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But in Man's dwellings he became a thing
Restless and worn, and stern and wearisome,
Droop'd as a wild-born falcon with clipt wing,
To whom the boundless air alone were home :
Then came his fit again, which to o'ercome,
As eagerly the barr'd-up bird will beat
His breast and beak against his wiry domo
Till the blood tinge his plumage, so the heat
Of his impeded soul would through his bosom eat.
Sell-exiled Ilarold wanders forth again,
With nought of hope left, but with less of gloom;
The very knowledge that he lived in vain,
That all was over on this side the tomb,
Had made Despair a smilingness assume,
Which, though 'twere wild, as on the plunder'd wreck
When mariners would madly meet their doom
With draughts intemperate on the sinking deck, -
Did yet inspire a cheer, which he forebore to check.
Stop ! - For thy tread is on an Empire's dust!
An Earthquake's spoil is sepulchred below!
Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust?
Nor column trophied for triumphal show?
None ; but the moral's truth tells simpler so,
As the ground was before, thus let it be ;
How that red rain hath made the harvest grow!
And is this all the world has gain'd by thee,
Thou first and last of fields ! king-making Victory?
And Ilarold stands upon this place of skulls,
The grave of France, the deadly Waterloo ;
llow in an hour thie
Its gists, transferring same as llceting too !
In " pride of place" (") here last the eagle flew,
(1) “ PRIDE of place” is a term of falconry, and means the highest pitch a light. - See Macbeth. &c.
“ An Eagle towering in his pride of place
Was by a mousing Owl hawked at and killed."
Then toro with bloody talon the rent plain,
Pierced by the shaft of banded nations through
Ambition's life and labours all were vain ;
lle wears the shatter'd links of the world's broken chain.
Fit retribution! Gaul may champ the bit
And foar in setters ; - but is Earth more free?
Did nations combat to make One submit;
Or league to teach all kings true sovereignty?
What! shall reviving Thraldom again be
The patch'd-up idol of enlighten'd days?
Shall we, who struck the Lion down, shall we
Pay the Wolf homage ? proffering lowly gaze
And servile knees to thrones? No; prove before ye praise !
If not, o'er one fallen despot boast no more !
In vain fair checks were furrow'd with hot tears
For Europe's flowers long rooted up before
The trampler of her vineyards; in vain years
Of death, depopulation, bondage, fears,
Have all been borne, and broken by the accord
Of roused-up millions : all that most endears
Glory, is when the myrtle wreathes a sword
Such as IIarmodius (') drew on Athens' tyrant lord.
There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gather'd then
TIer Beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men ;
A thousand hearts beat happily ; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage-bell; (*)
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knel. !
(11 See the famous song on Harmodius and Aristogiton. — The best Engrish translation is in Bland's Anibology, by Mr. Denman.
“ With myrtle my sword will I wreathe," &c. (2) On the night previous to the action, it is said that a ball was given at Brusseis.
Did ye not hear it? — No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance ! let joy be unconfined ;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet -
But, hark ! — that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm! Arm! it is — it is — the cannon's opening roar !
Within a window'd nichc of that high hall
Sate Brunswick's latcd chiestain ; he did hcar
That sound the first annidst the festival,
And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear :
And whon they smiled because he deem'd it near,
Ilis hcart more truly knew that pcal too well
Which stretch'd his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell:
He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blush'd at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated; who could guess
Jl'ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so swect such awful morn could riso ?
And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetyous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar ;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Rouscd up the soldier cre the morning star;
While throng'd the citizens with terror dumb,
O whispering, with white lips - " The foe! They come !
they come !"
And wild and high the “ Cameron's gathering ” rose !
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes :
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Savage and shrill! But with the breath which fills
Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And (TM) Evan's, (o) Donald's fame rings in each clansman's
And Ardennes (*) waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
Grieving, if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave, alas!
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Of living valour, rolling on the foe
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and low.
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn the marshalling in arms,
Battle's magnificently-stern array!
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent
The earth is cover'd thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heap'd and pent,
Rider and horse, — friend, foe, - in one red burial blent !
(1,2) Sir Evan Cameron, and his descendant Donald, the “gentle Lochic!” of tho • forty-five." (3) The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the " forest of Antena
famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and immortal in Shakspcaro's “ As you liko it.” It is also celebrated in Tacitus as being the spot of successful defence by the Germans against the Roman encroachments. - I have ventured to adont thu nania connected with nobler associations than thoso of mere slaughter.
Their praise is hymn'd by loftier harps than mine,
Yet one I would select from that proud throng,
Partly because they blend me with his line,
And partly that I did his sire some wrong,
And partly that bright names will ballow song;
And his was of the bravest, and when shower'd
The death-bolts deadliest the thinn'd files along,
Even where the thickest of war's tempest lower'd,
They reach'd no nobler breast than thine, young, gallant
There have been tears and breaking hearts for thee,
And mine were nothing, had I stich to give;
But when I stood beneath the fresh
Which living waves where thou didst cease to live,
And saw around me the wide field revive
With fruits and fertile promise, and the Spring
Come forth her work of gladness to contrive,
With all her reckless birds upon the wing,
I turn’d from all she brought to those she could not bring. (")
I turn'd to thee, to thousands, of whom each
And one as all a ghastly gap did make
In his own kind and kindred, whom to teach
Forgetfulness were mercy for their sake;
The Archangel's trump, not Glory's, must awake
(1) My guide from Mont St. Jean over the field seemed intelligent and accurate. The placo where Major Howard fell was not far from two tall and solitary trees (there was a third cut down, or shivereil in the battle) which stand a few yards from each other at a pathway's side. Beneath these he died and was buried. The body has since been removed to England. A small hollow for the present marks where it lay, but will probably soon be effaced ; the plough has been upon it, and the grain is.
After pointing out the different spots where Picton and other gallant men had perished, the guide said, " Ilere Major Howard lay: I was near him when woundcdl." I hold him my relationship, and ho scemed ihen sill moro anxious to point out the particular spot and circumstances. The place is one of the most marked in the field from the peculiarity of the two trces above mentioned.
I went on horseback twice over tho field, comparing it with my recollection of similar scenes. As a plain, Waterloo scems marked out for the scene of some grcat action, though this may be mcro imagination: I havo viewed with attention those of Platen, Troy, Mantinea, Leuctra, Chæronca, and Marathon ; and the field around Mont St. Jean and Hougoumont appears to want little but a better cause, and that undefinable but impressive halo which the lapse of ages throws around a celebrated spot, to vic in inicrest which any or all of these, except perhaps the last mentioned.