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Shall future ages tell this tale
When Beresina's icy flood Of inconsistence faint and frail !
Redden'd and thaw'd with flame and blood, And art thou He of Lodi's bridge,
And, pressing on thy desperate way,
Raised oft and long their wild hurra,
The children of the Don.
Thine ear no yell of horror cleft
So ominous, when, all bereft
Of aid, the valiant Polack left--
Ay, left by thee-found soldier's graves
In Leipsic's corpse-encumber'd wave.
Fate, in those various perils past,
Reserved thee still some future cast;
On the dread die thou now hast thrown,
! Hangs not a single field alone,
Nor one campaign-thy martial fame,
| Thv empire, dynasty, and name, Spur on thy way!--since now thine ear
Have felt the final stroke;
And now, o'er thy devoted head
The last stern vial's wrath is shed,
The last dread seal is broke. Wrung forth by pride, and rage, and shame,
XVII. “O, that he had but died!”
Since live thou wilt-refuse not now But yet, to sum this hour of ill,
Before these demagogues to bow,
Late objects of thy scorn and hate,
Who shall thy once imperial fate
Make wordy theme of vain debate.-
Or shall we say, thou stoop’st less low
In seeking refuge from the foe,
Against whose heart, in prosperous life,
Thine hand bath ever held the knife!
Such homage hath been paid
By Roman and by Grecian voice, Where the tumultuous flight rolls on
And there were honour in the choice,
If it were freely made.
Then safely come—in one so low,
So lost, - we cannot own a foe;
Though dear experience bid us end,
In thee we de'er can hail a friend. The stern pursuers' vengeful shout
Come, howsoe'er but do not hide Tells, that upon their broken rear
Close in thy heart that germ of pride,
Erewhile, by gifted bard espied,
That “ yet imperial hope;'
i The MS. adds,
“That pang survived, refuse not then
To humble thee before the men,
And chaffer for thy crown;
His latest hope has flown.
But yot, to sum,” &c. 3 MS.-"Where in one tide of terror run, .
Tlo warriors that, when morn begun." 3 MS.-"So ominous a shriek was none,
Not even when Beresina's flood
Was thawd by streams of tepid blood." 4 For an account of the death of Poniatowski at Leipsic, see Sir Walter Scott's Life of Bonaparte, rol, vii. p. 401.
5 MS.--"Not such were heard, when, all bereft
Of aid, the valiant Polack left
Ay, left by thee--found gallant grave." @ "I, who with faith unshaken from the first,
Even when the tyrant seem'd to touch the skies, naa jouk'd to see the high-blown bubble burst,
And for a fall conspicuous as his rise,
** but do not hide
Which erst yon gifted bard espied."
The Victor overthrown!
A Suppiiant for his own!
Or dread of death alone ?
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 ! 1
Triumph and Sorrow border near,
but think on Waterloo !
XIX. Thou, too, whose deeds of fame renew'd 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 fireSaw'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-3 Saw’st gallant MILLER'S“ failing eye Still bent where Albion's banners fiy, And CAMERON,5 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; ?
To 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.”
" "Tis done-hnt yesterday a King!
And arm'd with Kings to strive-
So abject--yet alive!
And can he thus survive?
BYRON'S Olle to Napolcon.
3 The Poet's friend, Colonel 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 Captain 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.
5 “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 920 or Gor don Highlanders, to charge a body of cavalry, supported by infantry."-Paul's Letters, p. 91.
" 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, Fenced Britain's hero through the field,
But, sweeping from the cradle to the tomb, Fate not the less her power made known,
Bear’st ever downward on thy dusky breast
While thy capacious stream has equal room
For the gay bark where Pleasure's streamers sport, Forgive, brave Dead, the imperfect lay!
And for the prison-ship of guilt and gloom, Who may your names, your numbers, say?
The fisher-skiff, and barge that bears a court, What high-strung harp, what lofty line,
Still wafting onward all to one dark silent port;To each the dear-earn'd praise assign, From high-born chiefs of martial fame
Stern tide of Time! through what mysterious change To the poor soldier's lowlier name?
Of note and fear have our frail barks been driven! Lightly ye rose that dawning day,
ror ne er, before, vicissitude so strange From your cold couch of swamp and clay,
Was to one race of Adam's offspring given. To fill, before the sun was low,
And sure such varied change of sea and heaven, The bed that morning cannot know.-
Such unexpected bursts of joy and woe, Oft may the tear the green sod steep,
Such fearful strife as that where we have striven, And sacred be the heroes' sleep,
Succeeding ages ne'er again shall know,
Until the awful term when Thou shalt cease to flow!
Well hast thou stood, my Country !—the brave A blessing on the fallen brave
fight Who fought with Wellington!
last well maintain'd through good report and ill :
In thy just cause and in thy native might,
And in Heaven's grace and justice constant still; Farewell, sad Field! whose blighted face
Whether the banded prowess, strength, and skill Wears desolation's withering trace;
Of half the world against thee stood array'd, Long shall my memory retain
Or when, with better views and freer will, Thy shatter'd huts and trampled grain,
Beside thee Europe's noblest drew the blade, With every mark of martial wrong,
Each emulous in arms the Ocean Queen to aid. That scathe thy towers, fair Hougomont!? Yet though thy garden's green arcade
Well art thou now repaid--though slowly rose, The marksman's fatal post was made,
And struggled long with mists thy blaze of fame, Though on thy shatter'd beeches fell
While like the dawn that in the orient glows The blended rage of shot and shell,
On the broad wave its earlier lustre came ; 3 Though from thy blacken'd portals torn,
Then eastern Egypt saw the growing flame, Their fall thy blighted fruit-trees mourn,
And Maida's myrtles gleam'd beneath its ray, Has not such havoc bought a name
Where first the soldier, stung with generous shame Immortal in the rolls of fame?
Rivall'd the heroes of the wat'ry way, Yes-- Agincourt may be forgot,
And wash'd in foemen’s gore unjust reproach away. And Cressy be an unknown spot, And Blenheim's name be new;
Now, Island Empress, wave thy crest on high, But still in story and in song,
And bid the banner of thy Patron flow, For many an age remember'd long,
Gallant Saint George, the flower of Chivalry, Shall live the towers of Hougomont,
For thou hast faced, like him, a dragon foe, And Field of Waterloo.
And rescued innocence from overthrow,
I Colonel the Honourable Sir Alexander Gordon, brother
Small thcatre for such a tragedy !
To where the groves of Hougomont on high
And cover with their shade the countless dead. " But wouldst thou tread this celebrated ground,
And trace with understanding eyes a scene Above all other fields of war renown'd,
From western Hougomont thy wav begin;
There was our strength on that side, and there first,
In all its force, the storm of battle burst."-SOUTAKY. 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 fougomont 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 ?' ne said; • Call it Hougomont, call it La Haye Sainte, call it Porclotany thing but Waterloo.'"- Pilgrimage to Waeriou.
3 MS._"On the broad ocean first its lustre came.
And trampled down, like him, tyrannic might, The discipline so dreaded and admired,
-Such may by fame be lured, by gold be hired-Who quell’d devouring pride, and vindicated right. 'Tis constancy in the good cause alone,
Best justifies the meed thy valiant sons have won.' Yet 'mid the confidence of just renown, Renown dear-bought, but dearest thus acquired, Write, Britain, write the moral lesson down: 'Tis not alone the heart with valour fired,
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 : 9“The Field of Waterloo' was published before the
• Or is thy soul like mountain tide, end of October, in 8vo.; the profits of the first edition being
That swell'd by winter storm and shower, 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
“ The poem was the first upon a subject likely to be suffibroadest marks of The Mighty Minstrel :'
ciently hackneyed; and, having the advantage of coming out
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,
sure of circulation above what had been reached either by Die like the offspring of Lochiel,' &c.
Rokeby or the Lord of the Isles."-LOCKHART-Life of Scotl, and this is far from being the only redeeming passage There vol. v., pp. 106-7.
from different points, that the day went against him, and the the troops seemed to be disordered; to which he only re
plied,-En-avant! En-avant!' The peasant, at his labour blithe, 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 como The 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 the cut at one sweep with a short scythe, which he holds in his battery,' replied Bonaparte,' and turned his back on the aide
murderous fire of the English artillery. Let him storm the right hand. They carry on this double process with great de-camp who brought the message."— Relation de la Baltaille spirit and dexterity.
de Mont-St-Jean. Par un Témoin Oculaire. Paris, 1815, 8ve.
NOTE D. Pale Brussels! then what thoughts were thine.-P. 562.
The fate their leader shunu'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
| troved the British infantry and cavalry, and that they had only NOTE C.
to support the tire 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 Ney; 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 carlier part of the battle from places yet more
“It was near seren 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 memorablo 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 suite
1 The mistakes concerning this observators have been mu- Bonaparte: and a French writer affirms it was constructed by bal. The English supposed it was erected for the use of the Duke of Wellington.