« ZurückWeiter »
XXI. Duhesme, whose crimes the Catalans may tell, Died here;—with sabre strokes the posts are scored, Hewn down upon the threshold where he fell, Himself then tasting of the ruthless sword; A Brunswicker discharged the debt of Spain, And where he dropt the stone preserves the stain.
xxii. Too much of life hath on thy plains been shed, Brabant so oft the scene of war's debate; But ne'er with blood were they so largely fed As in this rout and wreck; when righteous Fate Brought on the French, in warning to all times, A vengeance wide and sweeping as their crimes:
XXIII. Vengeance for Egypt and for Syria's wrong; For Portugal's unutterable woes; For Germany, who suffered all too long Beneath these lawless, faithless, godless foes; For blood which on the Lord so long had cried, For Earth opprest, and Heaven insulted and defied.
xxiv. We followed from Genappe their line of flight To the Cross Roads, 8 where Britain's sons sustained Against such perilous force the desperate fight: Deserving for that field so well maintained, Such fame as for a like devotion's meed The world hath to the Spartan band decreed.
XXV. Upon this ground the noble Brunswick died, Led on too rashly by his ardent heart; Long shall his grateful country tell with pride How manfully he chose the better part; when groaning Germany in chains was bound, he only of her Princes faithful found.
XXWi. And here right bravely did the German band Once more sustain their well-deserved applause; As when, revenging there their native land, In Spain they laboured for the general cause. In this most arduous strife none more than they Endured the heat and burthen of the day.
XXVII. Here too we heard the praise of British worth, Still best approved when most severely tried; Here were broad patches of loose-lying earth, Sufficing scarce the mingled bones to hide,And half-uncovered graves, where one might see The loathliest features of mortality.
XXWiii. Eastward from hence we struck, and reached the field Of Ligny, where the Prussian, on that day By far-outnumbering force constrained to yield, Fronted the foe, and held them still at bay; And in that brave defeat acquired fresh claim To glory, and enhanced his country's fame.
xxix. Here was a scene which fancy might delight To treasure up among her cherished stores, And bring again before the inward sight Often when she recalls the long-past hours;– Well-cultured hill and dale extending wide, Hamlets and village spires on every side;
XXX. The autumnal-tinted groves; the upland mill Which oft was won and lost amid the fray; Green pastures watered by the silent rill; The lordly Castle yielding to decay, With bridge and barbican and moat and tower, A fairer sight perchance than when it frowned in power:
xxxi. The avenue before its ruined gate, Which when the Castle, suffering less from time Than havoc, hath foregone its strength and state, Uninjured flourisheth in nature's prime; To us a grateful shade did it supply, Glad of that shelter from the noontide sky:
xxxii. The quarries deep, where many a massive block For some Parisian monument of pride, Hewn with long labour from the granite rock, Lay in the change of fortune cast aside; But rightly with those stones should Prussia build Her monumental pile on Ligny's bloody field !
Xxxiii. The wealthy village, bearing but too plain The dismal marks of recent fire and spoil; Its decent habitants, an active train, And many a one at work with needful toil On roof or thatch, the ruin to repairMay never War repeat such devastation there !
XXXIV. Ill had we done if we had hurried by A scene in faithful history to be famed Through long succeeding ages; nor may I The hospitality let pass unnamed, And courteous kindness on that distant ground, Which, strangers as we were, for England's sake we found.
xxxW. And dear to England should be Ligny's name: Prussia and England both were proved that day; Each generous nation to the other's fame Her ample tribute of applause will pay; Long as the memory of those labours past, Unbroken may their Fair Alliance last!
The tales which of that field I could unfold,
Better it is that silence should conceal. They who had seen them shuddered while they told
Of things so hideous; and they cried with zeal, One man hath caused all this, of men the worst,O wherefore have ye spared his head accurst!'9