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I. "TWAS after dread Pultowa's day,
When fortune left the royal Swede; Around a slaughter'd army lay,
No more to combat and to bleed. The power and glory of the war,
Faithless as their vain votaries, men, Had pass'd to the triumphant Czar,
And Moscow's walls were safe again,
Until a day more dark and drear,
Such was the hazard of the die;
and died the Russians' slave.
The watch-fires in the distance sparkling
The beacons of surrounding foes A king must lay his limbs at length.
30 Are these the laurels and repose For which the' nations strain their strength ? They laid him by a savage tree, In out-worn nature's agony; His wounds were stiff his limbs were stark The heavy hour was chill and dark; The fever in his blood forbade A transient slumber's fitful aid : And thus it was; but yet through all,
i bu Kinglike the monarch bore his fall, ito, And made, in this extreme of ill, His pangs the vassals of his will; All silent and subdued were they, As once the nations round him lay.
A band of chiess! alas ! how few,
Since but the fleeting of a day
And chivalrous: upon the clay
Beside his monarch and his steed,
And all are fellows in their need.
And slack'd his girth, and stripp'd his rein,
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb,
70 All Tartar-like he carried him; Obey'd his voice, and came at call, And knew him in the midst of all: Though thousands were around, -- and Night, Without a star, pursued her flight, That steed from) sunset until dawn His chief would fallow like a fawn.
This done, Mazeppa spread his cloak,
And flints unloosen'd kept their lock
Prepared and spread his slender stock;