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The eldest was a true and tameless Tartar,

As great a scorner of the Nazarene
As ever Mahomet pick'd out for a martyr,

Who only saw the black-eyed girls in green,
Who make the beds of those who won't take quarter

On earth, in Paradise ; and when once seen, Those houris, like all other pretty creatures, Do just whate'er they please, by dint of features.


And what they pleased to do with the young khan

In heaven I know not, nor pretend to guess ; But doubtless they prefer a fine

young man To tough old heroes, and can do no less ; And that's the cause no doubt why, if we scan

A field of battle's ghastly wilderness, For one rough, weather-beaten, veteran body, You'll find ten thousand handsome coxcombs bloody.


Your houris also have a natural pleasure

In lopping off your lately married men, Before the bridal hours have danced their measure, And the sad, second moon grows

dim again, Or dull repentance hath had dreary leisure

To wish him back a bachelor now and then.
And thus your houri (it may be) disputes
Of these brief blossoms the immediate fruits.


Thus the young khan, with houris in his sight,

Thought not upon the charms of four young brides, But bravely rush'd on his first heavenly night.

In short, howe'er our better faith derides, These black-eyed virgins make the Moslems fight, As though there were one heaven and none

besides Whereas, if all be true we hear of heaven And hell, there must at least be six or seven.


So fully flash'd the phantom on his eyes,

That when the very lance was in his heart, He shouted “ Allah!” and saw Paradise

With all its veil of mystery drawn apart, And bright eternity without disguise

On his soul, like a ceaseless sunrise, dart :With prophets, houris, angels, saints, descried In one voluptuous blaze,--and then he died :


But with a heavenly rapture on his face,

The good old khan, who long had ceased to see Houris, or aught except his florid race

Who grew like cedars round him gloriouslyWhen he beheld his latest hero grace

The earth, which he became like a fell’d tree, Paused for a moment from the fight, and cast A glance on that slain son, his first and last.


The soldiers, who beheld him drop his point,

Stopp'd as if once more willing to concede Quarter, in case he bade them not “ aroynt !”

As he before had done. He did not heed Their pause nor signs: his heart was out of joint,

And shook (till now unshaken) like a reed, As he look’d down upon his children gone, And felt — though done with life—he was alone. (1)

But 'twas a transient tremor:— with a spring,

Upon the Russian steel his breast he fung,
As carelessly as hurls the moth her wing

Against the light wherein she dies: he clung Closer, that all the deadlier they might wring,

Unto the bayonets which had pierced his young; And throwing back a dim look on his sons, In one wide wound pour’d forth his soul at once.

CXIX. 'Tis strange enough-the rough, tough soldiers, who

Spared neither sex nor age in their career Of carnage, when this old man was pierced through,

And lay before them with his children near, Touch'd by the heroism of him they slew,

Were melted for a moment; though no tear Flow'd from their bloodshot eyes, all red with strife, They honour'd such determined scorn of life.

(1) “ Ces cinq fils furent tous tués sous ces yeux : il ne cessa point de se battre, répondit par des coups de sabre aux propositions de se rendre, et ne fut atteint du coup mortel qu'après avoir abattu de sa main beaucoup de Kozaks des plus acharnés à sa prise; le reste de sa troupe fut massacré." - Hist. de la N. R. p. 215.]


But the stone bastion still kept up its fire,

Where the chief pacha calmly held his post :
Some twenty times he made the Russ retire,

And baffled the assaults of all their host;
At length he condescended to enquire

If yet the city's rest were won or lost;
And being told the latter, sent a bey
To answer Ribas' summons to give way.(1)

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In the mean time, cross-legg’d, with great sang-froid,

Among the scorching ruins he sat smoking
Tobacco on a little carpet ;— Troy

Saw nothing like the scene around;- yet looking
With martial stoicism, nought seem'd to annoy

His stern philosophy; but gently stroking
His beard, he puff'd his pipe's ambrosial gales,
As if he had three lives, as well as tails. (?)

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The town was taken whether he might yield

Himself or bastion, little matter'd now:
His stubborn valour was no future shield.

Ismail's no more ! The crescent's silver bow

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(1) [“ Quoique les Russes fussent répandus dans la ville, le bastion de pierre résistait encore ; il était défendu par un vieillard, pacha à trois queues, et commandant les forces réunies à Ismaël. On lui proposa une capitulation; il demanda si le reste de la ville était conquis; sur cette réponse, il autorisa quelques-uns de ces officiers à capituler avec M. de Ribas.” Hist. de la N. R. p. 215.]

(2) [“ Pendant ce colloque, il resta étendu sur des tapis placés sur les ruines de la forteresse, fumant sa pipe avec la même tranquillité et la même indifférence que s'il eût été étranger à tout ce qui se passait.” Ibid. p. 215.] VOL. XVI.


Sunk, and the crimson cross glared o'er the field,

But red with no redeeming gore: the glow
Of burning streets, like moonlight on the water,
Was imaged back in blood, the sea of slaughter.

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All that the mind would shrink from of excesses;

All that the body perpetrates of bad;
All that we read, hear, dream, of man's distresses;

All that the devil would do if run stark mad;
All that defies the worst which pen expresses ;

All by which hell is peopled, or as sad
As hell — mere mortals who their power abuse
Was here (as heretofore and since) let loose. (1)

(1) [No man could describe, nor, if it were possible, could humanity bear the recital of, the horrors which ensued. The ferocious victors, instead of being struck with admiration or respect by the noble defence of the brave garrison, were so enraged at the great slaughter of their fellows which had taken place, that no bounds could be prescribed to the excess of their fury, nor did it seem that any amount of destruction, or any quantity of human blood, could satiate their revenge. The undistinguished carnage which then took place was rendered more dreadful by the continual heavy firing, the darkness of the night, the groans of the dying, and the lamentable shrieks of the women and children, All order and command seem to have been entirely at an end during the horrors of that terrible night : the officers could neither restrain the slaughter, nor prevent the general plunder, made by the lawless and ferocious soldiers. Thousands of the Turks, incapable of enduring the sight of the horrid scenes of destruction in which all that was dear to them was involved, rushed desperately upon the bayonets of the enemy, in order to shorten their misery; while those who could reach the Danube, threw themselves headlong into it for the same purpose. The streets and passages were so choked by the heaps of dead and dying bodies which lay in them, as considerably to impede the progress of the victors in their eager search for plunder. - Dr. LAURENCE, in Ann. Reg. for 1791.)

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