« AnteriorContinuar »
How oft the Patriot banners rose or fell,
Now arch'd with fire-sparks as the bomb was Still honor'd in defeat as victory!
flung, For that sad pageant of events to be,
And redd’ning now with conflagration's glare, Show'd every form of fight by field and flood; While by the fatal light the foes for storm prepare. Slaughter and Ruin, shouting forth their glee, Beheld, while riding on the tempest scud,
LIV. The waters choked with slain, the earth bedrench'd While all around was danger, strife, and fear, with blood!
While the earth shook, and darken'd was the
And wide Destruction stunn'd the listening ear, Then Zaragoza—blighted be the tongue
Appall’d the heart, and stupefied the eye,That names thy name without the honor due ! Afar was heard that thrice-repeated cry, For never hath the harp of Minstrel rung,
In which old Albion's heart and tongue unite, Of faith so felly proved, so firmly true! Whene'er her soul is up, and pulse beats high, Mine, sap, and bomb, thy shatter'd ruins knew, Whether it hail the wine-cup or the fight,
Each art of war's extremity had room, And bid each arm be strong, or bid each heart be Twice from thy half-sack'd streets the foe with
light. drew, And when at length stern fate decreed thy
[tomb. Don Roderick turn'd him as the shout grew They won not Zaragoza, but her children's bloody
A varied scene the changeful vision show'd, LIL
For, where the ocean mingled with the cloud, Yet raise thy head, sad city! Though in chains, A gallant navy stemm'd the billows broad.
Enthrall’d thou canst not be! Arise, and claim From mast and stern St. George's symbol flow'd, Reverence from every heart where Freedom Blent with the silver cross to Scotland dear ; reigns,
[dame, Mottling the sea their landward barges row'd, For what thou worshippest !—thy sainted And flash'd the sun on bayonet, brand, and She of the Column, honor'd be her name,
The billows foam'd beneath a thousand oars,
Fast as they land the red-cross ranks unite, Nor thine alone such wreck. Gerona fair !
Legions on legions bright’ning all the shores. Faithful to death thy heroes shall be sung, Then banners rise, and cannon-signal roars, Manning the towers while o'er their heads the air Then peals the warlike thunder of the drum,
Swart as the smoke from raging furnace hung; Thrills the loud fife, the trumpet-flourish pours, Now thicker dark’ning where the mine was And patriot hopes awake, and doubts are sprung,
[come! Now briefly lighten'd by the cannon's flare, For, bold in Freedom's cause, the bands of Ocean 1 See Appendix, Note M.
“By heaven! it is a splendid sight to see
(For one who hath no friend, no brother there) 1 MS.-“Don Roderick turn'd him at the sudden cry."
Their rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery,
Their various arms, that glitter in the air ! 3 MS.-—"Right for the shore unnumber'd barges row'd."
What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair
And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey! 4 Compare with this passage, and the Valor, Bigotry, and Ambition of the previous stanzas, the celebrated personifica
All join the chase, but few the triumph share,
The grave shall bear the chiefest prize away, tion of War, in the first canto of Childe Harold :
And Havoc scarce for joy can number their array. ** Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,
" Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice;
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high ;
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies ;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory!
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally
That fights for all, but ever fights in vain,
Are met-as if at home they could not die-
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
His jest while each blithe comrade round him A various host they came-whose ranks display
flings, Each mode in which the warrior meets the And moves to death with military glee: [free, fight,
Boast, Erin, boast them! tameless, frank, and The deep battalion locks its firm array,
In kindness warın, and fierce in danger known, And meditates his aim the marksman light; Rough nature's children, humorous as she: Far glance the light of sabres flashing bright, And He, yon Chieftain-strike the proudest Where mounted squadrons shake the echoing
Of thy bold harp, green Isle !- the Hero is thine Lacks not artillery breathing flame and night, Nor the fleet ordnance whirld by rapid steed,
LXI. That rivals lightning's flash in ruin and in speed.' Now on the scene Vimeira should be shown,
On Talavera's fight should Roderick gaze, LVIII.
And hear Corunna wail her battle won, A various host-from kindred realms they came, And see Busaco's crest with lightning blaze : Brethren in arms, but rivals in renown
But shall fond fable mix with heroes' praise ! For yon fair bands shall merry England claim, Hath Fiction's stage for Truth's long triumphs And with their deeds of valor deck her crown.
room? Hers their bold port, and hers their martial frown, And dare her wild-flowers mingle with the bays, And hers their scorn of death in freedom's That claim a long eternity to bloom [tomb! cause,
Around the warrior's crest, and o'er the warrior's Their eyes of azure, and their locks of brown, And the blunt speech that bursts without a
Or may I give adventurous Fancy scope, And freeborn thoughts, which league the Soldier And stretch a bold hand to the awful veil with the Laws.
That hides futurity from anxious hope,
Bidding beyond it scenes of glory hail,
And painting Europe rousing at the tale
Yonder your bonnets nod, your tartans wave! While kindling nations buckle on their mail, The rugged form may mark the mountain band, And Fame, with clarion-blast and wings unAnd harsher features, and a mien more grave;
(World ? But ne'er in battle-field throbb'd heart so brave, To Freedom and Revenge awakes an injured As that which beats beneath the Scottish plaid ;
LXIII. And when the pibroch bids the battle rave, O vain, though anxious, is the glance I cast,
And level for the charge your arms are laid, Since Fate has mark'd futurity her own: Where lives the desperate foe that for such onset Yet fate resigns to worth the glorious past, staid !
The deeds recorded, and the laurels won.
Then, though the Vault of Destiny? be gone, LX.
King, Prelate, all the phantasms of my brain, Hark! from yon stately ranks what laughter Melted away like mist-wreaths in the sun, rings,
Yet grant for faith, for valor, and for Spain, Mingling wild mirth with war's stern min-One note of pride and fire, a Patriot's parting strelsy,
6 " The nation will arise regenerate ;
Strong in her second youth and beautiful,
1 MS.- -"the dusty mead."
9 “ The landing of the English is admirably described ; nor is there any thing finer in the whole poem than the following passage (stanzas lv. lvi, lvii.), with the exception always of the three concluding lines, which appear to us to be very nearly as bad as possible.”—JEFFREY.
3" The three concluding stanzas (lviii. lix. Ix.) are elaborate ; but we think, on the whole, successful. They will probably be oftener quoted than any other passage in the poem."-JEFPREY.
4 MS." His jest each careless comrade round him flings."
6 For details of the battle of Vimeira, fought 21st Aug. 1808 -of Corunna, 16th Jan. 1809—of Talavera, 28th July, 1809– and of Busaco, 27th Sept. 1810-See Sir Walter Scott's Life of Napoleon, volume vi. under these dates.
7 See Appendix, Note N.
8 " For a mere introduction to the exploits of our English commanders, the story of Don Roderick's sins and confessions, -the minute description of his army and attendants,-and the whole interest and machinery of the enchanted vault, with the greater part of the Vision itself, are far too long and elaborate. They withdraw our curiosity and attention from the objects for which they had been bespoken, and gradually engage them upon a new and independent series of romantic adventures, in
Hath on his best and bravest made her food,
His Lord's imperial thirst for spoil and blood: For full in view the promised conquest stood,
And Lisbon's matrons from their walls, might 1. *Who shall command Estrella's mountain-tide The myriads that had half the world subdued, Back to the source, when tempest-chafed, to And hear the distant thunders of the drum, hie?
That bids the bands of France to storm and havoc Who, when Gascogne's vex'd gulf is raging wide,
Shall hush it as a nurse her infant's cry? His magic power let such vain boaster try,
V. And when the torrent shall his voice obey, Four moons have heard these thunders idly rolld, And Biscay's whirlwinds list his lullaby,
Have seen these wistful myriads eye
their Let him stand forth and bar mine eagles' way,
prey, And they shall heed his voice, and at his bidding As famish'd wolves survey a guarded fold stay.
But in the middle path a Lion lay!
At length they move—but not to battle fray,
Nor blaze yon fires where meets the manly "Else ne'er to stoop, till high on Lisbon's towers
fight; They close their wings, the symbol of our yoke, Beacons of infamy, they light the way And their own sea hath whelm'd yon red-cross
Where cowardice and cruelty unite [flight! Powers !”
To damn with double shame their ignominious Thus, on the summit of Alverca's rock, To Marshal, Duke, and Peer, Gaul's Leader spoke.
VI. While downward on the land his legions press, O triumph for the Fiends of Lust and Wrath! Before them it was rich with vine and flock, Ne'er to be told, yet ne'er to be forgot, (path!
And smiled like Eden in her summer dress ;- What wanton horrors mark'd their wreckful Behind their wasteful march, a reeking wilder- The peasant butcher'd in his ruin'd cot, ness,
The hoary priest even at the altar shot, [flame,
Childhood and age given o'er to sword and III.
Woman to infamy ;-no crime forgot, And shall the boastful Chief maintain his word, By which inventive demons might proclaim Though Heaven hath heard the wailings of Immortal hate to man, and scorn of God's great the land,
name! Though Lusitania whet her vengeful sword, Though Britons arm and WELLINGTON com
The rudest sentinel, in Britain born, No! grim Busaco's iron ridge shall stand
With horror paused to view the havoc done, An adamantine barrier to his force; [band, Gave his poor crust to feed some wretch forAnd from its base shall wheel his shatter'd
[gun. As from the unshaken rock the torrent hoarse Wiped his stern eye, then fiercer grasp'd his Bears off its broken waves, and seeks a devious Nor with less zeal shall Britain's peaceful son
Exult the debt of sympathy to pay;
which it is not easy to see how Lord Wellington and Bona English and French uniforms. The vast and elaborate vestiparte can have any concern. But, on the other hand, no bule, in short, in which we had been so long detained, sooner is this new interest excited, -no sooner have we surrendered our imaginations into the hands of this dark enchanter,
•Where wonders wild of Arabesque combine and heated onr fancies to the proper pitch for sympathizing in
With Gothic imagery of darker shade,' the fortunes of Gothic kings and Moorish invaders, with their has no corresponding palace attached to it; and the long noimposing accompaniments of harnessed knights, ravished dam- vitiate we are made to serve to the mysterious powers of rosels, and enchanted statues, than the whole romantic group mance is not repaid, after all, by an introduction to their awful vanishes at once from our sight; and we are hurried, with
presence."-JEFFREY. minds yet disturbed with those powerful apparitions, to the comparatively sober and cold narration of Bonaparte's villa
MS.--"Who shall command the torrent's headlong tide." nies, and to draw battles between mere mortal combatants in 2 See Appendix, Note 0. 3 Ibid. Note P.
Riches nor poverty the tax shall shun,
Say, thou hast left his legions in their blood, Nor prince nor peer, the wealthy nor the gay, Deceived his hopes, and frustrated thine own; Nor the poor peasant's might, nor bard's more Say, that thine utmost skill and valor shown, worthless lay!
By British skill and valor were out vied;
Last say, thy conqueror was WELLINGTON !
And, if he chafe, be his own fortune triedBut thou—unfoughten wilt thou yield to Fate, God and our cause to friend, the venture we'll Minion of Fortune, now miscall'd in vain!
abide. Can vantage-ground no confidence create, Marcella's pass, nor Guarda’s mountain-chain?
XII. Vainglorious fugitive !? yet turn again!
But you, ye heroes of that well-fought day, Behold, where, named by some prophetic Seer, How shall a bard, unknowing and unknown, Flows Honor's Fountain, as foredoom'd the stain His meed to each victorious leader pay,
From thy dishonor'd name and arms to clear- Or bind on every brow the laurels won ? Fallen Child of Fortune, turn, redeem her favor Yet fain my harp would wake its boldest tone, here!
O'er the wide sea to hail CADOGAN brave;
And he, perchance, the minstrel-note might IX.
own, Yet, ere thou turn'st, collect each distant aid; Mindful of meeting brief that Fortune gave
Those chief that never heard the lion roar! 'Mid yon far western isles that hear the Atlantic Within whose souls lives not a trace portray’d,
Of Talavera, or Mondego's shore !
sword, Legion on legion on thy foeman roll, [soul. To give each Chief and every field its fame: And weary out his arm- 1-thou canst not quell his Hark! Albuera thunders BERESFORD,
And Red Barosa shouts for dauntless GREME! X.
O for a verse of tumult and of flame, O vainly gleams with steel Agueda's shore,
Bold as the bursting of their cannon sound, Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuava's plain, To bid the world re-echo to their fame! And front the flying thunders as they roar,
For never, upon gory battle-ground, With frantic charge and tenfold odds, in vain ! With conquest's well-bought wreath were braver And what avails thee that, for CAMERON slain,
victors crown'd! Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was given
[rein, Vengeance and grief gave mountain-rage the O who shall grudge him Albuera's bays, And, at the bloody spear-point headlong Who brought a race regenerate to the field, driven,
[heaven. Roused them to emulate their fathers' praise, Thy Despot's giant guards fled like the rack of Temper’d their headlong rage, their courage
And raised fair Lusitania's fallen shield, Go, baffled boaster! teach thy haughty mood And gave new edge to Lusitania's sword,
To plead at thine imperious master's throne, And taught her sons forgotten arms to wield
1 The MS. has, for the preceding five lines" And in pursuit vindictive hurried on,
And 0, survivors sad ! to you belong Tributes from each that Britain calls her son,
From all her nobles, all her wealthier throng, To her poor peasant's mite, and minstrel's poorer song.' ? See Appendix, Note Q. 9 The literal translation of Fuentes d'Honoro. 4 See Appendix, Note R. * Ibid. Note S.
On the 26th of April, 1811, Scott writes thus to Mr. Morritt : -"I rejoice with the heart of a Scotsman in the success of Lord Wellington, and with all the pride of a seer to boot. I have been for three years proclaiming him as the only man we had to trust to-a man of talent and genius-not deterred by obstacles, nor fettered by prejudices, not immured within the
pedantries of his profession-but playing the general and the
7 See Appendix, Editor's Note T.
Shiver'd my harp, and burst its every chord, If it forget thy worth, victorious BERESFORD!
He dream'd ʼmid Alpine cliffs of Athole's hill, And heard in Ebro's roar his Lyndoch's lovely rill."
XVII. Not on that bloody field of battle won,
O hero of a race renown'd of old, Though Gaul's proud legions roll'd like mist Whose war-cry oft has waked the battle-swell away,
Since first distinguish'd in the onset bold, Was half his self-devoted valor shown,
Wild sounding when the Roman rampart fell ! He gaged but life on that illustrious day; By Wallace' side it rung the Southron's knell, But when he toild those squadrons to array,
Alderne, Kilsythe, and Tibber, own'd its fame, Who fought like Britons in the bloody game,
Tummell's rude pass can of its terrors tell, Sharper than Polish pike or assagay,
But ne'er from prouder field arose the name, He braved the shafts of censure and of shame, Than when wild Ronda learn'd the conquering And, dearer far than life, he pledged a soldier's
shout of GRÆME !
But all too long, through seas unknown and dark, Nor be his praise o'erpast who strove to hide (With Spenser's parable I close my tale,)"
Beneath the warrior's vest affection's wound, By shoal and rock hath steerd my venturous Whose wish Heaven for his country's weal de
And landward now I drive before the gale. Danger and fate he sought, but glory found. And now the blue and distant shore I hail, From clime to clime, where'er war's trumpets
And nearer now I see the port expand, sound,
And now I gladly furl my weary sail, The wanderer went; yet, Caledonia I stills And as the prow light touches on the strand, Thine was his thought in march and tented I strike my red-cross flag and bind my skiff to ground;
1 MS.—“Not greater on that mount of strife and blood,
On the long voiage whereto she is bent:
Faërie Queene, book i. canto 12.
7 “No comparison can be fairly instituted between composiNot greater when he toil'd yon legions to array,
tions so wholly different in style and designation as the present 'Twas life he perill'd in that stubborn game, poem and Mr. Scott's former productions. The present pooin And life 'gainst honor when did soldier weigh? neither has, nor, from its nature, could have the interest which But, self-devoted to his generous aim,
arises from an eventful plot, or a detailed delineation of charFar dearer than his life, the hero pledged his fame." acter; and we shall arrive at a far more accurate estimation of 2 MS.-** Nor be his meed o'erpast who sadly tried
its merits by comparing it with The Bard' of Gray, or that With valor's wreath to hide affection's wound, particular scene of Ariosto, where Bradamante beholds the
wonders of Merlin's tomb. To this it has many strong and To whom his wish Heaven for our weal denied.”
evident features of resemblance; but, in our opinion, greatly 3 MS." From war to war the wanderer went his round,
surpasses it both in the dignity of the objects represented, and Yet was his soul in Caledonia still;
the picturesque effect of the machinery. Hers was his thought," &c.
“We are inclined to rank The Vision of Don Roderick, not 4 MS. “fairy rill."
only above. The Bard,' but (excepting Adam's Vision from · These lines excel the noisier and more general panegyrics of the Mount of Paradise, and the matchless beauties of the sixth the commanders in Portugal, as much as the sweet and thrill- book of Virgil) above all the historical and poetical prospects ing tones of the harp surpass an ordinary flourish of drums and which have come to our knowledge. The scenic representation trumpets."-Quarterly Revier.
is at once gorgeous and natural; and the language, and im** Perhaps it is our nationality which makes us like better agery, is altogether as spirited, and bears the stamp of more the tribute to General Grahame-though there is something, care and polish than even the most celebrated of the author's We believe, in the softness of the sentiment that will be felt, former productions. If it please as less than these, we must even by English readers, as a relief from the exceeding clamor attribute it in part perhaps to the want of contrivance, and in and loud boastings of all the surrounding stanzas."-Edin- a still greater degree to the nature of the subject itself, which is barge Review
deprived of all the interest derived from suspense or sympathy, + See Appendix, Note V.
and, as far as it is connected with modern politics, represents a
scene too near our immediate inspection to admit the interpo 8 * Now, strike your sailes, yee iolly mariners,
sition of the magic glass of fiction and poetry.”-Quarterly For we be come unto a quiet rode,
Review, October, 1811. Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this weary vessell of her lode. Here she a while may make her safe abode, Till she repaired have her tackles spent
" The Vision of Don Roderick has been received with less And wants supplide ; and then againe abroad
interest by the public than any of the author's other per