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The field of waterloo:

A POEM.

* Though Valois braved young Edward's gentle hand,
And Albert rush'd on Henry's way-worn band,
With Europe's chosen sons, in arms renown'd,
Yet not on Vere's bold archers long they look'd,
Nor Audley's squires nor Mowbray's yeomen brook'd, -
They saw their standard fall, and left their monarch bound.”

AKENSIDE.

то

HER GRACE

THE

DUCHESS OF WELLINGTON,

PRINCESS OF WATERLOO,

&c. &c. &c.

THE FOLLOWING VERSES

ARE MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED

THE AUTHOR.

ADVERTISEMENT.

It may be some apology for the imperfections of this poem, that it was composed hastily, and during a short four upon the Continent, when the Author's labours were liable to frequent interruption ; but its best apology is, thut it was written for the purpose of assisting the Waterloo Subscription.

ABBOTSFORD, 1815.

The field of waterloo.

I.
FAIR Brussels, thou art far behind,
Though, lingering on the morning wind,

We yet may hear the hour
Peal'd over orchard and canal,
With voice prolong'd and measured fall,

From proud St. Michael's tower;
Thy wood, dark Soignies, holds us now,
Where the tall beeches' glossy bough

For many a league around,
With birch and darksome oak between,
Spreads deep and far a pathless screen,

Of tangled forest ground.
Stems planted close by stems defy
The adventurous foot-the curious eyo

For access seeks in vain;
And the brown tapestry of leaves,
Strew'd on the blighted ground, receives

Nor sun, nor air, nor rain.
No opening glade dawns on our way,
No streamlet, glancing to the ray,

1 Published by Constable & Co. in October 1815. 8vo. 55. tal in Shakspeare's 'As you Like it.' It is also celebrated in

? “The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the Tacitus as being the spot of successful defence by the Germans forest of Ardennes, famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and immor-against the Roman encroachments."—BYRON.

6

Our woodland path has cross’d;

Looks on the field below, And the straight causeway which we tread,

And sinks so gently on the dale, Prolongs a line of dull arcade,

That not the folds of Beauty's reil Unvarying through the unvaried shade

In easier curres can flow. Until in distance lost.

Brief space from thence, the ground again

Ascending slowly from the plain,
II.

Forins an opposing screen,
A brighter, livelier scene succeeds;

Which, with its crest of upland ground, In groups the scattering wood recedes,

Shuts the horizon all around. Hedge-rows, and huts, and sunny meads,

The soften'd vale between And corn-fields, glance between;

Slopes smooth and fair for courser's tread; The peasant, at his labour blithe,

Not the most timid maid need dread Plies the hook'd staff and shorten'd scythe:

To give her snow-white palfrey head But when these ears were green,

On that wide stubble-ground; Placed close within destruction's scope,

Nor wood, nor tree, nor bush, are there, Full little was that rustic's hope

Her course to intercept or scare, Their ripening to have seen!

Nor fosse nor fence are found, And, lo, a hamlet and its fane :

Save where, from out her shatter'd bowers,
Let not the gazer with disdain

Rise Hougomont's dismantled towers.?
Their architecture view;
For yonder rude ungraceful shrine,

IV.
And disproportion'd spire, are thine,

Now, see'st thou aught in this lone scene Immortal WATERLOO !

Can tell of that which late hath been

A stranger might reply,
III.

« The bare extent of stubble-plain Fear not the heat, though full and high

Seems lately lighten'd of its grain; The sun has scorch'd the autumn sky,

And yonder sable tracks remain And scarce a forest straggler now

Marks of the peasant’s ponderous wain, To shade us spreads a greenwood bough;

When harvest-home was nigh.8 These fields have seen a hotter day

On these broad spots of trampled ground, Than e'er was fired by sunny ray.

Perchance the rustics danced such round Yet one mile on-yon shatter'd hedge

As Teniers loved to draw; Crests the soft hill whose long smooth ridge

And where the earth seems scorch'd by flame,

| " Southward from Brussels lies the field of blood,

Some three hours' journey for a well-girt man; A horseman, who in haste pursued his road,

Would reach it as the second hour began. The way is through a forest deep and wide, Extending many a mile on either side.

No cheerful woodland this of antic trees,

With thickets varied and with sunny glade ;
Look where he will, the weary traveller sees

One gloomy, thick, impenetrable shade
Of tall straight trunks, which move before his sight,
With interchange of lines of long green light.

“Here, where the woods receding from the road

Have left on either hand an open space For fields and gardens, and for man's abode,

Stands Waterloo; a little lowly place Obscure till now, when it hath risen to fame, And given the victory its English name.”

SOUTHEY's Pilgrimage to Waterloo.
2 Seo Appendix, Note A.
8 MS.-“ Let not the stranger with disdain

Its misproportions view;
Yon
grudely formid

ungraceful shrine,
Tawkward and S

And yonder humble spire, are thine." A "What time the second Carlos ruled in Spain,

Last of the Austrian line by fate decreed, Here Castanaza rear'd a votive fane,

Praying the patron saints to bless with secd

His childless sovereign. Heaven denied an heir,
And Europe mourn'd in blood the frustrato prayer."

SOUTHEY.
To the original chapel of the Marquis of Castanaza has now
been added a building of considerable extent, the whole inte-
rior of which is filled with monumental inscriptions for the
1 Qeroeg who fell in the battle.

• The MS. has not this couplet.

6 " As a plain, Waterloo seems marked out for the sceno of some great action, though this may be mere imagination. I have viewed with attention, those of Platea, Troy, Mantinea, Leuctra, Chæronea, and Marathon ; and the field around Mont St. Jean and Hougomont appears to want little but a better cause, and that indefinable but impressive halo which the lapse of ages throws around a consecrated spot, to vie in interest with any or all of these, except, perhaps, the last mentioned."-BYRON. 7 MS.—"Save where,

its fire scathed bowers among,

(the)
Rise the rent towers of Hougomont."
8 “Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust,

Nor column trophied for triumphal show?
None : But the moral's truth tells simpler so,
As the ground was before, thus let it be ;-
How that red rain hath made the harvest grow!
And is this all the world has gain'd by thee,
Thou first and last of fields I king-making Victory ?

BYRON.

“Was it a soothing or a mournful thought,

Amid this scene of slaughter as we stood,

To dress the homely feast they came,

Through rolling smoke the Demon's eye And toil'd tbe kerchief'd village dame

Could well each destined guest espy, Around her fire of straw."

Well could his ear in ecstasy

Distinguish every tone
V.

That fillid the chorus of the fray-
So deem'st thou-so each mortal deems,

From cannon-roar and trumpet-bray, Of that which is from that which seems :

From charging squadrons' wild hurra, But other harvest here,

From the wild clang that mark'd their way, Than that which peasant's scythe demands,

Down to the dying groan, Was gather'd in by sterner hands,

And the last sob of life's decay,
With bayonet, blade, and spear.

When breath was all but flown.
No vulgar crop was theirs to reap,
No stinted harvest thin and cheap!

VIII.
Heroes before each fatal sweep

Feast on, stern foe of mortal life, Fell thick as ripen'd grain;

Feast on!--but think not that a strife, And ere the darkening of the day,

With such promiscuous carnage rife, Piled high as autumn shocks, there lay

Protracted space may last; The ghastly harvest of the fray,

The deadly tug of war at length The corpses of the slain."

Must limits find in human strength,

And cease when these are past.
VI.

Vain hope !--that morn's o'erclouded sun
Ay, look again—that line, so black

Heard the wild shout of fight begun And trampled, marks the bivouac,

Ere he attain’d his height, Yon deep-graved ruts the artillery's track,

And through the war-smoke, volumed high, So often lost and won;

Still peals that unremitted cry, And close beside, the harden'd mud

Though now he stoops to night. Still shows where, fetlock-deep in blood,

For ten long hours of doubt and dread, The fierce dragoon, through battle's flood,

Fresh succours from the extended head Dash'd the hot war-horse on.

Of either bill the contest fed; These spots of excavation tell

Still down the slope they drew, The ravage of the bursting shell

The charge of columns paused not, And feel'st thou not the tainted steam,

Nor ceased the storm of shell and shot; That reeks against the sultry beam,

For all that war could do From yonder trenched mound?

Of skill and force was proved that day, The pestilential fumes declare

And turn'd not yet the doubtful fray That Carnage has replenish'd there

On bloody Waterloo.
Her garner-house profound.

IX.
VII.

Pale Brussels! then what thoughts were thine, Far other harvest-home and feast,

When ceaseless from the distant line Than claims the boor from scythe released,

Continued thunders came! On these scorch'd fields were known!

Each burgher held his breath, to hear Death hover'd o'er the maddening rout,

These forerunners 3 of havoc near, And, in the thrilling battle-shout,

Of rapine and of flame. Sent for the bloody banquet out

What ghastly sights were thine to meet, A summons of his own.

When rolling through thy stately street,

And friend and foe, within the general tomb.

Equal had been their lot; one fatal day
For all, .. one labour, .. and one place of rest
They found within their common parent's breast.

Where armies had with recent fury fought,

To mark how gentle Nature still pursued Her quiet course, as if she took no care

For what her noblest work had suffer'd there. " The pears had ripen'd on the garden wall;

Those Eeaves which on the autumnal earth were spread, The trees, though pierced and scared with many a ball,

Had only in their natural scason shed; Flowers were in seed, whose buds to swell began When such wild havoc here was made by man."

SOUTHEY.

“ The passing seasous had not yet effaced

The stamp of numerous hoofs impress'd by force
Of cavalry, whose path might still be traced.

Yet Nature everywhere resumed her course;
Low pansies to the sun their purple gare,
And the soft poppy blossom'd on the grave."

SovrHY.
9 See Appendix. Note B.
8 MS." Harbingers."
4 MS.-" Streaming

1 " Earth had received into her silent womb

Her slaughter'd creatures: horse and man ther lay,

The wounded show'd their mangled plight'
In token of the unfinish'd fight,
And from each anguish-laden wain
The blood-drops laid thy dust like rain !!
How often in the distant drum
Heard'st thou the fell Invader come,
While Ruin, shouting to his band,
Shook high her torch and gory brand !
Cheer thee, fair City! From yon stand,
Impatient, still his outstretch'd hand

Points to his prey in vain,
While maddening in his eager mood,
And all unwont to be withstood,

He fires the fight again.

Their showers of iron threw. Beneath their fire, in full career, Rush'd on the ponderous cuirassier, The lancer couch'd his ruthless spear, And hurrying as to havoc near,

The cohorts' eagles flew. In one dark torrent, broad and strong, The advancing onset roll'd along, Forth harbinger'd by fierce acclaim, That, from the shroud of smoke and flame, Peald wildly the imperial name.

X. “ On! On!” was still his stern exclaim;. “ Confront the battery's jaws of flame!

Rush on the leveli'd gun! 8
My steel-clad cuirassiers, advance!
Each Hulan forward with his lance,
My Guard-my Chosen-charge for Franca.

France and Napoleon !”
Loud answer'd their acclaiming shout,
Greeting the mandate which sent out
Their bravest and their best to dare
The fate their leader shunn'd to share. *
But He, his country's sword and shield,
Still in the battle-front reveald,
Where danger fiercest swept the field,

Came like a beam of light, In action prompt, in sentence brief“ Soldiers, stand firm,” exclaim'd the Chief,

England shall tell the fight!" 5

XII.
But on the British heart were lost
The terrors of the charging host;
For not an eye the storm that view'd
Changed its proud glance of fortitude,
Nor was one forward footstep staid,
As dropp'd the dying and the dead.
Fast as their ranks the thunders tear,
Fast they renew'd each serried square;
And on the wounded and the slain
Closed their diminish'd files again,
Till from their line scarce spears' lengths three,
Emerging from the smoke they see
Helmet, and plume, and panoply,

Then waked their fire at once!
Each musketeer’s revolving knell,
As fast, as regularly fell,
As when they practise to display
Their discipline on festal day.

Then down went helm and lance,
Down were the eagle banners sent,
Down reeling steeds and riders went,
Corslets were pierced, and pennons rent;

And, to augment the fray,
Wheel'd full against their staggering flanks,
The English horsemen's foaming ranks

Forced their resistless way.
Then to the musket-knell succeeds
The clash of swords—the neigh of steeds
As plies the smith his clanging trade,?
Against the cuirass rang the blade ; 8

Of wheels, which o'er the rough and stony road
Convey'd their living agonizing load!

XI. On came the whirlwind-like the last But fiercest sweep of tempest-blastOn came the whirlwind-steel-gleams broke Like lightning through the rolling smoke;

The war was waked anew, Three hundred cannon-mouths roar'd loud, And from their throats, with flash and cloud, I MS." Bloody plight.”

: " Within those walls there linger'd at that hour,

Many a brare soldier on the bed of pain,
Whom aid of human art should ne'er restore

To see his country and his friends again;
And many a victim of that fell debate,
Whose life yet waver'd in the scales of fate.

“Others in waggons borne abroad I saw,

Albeit recovering, still a mournful sight; Languid and helpless, some were stretch'd on straw,

Some more advanced, sustaind themselves upright, And with bold eye and careless front, methought, Seem'd to set wounds and death again at nought.

"Hearts little to the melting mood inclined,

Grew sick to see their sufferings; and the thought
Still comes with horror to the shuddering mind

Of those sad days, when Belgian ears were taught
The British soldier's

cry,
half
groan,

half prayer,
Breathed when his pain is more than he can bear."

SOUTHBY. 8 MS.

“ his stern exclaim :
Where fails the sword make way by flame!
Recoil not from the cannon's aim ;

Confront them and they're won. See Appendix, Note C. 4 Ibid, Note D. 5 Ibid, Note 6 MS.—“Nor was one forward footstep stopp'd,

Though close beside a comrade dropp" 7 See Appendix, Note F. 8“ I heard the broadswords' deadly clang,

As if an hundred anvils rang!" Lady of the Lake

" What had it been, then, in the recent days

Of that great triumph, when the open wound Was festering, and along the crowded ways,

Hour after hour was heard the incessant sound

And while amid their close array

Is Blucher yet unknown? The well-served cannon rent their way,'

Or dwells not in thy memory still, And while amid their scatter'd band

(Heard frequent in thine hour of ill.) Raged the fierce rider's bloody brand,

What notes of hate and vengeance thrill Recoil'd in common rout and fear,

In Prussia's trumpet tone?_ Lancer and guard and cuirassier,

What yet remains !-shall it be thine Horsemen and foot-a mingled host,

To head the relics of thy line Their leaders fall'n, their standards lost.

In one dread effort more?

The Roman lore thy leisure loved,
XIII.

And thou canst tell what fortune proved
Then, WELLINGTON! thy piercing eye

That Chieftain, who, of yore,
This crisis caught of destiny-

Ambition's dizzy paths essay'd,
The British host had stood

And with the gladiators' aid
That morn 'gainst charge of sword and lance :

For empire enterprised As their own ocean-rocks hold stance,

He stood the cast his rashness play'd,
But when thy voice had said, “ Advance ! ”

Left not the victims he had made,
They were their ocean's flood.-

Dug his red grave with his own blade
O Thou, whose inauspicious aim

And on the field he lost was laid,
Hath wrought thy host this hour of shame,

Abhorr’d-but not despised.
Think'st thou thy broken bands will bide
The terrors of yon rushing tide?

XIV.
Or will thy chosen brook to feel

But if revolves thy fainter thought
The British shock of levell’d steel,

On safety-howsoever bought,-
Or dost thou turn thine eye

Then turn thy fearful rein and ride,
Where coming squadrons gleam afar,

Though twice ten thousand men have died
And fresher thunders wake the war,

On this eventful day,
And other standards fly!--

To gild the military fame
Think not that in yon columns, file

Which thou, for life, in traffic tame Thy conquering troops from Distant Dyle

Wilt barter thus away.

The lancer { couch'd his fatal

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1 MS.-" Beneath that storm, in full career,

semblance. We allude principally to such passages as that Rush'd on the ponderous cuirassier,

which begins, came with levella

* The Roman lore thy leisure loved,' &c. spear,

and to such lines as,
each

}to
to do or die;

Now, seo'st thou aught in this loved scene,

Can tell of that which late hath been?'
But not an instant would they bear

OT,
thunders
The
{vollide }of each serried square,

"So deem'st thou-so each mortal deems,

Of that which is, from that which seems;'
They halt, they turn, they fly!

lines, by the way, of which we cannot express any very great Not even their chosen brook to feel

admiration. This sort of influence, however, over even the The British shock of levell'd steel ;

principal writers of the day (whether they are conscious of the Enough that through their close array

influence or not), is one of the surest tests of genius, and one The well-plied cannon tore their way;

of the proudest tributes which it receives."- Monthly Revicu. Enough that 'mid their broken band

8 “When the engagement was ended, it evidently appeared The horsemen plied the bloody brand,

with what undaunted spirit and resolution Catiline's army Recoil'd," &c.

had been fired; for the body of every one was found on that 9 "The cuirassiers continued their dreadful onset, and rode very spot which, during the battle, he had occupied; those up to the squares in the full confidence, apparently, of sweep- only excepted who were forced from their posts by the Præmg every thing before the impetuosity of their charge. Their torian cohort; and even they, though they fell a little out of onset and reception was like a furious ocean pouring itself their ranks, were all wounded before. Catiline himself was against a chain of insulated rocks. The British square stood found, far from his own men, amidst the dead bodies of the unmoved, and never gave fire until the cavalry were within enemy, breathing a little, with an air of that fierceness still ten yards, when men rolled one way, horses galloped another, in his face which he had when alive. Finally, in all his army and the cuirassiers were in every instance driven back."- there was not so much as one free citizen taken prisoner, Life of Bonaparte, vol. ix. p. 12.

either in the engagement or in flight; for they spared their 8 See Appendix, Note G.

own lives as little as those of the enemy. The army of the

republic obtained the victory, indeed, but it was neither a 4 MS.—“Or can thy memory fail to quote,

cheap nor a joyful one, for their bravest men were either slain Heard to thy cost, the vengeful note

in battle or dangerously wounded. As there were many, too, Of Prussia's trumpet tone?"

who went to view the field, cither out of curiosity or a desire 5" We observe a certain degree of similitude in some pas- of plunder, in turning over the dead bodies, some found a sages of Mr. Scott's present work, to the compositions of Lord friend, some a relation, and some a guest ; others there were Byron, and particularly his Lordship's Ode to Bonaparte ; and likewise who discovered their enemies; so that, through tho we think that whoever peruses 'The Field of Waterloo,' with whole army, there appeared a mixture of gladness and sorrow, that Ode in his recollection, will be struck with this new re- joy and mourning."-SALLUST.

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