Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect
By just his horse's mane, a boy;

You hardly could suspect
5 (So tight he kept his lips compressed,

Scarce any blood came through)
You looked twice e'er you saw his breast

Was all but shot in two.


"Well," cried he, "Emperor, by God's grace

We've got you Ratisbon!
The Marshal's in the market-place,

And you'll be there anon
To see your flag-bird flap his vans

Where I, to heart's desire,
15 Perched him!” The chief's eye flashed; his plans

Soared up again like fire.


The chief's eye flashed; but presently

Softened itself, as sheathes
A film the mother-eagle's eye

When her bruised eaglet breathes;
"You're wounded!" "Nay," his soldier's pride

Touched to the quick, he said:
"I'm killed, Sire!" And his chief beside,

Smiling, the boy fell dead.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS For Biography see page 87.

Historical Note. Ratisbon, a walled city of Bavaria, was besieged in 1809 by Napoleon. The Bavarians made such a vigorous defense for five days that Napoleon's victory was no small achievement. The poem, based on this incident, shows the beauty of a devotion to duty that forgets self. It also shows the admiration of soldiers for such a leader as Napoleon.

Discussion. 1. Find lines that verify the statements made in the Introduction on page 95 about this poem. 2. What does the expression, “we French," tell you about the speaker? 3. Where was Napoleon at the time Ratisbon was “stormed”? 4. Describe in your own words the position in which he stood. 5. What were Napoleon's thoughts as he stood on the mound? 6. Why is his sentence not finished? 7. What would Napoleon think when he saw a horse galloping toward him? 8. At what was he surprised? 9. What lines make us feel his shock of horror? 10. What was the boy's message? 11. Had he reason for his "smiling joy"? 12. Why does the poet repeat the words, “The chief's eye flashed"? What did the flashing of the eye show? 13. What different thought caused his eye to soften? 14. To what does the poet compare the softening of Napoleon's eye? 15. Why does the thought of the eagle seem appropriate in connection with Napoleon? 16. Who is the hero of this story? 17. What thought gave him power to smile in spite of his terrible pain? 18. Read the lines from Tennyson on page 93. Why are they especially fitting to introduce a group of selections that includes many stories of heroic adventure? 19. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: prone; oppressive; flag-bird; van.

Suggestions for Theme Topics. (Two-Minute Talks.) 1. A true war incident, preferably of the World War. 2. A story illustrating devotion to a leader and a

3. A description of Napoleon's personal appearance.




We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome

hull, And we flew the pretty colors of the cross-bones and the skull; We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore, And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

5 We'd a long brass gun amidship, like a well-conducted ship;

We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships


Then the dead men fouled the scuppers, and the wounded filled

the chains, And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's

brains; She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank, And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

5 Oh! then it was (while standing by the taffrail on the poop) We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken

coop; Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.

Oh! the fiddle on the fo'c's'le, and the slapping naked soles, 10 And the genial “Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she

rolls!” With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead, And the lookout not a-looking and his pipe-bowl glowing red.

Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the pretty pranks we

played All have since been put a stop to by the naughty Board of Trade; 15 The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest,

A little south the sunset in the Islands of the Blest.


Biography. John Masefield (1875- ) is an English poet. At an early age he took to sea and for several years was a sailor. This experience furnished the basis for Salt-Water Ballads and a collection of short sea-tales. During the World War Masefield made a study for the English government of the campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula, having taken part in the engagement there, and served in France in Red Cross work. In 1916 the poet lectured in America, arousing great interest in his poetry.

Discussion. 1. To whom does “We” refer? 2. What do the skull and cross-bones signify? 3. What was the black Jolly Roger? 4. What body of water was known as the Spanish Water, or Spanish Main? 5. How was the ship armored? 6. How were the sailors armed? For what purpose ? 7. What did they do to the merchant ships? What did they do to the crews? 8. How did the pirates amuse themselves? 9. Mention several modern inventions which have forced the pirate to give up his business. 10. The character John Silver is found in the greatest of pirate stories, Treasure Island; have you read the book? 11. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: lissome; brace; aboard; scuttled; salts.

Phrases for Study

fouled the scuppers, 143, 1 filled the chains, 143, 1

medium of the plank, 143,

4 Board of Trade, 143, 14

Class Reading. Bring to class and read “The Tarry Buccaneer,” Masefield (in Salt-Water Ballads).

Suggested Theme Topic. How the American Navy put an end to the Tripolitan piracy.

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*From Rhymes of a Red Cross Man, by Robert W. Service; published by

; Barse and Hopkins.

Nurse won't give me a glass,
But I see the folks as they pass
Shudder and turn away;

Turn away in distress . 5 Mirror enough, I guess.

I'm gay! You bet I am gay;
But I wasn't a while ago.
If you'd seen me even today,

The darndest picture of woe,
10 With this Caliban mug of mine,

So ravaged and raw and red,
Turned to the wall-in fine
Wishing that I was dead ..

What has happened since then,
15 Since I lay with my face to the wall,

The most despairing of men?
Listen! I'll tell you all.
That poilu across the way,

With the shrapnel wound on his head, 20 Has a sister; she came today

To sit a while by his bed.
All morning I heard him fret:
"Oh, when will she come, Fleurette?"

Then sudden, a joyous cry; 25 The tripping of little feet;

The softest, tenderest sigh;
A voice so fresh and sweet,
Clear as a silver bell,

Fresh as the morning dews: 30 “C'est toi, c'est toi, Marcel!

Mon frère, comme je suis heureuse!

So over the blanket's rim
I raised my terrible face,

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