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Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deep’ning in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon ;
Restless it rolls, now fixed, and now anon
Flashing afar--and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers to mark what deeds are done ;
For on this morn three potent nations meet,
To shed before bis shrine the blood he deems most sweet.
By heaven! it is a splendid sight to see
(For one who hath no friend, no brother there)
Their rival scarfs of mixed embroidery,
Their various arms that glitter in the air!
What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair,
And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey!
All join the chase, but few the triumph share;
The grave shall bear the chiefest prize away,
And hayoc scarce for joy can number their array.
Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice;
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high,
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies ;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory!
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally
That fights for all, but ever fights in vain,
Are met-as if at home they could not die-
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
And fertilize the field tliat each pretends to gain.
There shall they rot-Ambition's honoured fools !
Yes, Honour decks the turf that wraps their clay!
Vain Sophistry ! in these behold the tools,
The broken tools, that tyrants cast away
By myriads, when they dare to pave their way
With human hearts-- to what?-a dream alone.
Can despots compass aught that hails their sway?
Or call with truth one span of earth their own,
Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone?
Oh, Albuera! glorious field of grief!
As o'er thy plain the Pilgrim pricked his steed,
Who could foresee thee, in a space so brief,
A scene where mingling foes should boast and bleed!
Peace to the perished ! may the warrior's meed
And tears of triumph their reward prolong!
Till others fall where other chieftains lead
Thy name shall circle round the gaping throng,
And shine in worthless lays, the theme of transient song!'"
Enough of Battle's minions ! let them play
Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame :
Fame that will scarce reanimate their clay,
Though thousands fall to deck some single name.
In sooth 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim
Who strike, blest hirelings! for their country's good,
And die, that living might have proved her shame;
Perished, perchance, in some domestic feud,
Or in a narrower sphere wild Rapine's path pursued.
Fall swiftly Harold wends his lonely way
Where proud Sevilla triumphs unsubdued :-
Yet is she free-the spoiler's wished-for prey!
Soon, soon shall Conquest's fiery foot intrude,
Blackening her lovely domes with traces rude.
Inevitable hour! 'Gainst fate to strive
Where Desolation plants her famished brood
Is vain, or Ilion, Tyre might yet survive,
And Virtue vanquish all, and Murder cease to thrive.
But all unconscious of the coming doom,
The feast, the song, the revel here abounds;
Strange modes of merriment the hours consume,
Nor bleed these patriots with their country's wounds:
Not here War's clarion, but Love's rebeck sounds :
Here folly still his votaries enthralls;
And young-eyed lewdness walks her midnight rounds :
Girt with the silent crimes of capitals,
Still to the last kind Vice clings to the tott'ring walls.
Not so the rustic-with his trembling mate
He lurks, nor casts his heavy eye afar,
Lest he should view his vineyard desolate,
Blasted below the dun hot breath of war.
No more beneath soft Eve's consenting star
Fandango twirls his jocund castanet :
Ah, monarchs! could ye taste the mirth ye mar,
Not in the toils of Glory would ye fret;
The hoarse dull drum would sleep, and Man be happy yer!
XLVIII. How carols now the lusty muleteer? Of love, romance, devotion is his lay, . As whilome ke was wont the leagues to cheer, His quick bells wildly, jingling on the way? No! as he speeds, he chauots: « Viva el Rey! », And checks his song to execrate Godoy, The royal wittol Charles, and curse the day When first Spain's queen beheld the black-eyed boy, And gore-faced Treason sprung from her adulterate joy.
XLIX. On yon long, level plain, at distance croirned . With crags, whereon those Moorish turrets rest, Wide scattered hoof-marks dint the wounded ground; And, scathed by fire, the green sward's darkened vest Tells that the foe was Andalusia's guest : Here was the camp, the watch-flame, and the host; Here the bold peasant stormed the dragon's nest;
Still does he mark it with triumphant boast, And points to yonder cliffs, which oft were won and lost.
And whomsoe'er along the path you meet,"
Bears in his cap the badge of crimson hue,
Which tells you whom to shun and whom to greet :
Woe to the man that walks in public view
Without of loyalty this token true :
Sharp is the knife, and sudden is the stroke;
And sorely would the Gallic foeman rue,
If subtle poniards, wrapt beneath the cloke,
Could blunt the sabre's edge, or clear the cannon's smoke.
At every turn Morena's dusky height
Sustains aloft the battery's iron load;
And, far as mortal eye can compass sight,
The mountain-howitzer, the broken road,
The bristling palisade, the fosse o'er-flowed,
The stationed bands, the never-vacant watch,
The magazine in rocky durance stowed,
The holstered steed beneath the shed of thatch,
The ball-piled pyramid, the ever blazing match,
Portend the deeds to come :--but he whose nod
Has tumbled feebler despots from their sway,
A moment pauseth ere he lifts the rod; · A little moment deigneth to delay :
Soon will his legions sweep through these their way:
The West must own the Scourger of the world.
Ah! Spain! how sad will be thy reckoning-day,
When soars Gaul's vulture, with his wings unfurled,
And thou shalt view thy sons in crowds to Hades hurled.
And must they fall ? the young, the proud, the brave,
To swell one bloated Chief's unwholesome reign ?
No step between submission and a grave ?
The rise of rapine and the fall of Spain ?
And doth the power that man adores ordain
Their doom, nor heed the suppliant's appeal ?
Is all that desperate valour acts in vain ?
And counsel sage and patriotic zeal,
The veteran's skill, youth's fire, and Manhood's heart of steel ?