« 前へ次へ »
THE EVE BEFORE WATERLOO (From “Childe Harold,” Canto III.)
THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And all went merry as a marriage bell.
10 Did ye not hear it?-No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street.
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet !
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Within a windowed niche of that high hall
That sound the first amidst the festival,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well 25 Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell; He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.
Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness;
Which ne'er might be repeated: who could guess 35 If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise !
And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed, 40
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb, 45 Or whispering with white lips, “The foe! They come!
they come !"
And wild and high the “Cameron's Gathering” rose !
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills,
Their mountain pipe, so fill the mountaineers
The stirring memory of a thousand years,
55 And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with Nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Of living valor, rolling on the foe,
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life, 65 Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay;
The midnight brought the signal sound of strife-
The thunderclouds close o’er it, which when rent 70 The earth is covered thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent, Rider and horse-friend, foe-in one red burial blent !
HELPS TO STUDY
Historical: On the evening of June 15, 1815, the Duchess of Richmond gave a ball at Brussels. Wellington's officers, at his request, were present, his purpose being to conceal the near approach of battle. Napoleon, the leader of the French army, was the military genius of the age; Wellington, the leader of the English forces, had, Tennyson tells us, “gained a hundred fights nor ever lost an English gun.” These two great generals now met for the first time. The event was of supreme interest to all the world. The engagement that followed next day was fought at Quatre Bras; the great battle of Waterloo took place June 18th, Sunday. Read Thackeray's “Vanity Fair” for description of this night in Brussels. This is a great martial poem—the greatest inspired by this event.
Note the movement of the poem. The revelry, the beauty and the chivalry, the music and the merry-making, the alarm, the hurrying to and fro, the gathering tears, the mounting in hot haste, the whispering with white lips, the Scotch music, the green leaves of Ardennes, the closing
Notes and Questions
Find Belgium's capital on your
map; also Waterloo, twelve miles
away. What does the first stanza tell? The
second stanza ? Note the differences between the
fourth and fifth stanzas. The sixth stanza describes the Scot
tish martial music—What purpose does this stanza serve in the poem?
Which lines do you like best? Why?
Lochiel was a famous highland