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-rm; Thy wood, dark Soignies, holds us now,
No opening glade dawns on our way,
No strearnlet, glancing to the ray,
And the straight causeway which we tread
Prolongs a line of dull arcade,
Unvarying through the unvaried shade,
II. A brighter, livelier scene succeeds; In groups the scattering wood recedes, Hedge-rows, and huts, and sunny meads, And corn-fields glance between; The peasant, at his labour blithe , Plies the hook'd staff and shorten'd scythe :—(t) But when these cars were green, Placed close within destruction's scope, Full little was that rustic’s hope Their ripening to have seen! And, lo, a hamlet and its fane :Let not the gazer with disdain Their architecture view; For yonder rude ungraceful shrine, And disproportion'd spire, are thine, Immortal WATBRLOOI
Fear not the heat, though full and high
Looks on the field below,
In easier curves can flow.
Forms an opposing screen,
The soften’d vale between
On that wide stubble-ground.
Nor fosse nor fence are found,
V. So deem'st thou—so each mortal deems, Of that which is from that which seems: But other harvest here Than that which peasanfs scythe demands, Was gather'd in by sterner hands, With bayonet, blade, and spear. No vulgar crop was theirs to reap, No stinted harvest thin and cheap! Heroes before each fatal sweep Fell thick as ripen'd grain; And ere the darkening of the day, Piled high as autumn shocks, there lay The ghastly harvest of the fray, The corpses of the slain.
VI. Ay, look again—-that line, so black And trampled, marks the bivouack; Yon deep-graved ruts, the artillery's track, So often lost and won; And close beside, the harden'd mud Still shows where, fetlock-deep in blood, The fierce dragoon, through battle’s flood, Dash’d the hot war-horse on. These spots of excavation tell The ravage of the bursting shell-— And feel‘st thou not the tainted steam, That reeks against the sultry beam, From yonder trenched mound? The pestilential fumes declare That Carnage has replenish'd there Her garner-house profound.
VII. Far other harvest-home and feast, Than claims the boor from scythe released, On these scorch'd fields were known! Death hover’d o'er the maddening rout, And, in the thrilling battle-shout, Sent for the bloody banquet out A summons of his own. Through rolling smoke the demon‘s eye Could well each destined guest espy, Well could his ear in ecstacy Distinguish every tone That fill'd the chorus of the frayFrom cannon-roar and trumpel—bray, From charging squadrons‘ wild hurra, From the wild clang that mark'd their way,-—Down to the dying groan, And the last sob of life's decay When breath was all but flown.
VIII. Feast on, stern foe of mortal life, Feast on !—but think not that a strife, With such promiscuous carnage rife, Protracted space may last; The deadly tug of war 2! length Must limits find in human strength, And cease when these are pass'd.
Vain hope!-that mom's derclonded sun
Pale Brussels! then what thoughts were thine, (2)
Continued thunders came!
Of rapine and of flame.
Points to his prey in vain,
He fires the fight again.
It On! on !n was still his stern exclaim,
u Confront the battery's Jaws of flame! Bush on the lcvell'd gun! (3)
My steel-clad cuirassiers, advance!
Each Hulan forward with his lance,
My Guarcl—-my chosen-—charge for France, France and Napoleon!»
Loud answer’d their acclaiming shout,
Greeting the mandate which sent out
Their bravest and their best to dare
The fate their leader shnnn'd to share.
But He, his country's sword and shield,
Still in the battle-front reveal'd,
Where danger fiercest swept the field,
In action prompt, in sentence brief
Lt Soldiers, stand firm!» e1tclairn'd the chief, t( England shall tell the fight!» (5)
XI. On came the whirlwind—like the last But fiercest sweep of tempest hlast—On came the whirlwind—steel-gleams broke Like lightning through the rolling smoke.
The war was waked anew; Three hundred cannon-mouths mid loud, And from their throats, with flash and cloud, Their showers of iron threw. / Beneath their fire, in full career, Ruslfd on the pondcrous cuirassier, The lancer couch'd his ruthless spear, And hurrying as to havoc near, The cohorts' eagles flew. In one dark torrent broad and strong, The advancing onset roll'd along, Forth harhinger‘d by fierce acclaim, That from the shroud of smoke and flame, Peal'd wildly the imperial name.
But on the British heart were lost
The terrors of the charging host;
For not an eye the storm that view’d
Then waked their fire at once!
Each musketeer’s revolving knell,
As when they practise to display
Then down went helm and lance,
And to augment the fray,
Wheel‘d full against their staggering flanks,
Then to the musket-knell succeeds
The clash of swords— the neigh of steeds-
The well-served cannon rent their way,
Raged the fierce rider's bloody brand,
Lancer and guard and cnirassier,