Oh! thou eternal Homer! I have now

To paint a siege, wherein more men were slain,
With deadlier engines and a speedier blow,
Than in thy Greek gazette of that campaign;
And yet, like all men else, I must allow,

To vie with thee would be about as vain
As for a brook to cope with ocean's flood;
But still we moderns equal you in blood—


If not in poetry, at least in fact;

And fact is truth, the grand desideratum!
Of which, howe'er the Muse describes each act,
There should be, ne'ertheless, a slight substratum.

But now the town is going to be attack'd;

Great deeds are doing-how shall I relate 'em ?
Souls of immortal generals! Phœbus watches,
To colour up his rays from your dispatches.


Oh, ye great bulletins of Bonaparte!

Oh, ye less grand long lists of kill'd and wounded! Shade of Leonidas! who fought so hearty,

When my poor Greece was once, as now, surrounded!
Oh, Cæsar's Commentaries! now impart ye,
Shadows of glory! (lest I be confounded)

A portion of your fading twilight hues,
So beautiful, so fleeting, to the Muse.


When I call "fading" martial immortality,
I mean, that every age and every year,
And almost every day, in sad reality,

Some sucking hero is compell'd to rear,
Who, when we come to sum up the totality

Of deeds to human happiness most dear, Turns out to be a butcher in great business, Afflicting young folks with a sort of dizziness.


Medals, ranks, ribbons, lace, embroidery, scarlet,
Are things immortal to immortal man,

As purple to the Babylonian harlot :

An uniform to boys is like a fan

To women; there is scarce a crimson varlet

But deems himself the first in glory's van.

But glory's glory; and if you would find
What that is ask the pig who sees the wind!


At least he feels it, and some say he sees,
Because he runs before it like a pig;
Or if that simple sentence should displease,
Say that he scuds before it like a brig,
A schooner, or-but it is time to ease

This canto, ere my Muse perceives fatigue.
The next shall ring a peal to shake all people,
Like a bob major from a village steeple.


Hark! through the silence of the cold dull night,
The hum of armies gathering rank on rank!
Lo! dusky masses steal in dubious sight

Along the leaguer'd wall and bristling bank
Of the arm'd river, while with straggling light

The stars peep through the vapours dim and dank, Which curl in curious wreaths-How soon the smoke Of hell shall pall them in a deeper cloak !


Here pause we for the present-as even then
That awful pause, dividing life from death,
Struck for an instant on the hearts of men,

Thousands of whom were drawing their last breath! A moment-and all will be life again!

The march! the charge! the shouts of either faith! Hurra! and Allah! and-one moment more

The death-cry drowning in the battle's roar.


Stanza li.

Was teaching his recruits to use the bayonet.

Fact: Souvaroff did this in person.



Он blood and thunder! and oh blood and wounds! These are but vulgar oaths, as you may deem, Too gentle reader! and most shocking sounds : And so they are; yet thus is glory's dream Unriddled, and as my true Muse expounds

At present such things, since they are her theme, So be they her inspirers! Call them Mars, Bellona, what you will-they mean but wars.


All was prepared-the fire, the sword, the men
To wield them in their terrible array.

The army, like a lion from his den,

March'd forth with nerve and sinews bent to slay-

A human Hydra, issuing from its fen

To breathe destruction on its winding way, Whose heads were heroes, which, cut off in vain, Immediately in others grew again.


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History can only take things in the gross ;
But could we know them in detail, perchance,

In balancing the profit and the loss,

War's merit it by no means might enhance, To waste so much gold for a little dross,

As hath been done, mere conquest to advance.

The drying up a single tear has more

Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.


And why? because it brings self-approbation;
Whereas the other, after all its glare,
Shouts, bridges, arches, pensions from a nation-
Which (it may be) has not much left to spare-
A higher title, or a loftier station,

Though they may make corruption gape or stare,
Yet, in the end, except in freedom's battles,
Are nothing but a child of murder's rattles.


And such they are-and such they will be found.
Not so Leonidas and Washington,

Whose every battle-field is holy ground,

Which breathes of nations saved, not worlds undone.
How sweetly on the ear such echoes sound!
While the mere victor's may appal or stun
The servile and the vain, such names will be
A watch-word, till the future shall be free.


The night was dark, and the thick mist allow'd
Nought to be seen save the artillery's flame,
Which arch'd the horizon like a fiery cloud,

And in the Danube's waters shone the same,
A mirror'd hell! The volleying roar, and loud

Long booming of each peal on peal, o'ercame
The ear far more than thunder; for heaven's flashes
Spare, or smite rarely-man's make millions ashes!


The column order'd on the assault scarce pass'd
Beyond the Russian batteries a few toises,
When up the bristling Moslem rose at last,

Answering the christian thunders with like voices;
Then one vast fire, air, earth, and stream embraced,
Which rock'd as 't were beneath the mighty noises ;
While the whole rampart blazed like Etna, when
The restless Titan hiccups in his den.


And one enormous shout of "Allah!" rose
In the same moment, loud as even the roar
Of war's most mortal engines, to their foes

Hurling defiance: city, stream, and shore
Resounded "Allah!" and the clouds which close

With thick'ning canopy the conflict o'er, Vibrate to the Eternal name. Hark! through All sounds it pierceth, "Allah! Allah! Hu!"'


The columns were in movement, one and all;
But of the portion which attack'd by water,
Thicker than leaves the lives began to fall,

Though led by Arseniew, that great son of slaughter,

As brave as ever faced both bomb and ball.

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Carnage (so Wordsworth tells you) is God's daughter :"

If he speak truth, she is Christ's sister, and

Just now behaved as in the Holy Land.


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