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Days passed: adown the mountain roads
Came weary exiles with their loads
Of household gods and gear; the men
Built camps in forest or in glen :

The women nursed their babes, and prayed,
And starved. Such misery, arrayed

In such a motley caravan,

Was never seen before by man!
Each day my pretty Bosnian sought
Her parents 'mid the rabble: nought
Could she discover-nor could hear
A word to make her hope or fear.


And so she left us, and her way
Back through ravines where terrors lay
She took. My heart went with the sweet
And faithful maiden, who could meet
All dangers rather than desert
Her loved and loving ones; the hurt
Of her departure was so great
That I was as oppressed by fate.
Untasted from my lips the can
Passed, and I sat a mourning man
Among my fellow-troopers, while
The hours with rout they did beguile.


One day the bugles blew, and we
At last might set the sufferers free :
We sprang to saddle, and we swore
To sheathe our sabres nevermore
Till Bosnian maids and mothers might
Sing holy songs without affright,
Till Turkish tyranny were dead!
Some noble words our leader said,
And Francis-Joseph had a cheer
It would have made him proud to hear!

To Moslem tyrant's rocky den

The Hapsburg eagles led us then.


In many a fight our trumpets rang :
On precipice's brink the clang
Of weapons echoed, and we frayed
Our path through fire and ambuscade.
The Bashi-Bazouk from his lair

Looked down, with dull and frightened stare,
Upon our columns as they wound

Among the rocks; then on his round

Of massacre and rapine sped.
He hovered at our army's head,
And left a line of blood and fire
In memory of his vengeance dire.


We chanced upon a mountain side
To see a village burning. 'Ride!'
Our leader said, 'as if the land
Opened behind ye! Smite with hand
Relentless every brigand. Lives
Are at the mercy of their knives !'
Swift from the earth our horses sprung ;
Free to the air our flags we flung ;
Flashed in the light our sabres long,
As down we dashed among the throng
Of murderous banditti, come

To desolate each Christian home!


Lord God! my heart felt agony !
In market-place what did I see

When strife was over? As I breathe

As locks made grey that day do wreathe
My temples-I saw, dead, divine,
Upon her naked breast the sign
Of holy cross gashed by a blade
In mockery-my Bosnian maid !

We laid the saint upon a bier,
And stood in awe.

And now and here I swear my heart died on that day! What matter if my hair be grey?




PRINCE Lazarus among his chieftains stood
At mystic Kossovo :

Around them warriors and prophets good
Were ranged, and o'er a purpose seemed to brood.
'To fight the Turk we go
To-morrow,' quoth the prince: but, as he spoke,
A mighty light upon the heavens broke.


A falcon with a swallow in his claw
Came swooping down the sky :
And when the priests the birds approaching saw,
They whispered, "Tis some new revealed law
The saints deign to supply.
For see the prince as in a vision gropes,
And for supernal revelation hopes !'


The falcon and the swallow vanished quite :
The prince fell on his knees :
And great Elijah, saintly, noble, white,
Appeared all shining with celestial light.
" Rise up! and be at ease,'
He said; 'Receive thy message from above;
And give attention meekly and in love.


'No swallow bring I in my hand to thee;
But from the Queen of Heaven
A letter writ in golden lines, to be

Conned o'er and o'er with due humility,
And answer must be given

Ere thou dost march against the armèd horde
Of savages from Asian plains outpoured.'


Prince Lazarus the letter took, and read,
And on him fell a fear.

He seemed to hear the voices of the dead;
The missive's golden lines were full of dread,
But oh their sense was clear !
And in his heart he felt a deadly pang,

While near his tent the martial trumpets rang.

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