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LV. Suwarrow chiefly was on the alert,
Surveying, drilling, ordering, jesting, pondering, For the man was, we safely may assert,
A thing to wonder at beyond most wondering; Hero, buffoon, half-demon, and half-dirt,
Praying, instructing, desolating, plundering ; Now Mars, now Momus; and when bent to storm A fortress, harlequin in uniform.
For this great conqueror play'd the corporal
Had met a party towards the twilight's fall,
'T was mu that he was understood at all;
LVII. Whereon, immediately at his request,
They brought him and his comrades to head-quarters : Their dress was Moslem, but you might have guess'd
That these were merely masquerading Tartars, And that beneath each Turkish-fashion'd vest
Lurk’d Christianity; who sometimes barters Her inward grace for outward show, and makes It difficult to shun some strange mistakes.
LVIII. Suwarrow, who was standing in his shirt
Before a company of Calmucks, drilling, Exclaiming, fooling, swearing at the inert,
And lecturing on the noble art of killing, For, deeming human clay but common dirt,
This great philosopher was thus instilling His maxims, which, to martial comprehension, Proved death in battle equal to a pension ;
LIX. Suwarrow, when he saw this company
Of Cossacks and their prey, turn'd round and cast Upon them his slow brow and piercing eye :
“Whence come ye?”—“From Constantinople last, Captives just now escaped,” was the reply.
“What are ye?”—“What you see us. Briefly past This dialogue; for he who answer'd knew To whom he spoke, and made his words but few.
LX. “ Your names ?”—“Mine 's Johnson, and my comrade's Juan;
The other two are women, and the third
The party a slight glance, then said : “ I have heard
To bring the other three here was absurd ;
-66 The same.
LXI. 6. You served at Widin?”.
'_- Yes.”_" You led the attack ? " “I did.”—“What next?”—“I really hardly know." " You were the first i' the breach ?”—“I was not slack,
At least, to follow those who might be so." “What follow'd ?”—“ A shot laid me on my back,
And I became a prisoner to the foe.” “ You shall have vengeance, for the town surrounded Is twice as strong as that where you were wounded."
LXII. “ Where will you serve ?”. --- Where'er you please."-"I know
You like to be the hope of the forlorn, And doubtless would be foremost on the foe
After the hardships you ’ve already borne.
He with the beardless chin and garments torn ?”
LXII. “He shall, if that he dare.” Here Juan bow'd
Low as the compliment deserved. Suwarrow
By special providence, to lead to-morrow,
To several saints, that shortly plough or harrow
pass o'er what was Ismail, and its tusk Be unimpeded by the proudest mosque.
LXIV. “ So now, my lads, for glory!”-Here he turn'd, And drillid
in the most classic Russian, Until each high heroic bosom burn'd
For cash and conquest, as if from a cushion
All earthly goods save tithes) and bade them push on
LXV. Johnson, who knew by this long colloquy
Himself a favourite, ventured to address Suwarrow, though engaged with accents high
In his resumed amusement. “I confess My deht in being thus allow'd to die Among the foremost; but if you 'd
Will join your former regiment, which should be
(Here he call'd up a Polish orderly)His post, I mean the regiment Nikolaiew.
The stranger stripling may remain with me;
The ladies, who by no means had been bred
Although their harem education led Doubtless to that of doctrines the most true, Passive obedience,- raised
the head, With flashing eyes and starting tears, and flung Their arms, as hens their wings about their young,
LXVIII. O'er the promoted couple of brave men
Who were thus honour'd by the greatest chief That ever peopled hell with heroes slain,
Or plunged a province or a realm in grief.
Oh, glorious laurel! since for one sole leaf
LXIX. Suwarrow, who had small regard for tears,
And not much sympathy for blood, survey'd The women with their hair about their ears,
And natural agonies, with a slight shade Of feeling : for, however habit sears
Men's hearts against whole millions, when their trade Is butchery, sometimes a single sorrow Will touch even heroes--and such was Suwarrow.
Why, Johnson, what the devil do you mean
All the attention possible, and seen In safety to the waggons, where alone
In fact they can be safe. You should have been Aware this kind of baggage never thrives : Save wed a year, I hate recruits with wives.”
LXXI. "May it please your excellency," thus replied
Our British friend,“ these are the wives of others, And not our own. I am too qualified
By service with my military brothers,
Into a camp; I know that nought so bothers
With their attendant aided our escape, And afterwards accompanied us through
A thousand perils in this dubious shape. To me this kind of life is not so new ;
To them, poor things! it is an awkward step ; I therefore, if you wish me to fight freely, Request that they may both be used genteelly."
LXXIII. Meantime these two poor girls, with swimming eyes,
Look'd on as if in doubt if they could trust Their own protectors; nor was their surprise
Less than their grief (and truly not less just) To see an old man, rather wild than wise
In aspect, plainly clad, besmear’d with dust, Stript to his waistcoat, and that not too clean, More fear'd than all the sultans ever seen.
As they could read in all eyes. Now, to them,
To see the sultan, rich in many a gem, Like an imperial peacock stalk abroad
(That royal bird, whose tail 's a diadem), With all the pomp of power, it was a doubt How power could condescend to do without.
Though little versed in feelings oriental,
repent all; And, strange to say, they found some consolation In this—for females like exaggeration.
They parted for the present—these to await,
What sages call chance, providence, or fate(Uncertainty is one of many blisses,
A mortgage on humanity's estate) —
Suwarrow, who but saw things in the gross,
Being much too gross to see them in detail ; Who calculated life as so much dross,
And as the wind a widow'd nation's wail, And cared as little for his army's loss
(So that their efforts should at length prevail) As wife and friends did for the boils of Job ;What was ’t to him to hear two women sob?
LXXVIII. Nothing. The work of glory still went on
In preparations for a cannonade As terrible as that of Ilion,
If Homer had found mortars ready made ; But now, instead of slaying Priam's son,
We only can but talk of escalade, Bombs, drums, guns, bastions, batteries, bayonets, bullets ; Hard words which stick in the soft Muses' gullets.
All ears, though long,-all ages, though so short,
Arms to which men will never more resort, Unless gunpowder should be found to harm Much less than is the hope of
every court, Which now is leagued young freedom to annoy; But they will not find liberty a Troy :