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I. Merhought I heard a stir of hasty feet, And horses tramped and coaches rolled along, And there were busy voices in the street, As if a multitude were hurrying on; A stir it was which only could befall Upon some great and solemn festival.
II. Such crowds I saw, and in such glad array, It seemed some general joy had filled the land; Age had a sunshine on its cheek that day, And children, tottering by the mother's hand, Too young to ask why all this joy should be, Partook it, and rejoiced for sympathy.
III. The shops, that no dull care might intervene, Were closed; the doors within were lined with heads; Glad faces were at every window seen, And from the clustered house-tops and the leads, Others who took their stand in patient row, Looked down upon the crowds that swarmed below.
iW. And every one of all that numerous throng On head or breast a marriage symbol bore; The war-horse proudly as he paced along Those joyous colours in his forelock wore, And arched his stately neck as for delight, To show his mane thus pompously bedight.
W. From every church the merry bells rung round With gladdening harmony heard far and wide; In many a mingled peal of swelling sound, The hurrying music came on every side; And banners from the steeples waved on high, And streamers fluttered in the sun and sky.
Wi. Anon the cannon's voice in thunder spake, Westward it came, the East returned the sound; Burst after burst the innocuous thunders brake, And rolled from side to side with quick rebound. 0 happy land, where that terrific voice Speaks but to bid all habitants rejoice!
Wii. Thereat the crowd rushed forward one and all, And I too in my dream was borne along. Eftsoon, methought, I reached a festal hall, where guards in order ranged repelled the throng, But I had entrance through that guarded door, In honour to the laureate crown I wore.
Wiii. That spacious hall was hung with trophies round, Memorials proud of many a well-won day: The flag of France there trailed toward the ground; There in captivity her Eagles lay, And under each in aye-enduring gold, One well-known word its fatal story told.
ix. There read I Nile conspicuous from afar, And Egypt and Maida there were found; And Copenhagen there and Trafalgar; Vimeiro and Busaco's day renowned; There too was seen Barrosa's bloody name, And Albuhera, dear-bought field of fame.
Yon spoils from boastful Massena were won;
Those Marmont left in that illustrious fight By Salamanca, when too soon the sun
Went down, and darkness hid the Frenchman's flight.
These on Pyrene's aweful heights were gained,
The trophies of that memorable day, When deep with blood her mountain springs were
Above the clouds and lightnings of that fray, Wheeling afar the affrighted eagles fled; At eve the wolves came forth and preyed upon the dead.
And blood stained flags were here from Orthies borne,
Trampled by France beneath her flying feet; And what before Thoulouse from Soult were torn
When the stern Marshal met his last defeat, Yielding once more to Britain's arm of might, And Wellington in mercy spared his light.
XIII. There hung the Eagles which with victory flushed, From Fleurus and from Ligny proudly flew, To see the Usurper's high-swoln fortune crushed For ever on the field of Waterloo, Day of all days, surpassing in its fame All fields of elder or of later name!
XIV. There too the painter's universal art, Each story told to all beholders' eyes; And Sculpture there had done her fitting part, Bidding the forms perdurable arise Of those great Chiefs, who in the field of fight Had best upheld their country's sacred right.
xW. There stood our peerless Edward, gentle-souled, The Sable Prince, of chivalry the flower; And that Plantagenet of sterner mould, He who the conquered crown of Gallia wore; And Blake, and Nelson, Glory's favourite son, And Marlborough there, and Wolfe and Wellington.
XVI. But from the statues and the storied wall, The living scene withdrew my wondering sense; For with accordant pomp that gorgeous hall Was filled; and I beheld the opulence Of Britain's Court, a proud assemblage there, Her Statesmen, and her Warriors, and her Fair.