« AnteriorContinuar »
Think not that for a fresh rebound,
We yield thee means or scope.
No islet calls thee lord,
From which we wrench'd the sword.
Than yet thy life has known;
A triumph all thine own.
That marr'd thy prosperous scene:-
With what thou MIGHT'ST HAVE BEEN!!
Triumph and Sorrow border near,
but think on Waterloo !
XIX. Thou, too, whose deeds of fame renewd Bankrupt a nation's gratitude, To thine own noble heart must owe More than the meed she can bestow. For not a people's just acclaim, Not the full hail of Europe's fame, Thy Prince's smiles, thy State's decree, The ducal rank, the garter'd knee, Not these such pure delight afford As that, when hanging up thy sword, Well may'st thou think, “ This honest steel Was ever drawn for public weal; And, such was rightful Heaven's decree, Ne'er sheathed unless with victory!”
XXI. Period of honour as of woes, What bright careers 'twas thine to close !--Mark'd on thy roll of blood what names To Briton's memory, and to Fame's, Laid there their last immortal claims! Thou saw'st in seas of gore expire Redoubted PICTON's soul of fire Saw'st in the mingled carnage lie All that of PONSONBY could die DE LANCEY change Love's bridal-wreath, For laurels from the hand of Death_8 Sawost gallant MILLER's 4 failing eye Still bent where Albion's banners fly, And CAMERON, in the shock of steel, Die like the offspring of Lochiel;
XX. Look forth, once more, with soften'd heart, Ere from the field of fame we part;?
Tɔ die a prince-or live a slave
Byron's Ode to Napoleon.
Where Prussia late. with strong and stern delight, Hung on her fated foes to persecute their flight."
1 .. "Tis done-but yesterday a King!
And arm'd with Kings to strive-
So abject-yet alive!
And can he thus survive?
BYRON'S Ode to Napoleon.
8 The Poet's friend, Colonel Sir William De Lancey, married the beautiful daughter of Sir James Hall, Bart., in April 1815, and received his mortal wound on the 18th of June. See Cap tain B. Hall's affecting narrative in the first series of his "Fragments of Voyages and Travels," vol. ii. p. 369.
4 Colonel Miller, of the Guards--son to Sir William Miller, Lord Glenlee. When mortally wounded in the attack on the Bois de Bossu, he desired to see the colours of the regiment once more ere he died. They were waved over his head, and the expiring officer declared himself satisfied.
6 “Colonel Cameron, of Fassiefern, so often distinguished in Lord Wellington's despatches from Spain, fell in the action at Quatre Bras, (16th June 1815), while leading the 92d or Gor. don Highlanders, to charge a body of cavalry supported by infantry."- Puul's Letters, p. 91.
2 " We left the field of battle in such mood
As human hearts from thence should bear away; And, musing thus, our purposed route pursued,
Which still through scenes of recent bloodshed lay,
And generous GORDON,' 'mid the strife,
STERN tide of human Time! that know'st not rest,
The fisher-skiff, and barge that bears a court, Still watting onward all to one dark silent port;
Till time shall cease to run;
Who fought with Wellington!
Stern tide of Time! through what mysterious change
Succeeding ages ne'er again shall know,
Well hast thou stood, my Country -the brave
fight Hast well maintain'd through good report and il); In thy just cause and in thy native might, And in Heaven's grace and justice constant still; Whether the banded prowess, strength, and skill Of half the world against thee stood array'd, Or when, with better views and freer will,
Beside thee Europe's noblest drew the blade, Each emulous in arms the Ocean Queen to aid.
And Blenheim's name be new;
And Field of Waterloo.
Well art thou now repaid—though slowly rose,
Rivall’d the heroes of the wat'ry way,
Now, Island Empress, wave thy crest on high, And bid the banner of thy Patron flow, Gallant Saint George, the flower of Chivalry, For thou hast faced, like him, a dragon foe, And rescued innocence from overthrow,
i Colonel the Honourable Sir Alexander Gordon, brother to the Earl of Aberdeen, who has erected a pillar on the spot *here he fell by the side of the Duke of Wellington. 9 “Beyond these points the fight extended not,
Small theatre for such a tragedy !
To where the groves of Hougomont on high
And cover with their shade the countless dead.
And trace with understanding eyes a scene
From western Hougomont thy wav tegin ;
There was our strength on that side, and there first,
In all its force, the storm of battle burst."-SOUTHRY Mr. Southey adds, in a note on these verses :-“So important a battle, perhaps, was never before fought within so small an extent of ground. I computed the distance between tion. gomont and Popelot at three miles; in a straight line it might probably not exceed two and a half. Our guide was very much displeased at the name which the battle had obtained in England, - Why call it the battle of Waterloo ?' he said: 'Call it Hougomont, call it La Haye Sainte, ca:l it Popelotany thing but Waterloo.'"- Pilgrimage to Waterloo.
8 MS.-"On the broad occan first its lustre came
And trampled down, like him, tyrannic might,
The chosen emblem of thy sainted Knight,
The discipline so dreaded and admired,
'Tis constancy in the good cause alone,
Yet ’mid the confidence of just renown,
END OF THE FIELD OF WATERLOO."
1 In the Life of Sir W. Scott, vol. V., pp. 99-104, the reader is one, indeed, in which he illustrates what he then thought will find a curious record of minute alterations on this poem, Buonaparte's poorness of spirit in adversity, which always suggested, while it was proceeding through the press, by the struck me as pre-eminently characteristic of Scott's manner printer and the bookseller, with the author's good-natured of interweaving, both in prose and verse, the moral energies replies, sometimes adopting, sometimes rejecting what was with analogous natural description, and combining thought proposed.
with imagery :2“. The Field of Waterloo' was published before the
Or is thy soui like mountain tide, end of October, in 8vo. ; the profits of the first edition being
That swellid by winter storm and showei, the author's contribution to the fund raised for the relief
Rolls down in turbulence of power, of the widows and children of the soldiers slain in the
A torrent fierce and wide; battle. This piece appears to have disappointed those most
Reft of these aids, a rill obscure, disposed to sympathize with the author's views and feel
Shrinking unnoticed, mean and poor, ings. The descent is indeed heavy from his Bannockburn to
Whose channel shows display'd his Waterloo : the presence, or all but visible reality of what
The wrecks of its impetuous course, his dreams cherished, seems to have overawed his imagination,
But not one symptom of the force and tamed it into a weak pomposity of movement. The burst
By which these wrecks were made!' of pure native enthusiasm upon the Scottish heroes that fell around the Duke of Wellington's person, bears, however, the ciently hackneyed; and, having the advantage of coming out
“ The poem was the first upon a subject likely to be suffi. broadest marks of 'The Mighty Minstrel :
in a small cheap form-(prudently imitated from Murray's in-Saw gallant Miller's fading eye
novation with the tales of Byron, which was the death blow Still bent where Albion's standards fly,
to the system of verse in quarto, --it attained rapidly a meaAnd Cameron, in the shock of steel,
gure of circulation above what had been reached either by Die like the offspring of Lochiel,' &c.
Rokeby or the Lord of the Isles."-LOCKA.RT-Life of Scott and this is far imm being the only redeeming passage There I vol. V., pp. 1087.
from different points, that the day went against him, and that
the troops seemed to be disordered; to which he only ra The peasant, at his labour blithe,
plied,—' En-avant! En-arant!' Plies the hook'd staff and shorten'd scythe.-P. 501.
“One general sent to inform the Emperor that he was in a
position which he could not maintain, because it was comThe reaper in Flanders carries in his left hand a stick with
manded by a battery, and requested to know, at the same an iron hook, with which he collects as much grain as he can
time, in what way he should protect his division from tho cut at one sweep with a short scythe, which he holds in his murderous fire of the English artillery. •Let him storm the right hand. They carry on this double process with great battery,' replied Bonaparte,' and turned his back on the aide spirit and dexterity.
de-camp who brought the message."--Relation de la Battaille de Mont-St-Jean. Par un Témoin Oculaire. Paris, 1815, 8vo
Note D. Pale Brussels! then what thoughts were thine.-P. 502.
The fate their leader shunn'd to share.-P. 503. It was affirmed by the prisoners of war, that Bonaparte had promised his army, in case of victory, twenty-four hours' plun- It has been reported that Bonaparte charged at the head of der of the city of Brussels.
his guards, at the last period of this dreadful conflict. This, however, is not accurate. He came down indeed to a hollow part of the high road, leading to Charleroi, within less than a quarter of a mile of the farm of La Haye Sainte, one of the points most fiercely disputed. Here he harangued the guards, and informed them that his preceding operations had des
troyed the British infantry and cavalry, and that they had only Note C.
to support the fire of the artillery, which they were to
attack with the bayonet. This exhortation was received with * On! On/" was still his stern exclaim.-P. 503. shouts of Vive l'Empereur, which were heard over all our line,
and led to an idea that Napoleon was charging in person. The characteristic obstinacy of Napoleon was never more But the guards were led on by Neg; nor did Bonaparte apfully displayed than in what we may be permitted to hope will proach nearer the scene of action than the spot already menprove the last of his fields. He would listen to no advice, and tioned, which the rising banks on each side rendered secure allow of no obstacles. An eye-witness has given the following from all such balls as did not come in a straight line. He account of his demeanour towards the end of the action :- witnessed the earlier part of the battle from places yet more
"It was near seven o'clock; Bonaparte, who till then had re- remote, particularly from an observatory which had been mained upon the ridge of the hill whence he could best behold placed there by the King of the Netherlands, some weeks bewhat passed, contemplated with a stern countenance, the scene fore, for the purpose of surveying the country. It is not of this horrible slaughter. The more that obstacles seemed to meant to infer from these particulars that Napoleon showed, multiply, the more his obstinacy seemed to increase. He be- on that memorable occasion, the least deficiency in personal came indignant at these unforeseen difficulties; and, far from courage ; on the contrary, he evinced the greatest composure fearing to push to extremities an army whose confidence in and presence of mind during the whole action. But it is no him was boundless, he ceased not to pour down fresh troops, less true that report has erred in ascribing to him any despeand to give orders to march forward-to charge with the rate efforts of valour for recovery of the battle; and it is rebayonet-to carry by storm. He was repeatedly informed, markable, that during the whole carnage, none of his suits.
| The mistakes concernmg this observatory have been mu- Bonaparte: and a French writer affirms it was constructed by Lual. The English supposed it was erected for the use of the Duke of Wellington.
No persuasion or authority could prevail upon the French troops to stand the shock of the bayonet. The Imperial
Guards, in particular, hardly stood till the British were NOTE E.
within thirty yards of them, although the French author, England shall tell the fight!—P. 503.
already quoted, has put into their mouths the magnanimous
sentiment, “ The Guards never yield--they die." The samo In riding up to a regiment which was hard pressed, the Duke author has covered the plateau, or eminence, of St. Jean, called to the men, “Soldiers, we must never be beat, --what which formed the British position, with redoubts and re will they say in England ?" It is needless to say how this ap- trenchments which never had an existence. As the narra. peal was answered.
tive, which is in many respects curious, was written by an eye-witness, he was probably deceived by the appearance of a road and ditch which run along part of the hill. It may be also mentioned, in criticising this work, that the writer men
tions the Chateau of Hougomont to have been carried by the NOTE F.
French, although it was resolutely and successfully defended
during the whole action. The enemy, indeed, possessed themAs plies the smith his clanging trade.-P. 503. selves of the wood by which it is surrounded, and at length
set fire to the house itself; but the British (a detachment of A private soldier of the 95th regiment compared the sound the Guards, under the command of Colonel Macdonnell, and which took place immediately upon the British cavalry min- afterwards of Colonel Home) made good the garden, and gling with those of the enemy, to “a thousand tinkers at thus preserved, by their desperate resistance, the post which work mending pots and ketlles.”
covered the return of the Dake of Wellington's right flank.