Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Vain-glorious Fugitive ! yet turn again!

Behold, where, named by some prophetic Seer, Flows Honour's Fountain,* as fore-doomed the stain

From thy dishonour'd name and arms to clearFallen Child of Fortune, turn, redeem her favour liere !

IX.
Yet, ere thou turn'st, collect each distant aid ;

Those chief that never heard the lion roar !
Within whose souls lives not a trace pourtray'd,

Of Talavera or Mondego's shore!
Marshal each band thou hast, and summon more;

Of war's fell stratagems exhaust the whole ;
Rank upon rank, squadron on squadron pour,

Legion on legion on thy foeman roll, And weary out his arm-thou canst not quell his soul.

X.
Ovainly gleams with steel Agueda's shore,

Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuava's plain,
And front the Aying thunders as they roar,

With frantic charge and tenfold odds, in vain! And what avails thee that, for Cameron slain,

Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was givenVengeance and grief gave mountain rage the rein,

And, at the bloody spear-point headlong driven, Thy Despot's giant guards fled like the rack of heaven!

XI.
Go, baffled Boaster! teach thy haughty mood

To plead at thine imperious master's throne !
Say, thou hast left his legions in their blood,

Deceived his hopes, and frustrated thine own ; Say, that thine utmost skill and valour shown

By British skill and valour were outvied ; Last

say, thy conqueror was Wellington!

And if he chafe, be his own fortune tried God and our cause to friend, the venture we'll abide.

XII.
But ye, the heroes of that well-fought day,

How shall a bard, unknowing and unknown,
His meed to each victorious leader pay,

Or bind on every brow the laurels won ? Yet fain my harp would wake its boldest tone,

O'er the wide sea to hail CADOGAN brave; And he, perchance, the minstrel note might own,

Mindful of meeting brief that Fortune gave Mid yon far western isles, that hear the Atlantic ráve.

• The literal translation of Fuentes d'Honoro

XIII.
Yes ! hard the task, when Britons wield the sword,

To give each Chief and every field its fame:
Hark! Albuera thunders BERESFORD,

And red Barosa shouts for dauntless GRÆME! O for a verse of tumult and of flame,

Bold as the bursting of their cannon sound, To bid the world re-echo to their fame!

For never, upon gory battle-ground, With conquest's well-bought wreath were braver victors crown'd!

XIV.
O who shall grudge him Albuera's bays,

Who brought a race regenerate to the field,
Roused them to emulate their fathers' praise,

Temper'd their headlong rage, their courage steel'd, And raised fair Lusitania's fallen shield,

And gave new edge to Lusitania's sword, And taught her sons forgotten arms to wield

Shivered my harp, and burst its every chord, If it forget thy worth, victorious BERESFORD!

XV.
Not on that bloody field of battle won,

Though Gaul's proud legions rolled like mist away,
Was half his self-devoted valour shown,

He gaged but life on that illustrious day ; But when he toiled those squadrons to array,

Who fought like Britons in the bloody game, Sharper than Polish pike or assagay,

He braved the shafts of censure and of shame, And, dearer far than life, he pledged a soldier's fame.

[ocr errors]

XVI.
Nor be his praise o'erpast who strove to hide

Beneath the warrior's vest affection's wound,
Whose wish, Heaven for his country's weal denied ;

Danger and fate he sought, but glory found.
from clime to clime, where'er war's trumpets sound,

The wanderer went; yet, Caledonia ! still
Thine was his thought in march and tented ground;

He dreamed mid Alpine cliffs of Athole's hill,
And heard in Ebro's roar his Lyndoch's lovely rill.

XVII. O hero of a race renowned of old,

Whose war-cry oft has waked the battle-swell, Since first distinguished in the onset bold,

Wild sounding, when the Roman rampart fell !

By Wallace' side it rung the Southron's knell,

Alderne, Kilsythe, and Tibber own'd its fame, Tummell's rude pass can of its terrors tell,

But ne'er from prouder field arose the name,
Than when wild Ronda learned the conquering shout of GRÆME!

XVIII.
But all too long, through seas unknown and dark,

(With Spenser's parable I close my tale)
By shoal and rock hath steerd my venturous bark ;

And land-ward now I drive before the gale, And now the blue and distant shore I hail,

And nearer now I see the port expand,
And now I gladly furl my weary sail,

And, as the prow light touches on the strand,
I strike my red-cross flag, and bind my skiff to land.

NOTES.

NOTE ON THE INTRODUCTION.

And Cattraeth's vales with voice of triumph rung, And mystic Merlin harped, and grey-hair'd Llywarch sung;-St. IV. p. 608. This locality may startle those readers who do not recollect, that much of the ancient poetry, preserved in Wales, refers less to the history of the principality to which that name is now limited, than to events which happened in the North-west of England and South-west of Scotland, where the Britons for a long time made a stand against the Saxons.

NOTES ON THE VISION,

For fair Florinda's plunder'd charms to pay.-St. IV. p. 612. Almost all the Spanish historians, as well as the voice of tradition, ascribe the invasion of the Moors to the forcible violation committed by Roderick upon Florinda, called by the Moors Caba, or Cava. She was the daughter of Count Julian, one of the Gothic monarch’s principal lieutenants, who, when the crime was perpetrated, was engaged in the defence of Ceuta against the Moors. In his indignation at the ingratitude of his sovereign, and the dishonour of his daughter, Count Julian forgot the duties of a Christian, and a patriot, and forming an alliance with Musa, then the caliph's lieutenant in Africa, he countenanced the invasion of Spain by a body of Saracens and Africans, commanded by the celebrated Tarik ; the issue of which was the defeat and death of Roderick, who was drowned in the river Guadelete as he fled from the battle, and the occupation of almost the whole peninsula by the Moors.

While trumpets rang, and heralds cried, “ Castile."-St. XLIII. p. 620. The heralds at the coronation of a Spanish monarch proclaim his name three times, and repeat three times the word Castilla, Castilla, Castilla ; which, with all other ceremonies, was carefully copied in the mock inauguration of Joseph Buonaparte.

High blazed the war, and long, and far, and wide. ---St. XLVIII. p. 622. Those who were disposed to believe that mere virtue and energy are able of themselves to work forth the salvation of an oppressed people, surprised in a moment of confidence, deprived of their officers, armies, and fortresses, who had every means of resistance to seek in the very moment when they were to be made use of, and whom the numerous treasons among the higher orders deprived of confidence in their natural leaders,—those who entertained this enthusiastic but delusive opinion may be pardoned for expressing their disappoiiftment at the protracted warfare in the peninsula. There are, however, another class of persons, who, having themselves the highest dread or veneration, or something allied to both, for the power of the modern Attila, will nevertheless give the heroical Spaniards little or no credit for the long, stubborn, and unsubdued resistance of three years to a power before whom their former well-prepared, well-armed, and numerous adversaries fell in the course of as many months. While these gentlemen plead for deference to Buonaparte, and crave

Respect for his great place-and bid the devil
Be duly hoooured for his burning throne,

war.

it may not be altogether unreasonable to claim some modification of censure upon those, who have been long, and to a great extent, successfully resisting this great enemy of mankind. That the energy of Spain has not uniformly been directed by conduct equal to its vigour, has been too obvious; that her armies, under their complicated disadvantages, have shared the fate of such as were defeated after taking the field with every possible advantage of arms and discipline, is surely not to be wondered at. But that a nation, under the circumstances of repeated disconfiture, internal treason, and the mismanagement incident to a temporary and hastilyadopted government, should have wasted, by its stubborn, uniform, and prolonged resistance, myriads after myriads of those soldiers who had overrun the world that some of its provinces should, like Galicia, after being abandoned by their allies, and overrun by their enemies, have recovered their freedom by their own unassisted exertions—that others, like Catalonia, undismayed by the treason which betrayed some fortresses, and the force which subduedi others, should not only have conti. nued their resistance, but have attained over their victorious enemy a superiority, which is even now enabling them to besiege and retake the places of strength which had been wrested from them, is a tale bitherto untold in the revolutionary

To say that such a people cannot be subdued, would be presumption similar to that of those who protested that Spain could not defend herself for a year, or Portugal for a month; but that a resistance which has been continued during so long a space, when the usurper, except during the short-lived Austrian campaign, had no other enemies on the continent, should be now less successful, when repeated defeats have broken the reputation of the French armies, and when they are likely (it would seem almost in desperation) to seek occupation elsewhere, is a prophecy as improbable as ungracious. And while we are in the humour of severely censuring our allies, gallant and devoted as they have shewn themselves in the cause of national liberty, because they may not instantly adopt those measures which we in our wisdom may deem essential to success, it might be well, if we endeavoured first to resolve the previous questions, Ist, Whether we do not at this moment know much less of the Spanish armics than of those of Portugal, which were so promptly condemned as totally inadequate to assist in the preservation of their country? 2d, Whether, independently of any right we have to offer more than advice and assistance to our independent allies, we can expect that they should renounce entirely the national pride, which is inseparable from patriotism, and at once condescend not only to be saved by our assistance, but to be saved in our own way? 3d, Whether, if it be an object, (as undoubtedly it is a main one,) that the Spanish troops should be trained under British discipline, to the flexibility of movement, and power of rapid concert and combination, which is essential to modern war; such a consummation is likely to be produced by abusing them in newspapers and periodi. cal publications ? Lastly, Since the undoubted authority of British officers makes

« ForrigeFortsett »