fixed, and now anon
Flashing afar,---and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers to mark what deeds are done:
For on this morn three potent nations meet,
To shed before his shrine the blood he deems most sweet.
XL. By Heaven ! it is a splendid sight to see (For one who hath no friend, no brother there) Their rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery, Their various arms that glitter in the air!. What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair, And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for their prey ! All join the chase, but few the triumph share;
The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away,
Aad Havoc scarce for joy can number their array.
Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice;
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high ;
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies ;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory;
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally
That fights for all but ever fights in vain,
Are met-as if at home they could not die
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
And fertilize the field that each pretends to gaini.
There shall they rot-Ambition's honour'd fools !
Yes, Honour decks the turf that wraps their clay!
Vain Sophistry ! in these behold the tools,
The broken tools, that tyrants cast away
By myriads, when they dare to pave their way
With human hears to what?-a dream alone.
Can despots compass aught that hails their sway?
Or call with truth one span of earth their own,
Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone?
Oh, Albuera! glorious field of grief !
As o'er thy plain the Pilgrim prick'd his steed,
Who could foresee thee, in a space so brief,
A scene where mingling foes should boast and bleed!
Peace to the perish'd ! may the warrior's meed
And tears of triumph their reward prolong!
Till others fall where other chieftains lead
Thy name shall circle round the gaping throng,
And shine in worthless lays, the theme of transient song.
Enough of Battle's minions ! let them play
Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame;
Fame that will scarce reanimate their clay,
Though thousands fall to deck some single name
In sooth 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim
Who strike, blest hirelings for their country's good,
And die, that living might have prov'd her shame?
Perishd, perchance, in some domestic feud,
Or in a narrower sphere wild Rapine's path pursu'd.
Full swiftly Harold wends his lonely way
Where proud Sevilla triumphs unsubdued;
Yet is she free-the spoiler's wish'd-for prey !
Soon, soon shall Conquest's fiery foot intrude,
Blackening her lovely domes with traces rude.
Inevitable hour! 'Gainst fate to strive
Where Desolation plants her famish'd brood,
Is vain, or Ilion, Tyre might yet survive,
Aud Virtue vanquish all, and Murder cease to thrive, ,
But all unconcious of the coming doom,
The feast, the song, the revel here abounds;
Strange modes of merriment the hours consume,
Nor bleed these patriots with their country's wounds:
Not here war's clarion, but Love's rebeck sounds;
Here Folly still his votaries enthralls:
And young-eyed Lewdness walks her midnight rounds
Girt with the silent crimes of Capitals,
Still to the last kind Vice clings to the tott'ring walls.
Not so the rustic-with his trembling mate
He lurks, nor casts his heavy eye afar,
Lest he should view his vineyard desolate,
Blasted below the dun hot breath of war.
No more beneath soft Eve's consenting star
Fandango twirls his jocund castanet:
Ah, monarchs !could ye taste the mirth ye mar,
Not in the toils of Glory would ye fret ;
The hoarse full drum would sleep, and Man be happy yet.
How carols now the lusty muleteer ?
Of love, romance, devotion is his lay,
As whilome he was wont the leagues to cheer.
His quick Bells wildly jingling on the way ?
No ! as he speeds, he chaunts ;“ Viva el Rey!” (8)
And checks his song to execrate Godoy,
The royal wittol Charles, and curse the day
When first Spain's queen beheld the black-ey'd boy, And gore-fac'd Treason sprung from her adulterate joy.
XLIX. On yon long, level plain, at distance crown'd With crags, whereon those Moorish turrets rest, Wide scatter'd hoof-marks dint the wounded ground; And, 'scath'd by fire, the green sward's darken’d vest Tells that the foe was Andalusia's guest: Here was the camp, the watch-fame, and the host, Here the bold peasant stormed the dragon's nest ;
Still does he mark it with triumphant boast, And points to yonder cliffs, which oft were wop and lost.
L. And whomsoe'er along the path you meet Bears in his cap the badge of crimson hue, Which tells you whom to shun and whom to greet; (9) Woe to the man that walks in public view Without of loyalty this token true ; Sharp is the knife, and sudden is the stroke; And sorely would the gallic foeman rue,
If subtle poniards, wrapt beneath the cloke,
Could blunt the sabre's edge, or clear the cannon's smoke.
At every turn Morena's dusky height
Sustains aloft the battery's iron load;
And far as mortal eye can compass sight,
The mountain howitzer, the broken road,
The bristling pallisade, the fosse o'erflowed,
The station'd bands, the never vacant watch,
The magazine in rocky durance stow'd,
The holster'd steed beneath the shed of thatch,
The bal-pil'd pyramid, the ever blazing match, (10)
LII. Portend the deeds to come ;-but he whose nod Has tumbled feebler despots from their sway A moment pauseth ere he lifts the rod ; A little moment deigueth to delay; Soon will his legions sweep through these their way; The West must own the Scourger of the world. Ah ! Spain ! how sad will be thy reckoning day,
When soars Gaul's Vulture, with his wings uufurl'd, And thou shalt view thy sons in crowds to Hades hurl'd.
LIII. And must they fall, the young, the proud, the brave, To swell one bloated Chief's unwholesome reign, No step between submission and a grave, The rise of rapine and the fall of Spain ? And doth the Power that man adores ordain Their doom, nor heed the suppliant's appeal, Is all that desperate valour acts in vain ! And counsel sage, and patriotic zeal,
(steel; The Veteran's skill, Youth's fire, and Manhood's heart of
Is it for this the Spanish maid arous'd,
Hangs on the willow her unstrung guitar,
And, all unsex'd, the Anlace hath espous'd,
Sung the loud song, and dar'd the deed of war?
And she, whom once the semblance of a scar
Appall'd, an owlet's larum cbill'd with dread.
Now views the column-scattering bay'net jar,
The falchion flash, and o'er the yet warm dead (tread. Stalks with Minerva's step where Mars might quake to
LV. Ye who shall marvel when you hear her tale, Oh ! had you known her in her softer hour, Mark'd her black eye that mocks her coal-black veil, Heard her light, lively tones in Lady's bower, Seen her long locks that foil the painter's power, Her fairy form, with more than female grace, Scarce would you deem that Saragoza's tower
Bebeld her smile in Danger's Gorgon face, Thin the clos'd ranks, and lead in Glory's fearful chase.
LVI. Her lover sinks she sheds no ill-tim'd tear ; Her chief is slain-she fills his fatal post; Her fellows fleeshe checks their base career : The foe retires-she heads the sallying host : Who can appease like her a lover's ghost? Who can avenge so well a leader's fall ? What maid retrieve when man's flush'd hope is lost?
Who hang so fiercely on the flying Gaul,
Foil'd by a woman's hand, before a batter'd wall?(11)
Yet are Spain's maids no race of Amazons,
But form’d for all the witching arts of love ;
Though thus in arms they emulate her sons,
And in the horrid phalanx dare to move,
'Tis but the tender fierceness of the dove
Pecking the hand that hovers o'er her mate ;
In softness as in firmness far above
Remoter females, fani'd for sickening prate ;
Her mind is nobler sure, her charms perchance as great.