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Title: Iberia Won - A poem descriptive of the Peninsular War
Author: Hughes, Terence McMahon
Language: English
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  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  The ‘Table of Contents’ has been created and inserted before the
  Preface by the Transcriber.

  Omitted text in quotations was indicated by ‘ * * ’ in the original
  book, sometimes ‘ * * * ’, and this has been retained in the etext.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  More detail can be found at the end of the book.



  IBERIA WON.



  LONDON:
  WILLIAM STEVENS, PRINTER, BELL YARD,
  TEMPLE BAR.



  IBERIA WON;

  A Poem

  DESCRIPTIVE OF
  THE PENINSULAR WAR:
  WITH IMPRESSIONS FROM RECENT VISITS TO
  THE BATTLE-GROUNDS,

  AND

  Copious Historical and Illustrative Notes.

  BY T. M. HUGHES,
  Author of “An Overland Journey to Lisbon,” “Revelations of Spain,”
  “The Ocean Flower,” &c.

  LONDON:
  LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS.
  MDCCCXLVII.



  TABLE OF CONTENTS

  Preface                                              iii

  Introduction                                           1

  CANTO I                                               43
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto I          59

  CANTO II                                              69
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto II         87

  CANTO III                                             99
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto III       117

  CANTO IV                                             127
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto IV        144

  CANTO V                                              149
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto V         165

  CANTO VI                                             173
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto VI        190

  CANTO VII                                            199
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto VII       216

  CANTO VIII                                           231
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto VIII      247

  CANTO IX                                             259
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto IX        276

  CANTO X                                              283
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto X         299

  CANTO XI                                             305
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto XI        322

  CANTO XII                                            327
  Historical and Illustrative Notes to Canto XII       344



PREFACE.


The following work is the result of six years’ residence in the
Peninsula, devoted to literary pursuits. It contains the fruits
(be they mature or otherwise) of many excursions through Spain
and Portugal, of considerable opportunities of observation,
and much familiarity with localities and people, as well as of
meditative habits in an isolated life, which during the last three
years especially has been compelled by severe sickness. Love and
admiration of the British Islands, whose climate would be fatal to
me, except during two or three summer months, have been fostered by
constrained absence; and my attention having been strongly turned
to the great Peninsular struggle, I have consulted every accessible
work, and every surviving authority within my reach, that could
illustrate a theme with which my mind has been filled for years.
While I have endeavoured to sustain the glory of England, I
have striven to award a meed of truthful but generous justice to
her Allies, and have not thought it requisite to depreciate the
well-earned fame of France. Yet, even while celebrating the most
splendid military achievements, it has been my aim to inculcate a
horror of the bloody arbitrament of War.

Determined to perfect the work, so far as in me lay, I last year
traversed the whole Peninsula from East to West, at the constant
risk of a very precarious life (which might thus, perhaps, become
not utterly valueless), and acquired the advantages to be derived
to my labours from visiting the following battle-grounds:--Bayonne
and the Adour, the Nive, St. Pierre, the Nivelle, the Bidasoa,
San Marcial, Vera, Sauroren, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Talavera,
Almaraz, Albuera, and Badajoz, having previously visited most of
the battle-fields in Portugal and in Northern and Southern Spain.

The task which I have undertaken, and accomplished according to my
means, was an ambitious one, yet honourable. I scarcely dare to
hope for success. I feel the full force of the immortal Scott’s
address to the illustrious Wellington, in the Introduction to his
_Vision of Don Roderick_:--

        But we weak minstrels of a laggard day,
        Skilled but to imitate an elder page,
        Timid and raptureless, can we repay
        The debt thou claim’st in this exhausted age?
        Thou giv’st our lyres a theme, that might engage
        Those that could send thy name o’er sea and land,
        While sea and land shall last; for Homer’s rage
        A theme; a theme for Milton’s mighty hand--
      How much unmeet for us, a faint degenerate band!

But, while I regard with befitting humility the result of this
labour of love, I trust that the spirit in which I have conceived
and written has at least been pure and irreproachable.

It is with feelings of the utmost satisfaction and pride that I
notice, contemporaneously with the appearance of this work, the
concession of a medal to our Peninsular veterans by the high-minded
Sovereign of England, whose propitious name and reign are
identified with victory:--

      Ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἁ μεγαλώνυμος ἦλθε Νίκα.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 148.

    VICTORIA came with mighty name and glory.

With equal pain have I witnessed, having traversed Spain at the
period, the recent success of French intrigue and the spectacle
of renewed subserviency. The wedding-ring may replace the sword,
but the instrument, because less bloody, is not less fatal to
Liberty; and the words of Byron, at the close of the first Canto
of _Childe Harold_, become invested with prophetic and appalling
truthfulness:--

        Not all the blood at Talavera shed,
        Not all the marvels of Barosa’s fight,
        Not Albuera lavish of the dead,
        Have won for Spain her well asserted right.
        When shall her Olive-Branch be free from blight?
        When shall she breathe her from the blushing toil?
        How many a doubtful day shall sink in night,
        Ere the Frank robber turn him from his spoil,
      And Freedom’s stranger-tree grow native of the soil!


  _Lisbon, 1st March, 1847._



INTRODUCTION.


Of all the great achievements which make up the sum of British
glory, the Peninsular War and its results form one of the grandest,
brightest, and most unimpeachable. These gigantic efforts were made
in the holy cause of Freedom; they were disinterested in a high
and unparalleled degree; their success was uniform, brilliant, and
startling; and their guerdon was the liberation and advancement of
mankind.

For six years England had constantly employed in the Spanish
Peninsula from thirty to seventy thousand of her troops, who
besides sustaining combats innumerable, took four great fortresses,
attacked or defended in ten important sieges, and were decisively
victorious in nineteen pitched battles, killing, wounding, or
making prisoners, two hundred thousand of the enemy. She liberally
subsidized Spain and Portugal, and maintained the troops of both
countries, regular and irregular, with supplies of ammunition,
clothing, and arms, while upon her own military operations she
expended upwards of one hundred millions sterling. Twice she
expelled the French from Portugal, and finally drove them from
Spain besides, surmounting and winning step by step the terrific
bulwark of the Pyrenees. With her naval squadrons she repeatedly
harassed the Invader by well-combined descents upon the coasts, and
rescued or preserved Lisbon and Cadiz, Alicante and Carthagena.
Her land forces tracked the enemy from Vimieiro to Busaco, from
Busaco to Navarre, over some of the most frightfully broken ground
in Europe, signally defeating them wherever they came in collision,
and sweeping them at times like a wreck before the ocean-wave; and
forty thousand of her children fell in the Peninsula to attest her
devotion to the cause of Freedom.

In this most memorable liberation of Spain from the French invader,
it is the glory of England to have realized with singular exactness
the splendid encomium of Livy: “Esse aliquam in terris gentem quæ
suâ impensâ, suo labore ac periculo, bella gerat pro libertate
aliorum. Nec hoc finitimis, aut propinquæ vicinitatis hominibus,
aut terris continenti junctis præstet. Maria trajiciat: ne quod
toto orbe terrarum injustum imperium sit, et ubique jus, fas, lex,
potentissima sint.”--_Hist. lib._ xxxiii.

The pre-eminent importance of the War of Independence in Spain,
and of the part which England took in that struggle, has been
acknowledged by rival French writers, whose love of historic truth
was too strong for the countervailing influences of prejudice,
passion, and professional jealousy. M. Thiers, in his _Histoire du
Consulat et de l’Empire_, speaks of it as “that long and terrible
struggle, that great Peninsular war, which lasted more than six
years, which exhausted more treasure and drained off a greater
tide of human blood than the murderous campaign of Russia, and
in which all the most renowned generals and marshals of France
were severally defeated, to the surprise of Napoléon, and to the
astonishment of the world, by an English general, newly returned
from India, whose name was as yet almost a stranger to every mouth.”

“Elle était à juste titre désignée comme la cause première et
principale de la chute de Napoléon,” is the remark of General Foy,
_Histoire de la Guerre de la Péninsule. Avant-propos_. And in one
of his private letters he says, “Moscow brought Alexander, Spain
brought Wellington, into the walls of our sacred city!”

I am therefore sure of the intrinsic interest of my subject, and
am tremulous only about its treatment. Of this much I at least am
certain--that no one will exclaim, as Horace did 2,000 years ago:

                  ----“Quis feræ
      Bellum curet Iberiæ?”

or be indifferent to the exploits of Englishmen in a country,
with whose people the same Horace coupled a most flattering
epithet--“_peritus Iber_.” The splendour and the decadence, the
glory and misfortunes, the ancient grandeur and the existing
distresses of Spain, the great historic parts which we have played
either in unison or in rivalry,--above all, the terrible struggle
which we maintained together against a Power with which it was at
first despair to cope, and yet brought to a triumphant issue, make
it impossible that any record of that struggle can be received with
indifference; and the customary fate of rashness and incompetency
is the only one that I have to apprehend.

That these great and glorious exploits should not have hitherto
formed the subject of any extended poem may at first appear
surprising. But the reason is obvious--the time had not yet
arrived. The glare of contemporary fame is unfavourable to
poetic celebration, except in the form of Pindar’s Olympionics,
in dithyrambic odes imbued with the intoxication of victory,
or otherwise in such short reflective sonnets as embodied a
Wordsworth’s calm and philosophic spirit. The mists of time must
be interposed before the hero rises to the Demigod, an entirely new
generation must have succeeded, and the poet must himself belong
to that generation. The halo of Imagination must invest what was
before Reality, the subject must have attained the dignity of the
_myth_, or heroic legend, and Ideal Art must be unencumbered by the
pressure of the Actual. That time appears to have arrived. Forty
years have elapsed since the commencement of this mighty struggle;
those of our Peninsular heroes whom the shock of battle spared,
have nearly all been gathered to their fathers, and those who
remain are like late surviving Nestors whose heads are crowned with
the snowy tonsure of Time.

Into the construction of this poem it is unfit that I should enter
further than to state, that the action, which is in some degree
formed on the purest ancient model, comprises a period of about
two months, commencing a month before and ending a month after
the taking of San Sebastian by storm. The besieged city forms the
central point, and the events there, with superadded imaginative
incidents, are combined with the fighting round San Sebastian, of
which the object was on one side to relieve, and on the other to
prevent the relief of that fortress. These are what are usually
known by the name of the Battles of the Pyrenees, and commenced
with the first battle of Sauroren, which was fought on the 28th
July, 1813; the storming of San Sebastian occurred on the 31st of
August; and the action of the poem concludes with the passage of
the Bidassoa, and the advance of the Allied Army to the Greater
Rhune, by which the Spanish soil was freed from the presence of
the Invader--events which occurred on the 7th and 8th of October.
The second siege of San Sebastian commenced contemporaneously
with the first battle of Sauroren, on the 28th July.[A] The actual
time therefore employed in the action is precisely two months and
twelve days. The battles of the Pyrenees introduced are essentially
interwoven with the main subject, which is the capture of the
great fortress of San Sebastian, the principal event of the latter
part of the War while it was confined to the Spanish soil. All
the characters are grouped by the story round the central figure
of the besieged city, the incidents of the _peripeteia_ or plot
are interwoven with that event and with each other, and--if it be
not presumption to use such a word--the _Epos_ is complete. The
critics, I have no doubt, will find abundant faults; and the rest I
commit to their tender mercies.

Though the time, as essential to such compositions, is in
comparison with the duration of the War extremely limited, all
its leading incidents are introduced in the permitted shapes of
narrative, episode, allusion, and apostrophe. The historical
part of the work invites the closest examination, as well as
the local colouring, to which a six years’ constant residence
in the Peninsula has enabled me, I trust, to impart some truth
and vivacity. I have lived in the midst of revolts, revolutions,
and military movements; my experience almost equals that of an
actual campaigner; and I have witnessed even portions of three
sieges--those of Seville and Barcelona in 1843, and that of Almeida
in Portugal in 1844. Copious historical and explanatory notes are
annexed to each canto, and the description of the battle grounds is
made accurate by personal observation of many of them, which I have
embodied in the notes. The theatre of that portion of the War which
enters into the action of the poem itself presents very felicitous
subjects for description, the ground being the gigantic Pyrenees,
and the combats there sustained being more like those of Titans
than of men. In addition to much oral testimony, the authorities
I have consulted are very numerous, and as fidelity has been my
constant aim their language will be found frequently cited in the
notes. The principal of these are Napier’s _History of the War in
the Peninsula_, Southey’s _History of the Peninsular War_, Foy’s
_Histoire de la Guerre de la Péninsule_, Gurwood’s _Despatches of
the Duke of Wellington_, Jones’s _Journals of the Sieges in Spain_,
Belmas’s _Journals of Sieges_, compiled from official documents by
order of the French government, Captain Cooke’s _Memoirs_, Captain
Pringle’s _Ditto_, Captain Batty’s _Campaign of the left Wing of
the Allied Army in the Western Pyrenees_, Gleig’s _Subaltern,
Annals of the Peninsular War_, De la Pène’s _Campagnes de 1813 et
1814_, and Pellot’s _Mémoires des Campagnes des Pyrénées_.

A difficulty inseparable from this subject is its great historical
and political interest, which although in one respect an advantage
in another is a considerable drawback. With events so well known
and comparatively so recent it is impossible to take liberties;
invention is restrained, and the imagination is confined within
limits more strict than the poetical faculty might desire for its
operations. If this objection has been felt with regard to Tasso’s
_Gerusalemme_, the personages of which were French and Italian
counts and princes familiar to the reader of general history,
and whose acts and characters were well known though they lived
four centuries before he wrote, it is clearly far more applicable
in the present instance. The answer at once is that an entirely
different treatment must be resorted to, that celestial machinery,
witchcraft, and all analogous means must be excluded, and that
actual truth must be made the basis of the whole composition.
To truth I have accordingly adhered, and invite the strictest
historical criticism, consistent with poetical diction and imagery,
of my account of these campaigns. The events were fortunately of
that brilliant description, and their theatre, the Pyrenees, so
essentially romantic, that the true and the marvellous are here one
and the same. Historical accuracy is here an element of beauty;
and my minor plot is alone invented, yet is meant to be strictly
probable.

Nearly the entire of our modern military system dates from the
commencement of the Peninsular War. The cumbrous old system which
fought a whole campaign for a comfortable place for winter quarters
(a great aim with Turenne) was broken up rapidly by the vigour of
Napoléon, and our first débût under the Duke of York had taught
us that we must change our plan. In 1808, the very year of our
first victories in the Peninsula (Roriça and Vimieiro) the use of
hair-powder was for the first time discontinued in the British
army. Rifle corps were then first formed--in the first instance
as rather a hopeless experiment, our soldiers having been deemed
too slow and heavy for this practice; but, as the result proved,
with perfect success. From the Polish lancers whom we first saw
at Albuera we borrowed the idea of our corps of lancers, as we
afterwards took from the French cuirassiers the modern equipment
of our lifeguards. The brilliant appearance of our light dragoons
astonished the French on their first appearance in the Peninsula.
“Nos soldats, frappés de l’élégance de l’habit des dragons légers,
de leurs casques brillants, de la tournure svelte des hommes et
des chevaux, leur avaient donné le nom de _lindors_.”--Foy, _Hist.
Guerre Pénins._ liv. 2. For this rather theatrical display we
substituted with better taste in 1813 an uniform similar to that
worn by the German light cavalry. The Shrapnell shell, or spherical
case shot, (the invention of an English Colonel of that name) was
used for the first time during the Peninsular War with great effect.

Amongst the many great services performed by the Peninsular War
was raising the character of the British soldier from a very low
to a very high standard in the national estimation. The plays
of Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Mrs. Centlivre, the tales
of Fielding, Smollett, and Defoe, and the graver essays of Dr.
Johnson, sufficiently demonstrate that in the time of those writers
military men were held in the lowest esteem. The conquerors of
Blenheim and of the Heights of Abraham were currently regarded as
debauchees, cutthroats, and dishonest adventurers, and where a
more gentlemanly exterior was exhibited, it was commonly united to
the silliest foppery. Such from the Restoration to the end of the
last century was the common character even of the officers of our
army, and the ruffianly brutality of _Ensign Northerton_ towards
_Tom Jones_ was perfectly characteristic in an age when undoubtedly
it was too true that pimping too often obtained commissions, and
it was an accurate general description to say of any chance-met
couple of officers that “one had been bred under an attorney, and
the other was son to the wife of a nobleman’s butler.” (_History
of a Foundling_, book vii. c. 12). Though there were undoubtedly
many officers then of a far superior class, still the high tone
of chivalrous honour in our army, and the general refinement
and accomplishment of character, belong to the present century.
It is the great praise of the British private soldier that his
stubborn will and indomitable energy, his cheerful discipline and
unflinching valour, carry him through the most brilliant exploits
to a success almost miraculously uniform, without any of those
tangible hopes of promotion which inspire the continental soldier.
Such noble and manful discharge of duty appears to merit some more
adequate reward than the possible working of a miracle which may
raise him from the ranks.

Wellington, in his admirable _Despatches_, says of the army
with which he won these Pyrenean victories: “I think I could do
any thing with them.” The resemblance of many portions of these
remarkable compositions to those of Cæsar has been more than once
pointed out; but the striking coincidence in the present instance
has never, I believe, before been noticed: “Non animadvertebatis,”
says Cæsar, likewise speaking of the exploits of his Peninsular
veterans, “decem habere legiones populum Romanum, quæ non solùm
vobis obsistere, sed etiam cœlum diruere possent.” _De Bello
Hispanico_, § ult. Even the number of veterans under the command of
the ancient and the modern General was nearly the same.

Indomitable energy and hearty courage are an old strain in the
English blood. They are thus attested by Cromwell:--“Indeed we
never find our men so cheerful as when there is work to do.”
Carlyle, _Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell_, Supplement.
That no specific decoration has yet been accorded to our Peninsular
veterans appears a most amazing oversight.

The courage displayed in our Peninsular sieges was of the highest
order. There can be no question that, since the commencement
of the world, no military daring, no dauntless valour, has
been witnessed, Greek or Roman, Saracenic or Chivalrous, to
exceed--perhaps none to equal, that of our storming parties
at Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and San Sebastian. But it is very
doubtful whether human life was not unnecessarily squandered, and
whether the fire of the besieged should not have been silenced,
and their defences in the first instance destroyed. This opinion
seems now to be generally maintained both by engineer officers
and by experienced officers of the army. The dictum of the great
master of the art of fortification is in one respect vindicated,
though in another it has been broken down by British heroism:
“La précipitation dans les sièges ne hâte point la prise des
places, la retarde souvent, et ensanglante toujours la scène.”
Vauban, _Maximes_. General Foy, who sometimes emancipates himself
from his prejudices against England, and is often candid, while
he praises the courage of our men, says that it was needlessly
expended, and that the taking of fortified places by the rules of
art is reduced to a mathematical problem. But the bravery of our
troops is still unquestionable. “On eût dit que les ingénieurs
étaient là seulement pour construire les places d’armes desquelles
s’élanceraient les troupes destinées a l’assaut ou à l’escalade;
et encore eût-on pu à la rigueur, avec des soldats si déterminés,
se passer de leur ministère.” Foy, _Hist. Guerre Pénins._ liv. ii.
I must transcribe his testimony as to the conduct of our officers:
“L’officier anglais conduisait les troupes au feu sans effort, et
avec une bravoure admirable. * * La gloire de l’armée britannique
lui vient avant tout de son excellente discipline et de la bravoure
calme et franche de la nation.” But Foy adds a stigma which these
sieges affixed to our army, and these sieges alone in all our
Peninsular campaigns, and the impartiality which I am determined
to preserve, and from which in some years to come I am convinced
not the slightest departure will be tolerated, requires that it
be rigorously unveiled for the reprobation of a more enlightened
age:--“Une fois sortis de la discipline, les soldats anglais se
livrent à des excès qui étonneraient les Cosaques; ils s’enivrent
dès qu’ils le peuvent, et leur ivresse est froide, apathique,
anéantissante.” Humanity shudders at the brutalities perpetrated by
our soldiers at Badajoz and San Sebastian.

It was not without much reason that the general opinion throughout
Europe attributed the extraordinary successes of the revolutionary
armies of France to the admirable arrangement of the light infantry
service. Napoléon may be said to have created the corps of
_voltigeurs_ and _tirailleurs_, upon which model were subsequently
formed the Carabineers and Rifles of the British service, and the
Caçadores of Spain and Portugal. The Prussian General Bulow in
1795, stated his opinion that “l’emploi de l’infanterie légère
est le dernier perfectionnement de la guerre, et qu’à la rigueur
on pourrait désormais se passer d’infanterie de ligne dans les
armées!” _Esprit du Système de Guerre moderne, par un ancien
officier prussien._ We may laugh at the extravagant absurdity of
the latter part of this statement, but it shows the effect which
Napoléon’s new system had produced. An opinion nearly similar
prevailed about the same time in England. “The continent has been
subdued by the French _tirailleurs_, and battles are sought to
be won by killing one after another the officers of the enemy’s
army.” _Letter to a General-Officer on the Establishment of Rifle
Corps in the British Army._ By Col. Robinson. These rifle corps
were established, and became eminently successful, being detached
in companies to the different infantry brigades. The coolness,
however, of our ordinary infantry skirmishers in the Peninsula
rendered an extensive introduction of rifle corps unnecessary.

The rifle, as used in modern warfare, is the most terrible because
most treacherous of weapons. It would have fallen especially under
the ban of the Bayards and Montlucs of the sixteenth century,
who chivalrously deprecated the use even of the common firelock,
and formed vows worthy of _Don Quixote_, “pour qu’on abandonnât
l’usage de ces armes traîtresses au moyen desquelles un lâche, tapi
derrière un buisson, donne la mort au brave qu’il n’aurait pas
regardé en face!”

Colonel H. A. Dillon says that for what the French call _le moral
d’une armée_ he can find no equivalent in the English language, and
must explain his thought by paraphrase. He defines this _moral_
to be the liveliest courage produced by the purest patriotism.
_Commentary on the Military Establishments and Defences of the
British Empire_, vol. i. This _moral_ the French lost by their
repeated defeats in the Peninsula, and by the conviction forced
on them that even the Pyrenees were no longer a barrier. Napoléon
placed in _le moral_ three fourths of the power of an army.
Celerity of movement was the principal secret of the early French
successes, and of this the rapid marching of the French soldier and
his wonderful power of sustaining fatigue were the main elements.
The French soldier is small of stature, as General Foy himself
confesses, but he marches quick and long, and this the General in
great part attributes to the French eating much more bread than any
other European troops: “Les soldats qui mangent le plus de pain et
le moins de viande sont en général plus musculeux, et marchent plus
vite et plus long temps que les autres. * * Le Français a besoin
en campagne de deux livres de pain par jour.”--Foy, _Hist. Guerre
Pénins._ liv. i.

The astonishing developement which Napoléon gave to the infantry
service has been dwelt on by more than one writer. “L’infanterie
française, cette nation des camps,” says De Barante, _Des Communes
et de l’Aristocratie_. Napoléon gave to this arm a power and
vigour to which it was before a stranger. “Napoléon augmenta
le bataillon d’infanterie d’une autre compagnie d’élite, les
voltigeurs. Ce fut une idée heureuse que de rehausser dans l’estime
publique les hommes de petite taille, qui en général sont les plus
intelligens et les plus alertes.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre Pénins._)
The consummation of the Emperor’s gigantic views was found in the
Imperial Guard. “La garde impériale représentait la gloire de
l’armée et la majesté de l’empire. On choisissait les officiers et
les soldats parmi ceux que les braves avaient signalés comme les
plus braves: tous étaient couverts de cicatrices.”--(Foy, _Hist.
Guerre Pénins._ liv. i.) Napoléon after the battle of Marengo
called them his “granite column.” At the height of his power his
Imperial Guard consisted of 68 battalions, 31 squadrons, and 80
pieces of artillery--in itself a powerful army. Never will the
exclamation of these devoted men on the field of Waterloo be
forgotten: “_La garde meurt et ne se rend pas!_”

The peculiar constitution of the French grenadier corps is likewise
to be remarked. These bodies were the combined excerpts of all
the best men from every regiment. “L’éclat et la prééminence des
grenadiers Français * * l’usage de réunir tous ceux d’une ou de
plusieurs brigades pour tenter des actions de vigueur.” (Foy,
_Hist. Guerre Pénins._, liv. ii.) To these we never opposed more
than our average regimental forces, and their picked men were for
the most part overcome by our rank and file. What this rank and
file was composed of let the following passage attest. “Les Anglais
n’escaladent pas la montagne et n’effleurent pas la plaine, lestes
et rapides comme les Français; mais ils sont plus silencieux, plus
calmes, plus obéissants; pour ce motif leurs feux sont plus assurés
et plus meurtriers.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre Pénins._, liv. ii.) Such
is the brilliant testimony to the merits of the British soldier by
one of Napoléon’s own Generals. Our footmen are still the sturdy
yeomen who accomplished such marvels at Crecy. If in a state little
removed from brute ignorance they have done such wonders, what
may be expected from them in the not far distant day, when they
shall become elevated by education to a more fitting standard?
Splendid as our horses are, and our dragoons both heavy and light,
the strength of our army will be always in its powerful infantry,
in their steady fire, indomitable endurance, and incomparable use
of the bayonet. These are the _robur peditum_, like the _triarii_
of the Roman legions, who were chosen from the strongest men, and
ever fought on foot. It was remarked that in moments of peril they
set their limbs so strongly, that their knees were somewhat bowed
(precisely like our modern pugilists), as if they would rather die
than remove from their places; and it passed into a proverb, when a
thing came to extremity: “_ad triarios res venit_.”

The use of tents, like many another classic incumbrance, has
been swept away from campaigning by our modern tactics, which
originated at the commencement of the Peninsular War, and, arrived
at the bivouac, the “lodging is on the cold ground” and _sub Jove
frigido_. “L’usage des tentes préservait les troupes des maladies
pernicieuses. Tout cela est vrai, et cependant on ne reviendra ni
aux petites armées, ni aux sièges de convention ni aux maisons de
toile.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre Pénins._ liv. i.) The commander who
makes a campaign with tents is fettered with embarrassments as
to means of transport, which must always place him in a state of
inferiority to an adversary not thus encumbered. This is one of
the great changes wrought by the wonderful genius of Napoléon,
which even amidst the new hardships which he imposed, secured
almost the adoration of his soldiers. “Ils frémissent encore
d’alégresse en exprimant le transport dont on fut saisi, quand
l’empereur, qu’on croyait bien loin, apparut tout-à-coup devant le
front des grenadiers, monté sur son cheval blanc et suivi de son
mamelouck.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre Pénins._ liv. ii.) At the close of
the War, the person of Wellington commanded almost equal admiration.

I am a great admirer of General Napier, whom I regard as the
counterpart of Thucydides, the soldier-historian of Athens, and to
whom may be not infelicitously applied the character assigned to
Xenophon (another Athenian narrator of military exploits in which
he himself participated) by our earliest Latin lexicographer,
Thomas Thomas, the contemporary of Shakspeare: “Xenophon was a
noble and wyse captaine, and of a delectable style in wrytynge.”
Napier’s style is enchanting and stirs like the sound of a trumpet.
My obligations to him are unbounded. But Heaven forbid that his
enthusiasm for War should become general, for it is of a truly
rabid character:--“War is the condition of this world. From man
to the smallest insect all are at strife!” (_Hist. War in the
Penins._, book xxiv. chap. 6.) This is a mere reproduction of
Hobbes: “The state of nature is a state of war.” I trust that
peace will ere long be the enduring condition of this world; and
there are happily indications of that approaching consummation.
If I sing the glories of the Peninsular War, it is because it
was of a defensive character and we struck for Freedom. We may
surely now repose on our laurels (as it is phrased), and never
hereafter engage in a war which shall not be in the strictest sense
inevitable.

I am happy to record upon this subject the enlightened sentiments
of a French General: “L’esprit de liberté tuera l’esprit militaire.
Il ne sera plus permis aux princes de faire entr’égorger les
peuples pour des intérêts de dynastie, ou pour des lubies
d’ambition. Les gouvernants, quels que soient leur titre et
l’origine de leur pouvoir, ne pourront subsister qu’en s’effaçant
personnellement devant la volonté générale. Les nations, comparant
les désastres de la bataille au mince profit de la victoire, ne
pousseront plus le cri de guerre, hormis dans les circonstances
très rares où il s’agira de vivre libre ou mourir.” (Foy, _Hist.
Guerre Pénins._ liv. i.) Elsewhere he makes this acute criticism
on the audacious designs of Napoléon. “Le despotisme avait été
organisé pour faire la guerre; on continua la guerre pour conserver
le despotisme. Le sort en était jeté; la France devait conquérir
l’Europe, ou l’Europe subjuguer la France. * * La nature a marqué
un terme au-delà duquel les enterprises folles ne peuvent pas être
conduites avec sagesse. Ce terme l’empereur l’atteignit en Espagne,
et le dépassa en Russie. S’il eût échappé alors à sa ruine, son
inflexible outrecuidance (presumption) lui eût fait trouver
ailleurs Baylen et Moscou.” Such is the impartial testimony of one
of his own generals.

The French “playing at soldiers” is an old vice, older than the
days of Sir Thomas More, who thus pleasantly hits it off: “In
France there is yet a more pestiferous sort of people, for the
whole country is full of soldiers, that are still kept up in time
of peace, if such a state of a nation can be called a peace: and
these are kept in pay upon the same account, it being a maxim of
those pretended statesmen, that it is necessary for the public
safety, to have a good body of veteran soldiers ever in readiness.
But France has learned to its cost, how dangerous it is to feed
such beasts.” Louis XIV. kept up a standing army of 440,000 men,
and Napoléon had frequently more.

The Gauls in modern times seem to have very much changed their
nature, for so far from invading other countries, their reputation
amongst the ancients was for remaining to fight at home, according
to the obvious interpretation of a line in Pindar:

      ἐνδομάχας ἅτ’ ἀλέκτωρ.--_Olymp._ xii.

“domi pugnans ceu Gallus.” To be sure, it is just possible that the
learned Theban may have meant that humble domestic fowl, a cock.
Erasmus reads “domi abditus.” There can be no doubt that a cock was
meant, and unquestionably it is a bellicose bird. The passage from
Pindar might be fairly rendered by the Latin adage: “Gallus in suo
sterquilinio,” which it is needless to turn into the vernacular.
There are symptoms of the French reforming this national vice, and
I therefore shall not dwell upon a somewhat disagreeable subject.

I am happy to be the first to record the true orthography of one
of our two first and not least important battles in the Peninsula,
Roriça and Vimieiro. They used to be invariably written Roleia
and “Vimeira.” Napier has considerably improved upon this,
making the latter “Vimiero.” But still he is wrong. The correct
word is “Vimieiro.” Even had I made no other discovery, my four
years’ residence in Portugal would not have been useless. True,
it may be said that the General has only “knocked an _i_ out of
it” in military fashion. But, though the error be confined to a
single letter, it would be only the change of a letter to call
Waterloo “Waterlog,” and who could excuse such a travesty of our
glorious victory? These mistakes in the orthography of the names
of Peninsular localities are common to all English writers, and
excellent a scholar as Southey was, they disfigure his History
as well as that of Napier. I find the names of these two battles
misdescribed as “Roleia” and “Vimieira” in the memoir by Sir B.
D’Urban lately reproduced at the elevation of Sir H. Hardinge to
the Peerage--should I not rather say the elevation of the Peerage
by the accession to it of that gallant and chivalrous Peninsular
veteran?

The French, too, write the names of these battles as erroneously.
They call them uniformly “Roliça” and “Vimeiro,” vide “_Histoire
de la Guerre de la Péninsule, par le Général Foy_,” “_Mémoires
par Pellot, Campagnes par De la Pène_,” _and_ “_Mémoires de M. la
Duchesse d’Abrantès_” passim. Napier in the twenty-fourth book of
his History takes leave of the comparative approach to accuracy
in his earlier books, and speaks of these battles every where as
“Roliça” and “Vimiera.” Specks in the sun!

In my choice of a metre I have been led by the following
considerations. The beauty and completeness of the stanza of
Spenser appear now to be generally acknowledged. But it certainly
presents great difficulties in a language so unvocal compared with
those of Southern Europe, and so little abounding in rhymes as
the English. It is more difficult in a narrative and consecutive
poem than in one of a descriptive and reflective character, like
_Childe Harold_, where the topics and the order in which they
shall be discussed are both at the discretion of the poet. Yet the
terrible exigencies of four recurring rhymes in each stanza have
led even such a master as Byron into not a few puzzling dilemmas,
as in his description of Cintra (_Childe Harold_, i. 19), where he
has completed a stanza, in which “steep,” “weep,” and “deep” had
already done service, with “torrents leap,” although the faintest
trickle of a torrent was never seen in that locality! As he
proceeded in his task, he attained to a more perfect mastery of his
materials; and, I think, the fourth canto unsurpassed in English
poetry. It may be asked why I hoped to succeed in what Byron found
so difficult? My answer is that I do not think the difficulty
insuperable, as Byron has proved it not to be in the latter and
infinitely finer part of his poem, that none but a Milton could
elevate blank verse to the sublimity as well as harmony of the
_Paradise Lost_, that rhyme, and especially such an elegant form
of rhymed verse as the stanza of _Childe Harold_, possesses a
popular and inalienable charm, that success (if achieved at all)
rises with the magnitude of the difficulties encountered, and
that Spenser himself, Thomson’s _Castle of Indolence_, his other
imitators, Shenstone’s _Schoolmistress_, Beattie’s _Minstrel_ and
West’s _Education_, Campbell’s _Gertrude of Wyoming_, occasional
short pieces by Wordsworth, Wiffin’s _Translation of Tasso_,
Scott’s introductions to very many cantos of his several poems (in
these two latter cases I speak merely of mechanical execution),
Shelley’s _Revolt of Islam_ and _Adonais_, Kirke White’s _Hermit of
the Pacific_ and _Christiad_, Mrs. Norton’s _Child of the Islands_,
and a few (too few) verses of Tennyson and Milnes abundantly
prove the capability of the stanza. The Italian _ottava rima_,
although sanctified by the use of Tasso and Ariosto, adopted
almost universally in the heroic poetry of one Peninsula, and most
successfully introduced by Camóens into the only epic poetry of
the other, appears unadapted for any but burlesque or satirical
poetry in the English language, the serious passages of _Don Juan_
deriving all their beauty from being interspersed with lighter, and
the excellence and power of Fairfax’s _Tasso_ being marred by the
effect of the metre. The English heroic couplet becomes clearly,
I think, monotonous in a long poem--a doom from which not all the
genius of Dryden and Pope could rescue it. And if in his _Corsair_,
_Lara_, and _The Island_, Byron proved, in the words of Jeffrey,
that “the oldest and most respectable measure that is known amongst
us is as flexible as any other,” and elicited from Sir E. Brydges
a just tribute to his “unbroken stream of native eloquence,” it
is precisely because “the narrative (as he says) is rapid,” and
because the hazardous experiment is not tried of continuing rhymed
distiches through a long poem. The Italian _ottava rima_ has been
observed to derive great strength from its majestic close, which
is invariably in a doubly rhymed couplet, and I have occasionally
introduced double rhymes in this and other parts of the stanza to
relieve the tendency to monotony. The most distinguished cultivator
of Southern literature that England has ever produced, Lord
Holland, in his translations from Lope de Vega, Luis de Gonzaga,
&c., and from Ariosto, was very successful in this imitation.
The hypercatalectic syllable occurs in every line of Tasso’s
_Gerusalemme_, and in every line of Camóens’ _Lusiadas_, and the
Italians and Portuguese therefore call the verse “hendecasyllabic.”
A poem of any length constructed on this principle in English would
degenerate into pure burlesque; but Byron and others have proved
that it may be advantageously introduced as a pleasing variety.

The Alexandrine at the close of each stanza of Spenser produces an
equivalent, and perhaps even a more majestic effect. It has been
objected to this Alexandrine that it gives a drawling tone to a
long narrative poem; but I do not think with justice, since very
much depends on the mode in which the line is constructed. Pope’s
celebrated “needless Alexandrine” has created a prejudice against
this metre, which I admit to be just where it is interspersed with
heroic verse, since, as Johnson correctly observes, it disappoints
the ear. But in the stanza of Spenser it is expected. How easily
the form and character of a verse may be changed by transposing a
word or two will appear from Pope’s famous imitative Alexandrine:

      “Which like a wounded snake drags its slow length along.”

Alter two monosyllables, and it goes quite trippingly from the
tongue:

      “And like a wounded snake it drags its length along.”

There is no essential alteration. The adjective “slow” omitted
is an incorrect epithet applied to “length,” since the quickest
objects in nature, a racehorse or a greyhound, appear very long
when upon full stretch, and in most rapid movement. The trick of
the line is in the simple use of spondees in the place of iambuses,
“which like,” “drags its,” “slow length.” How short and compact
an Alexandrine may be, may be seen in Horace’s Epodes _passim_.
Take the first line of the celebrated second ode, the “_longè
pulcherrima_” by the consent of all critics:

      “Beatus ille qui procul negotiis.”

This is a perfect Alexandrine, and though consisting of twelve
syllables, does not appear longer than one of Scott’s shortest
octosyllabic lines in the _Lady of the Lake_:

      “Thy threats, thy mercy I defy.”

The reason is because it is a pure Iambic line, and therefore very
vocal; since, if it contained many consonants, as nearly every
English line does, they must make most of the previous vowels long
by position; and, though accent generally determines the quantity
in English, literal quantity enters more into the construction of
English verse than is commonly supposed.

I may here observe that the stanza commonly called “Spenserian”
is by no means so purely an original invention of that most
imaginative poet as is usually represented. The Alexandrine at
the close is the only part that is original. I find the germ of
Spenser’s stanza very palpably in the old ballet-staves and in the
works of two poets who lived fully a century before him, Skelton
who styled himself Poet Laureate to Henry VII. and Stephen Hawes
who was Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the same monarch. The
following stanza is from Skelton’s “Elegy on the death of Henry
Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland:”--it is the ballet-stave of
seven, in which was written an enormous quantity of early, but now
forgotten, English poetry, and in which Spenser has written his
“Ruins of Time,” and Shakspeare his “Rape of Lucrece.”

      O cruell Mars, thou dedly god of war!
        O dolorous Teusday, dedicate to thy name,
      When thou shoke thy sworde so noble a man to mar!
        O grounde ungracious, unhappy be thy fame,
        Which wert endyed with rede blode of the same!
      Most noble earl! O fowle mysuryd grounde
      Whereon he gat his fynal dedely wounde!

Down to the end of the fifth line this is precisely the stanza of
Spenser. With the addition of two lines, one rhyming with the last,
and the other with the fifth, and of two syllables to the closing
line, it is literally that stanza. But in fact the latter addition
was often made by both Skelton and Hawes, though irregularly,
metrical cadence being then imperfectly understood, and both poets
being of the “tumbling” school. This poem was probably composed in
the year 1490. Skelton died in 1529, and an edition of his poems
in black letter appeared in 1568. I take the stanza which follows
from a poem of Hawes’s called “The History of Graunde Amoure and la
Belle Pucel,” written in 1505 and published in quarto in 1555:

      Till that I came unto a ryall gate,
        Where I saw stondynge the goodly portresse,
      Whyche asked me from whence I came a-late;
        To whom I gan in every thynge expresse
        All myne adventure, chaunce, and busynesse,
      And eke my name; I told her every dell;
      Whan she herde this she lyked me right well.

The construction of this stanza is the same as of the former, but
the versification is rather rougher. It, like the other, is very
near the Spenserian stanza. But it is not the Spenserian stanza.
Friar Bacon and Leonardo da Vinci were very near the discovery
of steam, but they did not discover steam, or at all events they
did not apply it. The stanzas cited, however, contain the great
distinguishing peculiarity of the stanza of Spenser, which is the
reduplication of the rhyme, that closes the second and fourth
lines, in the fifth--the doubling of the stanza within itself, and
turning upon this most musical pivot. And this beauty, like so many
other great discoveries, I believe to be probably the result of
accident. Add another line to each of the foregoing stanzas, make
it rhyme with the first and third, and interpose it between the
fourth and fifth lines, and you have the exact _ottava rima_ of the
Italians. This ballet-stave is the clear germ of the Spenserian
stanza, which with a few _perfectionnemens_ is precisely as it
stands. It may be traced more directly to the ballet-stave of
eight, but either will suit equally well for illustration.

To make this quite intelligible to every reader, Hawes’s stanza
becomes the exact _ottava rima_ of the Italians, which Surrey
brought into England, and in which Spenser wrote two of his poems,
the rhyme of Fairfax’s _Tasso_, of Frere’s _Whistlecraft_, and
Byron’s _Don Juan_, by the insertion of the single line which I
have added here in italics:

      Till that I came unto a royal gate,
        Where I saw standing the goodly portresse,
      Who askéd me from whence I came of late;
        To whom I ’gan in every thing express
      _The various hazards of my chequered fate_,
        All mine adventure, chaunce, and busynesse,
      And eke my name; I told her every dell:[B]
      When she heard this she likéd me right well.

The stanza becomes purely Spenserian by the addition of the two
lines and one word which I here insert in italics:

        Till that I came unto a royal gate,
          Where I saw standing the goodly portresse,
        Who askéd me from whence I came of late;
          To whom I ’gan in every thing express
          All mine adventure, chaunce, and busynesse,
        _With every accident that me befel_
          _Throughout my chequered life--I could no less--_
        And eke my name; I told her every dell:
      When she this _story_ heard she likéd me right well.

The ballet-stave of seven is one of the many varieties of Chaucer,
who has written in this measure four of his “Canterbury Tales,” and
composed a very long poem in it, _Troylus_, of which the following
stanza is a specimen (lib. ii. 1030.)

      For though that the best harper upon live
      Would on the beste sounid jolly harpe
      That evir was, with all his fingers five
      Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe,
      Were his nailes poincted nevir so sharpe,
      It shoulde makin every wight to dull
      To heare is glee, and of his strokes full.

This, like the other, becomes the perfect _ottava rima_ by the
addition of a single line, which I have likewise marked in
italics:--

      For though that the best harper upon live
      Would on the beste sounid jolly harpe
      That evir was, with all his fingers five
      Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe,
      _And with Glaskyrion the Briton strive_,
      Were his nailes poincted nevir so sharpe,
      It shoulde makin every wight to dull
      To heare his glee, and of his strokes full.

The addition refers to a celebrated ancient Welsh harper mentioned
with honour by Chaucer himself in his _Boke of Fame_. I shall
not further meddle by patchwork with the illustrious Father of
English Poetry. But, as in the former case, by the addition of
two lines and one word I could at once convert his stanza into
that of Spenser. The _ottava rima_ was not then invented, nor for
many years after Chaucer wrote, not having made its appearance
until the days of Boiardo and Berni, nor been brought to perfection
until the lyre was held by the master hands of Ariosto and Tasso.
The secret of the great resemblance of this stanza as employed by
Chaucer to that subsequently invented by his Italian successors
is, that both delved in the same mine and wrought upon the same
material--the Sicilian sonnet, first introduced and naturalized in
Europe by Chaucer’s great contemporary, Petrarch. So perfect was
this instrument, the sonnet, at its discovery, that the fine taste
of Petrarch adhered to it throughout life with marvellous tenacity,
and at this day Wordsworth has without change written nearly half
his poetry in it. I believe Chaucer, who either copied or adapted
many of his modes of versification from Petrarch, to have moulded
his ballet-staves both of seven and eight, by squaring them with
the first half of the Sicilian or Petrarcan sonnet, with which they
are nearly identical. The Italian successors of Petrarch in the
same way took the first half of the sonnet, transposing the first
and second lines, and inserting another line between the fourth and
fifth lines. Thus simply is derived the far-famed _ottava rima_.

In real fact and truth, Chaucer has had nearly as much share in
the formation of what is known as the stanza of Spenser as Spenser
himself. That stanza is purely the ballet-stave of eight with three
close rhymes--with the simple addition by Spenser of an Alexandrine
at the close, rhyming with the last verse of the ballet-stave.
There are some who trace these ballet-staves to the Latin rhymed
church iambics, and the germ of the ballet-stave of eight has been
sought in a Latin hymn written by the German monk, Ernfrid, in the
ninth century; but they are to be traced more probably (at least in
their more perfect shape) to the Romance poetry of the Provençals.
The first instance I meet with of the use of the ballet-stave of
eight in English verse is in the elegy on the death of our first
Edward, written from internal evidence shortly after that period.
The rhymes and their arrangement are precisely as in the stanza of
Spenser, but the verse is octosyllabic:

      Alle that beoth of huerte trewe
        A stounde herkneth to my song
      Of duel that deth hath diht us newe
        That maketh me syke and sorrow among. &c.

Chaucer was the first who wrote this stanza in the heroic
line of ten syllables, and his contribution to the stanza is
therefore quite as important as Spenser’s addition of the closing
Alexandrine. In this stanza Chaucer has written the whole of the
Monk’s Tale, and how entirely it is the stanza of _Childe Harold_,
with the exception of the Alexandrine at the end, may be seen from
the following example:--

      His wif his lordes, and his concubines
      Ay dronken, while her appetitis last,
      Out of thise noble vessels sondry wines;
      And on a wall this King his eyen cast,
      And saw an hand armles that wrote ful fast,
      For fere of whiche he quoke, and siked sore.
      This hand that Balthasar so sore aghast,
      Wrote _Mane techel phares_ and no more.

The _Faëry Queen_ stanza must be regarded as a felicitous discovery
rather than invention, and even the merit of the addition becomes
diminished by the consideration that Alexandrine verse had become
a great favourite amongst his contemporary poets before he used
it. It was the favourite metre of a Howard and a Sidney at the
commencement of the era of Elizabeth, and is frequently met in our
alliterative poems, both early English and Anglo-Saxon. Yet Dr.
Johnson has most erroneously represented Spenser as the inventor of
the Alexandrine! But so fortunate was Spenser’s completion of the
stanza, that all the attempts of Phineas Fletcher, Giles Fletcher,
Prior, and even Milton, to improve on it were unavailing, and it
may now be regarded as one of the special glories of England.

The stanza of Spenser, as used by that poet, was by no means the
perfect musical stave that it is at present, so exquisitely attuned
with the dominant quadruple rhyme for its key-note. Thomson appears
to me to have brought it very nearly to perfection--his sole
drawback being a too frequent indulgence in imperfect rhymes. In
Byron’s fourth canto of _Childe Harold_ I conceive it to be brought
to perfection. Spenser indulges constantly in imperfect rhymes, and
though sometimes musical as well as often charmingly fanciful and
suggestive, he was by no means such a master of language and rhythm
as Shakspeare, whose influence, followed up by the examples of
Milton, Dryden, and Pope, is felt in the excellence of the poetical
diction of the poets of this century. Though Spenser in some degree
discovered the stanza which bears his name, he did not complete the
discovery, for his Alexandrine is commonly deficient in the cæsural
pause, which is absolutely essential to the satisfaction of the ear
and to the majestic close of the stanza, and now almost as much _de
rigueur_ as it is in the French Alexandrine, which is the common
heroic measure of our neighbours. The Alexandrine in every second
stanza of Spenser is without it, and the effect is very bad, as may
be seen from the following examples:--

  “So shall wrath, jealousy, grief, love, die and decay.”
  “You shame-faced are but Shame-facedness itself is she.”
  “Save an old nymph, hight Panope, to keep it clean.”
  “Of turtle doves, she sitting in an ivory chaire.”
  “And so had left them languishing ’twixt hope and feare.”
  “Excludes from faire hope withouten further triall.”
  “All mindless of the golden fleece which made them strive.”
  “The other back retired, and contrary trode.”
  “With which it blessed concord hath together tied.”
  “Did waite about it, gaping griesly, all begor’d.”
  “Yet spake she seldome, but thought more the less she said.”
  “But of her love to lavish, little have she thank.”
  “And unto better fortune doth herself prepare.”
  “Fails of her souse, and passing by doth hurt no more.”
  “Forgetful of his safety hath his right way lost.”
  “But with entire affection, and appearance plaine.”
  “Great liking unto many, but true love to few.”
  “Into most deadly danger and distressed plight.”
  “Whilst loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime.”
  “They have him taken captive, tho’ it grieve him sore.”
  “So kept she them in order, and herself in hand.”
  “’Mongst which crept the little angels through the glittering
         gleames.”
  “And thereout sucking venom to her parts intire.”
  “Ease after war, death after life, does greatly please.”

Admitting the richness and fertility of Spenser’s fancy, I cannot
find that he has depth, originality, or brilliancy of thought
to compensate for a roughness, which is amazing by the side of
Shakspeare’s exquisite versification, or to justify the high
opinion expressed by Wordsworth. Compare Spenser’s Description of
Lucifer’s Palace, commencing

      “A stately palace built of squared brick,
      “Which cunningly was without mortar laid”

with Milton’s Pandemonium!

Superadded to Spenser’s roughness, which the antique style
affected by him in some degree palliates, are very frequent
imperfect rhymes and slovenly repetitions of the same identical
metrical sounds, as _plain_, _plane_, and _complain_, _see_ and
_sea_, rhyming in the same stanza--liberties which now are utterly
inadmissible. It is very true that the recurrence of four lines
which rhyme together and of three lines which likewise rhyme with
each other in each stanza makes the Spenserian stanza in a long
poem extraordinarily difficult, without an occasional manifestation
of these defects; but the exigencies of modern criticism, I think
justly, require that the difficulty be overcome. And a portion,
doubtless, of the superiority of modern English to modern French
and Italian poetry arises from explosion of imperfect rhymes.
If the poets of these days are degenerate in grasp of thought,
they are at least superior to their predecessors and to their
continental contemporaries in the mechanism of their art.

Having said thus much of the stanza which I have chosen, I shall
add that, rejecting classical conformity in all those matters
wherein I conceive the advanced spirit of the age to demand modern
treatment, I have availed myself largely of classical allusion,
and to a certain extent of classical imagery, to impart interest
to a subject which might otherwise smell too much of “villanous
saltpetre,” and have in some cases adhered more closely to true
classical nomenclature than has hitherto been the custom. I regard
it as one of the advantages of the acuteness of modern scholarship
to have cleared away much rubbish and removed many an excrescence.
But the Grecian may unhappily descend into the Græculist, and by
adopting too much spoil every thing. Thus I conceive no good effect
to be produced by writing the name Pisistratus in a serious work
“Peisistratus,” and I would not imitate in modern poetry Homer’s
not at all ignobly meant comparison of Aias (Ajax) to an ass any
more than I would adopt the word _hog_ as applied to Achilles: ὅγ’
ὣς εἰπὼν “he thus speaking”--“_Hog_ thus speaking” would be rather
offensive to English ears. Neither would I write “Klutaimnestra”
for Clytemnestra, “Loukas” for Luke, “Dabid” for David, or “Eua”
for our first mother. In matters of taste, like these, above all
things we must observe the _modus in rebus_. Quintilian, a master
in all that relates to elegance of speech, explains very well that
such things must be regulated by feeling. Speaking of the beauty
of one of the smallest of particles in a passage of Cicero, he
says: “Cur _hosce_ potiùs quàm _hos_? Rationem fortassè non reddam;
sentiam esse melius,” _Instit._ ix. 4. “Aias” I would at once
reclaim from the vulgar tyranny of “Ajax,” which, as we pronounce
it, scarcely differs from _a jakes_. This pronunciation, be it
observed, is purely British and German, for it is nearly certain
that the Latins pronounced the word which they spelt _Ajax_ quite
like the Greek _Aias_, _Ajax_ being pronounced _Aias_ in nearly
all the languages of Southern Europe at this day. In this poem,
accordingly, I spell the name “Aias.” In the same way I restore the
ancient and true spelling of the name “Leonides.” (Herod. lib. vii.
_passim._ Thucyd. i, 132.) Achilles I would retain because more
musical than “Achilleus;” but I would expunge the word “Hectoring”
from our language, as originating in disgraceful ignorance, because
so far from being a bully, Hector was a hero of the noblest and
most amiable character, and is so described by Homer. Helen thus
apostrophizes his dead body:

      Ἕκτωρ, ἐμῷ θυμῷ δαέρων πολὺ φίλτατε πάντων, * *
      Ἀλλ’ οὔπω σεῦ ἄκουσα κακὸν ἔπος, οὐδ’ ἀσύφηλον·
      Ἀλλ’ εἴτις με καὶ ἄλλος ἐνὶ μεγάροισιν ἐνίπτοι,
       * * σὺ τόνγ’ ἐπέεσσι παραιφάμενος κατέρυκες,
      Σῇ τ’ ἀγανοφροσύνῃ, καὶ σοῖς ἀγανοῖς ἐπέεσσι.
                          _Iliad._ xxiv. 762.

“Hector, to my soul far dearest of all my brothers-in-law! Never
from you have I heard a bad or contumelious word; but if any other
in all the household reproached me, you with admonishing voice
restrained him--with your bland humanity and gentle words.” Yet
with gross and disgusting ignorance this high-souled hero is thus
slaughtered in all our dictionaries:--

“HECTOR--a bully, a blustering, turbulent, noisy fellow!!”

I have adopted the Homeric names in preference to the common Latin
forms, as Aphrodité instead of Venus, Atrides for Menelaüs (where
so substituted in the original) for the same reasons which have
influenced Archdeacon Williams in the spirited prose translations
which accompany his learned Essay, “_Homerus_,” Mr. Guest of
Caius College, Cambridge, in the specimen of translation of the
first book of Homer into hexameters which is introduced into his
ingenious _History of English Rhythms_, the Translator of Homer in
the late numbers of _Blackwood’s Magazine_, and the learned Voss
in his hexametrical German version. I have chosen the name Paris,
however, in place of Alexander, for the sake of clearness and
appropriateness in the allusion, and to avoid confusion with the
better-known hero of that name. I do not know that it is necessary
to extend my poetical confessions on this subject further. But I
shall just add that in pronunciation I have adhered to classical
quantity, wherever it could be done without a sacrifice of beauty,
but have unhesitatingly departed from it in such cases as that of
the word “Hyperion,” in which Shakspeare has fixed the accent
on the antepenultimate, with so fine an effect in the way of
improvement on the (to merely English ears) intolerable “Hyperíon”
which is of classical _rigueur_, as to have induced the otherwise
uncompromising Cooke, translator of Hesiod, to follow his too
sweetly sinning example. I hope I shall not be exorcised for thus
erring with Shakspeare.

The best image that I can offer of the Græculist carver of
cherry-stones is such a realization of Buridan’s ass suspended
between two rival and opposite bundles of hay, as might be
presented by a bad concocter of College exercises, puzzled in an
address to Prometheus to choose between the heptasyllabic form
“Iapetionides” and the tetrasyllabic “Japetides,” to commence his
puling hexameter!

The earliest military expedition into Spain, of which there is
mention amongst ancient poets or doubt amongst historians, is that
of Hercules, amongst whose twelve labours is recorded his victory
over Geryon and obtaining possession of his crown. Geryon, the son
of Crysaör, was King of the Balearic Isles, and hence by poetical
fiction he was endowed with three bodies, and is commonly called
_tricorpor_, _triplex_, or _tergeminus_, and sometimes _Pastor
Iberus_. Virgil describes Hercules proceeding to the conquest of
Cacus from that of Geryon thus:

                      ----Nam maximus ultor,
      Tergemini nece Geryonis spoliisque superbus,
      Alcides aderat, taurosque huc victor agebat
      Ingentes: vallemque boves amnemque tenebant.
                          _Æn._ viii. 201.

Of these Cacus stole four of the finest, and though he ingeniously
dragged them by the tails, was the cause of his own destruction.
And that was not the first time that meddling with Spanish affairs
was fatal to a foreign robber! Horace likewise alludes to this
expedition of Hercules, in compliment to Augustus (_Carm._
iii. 14), where he compares the victorious return of the Roman
from Iberia to that of Hercules--“Herculis ritu.” The first
authenticated occupation of the country was by the Phœnicians, who
colonized it extensively, but according to their usual practice
endeavoured long to keep their discovery secret. The name of the
country “_Span_” in the Phœnician signifies “a mystery.” The
rivalry between Rome and Carthage brought the Romans subsequently
to the Peninsula, and Spain since that period has played a great
part in the history of the world.

The warlike character of the ancient Spaniards is attested by a
variety of circumstances; by the terrific struggle which they
maintained against the overwhelming power of Rome, by their
determined and unflinching resistance to Hannibal as well as
Scipio, by such desperately sustained sieges as those of Saguntum
and Numantia, by the complimentary allusions to their valour with
which the Latin poets abound, and not least by the reputation of
their ancient armour, which was in the highest esteem at Rome in
the days of Julius and Augustus Cæsar. Thus, when Horace addresses
Iccius on his change of the study of Philosophy for a military
life, he twits him with having promised better things than to
exchange his splendid library for Iberian cuirasses:

      Cùm tu coëmptos undique nobiles
      Libros Panæti, Socraticam et domum
      Mutare loricis Iberis,
      Pollicitus meliora, tendis?
                          _Carm._ i. 29.

The metallurgic fame of Spain covers a period of nearly two score
centuries. It is attested by Hudibras and Horace, by Le Sage and
Pliny:--“Iron ores are almost everywhere found ... there is a
variety of different species ... and great difference in the
forges. But the greatest difference of all is the water, into
which it is plunged when red-hot. This glory of her iron has
ennobled certain places, as Bilbilis in Spain,” _lib._ xxxiv.
_cap._ 14. Pliny here alludes to the town now known as Bilbao,
which retained its reputation for sword-blades, like Toledo, down
to a recent period. He speaks of it as a city in Tarracon or
Cantabria, corresponding with the Basque Provinces of which Bilbao
is one of the chief towns. How strange that, after the lapse of
seventeen centuries, representatives from this very Bilbao should
have accompanied the Asturian Deputies to England to solicit a
subsidy of arms from the descendants of those who were such utter
barbarians, when the cuirasses of Cantabria were eagerly sought
after by the nobles of Imperial Rome!

The Greeks called Italy “Hesperia,” because it was situated to
the west of them, and the Romans called Spain “Hesperia” equally,
because it was to the west of Italy. But the Latin poets, imitating
the Greeks, very frequently call Italy “Hesperia” also. Thus Virgil:

      Est locus, Hesperiam Graii cognomine dicunt.
                          _Æn._ i. 534.

Macrobius prefers deriving the origin of the name, as applied to
Italy, from its western situation, to the fact of its being chosen
by Hesperus for his residence, when he was expelled by his brother
Atlas: “Italy is called Hesperia, because it lies to the west.”
(Macrob. _Saturn._ lib. i. cap. 3.)

Horace, when he applies the name to Spain, distinguishes the latter
country by the addition of the word “ultima,” thus:

        Qui nunc Hesperiâ sospes ab ultimâ
      Caris multa sodalibus, &c.
                          _Carm._ i. 36.

Strabo, lib. i. seems to derive the name from situation, where
he describes the Spaniards as the most western nation, “μάλιστα
ἑσπέριοι.” And both he and Pliny state that Hispania was likewise
called Iberia, either from a king of that name or from the river
Iberus (Ebro).

Iberia, though the name by which, after Hispania, Spain was
most commonly known to the Latins was, by a confusion not very
complimentary to their geographical accuracy, likewise the name of
a region in Asia Minor. It was a tract in Pontus separated from
Colchis by the Moschic mountains, and corresponds with the modern
Georgia:

      Herbasque, quas Iolcos atque Iberia
        Mittit venenorum ferax.
                          Horat. _Epod._ 5.

The names “Hesperia” and “Iberia” are found together in the same
stanza of Camóens as applied to the Peninsula, yet with some
vague attempt to confine the latter name to the Spanish portion
exclusively:

      “Nome em armas ditoso, em noss’ Hesperia,
             *       *       *       *       *
      Se não quizera ir ver a terra Iberia.”
                          _Lus._ iv. 54.

Both names are properly applicable to the entire Peninsula,
including Spain and Portugal, the second epithet, modified by the
prefix _Celto_ into “Celtiberia,” being the ancient name of Aragon
and Catalonia, and Iliberia that of Granada. The name Iberia as
applied to Spain is found in Virgil, _Æn._ ix. 582:

      Pictus acu chlamydem, et ferrugine clarus Iberâ,

and under this name the country is described elaborately by Avienus
(P. C. 380).

      Quamque suis opibus cumulavit Iberia dives, &c.

Ausonius (also P. C. 380) makes use of both the names “Hispania”
and “Iberia:”

      His Hispanus ager tellus ubi dives Iberum.

Juvenal (P. C. 120) uses the name “Hispania” as the distinctive
appellation of the country, which became better and more perilously
known in his time than in the days of Horace and Virgil:

      Horrida vitanda est Hispania.
                          _Sat._ viii. 116.

There is classical authority for a happy variety of names in
describing Spain--“Hesperia,” “Iberia,” “Hispania:”

      Tum sibi Callaïco Brutus cognomen in hoste
      Fecit, et Hispanam sanguine tinxit humum.
                          Ov. _Fast._ vi. 461.

      Herculis ritu, modò dictus, ô plebs,
      Morte venalem petiisse laurum
      Cæsar, Hispanâ repetit Penates
                        Victor ab orâ
                          Horat. _Carm._ iii. 14.

Spain was anciently divided into Hispania _Ulterior_ and
_Citerior_. The former comprehended Bætica, the present Andalucía,
and Lusitania nearly corresponding to what is now called Portugal.
Hispania Citerior comprised all the rest of the Peninsula. The name
“Hesperia” was more commonly applied by the ancient poets to the
Italian Peninsula than to the Spanish. Thus Virgil (in addition to
the passage above cited):

      Et sæpe Hesperiam, sæpe Itala regna vocare. * *
      Sed quis ad Hesperiæ venturos littora Teucros
      Crederet?
                          _Æn._ iii. 185.

The preponderance of authority is clearly in favour of designating
Spain as “Iberia” or “Hispania,” and generally confining “Hesperia”
to Italy. Ovid has a very charming nymph named Hesperie, no
connection, however, of the Hesperides, of whom the most famous
was that Arethusa whose fountain-streamlet is so celebrated, and
whose enchanting name has been tastefully introduced into the
nomenclature of the British Navy. Ovid’s Hesperie, the daughter of
Cebrenis, was loved and persecuted by the Trojan hero Æsacos, whose
discovery of her is thus exquisitely described:

      Aspicit Hesperien patriâ Cebrenida ripâ,
      Injectos humeris siccantem sole capillos.
      Visa fugit Nymphe!
                          Ov. _Met._ xi. 769.

A very amusing and somewhat malicious mistake was recently
witnessed at one of our English Universities. A prize was offered
for a composition on “_Hesperiæ mala luctuosæ_.” Spain was
manifestly intended. But the wags spreading all manner of doubts
and difficulties, the “Dons” were obliged to come out with a
public notice, intimating that “the gentlemen had better confine
themselves to the Spanish Peninsula!”

Cantabria, which is the scene of this poem, was likewise the scene
of some of Augustus’s victories. His policy seems to have been here
as successful as his generalship. “Domuit autem, partim ductu,
partim auspiciis suis Cantabriam.” (Sueton. _cap._ 20.) But the
Cantabrians, then as now unformed for subjugation, rebelled again
the moment Augustus returned to Rome. Augustus, however, paid them
a second visit, and appears to have quieted them in Roman fashion,
this being the last of his warlike exploits: “Hic finis Augusto
bellicorum certaminum fuit: idem rebellandi finis Hispaniæ.” (Luc.
Flor. _lib._ iv. c. 12.)

It was the proud distinction of the Cantabrian in the ancient world
to be indomitable, a character very significantly assigned to him
in Horace’s well known line:

      Cantabrum indoctum juga ferre nostra.
                          _Carm._ ii. 6.

In a later ode Horace commemorates the subjugation of the
Cantabrians, but it was only momentary, and the difficulty with
which it was effected is acknowledged by the poet himself:--

      Servit Hispanæ vetus hostis oræ
      Cantaber, serâ domitus catenâ.

These are splendid tributes to the valour which resisted the then
irresistible Roman power. The Cantabrian strength was broken, and
they were temporarily subjected by Agrippa (Sueton. _Octav._ c.
20), but it was only to rise again the moment they had recovered
their shattered forces.

Cantabria corresponded (as already observed) with the modern Basque
Provinces, and gave with the neighbouring Asturia more trouble to
the Romans than all the rest of Spain, the mountainous character
of the country aiding them in that resistance to which they were
prompted by the hardy mountaineer’s character, and by his inherent
love of

      The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty!

“Two most powerful nations (says Florus, lib. iv. cap. 12), the
Cantabri and the Astures, were still free from the Imperial sway.
The determination of the Cantabrians was _pejor_ (so the proud
Roman calls it) and loftier, and more pertinacious in rebellion,
for not content with defending their own liberty, they sought even
to control their neighbours.... Beaten at last, they retired to
the lofty mountain Vinnius, to which they deemed that the Ocean
would ascend before the Roman arms.... But he in person drew them
from these mountains, and reduced them beneath the crown by right
of war.” Florus is here describing the last expedition against
the Cantabrians in the reign of Augustus, of which Agrippa was
commander. Suetonius gives the same narrative in substance in
_Octav. cap._ xx., and Strabo, _lib._ iii. Silius Italicus pays
even a still greater tribute to the indomitable spirit of the
Cantabrians:

      Cantaber ante omnes hyemisque, æstusque, famisque
      Invictus.

Horace in that variety of refined flattery, with whose incense
he knew how to intoxicate Augustus, returns frequently to his
Cantabrian wars, and while his object is to praise the Roman pays
unceasing tributes to Spanish valour. Thus:

      Te Cantaber non antè domabilis
        Miratur, ô tutela præsens
          Italiæ dominæque Romæ!
                          _Carm._ iv. 14.

Again, commemorating the triumph of Agrippa under Augustus, in the
year U. C. 733:

      Cantaber Agrippæ, Claudî virtute Neronis
      Armenius cecidit.
                          _Epist._ i. 12.

Agrippa was not the only one of Augustus’s generals, who was
despatched to the conquest of Cantabria, and with dubious success.
Lucius Æmilius had before failed in the attempt.

It is curious enough that the Britons, the Gauls, and the Spaniards
are alluded to by name, and in the exact order of their greatness,
in three successive lines of an ode of Horace:

        Te belluosus qui remotis
          Obstrepit Oceanus Britannis,
      Te non paventis funera Galliæ,
      Duræque tellus audit Iberiæ.
                          _Carm._ iv. 14.

Singular approximation of nations whose struggles in the Peninsular
War were to make so famous near twenty centuries later!

In the Peninsula I do not expect much appreciation, where even
amongst those who palaver English, English poetry is not at all
understood, and where once a littérateur, expressing his sham
admiration of Shakspeare, spoke to me of “_Macabets_ as one progidy
of a tradegy!” I am not prepared to sacrifice to an ambition which
nothing but undue praise could conciliate, and I shall be satisfied
with the approval of my own countrymen, if I can only have the good
fortune to secure it.


  _Corunna, September, 1846._



  IBERIA WON.

  A Poem.

  IN TWELVE CANTOS.



IBERIA WON.

Canto I.


I.

        On San Sebastian’s towering castle wall,
        What fiery meteor crowns the brow of night?
        Its gathering splendour glows majestical
        ’Gainst darkling skies--a diadem of light!
        It grows amain upon the dazzled sight,
        While to their posts the amazed besiegers run;
        The eternal stars an instant beam less bright,
        As startled by another burning sun,
      Which now distincter bears the name “Napoléon!”


II.

        For Gaul’s imperial master shines that flame,
        And quivering flouts the Angliberian host;
        Effulgent skies enthrone his mighty name--
        His fortress stands impregnable, the boast!
        This, this his birthday, this the fearless post
        Where England’s strength shall fail again, again,
        For warriors fresh have poured along the coast;
        And though the siege hath cost a thousand men,
      No hostile foot shall dare profane that lion’s den!


III.

        Great Arthur smiled, and calm the work went on;
        Bartolomeo’s heights were strengthened well,
        The trenches deepened ere the night was gone;
        Antigua’s rocks with thunder bristling tell
        The bold besieged how other bosoms swell
        With warlike pride that pants for battle’s hour;
        And comes the ponderous train of cannon fell
        To try the strength of bastion, scarp, and tower,
      And bid the boastful Gaul beware Britannia’s power!


IV.

        Say, is, not death then terrible enough,
        Ye Captains fierce, but ye must point his dart?
        Is man not made of perishable stuff,
        But ye must wing new shafts to pierce his heart?
        Say, is not famine, pestilence, the smart
        Of dire disease and suffering, toil and wo
        Enough, but Nature’s pangs must be by Art
        Deep multiplied till tears like Ocean flow,
      And shattering death-bolts fly, lest Death arrive too slow?


V.

        Genius of Liberty, inspire my song!
        For thou alone canst consecrate the strife,
        That bids surcease the despot sway of Wrong,
        And Man prefer thy dignity to Life
        Without thee,--War proclaiming “to the knife”
        ’Gainst Tyrants. May the strain I feebly raise,
        Like the Caÿstrian bird’s with death-notes rife,
        Tune every human organ to thy praise,
      And curb War’s eagles, save to blast Oppression’s gaze!


VI.

        On Mont’ Orgullo Mota’s fortress-crown
        Seems like defiant Pride from high to smile,
        Poised on her lofty cone, while far adown
        Blue Ocean bathes her feet and guards the while;
        And southward Santa Clara’s rocky isle
        Stands like a Cyclop to defend the wall.
        War’s stern munitions heaped in many a pile
        The ramparts strew, prepared the foe to gall--
      Yet deeply now ’tis sworn, shall San Sebastian fall!


VII.

        The Chofre hills with giant carronades
        Are horror-crested. Far on either side
        Swift Uruméa, while the twilight fades,
        Are armed the enormous batteries deep and wide.
        And opens now like thunder to deride
        Yon beacon light the loud artillery’s roar,
        With fire and smoke that seem to Hell allied,
        Makes wall and castle reel and tremble sore,
      And shakes the affrighted wave that foams along the shore!


VIII.

        Dire straits of War! The crystal stream of Life
        Is now cut off from San Sebastian’s ground;
        Where water flowed, an aliment of strife
        The withering Genius of Destruction found.
        Oh, fatal skill! Sulphureous heaps abound
        Within the tube that from Ernani’s hills
        Brought Life, yet soon will scatter Death around.
        Though lymph, Pyrene, all thy crags distil,
      For San Sebastian vain is every mountain rill.


IX.

        But, hark the voice of cannon from within!
        ’Tis raised in joy, a Royal salvo peals.
        What new discovery marks that potent din,
        Which speaks in thunder that the assailant feels--
        Bolts with each flash? For joy the Norman kneels.
        Where Mota’s rock above the wave doth frown,
        A living fount its bubbling stream reveals,
        More prized than diámonds on Regal crown.
      The stream is hoarded well--its flow supplies the town.


X.

        A moment pause the batteries now, while flag
        Of truce and summons of surrender due
        Approach the wall, nor long before it lag,
        For soon in Rey a noble foeman knew
        The English arms as he in England too.
        No paltering there! Redoubled every post;
        More resolute his wing’d defiance flew,
        In fiery tempest ’gainst the leaguering host;
      And scorning even to read the summons was his boast.


XI.

        Well answered! Where the river widest swells
        ’Neath rapid Ocean’s amorous embrace,
        And on the Siérra swung the Convent bells
        For matin-lauds and vesper-song of grace,
        The howitzer ascends that holy place,
        And from the belfry vomits forth its fire;
        From cloisters dim whose cowls the shakos chase
        The stabled charger bids the monk retire,
      And tell his beads apart till pass War’s tempest dire.


XII.

        Now Mont’ Orgullo vaunting Pride doth shew
        Less proudly throned, for climb Olía’s side
        The straining oxen, dragging upward slow,
        With starting eye-ball and hoof opening wide,
        Cannon and mortar o’er the foaming tide
        Terrific hung. And Man the work completes,
        Where fail the labouring beasts, till e’en Mount Pride
        O’ercrested now from far defiance meets;
      And from the Miradór who gazeth slaughter greets!


XIII.

        The booming salvo hurls its ceaseless shower,
        Saint John’s huge bastion slowly crumbling falls,
        Destruction seizes many a stately tower,
        And totter to their base Tirynthian walls
        Beneath the fury of resistless balls,
        From circling orchards heaved by Britain’s sons;
        And snake-like trench advancing swift appals
        The garrison, as o’er the isthmus runs
      The deadly sapper’s stroke that like an earthquake stuns.


XIV.

        And sally forth the warlike sons of France,
        As prisoned lions vainly lash the bar,
        To foil the miner in his bold advance,
        And rages on the isthmus fiercest war;
        Full many a shrapnell shell doth strew afar
        Its withering shower of lead in thickest hail.
        But what can like the British bayonet mar
        Thy prowess, France? Before ’t the sallyers quail,
      And fly like scattered hawks flung headlong on the gale.


XV.

        With glancing steel upon the trenches’ edge
        Confronted Cameron the advancing host;
        And swift retired before that gleaming wedge
        The light-limbed chasseur, battling Gallia’s boast.
        And, rough fascine and earth-piled gabion most
        The ground demanding, rose the isthmus o’er
        Banquette and parapet, the foremost post
        Of war for those who sap and mine explore,
      And lithe artilleryman and lynx-eyed caçadore.


XVI.

        And now the isthmus boasts its battery too;
        At shortest range ’tis thundering ’gainst the wall.
        Saint John protect thy bastion, or ’twill rue;
        Sebastian, guard thy castle, or ’twill fall!
        And lo, where shells ascending vertical,
        Like iron disc by surest player cast,
        Unerring light the townsmen to appal,
        And, scattering hundred deaths, with ruin blast
      The region doomed where’er that tempest dire hath past.


XVII.

        See many a bark that swan-like floats the tide
        Steal rapid round the fair Cantabrian shore.
        Daughters of luxury, your frail heads hide!
        ’Tis women’s arms that ply the lusty oar
        That hostile castle’s bristling wall before.
        A patriot impulse bids them proudly dare
        (Was never seen the like!) the batteries’ roar,
        Their fruits and wine with the besiegers share,
      And bless the arms upraised to guard Iberia fair!


XVIII.

        Isaro’s sunlit isle her dark-eyed maids
        Sends laden with the grape’s delicious bloom;
        Guerníca from its close embowering shades
        Sends clustered muscatel whose globes illume
        Bright tints of amber. Ondarróa’s gloom
        Of archéd boughs gives golden apples forth,
        Fair as on Hesperus’ dragon drew the doom;
        Ripe Ceres’ gifts of Deba prove the worth;
      And bland Zumaya opes her garden of the north.


XIX.

        Brown nuts and almonds from Cestona’s groves,
        Soft melons come from Castro’s silvery streams;
        The small black olive that the mountain loves
        From Orrio’s hills ’mid peach and nectarine gleams.
        Palencia sends her wine which most esteems
        The midnight watcher on the tented field,
        With blissful thoughts to stimulate his dreams
        When, the watch ended, soon his eyes are sealed
      By Heaven’s physician, sleep, and all his sorrows healed.


XX.

        Berméo’s vines of green most tender send
        Black clusters soft with purple bloom bespread;
        And where her gnarled and twisted fig-trees bend
        ’Neath load of luscious fruit their dark green head,
        The gathered treasure for a feast is shed.
        The quince sweet-flavoured, and the juicy gourd,
        The beautiful love-apple coral-red,
        And curd-white cheese (an Arcady restored)
      For Valour’s sons they bring to spread the ambrosial board.


XXI.

        Bright-eyed Biscayan maids, as shapely tall
        As Atlas’ daughter in her sun-lit isle
        Led in the dance through flowery vale and knoll,
        Mother of streams while Tethys fair the while
        The chorus blest with an approving smile.
        The lively movements of the Vascon race,
        The Tartar glance, the ringing laugh where guile
        Ne’er enters, brown yet blooming charms of face,
      And teeth of dazzling lustre lend uncommon grace.


XXII.

        Their hair dark shining shamed the raven’s wing,
        In tresses long their shoulders floating down,
        With ribands gay confined or silken string,
        Or slight embroidered veil the head to crown.
        Of gold and pearl some covet the renown,
        Pendent from prettiest ears; with coral some
        Their necks encircle. Camisoles each gown
        Surmount, gallooned with silk or silver from
      Shoulder to waist so fair that Envy’s self is dumb.


XXIII.

        ’Twas thus the Basque barqueras, happiest race,
        Like their Cantabrian mothers rowed along;
        A nymph-republic from whose dwelling-place
        Both man and dame excludes the Nereid throng,
        True to their Ocean-sire, as Dian strong.
        Two row each bark, and one Dorina steers
        ’Neath fluttering banderoles, and oft with song
        They tune their oars, or dance with merry cheers
      Zorcícos, while Basque drum and timbrel greet the ears.


XXIV.

        And oft, through summertide, some sheltered cove
        On fair Biscaya’s coast these Nereids sought
        To cool their lovely limbs, while far above
        A sister-sentinel their safety wrought,
        With eyes whose jealousy was still uncaught.
        And through the crystal waters joyously
        Spinning, like ivory, charms surpassing thought,
        They plunged and sported, laughing wild with glee,
      And swam with matchless skill--their element the sea.


XXV.

        And, robed again, full oft the Nymphs advanced
        ’Neath dewy eve in beauteous double file,
        And boundingly the gay Zorcíco danced,
        With shouldered oars and frolic feet, the while
        Basque drum and tamborine and Ocean’s smile
        Make mirthful holiday. Now high they leap,
        With mazy figure now the sense beguile,
        Now cross their clattering blades as in the deep,
      And laugh, dance, sing--methinks, ’tis better thus than weep.


XXVI.

        Nor vigilance secures that lovely coast,
        Nor danger’s tremulous excitements flee,
        For Gaul her cruisers and her arméd host
        From fair Santona pours along the sea;
        And even Columbian rovers, far too free
        To curb the lust of plunder, hovering there--
        Indifferent whether Spain’s or England’s be
        The rifled flag--like vultures foul prepare
      On battle’s skirt to fall, and aidless stragglers tear.


XXVII.

        For years had past since great Britannia’s hand
        Made Earth and Ocean feel her trident stroke;
        And Trafalgár and San Vicente, fanned
        By Victory’s wing, no present terrors woke;
        Nor o’er the Deep her voice in thunder spoke,
        Since feeble councils numbed at home the arms,
        Which even thus paralysed Gaul’s legions broke;
        And but that patriot zeal the virgin warms,
      Had Famine crushed our men more dire than War’s alarms.


XXVIII.

        Yet nought could baffle England’s Chieftain-shield,
        Who drove the Invader to Pyrene’s foot,
        With thunder-shock on many a battle-field,
        While Spain with aidful arm the foeman smote.
        Oh, glorious rivalship! where late each throat
        Was hostile grasped, now rank with rank contending,
        Now side by side,--the Armada’s strife forgot,
        Gibraltar’s griefs, Saint Vincent’s memory rending--
      Against the general foe in War’s proud union blending.


XXIX.

        Heroic brotherhood! Mark o’er all her soil
        Where Spain’s Partidas like Cadmean seed
        Spring armed and terrible to make War’s toil
        Ubiquitous, the foe unceasing bleed;
        Till, like bull gored and vanquished, he recede,
        While Mina and the Empecinado hang
        Upon his flanks, and give the Invader’s meed
        In death from every crag--where Tell-like sprang
      The Guerrillero forth, whose loud trabúco rang.


XXX.

        The carcase of a rotten State may fall
        Corrupt asunder, life-blood e’en diseased;
        Head, body, members vile contagion’s thrall,
        By gore-stained hands Religion’s emblems seized--
        But Nations ne’er yet died when Tyrants pleased!
        Yea, lives for aye the spirit and the soul
        Invincible, howe’er by despots teased;
        And let Injustice sting, Invasion roll,
      The sudden counter-shock will shake the distant Pole!


XXXI.

        And quakes the stern invading Tyrant now,
        Whose legions to the frontier back are driven;
        For even Pyrene’s rocky margins bow
        Before the giant march, with fetters riven,
        Of Freedom’s phalanx marshalled on by Heaven!
        Rey, on thine arm an Empire’s fate depends.
        To San Sebastian haply now is given
        The fortress key their swelling strength that bends.
      France jealous eyes thee! Rey his post full well defends.


XXXII.

        From Guetaría see where vulture-eyed
        That scowling band of Franks perforce retires,
        And turns their chief in demon triumph joyed
        To mark the scene where, Gaul, thy pride expires.
        Sudden explode terrific blasting fires,
        And swift the fortress-ruins blot the skies
        With matrons, virgins, babes, and aged sires,
        Rent by the train the ruffian, as he flies,
      Hath left alight--to fierce Revenge a sacrifice.


XXXIII.

        Shudder, thou worm that point’st thy petty sting;
        A breath may quench both thee and all thy line!
        Fly, passion, hate, ’neath Mercy’s sheltering wing--
        Hath not the Lord declared: “Revenge is mine?”
        Reptile, dost _Him_ defy? Not thus will shine
        Thy courage when, at dissolution’s hour,
        The more thou scornest now the more thou’lt whine,
        And feel no weed that deems itself a flower
      So mean as man who dares to brave the Almighty’s power!


XXXIV.

        From Haya’s crest of rough and broken crag
        A darkling thunder-storm came grandly down.
        From peak to peak, while gathering rain-drops lag,
        The fiery demon leaps, from chasm to crown--
        Terrific dance!--then hides ’neath blackest frown,
        Whose pall o’erspreads the sky; low growls at times,
        Then volleying roars while floods the welkin drown.
        Andaye took up the song of mountain-climes,
      And Jaizquibél gave back the sound with thunder-chimes!


XXXV.

        San Marcial echoes it with savage pride,
        The Grand Monarque rebellows it with zeal.
        Then, when the monsters huge had shook each side
        With giant laughter, of which every peal
        Is thunder that can make the despot feel,
        And waked Pyrene o’er his widest span,
        While peak to peak replied, and torrents reel
        With that rejoicing music, as it ran,
      That spake their savage strength in terror’s tones to man.


XXXVI.

        Dark muffled thus they slept. Yet even in dreams,
        Such dreams as mountain-spirits give to birth,
        The thunderous memory lives. Low muttering seems
        To sullen tell how baleful was that mirth,
        Whose very faintest echo shook the earth,
        Gigantic! Downward gathering comes the storm
        O’er Haya’s flank and Oyarzuno’s girth
        By crag and deep ravine, till lightning warm
      With wind and rain it falls o’er Uruméa’s form.


XXXVII.

        And ’mid the thickest of the storm behold
        Where scud Cantabria’s daughters through the tide,
        The death-rain from the rampart fronting bold,
        And bear to Britain’s sons, Hesperia’s pride,
        The tribute of support for arms allied.
        Now brighter beams each eye, and heroes wear
        Unwonted blushes warrior cheeks to hide,
        And feel thrice-nerved their arms by Beauty rare,
      Their spirits bounding high: on Valour smiles the fair!


XXXVIII.

        Amongst these maids the beauteous Blanca stood,
        Pride of the ocean-beat Biscayan coast;
        A laughing damsel gay yet angel-good,
        Light-haired, blue-eyed, in Spain no vulgar boast,
        Where black-eyed maidens are a countless host.
        With mirth so radiant was her spirit free,
        That all she gladdened--melting roughest frost:
        Like her none danced Bolera or Olé,
      And none could featly touch the light guitar as she.


XXXIX.

        Her auburn hair in clustering curls around
        Her sunny face now shrouded, now revealed
        Its beauties, waving with each fairy bound;
        Her peachy cheek now glancing, now concealed.
        Her eye the wound it gave next instant healed,
        So bright yet soft, so keen yet melting tender.
        A sweetness inexpressible made yield
        All hearts: ripe lips, and teeth of pearly splendour,
      Made Nature’s task in vain another charm to lend her.


XL.

        No coif encircling bound her beauteous head,
        No silken net her tresses rich confined,
        To mar the lustre which her glances shed;
        But ribands plain its wild luxuriance bind.
        She wore no jewels: streamed upon the wind
        A gauzy veil, with flowers of golden sheen
        Embroidered, floating gracefully behind,
        Her only ornament--yet form and mien
      Proclaimed her thus attired ’mongst hundred maids the queen.


XLI.

        Her xaquetilla, to the shape most lithe,
        Was of cerulean velvet, room supplying
        For her full bosom’s play, when free and blithe
        She plied the oar, yet to her form close lying,
        Which no compression needed, art defying.
        Two billows heaved within, as on the tide
        She mastered, with its foam in whiteness vying;
        And from her ears to every turn of pride
      Two tiniest silver bells with tinklings sweet replied.


XLII.

        So fair the maid in infancy had been,
        That San Sebastian chose her then to bear
        A cherub’s wings amid the festal scene
        Her warrior-patron’s day that honours there.
        And with her foster-sister not less fair,
        The noble Isidora, hand in hand,
        Oft walked she thus in childhood--beauteous pair!
        Though tender still their loves apart they stand,
      For San Sebastian’s siege the approach of Blanca banned.


XLIII.

        She was the leader of the virgin group,
        The Delia of that race of shallops gay;
        And vigorous-handed to the oar could stoop,
        When gales tempestuous tost the stormy Bay.
        For high the spirit of that lightsome fay,
        And bold as Manuela’s self, the Maid
        Of Zaragoza, she could guide the fray,
        The French marauders menaced undismayed,
      And oft her wild guitar thus prompted to the raid:--


The Spanish Song of Freedom.


1.

      Let the brave, let the brave fill the battered
        War-chalice, fair Freedom, to thee;
      On the slave, on the slave be it shattered,
        Unless the slave pant to be free!
      In glory, in glory we’ll perish,
        Ere tyrants shall wither our plains.
      This nectar, this nectar shall cherish
        No dastard who spurns not his chains!
      Let the brave, let the brave fill the battered
        War-chalice, fair Freedom, to thee;
      On the slave, on the slave be it shattered,
        Unless the slave pant to be free!
          _Libertad, libertad sacrosanta!_
            Were death in the depths of the flask,
          _Libertad, libertad mi encanta_,
            We’ll drain it to “Free be the Basque!”


2.

      For our homes, for our homes and our altars,
        For our wives and our children we fight;
      We but scoff at their dungeons and halters,
        As bursts Freedom’s sun into light!
      While our rights, while our rights we are seeking,
        Great Power! ’tis thy will we maintain;
      Though our swords, though our swords may be reeking
        With blood, ’tis in rending the chain!
      Let the brave, let the brave fill the battered
        War-chalice, fair Freedom, to thee;
      On the slave, on the slave be it shattered,
        Unless the slave pant to be free!
          _Libertad, libertad sacrosanta!_
            Were death in the goblet we drain,
          _Libertad los tiranos espanta_,
            We’ll pledge to the freedom of Spain!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO I.


In August, 1813, as the preparations for the renewed siege of
San Sebastian were advancing, the besieged demonstrated their
confidence by celebrating the Emperor’s birthday with a splendid
illumination. The castle, upon whose crest it was exhibited, is
seen from a great distance; and the besiegers could plainly read
the letters of fire in which the name of Napoléon was written high
in air.

The incidents of the siege I have derived chiefly from Napier’s
_History of the War in the Peninsula_, book xxii. chapters 1 and 2,
and from Jones’s _Journals of Peninsular Sieges_. The topography of
San Sebastian will be found sufficiently illustrated in either of
those works.

The small castle of La Mota is most picturesquely situated like
a crown on the conical hill of Monte Orgullo, which rising
immediately behind the town westward, is nearly four hundred feet
high, and washed by the sea. “The Hill has a broad base of 400
by 600 feet, and is crowned by fort La Mota.” Jones, _Journal of
Peninsular Sieges_, vol. ii.

General Jones’s description of cutting off the aqueduct, and
converting it into a globe of compression, is thus prosaic but
practical and deadly:--“The parallel crost a drain level with the
ground, 4 feet high, and 3 feet wide, through which ran a pipe to
convey water into the town. Lieut. Reid ventured to explore it,
and at the end of 230 yards, he found it closed by a door in the
counterscarp, opposite to the face of the right demi-bastion of the
hornwork: as the ditch was narrow, it was thought that by forming
a mine, the explosion would throw earth sufficient against the
escarpe, only 24 feet high, to form a road over it: eight feet at
the end of the aqueduct was therefore stopped with filled sand
bags, and 30 barrels of powder of 90 lb. each, lodged against it,
and a saucisson led to the mouth of the drain.” _Journals of the
Sieges undertaken by the Allies in Spain_, Supplementary Chapter.
The aqueduct had been cut off at the commencement of the siege by
the Spanish general, Mendizabal. “It was formed into a globe of
compression designed to blow, as through a tube, so much rubbish
over the counterscarp as might fill the narrow ditch.” Napier,
_Hist._ book xxi. c. 3. This plan was subsequently realized, and
with complete success, “creating” says Jones “much astonishment in
the enemy,” at the period of the first assault, which took place on
the 25th July, five weeks before the second and memorable storming.
I have transferred the incident to the latter part of the siege.

The incident of the discovery of the spring upon Monte Orgullo
after the cutting off of the aqueduct, but for which fortunate
accident the town would have been probably forced to surrender much
sooner, was communicated to me by an officer who was present at the
siege. It was found about half way up the cliff where it overhangs
the ocean, and surrounded by masonry is carefully preserved to the
present day. The water is excellent, and the flow abundant. There
were not wanting French partisans at the time, especially amongst
the elderly female residents in San Sebastian, who believed the
discovery of this spring to be miraculous!

When Marshal Berwick attacked San Sebastian in 1719, he threw up
batteries on the same Chofre hills where the Allies now planted
theirs. He then pushed his approaches along the isthmus, and
established himself on the covered-way of the land front. As soon
as the breach was practicable, the governor capitulated. But the
present governor, Ney, was made of different stuff. Capitulation
was the last thing that he thought of, and Napoléon’s instructions
to the defenders of besieged towns were never more terribly
fulfilled than by this very gallant man. “Napoléon’s ordinance,”
says Napier, “which forbade the surrender of a fortress without
having stood at least one assault, has been strongly censured by
English writers upon slender grounds. The obstinate defences made
by French governors in the Peninsula were the results. * * It may
be reasonably supposed that, as the achievements of Napoléon’s
soldiers far exceeded the exploits of Louis (XIV.)’s cringing
courtiers, they possessed greater military virtues.”--_Hist._ book
xxii. c. 1.

The attack was in a great degree carried on from the midst of
“circling orchards.” From the ground taken up by the besiegers to
Ernani, the whole country is covered with orchards.

For the costume and other particulars of the Basque _barqueras_, or
boat-girls of the Bidassoa and Urumea, the reader is referred to
the tours of Madame D’Aulnoy and M. de Bourgoing. The _xaquetilla_
is a “little jacket” or spencer.

As reference is made to the Guerrillas in this canto, the following
brief sketch of the leaders may be acceptable:--

Mina was a man of powerful frame and noble aspect--a fine specimen
of Nature’s nobility. He was rather tall, of portly size, with
fine chest and shoulders, and gigantic arms. His features were
more English than Spanish in their aspect, being by no means dark,
and their expression powerful, dignified, and heroic. There is a
fine portrait of him in Somerset House, London. Like almost all
the Guerrilleros, however, he was cruel. The French, whom they
cut off by their most harassing mode of warfare, were mercilessly
slaughtered. Mina, who was of the common class of peasant-farmers,
began with a band of about twenty men whom he formed from amongst
his neighbours, appointing a sergeant and corporal. Repeated
successes and the character of the chief swelled this band to 300
in number. Mina then appointed a lieutenant. The latter plotted
against his commander, and Mina shot him dead with a pistol, after
taxing him with his treason, in presence of his men. The rough
Spanish mountaineers liked his daring and resolute character, his
band swelled to a thousand, and his new lieutenant again conspired
to oust his leader. Mina had this man drowned in a well. He was
subsequently left unmolested in his command, until his powerful
genius organized and led an army. At his death, which occurred
about ten years since in Barcelona, he was a Field Marshal, a
Grandé of Spain, and Vice-Roy of Navarre. His widow became Aya or
Governess to the present Queen of Spain, Isabel, and held that
post till the expulsion of Espartero. Mina had a brother, Xavier
Mina, who entered the regular army at an early period of life, and
likewise rose to the rank of Field Marshal. He was treacherously
shot in Mexico by Morillo.

The Empecinado was in person a still finer man than Mina, but of
a much less pleasing aspect. His face was stamped with savage
resolution and ferocity. His appearance was strictly Spanish,
his complexion being much darker than that of Mina. Both were
black-haired, but the Empecinado’s was of a raven intensity of jet.
He was one of the strongest men in Europe, tall and square-built--a
Hercules to the eye as well as in reality. Some nearly incredible
feats are recorded of his prodigious strength. The last of all
was the most worthy of note, and recalls the main incident of
our fine old English ballad of “Adam Bell, Clym o’ the Clough,
and William of Cloudeslie.” During the fatal year of the Duke of
Angoulême’s invasion, 1823, when so many Constitutionalists fell
victims to Ferdinand’s gloomy ferocity, and Riego was villainously
butchered at Madrid, the Empecinado was seized by the myrmidons
of Absolutism at a village about twenty miles distant, caged and
tortured for three days, and at the end of that time led out for
execution. At the foot of the _furca_ or gallows-tree, with one
effort he burst the thick cord with which his arms were bound,
and seized a gun from one of the soldiers near him. Had he not
been instantly slain, there is little doubt that with the butt-end
he would have slaughtered a hecatomb of the satellites of power.
But the whole file poured their fire into him at once, and he was
hung notwithstanding, though the rope was adjusted on a corpse!
The Curate Merino was distinguished for bush-fighting, and a
rather treacherous and Parthian mode of assault, and his aspect
corresponded with his character. His influence over his comrades
was secured by promises of eternal happiness.

Blanca’s figuring in childhood in the character of an angel is
thus accounted for. The feast of San Sebastian is every year a
great event in that ancient town. The celebration is in many
respects interesting, including a procession in which female
children chosen for their beauty take a very prominent part,
bearing baskets of flowers, arrows typical of the martyr’s fate,
and other interesting emblems. Their dresses are of the richest
description--a little gaudy, to be sure, but beneath the brilliant
sky of Spain this is, perhaps, excusable. They represent angels,
and are provided with crowns set with mock diamonds, rubies, and
topazes of the largest size, and with gauze wings bound round with
gold or silver tissue. Short skirts of the ballet class, satin
shoes, and white silk stockings, complete an array of splendour
which excites, as may well be believed, terrific admiration in
their mammas and envy in all the rest of the town. A chorus from
time immemorial is sung to celebrate their progress, of which the
burthen is:

        Vivan las niñas
      De San Sebastian!


  III.      “Bartolomeo’s heights”--“Antigua’s rocks.”

Convents in the vicinity of San Sebastian, which were seized by the
besiegers and fortified.

  “And comes the battering train of cannon fell.”

      Ma il Capitan, ch’espugnar mai le mura
      Non crede senza i bellici stromenti.
                          Tasso, _Ger. Lib._ iii. 71.


  V.      “--War proclaiming ‘to the knife’ ’Gainst Tyrants!”

“_Guerra al Cuchillo!_” the celebrated proclamation of Palafox at
the Siege of Zaragoza.

  “Like the Caÿstrian bird.”

              ----Quæ Asia circum
      Dulcibus in stagnis rimantur prata Caystri.
                          Virg. _Georg._ i. 382.

  “With death-notes rife.”

      ----Ut olim
      Carmina jam moriens canit exequialia cygnus.
      Tabuit; inque leves paulatim evanuit auras!
                          Ovid. _Met._ xiv. 430.

These lines are dictated by the same feeling, which prompted
Cervantes’s last poetical address (in anticipation of death) to the
great Conde de Lemos:

      Puesto ya el pié en el estribo,
      Con las ansias de la muerte,
      Gran Señor, esta te escribo.


  X.      “Soon in Rey a noble foeman knew:”

The French Governor of San Sebastian.


  XI.      “’Neath rapid Ocean’s amorous embrace.”

         Labitur ripâ, Jove non probante,
                     Uxorius amnis.
                    Horat. _Carm._ i. 2.

      “And on the Sierra swung the Convent bells.”

San Bartolomeo.

      “The stabled charger bids the monk retire.”

Sir Thomas More commemorates the housing of cattle in churches.
“They stop the course of agriculture, reserving only the churches,
that they may lodge their sheep in them.” (_Utopia_, book i.)
Bayle has a similar story in his Dictionary of an abbot who
converted his church into a stable, an example which was speedily
followed by revolutionary France. During the French invasion of
Portugal the cavalry were frequently quartered in churches, and
during the Miguelite war in that country I have been assured that
the same thing was witnessed more than once, and I know of a
Constitutionalist, at present a dignified, clergyman, who upon its
being found that the priest was absent upon some Saint’s festival,
stept forward himself and said mass for the assembled soldiers,
booted and spurred as he was and in dragoon regimentals! I have
often seen this pious gentleman in Lisbon, whom the populace
declare to have taken from an image of the Virgin the ring which he
now sports upon his finger!


  XII.      “Olia’s side.”

The batteries of Monte Olia commanded the Castle at a distance of
1,600 yards, from the north side of the Urumea, Olia and Orgullo
buttressing the entrance of the river magnificently on either side,
and standing apart like giant ramparts.

  “The Mirador.”

A battery on the eastern side of Monte Orgullo. The name signifies
“a look out,” the use to which it was formerly applied. It reminded
me very much of the Signal House at Gibraltar, only that I missed
those sapphire and chrysolite tints of the Mediterranean, which
struck me so much when I saw the moon rise from that elevated
ground under the auspices of the stalwart Sergeant MacDonald.


  XIII.      “And totter to their base Tirynthian walls.”

      --Τίρυνθά τε τειχιόεσσαν.--Hom. _Il._ ii. 559.

Tiryns is the first walled city upon record. Its walls were
supposed to have been erected by the Cyclops, and the stones of
which they were composed were of such prodigious size, that the
least of them could not be moved by a pair of oxen. (Pausanias,
_lib._ ii.) The ruins subsist to the present day, and the traces
are still gigantic. Pindar mentions Tiryns in his Olympionics,
Nemeonics, and Isthmionics. These shattered remains present the
earliest specimen of the Cyclopean architecture.

  “The deadly sappers’ stroke that like an earthquake stuns.”

This was the first time that sappers were employed by us in the
Peninsular sieges, or that a corps of sappers formed any regular
portion of the British army. It was likewise the first time that
Shrapnell shells were used.


  XIV.      “But what can like the British bayonet mar
             Thy prowess, France?”

The bayonet, originally a French invention (deriving, as is well
known, its name from the town of Bayonne), became ultimately the
very instrument of French defeat--for by the universal testimony
of military men, when wielded by British hands, the French have
invariably fled before it:--

      --Neque enim lex æquior ulla,
      Quàm necis artifices arte perire suâ.
                          Ovid. _de Arte Amandi._

But it would be as grossly unjust as ungenerous to dispute the
ardour and frequent brilliancy of French courage. Upon this subject
the discriminating testimony of Napier is as follows: “Place an
attainable object of war before the French soldier and he will
make supernatural efforts to gain it, but failing he becomes
proportionally discouraged. Let some new chance be opened, some
fresh stimulus applied to his ardent, sensitive temper, and he will
rush forward again with unbounded energy: the fear of death never
checks him, he will attempt any thing. But the unrelenting vigour
of the British infantry in resistance wears his fury out.”--_Hist.
War in the Penins._ book xxiv. chap. 6.


  XV.      “With glancing steel upon the trenches’ edge.”

      Wie glänzt im sonnenstrahl
      So bräutlich hell der stahl--
                               Hurrah!
                          Körner, _Schwertlied_.

      How glances bride-like bright
      The steel which sunbeams strike,--
                               Hurrah!


  XVII.      “See many a bark that swan-like floats the tide.”

      Eis mil nadantes aves pelo argento
      Da furiosa Thetis inquieta.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 49.

  “Was never seen the like!”

“It was probably the first time that an important siege was
maintained by women’s exertions; the stores of the besiegers were
landed from boats rowed by Spanish girls!”--Napier.


  XIX.      “The small black olive that the mountain loves.”

      --Lecta de pinguissimis
      Oliva ramis arborum.--Hor. _Epod._ ii.


  XXI.      “As Atlas’ daughter in her sunlit isle.”

Calypso.

      Ἄτλαντος θυγάτηρ ὀλούφρονος, ὅστε θαλάσσης. κ. τ. λ.
                          Hom. _Od._ i. 52.


  XXIII.      “Both man and dame excludes the Nereid throng.”

      ----τὸν εὐγενῆ
      ... πεντήκοντα Νηρῄδων χορόν.
                          Eurip. _Iph. in Taur._ 273.

“The illustrious band of the fifty Nereids.”


  XXIV.      “And swam with matchless skill--their element the sea.”

      Nadan en su cristal ninfas bizarras,
      Compitiendo con el candidos pechos.
                          Lope de Vega, _Sonetos_.

  XXVII.      --“Britannia’s hand
            Made Earth and Ocean feel her trident stroke.”

_Vide_ Virg. _Geor._ i. 13.

  --“Feeble councils numbed at home the arms
  Which even thus paralyzed Gaul’s legions broke.”

Under the administration of Lord Melville, the Navy of England for
the first time sustained disasters in battle, and ships containing
stores and money for the Peninsular army were suffered to be
taken on the passage by French and American cruisers; while the
despicable absurdity was witnessed of two successive investments
and assaults of San Sebastian without the co-operation of a fleet.


  XXVIII.      “Oh, glorious rivalship!” &c.

_Vide_ Wordsworth’s “Convention of Cintra.”

  “Gibraltar’s griefs--St. Vincent’s memory rending.”

The memorable siege, in which the Spaniards were finally defeated
on the 13th September, 1782.--The battle of St. Vincent, in which
Jervis destroyed the Spanish fleet, 14th February, 1797.


  XXIX.      “Spain’s Partidas.”

_Partidas_ was the generic name of the partisan bands, who
maintained the indomitable Guerrilla warfare against the French,
and of whom there were not less than 50,000 at one period in
Spain. A favourite weapon of these legitimate successors of the
Almugavars, or ancient mountaineer troops of Spain, was the
_trabuco_, or blunderbuss. The two most famous Partida chiefs were
those whose names are recorded in the text. The Mina alluded to is
Espoz y Mina, the Scanderbeg of Spain, uncle to the Student of the
same name.


  XXX.      “But Nations ne’er yet died when Tyrants pleased!”

The strongest proof of the inherent vitality of a Nation is that
Spain survived the villanies of Godoy.


  XXXIII.      “Reptile, dost _Him_ defy?”

      Wer empfinden
      Und sich unterwinden
      Zu sagen: ich glaub’ ihn nicht?
      Der Allumfasser!
      Der Allerhalter!
                    Goethe, _Faust_.

“Who can feel, and dare to say: ‘I believe in Him not?’ the
All-encompasser, the All-sustainer!”



IBERIA WON.

Canto II.


I.

        How terrible the march of blood-stained War!
        Though rank on rank his fiery breath lay low,
        Still patriots crowd, and many a needless scar
        And daring profitless derides the foe.
        Oh, human passion! Is’t but human wo
        Thou deign’st for food, for drink the crimson tide?
        Incarnadined Ambition! Here bestow
        A glance upon thy fruits, and learn to chide
      Thy self-idolatry, thy more than fiendish pride!


II.

        Dauntless defenders! On Numantia’s wall,
        Or ’mid self-fired Sagunthus’ leaguered towers,
        Defying Hannibal whose eyes appal
        The flames of sacrifice; or ’gainst the powers
        Of Tarik fierce arrayed in darker hours--
        From rough Asturian mountains hurling down
        Huge rocks whose maw the Moorish host devours,
        While great Pelayo’s form with deadly frown
      Up Covadonga’s vale comes trampling fell Mahoun!


III.

        Or ’mid the echoing heights that girdle round
        Fair Roncesvalles taming haughty France,
        When Roland’s horn with its tremendous sound
        No response woke from aidful troop’s advance,
        And Paladin and Peer Bernardo’s lance
        Beneath Pyrene slaughtered; or more late
        At mightiest Zaragoza, where askance
        Flew Gaul’s derided death-bolts winged by hate,--
      Unyielding still as here by San Sebastian’s gate.


IV.

        Not many moons before, Gaul’s soldiery
        Through fair Cantabria’s coast licentious strayed,
        Brought rapine to the homesteads of the free,
        And deathless grief to many a beauteous maid;
        And wo unutterable cast its shade
        Along Biscaya’s lovely sunlit shore.
        Weak natures drooped their foreheads, sore afraid,
        But Blanca proudly lifted hers the more,
      And death to him whose hand might ruffian-dare she swore!


V.

        Not long the chance removed, not long the arm
        Of withering conquest left the test untried;
        To sabred villains an unrifled charm
        Were like a stigma to inhuman pride.
        A gentle sister clung to Blanca’s side
        One sweet May eve when fills the clustering vine;
        And ’neath the trellised porch embowering wide,
        As forth their footsteps strayed from Home’s sweet shrine,
      Two bearded French hussars forbade them pass its line.


VI.

        “What! buxom damsels--not discerned before.
        “Where hid my Venus?” Blanca cried: “Forbear!”--
        “How now? By Heaven, this coyness fires me more;
        “No dame of Normandy more beauteous fair,
        “No Bretonne maiden binds more golden hair.”--
        “Black,” quoth his comrade “is of Beauty’s flower
        “For me the hue--so, lovingly we’ll share.
        “Come, be a soldier’s bride--for half an hour.”
      He grinned--both troopers laughed--the maids were in their power!


VII.

        This Blanca saw, nor seemed she to resist,
        E’en smote not when the dastard seized her waist,
        Resented nought when one her sister kist,
        Nor frowned when his compeer herself embraced.
        Thus lulled each fear, each dark suspicion chased,
        They called for wine, the lawless soldier’s bane.
        O’erjoyed was Blanca, yet with eager haste
        As poured she cup on cup which swift they drain,
      Betrayed no joy, though fast it mounted to each brain.


VIII.

        Fired with the generous vintage, which gave all
        The ruffian forth, as gives it forth the balm
        Of nobler natures, the hussars appal
        The maidens’ breasts with many a sinking qualm.
        Hell gleams from forth their eyes; and burns each palm;
        Distended wide their satyr nostrils scare!
        Ye maids of England, blissful in your calm
        Security, oh, long from you be far
      Invasion’s horrors dire, the fiendishness of War!


IX.

        One villain seized the gentle Ana’s arm,
        And dragged her to the bowering vineyard near;
        With cruel irony, “lest aught of harm,”
        He said, “should chance to reach your sister dear,
        “I’ll take my carbine with me,”--for with fear
        He marked the flashing wrath in Blanca’s eye;
        Then o’er his shoulder with this parting jeer
        He sought to rouse his comrade: “Jules, good b’ye;
      “The dove you think you’ve caught may like a falcon fly.”


X.

        But Jules still cried: “More wine!” And Blanca poured
        Like Hebe for this flagrant Hercules,
        While ever and anon she eyed his sword;
        But--happier fate--while drains he to the lees
        Another cup, he drops his head and frees
        His carbine with the movement. Swift as thought,
        She lifts the weapon--to the vineyard flees;--
        The deadly tube she to a level brought,
      When Ana’s struggling arm a friendly vine-branch caught.


XI.

        Unskilled her aim--but stainless purity
        Gave loftiest courage, nerving eye and hand.
        She breathed a prayer--an instant gazed on high--
        “Oh, Virgin Queen, _mi madre_, guardian stand!”
        Next instant she discharged the flaming brand.
        Within the throb of Ana’s beauteous breast
        Flew the fleet bullet. Heaven its progress banned;
        And through the ravisher’s hot heart it prest,
      His fell design extinct in death’s eternal rest!


XII.

        Up starts the drunkard sobered by the sound,
        And runs with hasty sabre to the scene;
        But Blanca dropt the carbine to the ground,
        Which like Camilla’s battleaxe, I ween,
        The virgin bore; and like that Volscian queen,
        When fiery swift her footsteps past the steed
        Of Aunus’ son, she bounded o’er the green;
        And, Ana’s hand in her’s, with matchless speed,
      Reached the far shore, where swift her floating bark she freed.


XIII.

        Maddened with rage quick followed the hussar,
        But soon his footsteps checked the foaming tide.
        Gnashed were his teeth while shot the bark afar,
        And rung the maidens’ laughter clear and wide;
        For greater not Penthesilea’s pride,
        Girt by her crescent-shielded Amazons
        In war’s array, whom Dian dared not chide!
        Full soon the joyous news like lightning runs,
      And wins undying fame ’mongst wild Cantabria’s sons.


XIV.

        And ever after Blanca bore the name
        “La Espingarda,” which her daring told,
        And gave the carbine she discharged to fame,
        When Innocence was made by Virtue bold.
        Oh, selfish were the breast, methinks, and cold,
        That would not look with eye of favour there:
        Such was the maid who led that Nereid fold,--
        Whose loud guitar, in scorn a chain to wear,
      Called her compatriot men to guard Iberia fair.


XV.

        Thus oft between Isaro’s isle and San
        Sebastian Blanca past with fancy free,
        Till through her veins Love’s soft infection ran,
        And tamed her spirit of wild gaiety.
        A gallant youth and fond did Blanca see
        ’Mongst Albion’s sons who lay the town before.
        Of all the host was braver none than he,
        And Blanca trembled to her bosom’s core
      Beneath his eagle-glance, when love he whispered o’er.


XVI.

        Full many a sweet, nor yet delusive tale
        He told the maid of mingling heart and hand,
        And home and household gods in sweetest vale
        Amid the glories of his Motherland,
        Of joys that glistened ’neath Hope’s faëry wand,
        And life’s long course by Gnidian torches lighted,
        Of foreheads pure by milder zephyrs fanned,
        And England’s happier clime by war unblighted.
      His passion soon declared, their mutual vows were plighted.


XVII.

        Hast thou not seen a clear and sparkling rill,
        Upon whose ripplings joyous sunbeams quiver,
        Flow swift, yet tranquil, from its native hill
        Straight to the bosom of some mighty river,--
        Its separate existence lost for ever,
        Its name, its nature, sunk in the devotion
        Of that great confluence? Calm as to the Giver,
        Her life she gave, nor struggle nor commotion
      Showed where that streamlet flowed, for ever mixed with Ocean.


XVIII.

        Morton the youth was named--majestic tall,
        For strength and symmetry his shape combined;
        Gentle as valiant, generous, loved by all;
        A soldier frank, pellucid was his mind,
        His judgment sound, his bearing ever kind;
        To her ’twas tenderest love that hourly grew.
        The pride that scorns unequal lots to bind
        In wedlock deeply he contemned, nor knew
      A thought that was not all to humbler Blanca true.


XIX.

        And Morton from the maiden learnt how soon
        Might Santa Clara’s rocky isle be won,
        Where batteries planted ere another moon
        The siege must end, and Mota’s fortress stun
        With many a thunder-voiced o’erpowering gun;
        And Blanca promised to the shore to guide.
        Swift Morton warm with warlike zeal doth run,
        His plans unfolding to his Chief with pride,
      And valiant Graham doth give to Morton margin wide.


XX.

        Soon were his comrades chos’n, and Nial first,
        His bosom-friend, companion oft in arms;
        Both of the Light Brigades, and both athirst
        For Glory! Nial led ’mid War’s alarms
        A file of Rifles. Danger still had charms
        For him transcendent; young, as woman fair,
        Slight-formed yet lion-brave--his vigour warms
        The veteran. Clothed his cheek with beauty rare,
      Yet none in all the host so actively would dare.


XXI.

        The Spaniards oft declared he was a girl
        In male attire, till they beheld his deeds.
        The oldest soldiers watched his looks in per’l,
        Obeyed his slightest sign, and where he leads
        Follow in battle--though the column bleeds.
        Yet Nial hath not reached his twentieth year!
        Noble and proud is every thought he feeds.
        Such was the youth, who Morton counselling clear,
      His plans to take the Isle arranged the trenches near.


XXII.

        And as they spoke the batteries raised their voice,
        From crowned La Mota raining shot and shell,
        Drove through the ranks, and made the Gaul rejoice
        With many a horrid gap that, ah, could well
        Its tale of dire disaster silent tell!
        For fragments strewn of gunner and his art
        Lay quivering round while fierce the foemen yell.
        Dismounted gun, and shattered carriage, chart,
      Line, linstock, bullet, corse, were tossed in every part.


XXIII.

        “Rey’s petulant to-day,” quoth Nial. Straight
        A huge artillery waggon by their side,
        That fed our batteries, six strong horses’ freight,
        Struck by a shell, up-bounding scattered wide
        War’s provender. The missile dumb doth bide--
        A minute’s pause of horrible suspense,
        That hushed each heart, and paled the cheek of Pride!
        Then with explosion terrible, immense,
      Its dire contents around were showered in ruin dense.


XXIV.

        The riders instant died--three gunners more
        Were gravely wounded. Mad with pain and fright,
        The horses started off at gallop o’er
        The plain, while blazed the waggon with that bright
        Combustion. One steed wounded fell outright;
        And frantic with the fiery mass each bound
        Whirled through the air--the wheels themselves alight--
        They dragged both horse and waggon o’er the ground,
      Till all was shattered ’mongst Ernani’s orchards found.


XXV.

        “Swift--to the Island!” both the friends exclaim;
        And as night fell their boats from cove concealed
        Beneath Antigua’s convent seaward came;
        Full soon with muffled oars that nought revealed,
        They lay ’neath Santa Clara’s rocky field;
        And Blanca in the crag disclosed a cleft,
        Where straight they land. But loud the sent’nel pealed
        The alarum gun, its post the picquet left,
      And flew like burghers bold to guard from midnight theft.


XXVI.

        But soon, o’erpowered by numbers, their array
        Was beaten back--resistance now was vain.
        Submissively their arms were lowered away,
        And o’er their sorrowing breasts a captive chain
        Is gently flung: “Our battery soon shall reign
        “Triumphant here,” quoth Morton, “thanks to thee,
        “Sweet maiden.” Blanca smiled, and cried,--“For Spain!”
        Then to her bark once more she bounded free,
      And with her Nereids young thus sang and smote the sea:


The Oar-Song.


1.

      Lean to your oars;
        Pull along cheerily;
      Ne’er let the shores
        Drag along drearily.
      Courts are but slavery,
        Grandeur is smoke;
      Our’s the true bravery;
        Bend to the stroke!


2.

      See where the tide
        Sparkles phosphorical;
      Learning is pride,
        Science an oracle!
      While through the water we
        Dash with our stems,
      Royally scatter we
        Myriads of gems.


3.

      Stoop with good will;
        Joyous our motion is.
      Breast with air fill;
        Sapphire-like Ocean is!
      Laugh at each lazy man,
        Keep the stroke--so;
      Poor lackadaisy man
        Never could row!


4.

      Where is the joy
        Like the oar feathering?
      Where’s the alloy
        Tempests in weathering?
      Lash the spray, scattering
        Many a beam;
      While our oars clattering
        Flash through the stream!


XXVII.

        Upon thy buckler, Gaul, terrific rang
        Vittoria’s powerful stroke, and reeling back
        Thy phantom-King to tall Pyrene sprang;
        Thy shattered Army, sorrowing deep for lack
        Of conquest or of guiding, fell to wrack,
        By the great arm of Arthur paralyzed,
        Till rapid Soult, when loured the sky most black,
        From Dresden rushed and chaos methodized:
      No Marshal-Chief, be sure, Napoléon higher prized.


XXVIII.

        Yet wise by experience, taught a cautious dread,
        And rocking still from England’s vigorous blows,
        A hissing serpent’s more than lion’s head
        That earth-struck host presented when it rose,
        And watched the hour to spring upon its foes.
        First San Sebastian to relieve its aim,
        Next to redeem lost glory and oppose
        Our strong advance, upon Pyrene tame
      The pride that dares its crags, and France preserve from shame.


XXIX.

        See where the couchant giant bristling lies,
        Pyrene with his mountain sides and hair
        Of forests dense. His crest doth pierce the skies,
        His limbs are precipices poised in air,
        His rugged spine full many a peak doth bear;
        His ribs, huge ridges, part on either hand,
        His mouths are deep ravines where torrents tear
        Through rocks a course to Man that seemeth banned.
      Yet there our heroes march, their brows by Victory fanned.


XXX.

        At Zabaldíca now with gathering ire
        The rival armies stand on fearful steeps,
        Where rocks on rocks are piled like bastions dire,
        And savage Solitude sublimely sleeps,
        And Cristovál’s and Lanz’s torrent leaps
        Adown the valley where Sauróren smiles.
        The pass to San Sebastian England keeps.
        There Morton brave and Nial lead their files;
      And hardy veterans climb those cloudy mountain piles.


XXXI.

        What clattering steed doth gallop fleet as air
        Through the Lanz valley, making earth to shake
        ’Neath his hoofs’ thunder? With that horseman dare
        None ride save one, the noblest, for his sake
        Light valuing life or limb. Thought-swift they make
        Sauróren. O’er the mountain crest they see
        Clausel’s brigades from Zabaldíca take
        The glen. Leaps from his horse that rider free
      To the bridge-parapet, and writes full rapidly.


XXXII.

        It is great Arthur, who the varying chance
        Of mountain-warfare spirit-like doth seize.
        Cole eagle-eyed and gallant Picton France
        Would fain cut off; but now our Chief with ease
        Averts the danger. Rapid as the breeze,
        Somerset’s charger gallops carrying far
        His fresh instructions. Dashes through the trees
        The French light horse--in vain his course they mar,
      And Arthur tranquil rides, the ascent to him no bar.


XXXIII.

        The Lusitan battalions first descried
        The advancing Chief, and raised a shout of joy.
        Uneasy they while distant he doth ride;
        Their treasure-trove, their gold without alloy!
        The British legions swift caught up the cry,
        Which swelled along the line till stern it rose
        To Battle’s shout appalling fierce the sky--
        The shout that tells the breast to Victory goes,
      The shout that ne’er was heard unmoved by Britain’s foes!


XXXIV.

        An instant stopt great Arthur on the brow
        Of that steep mountain. Both the Armies saw
        The Hero at that moment. Soult was now
        So near, each rival Chief could plainly draw
        The lineaments of each that strike with awe
        Their several hosts: “Now strong,” thought Arthur, “is he,
        “But cautious. Of that shout he will, some flaw
        “Suspecting, much inquire; and thus will free
      “My scattered host, till all combined resistless be.”


XXXV.

        And Soult, indeed, the battle’s shock withheld,
        Till rose next morning’s sun. But forth he pushed
        His skirmishers whose fire was keen repelled,
        Yet not till night was o’er the mountain hushed.
        For rode the Marshal where Lanz’ torrent gushed,
        Our whole position cautiously surveying:
        By deep defile to far Villalba rushed
        The infant Arga, all around displaying
      Our troops on every height, for battle fast arraying.


XXXVI.

        Upon a rugged mountain’s craggy crest,
        A shrine of spotless Mary clustered round
        The Lusitan battalion. Soult possest
        With thought of weakness there, where cannon frowned
        At Zabaldíca, raised Destruction’s sound;
        But vain its poise ’gainst that enormous height,
        His shot from lower crags doth back rebound.
        Powerless his ordnance for Titanian fight,
      ’Tis Nature’s storm-artillery ushers in the Night!


XXXVII.

        Dumb be your voices while the thunder-chime
        Peals from Pyrene’s turrets, echoing far.
        While roar the elements with rage sublime,
        Hushed be your strife, Pygmæan men of war!
        See, see, ye tremble at the lightning-scar.
        Your brands are sheath’d--ye feel as feathers, dust.
        Away! nor God’s designs profanely mar,
        Wreaking on brother-forms your gory lust.
      In vain! France tempts her doom, and England holds her trust!


XXXVIII.

        Next morn the absent corps our army join.
        Joy to our Chieftain for his guidance true!
        Sir Pack’s not yet hath come--but Marcaloin
        Shakes with its onward tramp--though from the view
        Of hawk-eyed Soult ’tis hid. To battle flew
        His host, assailing Cole in front and rear.
        Clausel from the Lanz valley poureth too
        His skirmishers--the mountain-side they clear;
      Cole’s left is rapid turned--defeat we now may fear.


XXXIX.

        But sudden rises o’er the mountain’s crest--
        What is’t? An army new of warriors dread--
        Pack’s corps, whose swift approach by Soult unguest
        Great Arthur’s eagle-eye to battle led,
        In place and time where best our ranks are fed.
        Instant their clattering fire is hostile blended.
        Cole smites the foeman’s right, whose left too bled
        From Lusia’s arms; their front, by Pack offended,
      With violent shock the vale in headlong flight descended.


XL.

        The Gaul who had strove to compass round our left
        Himself is now encompassed--in that dire
        Extremity of daring not bereft,
        But facing all around in conflict’s ire
        His fierce assailants--scattering with his fire
        Full many a corse, where Frenchmen thicker fell.
        But climbs Clausel’s reserve the mountain higher,
        Up craggy steep where doth the Virgin dwell.
      Stern was the fight, and Gaul had battled ne’er so well.


XLI.

        See from Sauróren in the vale beneath
        Where darts that column to the mountain-shrine,
        Nor fires a shot, but silent o’er the heath
        Strains to the rugged summit, while their line
        Is swept by fiery tempest. Bright doth shine
        French valour there. Though ranks be swept away,
        Unchecked their ardour. For the crest they pine,
        And win it. Lusia’s rifles swell the fray,
      And France upon this point an instant gains the day.


XLII.

        But Ross his bold brigade of Britain’s sons
        Hath close at hand; and Nial, Morton there
        With martial ardour each impetuous runs,
        Heading their veterans in the fray to share.
        With lusty shouts against the French they bear,
        And strongly charge and down the mountain dash.
        Yet undismayed again the foemen dare
        The dire ascent--again their firelocks flash.
      Again o’erturned they fall, and vain their valour rash.


XLIII.

        Through sulphurous shroud new skirmishers ascend,
        And mount the crest new columns of attack;
        Ev’n gallant Ross an instant forced to bend
        Before that fiery crowd recedeth back,
        But to return next instant with no lack
        Of desperate courage. Up the crest once more
        Our heroes charge, nor Gallic fire doth slack.
        Charge upon charge succeeding o’er and o’er,
      Each gains and yields by turns--the sod is dyed with gore.


XLIV.

        But Britain must the foemen hold at bay,
        Whom Creçy, Poictiers, Azincour beheld,
        Whom Blenheim, Ramilies, and Malplaquet,
        And Oudenarde saw by Britain’s yeomen felled--
        The foe on every field in Spain she quelled!
        Brief, potent words did Nial, Morton then,
        While proud effusion from their bosoms welled,
        Address with voice inspiring to their men,
      And lead with flashing swords the charge again, again!


XLV.

        Oh, solid Infantry! oh granite breasts!
        Like Rome’s Triarians there they stand or fall.
        Each flashing death-tube not an instant rests,
        Save where the bayonet-flash may more appal.
        By France outnumbered, yet till slaughtered all
        The ground they’d hold. Their wounded and their dead
        Are laid in one terrific line, a wall
        Of dauntless valour: by Leucadia’s head,
      So stood Leonides with Persia’s life-blood red!


XLVI.

        A rampart of the brave--of dead and dying!
        Thy column, Gaul, advances to the line,
        And halts where stern that gory bulwark’s lying,
        While Britain’s heroes all their fire combine.
        Nor ’mid tremendous showers of death repine
        Their wounded comrades smote, since death may bring
        The foeman under. Gaul, as drunk with wine,
        Reels from excess of slaughter. Forward spring
      Our bayonets to the charge. The foe is on the wing!


XLVII.

        Then rose the shout that told of England’s power
        Triumphant on that new Thermopylæ,
        And gallant hands were clasped in glory’s hour,
        And beamed Hesperia’s eye more bright to see
        That now in spite of Hell she will be free!
        And Nial, Morton folded heart to heart:
        “Joy! joy! This day shall long remembered be,
        “For France hath vainly tried her utmost art.”
      And tears of joy were seen from many an eye to start.


XLVIII.

        Oh glow of Victory! oh, thrilling pride
        Of triumph in the strife of mind or hand!
        More dear to mortal breasts than all beside,
        In mart or senate as in warlike band,
        In court or cell--where’er by conquest fanned
        The swelling temples wear thy plume, Success!
        How pure thy throb when Freedom lights a land,
        When pen, tongue, sword a cause sublime confess,
      Well worthy to aspire, befitting Heaven to bless!


XLIX.

        Lo, where the giant form of Liberty
        Arises grand yet shadowy dim o’er Spain.
        With smiles her champion, Arthur, she doth see,
        And frowns terrific with august disdain
        Upon the Invaders, trampling on the chain!
        A fiery sword that as a comet blazed
        On high she brandished, like the angel-train
        O’er Paradise. The tyrant-host amazed
      Saw their expulsion doomed, and trembled as they gazed.



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO II.


For the incidents from ancient Spanish history with which this
Canto opens, the reader is referred to Livy (lib. xxi. et Epit.) or
to Ferguson’s _Roman Republic_, where a full account will be found
of the ever-memorable Sieges of Saguntum and Numantia. The ruins
of Saguntum (Liv. loc. cit.) or Sagunthus (Sil. Ital. lib. i.) are
still visible on the sea coast, a little to the north of Valencia.
The site of Numantia, having a much more central position, a few
miles north of Soria, capital of the small province of that name
in the eastern part of Old Castile, is more conjectural than
that of Sagunthus. The name of Numantia is erroneously spelled
“Numantium” in Mr. Lockhart’s _Ancient Spanish Ballads_, a work
of extraordinary merit, notwithstanding a few inaccuracies. The
particulars of the siege of Numantia are to be found in the 57th
_Epitome_ of Livy’s lost books. The Moorish invasion under Tarik,
the fall of Roderick, and the struggles of Pelayo, are described
or alluded to by Byron, Scott, and Southey. The scene in the
Vale of Covadonga is one of the finest passages in the latter’s
poem of _Roderick_, where huge masses of rock are hurled down on
the advancing Moorish host at the signal of the following words
pronounced by the heroine:

                        --“IN THE NAME
      OF GOD! FOR SPAIN AND VENGEANCE!”
                          Southey, _Roderick_. book xxiii.

The fight at Roncesvalles is the most memorable in the entire
range of Romantic History, and has been alluded to, amongst other
poets, by Pulci, Ariosto, Milton, Scott, and Lockhart. The siege of
Zaragoza will be found described in detail in a succeeding canto.
The ferocity displayed by the Moors in their invasion appears to
have been not at all exaggerated by the Spanish chroniclers, and it
is curious that this fierceness of aspect should have been noticed
many centuries before by Horace:

      Acer et Mauri peditis cruentum
                      Vultus in hostem.
                          _Carm._ i. 2.

The modern representations of Abd-el-Kader’s warriors by French
artists square with the ancient notions of the Moorish ferocity of
aspect. I myself have seen at Tangier and Gibraltar for the most
part fine-looking men, but certainly with a tinge of ferocity, and
here and therewith an expression worthy the “truculentus Maurorum
vultus.” The introduction of Mohammedanism seems to have altered
nothing in this respect, for in the days of Julius Cæsar, as Horace
here attests, the same physiognomy was apparent; and Suetonius,
speaking of the war between Cæsar and Juba, king of Mauritania,
represents even the Roman legions as affrighted: “Famâ hostilium
copiarum perterritos ... expectatio adventûs Jubæ terribilis.”
_cap. 66._

The part which I assign to the Basque boat-girls, and the
strain of sentiment which pervades their oar-song, although not
consonant with a peaceful state of cultivated society, is quite
characteristic of Spain during the Peninsular War. The creed of
Hippolytus was not very favourable to those literate pretensions
which Molière has so pleasantly satirized in his “_Précieuses
Ridicules_,” and the Basque barqueras would be quite to his taste.
The persecuted of Phædra, whose uncompromising chastity caused his
neck to be broken, said:--Σοφὴν δὲ μισῶ, “I hate a learned woman;”
and Blanca and her sisters of the oar appear to have extended that
hatred to both sexes.

Gen. Jones’s record of the seizure of the island of Santa Clara
in the mouth of the harbour is as follows:--“A party of 200 men
was landed this night on the high rocky island of Sta. Clara,
and made prisoners of the enemy’s guard on it, of an officer and
twenty-four men.” _Journals, &c., Supp. Chapt._ Napier makes the
military party to consist of only 100 men--such difficulties
does one meet in ascertaining the minute parts of even recent
history. But probably Gen. Jones may have estimated that the
seamen amounted to another hundred. “A heavy fire was opened on
them,” says Napier, “and the troops landed with some difficulty,
but the island was then easily taken, and a lodgment made with the
loss of only twenty-eight men and officers.” _Hist._ book xxii.
c. i. The historical fact of the supplies having been conveyed
to the besiegers at San Sebastian by boat-girls gives warrant to
the supposition that they may have assisted in the capture of the
Island.

This Canto describes the principal warlike operations between
the battle of Vittoria and the first battle of Sauroren, with a
description of the first part of which it terminates. The incidents
will be found in Napier’s _History_, book xxi. chap. 5.

The concluding incident is from the combat of Maya, which took
place in the same neighbourhood a few days previously, and is
thus described by Captain Norton, of the 34th regiment.--“The
ninety-second met the advancing French column first with its right
wing drawn up in line, and after a most destructive fire and heavy
loss on both sides, the remnant of the right wing retired, leaving
a line of killed and wounded that appeared to have no interval.
The French column advanced up to this line and then halted, the
killed and wounded of the ninety-second forming a sort of rampart;
the left wing then opened its fire on the column, and as I was
but a little to the right of the ninety-second, I could not help
reflecting painfully how many of the wounded of their right wing
must have unavoidably suffered from the fire of their comrades.”
This frightful butchery appears to excite the enthusiasm of some
of its military historians. “So dreadful was the slaughter,” says
Napier, “that it is said the advancing enemy was actually stopped
by the heaped mass of dead and dying; and then the left wing of
that noble regiment coming down from the higher ground smote
wounded friends and exulting foes alike, as mingled together they
stood or crawled before its fire. * * The stern valour of the
ninety-second, principally composed of Irishmen, would have graced
Thermopylæ.”--_Hist. War. Penins._ book xxi. chap. 5.


  III.      “When Roland’s horn with its tremendous sound.”

      La dove il corno sona tanto forte
      Dopo la dolorosa rotta.
                          Pulci.


  VIII.      “Fired with the generous vintage, which gave all
              The ruffian forth,” &c.

  Κράτιστον μὲν τῆς ἀκμῆς τῶν χαιρῶν τυγχάνειν· ἐπειδὴ δὲ δυσκαταμαθέτως
  ἔχουσιν. κ. τ. λ.
                      Isoc. _ad Nicocl._

“It is most excellent to enjoy moderately the height of felicity;
but this men find most difficult to learn.”


  X.      “Like Hebe for this flagrant Hercules.”

      Τέρπεται ἐν θαλίῃς, καὶ ἔχει καλλίσφυρον Ἥβην,
      Παῖδα Διὸς μεγάλοιο καὶ Ἥρης χρυσοπεδίλου.
                          Hom. _Od._ xi. 602.

      “Flagrans amor Herculis Heben.”--Propert I. 13. 23.


  XII.      “Which like Camilla’s battle-axe, I ween.”

      “Rapit indefessa bipennem.”--Virg. _Æn._ xi. 651.

  “When fiery swift her footsteps past the steed.”

          ----“Pernicibus ignea plantis,
      Transit equum cursu.”
                          --_Ib._ 718.


  XIII.      “Girt by her crescent-shielded Amazons.”

      “Fœminea exsultant lunatis agmina peltis.”
                          --Virg. _Æn._ xi. 663.


  XVII.      “Hast thou not seen a clear and sparkling rill, &c.”

      Qualis in aerii pellucens vertice montis
        Rivus, muscoso prosilit e lapide;
      Qui cùm de pronâ præceps est valle volutus,
        Per medium densi transit iter populi.
                          Catul. lxvi.


  XVIII.      “A soldier frank, pellucid was his mind.”

      Ἀλλ’ ἐνθάδ’, ἐν Τροίᾳ τ’, ἐλευθέραν φύσιν
      Παρέχων, Ἄρη, τὸ κατ’ ἐμὲ, κοσμήσω δορί.
                          Eurip. _Iphig. in Aul._ 930.

“_Achil._ Both here and in Troy, displaying a frank mind, as far as
in me lies, I will illustrate Mars in battle.”


  XX.            --“Nial led ’mid War’s alarms
           A file of Rifles.”

                                --Sævam
      Militiam puer, et Cantabrica bella tulisti
      Sub Duce.
                          Horat. _Epist._ i. 18.


  XXI.      “The Spaniards oft declared he was a girl.”

      Era Medoro un mozo de veinte años,
      Ensortijado el pelo, y rubio el bozo,
      De mediana estatura, y de ojos graves,
      Graves mirados, y en mirar suaves.
                          Lope de Vega, _Angelica_, iii.


  XXVII.      “Till rapid Soult,” &c.

Rapidity of conception and execution were marked features in
Marshal Soult’s military character. The decree by which Napoléon
appointed him his Lieutenant in Spain was issued at Dresden on
the 1st July, 1813, ten days after the battle of Vittoria. On the
eleventh day he was in the midst of the army in Spain! “The 12th,
Soult, travelling with surprising expedition, assumed the command
of the armies of the ‘north,’ the ‘centre,’ and the ‘south,’ now
reorganized in one body called ‘the Army of Spain.’ And he had
secret orders to put Joseph forcibly aside if necessary, but that
monarch voluntarily retired from the army.” Napier, _Hist. War in
the Penins._ book xxi. chap. 4. “Marshal Soult was one of the few
men whose indefatigable energy rendered them worthy lieutenants
of the emperor; and with singular zeal, vigour, and ability he
now served.”--_Ibid._ “Such was Soult’s activity that on the
16th all the combinations for a gigantic offensive movement were
digested.”--_Ibid._


  XXIX.      “His rugged spine full many a peak doth bear,
              His ribs, huge ridges, part on either hand.”

This is the actual formation of the Pyrenees. A great spinal
ridge runs diagonally across this entire mountain tract, trending
westward. From this spine sierras shoot forth on both sides, and
the communications between the valleys formed by these ridges pass
over breaks in the sierras, called _puertos_ by the Spaniards, and
_cols_ by the French.


  XXXI.      “What clattering steed doth gallop fleet as air.”

On the 27th July, Wellington, having been unable to learn any thing
of the movements of Picton and Cole, who had been left in the
valley of Zubiri and on the adjoining heights of Linzoain, on the
evening preceding, and dreading lest Soult’s combinations should
cut them off, quitted Sir Rowland Hill’s quarters in the Bastan at
a very early hour in the morning (these early matutinal movements
have been always characteristic of his Grace) and descending the
valley of Lanz, reached Ostiz, a few miles from Sauroren, where he
met General Long with his brigade of light cavalry, who informed
him that Picton and Cole had abandoned the heights of Linzoain, and
were moving on Huarte, “He left his quarter-master-general with
instructions to stop all the troops coming down the valley of Lanz
until the state of affairs at Huarte should be ascertained. Then
at racing speed he made for Sauroren. As he entered that village
he saw Clauzel’s divisions moving from Zabaldíca along the crest
of the mountain, and it was clear that the allied troops in the
valley of Lanz were intercepted, wherefore pulling up his horse, he
wrote on the parapet of the bridge of Sauroren fresh instructions
to turn every thing from that valley to the right, by a road which
led through Lizasso and Marcalain behind the hills to the village
of Oricain, that is to say in rear of the position now occupied
by Cole. Lord Fitzroy Somerset, the only staff officer who had
kept up with him, galloped with these orders out of Sauroren by
one road, the French light cavalry dashed in by another, and the
English general rode alone up the mountain to reach his troops,”
&c.--Napier, _Hist._ book xxi. c. 5.

           --“Thought-swift they make
  Sauróren.”

I trust this Teutonism will be pardoned, believing these forms of
expression to be more suited to the genius of our language than has
been hitherto supposed, and likely to be more generally introduced
into poetical diction.


  XXXII.      “Cole eagle-eyed and gallant Picton.”

The gallantry of Picton and the keen observation of Cole were
eminent characteristics of those two generals respectively. The
danger which they ran in this instance was very imminent. Picton
“directed Cole to occupy some heights between Oricain and Arletta.
But that general having with a surer eye, &c.”--Napier, _Hist._
book xxi. c. 5. Wellington’s rapid riding on this occasion defeated
a very able combination of Soult’s. The Duke was always an expert
and eager horseman, and it was not for nothing that he kept his
pack of fox-hounds in the Peninsula.


  XXXIII.      “The advancing Chief * *
                Their treasure-trove, their gold without alloy!”

      Longas, ô utinam, dux bone, ferias
      Præstes Hesperiæ!
                          Horat. _Carm._ iv. 5.

  “The shout that ne’er was heard unmoved by Britain’s foes.”

“That stern and appalling shout which the British soldier is wont
to give upon the edge of battle, and which no enemy ever heard
unmoved.” Napier, _Hist._ book xxi. c. 5.


  XXXIV.      “Soult was now so near, &c.”

“Lord Wellington suddenly stopped in a conspicuous place, he
desired that both armies should know he was there, and a double spy
who was present pointed out Soult, then so near that his features
could be plainly distinguished. The English general, it is said,
fixed his eyes attentively upon this formidable man, and, speaking
as if to himself, said: ‘Yonder is a great commander, but he is a
cautious one and will delay his attack to ascertain the cause of
these cheers; that will give time for the sixth division to arrive
and I shall beat him.’ And certain it is that the French general
made no serious attack that day.” Napier, _ibid._


  XXXVI.      “But vain its poise ’gainst that enormous height.”

“Some guns were pushed in front of Zabaldíca, but the elevation
required to send the shot upward rendered their fire ineffectual.”
Napier, _ibid._

  “’Tis Nature’s storm-artillery ushers in the night.”

“A terrible storm, the usual precursor of English battles in
the Peninsula, brought on premature darkness and terminated the
dispute.” Napier, _ibid._


  XXXVII.      “Dumb be your voices, while the thunder-chime, &c.”

      Bedecke deinen himmel, Zeus,
      Mit wolkendunst, und übe!
                          Goethe (_Prometheus_).

“Curtain thy heavens, Zeus, with clouds and mist, and exercise thy
arm!”

  “While roar the elements with rage sublime,” &c.

      Nè quivi ancor dell’ orride procelle
      Ponno appieno schivar la forza e l’ira;
      Ma sono estinte or queste faci or quelle,
      E per tutto entra l’acque, e’l vento spira * *
      La pioggia ai gridi, ai venti, al tuon s’accorda
      D’orribile armonía, che’l mondo assorda.
                          Tasso. _Gerus. Lib._ vii. 122.

  --“Ye feel as feathers, dust.”

              ----La materia humana--
      Viento, humo, polvo, y esperanza vana!
                          Lope de Vega, _Sonetos_.


  XXXIX.      “Pack’s corps, whose swift approach by Soult unguest.”

General Pack was in command of the sixth division till this battle,
when he was wounded, and the command passed to general Pakenham.


  XL.      “Stern was the fight, and Gaul had battled ne’er so well.”

Throughout the entire Peninsular campaigns, the French never fought
with such desperate valour as on this and the few preceding and
following days. In Soult they had the utmost confidence; they saw
that a crisis had arrived, and trembled for France. “The fight
raged close and desperate on the crest of the position, charge
succeeded charge, and each side yielded and recovered by turns;
yet this astounding effort of French valour was of little avail.”
Napier, _ibid._


  XLI.      ----“Lusia’s rifles swell the fray.”

General Ross’s brigade of the fourth division was posted on this
strongly contested height, having a Portuguese battalion (the
seventh caçadores, tenth regiment) in his front, with its flank
resting on the chapel. “The seventh caçadores shrunk abashed, and
that part of the position was won.” Napier, _ibid._ The inequality
with which the Portuguese fought was remarkable throughout the
Peninsular War. They fought well, or gave way, in great measure
according to the impulse of the movement. Here they gave way, then
inspired by the example of Ross’s brigade renewed the combat, but
again gave way. “Soon, however, they rallied upon General Ross’s
brigade * * and the tenth Portuguese regiment fighting on the right
of Ross’s brigade yielded to their fury.” Napier, _ibid._ Sometimes
they fought extremely well.


  XLIII.      “Ev’n gallant Ross.”

This epithet was well deserved by general Ross, and is assigned
to him by Napier. “That gallant officer.” Book xxi. c. 5. I am
proud to record the exploits of my countryman, whose name and
achievements are endeared to me by early recollections. A lofty
column is erected in his honour at the beautiful village of
Rosstrevor, within seven miles of which, at Newry, my early years
from infancy to the period of my going to College were passed.
All my summers were spent in and near Rosstrevor, one of the most
charming sea-bathing spots in the British dominions. The noble Bay
of Carlingford stretches before it, girt by an amphitheatre of
lofty hills, and Killowen Point, the Wood-house, Greencastle, the
light-house, and Grenore, with the ancient and picturesque town
of Carlingford, the stupendous mountain overhanging it, and the
bleak tract extending along to Omeath, contrasted with the sunny
and wooded slopes beyond, have left impressions indelible even
during much travel in foreign lands. I rejoice to perceive that a
railway is about to open up this magnificent region, and trust that
this new means of intercourse will be eminently beneficial to the
warm-hearted inhabitants of all the surrounding district.

  “But to return next instant with no lack
  Of desperate courage.”

      Φεύγειν μὲν οὐκ ἀνεκτὸν, οὐδ’ εἴωθαμεν.
                          Eurip. _Iphig. in Taur._ 104.

“For to fly is not tolerable, neither has it been our custom!”

  “Each gains and yields by turns--the sod is dyed with gore.”

This action between Ross’s brigade and Clauzel’s second division
was one of the most terrific during the war. “The fight,” says
Napier “raged close and desperate on the crest of the position,
charge succeeded charge, and each side yielded and recovered by
turns.”


  XLV.      “So stood Leonides, with Persia’s life-blood red.”

                    ἐν Σπάρτᾳ δ’ ἐρέω
      πρὸ Κιθαιρῶνος μάχαν:
      ταῖσι Μήδειοι κάμον ἀγκυλότοξοι:
                          Pind. _Pyth._ i.

“In Sparta I will sing the fight before Cithæron, where the Median
bowmen fell.” For the details of the battle, and of the Trachinian
treason, see Herodotus, _lib._ 7. Pindar does not name Thermopylæ,
but Cithæron being in its immediate neighbourhood would make the
allusion at once intelligible. Pindar with instinctive good taste
prefers the name “Cithæron” to that of “Thermopylæ,” the latter
name, though to us so magnificent, sounding somewhat vulgar to
Greek ears, as indicating the θερμὰ λουτρὰ, or hot-baths from which
it was derived.


  XLVII.      “That now in spite of Hell she will be free.”

      Siasi l’inferno e siasi il mondo armato.
                          Tasso, _Gerus. Lib._ xiii. 73.



IBERIA WON.

Canto III.


I.

        But France though vanquished oft doth oft renew
        The assault which British arms alone can quell.
        Her columns fresh the wrested prize pursue,
        And at the Siérra’s foot their numbers swell.
        Exhausted War’s munitions now, so well
        Have England’s sons with fire the foeman plied,
        And anxious eyes upon their leaders dwell:--
        “See, see, brave hearts,” young Morton stoutly cried,
      “While rocks like these abound, we’ll guard the mountain’s side!”


II.

        And at the word he loosed with might and main
        Such stone immense as feigned Æolides
        In Orcus tortured flung. Down to the plain
        It rolleth bounding with gigantic ease,
        The mountain shaking, crashing through the trees,
        Dislodging many a smaller granite mass.
        Appalled its dire approach the foeman sees.
        On, on it rolls, still thundering o’er the grass,
      Till in the vale it rests, nor dares the Gaul to pass.


III.

        And on the foremost crest our men have now
        Full many a rock’s Aiantine volume rolled;
        Prepared to hurl them from the mountain-brow,
        Their powerful hands this rude artillery hold,
        Should thirst of vengeance make the assailants hold.
        But men who Death had braved in every form
        Of War’s destruction known to them of old,
        Before this unfamiliar mountain-storm
      Have quailed, and our’s the height all strewn with corses warm.


IV.

        O’er Zabaldíca and the torrent Lanz
        Frowned a steep hill, where Spain her sons had placed
        Beneath Murillo. There the host of France
        Its efforts now concentring urged with haste,
        And tirailleur and voltigeur embraced
        The peak around, while marched Clausel and Reille
        Their columns dense along the mountain-waste.
        They charged--Pravía stood the shock awhile,
      But numbers soon o’erpower Hesperia’s broken file.


V.

        In silence stern a British column waits,
        Till on the summit France a footing get;
        Then rose the charging cry whose peal elates
        The Island-warrior’s breast. With bayonets set,
        They rushed upon the advancing crowd, and wet
        Was every sod with blood. The broken mass
        Was down the mountain hurled, as from the net
        The fisher casts his prey. Impetuous pass
      Tempestuous bullets showered, and shiver them like glass.


VI.

        But France not yet retires, for on this day
        Pyrené’s fate and her’s will be decided.
        Though, man ’gainst man, their courage melts away,
        The charge by Gaulish chiefs again is guided--
        Again the powers of Fate and Death derided!
        Thrice the assault’s renewed, and thrice each chief
        His wearied men doth onward drag to bide it.
        In vain! The British shock makes contest brief.
      Faint, spiritless, abashed, the foemen seek relief.


VII.

        And Gaul, her infantry thus forced to yield,
        Now tries the onset of her dashing horse;
        And charging through the valley shakes the field
        With thunderous gallop, trampling fallen horse
        And writhing wounded men without remorse.
        Our bold hussars beside the river’s edge
        With flaming carbines they would backward force;
        Their chargers’ strength they wield like potent wedge,
      And strive to urge our men adown the rocky ledge.


VIII.

        Our fiery squadrons standing in reserve
        Now join the mêlée, flashing fast around
        Pistol and carbine--then with powerful nerve
        They bathe their swords in blood at every bound,
        While ’neath the shock terrific quakes the ground.
        See, where yon huge heart-piercéd rider falls;
        His horse affrighted at the clattering sound
        Drags him by th’ foot which still the stirrup thralls,
      Till Death arrests them both ’mid storm of flying balls.


IX.

        Oh, generous, strong, and fleet are England’s steeds,
        And mettled high their riders even as they!
        Though with the cavalier the horse too bleeds,
        Yet horse and cavalier have won the day.
        Two Gaulish chiefs have perished in the fray.
        To the streamlet edge the foe is backward driven;
        With spur deep-plunged he leaps the stream--away!
        But many a jaded horse his life hath given
      Headlong adown the bank, where rider too is riven.


X.

        On every side now Britain’s foes repelled
        Feel that to stand before her might is vain;
        Our strong position is securely held--
        Lords of the mountain, masters of the plain
        From Vascongada’s frontier to the main.
        Our batteries planted on the bloody hill
        Before the Virgin’s shrine their death-shot rain
        From far Illurdos to Elcano’s rill,
      From towering Cristovál to Oricain at will.


XI.

        But D’Erlon hath concentred all his force,
        And seeks, by steep Buenza, Hill to crush.
        O’erpowering numbers urge their onward course,
        And Hill retires--but not till he doth hush
        The fire of D’Armagnac with torrent rush.
        By Lecumberri Soult essays a path
        To San Sebastian through our line to push.
        But eye more keenly sure great Arthur hath,
      And breaks the foe’s design with counter-stroke of wrath.


XII.

        With rapid steps Zubiri Picton gains;
        His skirmishers molest Foy’s shattered flank.
        From Zabaldíca’s crest Foy sees the plains
        Strewn with the flower of many a fallen rank.
        But powerless he for aid--the bayonet drank
        Upon the hill the life-blood of his corps,
        Where before Cole’s assault his veterans sank,
        While gallant Inglis down the mountain o’er
      Clausel and Conroux falls with shock that frights them sore.


XIII.

        And headlong from the Sierra Byng, too, comes
        To where Maucune the smiling village keeps.
        Our cannon from the height the ear benumbs;
        The bullets crash where that Arcadia sleeps,
        And many a peasant for his Lares weeps.
        Along the valley booms the thunderous sound;
        And quivering child and pallid virgin creeps
        For shelter to the mountain-caves around,
      While swells the demon-strife, and death-shot ploughs the ground.


XIV.

        Sauróren bridge where late great Arthur wrote
        His rapid mandate o’er the torrent’s fall,
        The deep Lanz valley by the thunder smote,
        The hills above, the blooming village--all
        Are covered o’er with dense, sulphureous pall;
        And musketry its sharp and rattling peal
        Incessant echoes ’gainst the mountain-wall.
        While fills the glen tumultuous shot and steel,
      The volumed smoke can scarce the form of death reveal.


XV.

        Sauróren’s won! The Gallic host is broken,
        And thousand prisoners own our conquering hand;
        Disarmed and guarded well in Victory’s token,
        But nobly used as fits a generous land.
        Gaul’s columns fly in many a scattered band
        To Urtiága’s pass and Ostiz’ steep,
        By Lusia’s sons pursued with flaming brand.
        But, ah, Sauróren’s maids and matrons weep,
      For from the Virgin’s shrine did many a death-bolt leap!


XVI.

        As mariners who on a stormy sea
        The magnet lose that guides them o’er the wave;
        As warriors marshalled oft to victory,
        Who lose the sacred banner of the brave:
        So with their tears these mountain-children lave
        Lanz’ trodden glen; for, ah, the diadem
        That girds the Virgin’s brow no more shall save.
        Death rained on Lanz beneath each sparkling gem.
      A Madre de Dolór is Mary now to them!


XVII.

        Night falls around--in dark and dense defile
        Nial and Morton with their gallant host,
        Where even by daylight rarest sunbeams smile,
        In Leron’s frightful wilderness are lost.
        By frowning precipice, through crags high-tost
        By earthquakes old--through forests grimly black,
        Like ghosts they wandered, crost and then re-crost,
        Nor pathway saw to forward move or back,
      Nor means of exit found, nor even a desert-track.


XVIII.

        “Cheer up, my friends,” said Nial; “whom the foe
        “Hath ne’er made flinch the forest shall not quell.
        “Full many a pine-branch waves at hand to show
        “The way--no torch so fitly or so well.”
        Then many a pine-branch torn, with resinous smell
        Told of its fiery aliment--the flash
        Of muskets gave them kindling.--Through the dell,
        Waving on high these flaming brands they dash,
      And to their comrades shout who tempt the forest rash.


XIX.

        Thus on they moved through thicket, glen, and brake,
        By precipice, and crag, and torrent brink,
        And yawning chasm that made the boldest quake,
        Till without end the dark ravine they think;
        And wildered many a foot by flaming link,
        That guided few save them the links who bore:
        Benighted thus till with fatigue they sink,
        Steep crag and glen profound they wandered o’er,
      Their beacon fires alight--but none can find a shore.


XX.

        And pealed their shouts incessant through the gloom,
        With clamour wounding the dull ear of Night,
        Till as in churchyards peopled grows each tomb
        To midnight wanderers, rose their souls to fright
        Infernal Phantoms! On each towering height
        Seemed demons sprung with torches from their den,
        Their footsteps to mislead with Hellish light;
        Till Morning rose, and showed the mount and glen
      All strewn with faces wan and worn and wearied men.


XXI.

        But daylight woke their hearts to hope and joy;
        Refreshment needful cheered their bivouac.
        The column they rejoined without annoy:
        And there of gladness was, I ween, no lack,
        Where soldiers hailed their former comrades back.
        Now Soult by perils prest hath outlet none,
        Save by Maria’s pass with omens black;
        And swiftly, near Lizasso, Hill hath won
      Upon his rear, unchecked by Leo’s burning sun.


XXII.

        His cannon opened loud with bellowing sound,
        And ’neath its deadly roar the French ascend;
        Till near the summit of the pass they found
        A wood that stretched its branches to befriend.
        Yet see, they turn, and skirmishers defend
        The steep, but Stewart leads the stern assault.
        Soon broke their files, their menace soon doth end.
        Headlong they fly, and dareth none to halt--
      But thickest mist doth fall--and leave our men at fault.


XXIII.

        Thus Menelaüs, while his brazen spear
        Thirsting for Paris’ blood is brandished high,
        No longer sees the slender youth appear,
        But riseth cloud to thwart his vengeance nigh,
        Which Aphrodite gliding from the sky
        (So sings Mæonia’s bard) doth interpose;
        And even while glares Atrides’ conquering eye,
        And to his men the adulterer’s helm he throws,
      The mist o’erspreads his form and shields from deathful blows.


XXIV.

        But o’er the heights that gird the fearful pass
        Our troops are gathered soon, and France doth quake,
        For now the terrible defile in mass
        Her legions enter. Many a brow doth ache.
        Our warriors’ death-shots direful havoc make.
        They quail--they fly--confused disorder reigns.
        Rank upon rank doth every instant break,
        Nor Soult’s commanding voice the rout restrains.
      They pass, but many a captive leave to mourn his chains.


XXV.

        To Yanzi now! where narrower still the cleft
        Which France must pass. By Zubiéta came
        Our Light Division, ne’er of hope bereft
        To reach the ground ere Gaul can thwart the aim
        That there full terrible her pride shall tame.
        Our warriors through Elgoriága glide,
        Fatigue exhausting many a wearied frame,
        And toil they faintly up the mountain-side;
      But Morton urged their zeal, and Nial touched their pride.


XXVI.

        Light-hearted chieftain-boys! No knapsacks they,
        No firelock’s weight, no full cartouches bore.
        The promptings of their valour they obey;
        And Leo’s sun in vain o’er them doth pour
        His maddening rays--for courage warms them more!
        But clambering Santa Cruz’s torrid steep,
        Full many a soldier fell convulsed, while gore
        And froth commixed their parchéd mouths o’erleap,
      And respite found from toil in Death’s eternal sleep!


XXVII.

        And leaned their comrades on their firelocks then,
        Whose spirits stern had ne’er before been quelled;
        And muttered, “What could more be asked of men?”
        And for an instant’s time almost rebelled.
        But rose a tear to Morton’s eye, and held
        His forehead Nial aching at the sight
        Of warriors whom fatigue like death-shot felled.
        When saw the men their leaders felt aright,
      A hearty cheer they gave, and scaled the fearful height.


XXVIII.

        A precipice beneath o’erhung the bridge
        Of Yanzi. Hurrying past the French were seen
        Along the dread defile. Upon the ridge
        His men by Morton ranged their firelocks keen
        Discharged. ’Mongst clustering shrubs his rifles green
        Did Nial gather lower down the steep.
        Oh, dire the calls of duty oft had been,
        But direst this! The chieftains almost weep;
      The men avert their heads, Death’s harvest while they reap.


XXIX.

        For pistol-shot might reach the hastening throng,
        Who through the horrid chasm defenceless crowd.
        The wounded men on branches borne along
        Were flung to earth--in vain their voices loud
        Implored for aid, all trampled in the shroud
        That wrapt them blood-besmeared. Confusion dire
        Possest the ranks. The bravest horsemen cowed
        Charged up the pass to escape the avenger’s ire;
      The footman ’gainst the hussar was forced to turn his fire.


XXX.

        And many a stalwart cavalier and horse
        Was headlong flung in Echallara’s stream,
        And many an ailing man was soon a corse;
        From many a musket fires defensive teem,
        Held skyward--but in vain their flashes gleam,
        For terrible our vantage. Some too rushed
        In veteran might o’er Yanzi’s bridge, and deem
        Our flank to gall, but soon their fire was hushed.
      The wounded quarter sued--’twas given by conquerors flushed.


XXXI.

        And prisoners fell by thousands in our hands,
        And all the convoy, treasure, spoil was our’s.
        At Echallar and Ivantelly stands
        The foe once more, and tempts the leaguering powers;
        But daring Barnes upon the mountain towers
        With lion-heart, and smites the clustering foe.
        Though five to one their number ’gainst us lours,
        In vain the arméd throng withstands the blow.
      The fortress-crag is won--the French are hurled below.


XXXII.

        On Ivantelly’s giant peak they fling
        Their last defiance--soon their hope doth melt,
        Like hoar upon a sunny morn in Spring,
        For there our light brigades their way have felt
        Through mist thick gathering, as erewhile it dwelt
        Upon Lizasso’s brow, but not to arrest
        Again our footsteps. Many a blow they dealt,
        Though viewless fatal. Through the clouds they guest
      The foeman’s shadowy form, and scaled the mountain’s breast.


XXXIII.

        Through misty veil that crowns the topmost crags
        Doth Nial with his rifles plunge amain;
        Nor Morton with his light battalion lags.
        Gaul’s chosen grenadiers Clausel with pain
        Sees from the mist emerging to the plain.
        Sharp rings the rifle;--with sonorous roll
        The musketry less keen replies--in vain!
        Disordered France retires, and rends the pole
      Our shout victorious raised--the peak is Glory’s goal!


XXXIV.

        Pyrene’s won! Upon the tallest crest
        Did Nial, Morton mark with fond embrace
        The crowning victory. Why together rest
        Their eyes, the mist now melted, on that place
        Beneath? Ye Powers! It is great Arthur’s face.
        The flying French have eyed him too where o’er
        His mountain charts, and plans of war the base,
        With escort small intently he doth pore,
      And none suspects the prize the foemen swift explore.


XXXV.

        Rushed Nial, Morton madly down the steep
        In generous rivalry who first should reach
        To avert the peril. Roelike was each leap
        From crag to crag--they are come--the danger teach,
        Which Arthur learns with gracious smile to each.
        Swift to his charger strong the Chieftain springs:
        The Frenchmen’s bullets whistle vain as Speech
        Where Action’s wanting. See, his steed hath wings;
      And safe is he whose fate had sealed the doom of Kings!


XXXVI.

        Strove Arthur long to learn which youth he owed
        For safety and deliverance gratitude;
        But Nial said ’twas Morton forward strode
        The first, and Morton urged that Nial viewed
        The peril soonest--Friendship’s generous feud!
        Where each desired that each the prize should hoard;
        And eyes that witnessed it were tear-bedewed.
        Great Arthur gave each noble youth a sword,
      That bore his mighty name--magnificent reward!


XXXVII.

        But thirsteth Pride for San Sebastian’s towers,
        For foiled one effort to surmount her wall;
        And Death that sweeps each host had swept down our’s
        A moon before in numbers to appal.
        ’Tis Honour’s voice, then, bids each bastion fall;
        Such man’s decree! The galleries swift advance.
        A triple mine upheaves the firm sea-wall
        With fierce sulphureous shock. Rocks heavenward dance
      To ope our troops a path against the sons of France.


XXXVIII.

        And pant for glory ’midst their brave compeers
        Nial and Morton--keen as curbéd steed.
        Though soft their souls in love to melt in tears,
        In war they could unmoved see hundreds bleed.
        Of passionate fervour was their patriot creed,
        And next to Heaven they loved their native land.
        With Blanca there to fly, when Spain was freed,
        Before the frowning wall young Morton planned,
      And murmur thus his lips while waits his eager band:--


The Glory of Islands.


1.

      Forbid the linnet from its nest,
        And crush its homeward aspirations--
      As vain to chide the heaving breast,
        And woo repose in foreign nations!
      No, England, no! beyond the foam,
        Around thy beauteous shore that circles,
      I would not fix my lasting home
        For every gem that brightest sparkles!


2.

      More cloudless bend Italian skies;
        Burgundian fruits more richly cluster;
      Iberia’s slopes more gently rise,
        And shine her stars with purer lustre.
      O’er Adria’s coast, o’er fair Stamboul,
        O’er soft Mæonia show’rs more splendour.
      Out, sunk ’neath Slavery’s abject rule!
        ’Tis _thou_ art Freedom’s grand defender!


3.

      Far sunnier Isles the South make glad,
        From Palma’s gulf to the Ægean;
      Idalia rose and myrtle clad,
        Sicilian shores, and bowers Dictæan;
      The Cyclades that shine to snare,
        From Lemnos old to Rhodes romantic;
      And far Funchál, whose balmy air
        Swells earth’s best vine ’mid the Atlantic.


4.

      But, oh loved land! what magic lifts
        Thee high above all rival glory,
      Fills up the void of Nature’s gifts,
        And makes thy deeds the pride of story?
      What charm endues thy talisman,
        Thou chrysolite amid the waters,
      And deifies the power of man?
        The genius of thy sons and daughters!


5.

      The vigorous thought, the spirit firm,
        The pride of truth, the deep devotion,
      The labouring head and stalwart arm,
        That crown thee Queen of Earth and Ocean!
      That clothe with grain thy rugged steeps,
        Thy factory piles make teem prolific,
      And man the fleet each sea that sweeps
        To make its trembling shores pacific.


6.

      Illustrious land! Yet more than this,
        Thou harbourest all life’s solid graces--
      No fiends that murder with a kiss--
        No treacherous breasts ’neath smiling faces!
      Oh! still be thine the bold, the true,
        The honest, manly, independent;
      In mind, in heart, in sinew, too,
        O’er every other land transcendent!


XXXIX.

        Nor slow was Rey the city to defend,
        Exhausting all the arts that War supplies.
        A yawning chasm within the breach doth end;
        Loopholed with fire a counterwall defies
        Approach;--where’er the rampart broken lies,
        A traverse cuts it off--the streets are trenched;
        Mines trebly charged prepare to blot the skies
        With shattered limb, and head from shoulder wrenched,
      Of him who dares the assault, yet not a cheek is blenched!


XL.

        And strongest whetstone of fierce Valour’s edge
        Thy name, Napoléon! For thee would dare
        Thy Guard to leap adown Destruction’s ledge,
        For thee would scoff in mockery of Despair!
        Genius and energy thou well couldst share
        With all thy Chiefs, and courage give thy men,
        That scorned to yield with life their lion-lair.
        A barbarous strife thou didst require--what then?
      The last Barbarian thou that rushed from Scythian den!


XLI.

        Meteor of Conquest! terribly endowed
        With every faculty to bless or mar,
        With voice to speak to Man like trumpet loud,
        And eagle-eye with ken for peace or war
        Omnipotent, save when Heaven dealt the scar!
        Thy course for bale that might have been for bliss,
        Thy darling Victory streamed a crimson star.
        Around thy laurelled forehead serpents hiss;
      And closed thy glory’s dawn, Destroyer, choice like this!


XLII.

        Trampler on Human Liberty! Thy plan
        Embraced no welfare save thine own; thy aim
        A pyramid--each stone a sword-hewn man,--
        Rivers of blood o’er Earth to write thy name.
        Gigantic was thy crime--as great thy shame!
        Even now with gory talon to the North
        Thou fliest, the elements but canst not tame;
        And there, to teach the peaceful victor’s worth,
      Men rigid as their frosts have sent thee howling forth!


XLIII.

        Scourge of the Nations! thy appointed time
        Is near its close--exhausted is thy quiver.
        Vain is thy complex thought, thy grasp sublime;
        Nor whirlwind, plague, nor tyrant lasts for ever!
        Couldst thou not from the ground one blade dissever
        Of joyous herbage, save with butchering steel,
        Nor give one glory to the Eternal Giver?
        Couldst thou but wound that mightst so nobly heal?
      I see thy end begin--for Man thou didst not feel!


XLIV.

        And yet France loved thee--loved thy daring flight,
        Thy mighty genius--thy creative power;
        The soldier’s idol and the hind’s delight--
        For ’twas the people made thee like a tower
        That topt all Nations! In thy happier hour
        A glorious code thou gav’st. Thy sway was just
        To France--thy monuments a deathless dower.
        No luxury turned thy energies to rust.
      A Conqueror why become? why serve Ambition’s lust?


XLV.

        What are thy mightiest triumphs? Pages torn
        From bloodiest records. What thy phalanx armed?
        Assassins. Thy parade of Conquest? Shorn
        Of glare deceptive, plunder. Earth alarmed
        Saw the career, that dazzled it and charmed,
        Sunk in fell Tyranny. Thy potent rays,
        Melting all fetters, might have millions warmed
        With Freedom. Thou didst forge, to fiends’ amaze,
      New shackles for thy kind. Let Hell eclipse thy blaze!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO III.


This Canto describes the battles of Sauroren on the Pyrenees, with
the leading incidents in the minor combats of Buenza, Doña Maria,
Echallar and Ivantelly which followed. The first battle of Sauroren
took place on the 28th July, 1813, the fourth anniversary of the
battle of Talavera, and was remarkable for the extraordinary valour
displayed by the French under Soult, which, having obtained a
slight success at Buenza, they repeated with almost frantic efforts
at Echallar and Ivantelly on the 2nd August, their principal object
being to relieve San Sebastian. But in vain. Lord Wellington
described the first of these actions as “bludgeon work.” The loss
on both sides was very considerable; but it was here demonstrated
by our soldiers, in the words of Napier “that their opponents
however strongly posted could not stand before them.” The actions
will be found detailed in his History, book xxi. chap. 5.

The incident of the defence of the mountain top by flinging down
rocks, is taken from the previous combat, where it occurred as
described by Napier in the following words: “The British, shrunk in
numbers, also wanted ammunition, and a part of the eighty-second
under Major Fitzgerald was forced to roll down stones to defend the
rocks on which they were posted.” (_Hist. ibid._) The allusions to
Sisyphus and to Ajax will I trust be excused. It is difficult to
exaggerate such incidents. There was surely something Titanic in
the character of this Pyrenean warfare.

The Spanish regiment which gave way towards the end of the battle
(the poor soldiers were starved by their miserable commissariat)
was that of El Pravia, which was stationed on the left of the
fortieth, and the latter regiment justly styled by Napier the
“invincible” victoriously concluded the combat. “Four times this
assault was renewed, and the French officers were seen to pull up
their tired men by the belts, so fierce and resolute they were to
win. It was, however the labour of Sisyphus.” (Napier, _ibid._)
The cavalry engagement was maintained by our tenth and eighteenth
hussars. I occasionally detach my heroes, Nial and Morton, to other
infantry corps for poetic effect.

The terrible scene at the bridge of Yanzi is described by Captain
Cooke in his _Memoirs_ as follows:--“We overlooked the enemy at
stone’s throw, and from the summit of a tremendous precipice. The
river separated us, but the French were wedged in a narrow road
with inaccessible rocks on one side and the river on the other.
Confusion impossible to describe followed, the wounded were thrown
down in the rush and trampled upon, the cavalry drew their swords
and endeavoured to charge up the pass of Echallar, but the infantry
beat them back; and several, horses and all, were precipitated into
the river; some fired vertically at us, the wounded called out for
quarter, while others pointed to them supported as they were on
branches of trees, on which were suspended great coats clotted with
gore, and blood-stained sheets taken from different habitations to
aid the sufferers.”

The incident of extricating Wellington by the agency of Nial
and Morton from his imminent peril of falling into the hands of
the French is taken from the following passage at the end of
Napier’s description of the combat of Ivantelly: “Lord Wellington
narrowly escaped the enemy’s hands. He had carried with him
towards Echallar half a company of the forty-third as an escort,
and placed a sergeant named Blood with a party to watch in front
while he examined his maps. The French who were close at hand
sent a detachment to cut the party off; and such was the nature
of the ground that their troops, rushing on at speed, would
infallibly have fallen unawares upon Lord Wellington, if Blood, a
young intelligent man, seeing the danger, had not with surprising
activity, leaping rather than running down the precipitous rocks he
was posted on, given the general notice, and as it was the French
arrived in time to send a volley of shot after him as he galloped
away.” (_Hist._ book xxi. c. 5.)

The prodigies accomplished by our Peninsular veterans, of which
this and the preceding Canto fall short in the narration, need
little attestation. But here is the testimony of one of Napoléon’s
Generals:--“Bien que leurs corps soient robustes, leurs ames
énergiques, et leurs esprits industrieux,” &c. (Foy, _Hist.
Guerre. Pénins._ liv. ii.) “Le Prince-Noir et Talbot étaient nés
dans Albion. Marlborough et ses douze mille soldats n’avaient pas
été les moins redoutables ennemis de Louis XIV. * * Nos soldats
revenus d’Egypte disaient à leurs camarades la valeur indomptée
des Anglais. Il n’etait pas besoin d’une réflexion profonde pour
déviner que l’ambition, la capacité, et le courage sont bons à
autre chose qu’à être embarqués sur des vaisseaux.” (_Ibid._) “Leur
humeur inquiète et voyageuse les rend propres á la vie errante
des guerriers, et ils possèdent une qualité, la plus précieuse
de toutes sur les champs de bataille, le calme dans la colère.
* * Telle est la puissance Anglaise. C’est Bonaparte en action,
mais Bonaparte toujours jeune et toujours vigoureux, Bonaparte
persévérant dans sa passion, Bonaparte immortel.” (_Ibid._) “Le
soldat Anglais ... son corps est robuste. Son ame est vigoureuse,
parceque son père lui a dit et ses chefs lui répétent sans cesse
que les enfants de la vieille Angleterre, abreuvés de _porter_ et
rassasiés de bœuf roti, valent chacun pour le moins trois individus
de ces races pygmées qui végètent sur le continent d’Europe. * *
Il marche en avant. Dans l’action, il ne regarde pas à droite ni à
gauche.” (_Ibid._)

The brilliancy of our cavalry service is equally acknowledged,
though French military writers strive sometimes to mock it, very
ineffectually, as in the following example; “Dans la retraite
de la Corogne, les corps de cavalerie faisaient halte; le chef
commandait: _Pied à terre; prenez vos pistolets_; et à un troisième
commandement, chaque cavalier brûlait la cervelle à son cheval en
un temps et deux mouvements.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre. Pénins._ liv.
ii.)

In illustration of the character of Napoléon, of which I have
attempted some analysis in this Canto, I have drawn together a few
striking passages from the most eminent military writers of England
and France, Napier and Foy:--

“That greatest of all masters of the art of war.” (Napier, _Hist.
War in the Penins._ book xxiv. chap. 6.) “In following up a victory
the English general fell short of the French emperor. The battle of
Wellington was the stroke of a battering ram, down went the wall in
ruins. The battle of Napoléon was the swell and dash of a mighty
wave, before which the barrier yielded and the roaring flood poured
onwards covering all.” (_Ibid._) “That successful improvisation in
which Napoléon seems to have surpassed all mankind.” (_Ibid._)

“Vaincre et trouver des instruments de victoire était le travail
de sa vie.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre. Pénins._ liv. i. _Caractère de
Napoléon._)

“Jamais esprit plus profondément meditatif ne fut plus fécond en
illuminations rapides et soudaines.” (_Ibid._)

“Toujours prêt à combattre, habituellement il choisissait
l’occasion et le terrain. Il a donné quarante batailles pour huit
ou dix qu’il a reçues.” (_Ibid._)

“Napoléon’s system of war was admirably adapted to draw forth and
augment the military excellence and to strengthen the weakness of
the national character. His discipline, severe but appealing to the
feelings of hope and honour, wrought the quick temperament of the
French soldiers to patience under hardship, and strong endurance
under fire. * * He thus made his troops, not invincible indeed,
nature had put a bar to that in the character of the British
soldier, but so terrible and sure in war that the number and
greatness of their exploits surpassed those of all other nations.”
(Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._ book xxiv. chap. 6.)

“Ce n’est pas avec les règles de Montécuculli et de Turenne
manœuvrant sur la Renchen qu’il faut juger de telles entreprises.
Les uns guerroyaient pour avoir tel ou tel quartier d’hiver;
l’autre, pour conquérir le monde. Il lui fallait souvent non pas
seulement gagner une bataille, mats la gagner de telle façon
qu’elle épouvantât l’Europe et amenât des résultats gigantesques.
Ainsi les vues politiques intervenaient sans cesse dans le génie
stratégique. * * Quelque habile qu’on soit, il y a presque toujours
dans ce jeu terrible des risques proportionnés à la grandeur des
profits. Le succès est devenu plus chanceux. Les armées étaient
plus nombreuses. Ses ennemis, à son exemple, ont eu aussi des
masses. * * La machine n’était plus maniable; il a été écrasé.”
(Foy, liv. i.)

Napoléon’s was a game of double or quits played with the hardihood
of a determined gambler. The value of the stakes became multiplied
with alarming rapidity, as in the arithmetical problem of the
horse-shoe-nails. All the military population and resources of the
empire became involved in the chances of the die, and he lost the
last throw.

General Foy narrates the following anecdote. He was probably
himself the interlocutor: “Dans la campagne de France, aux premiers
mois de 1814, Napoléon parlait à Troyes en Champagne, avec un de
ses généraux, de l’état des choses. ‘Les ennemis, disait celui-ci,
sont trop nombreux; il faut que la France se lève’--‘Eh! comment
voulez-vous que la France se lève, interrompit avec vivacité
Napoléon; il n’y a pas de noblesse, _et j’ai tué la liberté!_’”

Of the love which the French people bore to Napoléon, let his
march to Cannes be a witness, where the inhabitants, as he passed,
surrounded him in hundreds of thousands with unmistakeable
demonstrations of blind enthusiasm and delight. Not even the
terrible conscription could rase his impression from their hearts.
The general equity of his internal administration, the exact system
of his public accounts, the effectual discharge of duty which he
required of the state servants, the abolition of idle privileged
classes, and the cessation of fraud in the management of the
revenue or its punishment when detected, caused the people to
love him as they everywhere love justice. Napoléon, with all his
other splendid faculties, was a skilful financier; he was opposed
to public loans, and left no debt. He had no private views, and
his active energies were unimpaired in his vassals’ service. The
utility of his public works was commensurate with their grandeur,
providing at once employment for the poor and embellishment for the
country. His Code was a monument of legislative wisdom, and his
Cadastre an invaluable equalizer and register of taxation and the
liabilities of property. But withal he was a detestable tyrant.


  II.      “Such stone immense as feigned Æolides
            In Orcus tortured flung.”

The epithet “feigned” is imitated from Milton’s treatment of
similar subjects. But Milton was not at all uniform in his
treatment; and therefore having paid this tribute to the truth of
Christianity and entered by this word my protest against the fables
of Polytheism, I do not think it necessary, any more than Milton
did, to be perpetually marring poetical effects by intimating
that comparisons are derived from fictitious subjects. Thus in
the finest book of _Paradise Lost_, the second, all the Greek and
Roman fables are introduced with excellent effect, and without any
intimation that they are apocryphal. Thus

      Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate, &c.
                          _P.L._ ii. 577.

      Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
      The ford.
                          _Ib._ ii. 611.

                    ----The water flies
      All taste of living wight, as once it fled
      The lip of Tantalus.
                          _Ib._ ii. 612.

      A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked
      With wide Cerberean mouths.
                          _Ib._ ii. 654.

  “It rolleth bounding with gigantic ease.”

      Καὶ μὴν Σίσυφον εἰσεῖδον, κρατέρ’ ἄλγε’ ἔχοντα,
      Λᾶαν βαστάζοντα πελώριον ἀμφοτέρῃσιν·
      Ἦτοι ὁ μὲν, σκηριπτόμενος χερσὶν τε ποσὶν τε. κ. τ. λ.
                          Hom. _Od._ xi. 592.

The fine dactylic verse which follows, and which Dionysius of
Halicarnassus so highly commends, is wonderfully descriptive of the
bounding of a huge stone down a mountain:--

      Αὖτις ἔπειτα πέδονδε κυλίνδετο λᾶας ἀναιδὴς.
                          Hom. _Od._ xi. 598.

Notwithstanding the numerous and highly celebrated attempts of Pope
and Dryden at onomatopœiac effects in English iambic lines, I think
Thomson has surpassed them both in the following line from what
Byron justly pronounces one of the very finest poems in the English
language:--

      “Down thunders back the stone with mighty sweep!”
                          _Castle of Indolence_, cant. i.


  III.      “Full many a rock’s Aiantine volume rolled.”

      Δεῦτερος αὖτ’ Αἴας πολύ μείζονα λᾶαν ἀείρας.
                          Hom. _Il._ vii. 268.

  “Their powerful hands this rude artillery hold.”

      Others with vast Typhœan rage more fell
      Rend up both rocks and hills.
                          --Milt. _Par. Lost._ ii. 539.

Typhœus was one of the Titans who warred against Heaven.


  VII.      “And charging through the valley shakes the field
               With thunderous gallop.”

      Debaixo dos pés duros dos ardentes
      Cavallos treme a terra, as valles soam.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 31.


  VIII.       “Our fiery squadrons. * *
        They bathe their swords in blood at every bound.”

      Wolauf, ihr kecken streiter!
      Wolauf, ihr deutschen reiter!
        Wird euch das herz nicht warm?
        Nehmt’s liebchen in den arm--
                              Hurrah!
                          Körner, _Schwertlied_.

      Well up, ye fearless fighters!
      Well-up, ye Saxon riders!
        Oh, grows not each heart warm,
        The loved one on his arm?
                               Hurrah!


  IX.      “Oh, generous, strong, and fleet are England’s steeds.”

      ὕμνον ὀρθώσας, ἀκαμαντοπόδων
      ἵππων ἄωτον.
                          Pind. _Olymp._ iii.

“I will hymn the praise of the flower of foot-weariless horses.”


  XX.      --“On each towering height
         Seemed demons sprung with torches from their den.”

                      --Auf den mondschein folgen trüber,
      Dämm’rung schatten; wüstenthiere jagen aufgeschreckt vorüber.
      Schnaubend bäumen sich die pferde; unser führer greift zur fahne;
      Sie entsinkt ihm, und er murmelt: “Herr, die Geisterkaravane!”
                          _Freiligrath._

“After the moonshine follow the dark twilight-shades; the wild
animals fly past affrighted, the horses rear up snorting; our
leader clutches at the standard--it sinks from him, and he murmurs:
‘Lord, the ghostly-caravan!’”


  XXI.      “Refreshment needful cheered their bivouac.”

      Poichè de’ cibi il natural amore
      Fú in lor ripresso e l’importuna sete.
                          Tasso, _Gerus. Lib._ xi. 17.


  XXII.      “But thickest mist doth fall, and leave our men at fault.”

(Combat of Dona Maria.) “A thick fog prevented further pursuit, and
the loss of the French in the action is unknown.”
                          Napier, _Hist._ book xxi. c. 5.


  XXIII. “Thus Menelaüs, while his brazen spear, &c.”

      Αὐτὰρ ὁ ἂψ ἐπόρουσε κατακτάμεναι μενεαίνων
      Ἔγχεϊ χαλκείῳ· τὸν δ’ ἐξήρπαξ’ Ἀφροδίτη
      Ῥεῖα μὰλ’, ὥστε θεός· ἐκάλυψε δ’ ἄρ’ ἠέρι πολλῇ·
                          Hom. _Il._ iii. 379.

I trust it will not be deemed irreverent to observe, by way of
anticipative answer to any critic who in his wisdom may condemn
this Homeric allusion, that, as the _Deus ex machinâ_ is not
mine, I do not stand sponsor for Venus, and that the notion of a
Frenchman in a fog quite naturally suggested _Paris_.


  XXVI.      “Clambering Santa Cruz’s torrid steep.”

      --Gravis exustos æstus hiulcat agros.
                          Catul. lxvi.


  XXXVI.               ----“Friendship’s generous feud!
              Where each desired that each the prize should hoard.”

      Ὦ λῆμ’ ἄριστον, ὡς ἀπ’ εὐγενοῦς τινος
      Ῥίζης πέφυκας, τοῖς φίλοις τ’ ὀρθῶς φίλος.
                          Eurip. _Iph. in Taur._ 609.

“Oh, excellent mind, from some noble root thou art sprung, for thou
art truly a friend to thy friend!”

  “Great Arthur gave each noble youth a sword.”

The Duke of Wellington presented his sword to Sir Henry (now Lord)
Hardinge after the Battle of Waterloo.


  XXXVIII.      “And next to Heaven he loved his native land.
                 With Blanca there to fly when Spain was free,” &c.

Mas el amor de la mujer y de la patria, pues como dicen: _de dó
eres, hombre?_ tiraron por mi.--Mendoza, _Lazarillo de Tormes_.


  XLI.      “Thy course for bale that might have been for bliss.”

      Then were I brought from bale to blisse,
        No lenger wold I lye.
                          Romance of “Sir Cauline.”

      For now this day thou art my bale.
                          Romance of “Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne.”

      Jhesue Christ our balys bete
      And to the blys us brynge!
                          The original “Chevy Chase.”

The origin of the words “bliss” and “bless” is identical.


  XLIII.      “Scourge of the nations! thy appointed time
               Is near its close--exhausted is thy quiver.”

The certainty of the doom that awaits unjust violence is finely
expressed by Pindar:--

      Βία δὲ καὶ μεγάλαυχον ἔσφα-
      λεν ἐν χρόνῳ. Τυφὼς Κίλιξ ἑκατόγκρα-
      νος οὔ μιν ἄλυξεν,
      ὀυδὲ μὰν βασιλεὺς Γιγάντων.
      Δμᾶθεν δὲ κεραυνῷ,
      τόξοισί τ’ ἀπόλλωνος.
                          _Pyth._ viii.

“But Violence mineth the proud in time. Cilician Typhos with his
hundred heads escaped not its effects, nor the King of the Giants
himself. They were slain by the thunder (of Jove) and the shafts of
Apollo!” The “King of the Giants” is Porphyrion, who carried off the
herd of Hercules, and appears to have originated the plan to scale
Olympus. Typhos is better known by the names Typhon and Typhœus.
Pindar is perpetually alluding to the combats of the Titans, and
they impart a matchless sublimity to his poetry, which in this
quality surpasses Homer.



IBERIA WON.

Canto IV.


I.

        There is one earthly Love, and one alone,
        Which free from penalty all, all may share;
        A passion pure, sublime, of loftiest tone,
        In whose proud service Man may blameless dare
        All that the heart inspires which scorns to wear
        A chain--’tis Love of Country! This the power
        That levels all distinctions--’midst despair
        Upraising prostrate nations to a tower,--
      The flame that kindles men to Gods in peril’s hour!


II.

        Who’s noble? He that bears a scutcheon? He
        Whose lineage can be traced to mailéd Knights,
        That with the Bastard came from Normandy?
        He that in lacqueys and in hounds delights?
        Whose fathers jousted in Plantagenet fights?--
        Have not all battled with the roaring Flood?
        Noble is he who honours, Man, thy rights,
        Sustains thy dignity, is truthful, good;
      Kings have I known more base than bondsman e’er hath stood!


III.

        Hath not the humblest hands, eyes, feeling, thought
        Like your’s, strength, weakness, tears and laughter’s dower?
        The bruted serf hath Poland’s serfdom wrought;
        For when to strike for Freedom comes the hour,
        He strikes his lords! At home let Tyrants cower
        In field, or factory, mountain, mine, or glen.
        Where’er the weak are crushed by ruffian power,
        Where’er the poor are slighted, where the pen
      Can reach Oppression, there shall pierce the rights of Men!


IV.

        And Labour shall have Justice. Peasant arms,
        The implements of peace or war that wield,
        Shall not, of Fame defrauded and its charms,
        Of Right be too defrauded and the shield
        Of Liberty! In ploughed or battle field,
        His hire shall be the guerdon, not the mite
        Flung by proud scorn! His wrongs shall yet be healed.
        Who Badajoz, Ciudád, Sebastian’s height
      Could scale shall have his share of glory and of right!


V.

        What were thy mural crowns, bellipotent Rome,
        Thy gold-beat turrets for the daring head,
        Thy vallar circlets given for mounted dome
        And rampart, wreaths obsidional that shed
        Their grass-green light than gold more coveted?
        What thy triumphal bays for glory’s brow,
        Thy oval myrtle where no Roman bled,
        Thy civic garland of the oaken bough?
      Their sound one City filled--the World beholds us now!


VI.

        Not Spain, not Spain doth tamely bear the yoke,
        Her sturdy peasants the Guerrillas swell,
        And, see, where gather ’neath Guerníca’s oak
        Her passionate sons to list the tuneful shell
        Which ’neath its shade a maiden strikes so well.
        One hand alone the loud guitarra wakes
        So potently: ’tis Blanca gives the spell!
        Through every pause the Basque pandéro breaks,
      And Blanca thus i’ th’ crowd each nerve and fibre shakes:--


VII.

        “Biscayan bondsmen!--for ’tis bonds ye wear,
        While stalks the proud invader o’er your soil;
        Methinks, ’tis said Cantabrian blood ye share,
        Methinks, ’tis said that vain was Roman toil
        To bend your stubborn hearts within its coil!
        But this, forsooth, was thousand years ago.
        Were your’s Cantabrian blood, ’twould surely boil,
        To see Cantabria’s glory laid so low.
      Why yes, the Frenchman, sure, excels the Roman foe!


VIII.

        “Biscayan bondsmen! patience is your cure
        For all their slights and scoffs--by Heaven’s behest.
        Lives there a bustard on your hills to endure
        A foreign vulture in its cuckoo nest?
        Perchance your nests are warmer--ye know best!
        Not bustards dwell upon each mountain peak,
        But royal eagles none may dare molest,
        For piercing are their talons, sharp their beak--
      ’Tis Biscay’s men alone are pliable and meek!


IX.

        “’Tis said and sung--but History doubtless lies--
        That great Fernando here and Isabel,
        Beneath this aged oak, these mountain skies,
        Swore to maintain Biscaya’s rights full well.
        ’Tis said that those who lived where now ye dwell--
        I did not say your fathers--with their swords
        Won and preserved their fuéros from the fell
        Assaults of native tyrants--idle words!
      Ye know the fuéros melt i’ th’ breath of foreign lords.


X.

        “’Tis said Biscaya’s lawgivers of old
        Beneath this venerable Druid shade,
        Ancestral lord, and priest, and peasant bold,
        Met in due time and firmest fuéros made.
        ’Tis said--but chronicling’s a lying trade--
        That hearts of oak beneath this oak did meet
        To guard the old Basque freedom. Undecayed
        The oak is still, and hark what voices sweet,
      As from Dodona’s, bid the Basque his deeds repeat!


XI.

        “’Tis said this Spanish soil once men did rear,
        Whom Rome and Carthage trembled to oppose.
        Sagunthus, and Numance, and Bilbil here
        Terrific bulwarks in their pathway rose,
        Ere yielding crushed by self-destroying blows!
        ’Tis said Viriatus the Guerrilla storm
        Poured from the mountains first ’gainst Roman foes,
        And Sylla and Pompey smote Sertorius warm,
      Till treachery triumphed. Gaul’s complacent slaves _ye_ form!


XII.

        “’Tis said Bernardo with resistless lance
        At Roncesvalles Roland’s prowess crushed,
        When Carlomain for this same haughty France
        Claimed Leon’s crown, and down Pyrene rushed.
        There Roland’s blood with many a Peer’s, too, gushed!
        ’Tis said that more than this e’en Spaniards did,
        When bold Ruy Diaz on Bavieca, flushed
        With victory, led the Oca hills amid
      Five Moorish Kings who long paid tribute to the Cid!


XIII.

        “I see the warrior-boy on gallant steed
        Spur to the battle proudly o’er the plain,
        His eye resolved to make the Moslem bleed,--
        His bounding bosom scorns to wear a chain!
        His lance in rest, his armour without stain,
        He panteth for the mêlée hand to hand;
        Enough his guerdon that he strikes for Spain.
        Wo to the hostile ranks that dare to stand
      Before that fiery Chief’s dread lance and lightning brand!


XIV.

        “Such Spaniards were--in days long past away--
        Who drove the Invader forth, nor asked for aid.
        I need not speak what Spaniards are to-day.
        Oh, let not Britons thus the Basque o’ershade.
        At least be drawn Bilbáo’s trusty blade!”--
        Flushed many a cheek, “_Las armas!_” was the cry.
        With hasty-buckled swords the high-souled maid,
        And firelocks true, soon saw them gathering nigh,
      And ’neath the sacred oak flashed many a warlike eye:


The Gathering.

          “These be my countrymen (she said);
          Spain, thy spirit is not dead!
          When the kite shall grasp the thunder,
          France shall bring thy spirit under;
          When upheaved is Roncesvalles,
          France shall hold Alphonso’s palace.
          When forgotten is Pavía,
            When unwrit her annals all,
          Then shall Spain consent to be a
                Province for the Gaul!
                  Hoist the standard
                    Of Hesperia;
                  Ne’er hath pandered
                    Celtiberia!
                  Greatly dare,
                  Till free as air;
                  Firm as rock,
                  Withstand the shock!
        Now when babes untimely perish,
          Like old Basques strew pure white roses;
        Freedom’s flame now, now ye cherish--
          ’Tis no infant slave reposes!
                The pride of arms,
                And Freedom’s charms,
                Have spurred each soul
                For Glory’s goal;
      My countrymen, to-day ye make your sister proud.
                  The Invader may come;
                  Hark, hark to his drum,
        And the hoofs of his chargers clattering loud!
                  See, see where the dust,
                  Like a storm-gathered gust,
                  Rolls over the plain,
                  As he gallops amain;
      Now stand, brothers brave, and be true to your trust!
          When upheaved is Roncesvalles,
            When the kite shall grasp the thunder,
          France shall hold Alphonso’s palace,
            France shall bring thy spirit under!
              When dishonours Vascongada
              Fernan’s triumph at Granada,
              When forgotten is Pavía,
                When unwrit her annals all,
              Then shall Spain consent to be a
                Province for the Gaul!


XV.

        On came the French light horse--a forage troop--
        And dashed impetuous to the ancient square,
        Deeming to spoil the town with vulture swoop,
        But Blanca’s voice had been before them there!
        Beneath the oak the patriot phalanx fair
        With volley close receives the deadly shock.
        Though trodden down, none yields him to despair,
        But light-armed footmen horse and rider mock.
      France oft the charge renews; Biscaya stands--a rock!


XVI.

        Fiercest amongst the hussars rode Jules, whose friend
        Blanca erewhile had with his carbine smote;
        He spied her ’neath the oak, and burnt to end
        The maid who foiled him in her lightsome boat.
        But by her side there stands a youth of note--
        Don Carlos named--her father too is nigh.
        Stout they received him Carlos--at his throat
        Sprang with good sword; and fiery sparkles fly
      From blades with master-hand they both wield manfully.


XVII.

        But Blanca’s sire with dexterous weapon cut
        The Frenchman’s rein, and pricked his foaming steed.
        Unchecked, the charger instant wheeled about,
        And from the battle fled at utmost speed,
        The bridle Jules deserting in his need.
        Shouted the enraged hussar, and spurred, and cursed,
        But faster flew the horse from guidance freed.
        The troop soon followed--of the fray the worst
      Was theirs--and from the Basques the cheer of victory burst.


XVIII.

        No tongue may tell the transport of delight,
        That hailed this triumph of their patriot arms.
        A troop from fair Guerníca marched ere night
        For San Sebastian, amid War’s alarms
        To prove the spirit which the Vascon warms.
        And Blanca and her blithe barqueras rowed
        Once more to aid the siege with Hebe charms,
        While Carlos to whose arm she safety owed
      Her shallop bore to San Sebastian, his abode:--


XIX.

        “Now thus,” she said, “to Isidora speak,--
        Though noblest maid, my foster-sister dear--
        Tell her my tongue to express my love is weak,
        And this memorial wet with many a tear.
        For dire to think how oft I am so near,
        But she within and I without the wall
        Beleaguered;--you, Don Carlos, need not fear
        To enter seaward, but the haughty Gaul
      ’Gainst Basque barquera soon would hurl the vengeful ball.”


XX.

        Then from her beauteous breast the maid drew forth
        A silken banneret of pigmy size,
        Yet truly figuring--thence was all its worth--
        The standard proud of Spain, whose castles rise
        With lions rampant to the gazer’s eyes.
        And in the centre, broidered all blood-red
        Showed the French eagle--arrow-pierced he lies,
        Gasping in death, the plumes rent from his head:
      “Give this to Isidor,” at parting, “this,” she said.


XXI.

        Dark was the night--the horizon pitchy black,
        As Carlos with the pass-word reached the town,
        And joyous strolled, while War’s dread fire was slack,
        With lovely Isidor the rampart down.
        More deep ’neath starry pall ne’er fell Night’s frown,
        Nor sank repose on Nature and on man.
        But hark the rattling musketry, see crown
        Each sharp discharge its flash--ere death brief span.
      Homeward, poor maiden lorn, sweet Isidora ran!


XXII.

        ’Twas gallant Rey, who made a night-sortie--
        Last effort tried ere come the dire assault.
        Our piquets on the Isthmus slaughtered see,
        Ta’en by surprise or ere they can cry Halt!
        Loud rose the Frenchmen’s _En avant!_ At fault,
        Our sentries for a time unaided bleed,
        The deadly death-tubes rending the black vault;
        But soon a furious contest raged indeed--
      Our startled piquets rush, their firelocks flash with speed.


XXIII.

        Yet onward the French column densely moved,
        Our careful hewn intrenchments filling fast.
        Down went banquette and parapet; and proved
        Fascine and gabion feeble in the blast.
        Soon, as o’er level ground, the trench they passed
        While fierce artillery from the rampart roared.
        Incessant flashes momentary cast
        Made tenfold darkness when their stream was poured,
      And shells in beauteous curves of light through æther soared.


XXIV.

        But saw great Arthur from the Chofre hills,
        And while Graham hurled against the rampart’s height
        A fierce reply which all the welkin fills,
        Sent our bold columns rapid to the fight.
        Morton with joy, and Nial with delight,
        The summons heard, and dashing with their men
        Plunged through the fitful blazing gloom of night.
        Hot was the fire of skirmishers, which then
      Maintained on either side bewildered Lyncean ken.


XXV.

        For soon so mixed amid the pitchy gloom
        Were friend and foe, save when the cannon flashed
        To send grim death rimbombing from its womb,
        That friend smote friend, and indiscriminate dashed
        They on, by that dread peril unabashed.
        Hundreds were in the trenches headlong flung,
        And bayonets high o’er head and under clashed.
        So desperate to their ground the assailants clung,
      It seemed as Victory long i’ th’ balance doubtful hung.


XXVI.

        And, lo, where ’mid the carnage dire and wide,
        Rise rapid fireballs from the citadel,
        Whose lurid glare is, sure, to Hell allied,
        With strong blue light the darkness to dispel;
        And some on the fascines around them fell,
        Which fiercely burnt, diffusing terror new
        For but an instant. Each his foe can tell,
        And musketry now blazes full in view,
      Till heaps of corses soon both mound and trenches strew.


XXVII.

        By that dread blaze upon the topmost height
        A young French chieftain coped with Morton’s sword;
        Their clashing blades upon the brow of night
        Threw clustering sparkles swift as Brontes poured
        ’Gainst Steropes whilst Ætna’s forges roared;
        And round and round they leapt to every stroke,
        And with good will each point of fence explored.
        But Morton’s firmer hand his guard soon broke;
      The Gaulish chief disarmed the word “Surrender” spoke.


XXVIII.

        And Nial coped with yet a hardier chief,
        Whose practised valour and whose sinewy arm
        Gave little hope, I ween, of victory brief,
        Yet joy inspired to Nial, not alarm.
        Terrific was their sword play, like the charm
        Of deadly basilisk to lure the eye;
        And many a pass was parried without harm,
        And many a sweep and many a thrust put by,
      Till Nial’s foe at last i’ th’ trench doth silent lie.


XXIX.

        The Gaulish column while the deed dismayed,
        New daring to the British line it gave.
        Their rattling musketry more vigorous played,
        And clouds of smoke arose with curling wave
        O’erarching all the arena of the brave.
        Nor yet the fireballs ceased to light the war,
        Nor yet the grape to fall where none could save
        Or life or limb, nor yet to roar from far
      The cannon dire and bombs that burst through every bar.


XXX.

        And ’mid this jar confused of noises dire,
        And shouts of living soldiers fierce and fell,
        The piercing shrieks of wounded men rose higher
        Through groans of dying strewn by shot and shell;
        And of the fire balls from the citadel
        Some lit amongst the helpless wounded, bringing
        New pangs where agony too much doth dwell.
        See crawling through the blaze, or nervous springing,
      The maimed from where blue fire its lurid glare is flinging!


XXXI.

        But faint before the valour of our men
        Grew Gaulish daring, though they bravely fought;
        And when they showed irresolute, ’twas then
        Our Britons to the charge the bayonet brought.
        With shout appalling in their souls they wrought
        Such fear as aided well our glancing steel
        And firm advance. In flight they safety sought,
        Yet less in terror’s coil, than vain to feel
      The assault that hath prepared with Britain’s sons to deal.


XXXII.

        Now free once more our deep intrenchments stood,
        Save of the heaps of slain and battle’s track,
        And many a broken blade and pool of blood,
        Which by to-morrow’s dawn shall find no lack
        Of zeal to clear, and bring to smoothness back.
        The dead shall find a soldier’s simple grave,
        The wounded healing care though pain should rack,
        With Fame’s requital; and where past the wave
      Of War, each trench renewed again shall shield the brave.


XXXIII.

        Within the town the lovely Isidor
        Shuddered with fear at every cannon’s boom.
        As fell upon her ear the horrid roar,
        She deemed it sounded like the crack of doom,
        And on her knees within her furthest room
        Before an image of the Virgin prayed
        That Heaven might turn their hearts, and Pity’s womb
        Bring forth Pacification--sore afraid
      To see man slaughter man in God’s own image made.


XXXIV.

        But Blanca in the sound and sight rejoiced,
        Which ever told of liberty to Spain,
        And soon she hoped to see the standard hoist
        Sublime on San Sebastian’s towers again--
        The rampant lions spurning Gallic chain!
        And as the shells arose, the fireballs flew,
        She rowed along the bosom of the main
        Beneath the wall, as danger she would woo,
      Yet shuddered too at times--for Morton there she knew.


XXXV.

        Oh, marvellous variety of minds!
        Oh, Nature’s handiwork of subtile shades!
        From the same breast the stream to life that binds
        In foster-sisterhood drew both these maids.
        Yet one with gentlest bosom shrinks and fades
        Before the peril which doth rouse the other;
        One sickens, one rejoys at clashing blades.
        Ah, Blanca, Blanca, learn that joy to smother,
      For steel doth smite e’en now who loves thee like a mother!


XXXVI.

        Still darkness palled the earth, when round the home
        Of Blanca’s father, near Zumaya’s green,
        The French hussars who fled Guerníca from,
        Arrayed in treacherous descent were seen;
        For Jules thus thought to wreak his vengeful spleen
        At once upon the maiden and her sire.
        His comrades called him Jules _L’Enfer_--I ween,
        Befitting name. More daring or more dire
      In the French host was none, or rife with demon fire.


XXXVII.

        The vine-clad porch, where Jules erewhile had seized
        Fair Blanca while his comrade Ana prest,
        Was entered soon--the stubborn door, well pleased,
        They battered with their carbines piecemeal--blest
        Effects of War, that turns the human breast
        To tiger fierceness! Pablo leapt from bed,
        Where soon disturbed his lonely widowed rest.
        The hussars rushed in by pale light faintly shed
      From dim night-taper, when thus Jules ferocious said:--


XXXVIII.

        “Where be thy daughters--yield them to our arms,
        “This instant yield them--buxom maids be they;
        “Buxom and fierce--the soldier’s spiciest charms
        “In woman. _L’Espingarda_ fires, I say,
        “With aim that like a tirailleur’s can slay.
        “’Twas with my carbine she my comrade smote.
        “Now will I rifle her--she’ll now obey
        “My wishes, while I grasp her soft, white throat.
      “_Dame!_ a French bastard soon her tapering waist shall bloat!”


XXXIX.

        Terrific Pablo’s triumph as he cried:--
        “No, ruffians, no; thank Heaven, they are not your’s,
        “My daughters! ’Tis God’s hand, to crush your pride,
        “To San Sebastian hath removed the lures
        “That brought ye hither, worse than Godless Moors!”
        “Ha, say you so?” quoth Jules, “_pardieu_, ’tis he,
        “The same who ’neath the oak, ’mongst Vascon boors,
        “My bridle cut and made my steed to flee.
      “Dog! with those eyes to do the like no more thou’lt see!”


XL.

        Then on the bed he prest the old man down;
        With sinewy knee upon his breast he lies,
        His struggles stifling with terrific frown,
        And with his sword-point blinded both his eyes!
        Dire were the wounds he made, and crimson flies
        The warm blood forth, yet save some groans of pain,
        Which spoke poor Pablo’s natural agonies,
        Nor shriek nor cry drew forth this deed of Cain,
      For Blanca’s sire no weak faintheartedness could stain!


XLI.

        Then bound the villain both his hands and feet,
        And while its master helpless nought did say,
        Ransacked the house for all of wine or meat,
        Or forage that within its precincts lay,
        And thus caroused till near the break of day,
        When all with wine o’ercome the troopers flung
        Their lengths upon the floor at dawning grey,
        As weary Bacchants with whose orgies rung
      Ismenian heights at morn reposed with lolling tongue.


XLII.

        Long Pablo heard their movements with disgust,
        Till silence broke but by repletion’s snore
        Convinced the sightless man that Heaven is just,
        And with excitement fierce his bonds he tore.
        Trembling with rage, he stood upon the floor
        An instant, then drew forth a dagger keen,
        And groped his blind way through the chamber-door.
        From sleeping form to form he passed, I ween
      With preternatural touch as true as each were seen!


XLIII.

        Jules he hath found! A scar upon his face
        The trooper gives to his revenge at last.
        With gentlest finger he the seam doth trace
        Along his cheek, till doubt to surety past.
        A ghastly smile then Pablo’s features cast,
        All grim and gory ’neath his butchered eyes!
        His finger’s point to where the heart beat fast
        Unerring moved--supine the monster lies--
      Beneath blind Pablo’s blade heart-pierced he instant dies!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO IV.


The gathering under the oak of Guernica, the onset of the French
light horse, and the resistance of the peasantry, described in this
Canto, are incidents which, although imagined, are characteristic
of this heroic struggle at various periods. The part here played
by Blanca was not uncommon during the Peninsular War, enthusiast
emissaries having made their appearance in various quarters,
preaching the crusade against the French. They literally preached,
or harangued the people in public places. I met an Englishman
in the Peninsula who had figured in that capacity. Women, too,
undertook the same service, which amongst an excitable Southern
people was found to be most potential. The appearance of the fair
sex in this character was chiefly after the siege of Zaragoza,
when the renown won by Manuela Sanchez caused heroines to spring
up in several places, who wore for the most part a half-military
attire. Blanca’s use of the guitar is strictly in character, for
the talent of the _improvvisatore_ is pretty general in Spain,
the language readily adapting itself to extemporaneous recitation
in verse, and the ardent temperament of the nation favouring a
rapid exercise of the imagination. The Basque drum or _pandero_,
and the _gaita_ or bagpipe, belong to this district. The Oak of
Guernica, beneath which I make Blanca rhapsodize, was one of the
most venerable natural monuments in Spain. Here the Biscayan
legislators, hidalgos and peasants, periodically assembled, and
here Ferdinand and Isabella in 1476 swore to maintain the _fueros_,
or ancient rights and privileges of the people. Wordsworth has a
sonnet on the subject; but unhappily his “tree of holier power” was
cut down by the French. An oak sapling was, however, planted under
the protection of the English army to replace it.

The idea of the night-sortie in this canto is taken from the
following passage in Napier:--“In the night of the 27th, about 3
o’clock, the French sallied against the new battery on the isthmus;
but as Col. Cameron of the ninth regiment met them on the very
edge of the trenches with the bayonet, the attempt failed, yet it
delayed the arming of the battery.” (_Hist. War in the Penins._
xxii. 1.) I have made honourable mention of Cameron’s achievement
in my first canto, but without specifying that the sortie took
place by night. The attack in the real incident was so speedily
repelled that it afforded no room for poetical description. I have
therefore worked up separately here the idea of a sortie with the
numerous picturesque additions incident to its occurrence by night,
and have taken some of these incidents from the sortie which took
place from Bayonne, then invested by Sir John Hope, on the night of
the 13th April 1814--three days after the Battle of Toulouse--being
therefore the last event of the Peninsular War, in which Sir John
Hope was made prisoner, and great loss of life occurred owing
to the French governor’s incredulity as to the abdication of
Napoléon. It is described in Napier’s last chapter but one, and
still more minutely in Capt. Batty’s _Campaign of the Left Wing
of the Allied Army_, &c. Though Sir Thomas Graham was intrusted
with the conduct of the siege of San Sebastian, and though at the
period of the assault Wellington was engaged with the allies, as
described in a succeeding canto, at some distance from the town, I
am warranted in making him superintend the defence of this sortie,
he having visited the works frequently during their progress, and
having actually visited them on the day (the 28th August) on which
this sortie took place. The present is almost the only instance
throughout the poem, where there is exaggeration of the actual
amount of fighting and its consequences.

The French in desolating the fields of Spain, and sweeping off
their sheep and cattle by thousands, professed that they did it
for the people’s good, treating them, doubtless, as Sir Thomas
More makes the Utopians treat their useless members in his Happy
Republic: “Wrought on by these persuasions, they do either starve
themselves of their own accord, or they take opium, and so they
die without pain.” (_Utopia_, book ii.) According to Hobbes’s
philosophy, this could be doing them no injury, “for he who
consents to any thing, cannot consider himself injured.” (_De
Cive._ 1. i. c. iii.) This voluntarily inflicted suicide Bishop
Burnet in his preface more justly characterises as “a rough
and fierce philosophy.” Still fiercer was the “philosophy” of
Republican France.


  V.      “What were thy mural crowns, bellipotent Rome?”

The _corona muralis_ was a crown of gold, bearing some resemblance
to an ancient wall with turrets, given to him who first scaled
the walls of a city in an assault. The _corona castrensis_ sive
_vallaris_ was a crown given to the soldier who first mounted a
rampart, or invaded the enemy’s camp. The _corona obsidionalis_
(Livy) was a crown composed of the grass which grew in a besieged
place, and presented to the general who raised a siege. This was
deemed one of the highest military honours. Thomasius says that it
was likewise given “to a captain that razed a fort.” The _corona
triumphalis_, originally of laurel and in after ages of gold, was
worn by those generals who had received the honour of a triumph.
On its being sent to the general, it insured him the triumph on
his return, and he immediately obtained the title _imperator_,
which he retained till his triumphal entry. The _corona ovalis_
sive _myrtea_ (Aulus Gellius) was given to a general for a victory
without slaughter of men. The _corona civica_, the highest of all
these rewards, was composed of oaken boughs, and given to him who
had saved the life of a Roman citizen.


  VI.      “Not Spain, not Spain doth tamely bear the yoke.”

      Levanta, España! tu famosa diestra
      Desde el Frances Pirene al Moro Atlante,
      Y al ronco son de trompas belicosas,
      Haz embuelta en durisimo diamante
      De tus valientes hijos feroz muestra,
      Debaxo de tus señas vitoriosas.
                          Luis de Gongora.


  XI.      “Sagunthus and Numance and Bilbil here.”

The cities of Saguntum and Numantia have been heretofore
specified. Bilbilis is the modern Bilbao, capital of the province
of Biscay. For a sketch of the ancient heroism of Cantabria,
corresponding with the modern Vascongadas or Basque Provinces, see
the Introduction. For an account of the exploits of Viriatus and
Sertorius see Livy and Ferguson’s _Roman Republic_.

  “Now when babes untimely perish
   Like old Basques strew pure white roses.”

This ancient custom has been made by Wordsworth the subject of two
sonnets, in the second of which occur the following fine lines:--

      A garland fashioned of the pure white rose
      Becomes not one whose father is a slave!


  XVIII.      “A troop from fair Guernica marched ere night.”

      Tambem movem da guerra as negras furias
      A gente Biscainha, que carece
      De polidas razoens, e que as injurias
      Muito mal dos estranhos compadece.
      A terra de Guipuscoa, e das Asturias, &c.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 11.


  XXIV.      “Sent our bold columns rapid to the fight.
              Morton with joy, and Nial with delight
              The summons heard.”

      Ἐν γὰρ χερσὶ τέλος πολέμου, ἐπέων δ’ ἐνὶ βουλῇ·
      Τῷ, οὔτι χρὴ μῦθον ὀφέλλειν, ἀλλὰ μάχεσθαι.
                          Hom. _Il._ xvi. 630.

“For the end of war is in hands, but of words in council;
wherefore, let us not multiply words, but fight!” The dog who barks
loudest is least inclined to bite, or, as the German proverb has
it: “Die grossen marterhausen sind nicht die besten kriegsleut.” I
may add here Suidas’s excellent derivation of Arês Ἄρης, the Greek
name of Mars--from α, _non_, and ῥέειν, _dicere_, because in war
not words but blows are needed.


  XXV.      “--Save when the cannon flashed
             To send grim death rimbombing from its womb.”

The word _rimbombar_, signifying “to resound terrifically,”
especially as applied to thunder and discharges of artillery, is
a very forcible specimen of onomatopœia, and is common to the
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese; I have therefore ventured to
adopt it into the English language. Tasso uses the word with fine
effect in one of his most celebrated passages:--

      Treman le spaziose atre caverne,
      E l’aer cieco a quel romor rimbomba.
                          _Ger. Lib._ iv. 3.


  XXVII.      “Threw clustering sparkles swift as Brontes poured
               ’Gainst Steropes whilst Ætna’s forges roared.”

      Antra Ætnæa tonant, validique incudibus ictus....
      Ferrum exercebant vasto Cyclopes in antro,
      Brontesque, Steropesque, et nudus membra Pyracmon.
                          Virg. _Æn._ viii. 419.

Virgil’s treatment of his subject, the forging of the armour of
Æneas, presents a curious contrast to Homer’s treatment of the
forging of the armour of Achilles. Vulcan is the agent in both
cases, but in the simple patriarchal era of Homer he is made to
do it all himself, with the assistance only of “twenty pairs of
bellows:”--

      Φῦσαι δ’ ἐν χοάνοισιν ἐείκοσι πᾶσαι ἐφύσων.

The more refined contemporary of Augustus makes the Cyclops perform
the porters’ work, and Vulcan merely look on.


  XXXIV.      “The rampant lions spurning Gallic chain!”

      “Publica” respondit, “cura est pro mœnibus istis”
      Juppiter: et pœnas Gallia victa dabit.
                          Ovid. _Fast._ vi. 377.



IBERIA WON.

Canto V.


I.

        Oh human hearts, that nurture fond designs,
        While shattering Fate his iron moulds doth fill!
        Oh, loving breasts unwarned by direst signs,
        The present joy-burst blindly hugging still!
        Impregnable redoubt of Human Will!
        Less strong than thine is San Sebastian’s wall.
        The ruin-clinging ivy Time can kill,
        But not avert thy worship from its thrall,
      Till comes the destined hour, and instant bids thee fall!


II.

        In summer skies I saw serenely bright
        Creation smile o’er pastoral cottage fair.
        Effulgent glory dwelt in loveliest light
        On copse and garden, hedge and homestead there.
        It seemed as exiled from that spot was Care!
        Sudden a cloud o’ergathering, fringed with red,
        Burst in black thunder bellowing through the air.
        A hissing bolt its flame terrific sped;
      The cottage ruined lay--its peaceful inmates dead!


III.

        Not fairer Hella on the Ægean flood
        With her young brother sate the golden fleece,
        Than Blanca steered her bark when Morton stood
        Within its round, ’mid war discovering peace,
        And from his eyes drank love-light without cease;
        Nor with more grief was Athamantis torn,
        When sank her lovely form ’twixt sunny Greece
        And blue Propontis, than made Blanca mourn,
      When Morton owned his gage to join the Hope Forlorn.


IV.

        “Ah, do not go! _Mi Dios_, thou wilt not go!
        “Guillermo, thou wouldst kill thy Blanca. Death
        “Is there nigh certain.” William smiled: “Why no,
        “Not certain quite. Sweet Blanca, I’ll have breath
        “To kiss thee on my return. Why sorroweth
        “My love so soon, that was so brave erewhile?”--
        “I care not for myself but thee, for saith
        “The general voice, tis fatal.”--“See, I smile”--
      “Oh God, if aught befal thee, Death may light his pile.”


V.

        A trumpet sounded. “’Tis the summons--hark,”
        Quoth William. Blanca straight grew lily-pale.
        He kist her thrice, then leapt from out the bark.
        “Fear not,” he said. “To-morrow without fail
        “We meet,” then flew with heart unused to quail.
        But Blanca motionless remained behind,
        Like calmed Feluca which the dying gale
        Hath quite forsook. Oh, Love had tamed her mind,
      And pride and patriot thoughts _for him_ were idle wind!


VI.

        Now battle’s roar which she had learnt to love,
        Or strove to love for liberty to Spain,
        Fell on her ear with horror, as the dove
        By cry of falcon is transfixed with pain;
        And still she numbered William ’mongst the slain,
        And every cannon with terrific boom
        That maid so bold before made shake amain,
        As were his breast the target. Rolled the drum;
      “We meet to-morrow.” Ah, that morrow ne’er may come!


VII.

        Dire was the chill that fell on Blanca’s soul,
        And oft she sighed for Isidora’s ear,
        To pour her woes and hear those lips console--
        Her foster-sister more than sister dear!
        But Isidora’s lot was e’en more drear,
        For none might dare from San Sebastian pass;
        And shivering from each cannon’s shock with fear,
        She longed by Blanca’s side--’twas vain, alas!
      To pluck the summer-flowers, and brush the dewy grass,


VIII.

        Dark fell the night like thickest, deadliest pall
        On Blanca’s bosom fluttering nigh to swoon;
        But while she drained her bitterest cup of gall,
        O’er fair Biscaya’s bay arose the Moon
        In wondrous beauty, and dispelled full soon
        Her gloom by enchantment. So serenely bright,
        It seemed as ’twere from Heaven a special boon,
        And Blanche with tears invoked the Virgin’s might,
      And deemed she saw her form within that orb of light!


IX.

        A cherry-coloured riband from her head,
        Which used to bind and float beneath her hair,
        With trembling hand she loosed, and o’er it spread
        A golden curl of William’s, tied it there
        In fashion of a cross, and with this prayer
        Consigned it to her bosom: “Empress-Queen
        “Of Heaven, Immaculate Virgin! Spare, oh, spare
        “His life. _Mi Madre_, on Isaro’s green
      “Thy shrine shall have a crown as fair as e’er was seen.”


X.

        At length the foeman’s guns are nearly mute,
        The hour doth come for the terrific shock.
        Where thou hast sown, Britannia, pluck the fruit;
        Sebastian hoary, tremble on thy rock!
        With false assault the gallant Rey to mock,
        And haply make the veteran spring his mines
        (Oh, perilous emprize, where Death will lock
        With icy arms the form that fairest shines)
      Leap forth a dauntless score of warriors from the lines.


XI.

        Oh England! great thy glory, great the love
        Thy children bear thee, when to certain death,
        Or death nigh certain, dauntlessly they move,
        Condensed in shouts for thee their parting breath!
        ’Tis not one Curce or Ion gloryeth
        Thy history to record, one Mutius fierce,
        One Regulus self-devoted. Hundreds hath
        Each fleet and army, prompt for thee to pierce
      Their panting breasts, and choose for bridal bed a hearse!


XII.

        Young Nial forward flies with impulse dire--
        Of these heroic warriors he the head;
        They gain the breach--they mount--they shout--they fire,
        Their shouts are drowned in showers of answering lead;
        But still unsprung the mines, nor terror fed
        A valour calm as sleeps the Ocean near.
        Vain is the assault, and stretched full soon lie dead
        All who so late upraised that gallant cheer--
      All save their leader bold who stalks the trenches near.


XIII.

        The hour is come! Breaks heavily the morn
        From densest misty shroud. Great Arthur calls
        For nigh a thousand hearts that danger scorn
        To rush like Ocean-surge against the walls,
        And swarm where thickest fly the deadly balls:
        “Men who can show what ’tis to mount a breach.”
        That voice inspires with valour where it falls;
        A thousand men leap forward--heroes each--
      With arms to pluck the prize where Romans dare not reach!


XIV.

        And winnowed must be Valour’s chosen grain,
        Where headlong to a shroud or victory borne,
        All brave alike the peril proud disdain,
        Yet culled the chosen for a Hope Forlorn!
        Mark the doomed band whose plumes seem loftier worn,
        Whose cheeks more red for courted wounds and death.
        Oh, many a mother’s breast shall soon be torn,
        And widowed spouse and sister gasp for breath,
      Nigh perishing for them whose requiem Glory saith!


XV.

        Hark to the muffled tread, where stealing slow
        Adown the trenches musters their array,
        While rank on rank in many a bristling row
        Is gathering stern as dimly grows the day,
        Nor from yon level sun a beam can stray!
        The army’s hum, the awakening city’s din,
        The dusky masses gilded by no ray,
        But dim with curling vapours, ere begin
      The cannon’s roar, make each more doubtful who shall win.


XVI.

        A moment now the bravest pause in awe,
        ’Twixt life and death. Next moment--direful clash!
        Opens in thunder every dragon-maw
        Of fierce artillery with its lightning-flash.
        As cleaves Heaven’s thunderbolt the mountain ash,
        So hurled in ruins is the battlement.
        While Furies with that scourge its granite lash,
        Not adamant, I ween, were long unbent,
      And wider grows the breach and easier of ascent.


XVII.

        Within the trenches many an eager eye
        With fevered gaze doth watch the sinking tide,
        Whose ebb will give to conquer or to die--
        Oh, cruel use of Man’s unerring guide,
        Which Nature’s hand hath stretched so fair and wide,
        The throbbing pulse of Ocean! Father Time
        Seems heavily on leaden wing to ride,
        And hours seem days, and hour-like minutes climb
      I’ the anxious nervous pause of that suspense sublime.


XVIII.

        And words are few and brief. It seemeth waste
        Of breath in idle converse to dilate,
        When hundreds momently to Judgment haste;--
        And sight usurps all functions! Mouths of Fate
        Prophetic line the wall, where batteries wait
        The onset, slowly turned the breach to flank,
        And bayonets bristle ’neath the parapet,
        _For them_ prepared! The heart’s of interest blank,
      That hath not waited thus in Battle’s foremost rank.


XIX.

        The hour is come! The signal, “On, men, on!”
        Sends from the trenches hundreds tow’rds the town.
        Like greyhounds straining on the slips, they are gone,
        While grape and shell in showers come pouring down,
        To where the grisly bastion-breach doth frown.
        Away, away, o’er slippery tidal shore,
        O’er seaweed dank and shell-incrusted stone.
        None stoops to pick, though strewn the seabeach o’er,
      Save those whom other shells make stoop to rise no more!


XX.

        Loud, louder still the batteries poured their fire,
        And softer rippled wavelets o’er the strand.
        ’Twixt Man and Nature, oh, what contrast dire!
        The clattering death-tubes scarce a zephyr fanned.
        Is Ocean awed to silence by the land,
        Or is’t amazed at human hate and rage?
        The eye ferocious, and the red right hand
        That writes its name renowned in History’s page?
      Nature, I ween, is shocked, and beasts themselves more sage!


XXI.

        Ah better far on Albion’s soil to tread
        The verdurous meadow or the breezy hill,
        For peaceful toil or sportful wandering spread,
        In pastoral loveliness unrivalled still;
        Where blend sweet lane and slope with murmuring rill,
        Hedgerow, and vocal grove, and village green,
        And gardens fair and homesteads bright which fill
        True household gods and beauty,--there, I ween,
      Alone ’neath tempering clouds in full perfection seen.


XXII.

        Ah, better ’twere beneath this radiant sky,
        This sparkling sunlight shimmering o’er the plain,
        To give to tender thoughts the melting eye,
        And yield the heart to Love’s delicious pain.
        The genius bland, the balmy air of Spain,
        More fit the lute than dire artillery’s roar.
        Ah, better far to sing such sweet refrain
        Some dark-eyed Andaluzan’s bower before,
      As thus might ease the shaft that quivers in the core:--


La Sebillana


1.

      My Enriqueta’s eyelids
        Are as soft as dews that fall
      From the moonlit jasper fountain
        In Alhambra’s silent hall.
      No star that, through its casement,
        At the midnight hour you spy,
                  Hath the light,
                  Streaming bright,
        Of my Enriqueta’s eye!


2.

      It hath the Southern darkness,
        And the Southern depth as well;
      Touches, too, of Moorish wildness
        In its rapid glances dwell.
      ’Tis broad-cut like an almond,
        With a long and silken lash;
                  When her mind
                  Is to be kind,
        How she veils its lightning flash!


3.

      Her step is light and buoyant,
        As if borne upon the air;
      Short and danceful are her movements,
        Like a pheasant’s young and fair.
      Stately-paced _piafadora_,[C]
        Waving gently to and fro,
                  Do I hear
                  No music near,
        While so gracefully you go?


4.

      Her head she carries finely,
        And her bearing’s wondrous proud,
      And her voice, like silver lute strings,
        Thrills the heart--but never loud!
      ’Tis a voice the brain to wilder;
        Oh, I glory to be near,
                  As she strolls,
                  Witching souls,
        By the blue Guadalquivír!


XXIII.

        The hour is come! The stream of valour doomed
        Pours through the openings of the huge seawall.
        Death reaps even now his harvest. Deep entombed
        I’ the earth full twoscore men like raindrops fall,
        By premature mine that else had swallowed all!
        Unchecked the rush of that tremendous crowd,
        And far beyond the Hope Forlorn appal
        The bristling ramparts, as with daring proud
      They fly to the horrid breach,--tho’ Hell should yawn, uncowed!


XXIV.

        Who leads the van? Green Erin’s son, Mac Iar,
        Fleet as the roebuck on his native hills;
        Dauntless as Brian’s sword, through showering fire,
        He boundeth o’er the seabeach rocks and rills,
        Impetuous. How his manly figure fills
        The eyes of thousands! How his dancing plume
        Of streaming snow enchains his followers’ wills,
        Doubling their speed, while copes i’ the front with doom
      That gallant form that seems defiant of the tomb!


XXV.

        Alcides’ arm--the eye that Python slew,
        The limbs and shoulder of the Delian God!
        Now ’neath the breach that form triumphant view,
        Now see it stretched supine upon the sod!
        Ay, instant struck, as strikes Heaven’s fire the rod
        That points from loftiest pinnacle. No dirge
        Shall wail that fall, no cypress o’er it nod.
        ’Tis War’s repast! Their course the stormers urge,
      And o’er the Hero’s corse go sweeping like a surge!


XXVI.

        And Morton now, and Nial by his side,
        In peril’s front the impetuous stormers lead;
        Nor less their beauty nor their valour’s pride
        Than his whose doom was first that day to bleed.
        In generous rivalry, like mettled steed,
        They strain to win the breach, their grisly goal.
        Their flashing swords, athirst for Glory’s meed,
        Their tossing plumes, the advancing crowd controul,--
      And daring like to their’s inspires each warrior soul.


XXVII.

        On, on they rush, their line with dead bestrewing,
        While Mont ’Orgullo and Santelmo pour
        Both shot and shell, the living brave renewing
        The venturous rank where heroes fall before.
        Up, up the breach they climb, swift mounting o’er
        Bastion and parapet in fragments hurled--
        Titanic ruins strewn along the shore--
        While nearer now the culverin smoke is curled,
      And deadly grapeshot paves the path to a new world.


XXVIII.

        From every quarter sweeps an iron shower--
        Cannon and musketry in front and rear--
        From nearest horn and distant fort and tower,
        From rampart, bastion, curtain, cavalier.
        Up, up the breach they climb and laugh at fear!
        The summit’s gained--it seems the verge of Hell--
        A gulf impassable! Live thunder near
        Leaps forth from guns whose momentary knell
      Rings for the brave who fall where late they stood so well.


XXIX.

        Still swarms the fiery brink. Who now will dare
        Leap the dire chasm--who like Empedocles
        Will plunge into the Ætna flaming there,
        And be esteemed a God? Who to appease
        Hesperia’s manes, like the youth who sees
        The barathrum profound i’ the Forum yawn,
        Spurs his strong courser, is engulfed, and frees
        Great Rome--who now, by patriot impulse drawn,
      Will sound that fell abyss, and haste fair Freedom’s dawn?


XXX.

        Oh frightful precipice! Full many an eye
        Glares on its horrid depth and back recoils.
        Madly to plunge were hopelessly to die,
        Or torn and shattered fall into the toils.
        Even lingering here is death! As rankest soils
        Are strown with richest growths, the valiant strew
        That gory Scylla’s crest. Charybdis boils
        With vortex under. What may heroes do?
      Advance? In vain. Recede? No, Britons’ hearts be true!


XXXI.

        Up climbs a multitude of strenuous men,
        Who thick as forest-leaves autumnal fall,
        So keen for entrance to the lion’s den,
        Not death at every footstep can appal!
        Sore doth that storm of fire their valour gall,
        And slowly with reluctant pride they sink,
        Till stubborn planted on the lower wall
        They stand beneath the fiery torrent’s brink,
      While ever and anon their chain doth lose a link.


XXXII.

        Thrice to the deadly summit of the breach
        Did Morton rush, and thrice was backward borne,
        Like mariner that, dashed on stormy beach,
        Swayed by the surge against the cliffs is torn.
        But nought could drown unconquerable scorn
        Of death in that young hero. Up once more
        He rushed to the crest, and fell. Young Blanca, mourn!
        Thy lover’s heart is pierced, he totters o’er,
      And falls ’mid heaps of slain--his dirge the artillery’s roar:--


The Rally.


1.

      As a torrent that bounds
        From its mountainous dwelling
      Obstruction but chafes
        Into foamier swelling;
      As snorts the wild bull
        Whom the banderils pierce,
      So the death-scattered breach
        Makes the phalanx more fierce!


2.

      Each shower that is cast
        From the foemen’s fell cannon
      But makes the assault
        To lift prouder its pennon.
      Each shaft from the walls
        Gives to Valour new wings;
      O’er each hero that falls
        See, a new hero springs!


3.

      There is that to be done
        At which nations shall wonder;
      The scarp shall be our’s,
        Although tenfold its thunder;
      In spite of wide Earth,
        And in spite of deep Hell.
      Where a Briton resolved,
        Could a Gaul ever quell?


4.

      Come, cannon and musquet,
        Rain grapeshot and mortar!
      We laugh at the rattling,
        We ask for no quarter.
      By the breach shall we climb
        To yon turret-clad town,
      And the tricolor tear
        From the cavalier down!


5.

      On the death-dealing fort
        Shall we plant our proud standard.
      Was red-coat e’er seen,
        Who to cowardice pandered?
      Each traverse we’ll cross
        With invincible steel.
      Then swift to your knees,
        Or the bayonet feel!


6.

      See, see the breach strewn
        With our corses all gory.
      ’Tis but the first crop
        In the harvest of glory!
      Sebastian is our’s,
        Though it rain shot and shell.
      Where a Briton resolved,
        Could a Gaul ever quell?


XXXIII.

        What stream is poured afresh? new Volunteers!
        They come, impetuous as the Pampas steed,
        Dash o’er the strand and trample craven fears,
        Fly up the breach where thick-strewn heroes bleed.
        They reach the crest. In vain! Snapt like a reed
        Is many an oak of war. The valorous surge
        Is spent in its vain fury, like seaweed
        Each quivering corse depositing. Yet urge
      The living on, though fire their ranks incessant scourge.


XXXIV.

        Thus swarm i’ the summer ray o’er parchéd ground
        Unnumbered emmets toiling onward straight.
        Vain is the wrath that slays and strews around;
        Unslack’d their zeal, uncheck’d their war with fate.
        New myriads crowd each instant, even while wait
        Unpitying feet to tread them into dust,
        Indomitable. To small thus likened great,
        Men swarm to the breach, and glut the gory lust
      Of sternest foe, yet stand, true to their country’s trust.


XXXV.

        And all--must all be slaughtered? Lord of Hosts!
        Must this great valour be a Holocaust?
        Must men like oxen perish at their posts,
        And all the guerdon of their daring lost?
        Still do they mount and slow receding, crost
        Their dream of triumph, totter, sink, and fall.
        Even won the prize, how terrible the cost!
        The victory-flag to thousands were a pall.
      Oh Lord of Hosts, arise, or butchery smites them all!


XXXVI.

        With blood-red arms see Carnage, screaming hag,
        Gloat o’er each gash that lets the life away,
        Plash through the crimson stream, and curse if lag
        The shower of death-bolts darkening bright mid-day.
        See sopt her hands in gore, see ’mid the fray
        Where burst her eyes from forth her grisly head,
        In rapture that such numbers slaughtered lay:
        While reek her tangled tresses, see her fed
      On dying groans, astride like Nightmare on the dead!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO V.


In the account of the Storming of San Sebastian, which occupies
this and part of the next Canto, I follow chiefly Napier’s
_History_, book xxii. chap. 2. The part which I assign to Nial in
leading the false assault on the night of the 29th of August was in
reality undertaken and bravely executed by Lieutenant Mc Adam of
the 9th regiment. As stated in my text, the leader was the only one
of the entire party that returned alive! The storming took place
on the morning of the 31st August, 1813. The leader, Lieutenant
Maguire of the 4th regiment (whose name I have restored to its
antique Celto-Irish form, “Mac Iar”) was struck down precisely as
described in my text. (See Napier.) The following account is from
Gleig’s _Subaltern_:--

“The forlorn hope took its station at the mouth of the most
advanced trench about half-past ten o’clock. The tide, which had
long turned, was now fast ebbing, and these gallant fellows beheld
its departure with a degree of feverish anxiety such as he only can
imagine who has stood in a similar situation. This was the first
time that a town was stormed by daylight since the commencement
of the war, and the storming party were enabled distinctly to
perceive the preparations which were making for their reception:
there was, therefore, something not only interesting but novel
in beholding the muzzles of the enemy’s cannon from the castle
and other batteries turned in such a direction as to flank the
breaches, whilst the glancing of bayonets and the occasional rise
of caps and feathers gave notice of the line of infantry which was
forming underneath the parapet. There an officer from time to time
could be distinguished leaning his telescope over the top of the
rampart or through the opening of an embrasure, and prying with
deep attention into our arrangements. Nor were our own officers,
particularly those of the engineers, idle. With the greatest
coolness they exposed themselves to a dropping fire of musketry,
which the enemy at intervals kept up, whilst they examined and
re-examined the state of the breaches. It would be difficult to
convey to the mind of an ordinary reader anything like a correct
notion of the state of feeling which takes possession of a man
waiting for the commencement of a battle. In the first place, time
appears to move upon leaden wings, every minute seems an hour, and
every hour a day. Then there is a strange commingling of levity
and seriousness within him, a levity which prompts him to laugh
he scarce knows why, and a seriousness which urges him ever and
anon to lift up a mental prayer to the Throne of Grace. On such
occasions little or no conversation passes. The privates generally
lean upon their firelocks, and the officers upon their swords, and
few words except monosyllables, at least in answer to questions
put, are wasted. On these occasions, too, the faces of the bravest
often change colour, and the limbs of the most resolute tremble,
not with fear but with anxiety, whilst watches are consulted till
the individuals who consult them grow absolutely weary of the
employment. On the whole, it is a situation of higher excitement
and darker and deeper agitation than any other in human life, nor
can he be said to have felt all which man is capable of feeling who
has not filled it.

“Noon had barely passed, when the low state of the tide giving
evidence that the river might be forded, the word was given to
advance. Silent as the grave the column moved forward. In one
instant the leading files had cleared the trenches, and the others
poured on in quick succession after them, when the work of death
began. The enemy, having reserved their fire till the head of the
column had gained the middle of the stream, then opened with the
most deadly effect. Grape, canister, musketry, shells, grenades,
and every species of missile, were hurled from the ramparts,
beneath which our gallant fellows dropped _like corn before the
reaper_; in so much, that in the space of two minutes the river was
literally choked up with the bodies of the killed and wounded, over
whom, without discrimination, the advancing division pressed on.
The opposite bank was soon gained, and the short space between the
landing-place and the foot of the breach rapidly cleared without
a single shot having been returned by the assailants. But here
the most alarming prospect awaited them. Instead of a wide and
tolerably level chasm, the breach presented the appearance only of
an ill-built wall thrown considerably from its perpendicular, to
ascend which, even though unopposed, would be no easy task. It was,
however, too late to pause; besides, the men’s blood was hot and
their courage on fire, so they pressed on, clambering up as they
best could, and effectually hindering one another from falling,
each by the eagerness of the rear ranks to follow those in front.
Shouts and groans were now mingled with the roar of cannon and the
rattle of musketry: our front ranks likewise had an opportunity of
occasionally firing with effect, and the slaughter on both sides
was dreadful. At length the head of the column forced its way to
the summit of the breach, where it was met in the most gallant
style by the bayonets of the garrison. When I say the summit of the
breach, I mean not to assert that our soldiers stood upon a level
with their enemies, for this was not the case. There was a high
step, perhaps two or three feet in length, which the assailants
must surmount before they could gain the same ground with the
defenders, and a very considerable period elapsed ere that step was
surmounted. Here bayonet met bayonet, and sabre met sabre, in close
and desperate strife, without the one party being able to advance
or the other succeeding in driving them back.”


  I.      “While shattering Fate his iron moulds doth fill!”

      Ἀλλ’ ἁ μοιριδία τις δύνασις δεινά·
      Οὔτ’ ἄν νιν ὄμβρος, οὔτ’ Ἄρης,
      Οὐ πύργος, οὐχ ἁλίκτυποι
      Κελαιναὶ νᾶες ἐκφύγοιεν.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 951.

“Crushing is the power of Fate! which neither the elements, nor
Mars, nor a tower, nor the black wave-roaring ships can flee.”


  III.      “Nor fairer Hella on the Ægean flood.”

      Utque fugam rapiant, aries nitidissimus auro
        Traditur: ille vehit per freta longa duos.
      Dicitur infirmâ cornu tenuisse sinistrâ
        Femina, cùm de se nomina fecit aquæ.
      Pene simul periit, dum vult succurrere lapsæ
        Frater.
                          Ovid, _Fast._ iii. 867.

See also Pindar’s Fourth Pythionic.

  “Nor with more grief was Athamantis torn.”

      Et frustrà pecudem quæres Athamantidos Helles.
                          Ovid. _Fast._ iv. 903.


  VII.      “But Isidora’s lot was e’en more drear,
             For none might dare from San Sebastian pass.”

      La verde primavera
      De mis floridos años
      Pasé cautiva en tus prisiones,
      Y en la cadena fiera.
                          Lope de Vega, _Arcadia_.


  “To pluck the summer flowers, and brush the dewy grass.”

“In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and
pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go
out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with Heaven
and Earth.”--Milton, _Tractate on Education_, § 22.


  VIII.                   ----“Invoked the Virgin’s might,
            And deemed she saw her form within that orb of light.”

      The nightly hunter, lifting a bright eye
      Up towards the crescent moon, with grateful heart
      Called on the lovely wanderer who bestowed
      That timely light to share his joyous sport;
      And hence, a beaming goddess with her nymphs
      Across the lawn, and thro’ the darksome grove,
      Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes,
      By echo multiplied from rock or cave,
      Swept in the storm of chase; as moon and stars
      Glance rapidly along the clouded Heaven
      When winds are blowing strong.
                          Wordsworth, _The Excursion_.


  IX.             ----“‘Empress-Queen
                Of Heaven, Immaculate Virgin!’”

For these epithets see the _Horas Castellanas_.


  XIII.                   ----“Great Arthur calls
            For nigh a thousand hearts that danger scorn
            To rush like Ocean-surge against the walls.”

      Disse ai duci il gran Duce: “Al nuovo albore
      “Tutti all’ assalto voi pronti sarete.”
                          Tasso, _Gerus. Lib._ xi. 17.


  XIX.      “To where the grisly bastion-breach doth frown.”

      --Γοργείην κεφαλὴν δεινοῖο πελώρον.
                          Hom. _Od._ xi. 633.


  XXV.      “Alcides’ arm--the eye that Python slew,
             The limbs and shoulder of the Delian God!”

      Nec quòd laudamus formam, tàm turpe putâris;
      Laudamus magnas hâc quoque parte Deas.
                          Ovid. _Fast._ vi. 807.


  XXVI.      “And Morton now, and Nial by his side,
              In peril’s front the impetuous stormers lead,” &c.

      Φευγόντων σὺν νηυσὶ φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν·
      Νῶϊ δ’ ἐγὼ Σθένελός τε μαχησόμεθ’, εἰσόκε τέκμωρ
      Ἰλίου εὕρωμεν.
                          Hom. _Il._ ix. 47.

“Let them fly with their ships, to their dear native country;
but we--Sthenelus and I--will fight till we find the end of
Ilion!” Cæsar addresses his soldiers in language very nearly
similar:--“Quòd si præterea nemo sequatur, tamen se cum solâ decimâ
legione iturum, de quâ non dubitaret.”--_De Bella Gallico_, lib. i.
§. 40.


  XXXI.      “Not death at every footstep can appal.”

         Per damna, per cædes, ab ipso
           Ducit opes animumque ferro.
      Non ...
      Monstrumve summisere Colchi
      Majus, Echioniæve Thebæ.
                          Horat. _Carm._ iv. 4.


  XXXII.      “Like mariner that dashed on stormy beach,” &c.

      Naufragum ut ejectum spumantibus æquoris undis.
                          Catul. lxvi.

  “As snorts the wild bull
     Whom the banderils pierce.”

      E qual táuro ferito il suo dolore
      Versó mugghiando e suspirando fuore.
                          Tasso, _Ger. Lib._ iv. 1.


  XXXIV.      “Thus swarm i’ the summer ray o’er parchéd ground
         Unnumbered emmets toiling onward straight.”

This image will not be condemned as vulgar by those who are
familiar with Homer; and it is further justified by the use of one
of our most elegant poets, Thomson, who commences his _Castle of
Indolence_ thus:

      O mortal man, who livest here by toil,
      Do not complain of this thy hard estate;
      That like an emmet thou must ever moil,
      Is a sad sentence of an ancient date.


  XXXVI.      “With blood-red arms see Carnage, screaming hag.”

      Todo es muerte y horror: vense hacinados
      En torno suyo cuerpos espirantes,
      Cadáveres y miembros destroncados.
        Campo-redondo.
                          _Las Armas de Aragon en Oriente._



IBERIA WON.

Canto VI.


I.

        Upon the Chofre stood the dauntless Graham,
        And marked the slaughter with determined eye,
        Sad yet unshrinking--poured then forth of flame
        A torrent hissing red athwart the sky.
        Close o’er the stormers’ heads the missiles fly,
        The stone-ribbed curtain into fragments hurled--
        Full fifty cannon streaming death on high.
        Unmoved they stand--no flag of fear unfurled--
      A scene unmatched before since dawning of the world!


II.

        Even as at Niagára’s thundering fall,
        Where leaps the torrent with gigantic stride,
        Beneath the watery volume Cyclop wall
        Of rocks huge-piléd spans the river wide,
        Where dares the venturous voyager abide,
        And while his ears terrific clamour stuns,
        Flies free o’erhead the cataract’s foaming tide,
        And scarce crystálline globule o’er him runs:
      Thus stand ’neath Death o’erarched Britannia’s dauntless sons!


III.

        “Retire!” was first the cry. “A traitorous foe!
        Our batteries’ fire is ’gainst the stormers turned;”
        And struck a straggling shot the ranks below;
        But Nial and his men the counsel spurned.
        To win, whate’er the cost, their bosoms burned;
        And ’mid the fiercest of the cannonade,
        While San Sebastian for his bulwarks mourned,
        Within the rampart solid ground they made--
      First step in victory’s march, whose laurels ne’er will fade.


IV.

        What were thy triumphs, Greece, on Elis’ plain,
        Olympian dust Alphéus’ margin strewing,
        The Agora’s grand inspiring shouts, the train
        Of statues for the Altis sculptors hewing,
        Fame-thirst the prince’ and peasant’s soul imbuing?
        Unreal glories to the trampled fear,
        Which England with her million eyes is viewing.
        First Erin’s sons to encounter peril here.
      No rebel wisdom yet impairs that lusty cheer!


Tricorpor Geryon.


1.

      Mark where Valour’s triple crown,
      Marring every despot’s frown,
      Gives to evergreen renown
                Britain’s dauntless sons.
      Albion, Erin, Scotia join
      Strength of shoulder, heart, and loin,
      Men as sterling as their coin,
                Faithful as their guns!


2.

      Albion firm as Erin brave,
      Scotia strong as angry wave.
      Who could such a land enslave?
                Who her spirit quell?
      Albion sturdy, Scotia grim,
      Erin dashing o’er the brim--
      True till death, though for a whim
                Wordy Knaves rebel!


3.

      Albion steady, Erin bold,
      Scotia gallant as of old;
      Britain’s men are Britain’s gold,
                Hardy sons of toil.
      Albion dauntless, Scotia true,
      Erin fervid--loyal, too,
      Spite of Spleen’s seditious crew
                Banded o’er her soil.


4.

      Glorious Nations, three in one,
      Long be warmed by Victory’s sun,
      Ne’er by factious hate undone,
                Ne’er the bond untied.
      Ne’er be shorn of either gem
      Britain’s noble diadem.
      Shamrock, rose, and thistle’s stem
                Ne’er let men divide!


V.

        Nor one the breach nor one the fierce assault;
        Three several columns mount the broken wall;
        ’Mid deadliest havoc each is forced to halt,
        And rush the living where their brothers fall,
        Strewn on the crest of that Pyracmon tall;
        While heaps of slain a slippery footing yield
        To men whose hearts not _this_ e’en can appal.
        Still brandish the besieged their fiery shield,
      Till thicker strew the dead than live possess the field!


VI.

        Nor yet Graham’s thunder ceases. Volleying rolls
        The red artillery, on each lightning-flash
        Dismay is borne to the defenders’ souls,
        Destruction’s bolts against the ramparts dash,
        And ruin strews the battlements. As lash
        The stormy billows Achill’s rock-bound shore
        With all the Atlantic’s force, thus many a gash
        That fiery torrent opes the bulwarks o’er,
      And still at verge of death they madly strain the more!


VII.

        And they are mad, or more than madness seems
        Thy glow, enthusiast Courage! Many a boy
        Sees Valour’s guerdon shine with starry beams,
        And Danger, made a mockery, seems a joy!
        Yet swiftly hostile fires their ranks destroy,
        Nor yet to San Sebastian entrance gained.
        Already grief their glory ’gins to alloy,
        Lest ’neath that wall their glittering arms be stained.
      Ere comes defeat be, Graham, thy death-fire two-fold rained!


VIII.

        Resistance chafes their spirits, stirs their blood.
        Excitement fires their minds beyond controul;
        Till lightning runs through all the arterial flood,
        And lion-daring grows the warrior-soul.
        Full many a gentle bosom ’neath that roll
        Of musketry and cannon feels transformed--
        Spurred like a race-horse bounding to the goal,
        Till death’s a sport to venturers conflict-warmed,
      And not by men but fiends seems San Sebastian stormed.


IX.

        Oh, sleepless eyes and aching foreheads tell
        In homes far distant how those lives are prized,
        Which now are diced away, though loved so well--
        On Glory’s shadowy altar sacrificed!
        The heart-wrung sob at parting undisguised,
        The silent hall and the deserted bower,
        The tender charge of Beauty idolized,
        And curléd babes, forgot in this wild hour,--
      To Gorgons grim consigned is Manhood’s chosen flower!


X.

        What terrible explosion rends the sky?
        What fierce combustion wraps in flame the air?
        Traverse and curtain tall to ruin fly,
        And sulphurous fires the bastioned bulwarks tear
        Like rags asunder! Cries of deep despair
        Burst from the pale defenders; grenadiers,
        Unmoved as rocks till then, in hundreds share
        The ramparts’ doom which form their blackened biers;
      And rush the stormers in with lustiest British cheers.


XI.

        Of volumed smoke at length the eddying wave
        Falls o’er the battlement and clears the ground.
        Still would the sons of France the fortress save,
        Amazed amid the ruin spread around;
        But onward to their breasts the assailants bound,
        And momently the baffled foemen scare.
        They rally--I ween none there hath quarter found;
        They stand--and desperate valour all doth dare.
      In vain--the stormers rush like lightning to their lair.


XII.

        Red as the slaughter which their hands achieved,
        The British garb doth smite the foe with awe;
        And as our sturdy bowmen Creçy grieved
        O’er Gaul’s full-mailéd Knights triumphant saw,
        So the strong bayonet deals resistless law;
        And fly before that conflict hand to hand
        Of bone and muscle, ere a breath they draw,
        The sons of France, a wrongful Tyrant’s band,
      Who fight not heaven-inspired for Freedom in the land.


XIII.

        Unconquered yeomen, England’s strength and pride!
        Who ne’er have yet been wanting at her call
        Against the world to stand, or dashing ride
        ’Gainst odds that all but Britons would appal!
        For where, brave hearts, doth rise your serried wall
        Of adamant, in vain the thunder-scar.
        Upon that conquering ground ye stand or fall.
        Oh, strenuous arms alike for toil and war,
      May ne’er be seen the day when Wrong your might shall mar!


XIV.

        Oh, Rank and Dignity! I saw too flies
        Spawned in the self-same chamber, sporting gay.
        With equal force, on equal wing, they rise
        Through the short sunshine of a summer day.
        Yet one the other buzzed to keep away,
        And flouted oft--intensest scorn revealing,
        As telling him below the Knave should stay,
        Too far beneath him born for kindly feeling--
      One hatched upon the floor, the other on the ceiling!


XV.

        Five deadly hours that conflict fell endured;
        But onward now the tide of Valour flowing,
        Chafed by the long restraint all foaming poured,
        The seeds of Death with every wavelet sowing,
        And, ah, on Mercy scarce a thought bestowing!
        As destrier strong whose mouth with curbing bleeds,
        When loosed the rein, doth plunge with eye-ball glowing,
        Mad snort, and trampling hoof which Fury speeds,
      So dash the stormers in like spurred and panting steeds.


XVI.

        A standard floats upon the cavalier.
        It is the far-renownéd tricolor,
        Whose folds more proudly ne’er have waved than here,
        Though many a victor field they’ve fluttered o’er.
        Up Nial springs with hand still dripping gore,
        And stoutly tears that tyrant-standard down.
        Three loud huzzas resound from sky to shore--
        Floats in its stead the flag of Leon’s crown.
      ’Tis ours! And Spain once more is mistress of her town.


XVII.

        Thus strove Peleides with the King of Men
        For fair Briseïs many a stubborn hour,
        And hung War’s chances on the wistful ken
        Of her ’mongst all Lyrnessian spoil the flower,
        Whose charms drew eyes from Ilion’s loftiest tower.
        Thus to Achilles’ arms the maid restored
        Was stript o’ the robes that swept Atrides’ bower,
        And decked anew in livery of her lord,
      To show no tyrant folds should float o’er his adored.


XVIII.

        And well too fought thy warriors, Lusitain,
        Who, led by Britons, clomb the further breach,
        Resolved to strike a vigorous blow for Spain,
        And, how their iron fathers strove, to teach:
        Afonso, Avíz, Nun’ Alvares--heroes each--
        Castro and Albuquerque not quite forgot
        By their descendants, dauntless here who reach
        And pluck the wreath to wear might be their lot,
      If were not all their fire as fitful even as hot.


XIX.

        Not thy Fidalgos, withered boughs, I ween,
        Nor yet thy Royalty as much despised,
        Who fled like hinds when danger crost the scene,
        Their cumbrous rank like Manhood ne’er disguised,
        Their scutcheoned pomp like carrion fitly prized!
        Henceforth shall men for an opprobrium know
        The names by chroniclers most idolized,
        And choose strong blood Plebeian’s healthier flow,
      That scaled Sebastian’s towers while nobles quaked below.


XX.

        And Spain her Guerrilleros--Dorian race--
        Sent to the conflict with unconquered hearts,
        And eyes that Tyranny could ne’er abase,
        Unerringly to guide their fiery darts,
        Where Vengeance winged with every shot departs.
        And hasting to the War, whose sacred cry
        Was “Death to the Invader!”, warm while starts
        The big round tear from fair Pastora’s eye,
      The peasant-soldier thus with Heaven made an ally:--


The Guerrillero to his Mistress.

1.

      While spin the amber beads
        Beneath thy rosy finger,
      And nought thy spirit heeds
        Save thoughts that Heav’nward linger;
      At Isidoro’s shrine,
        Upon the floor of marble,
      While move thy lips divine,
        For me an Ave warble!


2.

      And while, the Virgin’s Hours
      In softest tones reciting,
      You bend the Heav’nly Powers,
        Their blessed aid inviting;
      Breathe then for me a prayer,
        That, moved amidst her splendour,
      Our Lady of Vejer
        May crown my wishes tender.

3.

      If spirits pure as thine
        Weave idly their petition,
      What talisman for mine,
        To shield it from perdition?
      Oh, Mary, thou alone
        Canst ope the path before me,
      Canst give my heart a tone,
        Canst shed a blessing o’er me!

4.

      The Seraph forms are fair,
        In Heav’nly chorus swelling,
      But thine as well in prayer
        Becomes its earthly dwelling.
      Thou look’st a clouded Moon,
        When veiled for solemn duty;
      If thou’rt refused a boon,
        Why give thee so much beauty?


XXI.

        Oh glorious race, indomitably fierce!
        Earth’s peasant-lords, triumphant o’er each shock;
        No, not more vain Antæus’ self to pierce,
        For sprung, too, from thy soil new strength to mock
        Thy foes, like Afric’s giant whom enlock
        The arms of Hercules; or liker him,
        The Achaian marsh heaved upward like a rock,
        Whose hissing heads struck off, still heads more grim
      Rose terrible to tear the Invader limb from limb!


XXII.

        Five deadly hours that conflict fell did last,
        And o’er the scarp now streams the flood of War;
        But many a barricade must still be past,
        Where dauntless Rey disputes ’gainst Victory’s star,
        With feeble garrison that yields each bar,
        O’erpowered by numbers though they battled well.
        And, vanquished soon by Fate, entrenched they are
        In Mont’ Orgullo, where both shot and shell
      Pours on the brave resolved their lives to dearly sell.


XXIII.

        Now Slaughter stalks triumphantly alone,
        And silent is the fierce artillery’s roar;
        But shriek and shout and yell, cry, curse, and groan,
        Make music dire to rend the bosom’s core,
        And louder than Man’s thunder rolled before
        Comes Heaven’s artillery from the mountains down,
        Dark, stormy, terrible: leap lightnings o’er
        The murky cope to mark the Almighty’s frown
      For deeds of carnage done in that devoted town.


XXIV.

        What careth Man red-handed for His wrath?
        What bellowing beast so terrible as he,
        When boundless passions master him? His path
        Is more destructive than the stormy sea.
        His nostril is a furnace. Ominously
        Doth glare his bloodshot eye. Nor Beauty saves
        The virgin, nor grey hairs and tottering knee
        The reverend sire. Lust, rapine, murder waves
      A pirate flag o’er all, and hearths are turned to graves!


XXV.

        Oh, meek-eyed Pity! Tenderness of Soul!
        Oh, sacred source of sympathetic tears!
        Say, hast thou fled the Earth, whose tottering pole
        Can ill sustain its weight of grief and fears?
        Is dried your fountain, choked by crimson biers?
        Oh, human anguish! Yet, by man’s accord,
        The day shall come, when he who as in years
        Gone by shall dare produce thee--King or Lord--
      A Pariah-brand shall wear, than Demons more abhorred!


XXVI.

        Still havoc, plunder reigns. Where is thy sword,
        Sebastian, Warrior-Saint, that now should wheel
        Like the Archangel’s, Eden who restored
        To Solitude? Dost thou less horror feel
        That thine own City ’neath the shock should reel
        Of ruffian violence? Prætorian brave,
        The Imperial Boar withstanding in thy zeal,
        Thou whom nor Roman shafts subdued nor glaive,
      Thy consecrated town arise, great Saint, and save!


XXVII.

        Oh, arrow-pierced for Christ! whose mighty ban
        Against the arrowy shower of pestilence
        In aid Divine is still invoked by Man,
        And potent still, this plague send howling hence.
        By that great voice, whose eloquence intense,
        When Marcus trembled, made him firm to win
        The Martyr-crown, and Christian turned the dense
        Blood-thirsting crowd--guard, judges--all within
      Its mighty compass, rise, and stay the steps of sin!


XXVIII.

        Nazrene Apollo, beautiful as bold,
        Whose worship whirls the enthusiast Southern maid
        To passion oft and madness, to behold
        Thee limned so blooming fair--give, give thine aid!
        Oh, by Irene’s love who undismayed
        Unbound thee, pouring balm into each wound
        The archers left--against the pillar laid--
        When dead they thought thee who had only swooned;
      By her who healed thee, raise that voice to mercy tuned!


XXIX.

        By that majestic Faith, whose dauntless power
        Confronted Cæsar at his palace gate,
        When to the Capitol in glory’s hour
        The Tyrant proud ascended, lording fate;
        And dared reproach him with his cruel hate
        For God’s elect; and by the Martyr-crown
        Thy zeal soon won, oh leave not desolate
        The walls that bear thy name. Forbear to frown.
      The patron gives no sign. Alas, devoted town!


XXX.

        High on the greater breach where hours before
        Had swept the wave of battle, ’neath the black
        And murky cope, which flashed red lightnings o’er,
        A maiden stood alone in murder’s track,
        A white-robed angel seemed ’mid general wrack,
        And to and fro amid the heaps of slain,
        And round and round and forward then and back,
        Peered in each pallid face War’s iron rain
      Had shattered there, and passed like Judgment in Death’s train.


XXXI.

        ’Twas Blanca! she had heard too soon, too soon
        Of William’s fall, and sought his corse, I ween.
        As girt with thunder-clouds the silver Moon,
        So shone the maiden in that direful scene.
        But, ah, her cheek had lost its rosy sheen,
        Glared wild her eye, her tresses loosely fell.
        With frantic haste and Pythonissa’s mien,
        She tears away the corses where they dwell
      In gory heaps that prove they stood the tempest well.


XXXII.

        She halts--she starts--on Morton’s corse she lights.
        Too true the mournful tidings! One shrill cry--
        She falls upon his breast, more dull than Night’s,
        His cold lips kisses in her agony,
        And clasps again--again--till no reply
        Convinces even _her_ fond heart the source
        Of Life is frozen--then, without a sigh,
        Takes from his hand the sword, nor feels remorse,
      Her heart transpierces, falls, and dies upon his corse.


XXXIII.

        Oh noblest maiden, though of low estate,
        With every proud and generous impulse rife;
        Born to demonstrate to the meanly great,
        How vain the pageant of a worthless life!
        Sprung from thy heart like wild-flowers all that wife
        Could bring of purity to Kingliest throne,
        With highest attributes to soothe the strife
        Of human passion, for the fall atone,
      And show our angel-part preserved in thee alone!


XXXIV.

        Yet noble as thou wert, thy hand was armed
        ’Gainst thine own life. ’Neath that terrific shock
        Thy great heart broke! The eye that Morton charmed
        Burst with its grief-flood like the Prophet’s rock.
        Cold, callous wordlings, do not Blanca mock.
        Her fault was generous--that she loved too much.
        Not long did Anguish at her bosom knock.
        Like Indian brides when Death their lords doth clutch,
      She died in the same hour. Grief killed her with a touch!


XXXV.

        Cantabrian maidens, sisters of the oar,
        Mourn, mourn for her your Cynosure and pride.
        Her star-like eye shall guide your chase no more,
        Your glory fled from earth when Blanca died!
        In vain your barks shall o’er the billows ride;
        Her beauty gave the sunshine most ye miss.
        So graceful ne’er again your fleet shall glide;
        Nor waves your prows so joyously shall kiss.
      For Nereus ne’er surveyed a daughter fair as this!


XXXVI.

        Mourn, San Sebastian, for the beauty blighted
        Of her your angel-child in by-gone years.
        Your eyes no more shall by her charms delighted
        Recal celestial dreams to chase your fears.
        And, Isidora too, be shed thy tears,
        Or hoarded for thyself whom danger girds.
        Thy foster-sister memory now endears
        Alone, with thought of gentle deeds and words.
      For ye were severed long, poor caged and sundered birds!


XXXVII.

        And, England, mourn for him the youthful Chief,
        Whose noble promise Death hath there struck down,
        Survived by Blanca for a moment brief,
        And followed soon beneath the rampart’s frown.
        Oh, perished there young Love and young Renown,
        And budding Glory in the path of arms.
        Mourn for the brave who fell before the town,
        Nor least for Morton, first ’mid War’s alarms
      To prove the patriot glow the Briton’s heart that warms.


XXXVIII.

        Still roars the thunder-storm--Day wears the gloom
        Of Night’s black canopy, and wears it well.
        That pall o’erspreads more horrors than the tomb;
        Beneath its folds are done the deeds of Hell!
        And chiefs who seek the demon strife to quell
        Are slaughtered by their men. Drunk volunteers,
        Mad soldiers, vile camp-followers, knaves who swell
        The array of War, and know nor shame nor fears,
      A plundering pathway hew thro’ havoc, blood, and tears.


XXXIX.

        Still roars the volleying thunder. Dost not feel
        Appalled, thou villain, by that lightning-flash,
        Nor dream when brandishing thy dripping steel,
        That crimes like thine the Eternal arm will lash?
        Doth not that thunder-clap thine eye abash?
        For not more fell was Attila than thou;
        Not Alaric’s self, whose Visigothic clash
        Made Spain and Rome, beneath Honorius, bow,
      Led monsters to the assault of much more shameless brow.


XL.

        Such are War’s lessons--such the hideous brood
        Spawned by the Passions in the hour of strife;
        Such the dire Madness fed by scent of blood,
        Where plunder tempts and sullying gold is rife,
        Wine fires each appetite and whets the knife;
        Dissolved the bands of Discipline, the mould
        Of duty broke, restored barbarian life;
        Honour and Valour both to Rapine sold.
      Look here, Ambition, here: thy handiwork behold!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO VI.


The incidents of the first part of this Canto are derived in common
from Napier, Jones, and Gleig. The tearing down of the Tricolor,
which I have assigned to Nial, must be historically attributed to
the real performer of this bold exploit.

“The French colours on the cavalier were torn away by Lieutenant
Gethin of the eleventh regiment.”--Napier, _Hist._ book xxii. chap.
2.

The magnificent achievement of maintaining for a considerable
period a fire from our whole artillery, against the curtain wall,
over the heads of the storming party, is thus coldly, but (on the
whole) accurately, described by General Jones:--“From the superior
height of the curtain, the artillery in the batteries on the right
of the Urumea, were able to keep up a fire on that part during the
assault, without injury to the troops at the foot of the breach,
and being extremely well served, it occasioned a severe loss to the
enemy, and probably caused the explosion which led to the final
success of the assault.” The General’s coldness is owing to the
departure from the rules of art, and to the contempt of the maxims
of “Marshal Vauban, who had served and directed at fifty sieges,”
as he triumphantly describes him. Vauban’s maxim was certainly
not British: “At a siege never attempt any thing by open force,
which can be obtained by labour and art.” Gen. Jones is incorrect
in stating that the fire on the curtain was “without injury to
the troops.” Napier says: “A sergeant of the ninth regiment was
killed by the batteries close to his commanding officer, and it is
probable that other casualties also had place.” _Hist._ book xxii.
chap. 2.

The impassable chasm beyond the breach is thus described by
Jones: “At the back of the whole of the rest of the breach was a
perpendicular wall, from fifteen to twenty-five feet in depth.”
(_Journals of Sieges_, Sup. Chap.) He thus describes the advance
of the Portuguese column: “Five hundred Portuguese, in two
detachments, forded the river Urumea near its mouth, in a very
handsome style, under a heavy fire of grape and musketry.” (Jones,
_Journals of Sieges_, Sup. Chap.) This does not quite do justice to
the gallantry of the party. “When the soldiers reached the middle
of the stream,” says Napier, “a heavy gun struck on the head of
the column with a shower of grape; the havoc was fearful, but the
survivors closed and moved on. A second discharge from the same
piece tore the ranks from front to rear, still the regiment moved
on.”--_Hist._ book xxii. c. 2.

The following account is from Gleig’s _Subaltern_:--

“Things had continued in this state for nearly a quarter of
an hour, when Major Snodgrass, at the head of the thirteenth
Portuguese regiment, dashed across the river by his own ford, and
assaulted the lesser breach. This attack was made in the most cool
and determined manner, but here, too, the obstacles were almost
insurmountable; nor is it probable that the place would have been
carried at all but for a measure adopted by General Graham, such
as has never perhaps been adopted before. Perceiving that matters
were almost desperate, he had recourse to a desperate remedy, and
ordered our own artillery to fire upon the breach. Nothing could be
more exact or beautiful than this practice. Though our men stood
only about two feet below the breach, scarcely a single ball from
the guns of our batteries struck amongst them, whilst all told
with fearful exactness among the enemy. The fire had been kept
up only a few minutes, when all at once an explosion took place
such as drowned every other noise, and apparently confounded, for
an instant, the combatants on both sides. A shell from one of
our mortars had exploded near the train which communicated with
a quantity of gunpowder placed under the breach. This mine the
French had intended to spring as soon as our troops should have
made good their footing or established themselves on the summit,
but the fortunate accident just mentioned anticipated them. It
exploded whilst 300 grenadiers, the élite of the garrison, stood
over it; and instead of sweeping the storming party into eternity,
it only cleared a way for their advance. It was a spectacle as
appalling and grand as the imagination can conceive, the sight of
that explosion. The noise was more awful than any which I have ever
heard before or since, whilst a bright flash, instantly succeeded
by a smoke so dense as to obscure all vision, produced an effect
upon those who witnessed it such as no powers of language are
adequate to describe. Such, indeed, was the effect of the whole
occurrence, that for perhaps half a minute after not a shot was
fired on either side. Both parties stood still to gaze upon the
havoc which had been produced! insomuch, that a whisper might
have caught your ear for a distance of several yards. The state
of stupefaction into which they were at first thrown did not,
however, last long with the British troops. As the smoke and dust
of the ruins cleared away, they beheld before them a space empty
of defenders, and they instantly rushed forward to occupy it.
Uttering an appalling shout, the troops sprang over the dilapidated
parapet, and the rampart was their own. Now then began all those
maddening scenes which are witnessed only in a storm, of flight and
slaughter, and parties rallying only to be broken and dispersed,
till finally, having cleared the works to the right and left, the
soldiers poured down into the town.”

It is nearly incredible, and certainly not very creditable, that
General Jones in his detailed account of the siege and storming of
San Sebastian, says not one word of the horrible excesses which
our soldiers there committed. Some men’s notions of history do not
differ very widely from the concoction of a political pamphlet.
Napier’s history abounds with frank admission and reprobation
of these horrors. I find a distinct allusion to them almost at
its very commencement: “No wild horde of Tartars ever fell with
more license upon their rich effeminate neighbours, than did the
English troops upon the Spanish towns taken by storm.”--_Hist. War
Penins._ i. 5.

The part which the Portuguese took in this assault was sufficiently
creditable to make quite unnecessary the boasting spirit which
disfigures their national literature. It abounds in the great work
of their greatest poet. Thus, for instance:--

      Que os muitos por ser poucos não temamos;
      O que despois mil vezes amostramos.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ viii. 36.


“We don’t fear many because we are few, which we have shown a
thousand times!” And in the previous stanza he relates that
“seventeen Lusitanians, being attacked by 400 Castilians (desasete
Lusitanos subidos de quatro centos Castelhanos), not only defended
themselves, but offended their adversaries!!”

      Que não só se defendem, mas offendem!

This ridiculous boasting and inane swagger, which was a vice in
the Portuguese blood in the days of Camóens, exists unchanged to
the present hour, and has been disgustingly manifested in a piece
called “Magriço” lately selected for the opening of the National
Theatre at Lisbon, in which Spaniards and Englishmen are alike
insulted. “We are not accustomed to count numbers!” was a sentiment
vehemently applauded in this piece. Let the Portuguese not deceive
themselves by an imagined resemblance to their forefathers; and if
their historical recollections are glorious, let them endeavour
practically to revive them. They should remember that it is little
more than a century since their entire army ran away from the
Spaniards and French at Almanza, and left their English, Dutch, and
German auxiliaries in the lurch.


  I.      “Upon the Chofre stood the dauntless Graham,
           And marked the slaughter with determined eye.”

      Mas luego que los fija en el cercano
      Altisimo torreon, bramando en ira
      Jura rendir el enemigo muro
      En general asalto y choque duro.
                      Campo-redondo, _Las Armas de Aragon en Oriente_.

  “Full fifty cannon streaming death on high.”

              ----Le macchine ...
      A cui non abbia la città riparo.
                          Tasso, Ger. _Lib._ iii. 74.


  IV.      “What were thy triumphs, Greece, on Elis’ plain?”

      Sunt quibus Elææ concurrit palma quadrigæ.
                          Propert. l. iii. Eleg. 9.

      ἐμὲ δ’ ἐπὶ ταχυτά-
      των πόρευσον ἁρμάτων
      ἐς Ἆλιν, κράτει δὲ πέλασον.
                          Pind. _Olymp._ i.

“Carry me on swiftest chariots to Elis, and bear me to Victory!”

  “Olympian dust Alpheus’ margin strewing.”

      μηκέθ’ ἁλίου σκόπει
      ἄλλο θαλπνότερον
      ἐν ἁμέρᾳ φαεινὸν ἄστρον
      μήδ’ Ὀλυμπίας ἀγῶνα
      φέρτερον αὐδάσομεν:
                          Pind. _Olymp._ i.

“Deem no shining star greater than the Sun, nor contest more
excellent than the Olympian games.”

  “Of statues for the Altis sculptors hewing.”

                  Διὸς ἄλκιμος
      υἱὸς, σταθμᾶτο ζάθεον ἄλσος
      πατρὶ μεγίστω· περὶ δὲ πάξας,
      Ἄλτιν μὲν ὅγ’ ἐν καθαρῷ
      διέκρινε.
                          Pind. _Olymp._ x.

“The stalwart son of Jove measured out a grove divine to the
mightiest Father, and hedged it round, and the Altis he set apart
in that sacred place.” Pindar thus attributes the foundation of
the Olympic games to Hercules, who was more popular than Jupiter
himself amongst his Heraclidan audience; and a few lines before
he alludes to his conquest of Elis, on whose plain these games
were subsequently celebrated, “μυχοῖς ἅμμενον Ἄλιδος;” Hercules
having led thither an army from Tiryns, the first walled city upon
record. The sacred grove to which Pindar above refers contained the
temple of Olympian Jove, and the statues erected to the conquerors
in the games. The τρισολυμπιονῖκαι, or those who had been thrice
victorious, had their εἰκόνες in marble thus set, and copied
exactly from their members, which were thus in some degree deified.
(Plin. lib. 34, cap. 3.) And Aristotle, in his _Ethics_, lib. 7, c.
6, says that the Olympian conquerors were called “ἀνθρώπους” κατ’
ἐξοχὴν, as if they alone were worthy of the name!


  X.      “And sulphurous fires the bastioned bulwarks tear
           Like rags asunder!”

      --Καὶ στεφάνωμα πύργων
      Πευκάενθ’ Ἥφαιστον ἑλεῖν.
      Τοῖος ἀμφὶ νῶτ’ ἐτάθη
      Πάταγος Ἄρεος.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 122.

“And pitchy Vulcan seized our loftiest towers; dire was the din of
Mars that rose from behind.”

  “And rush the stormers in with lustiest British cheers.”

“In the Peninsula, the sudden deafening shout, rolling over a field
of battle, more full and terrible than that of any other nation,
and followed by the strong unwavering charge, often startled and
appalled a French column, before whose fierce and vehement assault
any other troops would have given way.”--Napier, _Hist. War in the
Penins._ book xxiv. c. 6.


  XIV.      “Oh, Rank and Dignity! I saw two flies.”

“They wonder how any man should be so much taken with the glaring,
doubtful lustre of a jewel or stone, that can look up to a star,
or to the sun itself; or how any should value himself because his
cloth is made of a finer thread; for, how fine soever that thread
may be, it was once no better than the fleece of a sheep, and that
sheep was a sheep still for all its wearing it. They wonder much to
hear that gold, which in itself is so useless a thing, should be
every where so much esteemed that even man, for whom it was made,
and by whom it has its value, should yet be thought of less value
than it is; so that a man of lead, who has no more sense than a
log of wood, and is as bad as he is foolish, should have many wise
and good men serving him, only because he has a great heap of that
metal; and if it should so happen that by some accident, or trick
of law, which does sometimes produce as great changes as chance
itself, all this wealth should pass from the master to the meanest
varlet of his whole family, he himself would very soon become one
of his servants, as if he were a thing that belonged to his wealth,
and so were bound to follow its fortune. But they do much more
admire and detest their folly who, when they see a rich man, though
they neither owe him anything, nor are in any sort obnoxious to
him, yet merely because he is rich, they give him little less than
divine honours; even though they know him to be so covetous and
base-minded that, notwithstanding all his wealth, he will not part
with one farthing of it to them as long as he lives.”--Sir Thomas
More, _Utopia_, book ii. Bishop Burnet’s Translation.


  XVII.      “Thus to Achilles’ arms the maid restored.”

Untouched “quoad Agamemnona.” The epithet of Homer is ἀπροτίμαστος.
Il. xix.


  XVIII.      “Afonso, Avíz, Nun’ Alvares, &c.”

The exploits of all these worthies will be found recorded in my
“Ocean Flower.”


  XIX.      “Not thy Fidalgos--withered boughs, I ween.”

Mina never would suffer an Hidalgo to join his band--himself a
peasant by birth, and thoroughly despising the “higher orders.”
From this general censure of the Fidalgo class, the Conde de
Amarante, the Marquis de Saldanha, the present Conde de Villareal
and Duke of Terceira, who served with distinction in the Peninsular
War, are exceptions. The defence of the bridge of Amarante,
from which the first-named Conde received his title, was a most
brilliant exploit.


  XXI.      “No, not more vain Antæus’ self to pierce.”

See Pindar’s first Nemeonic, and Lucan, lib. iv.

  “Whose hissing heads struck off, still heads more grim, &c.”

      Non Hydra secto corpore firmior
      Vinci dolentem crevit in Herculem.
                          Horat. _Carm._ iv. 4.


  XXV.      “Oh, sacred source of sympathetic tears!”

The “δακρυων πηγαι,” the “sacri fontes lachrymarum,” which even
amongst enlightened Heathens seem to have been more regarded than
by many modern Christians.


  XXVI.      “The Imperial Boar.”

Diocletian.


  XXIX.      “By that _majestic_ Faith, &c.”

Such is the force of the Saint’s name, Σεβαστὸς.


  XXXII.      “Her heart transpierces, falls, and dies upon his corse.”

      --Καλὸν μοὶ τοῦτο ποιούσῃ θανεῖν.
      Φίλη μετ’ αὐτοῦ κείσομαι, φίλου μέτα.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 72.

“It will be my glory thus to die. Loving I will lie by the side of
my beloved!”


  XL.      “Dissolved the bands of discipline, the mould
            Of duty broke, restored barbarian life.”

      Ναυτικὸν στράτευμ’, ἄναρχον, κᾴπὶ τοῖς κακοῖς θρασὺ,
      Χρήσιμον δ’ ὅταν θέλωσιν.
                          Eurip. _Iphig. in Aul._ 914.

“An army come in ships, anarchical, and ferocious for evil deeds,
but useful when it pleases.” A very close description of our San
Sebastian heroes--written more than two thousand years since! I
stood in September last upon the Chofre hills, on the very spot
whence Graham directed the fearful cannonade, and subsequently
beneath the branch where our gallant fellows entered, and in the
recollection of their bravery could readily forget the tales of
horror which I heard from Spaniards, who retain a more vivid memory
of misdeeds, than of the most magnificent services.

I saw with little admiration the mediocre picture of San Sebastian
over the high altar in the cathedral, and when I subsequently
beheld the glorious picture of the same saint by Guido in the
museum at Madrid, I sincerely regretted that the latter is not
substituted for the former--a measure which would be well worthy an
enlightened government.



IBERIA WON.

Canto VII.


I.

        Close by the wall the grave Salustian held
        ’Mongst noblest citizens his fair abode;
        And while its dirge the cannon hourly knelled,
        And red-limbed Slaughter through the city strode,
        And Havoc on the thunder-tempest rode,
        One only care Salustian’s bosom knew,
        One sole solicitude his mind could load--
        To shield his lovely daughters from the view
      Of demons shaped like men who Ismail’s scenes renew!


II.

        Fair as the Morn and blooming as the rose,
        Graceful as lily waves its slender stem,
        Sweet as the breeze that o’er the violet blows,
        Pure as the light of Sheba’s diadem!
        Soft was her eye, yet sparkled as a gem,
        Large, black, and lustrous. Gentle, loved by all--
        The poor devoted kist her garment’s hem;
        The rich admired, nor Envy’s shafts could fall
      On one so angel-good, of form majestical.


III.

        As shines the Moon so Isidora shone
        ’Mid circling maze of many a bright compeer;
        Or like the Star that heralds in the dawn,
        Dimming the lustre of each splendour near.
        Her glance could like Heaven’s dewiest sunbeam cheer,
        Her smile was music and her step a song,
        Her voice as Ariel’s flute was soft and clear.
        A glory streamed around her, giant-strong,
      As robed in Beauty’s pride she queenly walked along.


IV.

        A sister by her side as graceful grew
        In opening Woman’s sweetness. Isabel
        Seemed as a rosebud gathering ere it blew
        All forms of Beauty that divinely fell
        From full-blown flower that on the spray so well
        Beside her bloomed. ’Neath Isidora’s pure
        Example as a mother’s she doth dwell.
        Her step was faëry light, her laugh would lure
      The coldest heart, her eye more dark with glances Moor.


V.

        And Isidora loved a noble youth,
        Worthy of _her_--I ween that few be they;
        And honour, valour, virtue, manhood, truth,
        Combined in Carlos--noble every way.
        No step more free than his--none sang the lay
        Of Vascongada bold with richer voice.
        His, his the sword that, flashing midst the fray,
        Had Blanca saved, whose foster-sister’s choice
      Gladdened her sire and made the general heart rejoice.


VI.

        Oh Love, oh wedded Love, of life the balm,
        Deep-anchored safety, haven sure of bliss.
        No passion-storms disturb thy blessed calm,
        No perfect joy hath Earth to show but this!
        Thine for true hearts the chaste yet rapturous kiss,
        Thine deathless sympathy through Life’s brief span,
        Through cloud and sunshine--thine, when serpents hiss,
        The dove’s pure breast. Self mars e’en Friendship’s plan;
      And _thou_ the sole true friend and confident of Man!


VII.

        Yet long in secret nourished was the flame,
        Ere either had declared it--ere ’twas known,
        Save by themselves, to aught that bore their name.
        The rapturous joy more rapture gave alone.
        From eye to eye had Love in glances flown,
        In whispered cadence dew delicious shed.
        A stolen pressure of the hand, a tone
        Unheard save by one ear, a language dead
      To all save lovers--strains like this their passion fed:--


Song of the Balcony.

1.

      Upraise thy dark mantilla’s edge,
        And shrink not like a fawn away;
      But near the balconcillo’s ledge
        Move for Sant’ Anna’s love, I pray;
      And bend, oh, bend those glorious eyes
        Upon thy slave once more, once more;
      For streams no star from yon blue skies
              I would as soon adore!


2.

      Encantadora! All is hushed;
        In deep repose our kinsmen sleep;
      Tears from these streaming lids have gushed,
        In rapture that your tryst you keep.
      Ah! must I never throb more nigh
        Than at our casements’ sundered height,
      Nor steal this distant glimpse of joy
              But in the depth of night!


3.

      _Pordiez!_ I would I were a bird,
        To glide on air beside thy charms,
      To press thy lip at every word,
        To fold thee in my longing arms!
      Oh, yes, by yon star-spangled, soft,
        Unutterable depth of blue,
      I swear, as I have murmured oft,
              To live and die for you!


4.

      Within thy balcon’s dusky sphere
        Thou gleamest like an orient pearl;
      At times I doubt what form is near,
        An angel or my angel girl!
      Put coyly forth thy beauteous head,
        Lest stars grow dim, and Dian pale;
      Nor let thy voice its music shed;
              To wake they could not fail!


5.

      Upraise thy dark mantilla’s edge,
        And shrink not like a fawn away;
      But near the balconcillo’s ledge
        Move for Sant’ Anna’s love, I pray.
      And bend, oh bend, those glorious eyes
        Upon thy slave once more, once more;
      For streams no star from yon blue skies
              I would as soon adore!


VIII.

        Yet sighs one more for Isidora’s charms;
        Love’s treasure seldom without Envy shines.
        And even when Carlos clasps her in his arms
        In visioned bliss, another secret pines.
        Fate scowling terrible his bulwark mines,
        And comes the blow from evilest-omened hand.
        Nor Carlos nor his rival yet divines
        Their mutual secret. Blindfold thus they stand,
      Till Hate in anguished hour whirls high his flaming brand.


IX.

        ’Twas starry midnight lone, when Carlos soft
        ’Neath Isidora’s open lattice stole,
        And gently touching his guitar, as oft,
        In strains melodious poured his melting soul.
        Even when his deepest cadenced transports roll,
        An iron hand his shoulder seized--another
        Held high the gleaming dagger, to its goal
        Next instant plunged it. Blood the voice doth smother
      Of Carlos--he looks up--and sees, oh God, a brother!


X.

        ’Twas Jealousy--the scourge of Southern breasts--
        Made an unconscious Cain--for deep and true
        Fraternal love their bosoms both invests,
        And maniac-like the assassin instant grew,
        And tore his hair--and raved--then gibbering flew,
        Like Clytemnestra’s son by Furies driven.
        Long Carlos crimson lay and dead to view;
        With morning’s breath a glimpse of life was given,
      And faint his cry was raised for bounteous aid to Heaven.


XI.

        What cry too faint to reach the ear of love?
        Through Isidora’s casement pierced his moan,
        When Morn’s first beam Pyrene rose above,
        And roused her faithful heart with plaintive tone.
        Another cry--to the casement she hath flown.
        Oh, sight of agony--her lover lies
        Blood-boltered at her feet! With groan on groan
        His breast Apollo-like doth heave and rise,
      And ghastly pale his cheek, and glaring white his eyes.


XII.

        With one wild shriek of agony she fell
        Upon the floor the casement-ledge beside;
        And swooned so deep, that but for Isabel
        Close within earshot, aidless she had died.
        But reached that voice, so piteously it cried,
        Salustian’s inmost soul, and called him forth
        With Aya, handmaids, servitors, who tried
        Full many a remedy in vain:--“Wo worth
      “The day that gave, my child, this frantic terror birth!”


XIII.

        She oped her eyes, and shuddered slightly--gave
        A feeble cry--and uttered Carlos’ name;
        Then toward the window glanced, as if to crave
        Assistance--sad yet sweet her breathing came--
        Then sobs and tears--then sparkling dewy flame,
        Her eyes such passion showed as angels feel.
        “Carlos--the window!” she doth now exclaim.
        Both eye and tongue love’s mystery reveal--
      And Carlos soon they find--through _her_, too, past the steel!


XIV.

        Long Carlos fluttering lay ’twixt life and death,
        But what could Isidora’s balm exclude,
        Her dewy fingers’ pressure, violet breath,
        Her tender care, and sweet solicitude?
        And day by day his growing cure she viewed
        Spring ’neath her hand like rarest, frailest flower,
        Till the fresh hues of health again exude
        Through every pore, and young love’s blooming dower
      Glows o’er his rounded cheek, like rose for Beauty’s bower.


XV.

        And where is he--the Fratricide? Within
        A gloomy convent cloistered, gowned, and shorn,
        He strives to curb his passion, shrive his sin--
        Against all world-communion deeply sworn.
        Yet Isidora’s image oft is borne
        Through twilight of the cell before his eye,
        Maddening his heart untamed, despairing, lorn;
        And though the day of Carlos’ bridal’s nigh,
      In hopeless passion’s thrall that monk will changeless die.


XVI.

        Now, had they _not_ been brothers of the womb!--
        I saw two emmets fight with dire intent,
        As nought could slake their vengeance but the tomb--
        As each the other’s head had joyous rent,
        And gnawed like Ugolino. Why thus bent
        On slaughter? For a grain of chaff the strife;
        I thought of human blood inglorious spent
        In private feud for straws with quarrel rife,
      And deadly weapons aimed at God’s best gift of life!


XVII.

        But, hark! the din of slaughter; hark! the scream
        Of virgin innocence and matron shame.
        Of Spain’s defenders see the bayonets gleam,
        And lust and plunder the defender’s aim!
        Yet haply share not all nor most the blame.
        A band of ruffians, vilest scum of War,
        By deeds inglorious, crimes without a name,
        Sully the brightest rays of Victory’s star,
      And send their crimes to blaze with Valour’s fame afar.


XVIII.

        Frantic with fear for _her_--his only fear,
        Rushed Carlos quick to Isidora’s side;
        And when the plunderers villain-eyed drew near,
        Barred all Salustian’s house, the horde defied,
        And with good rifle to their threats replied.
        Long was the contest, oft their firelocks flashed,
        But Carlos gaily cheered his destined bride;
        And, foiled, the band for rapine further dashed,
      But swearing dire revenge, their teeth like tigers gnashed.


XIX.

        “Away, away, my life, my love, my joy!
        “_Querida_, thou must find secure retreat.
        “My peace ’twill, by my father’s dust, destroy,
        “If e’er thy charms these rabid dogs should meet.
        “_Por Díos_, with steel I will the monsters greet!”
        With many a gentle word and heavenly smile
        Replied his Isidora, angel-sweet.
        Now fell the night, and blazed full many a pile,
      And Charles for his adored a shelter sought the while.


XX.

        To Santiago’s shrine Don Carlos bore
        Salustian and his daughters pale with dread.
        A mighty crowd hath filled with life the floor,
        And loveliest of them all the maid he led.
        Ah, lily cheeks and lips that Beauty fled
        At peril’s aspect, colourless were there,
        And vows were made at many an altar red
        With blood from wounded victims of despair,
      And through the Temple rose a wailing voice of prayer.


XXI.

        Sudden was heard the appalling cry of--“Fire!”
        One moment mortal terror hushed each heart;
        The next, outburst a shriek of anguish dire,
        For flashed the Demon red o’er every part.
        The crackling flames across each window dart,
        And cast a lurid glare o’er faces pale
        With dread, or screaming till their eyeballs start
        Wild, frantic, terrible. The bravest quail,
      For, ah, so dense the crowd no means of ’scape avail.


XXII.

        “Fire” “Fire!”--the cry of agony again
        More shrill ascended--“_ay!_” and “_u!_” the scream;
        And women clapt their hands, and hoarsely men
        Implored, and piercing shrieks of children stream
        Far o’er the tumult to the topmost beam
        Of that tall Gothic pile. As in some vast
        Disastrous shipwreck, howling winds do seem
        With roaring waves to struggle fierce and fast,
      And cries of drowning men are mingled with the blast.


XXIII.

        Then rushed the crowd, by instinct furious borne
        Of life preserving, like the Ocean surge
        Towards the great entrance. Trodden down and torn
        Was every weaker form, and frantic urge
        The merciless hale who fly that fiery scourge;
        And heaving to and fro they cried to Heaven,
        Still vainly seeking instant to emerge,
        Till barriers of the sanctuary were riven,
      And to the altar-front the trembling priests were driven.


XXIV.

        Now onward rolls the mass, till near the door
        More fiercely violent grows the maddened throng
        With sight of safety. Hundreds strew the floor
        Crushed, bruised, and trampled. O’er the weak the strong
        Unpitying stride, and dying shrieks the wrong
        With vain reproof attest of selfish man.
        But Carlos bore like Hercules along
        His Isidor with strength that all outran;
      Grasped Isabel his waist--the outer wall they scan.


XXV.

        “Now had I known,” the grave Salustian cried,
        “That thus the stranger would have Spain defended,
        I sooner, by my fathers’ bones, had died,
        Than Leon’s fate with Albion thus have blended.
        For vain the seas of treasure, blood expended,
        If fire and sword our homes and hearths assail.
        The standard joint I raised, yet now would rend it.
        While England’s lions roar, Castile may wail
      Her lions mute; ’tis shrieks are borne upon the gale!”


XXVI.

        It was a blessed thought--so Carlos deemed;
        A chamber high in the Cathedral tower
        His love might harbour while ferocious gleamed
        The eye of Rapine. Rude for lady’s bower
        Was this abode, where oft huge bells of power
        Swung loud, but who may choose in scenes like these?
        Cloak and sombrero thrown o’er Beauty’s flower
        Disguised the form which, ah! too well could please,
      And Carlos guided well their path through danger’s seas.


XXVII.

        At deepest night the blaze of burning streets
        With horrid gleam doth light like Hell the town;
        The lurid glare its fit reflection meets,
        Where many a stream of blood runs crimson down!
        Ferocious yell and savage war-whoop crown
        The pile of dire disaster. Anguished screams
        Of terror shrill the roaring noises drown.
        Shrieks turn to groaning where the bayonet gleams,
      And murdered Sleep wakes wild from sanguinary dreams.


XXVIII.

        The tower is reached--quivers with rage suppressed
        Don Carlos’ lip--Salustian’s cheek is pale,
        And pants fair Isidora’s fluttering breast,
        Like linnet o’er whose nest kites sharp-beaked sail.
        Well might that night of horrors make thee quail,
        Daughter of Vascongada! Rent the air,
        Till morning dawned nor ceased ev’n then, the wail
        Of hopeless Anguish where the voice of Prayer
      Was choked, and shriek on shriek gave utterance to Despair.


XXIX.

        “Here sit, my children,” grave Salustian said,
        “While Spain’s disasters from their primal source
        I briefly trace, and ’midst these horrors dread
        Relief pursue by patriot discourse;
        For at each shriek my voice doth lose its force,
        And highest deeds recounting may sustain
        The fainting spirit. Ah! my throat is hoarse,
        And parched my lips with heat--to speak yet fain--
      Would I had never lived to see this day for Spain!


XXX.

        “Five years have past--thou dost remember well,
        ’Twas when thou first didst braid thy raven hair,
        My Isidor, as now doth Isabel--
        Five wretched years--and both have grown so fair!
        Since first this Meteor who the earth doth scare
        With blood-red beams--this dire Napoléon--
        O’er Spain began to cast his lurid glare,
        Covet her lovely sky and radiant sun,
      And try how much could first by treacherous fraud be won.


XXXI.

        “Dire was the ruin by Corruption’s hand
        Shed on our ancient monarchy. Her men
        Were noble still and worthy of the land,
        Whose blood hath poured in every mountain-glen
        From Calpe to Asturia’s rudest den,
        ’Gainst warlike Moor contending. But her Kings
        Unworthy most beneath dominion’s ken
        To hold so proud a people--timorous things--
      Crawled ’neath a favourite’s sway, or crouched ’neath churchmen’s
            wings.


XXXII.

        “Corruption fills the Court--the Grandé taints--
        The Judge perverts to more pervert the law,
        Gives Demon-forms of hate the guise of Saints,
        And Freedom flings to Persecution’s maw.
        The Holy Office Hell delighted saw!
        Divine Religion! man’s best, purest gift,
        Thou only gem that shines without a flaw!
        Star, from whose ray withdrawn we chartless drift,
      A Gorgon thou wast made, a Moloch spear didst lift!


XXXIII.

        “And Man was told to love where forced to hate,
        And saw his fairest fields partitioned forth
        To Nobles--so miscalled--by robbery great,
        Whose phantom title was ancestral worth,
        Their own sole merit accident of birth!
        Heart-bitterness and worming discontent
        Made all the land--the loveliest upon earth--
        In sullen, fierce indifference bide till rent
      The Thunder-clouds, supine--and some on Vengeance bent.


XXXIV.

        “And patience, Heaven! while I pronounce the name
        Of him, the fellest monster of them all--
        Godoy who sold Iberia first to shame,
        And through her cold lips forced the cup of gall,
        Parted to France the Indian dower whose thrall
        Columbus won--even basely dared profane
        His monarch’s bed; and shadowing thus our fall,
        Napoléon gave a path to Lusitain
      O’er our dishonoured soil--those footsteps conquered Spain!


XXXV.

        “And secret treaties had the recreant drawn
        With Hell’s diplomacy our soil to carve;
        And Europe was to have seen ere Aries’ dawn
        The traitor’s self the sovereign of Algarve.
        Thus rulers traffic while the people starve!
        Perchance Gaul’s tyrant mocked him with the lure--
        A double traitor--base design to serve.
        Howe’er be this, his legions we endure
      Marched to the sister-land that erst expelled the Moor.


XXXVI.

        “Trembled blue Tagus when his waters saw
        A conqueror come unwounded to his shore;
        His curling wave, receding, he doth draw
        In violent scorn to where Almada o’er
        The Serra lords Lisboa’s towers before.
        Her soil that spurned the Invader quakes again,
        And gapes athirst for foreign tyrants’ gore.
        Indignant Tagus lashes it--in vain--
      Sinks o’er his golden sands, and sighing wears the chain.


XXXVII.

        “Where were thy men--where, Lusitain, were they?
        Entranced, appalled--with none to lead or guide.
        Thy coward Princes fled like hinds away--
        Thy caitiff Nobles crost the Ocean-tide.
        No sword in the Invader’s blood was dyed!
        Thy Chiefs and Patriarchs basely kist the rod;
        Thy sacred banner of Saint George the pride,
        Torn from his castled height o’erspread the sod,
      And Priests profane declared thy conquerors sent by God!


XXXVIII.

        “Spain next a victim! Foulest treachery seized
        Her fortress-castles--to the frontier drew
        Her Princes whose domestic feuds it pleased
        The Invader to foment, as Hell might do!
        His legions marched--for patriots then were few--
        To Manzanarés’ banks; our aged King
        The Usurper made pronounce his last adieu,
        And caged his Heir--a poor and mindless thing--
      But Spain her talons ground, and imped her soaring wing!


XXXIX.

        “Oh, many a murder marked that foreign sway,
        And many a shriek appalling rent the air.”--
        He ceased an instant--thus while he did say,
        Their ears were smote by cries of deep despair.
        Rushed Carlos to the door, but held him there
        Salustian, Isidora, Isabel.
        He shook with passion, till his mistress fair
        With gentlest pressure strove his rage to quell;
      Then snatched a ghittern--thus he struck the tuneful shell:--


The Tartar Town.

1.

      ’Tis foully done to wrong the Basque;
        No nobler man than he.
      A desert-child, a Tartar wild,
        He once was more than free.


2.

      He ne’er to Tyrants bowed the neck,
        Nor stooped to slavish task.
      The King of Spain, if he would reign,
        Must doff before the Basque.


3.

      His lordly Fuéros prove his worth,
        Bequeathed from sire to son.
      Hidalgos proud, the Vascon crowd
        Are noble every one.


4.

      No other land the heir-loom grand
        Of Vascongada claims.
      Each earthly shore must vail before
        The nobler Vascon names.


5.

      No blood of Christ-beslaughtering Jew,
        No Moorish taint we own;
      But God’s own gold--the Christians Old,
        ’Tis we be they alone!


6.

      O’er stately Kings our triumph rings--
        ’Tis thus we spoke to them,
      Low kneeling down, or ere the crown
        Possest this sparkling gem:


7.

      Our bonnets worn, in lordly scorn,
        The Monarch kneeling bare:--
      “We great as you, more powerful too,
        “Our King we you declare.


8.

      “Our rights and liberties to guard,
        “We make thee King and Lord,
      “To be allowed our Fuéros proud;
        “If not--then No’s the word!”


9.

      And still when San Sebastian ran
        To take the King to task,
      Or treat with him for life or limb,
        He doffed him to the Basque!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO VII.


For the incidents connected with Napoléon’s invasion of Portugal
and Spain, and for the state of both monarchies at that period,
the reader is referred to Napier’s and Southey’s Histories of the
Peninsular War, and (with the necessary caution in the perusal) to
Thiers’s _Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire_. I have endeavoured
to adhere as closely to historical truth as the nature of poetical
composition would permit. My residence in both Peninsular
countries, since they were visited either by Southey or Napier, has
enabled me to add some additional particulars, derived from sources
exhibited of late years, which tend to throw fresh light upon these
transactions.

The Emperor commenced with the invasion of Portugal, for various
reasons, of which the chief was probably that, as there was no
family alliance between France and Portugal, as between France
and Spain, an injustice done to the former country would be less
shocking and startling to the common feelings of mankind. That
Napoléon himself regarded an invasion of Spain in that light is
evident from a remarkable expression which he used in conversation
with his aide-de-camp, Savary:--“I am always afraid of a change
of which I do not see the scope: the best plan of all would be to
avoid a war with Spain, it would be a kind of _Sacrilege_ (he used
the expression); but I shall not shrink from making it.”--Thiers,
_Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire_.

When Junot entered Lisbon, the old Queen of Portugal was mad, and
the Prince Regent possessed no vigour of character to supply the
sovereign’s intellectual deficiencies. These were supposed to be
in great measure chargeable upon the superstitious terrors with
which her head had been filled by Dom José Maria de Mello, Bishop
of Algarve and Grand Inquisitor of the Kingdom. Influenced partly
by fear of Junot, and partly by the popular discontent with the
fugitive government, (for the entire Royal family and Court of
Portugal fled to Brazil the moment it was ascertained that Junot
was on his march close to Lisbon, and left the poor miserable
country to shift for itself,) the principal ecclesiastics of the
kingdom, with a subserviency too characteristic of that order
in every country, worshipped the rising sun, and lavished their
despicable incense upon Junot and Napoléon. Cardinal Mendoza,
the Patriarch of Lisbon, issued a pastoral sounding the praises
of “the man whom past ages had been unable to divine, the man of
prodigies, the Great Emperor whom God had called to establish the
happiness of nations!” At the voice of this reverend Prince of
the Church, the bishops and clergy, and in imitation of them the
civil magistrates, recommended it to the faithful and to the people
generally, as a binding civil and religious obligation, to receive
the French cordially and pay obedience to their General. This
language was especially noticeable in the mouth of the Inquisitor
General, since he had always been heard to profess principles of
the most diametrically opposite character. Against the “impious
revolutionists” of France he had been the first to fulminate his
censures. He had sought to re-establish _autos-da-fé_, in all
their original bloody ferocity, under the reign of his august but
crazy penitent. And at the commencement of the revolution he had
seriously proposed the excommunication of the French nation _en
masse_ by the dignified clergy of Portugal.

The concentration of Junot’s troops around Lisbon made the
reception of the French _régime_ a matter of little difficulty.
But it is not a little curious that the voice of old prophecy was
made to contribute to the same result. The Nostradamus of Portugal,
Bandarra, had predicted these changes as conformable to the will of
God, and the triumph of the imperial eagle of Napoléon might be
read in his prophetic quatrains. Curiously illustrative are these
details of the character of a people of whom it has (with some
exaggeration) been said that one half are waiting for the coming
of Dom Sebastian, and the other half for that of the Messiah. The
prophecy of Bandarra struck the nation with astonishment, and for
a time they regarded it as literally fulfilled. The closeness of
realization was certainly astounding. Gonzalo Annes Bandarra was a
poor cobbler of Trancoso in the district of Guarda, who composed
about the year 1540 some prophecies which have ever since obtained
great reputation in the country, amongst all classes. His _trovas_
or _redondilhas_ (rhymed quatrains) have been printed several
times, and in 1809 an edition was published at Barcelona. When the
French entered Lisbon in 1807, the event was found by the believers
in prophecy to be not only clearly predicted in Bandarra, but the
Imperial power to be precisely indicated, and the first letter of
the name of Napoléon, in the 17th and 18th quatrains of the third
prophetic dream, which are as follows:--

      “Ergue-se a Aguia imperial
      Com os seus filhos ao rabo,
      E com as unhas no cabo
      Faz o ninho em Portugal.
      Poe um A pernas acima,
      Tira--lhe a risca do meio,
      E por detraz lha arrima,
      Saberas quern te nomeio.”

“The Imperial Eagle rises, with his children at his tail, and with
his claws before him makes his nest in Portugal. Put an A with
its legs upside down; take away its middle bar, and put this bar
behind it. You will know him I name.” The coarseness of the wording
belongs to the era and to the popular literature of Portugal
generally. The N and the imperial eagle are made out perfectly. The
coincidence does not quite convince, but in the words of the hero
of the Gridiron story, “it is mighty remarkable!”

Junot proceeded to depose the Royal House of Portugal with the
coolest unconcern, and from the old Palace of the Inquisition,
where he established his Intendance Générale, and upon whose
ruins the new National Theatre has just been raised, he issued a
proclamation declaring that “the dynasty of Braganza had ceased
in Portugal!” Meanwhile Solano, a creature of Godoy’s, who had
accompanied Junot to Lisbon, was active on behalf of his infamous
master, whose obscure birth-place I lately saw at Badajoz, and
substituted in several public acts the name of the King of Spain
for that of the Prince Regent of Portugal. He created a Chief
Judge and a Superintendent of Finances, and both employments
were conferred upon Castilian subjects. Solano was the intimate
confident of the Prince of the Peace, and it is believed that it
was not without superior orders that he proceeded in these hasty
innovations. The future Sovereign of the Algarves, as designated
in the secret treaty with Napoléon, was so impatient to reign on
his own account that, if the reports which prevailed at the period
are to be believed, dollars were struck at the Madrid mint, bearing
upon one side the head of Godoy with the legend _Emmanuel primus
Algarviorum dux_, and on the other the ancient arms of the kingdom
of Algarve.

Shortly after his arrival Junot proceeded, as he phrased it,
“inaugurer avec éclat à Lisbonne le drapeau tricolore français.”
The Portuguese had previously received them as friends: this
outrage opened their eyes. It was on a Sunday; 6,000 men of all
arms were assembled in the great square of the Rocio, to be
reviewed by the General. Mid-day sounded. A salvo of artillery
resounded from the Castle of St. George, originally built by the
Moors. Every eye was turned towards these ancient walls, which
topple over the city somewhat like the Calton Hill at Edinburgh.
In an instant was seen to fall the standard of Portugal which
floated before on the loftiest tower of the Castle, while its
place was taken in another instant by a foreign flag surmounted
by the imperial eagle! To describe the outraged feelings of the
Portuguese, to paint their indignation and horror, is impossible.
Their loyalty and their national pride are almost the only virtues
which they retain. Their southern hatred was excited to terrific
intensity. Conceive what would be the feelings of veteran warriors,
who have dragged out the remnant of an existence spared by the
missiles and casualties of war, to see the flag beneath which
their blood has flowed insulted by its enemies. Some idea may
then be formed of the grief and rage which took possession of the
people of Lisbon. A torrent of bitterness deluged their souls. The
sacred standard which was thus supplanted was consecrated alike
by religious feelings and by secular remembrances of glory. It
had been given, according to popular belief, by Christ himself to
Afonso Henriques, the founder of the Monarchy, impressed by the
Redeemer with the marks of his Passion, for the five shields of the
conquered Moorish kings displayed on the Quinas were likewise said
to be typical of the Sacred Wounds, and with this other _labarum_
their new Constantine had been told to “go forth and conquer.”
“_Death to the French!_” was soon the cry, but the cannon and
paraded soldiery of Junot suppressed the insurrectionary movement.

The earthquake, stated in the text to have occurred at the period
of the French entry into Lisbon, is strictly historical. “Le
lendemain de l’entrée des Français on éprouva dans Lisbonne une
légère secousse de tremblement de terre, qui fit monter la mer
sur les quais.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre. Pénins._ liv. ii.) Junot
wrote thus impiously concerning this event to the Minister of War,
Clarke. “Les dieux sont pour nous; j’en tiens l’augure de ce, que
le tremblement de terre ne nous a annoncé que leur puissance sans
nous faire de mal!”

Napoléon’s treatment of Spain was not characterized by the same
daring recklessness, but by what must be regarded as unprincipled
profligacy. One of his own generals, Baron Foy, calls the Spanish
invasion “une traîtreuse usurpation.”--_Hist. Guerre. Pénins._ liv.
ii.

A Spanish army entered Portugal under Junot in 1807, with absurd
and astounding ignorance mistaking the English for enemies,
and the French for friends, to both Peninsular countries. The
Marquis del Socorro, who commanded this army, was the tool of the
infamous Godoy and the French, and it is thus he spoke of us in the
proclamation which he issued at Oporto. He declared his object to
be “de vous délivrer de la perfide domination et de la politique
ambitieuse des Anglais. * * Tous ensemble, nous vengerons les
outrages que la férocité traîtresse des Anglais a faits à toutes
les nations de l’Europe!”--Foy, _Histoire Guerre. Pénins._ liv. ii.
_pièces justificatives_.

The unsuspected testimony of Foy leaves the fearful iniquity of
Napoléon’s seizure of the principal fortresses of Spain beyond
dispute. “Il y eut,” says he, “dans les moyens par lesquels on
s’en rendit maître, un mélange de l’astuce des faibles et de
l’arrogance des forts. On n’employa que la ruse pour Pampelune
et Saint-Sébastien.” (liv. iii.) The following is his detailed
account of the seizure of these several fortresses:--The castle
of Montjuic at Barcelona was too difficult of approach for the
troops to reach it without being perceived. Duhesme went to the
Count d’Ezpeleta, Captain-General of the province: “My soldiers
occupy your citadel,” said he. “Open to me this instant the gates
of Montjuic; for the Emperor Napoléon has ordered me to place a
garrison in your fortresses. If you hesitate, I declare war against
Spain, and you will be responsible for the torrents of blood which
your resistance will have caused to flow.” The name of Napoléon
produced its accustomed effect. The Spanish General was aged and
timid, and the only instruction which his government had given him
was to avoid taking any step which might embroil them with France.
He resigned the keys of Montjuic, and General Duhesme became master
of Catalonia. Thus fell without striking a blow, into the power
of France, the largest city of the Spanish monarchy--a city which
a century before had struggled single-handed, after all Spain had
submitted, against the power of Louis XIV.

The gates of the fortress of Pamplona had been opened to the French
general Darmagnac as to a friend. But the military authority
remained in the hands of the Viceroy, Marquis de Valle-Santoro,
and the volunteer battalion of Tarragona, 700 men strong, was
lying in the citadel, and performed the military service of the
place. Since Cardinal Cisneros, regent of Castile, dismantled all
the strong places of Navarre, with the exception of its capital,
the received opinion has been that he who commands in Pamplona is
master of the province. To command in Pamplona, it is requisite to
obtain possession of the citadel. This fortress, built by Philip
II., contains within it extensive magazines for munitions of war
and mouth, and might hold out for an indefinite period. The French
soldiers came on fixed days, in undress and unarmed, to receive
their provisions in the interior of the citadel. The Spanish
troops maintained a strict guard upon these occasions, and never
failed to have the drawbridge raised during the entire time that
the distribution lasted. During the night of the 15th February,
1808, Darmagnac collected 100 grenadiers at his lodgings, which
he had taken “_non sans dessein_,” says Foy, on the esplanade
which separates the town from the citadel. They entered their
general’s residence with their firelocks and cartouches, one after
the other, in profound silence. At seven o’clock on the morning
of the 16th, sixty men went to receive their provisions as usual,
but were commanded by an officer of intelligence and daring named
Robert. Under pretext of waiting for the quarter-master, the men
stopt, some of them on the drawbridge and some beyond it. The
drawbridge was thus prevented from being raised. It rained; and
some of them entered the guard-house, as it were to escape from
the shower. “_A un signal donné_,” (says Foy) they leapt upon the
arms of the guard, where they lay ranged at one side; and the
two sentinels were immediately disarmed. The Spaniards could not
extricate themselves from the hands of the French, who filled the
guard-house. Those who made any resistance were beat with the
butt-ends of muskets. By this time arrived the grenadiers who had
been lying in ambuscade at the general’s house. They proceeded
straight to a bastion of 15 guns, directed on the entrance to
the ditch. The forty-seventh French battalion, quartered not
far distant, followed close on the grenadiers. The rampart was
covered with Frenchmen, before the Spanish garrison, shut up
in their _casernes_, had even thought of putting themselves on
their defence. Darmagnac announced to the Viceroy and the Council
of Navarre that, as he would probably have some stay to make in
Pamplona, he had been obliged for the security of his troops to
introduce into the citadel a battalion which would do duty there
in concert with the national garrison--“a slight change, he added,
which, instead of altering the good understanding between, them,
should only be regarded as a tie the more between two reciprocally
faithful allies!”

Ties of a similar character became established daily. Thouvenot,
General of Brigade, had been sent to San Sebastian, with a
commission to assemble in one dépôt the soldiers who arrived from
France on their way to join their respective corps in Spain. “This
dépôt (concludes Foy) becoming presently very numerous found
itself in possession of the place, without the detachments of
the Spanish regiments of the King and of Africa, who formed the
garrison, perceiving it. It is thus that the French became masters
of Figuera, Barcelona, Pamplona, and San Sebastian; and then their
military operations in the Peninsula became placed on a reasonable
basis! The mask was thrown off, the interested observers whom Spain
had received as allies, for a time dissembled their projects, but
they no longer sought to conceal the means which they adopted for
their accomplishment.”--_Hist. Guerre. Pénins._ liv. iii.

Yet these are the events which Thiers, in his _Histoire du Consulat
et de l’Empire_, has the coolness to describe, without one word of
reprobation, censure, or comment, in the following words:

“As soon as the French troops crossed the frontiers they were
quartered at Saint Sebastian, Pampeluna, Rosas, Figueras, and
Barcelona.”

Of the character and deeds of Godoy, the chief actor in these
transactions, the following brief but on the whole satisfactory
sketch is given by Thiers:--

“This man, whom an extraordinary degree of favour had raised up
to the supreme power in Spain, governed the state as an absolute
master for more than ten years; he had confirmed his power
by filling the government offices with his creatures. He had
become the dispenser of every favour and every boon, and was so
completely the medium of the king’s decisions, that the monarch
answered to every applicant: ‘Call upon Emanuel,’--the prince
being named Emanuel Godoy. This supreme authority had stirred up
against him a general detestation, which had counterbalanced the
favour he enjoyed, because he had of course committed many acts
of injustice in building up his power. The Prince of Asturias was
in the cabinet; he likewise had to complain of the favourite’s
haughtiness, the Prince of Peace not fearing to irritate him by
exhibiting the source of a despotic sway which laid its burden even
on the successor to the crown. The Prince of Asturias became his
enemy, and lost no opportunity of contriving his destruction, in
which object he was encouraged by the opinion of the people.

“On every side murmurs rose against the Prince of Peace; his
influence began to decline; and he was soon driven to his last and
lowest shifts to prop it up. _He had long since felt the necessity
of consolidating his power, and had striven by every art to acquire
the friendship of France._ His enemies availed themselves of
this circumstance to injure him, and charged him with treachery;
asserted that he wanted to sell Spain to France, and had reduced
her already to one of those vice-royalties obedient to the Emperor.

“On the other hand (so mutable and various is the public mind) they
attributed to France whatever evil afflicted Spain, and accused
her of supporting the Prince of Peace. This state of things every
day produced fresh bickerings between the partisans of the rival
princes; the counsels of the Prince Royal were not always prudent,
and he was induced by the aversion of the people towards his
powerful opponent to endeavour to quell the ambition of the Prince
of Peace by making him the victim of his immoderate thirst for
power. The favourite, foreseeing the coming catastrophe, and all
Spain in arms to crush and overthrow him, gave himself up for lost,
when the French troops advanced into the Spanish territory, to
execute the treaty of Fontainebleau, _of which he alone possessed
the secret, and which was not even signed_.”

The Basque glories, which I have recorded in the ballad of “The
Tartar Town,” are all strictly historical. The Basque dialect was
once spoken all over Spain, and is nearly identical with the Tartar
language. I use this supposed Tartar origin for poetical purposes.
Ever since the death of Ferdinand VII., the Basque _fueros_ have
been a constant bone of contention. Espartero abolished, but
Narvaez partially restored them. The only _fueros_ now retained are
an exemption from duty upon stamps, salt, and tobacco.


  III.      “A glory streamed around her, giant-strong.”

This stanza has been inspired by Murillo’s _Immaculate
Conceptions_, on whose wonderful beauties I have gazed for days at
Seville and Madrid.


  IV.       “Seemed as a rosebud gathering ere it blew
             All forms of Beauty.”

      Als eine blume zeigt sie sich der welt;
      Zum muster wuchs das schöne bild empor.
                          Göthe, “_Miedings Tod._”

“She blossoms to the world like a flower; her beautiful form grows
up to be a pattern.”


  VI.      “Oh Love, oh wedded Love, of life the balm!”

“You have reason to commend that excellent institution * * the
faithful nuptial union of man and wife that was first instituted.”
(Bacon, _New Atlantis_.) The same sentiments are still more nobly
expressed in Milton’s _Tetrachordon_ and _Doctrine and Discipline
of Divorce_, where the poet, unshackled by his prose fetters, is
still a poet, glowing with fancy and with rare sublimity, and has
given expression to nobler sentiments on chaste love than any other
writer, ancient or modern.


  VII.      “The rapturous joy more rapture gave alone.”

      Tu mihi sola places; nec jam, te præter, in urbe
        Formosa est oculis ulla puella meis.
      Atque utinam posses uni mihi bella videri.
                          Tibul. 1. iv. 13.

  “A stolen pressure of the hand, a tone
   Unheard save by one ear.”

      Fallendique vias mille ministrat Amor!
                          Tibul. 1. iv. 6.

  “A language dead to all save lovers.”

      O quanta dulce imagen,
      Quantas tiernas palabras
      Alli diré, que el labio
      Quiere decir, y calla.
                         Cienfuegos.


  “And bend, oh bend those glorious eyes
   Upon thy slave once more, once more.”

      Medid el ayre de unos bellos ojos,
        Y me direys del cielo al suelo el trecho.
                          Lope de Vega, _Angelica_, iii.


  X.      “Like Clytemnestra’s son by Furies driven.”

      ----“Ereptæ magno inflammatus amore
      Conjugis, et scelerum furiis agitatus Orestes.”
                          Virg. _Æn._ iii. 330.

      Ὅμως δὲ φεῦγε, μηδὲ μαλθακὸς γένῃ·
      Ἐλῶσι γάρ σε καὶ δι’ ἠπείρου μακρᾶς
      Βεβῶτ’ ἀνατεὶ τὴν πλανοστιβῆ χθόνα,
      Ὑπέρ τε πόντον, καὶ περιῤῥύτας πόλεις.
                          Æschyl. _Eumen._ 74.

“Fly! nor inert become. For they (the Furies) shall pursue
thee through the long continent, passing untired through the
wanderer-trodden earth, through the sea, and the sea-girt cities!”


  XIII.      --“Through her, too, passed the steel!”

      Cujus animam gementem * *
      Pertransivit gladius!
                          ANTIPHONAR. ROM. “_Stabat Mater._”


  XVI.      “As each the other’s head had joyous rent,
             And gnawed like Ugolino.”

      Quandò ebbe detto ciò, con gli occhi torti
      Riprese il teschio misero co’ denti,
      Che furo all’ osso, come d’un can forti.
                          Dante, _Inferno_, c. xxx.


  XVII.      “Of Spain’s defenders see the bayonets gleam,
              And lust and plunder the defenders’ aim!”

      Wir zogen in feindes land hinein,
      Dem freunde sollt’s nicht viel besser seyn.
                          Göthe, “_Ich hab’ mein sach_.”

“We marched into the enemy’s land; our friends they fared no
better.”


  XXVII.      “And murdered sleep wakes wild from sanguinary dreams.”

      --φόβος γὰρ ἀνθ’ ὕπνου παραστατεῖ,
      Τὸ μὴ βεβαίως βλέφαρα συμβαλεῖν ὕπνῳ.
                          Æschyl. _Agamem._ 14.

“For Fear doth stand me in the place of sleep, lest closely I shut
my eye-lids.”


  XXIX.      “Spain’s disasters from their primal source.”

      Dii multa neglecti dederunt
      Hesperiæ mala luctuosæ.
                          Horat. _Carm._ iii. 6.


  XXXII.      “The judge perverts to more pervert the law.”

“They heard sworn judges of the law adjudge, upon such grounds
and reasons as every stander-by was able to swear was not
law.”--Clarendon, _Hist. Great Rebel._ i.

  “Gives Demon-forms of hate the guise of saints.”

“Cette question curieuse--savoir, s’il est permis aux jesuites de
tuer les jansenistes!”--Pascal, _Lettres Provinciales_, tome i.


  XXXII.      “The Holy Office Hell delighted saw!”

The operation of the Spanish Inquisition in an intellectual
point of view may be inferred from the character of the Index
Expurgatorius which was affixed in the different churches. On these
prohibitory lists, by the side of the great names of Montesquieu,
Robertson, and Filangieri were to be found the titles of the
filthiest French romances.


  XXXIII.      “In sullen, fierce indifference bide till rent
                The thunder-clouds, supine--and some on Vengeance bent.”

      Ἀλλ’ ὦ πατρῷα γῆ, θεοί τ’ ἐπόψιοι,
      Τίσασθε, τίσασθ’ ἀλλὰ τῷ χρόνῳ ποτε.
                          Soph. _Philoct._ 1040.

“But, oh father-land and all-seeing Gods! avenge, avenge at length
in fitting time!” It may here be seen how unfounded is the claim of
the Germans to the originality of their phrase “Vaterland.”


  XXXV.      “And secret treaties had the recreant drawn
              With Hell’s diplomacy our soil to carve.”

      O embajadores, puros majaderos!
      Que si los reyes quieren engañar,
      Comienzan por nosotros los primeros.
                          Diego de Mendoza.

“Oh Ambassadors, mere utterers of silly speeches! If Kings wish
to deceive, they begin by deceiving us the first!” So writes the
renowned Mendoza to his brother-diplomatist, Zuñiga. Mendoza, one
of the most illustrious of the political, military, and literary
worthies of Old Spain, was Ambassador for Charles V. to Rome, and
is still more celebrated as the author of _Lazarillo de Tormes_.

“Entant que souverain, s’il parle selon sa pensée, il vous dira,
j’observerai le traité de paix, pendant que le bien de mon royaume
le demandera; je me moquerai de mon serment, des que la maxime de
l’état le voudra.”--Bayle, _Dict. Hist. et Crit. art. Agesilaus_.


  XXXVI.      “His curling wave receding,” &c.

      Vidimus flavum Tiberim retortis, &c.--Horat. _Carm._ i. 2.

                        ----Guadiana
      Atraz tornou as ondas de medroso:
      Correo ao mar o Tejo duvidoso.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 28.

  “Sinks o’er his golden sands, and sighing wears the chain.”

      ----Amnis aurifer Tagus.
                          Catul. xxvii.


  XXXVII.      “And Priests profane declared thy conquerors sent by God!”

      Dizei-lhe que tambem dos Portuguezes
      Alguns traidores houve algumas vezes.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 33.

I have had the satisfaction of visiting within the past year all
the scenes which form the historical portion of this Canto--San
Sebastian, Madrid, Badajoz the birth-place of Godoy, Lisbon,
Almeda, and a score of other localities consecrated by heroic or
saddening recollections. The toils of my pilgrimage will have
been amply repaid, if I have derived some inspiration from the
_genius loci_.



IBERIA WON.

Canto VIII.


I.

        With many a bitter thought and heavy sigh,
        The grave Salustian his discourse resumed:--
        “Iberia fell, my children--but her eye
        No pomp of battle, no big war illumed.
        ’Twas fraud and treason her destruction doomed!
        France came as an ally--her Lares seized--
        The joy-pealed cannon soon in hatred boomed.
        And reckless Murat well his master pleased,
      His foul behests fulfilled, his rapine-thirst appeased.


II.

        “But vengeance ’gainst Godoy the people swore,
        Who counselled Carlos from his realm to fly,
        And sought in luxury on a foreign shore
        The fruits of his portentous sway to enjoy.
        Aranjuez saw them burning to destroy!
        Shivering in hideous fright, like beast of prey,
        Two days, two nights, nor food nor drink Godoy
        Partook, till in his den its wolfish bay
      The thronging city howled--they stoned him where he lay!


III.

        “And mangled, bruised, and torn, from imminent verge
        Of death the Guard released him;--Carlos weak
        The crown resigned--grey hairs the victim urge,
        And, feebler still, Fernando strove to wreak
        His feuds upon a throne, where basely meek
        Full soon as fawning spaniel he doth woo
        The Gaulish tiger--all that France could seek
        Too little for his willing hand to do--
      All contumelies for him, the Seventh Fernán, too few!


IV.

        “Oh galling, dismal servitude! The sword
        Which mighty Carlos at Pavía won
        The puny Ferdinand to France restored,
        While all through Spain the withering tidings run;
        And few believe what patriot ears doth stun.
        Wrenched from our armouries the trophy proud,
        Which proved how Franks of old must Spaniards shun;
        And Altemira voiced our shame aloud:
      “The sword of Francis given to noblest hands” he vowed!


V.

        “But vain each sacrifice--each base compliance
        Still prompted France to urge ignobler claims,
        For Spain not yet had raised her proud defiance,
        And in Fernando’s youth reposed her aims.
        Fernando--he but gorged affronts and shames!
        The worshipped Heir of all her line of Kings
        His bannered Lion to a genet tames,
        Follows his aged sire to France, and flings
      Iberia’s crown to earth beneath the Usurper’s wings!


VI.

        “Oh, wretched mockery of the forms of State,
        Oh, farce of Royalty to choke the town!
        The sire to-day submits his brow to Fate,
        The son to-morrow yieldeth too his crown;
        The sire resumes it ’neath Napoléon’s frown,
        Again to-morrow to resign its cares--
        Is’t not, then just--how just! that, thus laid down,
        The Tyrant’s creature now the bauble wears?
      The Father lauds the choice--the Son his ardour shares.


VII.

        “And both implored of Spaniards to obey
        With cordial loyalty the Kingling given,
        And both with impious tongue blaspheming say
        The usurping dynasty is blest of Heaven!
        But Spaniards may not thus be bargain-driven.
        Sudden arose the land in all its might;
        Sudden its chains like spider-threads were riven.
        Too long its slumber--too profound the night;
      And when the Nation woke, ’twas in a glare of light!


VIII.

        “Oh, Madrileños, generous, dauntless hearts,
        Who fell upon that glorious May-lit morn,
        Vain is the tear that from the eye-lid starts
        At thought of death-wounds all heroic borne,
        For Freedom’s blazon doth your biers adorn!
        Your blood more potent than Hyantian seed
        Sprung arméd men still fiercer death to scorn
        Than Thebæ saw. Incomparable deed!
      Ye braved the Lion’s roar--your wounds Iberia freed.


IX.

        “For though the sabre clove, the charger trod,
        The scattering grape-shot mowed your dense array,
        Daïz, Velarde gave their souls to God
        In no unprospering cause that gallant day!
        If hundred martyrs perished in the fray,
        ’Twas myriad men to rouse through prostrate Spain.
        Not Murat’s arm could bend her to obey.
        Judicial murder bared the knife in vain--
      The priestly rite denied--the unoffending slain!


X.

        “Asturia first and noblest raised the cry--
        Cantabria still untamed the yoke to bear
        Our own Biscaya sees with Baston vie--
        Oviédo’s lightning flies to Santandér.
        It wakes Galicia, kindling Leon’s air.
        Castile, unconquered Aragon, Navarre,
        The standard of revolt successive bear.
        Valencian, Catalan, and And’luz far
      The cry devoted raise: ‘Against the Invader War!’


XI.

        “And lightning fell, ’twas said, upon the shrine
        Of Guadalupe within the fatal hour
        That saw the last of Leon’s Royal line
        Retire to France, and own the Usurper’s power.
        In Covadonga, where Mafoma’s flower
        Pelayo slaughtered, drops of sweat were seen
        Upon the face of Her who stood our tower
        In battle; Compostella’s tomb a din
      Of arms gave forth, Saint James proclaiming we should win!


XII.

        “Thus spoke the general voice--thus Spain believed,
        And, Heaven and Earth approving, rushed to arms.
        The web of Tyranny was swift unweaved,
        The land was soon o’erspread by War’s alarms;
        For Freedom’s fire once lit intensely charms!
        But terrible at first in dire excess
        Rude license many a timid patriot harms.
        If perished tyrant-tools yet, ah, not less
      Good men, too, slaughtered fell in butchery’s helplessness.


XIII.

        “’Twas then the Asturian seniors crost the sea,
        And I amongst the number, as ye know,
        To Albion’s glorious Island of the free,
        Her aid demanding ’gainst the general foe.
        And grand and mighty was the enthusiast flow
        From brave and generous hearts we witnessed there.
        Our strife forgot, our feuds aside we throw,
        Like ancient warriors after battle share
      The social rite, and war combined ’gainst France declare.


XIV.

        “But Spain would first her might unaided try,
        And arms and subsidy alone we sought;
        With pain Britannia curbed her spirit high,
        But doughtiest weapons to the strife we brought.
        Our earlier efforts in the conflict nought
        Availed us--France her legions marshalled well.
        Undisciplined our valour marvels wrought;
        But ’gainst Gaul’s serried phalanx to rebel
      Was no light peasant’s task, and hundreds fighting fell.


XV.

        “Oh, wondrous power of Discipline in war!
        Spain’s men despised the conscript boys of France;
        Iberia’s sons were stronger, statelier far,
        More powerful arm to arm to wield the lance.
        But when untrained, disordered they advance,
        The unbroken, slender column mows them down.
        ’Tis thus wild horses o’er the Pampas prance,
        The lasso by the light-limbed rider’s thrown,
      The strong steed flung to earth his victor hand must own.


XVI.

        “Joy to Valencia! Loud her praise be sung,
        Where first the stern Invader was repelled.
        In vain from Hell the assassin Calvo sprung,
        In vain her Chiefs in dire subjection held.
        Soon ’gainst his traitorous vengeance they rebelled.
        His strangled carcase on Domingo’s plain,
        His severed arm that many a victim felled,
        Inscribed with his foul deeds--relentless Cain--
      Proclaim that murderous fiends no more dishonour Spain.


XVII.

        “Joy to Valencia! From her leaguered wall,
        Full valiantly defended, Moncey flies.
        His shattered legions into fragments fall,
        So well her grape and musketry she plies;
        And torn his summons to surrender lies.
        This--this her answer:--‘We have sworn beneath
        ‘Our country’s ruins buried, ere shall rise,
        ‘A foreign standard here, to yield our breath,’
      And France her flag withdrew all dark with hues of death.


XVIII.

        “In Santandér Luarca’s mitred head--
        Apostle pure--the patriot movement guides;
        Priest, peasant, noble gallantly he led,
        But, ah, Besaya’s torrent yields its sides;
        The Frenchman through the conquered city rides.
        Palencia bows her head--Valladolíd
        Gives hostages; her might the Gaul derides.
        And Torquemada many a peasant-Cid
      Sees ’neath French sabres fall her flaming towers amid.


XIX.

        “Oh, ruthless grasp of the Invader’s hand!
        Yet not for this shall Spain his sceptre own.
        In vain _Te Deums_ swell through all the land,
        In vain allegiance forced sustains his throne.
        Though rebels fall, rebellion hath not flown!
        Intrusive, throneless, crownless, mocking King,
        No Monarch reigneth save o’er hearts alone!
        A Tyrant sent thee, poor and bodiless thing,
      But ne’er to rule in Spain--for flight prepare thy wing!


XX.

        “Unconquered Zaragoza shuts her gates;
        No fortress her’s, and scarce a circling wall.
        Enough that from her soul the foe she hates,
        And ’neath her ruined towers hath sworn to fall,
        Or ere she live a foreign tyrant’s thrall.
        Sublime devotion! Palafox prepares
        The proud defence. His gallant soldiers all
        Obey his voice: ‘Who loves me with me shares
      ‘The city’s doom!’ Till death they guard their lion-lairs.


XXI.

        “And many a rampart raised the citizens,
        Their puny wall with bristling men defending;
        And Tio Jorge and Marin from their dens
        Emerge their energies plebeian lending.
        On many a dire assault her efforts spending
        By Carmen and Portillo, still repelled,
        France hurls her shells the town terrific rending.
        The Moorish Cosso’s blown in air, and yelled
      Is many a dying shriek, but still the rampart’s held.


XXII.

        “Engracia’s stormed--the summons to despair
        Is oft repeated but as oft disdained.
        Though Zaragoza burn--though tortures tear,
        Her vigorous arms shall ne’er by France be chained!
        The foe hath entered and the Cosso gained;
        But desperate is the fight which there doth rage.
        Francisco’s convent burns, yet death fires rained
        More fiercely glare--such war did man ne’er wage.
      Beside Numantine fame ’twill sound through many an age!


XXIII.

        “Within the Cosso’s wide and central street
        The foemen fierce contend from side to side.
        From roof and window hostile volleys meet;
        Each house a fortress, where assault is tried
        In vain--the very women far and wide
        Rain household gear and scalding water down.
        The black and shattered walls with blood are dyed.
        The dead in heaps putrescent grimly frown;
      And pestilence doth threat the death-devoted town.


XXIV.

        “In every street are rival batteries placed.
        Entrenched behind a bulwark of the slain,
        See where yon Zaragozan death has faced,
        Resolved a cannon of the Frank to gain.
        ’Neath corse-heaped covert he hath passed a chain
        Round the huge gun--its end his comrades take--
        Their lusty sinews pull with might and main--
        The monster moves--but, ah, the chain doth break;
      Yet soon as Night doth fall the prize their own they make.


XXV.

        “Terrific sight--the hospital is fired,
        And maniacs issue from the blazing walls;
        Gibbering and mouthing ’mongst the soldiers tired,
        Even more than War their screaming wild appals.
        Some frantic laugh while of their number falls
        A victim smote--some mope--some mutterings blend;
        Some dance and sing amid the hissing balls,
        Some with hyæna yells the welkin rend,
      And drivelling idiots cry while warriors fierce contend.


XXVI.

        “Glorious resistance! See--the French recede;
        To far Pamplona o’er the plain they pass.
        Heroic town! not vainly thou dost bleed,
        For thou art free, though all one bruiséd mass.
        No monument of marble or of brass
        Can rival, sufferer, thy eternal fame!
        Nor ’mongst thy patriots be forgotten Sass,
        The hero-priest who to the dying came
      Now with the Host, and now against the foe took aim!


XXVII.

        “Nor dauntless Manuela be unsung,
        Who when her townsmen from the battery fled,
        With burning linstock to the rampart sprung,
        And mounting on the cannon vowed till dead
        Ne’er through the siege to leave its Gorgon head.
        Penthesiléa not more beautiful!
        Nor thou, Burita, sprung from noblest bed,
        And delicate as fair--of courage full--
      ’Mid showering shot and shell, as Hebe bountiful!


XXVIII.

        “And, gallant Palafox, let bright-eyed Fame
        Thy praise resound, whom nought could turn or bend;
        For when no mandate but the word of shame
        ‘Capitulation!’ France would deign to send,
        ‘War to the knife!’ thy answer straight was penned.
        Worthy was all the heroic times of old.
        And monks were seen a warlike arm to lend,
        And cloistered sisters the cartouche to mould.
      Though History rend each page, this, this shall be enrolled!


XXIX.

        “Her tercios Aragon, the Catalan
        His bold Somátenés equipped for war.
        Spain’s arméd peasants all her fields o’erran,
        But strife amongst the chiefs too oft a bar,
        And Valour weak indiscipline doth mar.
        At Rio Seco see the furious charge
        Of France’s chivalry like Aias’ car
        Mow thousands down beside the streamlet’s marge,
      While o’er the affrighted plain their broken lines enlarge.


XXX.

        “But Vengeance comes! Beneath Morena’s shade,
        At Baylen see on Andaluzan plains
        Where sinks Dupont by olive-circled glade
        And deep ravine where blood like water rains,
        And wears his mighty host dishonouring chains.
        Castaños, Reding, bright your laurels shine,
        While prostrate ’neath your arm the Gaul remains;
        But, ah, perfidious snares your glory mine,
      And butchery stains the steel which Conquest lit divine,


XXXI.

        “See--see, the Intrusive King o’er Ebro flies,
        In pale affright by Baylen’s victory driven;
        But tall Pyrene’s bulwarks o’er him rise,
        A shield impregnable to despots given.
        Dissolve, dissolve that towering rampart, Heaven!
        And aid our vengeful spear to hurl him back.
        By Spain’s right arm be Spain’s rude fetters riven.
        Our warriors move--of zeal there is no lack.
      The Invaders feel their ire, like gathering thunder black.


XXXII.

        “And hangs upon their skirt with fierce annoy
        The mountain Guerrillero tiger-springing,
        The Chapelchurri burning to destroy,
        From heights around Bilbaö vengeance winging,
        The Chapelgorri with his musket ringing,
        A dearer Chacolin--the Frenchman’s blood--
        Thirsting to pour, the rich libation flinging
        O’er crag and spray--their dainty flesh the food
      Of vulture screaming fierce, and kite, and raven’s brood.


XXXIII.

        “But weak the impulse, uncombined the assault;
        Divisions, jealousies, our councils blight.
        Too oft on Victory’s field our leaders halt,
        And leave unplucked the fruit that gleams in sight:
        Oh, that our men had Chiefs to lead them right.
        In vain! France rallies through the land once more.
        Our peasant warriors gather to the fight,
        But compact serried legions gall them sore.
      The soiled Escorial holds the Usurper as before!


XXXIV.

        “To Albion now Hesperia turns her eyes;
        Though bloodshot all and weeping, proud her gaze;
        For still her spirit doth unconquered rise,
        And still she struggles to the world’s amaze.
        Swift Albion answers to the call we raise,
        And sends to aid our arms a gallant host.
        Around her swords the light triumphant plays
        Of many a field where perished Gallia’s boast,
      And see her fleet descend on Lusitania’s coast.


XXXV.

        “For vain, too, there hath Gaul her efforts found.
        Our kinsmen scorn to wear a foreign chain.
        Indignantly they rise their Tyrants round,
        And bear the Freeman’s threatening port, like Spain.
        But feeble, too, the bands of Lusitain
        ’Gainst veteran cohorts battling all through life.
        Great Arthur comes from England to maintain
        Thy contest, Liberty. With ardour rife
      His warriors reach the shore, and gird them for the strife.


XXXVI.

        “Upon thy beauteous banks, Mondégo, where
        The cry of murdered Iñez lingers still,
        And faithful Pedro’s grief the breeze doth bear
        In many a sigh from fair Coimbra’s hill,
        There Albion’s heroes land. Rude blasts and chill
        Blow from the Atlantic. On Boarcos’ crags
        Full many a soldier perisheth. But will
        Indomitable their’s--nor Lusia lags;
      Priest, student, peasant, crowd ’neath azure-crimson flags.


XXXVII.

        “Hark to the footfall fierce and measured tread
        Of Britain’s legions o’er the affrighted ground,
        While martial music’s stirring voice is shed,
        Enthusiast Valour waking at the sound.
        Trombone and cornet make the heart to bound,
        The deep bassoon and clarion shrill afar
        Their echoes send--the mellow horn around
        Gives softer notes, ring fifes their merry bar,
      And rolls the doubling drum to stimulate the War.


XXXVIII.

        “Roriça, hail! Vimièiro, blest thy sod!
        For there the might of France is hurled to dust.
        The robber-host is victory-smote by God.
        Junot retires with all his spoils unjust,
        But sated once for aye his gory lust!
        And other fields by England’s might are tried,
        In Heaven and in her arm reposing trust.
        Corunna’s heights see crushed the Gaulish pride,
      But sad the victory gained where Moore heroic died.


XXXIX.

        “And rushed great Arthur to the field again,
        And conquest o’er his helm unceasing played.
        On many a dire, tremendous battle plain
        The eagle-crest of Gallia low he laid,
        The arms allied in all triumphant made.
        My soul doth grow more tranquil--blame him not,
        If ruffian-soldiers’ deeds his laurels shade;
        Too oft in Victory justice is forgot,
      Too oft are arméd men like fiends when passion’s hot.


XL.

        “Oh Death in battle! Glory thou art called,
        When stirred the fervent blood to seething strife;
        But Man prefers thee peaceful coffined, palled,
        And shudders unprepared to yield The Life;
        For, oh, with terror the dark shore is rife!
        Who in precipitate Death would choose to miss
        The pillow tended by the loving wife,
        The dying hand stretched forth to her to kiss,
      The last words whispered low, surviving Memory’s bliss!


XLI.

        “That word recalls, my girls, your mother dead,
        And brings to these weak eyes a sacred tear.
        Belov’d Juana! round thy honoured head
        Celestial glory beams, yet, oh, look here,
        And shed protection o’er thy children dear!”
        Salustian ceased--he kist the foreheads pure
        Of both his weeping daughters, Carlos near
        Impatient stood, his eyes with ceaseless lure
      Tow’rds the lance-casement drawn, where Morn’s first glimmerings
            pour.


XLII.

        A day of terror to a night of gloom
        Succeedeth; light reveals no glimpse of joy.
        But rends the Sun the veil from living tomb,
        To show how swift can ruffians armed destroy.
        Thy treasures, San Sebastian, a decoy,
        Thy household gods are shivered into dust!
        Nor yet upon thy fell invaders cloy
        Barbarian violence and Rapine’s lust.
      The thunder-storm hath ceased--but, Heaven, thy arm is just!


XLIII.

        “Thou wilt not go--thou wilt not, Carlos, leave
        “Thy Isidora’s side--thy life expose.
        “What boots their plunder? ’Tis for thee I grieve,
        “Alone--unaided, amongst ruffian foes.
        “Father, I dread the worst if Carlos goes.”
        But Carlos kist her tenderly, and said:
        “No danger fear, _mi alma_, blushful rose!
        “I will be careful for thy sake--this head
      “Bright Heaven is sure to shield--an Angel I would wed!”


XLIV.

        Don Carlos wended to Salustian’s home;--
        A smouldering heap of ruins met his gaze!
        And rifled remnants of that noble dome
        Drunk grenadiers transported through the blaze.
        Oh, who shall paint his horror and amaze!
        He took by the throat the first who crost his path.
        Red bayonets flashed beneath the autumnal rays;
        But buckled to his side a sword he hath,
      And many a victim falls a prey to Carlos’ wrath.


XLV.

        Now thronged the soldiery, and Carlos prest
        By numbers fought full long with valour rare;
        Till faint and bleeding from his wounded breast,
        He gained once more the mute Cathedral square.
        But, ah, the bloodhounds tracked him to his lair,
        And forced an entrance to the sacred pile.
        His blood doth guide them up the belfry stair.
        They reach the door--they burst it in--the while
      Young Isidora screams, and laugh those demons vile.


XLVI.

        Grey-haired Salustian feebly snatched a sword,
        And Carlos strove to lift--but falls his hand.
        Clasped to her breast the maiden her adored,
        And wildly shrieking Isabel doth stand,
        Nor for her clamour cared the ruthless band.
        They charged impetuous, as the breach were still
        Before them--fell that chieftain in the land,
        Salustian, piercéd--Carlos they did kill
      In Isidora’s arms, where spouts a crimson rill!


XLVII.

        Fell to the ground his corse--the maiden stood,
        Like Horror’s statue, chained unto the floor.
        Flowed round her lovely feet a stream of blood,
        New reeking monsters reeled in at the door.
        Hell glared i’ their drunken glance. An instant more,
        And Honour’s soul had perished. In their eyes
        She reads her doom. A fiend through slippery gore
        Advanced--in front the casement open lies.
      She leaps--Archangels weep at Virtue’s sacrifice!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO VIII.


For the long series of historical incidents, of which this Canto
records only as much as appears to come within the province of
poetry, the reader is referred to the Histories of Napier and
Southey, and to Thiers’s _Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire_, as
well as to the work of Foy, which will bear comparison with any of
those mentioned.

With regard to Godoy’s character and conduct, I have read most
carefully his _Mémoires_ published some years back in Paris; but
to many of the statements in that book it is impossible to give
credit, and to the view which I have taken of his career in this
and the last Canto I cannot but strongly adhere.

Foy thus describes him and the Royal family of Spain:--

“On vit Godoy s’élancer de la couche adultère de la reine aux
premiers grades de la milice, à la présidence des conseils,
au gouvernement absolu de la paix et de la guerre. * * Le roi
d’Espagne n’avait pas quarante mils soldats en Europe. Ses arsenaux
étaient dégarnis, son trésor était vide. Les dons patriotiques
arrivèrent de toutes part. La Catalogne demanda à se lever en
masse. Les provinces de Biscaye et de Navarre firent des appels
à la population. Les grands seigneurs accoururent à la tête de
leurs vassaux. Les moines arrivèrent enrégimentés. Des bandes
de contrebandiers, oubliant leurs démêlés habituels avec le
gouvernement, demandèrent à combattre les ennemis du trône et de
l’autel. Tous les états, tous les rangs voulurent vaincre ou mourir
pour la patrie. Quel parti tira le gouvernement espagnol de tant de
dévouement? * * Le général des Franciscains offrit de marcher à la
tête de dix mille moines. Le duc d’Albe et deux autres seigneurs
voulurent lever dix mille hommes à leurs frais. Le chapitre de
Toléde offrit vingt-cinq millions de réaux. Le clergé parcourait
les villages le crucifix à la main.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre.
Pénin._ liv. iv.) All was useless. “Aucun exploit, aucune vertu,
n’honorèrent sa jeunesse, il n’avait pas tiré l’épée pendant la
guerre. Il ne montra pendant la paix ni talent dans les conseils,
ni détermination dans le gouvernement.” (_Ibid._)

A curious parallel for the fortune of Godoy, and for the popular
hatred which he excited, is to be found in Horace:--

      _Ibericis_ peruste funibus latus,
      Licèt superbus ambules pecuniâ,
        Fortuna non mutat genus.
      Videsne, sacram metiente te viam,
        Cum bis ter ulnarum togâ,
      Ut ora vertat huc et huc euntium
        Liberrima indignatio?
      “Arat Falerni mille fundi jugera,
        “Et Appiam mannis terit;
      “Sedilibusque magnus in primis eques,
        “Othone contempto, sedet!”
                          _Epod._ iv.

Menas, Pompey’s freedman, and Augustus’s Tribune, a double and
impartial traitor, to whom this ode was addressed, was the Godoy of
ancient Rome.

The Massacre of Madrid on the memorable Second of May did not
happily involve so much bloodshed as for a long period had been
imagined. The exaggeration common to all countries in commemorating
their patriotic struggles, and especially so in the Peninsula, had
fully quadrupled the number of martyrs who fell upon that occasion.
Recent minute inquiries have confirmed the statement of Napier that
the entire number of the Madrid population slain in this massacre
did not exceed 200. The real name of the “Daïz” in the text was
Daoiz. The shootings subsequent to the street massacre took place,
as I have recorded them, under circumstances which in Spain were
necessarily regarded as of excessive atrocity, the denial of the
assistance of clergy, which by Frenchmen was lightly considered,
being in Spanish eyes the acmé of horrors. The supposed miraculous
appearances in the Northern provinces are derived from Foy’s
_History_.

For the circumstances of the rising which followed throughout Spain
the reader is referred to Napier and to Southey, whose description
of the Siege of Zaragoza I have followed because it is the more
poetical, although I cannot refrain from remarking that it is
disfigured by occasional passages of exaggeration and bombast not
altogether worthy of an historical work.

The state of political knowledge in Spain at the period of the
French invasion may be inferred from the character of the questions
treated by their publicists. An old Spanish political writer, held
in the greatest esteem down to that period, D. Diego Saavedra
Faxardo, formally discusses this thesis: Whether is it better for a
prince to delegate his authority to one or many? and concludes in
favour of delegation to a single person, for the following reason,
stated in his own words: “That the King is the image of the sun,
and when the sun disappears from the horizon, he leaves to one
only, the moon, and not to several, the care of presiding over the
night!” The political work from which this morçeau is extracted was
composed for the instruction of the Prince of the Asturias, who
afterwards became Carlos II. It was long the French system to keep
Spain in this state of pupillage. Choiseul, the ablest minister
of France during the 18th century, said that he was more certain
of his preponderance in the cabinet of Madrid than in that of
Versailles! He said this in the reign of Carlos III., the ablest of
the Spanish Bourbons. Up to the end of the last century, France was
the planet, and Spain the satellite.

The first era of the Peninsular campaigns comprised our two first
victories of Roriça and Vimieiro, more intrinsically glorious
perhaps, than any of their successors, but rendered futile in
their consequences by the mistaken generosity of concession which
characterized the Convention of Cintra.

The second period of the War was commenced by the battle of
Talavera, previously to which Wellington found the Spanish General
Cuesta equally unmanageable, stubborn, and foolishly arrogant, as
the Portuguese General showed himself on the eve of the battle
of Roriça which commenced the first period of the War. In both
cases the results were the same. After a great deal of vapouring
about “doing the business themselves and not needing British
assistance,” both worthies retired, leaving the sole and undivided
honour of each day to the genius and fortune of Wellington. In
the preliminary combat of Alcabon, the Spanish division (4,000
infantry, 2,000 horse, and 8 guns) scampered off from before the
French, and it was manifest that they could not be depended on.
Wellington was therefore determined that they should withdraw to
Talavera, where there was strong ground suited for defence, on
which alone the Spaniards were likely to make a stand. Cuesta
boastingly replied that “he would fight where he stood.” The 27th,
at daylight, the British General renewed his solicitations, at
first fruitlessly; but when the enemy’s cavalry came in sight,
Cuesta sullenly yielded, yet turning to his staff with frantic
pride observed that “he had first made the Englishman go down on
his knees!” (Napier, _Hist. W. P._ b. viii. c. 2.) In the next
preliminary combat of Salinas, the Spanish army to the number of
11,000 men (including artillery) threw down their arms, and ran
away, declaring that the Allies were entirely routed! It might
have been so but that their example was despised. Thus undivided
glory was thrust upon Wellington; and ever after the part which the
Spaniards took was very subordinate.

After the battle of Talavera, the Spaniards were shamefully
defeated (having regard to the truth of History it is impossible
to use any other expression) by the French in two successive
actions--those of Arzobispo and Almonacid, at both of which they
threw down their arms and ran, and in the latter were slaughtered
in thousands--a result partly attributable to the bad conduct of
the men and partly to the bad guiding of their commander, Cuenca,
whose character was a concentration of all the worst possible
qualities of a General. “King” Joseph, who had retreated after the
battle of Baylen, now returned to Madrid. Embarrassed by these
disasters, by the perfidious withholding of supplies, by the
perpetual crossing and opposition of the Spanish juntas, which like
those of Portugal, instead of an aid, were for ever a thorn in the
side of their Liberator, Wellington, in the face of an overwhelming
French force, took the resolution of retiring into Portugal. The
conduct of the Spaniards may be best estimated from his own words,
stating his reasons for declining again to co-operate with them:

“But there was a more shameful consideration, namely, the constant
and shameful misbehaviour of the Spanish troops before the enemy.
We in England never hear of their defeats and flights, but I have
heard Spanish officers telling of nineteen or twenty actions of
the description of that at the bridge of Arzobispo, accounts of
which, I believe, have never been published. * * * In the battle of
Talavera, in which the Spanish army, with very trifling exception,
was not engaged--whole corps threw away their arms, and ran off,
when they were neither attacked nor threatened with an attack. When
these dastardly soldiers run away, they plunder everything they
meet. In their flight from Talavera they plundered the baggage of
the British army, which was at that moment bravely engaged in their
cause.”

When Wellington came to this resolution to retire into Portugal,
he was at the head of only 17,000 British troops of all arms; the
“terror-stricken Spaniards” were literally an incumbrance. (Napier,
_Hist. W. P._ b. viii. c. 5.) Our troops, through the faithlessness
of their allies, were almost starving, and they were confronted
by 70,000 French! The wonder is that they were not utterly and
immediately crushed by the latter. But Soult was the only great
General then amongst the French commanders; and the promptness is
as much to be admired as the prudence with which Wellington retired
into Portugal.

The Spanish army made some miserable attempts after this at
independent action against the French, which ended four months
after the battle of Talavera in the disastrous battle of Ocaña, one
of the most frightful routs recorded in history, where the whole
Spanish army of more than 50,000 men was destroyed, having 5000
killed and wounded, and leaving 26,000 prisoners, 45 pieces of
artillery, 30,000 muskets, and 3000 horses and beasts of burden in
the hands of the enemy! The French lost but 1700 men, killed and
wounded; and I must do them the justice of saying that no exploit
of ours in the Peninsula equalled this in its numerical results;
for God forbid that I should obscure the glory of an enemy or gloss
over the misconduct of an ally. The rest of the Spanish army was
subsequently defeated at Alba de Tormes, which closed the campaigns
of 1809.

These scattering and consuming thunderbolts opened the eyes of the
Spaniards at last to the value of the British alliance, and threw
the defence of the Peninsula entirely into those heroic hands, by
which it was so brilliantly completed. The soldiery of Spain acted
thenceforth a subordinate part, and the boast after the battle of
Baylen, “We will not need the services of you _Ingleses_--we will
escort you home through France, but you will not have to strike
a blow!” was not again repeated. For six months of the next year
(till Wellington re-appeared on the scene) they continued their
despairing efforts against the French, but with uniform defeat and
failure. No fitting leaders appeared, and the efforts of the people
were worse than useless.

The _third_ era of the Peninsular campaigns commenced with the
third invasion of Portugal by the French army, which was this time
commanded by Massena. The battle of Busaco was the great event of
the commencement of this campaign. This powerful check was for the
time successful, but unable long to control a far superior force,
and the British army fell back within the lines of Torres Vedras.
Massena arrived in front of them, and made prodigious efforts
to pass. But this triumph of Wellington’s genius, and marvel of
engineering and strategic skill, was impregnable to all assaults,
and was at once the salvation of Portugal and the ultimate means
of rescuing Spain from the Invader. Emerging from his unassailable
redoubt, Wellington at last pursued the French beyond the frontier,
and defeated them on the Spanish soil in battle, action, and
assault, from Salamanca to Vitoria, from Vitoria to the Pyrenees.

One can laugh at this distance of time at the monstrosities written
about these memorable struggles by French nobles and generals. Thus
Foy has the coolness to say of the relative numbers at Vimieiro,
“Les Anglois étaient deux contre un par rapport aux Français!”
(_Hist. Guerre. Pénins._, livre ix.) He further denies that it
was _a battle at all_. “Ils n’étaient pas desireux de changer un
avantage défensif bien caractérisé en une bataille dont le succès
leur paraissait incertain!” (_Ibid._)

The political sagacity and military skill of Wellington not only
maintained his position in the face of overwhelming difficulties,
but speedily took the offensive. The co-operation of (Lord)
Beresford, who was placed over the Portuguese army, organized by
the genius of Wellington, and led by British officers, must not be
overlooked. Massena was forced to retreat from Portugal; and as he
passed the border-line of the two Peninsular countries, Wellington
followed victorious and menacing, having achieved what at first
appeared utterly vain to attempt. The battle of Fuentes de Onoro
ensued, the French were forced to evacuate the fortress of Almeida,
and then followed a long career of victory to the British arms,
which was uninterrupted till our triumphant entry into Toulouse,
and the news of Napoléon’s abdication.

The allusion in this Canto to the Basque Guerrillas needs a word of
explanation. The Chapelgorris and Chapelchurris are distinguishing
names of the Basque mountain peasantry, derived from the colour
of their caps. Chacolin is the thin, sour wine of the district.
During the late Carlist war, a considerable degree of romantic
interest attached to these peasantry for the keenness of their
partisan admixture in the strife. One of the most famous events
in the Carlist struggle was the siege of Bilbao, which was raised
by the Cristino General Cordova, and where the most famous of
modern Guerrilleros, Zumalacarregui, received his death-wound. Had
this most energetic of the Carlist Generals lived, the war might
have had a very different termination. It was he, who, on the
wretchedly unprovided state of his men as to arms being remarked
to him, pointing to the muskets in the Cristino battalions, said,
“There are their arms!” and contrived to arm them very respectably
by stripping the Cristinos in repeated brilliant surprises. The
circumstances of this rude but powerful hero’s death are recorded
in the Cristino song:

      Ya vienen Chapelchurris
        Con corneta y clarin,
      Para entrar en Bilbao
        A beber chacolin.
      Mal chacolin tuvieron,
        Y dia tan fatal,
      Que con la borrachera
        Se murió el general!


  I.      “’Twas fraud and treason her destruction doomed.”

                      Rancorous Despite,
      Disloyal Treason and heart-burning Hate.
                          Spenser, _Fairy Queen_.


  IV.                    “The sword
            Which mighty Carlos at Pavía won,
            The puny Ferdinand to France restored.”

      Ὦ σπέρμ’ Ἀχιλλέως, τἄλλα μὲν πάρεστί σοι
      Πατρῷ’ ἑλέσθαι τῶν δ’ ὅπλων κείνων ἀνὴρ
      Ἄλλος κρατύνει νυν, ὁ Λαέρτου γόνος.--
                          Soph. _Philoct._ 364.

“Oh, born of Achilles! the rest of what pertained to thy father
thou mayst take; but these arms another now possesses--Laertes’
son!” Such was the answer of Ulysses to Neoptolemus, when the
latter sought the arms of Achilles, and such should have been the
reply of Ferdinand to Napoléon.


  VII.      “And when the Nation woke, ’twas in a glare of light.”

See Wordsworth’s “Convention of Cintra.”


  X.      “Castile, unconquered Aragon, Navarre,” &c.

      Com esta voz Castella alevantada
      Suas forças ajunta para as guerras,
      De varias regioens, e varias terras.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 7.


  XVI.      “His strangled carcase on Domingos’ plain,” &c.

      ----φρόνησον ...
      Ὡς νῷν ἀπεχθὴς δυσκλεής τ’ ἀπώλετο.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 49.

“Remember, how he perished odious and infamous!”


  XXVII.      “Nor dauntless Manuela be unsung * *
               Nor thou, Burita, sprung from noblest bed.”

These heroines were by no means singular in their courage and
constancy, at that eventful era. Blanca is, I trust, no inaccurate
type of that multitude of heroic women who sprang up in all parts
of Spain during the Peninsular War, who rose superior to the
weakness of their sex in the face of invasion and its attendant
horrors, and who resembled more the Antigones than the Ismenes of
ancient history. It was theirs to falsify the familiar reproach:

        ----γυνὴ γὰρ τἄλλα μὲν φόβου πλέα,
      Κακή τ’ ἐς ἀλκὴν, καὶ σίδηρον εἰσορᾷν.
                          Eurip. _Med._ 266.

“For Woman is full of fear, and weak for the combat and at sight
of steel.” The heroic plebeian Maid of Zaragoza, and the not less
heroic patrician, Burita, were not of Ismene’s way of thinking,
which is nevertheless expressed with beautiful feminine propriety
(for common occasions):--

      Ἀλλ’ ἐννοεῖν χρὴ τοῦτο μὲν, γυναῖχ’ ὅτι
      Ἔφυμεν, ὡς πρὸς ἄνδρας οὐ μαχουμένα.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 61.

“But it is meet we think on this--that we are women, and unequal to
contend with men.” They rather said with Antigone:--

            ----σοὶ δ’ εἰ δοκεῖ,
      Τὰ τῶν θεῶν ἔντιμ’ ἀτιμάσασ’ ἔχε. * *
      Ἀλλ’ ἔα με, καὶ τὴν ἐξ ἐμοῦ δυσβουλίαν.
                          _Ib._ 95.

“Do thou, if so to thee seem fit, despise that which the Gods deem
holiest. * * But suffer me and my rashness!”


  XXVIII.      “And cloistered sisters the cartouche to mould.”

      O! decus, o! sacrâ fœmina digna domo!
                          Ovid. _Fast._ vi. 810.

  “Though History rend each page, this, this shall be enrolled!”

See Wordsworth’s “Convention of Cintra.”


  XXIX.           “See the furious charge
             Of France’s chivalry, like Aias’ car,
             Mow thousands down.”

      Αἴας δὲ Τρώεσσιν ἐπάλμενος εἷλε Δόρυκλον κ. τ. λ.
      Ὣς ἔφεπε κλονέων πεδίον τότε φαίδιμος Αἴας
      Δαΐζων ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας.
                          Hom. _Il._ xi. 489.


  XXXVI.      “Upon thy beauteous banks, Mondego, where,” &c.

      As filhas do Mondego a morte escura
      Longo tempo chorando memoraram;
      E por memoria eterna, em fonte pura
      As lagrimas choradas transformaram:
      O nome lhe pozeram, que ainda dura,
      Dos amores de Ignez, que alli passaram.
      Vede que fresca fonte rega as flores,
      Que lagrimas são a agua, e o nome amores.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iii. 135.


  XXXVIII.      “But sad the victory gained where Moore heroic died.”

See the clear and affecting account of Sir John Moore’s last
moments, by the present Lord Hardinge, annexed to Mr. Moore’s
_Narrative_.


  XL.      “The pillow tended by the loving wife,” &c.

See the beautiful speech of Andromache over the body of Hector:--

      Οὐ γάρ μοι θνήσκων λεχέων ἐκ χεῖρας ὄρεξας·
      Οὐδέ τί μοι εἶπες πυκινὸν ἔπος, οὗτέ κεν αἰεὶ
      Μεμνήμην νύκτας τε καὶ ἤματα δακρυχέουσα.
                          Hom. _Il._ xxiv. 743.


  XLIII.      “Thou wilt not go--thou wilt not, Carlos, leave,” &c.

       _Clyt._ Ποῦ σ’ αὖθις ὀψόμεθα; ποῦ χρή μ’ ἀθλίαν
               Ἐλθοῦσαν εὑρεῖν σὴν χὲρ’, ἐπίκουρον κακῶν;
       _Achil._ Ἡμεῖς σε φύλακες, οὗ χρεὼν, φυλάσσομεν.

       _Clyt._ “Where shall we again behold thee? Whither must I
                wretched go to find thy protecting hand?”
       _Achil._ “We will guard you, when it is needful.”
                          Eurip. _Iphig. in Aul._ 1026.

  “No danger fear, _mi alma_, blushful rose!”

      Nè te, Altamoro, entro al pudico letto,
      Potuto ha ritener la sposa amata.
      Pianse, percosse il biondo crine e ’l petto,
      Per distornar la tua fatale andata.
      “Dunque (dicia) crudel, più che’l mio aspetto
      “Del mar l’orrida faccia a te fia grata?
      “Fian l’arme al braccio tuo più caro peso,
      “Che’l picciol figlio ai dolci scherzi inteso?”
                          Tasso, _Gerus. Lib._ xvii. 26.


  XLVII.      “She leaps--Archangels weep at Virtue’s sacrifice!”

      Ὦ τύμβος, ὦ νυμφεῖον, ὦ κατασκαφὴς,
      Οἴκησις αἰείφρουρος * * κάκιστα δὴ μακρῷ
      Κάτειμι, πρίν μοι μοῖραν ἐξήκειν βίου.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 891.

“Oh sepulchre, oh bridal bed, oh earth-dug everlasting
dwelling!--by the worst of deaths I perish before the allotted day.”

I visited in September last the principal historical scenes
recorded in this Canto--the Castle at Bayonne where Napoléon
filched the crown with such sinister dexterity from the old King,
as well as from Ferdinand VII.; the fine fortress at Badajoz where
the miserable Godoy was born; the museum of Armoin at Madrid,
where, alas, the sword of Francis the First surrendered at Pavía,
_is not_; and the monument in the Prado, erected to the memory
of the victims who fell on the _Dos de Maio_. I had previously
visited the fields of Roriça and Vimieiro, and made more than one
pilgrimage to Corunna.

The name of the Maid of Zaragoza (in contradiction to all English
writers) I have fixed, upon Spanish authority, as Manuela Sanchez.



IBERIA WON.

Canto IX.


I.

        A youthful Chieftain’s form as Phœbus fair
        An instant filled the door--then forward rushed:--
        “Back, villains, nor with deeds of carnage dare
        To stain the arms that late the Gaul have crushed!
        Not men, but demons--where the life-blood gushed
        Of all her tribe, this maiden would ye harm?”
        ’Twas Nial! ’Neath his glance was instant hushed
        Each caitiff’s heart. With ill-disguised alarm,
      They skulk aloof in awe. Such god-like Virtue’s charm!


II.

        He takes the trembling maiden by the hand,
        Where huddled in a corner, nigh to swoon,
        Shuddering and paralysed, she scarce doth stand,
        And ill divineth what a priceless boon
        Hath Nial brought her that he came so soon!
        For ruffian violence her charms had eyed,
        And forward rushed to stain that peerless Moon,
        As Nial entered. Better in her pride
      A million-fold to have like Isidora died!


III.

        But Heaven, I ween, had sent the gallant youth
        To rescue Innocence in that dread hour,
        And show transcendent courage, manhood, truth
        O’er hell-born passion’s momentary power!
        He seized her hand--at first from him, her tower
        Of strength in peril, she withdrew in fear;
        But in his eyes she looked, and when the flower
        Of generous youth and beauty stood so near,
      Her awe dissolved--her face was bright ’mid many a tear.


IV.

        As vines their tendrils curl round sturdy elms,
        As delicate flowers their heads bend to the sun,
        As ivy twines round oak in forest realms,
        As jasmine soft doth o’er the trellis run:
        So Isabel her soul doth throw upon
        Young Nial’s arm, reposing fearless there.
        His hero-heart her confidence hath won.
        So brave, so kind he looks that even Despair
      His presence flies, and blood less direful hues doth wear.


V.

        He spoke brief words--but deep, consoling, tender;
        Iberia’s language War’s quick ear had taught;
        His thrilling voice new confidence doth lend her,
        But tow’rds the floor her eyes an instant brought
        Sent back the flood of agonizing thought.
        And wild she cried, and frantic was her wail;
        And shuddering she nigh fell, till Nial caught
        The bruiséd lambkin in his arms, and pale
      He bore her through the door, and fanned her in the gale.


VI.

      Full slowly she revived, and Nial then
      An instant left her in the outer air,
      While to the chamber he returned again,
      And made her butchered kindred next his care.
      Joy! joy! Salustian upright sits, and spare
      Thy talons, Death, one victim: deep his wound,
      But yet not perilous. Nial straight doth tear
      His sash away, and swathe it firmly round
      Salustian’s side, the blood he staunched, the gash he bound.


VII.

      Salustian deeply groaned:--“Would I had died,
      Would Heaven that I had died this fatal hour!
      Where are my girls--my girls? Oh God,” he cried,
      “One dashed to pieces--in the villains’ power
      The other--Slay me! Hellhounds, all devour
      That owns me. Slay me! Oh, in mercy slay.
      Yet I’ll not leave my daughter sweet, my flower
      Of Beauty in their claws. Kites, Kites, I say,
      Where, hellkites, is my girl? My sword your lust shall stay?”


VIII.

        He scrambled to his feet, then to his knees
        Fell weakly; but with sword convulsive grasped,
        And energy tremendous, Nial sees
        Him drag his body o’er the floor, which rasped
        His blade in dire excitement, while he gasped
        With nostril panting. Nial’s hand in vain
        His movement bars, till Isabel is clasped
        In her wild father’s arms, who shrieks amain,
      Frantic with joy to think her Honour without stain!


IX.

        And told young Isabel the debt she owed
        To Nial’s care, which soothed the old man much,
        And tears for his relief abundant flowed,
        Though thought of Isidora made him clutch
        His sword again. Oh villains, it might touch
        Your stony hearts, e’en your’s that did this wrong,
        To see its dire effect. Methinks, not such
        Are England’s men. I ween that ye belong
      To some base mongrel breed, against the helpless strong.


X.

        And Nial’s gentle voice the old man’s ear
        Like music enters. Slowly he doth rise,
        And ’neath the hero’s guidance without fear
        Father and daughter, yet with many sighs,
        A step advance. In vain Salustian tries
        The turret to descend--his wound too deep.
        A litter Nial’s active zeal supplies;
        And careful borne adown the turret steep,
      Salustian soon within young Nial’s tent doth weep.


XI.

        While Britain’s columns fierce assault the town,
        Rages terrific strife without the wall;
        The elements with fierce, o’ershadowing frown
        Dashed through Pyrene’s wind-compelling hall,
        And storm within and storm without appal!
        The noble Soult of nobler Moore the foe,
        Of San Sebastian strove to avert the fall;
        And now Behobia’s broken arch below
      By Biriatú he threats the Bidasoa’s flow.


XII.

        At Andarlása craggy mount and moor
        Girding the rapid stream forbid its verge;
        But Oyarzún not yet may sleep secure.
        ’Twixt Jaizquibel and crested Haya urge
        His fiery columns straining to emerge.
        See on the crownéd heights our forces rest.
        Zugáramurdi, Echallar a dirge
        May roar for him who dares the eagle’s nest.
      Great Arthur guards the pass with high, heroic breast.


XIII.

        Not his the blame for San Sebastian’s deeds;
        Upon the mountain-peaks he guides the war.
        No warning voice the ravening soldier heeds,
        And battling rides the Chief revered afar.
        To Fuentarabia’s walls our legions bar
        The French approach, and Bidasoa runs
        Round tall San Marcial’s foot their path to mar;
        And Spain hath banded there her warrior sons,
      While o’er the river’s edge France points her thunderous guns.


XIV.

        By Biriatú now Reille the river fords,
        And climbs San Marcial with his fierce brigades,
        But tangled furze and copse impede their swords.
        Confusion mixes skirmishers and aids;
        The mountain steep their forceful vigour jades;
        And dashing down its sides Spain’s columns rush.
        Before that charge the might of Jena fades.
        As reeds are swept beneath the torrent’s gush,
      So headlong falls the Frank, and feels subjection’s blush.


XV.

        But rapid Soult who notes the unequal fight
        O’er Bidasoa’s stream two bridges throws
        On barks securely moored and trestles light,
        And, quick, Villatte’s reserves their fronts disclose.
        O’er bridge and mount they fly to face their foes.
        San Marcial’s sides they climb, his shrine they gain.
        Thy line, Castile, an instant backward goes.
        But up great Arthur rides--the sons of Spain
      Recall their strength, and hurl the foemen to the plain.


XVI.

        For ’neath that mighty Chief’s commanding eye
        Impossible to sink or droop or quail.
        And Aylmer’s British-born brigade is nigh
        To baffle France if, Spain, thy sons should fail.
        A loud Castilian shout doth rend the gale,
        Acknowledging the Hero’s presence there.
        Full swift the Gaul is dashed into the vale,
        Urged to the brink of Bidasoa fair;
      And drowned or slaughtered sink the victims of despair.


XVII.

        Soult from the summit of the Grand Monarque
        (For sight in mountain war is baffled oft,
        And loftiest points befit the leader’s mark)
        Beheld the dreadful rout and mourned aloft;
        Then urged his columns onward, gliding soft
        To Vera’s fords, his loud artillery’s roar
        Covering the stream. Our men derisive scoft
        To see his shells descend destructive o’er
      His own astounded troops, their ranks molesting sore.


XVIII.

        Ill brooks the Frenchman withering laughter’s scorn:
        The Lusitan brigade they swift assail,
        Whose head by rapid fire is backward borne.
        With wondrous fleetness mounting from the vale,
        Rough Haya’s slopes the active foemen scale.
        But Inglis’ columns now the skirmish join,
        And soon Clausel is on the English trail.
        ’Mid Haya’s dells and lofty ridges shine
      For many an hour their fires along each broken line.


XIX.

        Joy! joy! the battle to the Frenchward side
        Is proudly borne, and pass Kempt’s rifles keen
        O’er Bidasoa’s stream, where swift they glide,
        In modest garments all of darkest green--
        A hue for special service chos’n, I ween,
        For England loves the daring and the frank.
        In brightest red her columns robed are seen,
        A mark inviting like the target’s blank;
      And fair her mind is spoke, and fair her battle’s rank!


XX.

        Kempt holds Lesaca, and the chain’s complete
        From Santa Barbara now to Haya’s crest.
        Clausel beholds the movement of defeat,
        And dreads to tempt the battle further west.
        Hill threatens D’Erlon at his Chief’s behest.
        Dalhousie, Colville gall the Gallic line;
        Girón’s Castilians aim at Conroux’ breast;
        The Lusitan battalion’s bayonets shine;
      And swift the French are forced their stronghold to resign.


XXI.

        See blaze their camp in fires terrific whirled
        By rising tempest-blasts along the sky;
        Tent, abatís, redoubt, and breastwork hurled
        To ruin far and near--below--on high.
        Red streams the fluttering canvass in the eye
        Of that autumnal sun--fierce embers flare,
        And strew the gale--fall blackening timbers nigh;
        Pyrene’s sides reflect the lurid glare,
      And myriad crackling sparks are borne upon the air.


XXII.

        But now resounds the cannonade of Graham--
        That direful torrent o’er the stormers’ heads--
        And bids Soult pause. A moment grief o’ercame
        The hero’s soul--almost a tear he sheds,
        For ominous boding and profound he dreads
        The noble city’s fall. Yet firm he stands,
        And menacing the foe his phalanx treads
        San Marcial’s sides, where still their blazing brands
      And glittering points of steel are swayed by sturdy hands.


XXIII.

        And now the direful storm that fell when San
        Sebastian’s scarp was won the battle palls.
        The tempest louder shouts than warring man;
        San Marcial’s voice on Haya echoing calls,
        And rattles Jaizquibel his thunder-balls,
        Mocking weak mortals, far along the sky.
        Terrific lightnings o’er Pyrene’s walls
        Flash like the swords of mountain spirits on high;
      And halts the strife of Man--his pellets cease to fly.


XXIV.

        Louder and louder grows the tempest’s voice.
        From secular oak and pine huge branches riven
        Are whirled through air by winds that fierce rejoice;
        And trees for playthings to the blast are given,
        As howls the whirlwind breath of angry Heaven!
        And pettiest streams to cataracts are swelled,
        And torrents dash adown the mountain driven;
        While Druid stone and cairn are instant felled,
      And boulders rolled along like pebbles are compelled.


XXV.

        Dismayed and scattered fly the rival hosts,
        Full many a Gaul in Bidasoa drowned;
        But, ah, no respite San Sebastian boasts--
        No truce proclaimed upon that fatal ground.
        Still havoc, plunder, stalk the streets around,
        Still bloodhounds bathe their sides in streaming gore!
        No angel-voice to plead for mercy found,
        No power to quell the fierce hyæna’s roar--
      Even Hope doth seem to fly from that devoted shore!


XXVI.

        Too dire the scenes that San Sebastian stain
        To leave Salustian safe within its wall;
        Young Isabel doth by his side remain
        In Nial’s tent, and soothe his sorrows all,
        But oft her face doth Isidor recall!
        Before the old man from the tower descended,
        Had Nial, fearful lest the sight appal
        Their eyelids, moved the shattered corse and tended
      Its hurried funeral, where no tear with his was blended.


XXVII.

        But Blanca’s corse, her foster-sister fair,
        Was borne with flowrets strewn to Isaro’s isle,
        While snow-white banner trembled in the air
        Above the bark where cold she lay the while,
        To show her virgin spirit without guile!
        And while her sisters of the oar with long
        And pensive strokes, and thoughts that War revile,
        In mournful pageant tame the waters strong,
      The Island coast they round with low funereal song.


XXVIII.

        And now with interest deep that hourly grew
        To tenderest love doth Nial oft behold
        Sweet Isabel, not formally to woo,
        But drink unconsciously a bliss untold
        From presence that his destiny doth mould!
        Her figure light and graceful as gazelle,
        Her eyes’ majestic orbs like starlight rolled,
        Her nature gentle yet with witching spell
      Of buoyant life, upon his kindred bosom fell.


XXIX.

        And felt the maiden boundless gratitude
        To him the saviour of herself and sire.
        Love when he comes doth little there intrude,
        With such devoted zeal she doth admire;
        ’Tis only kindling an intenser fire.
        Neither had noted the delicious hour,
        When mutual transport as in Heavenly choir
        Their souls united; but the common power
      They owned with one accord--of hearts the richest dower.


XXX.

        She loved him with a deep idolatry,
        So like a god he to her eyes doth seem,
        Who came from demon-hate her soul to free,
        Nor shorn at times of a Hypérion beam--
        The very image of her virgin dream!
        Like to those angel-visitants descending
        To earthly loves in Time’s primeval gleam.
        And Nial joys her beauty in defending,
      And deems celestial charms were ne’er so sweetly blending.


XXXI.

        And while the father ’neath the daughter’s care
        Doth gather strength and resignation’s calm,
        Young Nial to the grave doth pious bear
        The corse of Carlos which their tears embalm.
        And Morton low reposeth ’neath the palm
        Of martyr-courage in the self-same grave.
        Funereal rite was none nor dirge nor psalm;
        But warriors mourned for them, the true and brave--
      There sleep, young soldiers, well--for gallant souls ye gave!


XXXII.

        And Nial wept his faithful comrade dead,
        Like woman wept--nor blame his hero-soul,
        For many a fervid kindness done and said
        Rushed o’er his mind, and swept to memory’s goal,
        Till tears in torrents gushed beyond controul.
        Oh, tears are generous, noble! Tears became
        Achilles’ cheek, when Death Patroclus stole;
        His frame sharp anguish shook who shook the frame
      Of Troy--nor, Nial, blush that thou didst weep the same!


XXXIII.

        Three days, three nights, Sebastian’s sack went on;
        And as in fire the earth will sink at last,
        And fire avenge the deeds that then were done,
        Through fiery scourge so San Sebastian past.
        Raged o’er the town, urged by the Atlantic blast,
        The red relentless flame, and to and fro
        Swept like a desert courser, lurid cast
        Its glare o’er Ocean, flashed above--below,
      Till all was smouldering heaps of desolation, wo!


XXXIV.

        Biscayan Nereids! fill your urns with tears;
        With scent of gore the bloodhound’s on the trail.
        Mourn, Uruméan Naiads, plunged in fears,
        For shrieks portentous load the sighing gale
        From virgins all dishevelled, lorn, and pale;
        And stab and death-shot end what leers begin,
        And strong men fall o’erpowered, and seniors frail
        Are slaughtered with the babes of all their kin,
      And vilest passions loosed--the Carnival of Sin!


XXXV.

        Oh, spectral portent of Calamity!
        Oh, ghost of violated Beauty smeared
        With blood and fiery blackness. See it, see
        Where War’s wild wave hath swept o’er homes endeared--
        All, all by Havoc’s burning ploughshare seared!
        An awful silence reigns, more horrid than
        The late artillery’s roar--a trophy reared
        To ruin in each street, that crimson ran.
      A plague infects the air from piled, putrescent man!


XXXVI.

        Ay, thousand corses, shroudless, graveless lie,
        And flout Heaven’s nostril with their carrion hue.
        The iron hail is scattered far and nigh,
        And earth unnumbered fragments sadly strew:
        Wrecked lares--torn apparel--arms that slew
        Till butchery broke them, headgear, shell, and shot,
        But ah! no living thing--yes, one I view--
        A haggard maniac, crouched in loneliest spot.
      The sole survivor he where slaughtered thousands rot!


XXXVII.

        Nor war’s dread engines yet have done their worst,
        For Mont’ Orgullo still by Rey is held;
        And o’er that stronghold falls a doom accurst,
        For ere he leave the Castle must be shelled.
        Nine days of horror by our cannon knelled
        Bring death to our own captives--on the tenth
        When Honour, grisly demon’s voice is quelled
        By glut of gore, he proudly yields at length,
      Walks forth to beat of drum, and owns Britannia’s strength.


XXXVIII.

        What art thou, Man, that mak’st a pride of strife,
        A glory of the sufferings of thy kind?
        That dar’st profanely sport with human life,
        And ev’n in cruelty canst greatness find?
        Oh, steeped in folly, oh, intensely blind,
        And worshipping false Honour more than God,
        Of beasts derided is thy boasted mind!
        Fawn on thy gilded butchers, kiss the rod,
      But deem not scenes like these have Heaven’s approving nod.


XXXIX.

        Not these thy triumphs, England! Ne’er again
        Thy soul shall covet save of Locrian power
        And intellect the glory! Beaconing men
        To happiness be thine--still Freedom’s tower,
        Still making every scowling despot cower
        By labouring mind alone! let Justice wrest
        The axe from War, and give to man her dower.
        Plant, plant the olive pure from East to West,
      And bare not, save compelled, the sword ’gainst human breast!


XL.

        Salustian quick regained his wonted strength,
        Such strength as leaves the feebler tide of life,
        And near Ernani--moved of moderate length
        The journey--to a house with comforts rife,
        His patrimony fair, where sound of strife
        There comes not. Grassy slopes and orchards gay,
        And sweetest daughter to replace a wife
        Embalmed in deathless memory, fill the day
      With gentlest exercise, and health resumes its sway.


XLI.

        And Nial oft on fiery steed doth ride
        O’er the brief space that sunders them, to mark
        The old man’s progress. Oft bright eyes replied
        In mutual glances blithe as song of lark
        At each returning. Soft, though lustrous dark,
        Beamed Isabel on Nial’s blue-eyed smile.
        Salustian saw full clear the kindling spark,
        Nor chid the flame that grew and spread the while,
      Till Nial’s plighted troth was echoed without guile.


XLII.

        Her soul was all absorbed in his--her life
        Was cast, since meeting, in another mould.
        The cloud or sunshine, calm repose or strife,
        Must be together shared, the bliss untold
        Or mortal grief must Fate for both unfold!
        No thought her bosom entered but was Nial’s;
        Self-consecrate to him, her champion bold--
        His--his--though Destiny pour all its phials,
      His--his ’mid love’s best joys or life’s acutest trials!


XLIII.

        Now tranquilly beneath the autumnal sun,
        Whose beams the mountain breezes tempered bland,
        Salustian, Isabel from sorrow won
        Full many an hour by wings angelic fanned;
        And oft within their lawn doth Nial stand,
        And pluck the golden apple from the bough,
        Or cull grapes purple-clustering for the hand
        Of Isabel--now plum or almond--now
      The green and luscious fig, the peach with blushing brow.


XLIV.

        And quiet smiled the old man, pleased to see
        A pair so formed for mutual happiness,
        So beautiful in different quality,
        Whom destined wedlock’s bonds ere long to bless;
        And as he feasted on their comeliness,
        At thought of Carlos and of Isidor
        A tear would gathering come--yet not the less
        He poured on these his deep affection’s store;
      But rather, centred thus, his spirit entwined them more.


XLV.

        Now all his momentary ire had ceased
        ’Gainst Britain’s sons, whose high and generous hearts
        Partook no stain of deeds which are the feast
        Of felon-natures wielding Victory’s darts.
        And when for war again young Nial starts,
        Salustian gives his blessing: Isabel
        With many a tear a treasured chain imparts
        Of Isidora’s hair and her’s: “Twill dwell
      Next to my heart,” he said, as sobbed the maid “Farewell!”


XLVI.

        But, ah, the town Isaiah’s voice recals
        When mourned the awful prophet Zion’s doom,
        With battering nations camped around her walls,
        Till flames devouring chase the midnight gloom.
        Wo to thee, Ariel, wo, gigantic tomb!
        The Lord of Hosts shall visit thee with storm
        And thunder;--vengeful fires thy pride consume,
        In gory dust is laid thy beauteous form,
      And as a dream of night thy agonies shall swarm!


XLVII.

        In after days, when Isidora long
        Had slept the icy slumber of the dead,
        The memory of her Beauty and her wrong
        O’er her still honoured name a lustre shed;
        And many a lover with her story fed
        The tuneful echoes of Biscaya’s plain,
        Told how all crimson ran her stony bed,
        How passed to bliss the maiden without stain,
      And thus her early doom preserved in simple strain:


The Basque Lily.

      Mourn Cantabria’s lily fair,
        Blooming soft like young Aurora;
      Broken lies and bleeding there
        Beauty’s flowret, Isidora!
      Honour’s martyr-crown she prized
        Life before and living splendour.
      Ah, how fearfully disguised
        Is that blossom once so tender.
                Vascongada, mourn!


2

      Ne’er was such unfading truth,
        Love so pure beheld in maiden;
      Never was such radiant youth
        With such boundless virtue laden.
      Pity felt her heart for wo,
        For Iberia deep devotion;
      While her damask cheek would show
        Of her soul the least emotion.
                Vascongada, mourn!


3

      San Sebastian’s daughters, weep,
        Yet a blessing call upon her;
      Even the dread Cathedral leap
        Chose the maid before dishonour!
      Red the lily, torn its charms,
        Fiery-tongued for pity pleading.
      Carlos, ah, thy frozen arms
        Cannot fold thy angel bleeding.
                Vascongada, mourn.



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO IX.


The terrible scenes consequent upon the siege and storming of San
Sebastian, which occupy considerable portions of this and the
preceding Canto, and form in their bare recital an illustration
never surpassed of the horrors of War, are attested by so many
authorities, that to enter into minute corroborative details
would far exceed the limits which I have prescribed to myself.
The following brief but vigorous description is from Gleig’s
_Subaltern_:

“The reader will easily believe that a man who has spent some of
the best years of his life amid scenes of violence and bloodshed,
must have witnessed many spectacles highly revolting to the purest
feelings of our nature; but a more appalling picture of war passed
by--of war in its darkest colours,--those which distinguish it
when its din is over--than was presented by St. Sebastian, and
the country in its immediate vicinity, I certainly never beheld.
Whilst an army is stationary in any district, you are wholly
unconscious of the work of devastation which is proceeding--you see
only the hurry and pomp of hostile operations. But, when the tide
has rolled on, and you return by chance to the spot over which it
has last swept, the effect upon your mind is such, as cannot even
be imagined by him who has not experienced it. Little more than a
week had elapsed, since the division employed in the siege of St.
Sebastian had moved forward. Their trenches were not yet filled up,
nor their batteries demolished; yet the former had, in some places,
fallen in of their own accord, and the latter were beginning to
crumble to pieces. We passed them by, however, without much notice.
It was, indeed, impossible not to acknowledge, that the perfect
silence which prevailed was far more awful than the bustle and
stir that lately pervaded them; whilst the dilapidated condition of
the convent, and of the few cottages which stood near it, stripped,
as they were, of roofs, doors, and windows, and perforated with
cannon shot, inspired us with gloomy sensations.

“As we pursued the main road, and approached St. Sebastian by
its ordinary entrance, we were at first surprised at the slight
degree of damage done to its fortifications by the fire of our
batteries. The walls and battlements beside the gateway appeared
wholly uninjured, the very embrasures being hardly defaced. But
the delusion grew gradually more faint as we drew nearer, and
had totally vanished before we reached the glacis. We found the
draw-bridge fallen down across the ditch, in such a fashion that
the endeavour to pass it was not without danger. The folding gates
were torn from their hinges, one lying flat upon the ground, and
the other leaning against the wall; whilst our own steps, as we
moved along the arched passage, sounded loud and melancholy.

“Having crossed this, we found ourselves at the commencement of
what had once been the principal street in the place. No doubt it
was, in its day, both neat and regular; but of the houses nothing
now remained except the outward shells, which, however, appeared
to be of an uniform height and style of architecture. As far as
I could judge, they stood five stories from the ground, and were
faced with a sort of freestone, so thoroughly blackened and defiled
as to be hardly cognizable. The street itself was, moreover, choked
up with heaps of ruins, among which were strewed about fragments
of household furniture and clothing, mixed with caps, military
accoutrements, round shot, pieces of shells, and all the other
implements of strife. Neither were there wanting other evidences
of the drama which had been lately acted here, in the shape of
dead bodies, putrefying, and infecting the air with the most
horrible stench. Of living creatures, on the other hand, not one
was to be seen, not even a dog or a cat; indeed, we traversed the
whole city without meeting more than six human beings. These, from
their dress and abject appearance, struck me as being some of the
inhabitants who had survived the assault. They looked wild and
haggard, and moved about here and there, poking among the ruins, as
if they were either in search of the bodies of their slaughtered
relatives, or hoped to find some little remnant of their property.”
For an account of the excesses committed by our soldiery after the
storming, “atrocities degrading to human nature,” see Napier’s
_History_, book xxii. chap. 2. Mr. Ford’s denial, in his otherwise
valuable Hand-book, deserves much censure. I heard those horrors
detailed on the spot.

The operations on the Pyrenees on the day of the storming of San
Sebastian, with the rival manœuvrings of Soult and Wellington, the
combat of San Marcial, in which the Spaniards behaved so well, and
the several remarkable incidents of which I have sought to avail
myself, will be found fully recorded in Napier’s _History_, book
xxii. chap. 3. The scene of these, and the subsequent operations,
struck me at passing as grand and majestic in the highest
degree--the lofty and broken Pyrenean range, more fitted, as I have
elsewhere remarked, for the combats of Titans than of men. The
very names have a majestic sound, and their associations are often
supernatural. I have warrant for the lines:--

      “Zugaramurdi, Echallar a dirge
      May roar for him who dares the eagle’s nest.”

These terrific mountain-solitudes were celebrated as the scene of
witchcraft in ancient times:--“Las trasformaciones y maleficios,
las zambras, bailes, y comilonas con que se solazaban otras en los
aquelarres ó ayuntamientos nocturnos de Zugaramurdi, en el valle
de Baztan.” (Navarrete, _Vida de Cervantes_.) A number of these
so-called witches were condemned to be whipped publicly in 1810 by
the Inquisition of Logroño.


  V.      “Shuddering she nigh fell, till Nial caught
           The bruiséd lambkin in his arms.”

      Illa nihil: neque enim vocem viresque loquendi,
        Aut aliquid toto pectore mentis habet;
      Sed tremit, ut quondam stabulis deprensa relictis,
        Parva sub infesto cùm jacet agna lupo.
                          Ovid. _Fast._ ii. 797.


  VII.      ----“Would I had died,
            Would Heaven that I had died this fatal hour!” &c.

      Ἰοὺ, ἰοὺ, ἀντιπαθῆ
      Μεθεῖσα καρδίας σταλαγμὸν
      Χθονιαφόρον· ἐκ δὲ τοῦ
      Λιχὴν ἄφυλλος, ἄτεκνος,
      Βροτοφθόρους κηλίδας ἐν χώρᾳ βαλεῖ.
                          Æschyl. _Eumen._ 810.

“Wo, bitter wo is me! I will shed a drop from my heart which shall
corrupt all earthly things! And thence shall spring a ring-worm
sterile--childless, and fling man-rotting spots through earth
around!”


  XI.      “The elements with fierce, o’ershadowing frown.”

      At pater omnipotens densa inter nubila telum
      Contorsit (non ille faces, nec fumea tædis
      Lumina) præcipitemque immani turbine adegit.
                          Virg. _Æn._ vi.


  XXIII.      “And halts the strife of man--his pellets cease to fly.”

      Ἀντίτυπα δ’ ἐπὶ γᾷ πέσε τανταλωθεὶς
      Πυρφόρος, ὃς τότε μαινομένᾳ ξὺν ὁρμᾷ
          Βακχεύων ἐπέπνει
          Ῥιπαῖς ἐχθίστων ἀνέμων.
                          Soph. _Antig._ 134.

“But stricken with the thunder that fiery one fell to earth who
raging before with insane fury had excited the violent winds.”


  XXV.      “Dismayed and scattered fly the rival hosts.”

      Stolto, ch’al Ciel si agguaglia, e in oblio pone
      Come di Dio la destra irata tuone!
                          Tasso. _Ger. Lib._ iv. 2.


  XXIX.      ----“The common power
             They owned with one accord--of hearts the richest dower.”

                          Die heilige Liebe
      Strebt zu der höchsten frucht gleicher gesinungen auf * *
      Sich verbinde das paar, finde die höhere welt.
                          Goethe, “_Metamorphose der Pflanzen_.”

“Holy Love strives after the loftiest fruit of equal
dispositions--that those who love may be one, and find the Higher
World!”


  XXX.      “So like a god he to her eyes doth seem,
             Who came from demon-hate her soul to free.”

      _Clyt._ Οὐκ ἔχω βωμὸν καταφυγεῖν ἄλλον, ἢ τὸ σὸν γόνυ,
          Οὐδὲ φίλος οὐδεὶς γελᾷ μοι. * * *
                          Eurip. _Iphig. in Aul._ 911.

      _Achil._ Θεὸς ἐγὼ πέφῃνά σοι
      Μέγιστος, οὐκ ὢν.
                          _Ib._ 973.

_Clyt._ “I have no other altar to fly to but thy knee; nor have
         I a friend!”

_Achil._ “I have appeared to thee a mighty God; but am not one.”


  XXXII.      “His frame sharp anguish shook,” &c.

      ----κλαίοντα λιγέως.
                          Hom. _Il._ T.

“Crying sharply”--such is the epithet which the poet applies to the
wailing of Achilles for Patroclus.


  XXXIII.      “Through fiery scourge so San Sebastian past,” &c.

      Πόλις δ’ ὁμοῦ μὲν θυμιαμάτων γέμει,
      Ὁμοῦ δὲ παιάνων τε καὶ στεναγμάτων.
                          Soph. _Œdip._ Tyr. 4.

      Πόλις γὰρ, ὥσπερ καὐτὸς εἰσορᾷς, ἄγαν
      Ἤδη σαλεύει, κᾴνακουφίσαι κάρα
      Βυθῶν ἔτ’ οὐχ οἵα τε φοινίου σάλου.
                          _Ib._ 22.

“The whole city smokes, and is full of mournful pæans and
lamentations. * * As thou thyself dost witness, the city is shaken
with a mighty grief, nor can raise its head from the depths of the
gory sea.”

  “Till all was smouldering heaps of desolation, wo.”

      Gern möcht’ er in tempeln beten,
      Nur trümmer findet er mehr!
      Altar’ und Götter liegen
      Zerstückelt am boden umher.
                          Anastasius Grün (Von Auersperg).

“Willingly would he pray in temples, but he finds only ruins.
Altars and Gods lie shattered upon the earth around!”


  XXXIX.      “Thy soul shall covet but of Locrian power
               And intellect the glory! Beaconing men
               To happiness be thine--still Freedom’s tower,
               Still making every scowling Despot cower!”

      Νέμει γὰρ Ἀτρέκεια πόλιν Λοκρῶν
      Ζεφυρίων: μέλει τέ σφισι Καλλιόπα,
      Καὶ χάλκεος Ἄρης.
                          Pind. _Olymp._ x.

“For Truth doth govern in the Zephyrian Locri’s city, and Calliope
is their care, and likewise brazen Mars.” A magnificent eulogy is
conveyed here in a few words. Ἀτρέκεια in the original has the
force both of Truth and Justice. No people of antiquity were more
renowned for the excellence of their institutions than the Locri,
who were the first to make use of written laws. (Strabo, _lib._ 6.)
Calliope is used by synecdoche for the Muses, to whom the Locri
were greatly devoted, having invented the Locric harmony which was
subsequently imitated by Sappho and Anacreon. (Athenæus, _lib._
xiv. et xv.) Their warlike character upon fitting occasions was
also terribly displayed, 10,000 Locri having put to flight 130,000
invading Crotonians on the banks of the river Sagra--a fact which,
at first doubted as impossible, was afterwards strictly verified,
and passed into a proverb. (Strabo, _lib._ 6.) The epithet “brazen”
applied here to Mars arises from the singular fact that iron did
not enter into the composition of the Grecian arms, which were all
of brass. (Pausanias, _in Laconicis_, and Homer _passim_.) The
magnificent region of Locris was situated at the foot of Parnassus;
and the splendid pre-eminence of its inhabitants in arts and arms,
with their prodigious victory over the Crotonians, appears to
justify their comparison with England.


  XLII.      “Her soul was all absorbed in his--her life
              Was cast, since meeting, in another mould.”

      Und wenn du ganz in dem gefühle selig bist,
      Nenn es dann wie du willst,
      Nenn’s glück! herz! liebe! Gott!
      Ich habe keinen namen
      Dafür! Gefühl ist alles.
                          Goethe, _Faust_.

“And when thou art perfectly blissful in that feeling, call it
what thou wilt--call it joy--heart--love--God! I have no name for
it--feeling is all!”


  XLIII.      “And pluck the golden apple from the bough.”

      Vel cùm decorum mitibus pomis caput
        Autumnus arvis extulit,
      Ut gaudet ... decerpens pyra,
        Certantem et uvam purpuræ.
                          Hor. _Epod._ ii.

  XLVII.      “Even the dread Cathedral leap
               Chose the maid before dishonour.”

            ----Θυσίας
      Παρθενίου θ’ αἵματος ὀρ-
      γᾷ περιόργως ἐπιθυ-
      μεῖν Θέμις.
                          Æschyl. _Agamem._ 216.

“Of the sacrifice of virgin blood Diana is vehemently desirous.”



IBERIA WON.

Canto X.


I.

        Heavy the Morn, and sullenly and fierce
        A thunder-storm o’ergathers Haya’s crest.
        His rocky diadem red lightnings pierce,
        Leap o’er each crag, and smite the eagle’s nest;
        And volleying thunder rolls from East to West.
        Now rain in gushing torrents drowns the sky;
        Anon a fiery bolt on Mandal’s breast
        Leaves its black scar;--anon the storm from high
      O’er Bidasóa falls while winds like spirits cry!


II.

        Great Arthur seized the tempest as a boon,
        His columns lit by glory to advance
        Tow’rds Commissari, Bayonnette, and Rhune,
        And entering tame the pride of haughty France.
        Daring his mighty plan, whose toils enhance
        The Fuéntarábian waters poured between.
        A stronger than Bernardo wields the lance,
        And Paladins again to quail are seen.
      Our conquering footsteps Spain re-echoes proud, I ween.


III.

        For Roncesvalles is to Spain restored;
        Her Mina’s legions fill its storied dell.
        His Guerrilleros ’neath that Chief adored
        ’Gainst the marauding Gaul have battled well.
        And at Baigorri hark where grandly swell
        The war-notes of Castile, while rush the wild
        Partidas ringing many a Norman’s knell;
        And sweep from France the forage she hath piled
      On Spanish soil profaned, from stall and sheepfold mild.


IV.

        Unconsciously the lowing herds resent
        Their change of masters, rudely by the horn
        Seized in the foray while trabúcos bent
        ’Gainst Gaulish bosoms vomit deathful scorn,
        With loud explosive sound on Echo borne.
        And innocent sheep in thousands piteous bleat
        ’Gainst hands that will restore them ere the Morn
        To the sweet fold, and oxen loud repeat
      Moan upon moan, by bayonet pricked or firelock beat.


V.

        And on Ayrola’s rock is swift surprised
        By Campbell’s highlanders a post of Gaul;
        For not more firm the red-deer’s limb is poised
        For strength and fleetness mixed than doth befal
        Those hardy mountaineers whose shouts appal
        The braves of France--as e’en surprised them more,
        When first beheld by Vimieiro’s wall,
        Their antique garb, such as in days of yore
      (In them revived to-day) the Roman legions wore.


VI.

        Thus breaking fast the spirit of Gallia’s sons,
        Great Arthur now begins his great emprize;
        Where Bidasóa’s stream impetuous runs,
        Resolved to pass though strenuous Soult defies.
        And while the thunder-storm doth lash the skies,
        His dread artillery’s ranged on Marcial’s flanks.
        O’er the tall crest doth many a cannon rise;
        His columns line the Bidasóa’s banks,
      In silence poured along, and form their warlike ranks.


VII.

        Full many a howitzer by fair Irún,
        While rages still the blast, its thunder hoards;
        And there lies closely moored each strong pontoon,
        Beneath the town. Where Bidasóa’s fords,
        Through fishermen unawed by Gallic swords,
        To lynx-eyed vigilance their soundings yield,
        Castile shall pass and flout her tyrant lords.
        With deftest skill the troops are all concealed
      By Jonco, Biriatú, and Fuéntarabia’s field.


VIII.

        And near to fair Behóbia’s broken arch
        The Lusitan battalion secret placed
        Is with the British guards prepared to march
        Beyond the Adour, till Gaul herself shall taste
        Invasion’s sweets, her dreams of glory chased!
        Still stand i’ the camp the tent-sheets as before,
        Nor change appears nor new design embraced,
        When breaks that clouded morn from mist-drops o’er
      Pyrene’s towering hills, and gloom o’erspreads the shore.


IX.

        Beneath Andaye our bold brigades emerge,
        And in two columns rapid cross the sand.
        Silent as Death they gain the river’s verge,
        They pass the fords, they reach the further land.
        Then rose on high a rocket streaming grand,
        The signal true from Fuéntarabia’s tower;
        And howitzer and cannon briskly manned
        From tall San Marcial raised their voice of power,
      And covered with their fire the fords in peril’s hour.


X.

        Seven columns o’er the sand like serpents wind,
        With crimson bright and azure scales bespread--
        The various garbs of Spain and England joined--
        And glancing bayonets bristle o’er each head;
        No Hydra in Lernæan marsh so dread!
        The Gaul o’ermatched can scarcely trust his eyes.
        Confusedly gathering each with shame is red;
        And form our lines beyond the stream ere flies
      A hostile shot, so great that terrible surprise!


XI.

        Now mustering yet disordered forth they come,
        For spreads the alarm: _Alerte! alerte!_’s the cry.
        The hurrying leaders urge them--rolls the drum,
        And to San Marcial’s thunderous guns reply
        Their cannon from the Grand Monarque on high.
        But all too late the movement--see, their camp
        Beneath Andaye is carried manfully
        At glittering point of bayonet. Nought can damp
      The ardour of our men, or check their onward tramp.


XII.

        Vain, Boyer, thy decision--vain, Maucune,
        Thy energy. Soult hears the cannonade
        At Espelette, and rushes forth full soon;
        But ere he comes his camps a prey are made
        By Britain’s sons beneath Andaya’s shade.
        Zugáramurdi feels the advancing power,
        And D’Erlon sees his post by Fate betrayed--
        The Lusitan battalion’s fairest flower
      Alone by France cut down in that eventful hour.


XIII.

        Our German Chasseurs now by Halket led
        The Grand Monarque with vigorous footsteps climb.
        Before their onset fierce the Gaul hath fled;
        But, guardian of the pass, that peak sublime
        Must not be yielded in an instant’s time.
        Reille pours his masses on the mountain’s brow,
        With field artillery, to efface the crime
        Of light concession. Halt the Germans now,
      For tired and wounded sore their spirits an instant bow.


XIV.

        But Cameron with his gallant warriors rushed
        Straight through their broken ranks, and gained the peak,
        Where stands the Wreathéd Cross. Ne’er torrent gushed
        From Mandal more impetuous fierce to seek
        The plain. Beneath the shock Gaul’s columns break.
        First fly their cannon down the mountain-side,
        And next--the mouths secured that dare not speak--
        To a lower ridge the infantry doth glide
      Where forms their line, not yet abated all their pride.


XV.

        Narrow the pathway leading to the ridge,
        Which now the Frenchmen clustering strongly hold;
        But o’er it urge, like passing tiniest bridge,
        In single column led by Cameron bold,
        Our heroes as at Azincour of old.
        The hill doth inward curve--concentrate fire
        The foemen pour; but by the shout appalled
        Of sturdiest freemen, swift the French retire,
      The British bayonet ne’er withstanding in its ire.


XVI.

        And Freyre’s Spaniards now the peak have won
        Of Mandal lording o’er his craggy slopes,
        Where the Green Mountain glistens in the sun,
        And tow’rds Urogne an easy pathway opes.
        Thus turned his flanks, and foiled in front his hopes,
        Reille by the causeway of Bayonne recedes,
        Till Soult’s great voice the flight majestic stops.
        In vain the foeman’s breast contending bleeds;--
      The Bidasóa’s won--not least of England’s deeds!


XVII.

        But yet the pass of Vera we must gain,
        Where now Girón from Ivantelly’s come
        And Longa with the skirmishers of Spain,
        And Alten too with men Old England from--
        Not these the least, I ween, in Victory’s sum!
        Dire were the works upon the heights above
        Which Gaul could raise, but not the brave benumb.
        And here was Nial, oft with tenderest love
      Musing on Isabel, poor lorn and fluttering dove!


XVIII.

        The youth looked up: by outward posts defended
        And star-redoubts he saw the Bayonnette;
        The Commissari with that mountain blended
        Was girt with abatís incessant met.
        He thought those bulwarks would be England’s yet!
        A gulf profound with skirmishers was filled,
        And thickest woods where marksmen keen were set.
        Rugged the path where Spain her hope must build,
      With turns abrupt where men by striplings might be killed.


XIX.

        An isolated mountain midway rose--
        ’Tis called “The Boar”--by France’s warriors crowned;
        And Longa’s guns and Colborne’s rifles chose
        The toilsome task to gain this lofty ground--
        So high, though dwarfed amongst the peaks around,
        That the spent musket-bullets singing fell
        All harmless at its foot with feeble sound,
        Which marksmen from the crest directed well
      ’Gainst our advancing men, but none its tale could tell.


XX.

        The word is given, and swift our heroes climb
        The mountain, Nial first their steps to guide.
        A pine-wood’s gained far up in quickest time--
        They breathe a moment--with disdainful pride
        Doth Nial dash each shadowing branch aside,
        And forward rush, exclaiming, “On men, on!”
        His gallant followers scorn secure to bide
        Behind--the summit’s gained--the foemen wan
      Scarce meet their dashing charge; an instant--they are gone!


XXI.

        Emboldened by this triumph rush the Allies;
        Our columns plunge into the rough defile.
        The dark ravine to the left with lusty cries
        Is ta’en by Longa’s Leonese, the while
        Colborne’s brigade o’er narrow pathways toil
        To the Bayonnette with skirmishers before,
        Breastwork, redoubt, and abatís to spoil.
        With men and fire the slopes are covered o’er,
      And curls white smoke above the forest-battle’s roar.


XXII.

        Through each intrenchment in the greater pass
        Soon Kempt’s brigade doth force resistless sway,
        His skirmishers wide scattered o’er the grass
        To small detachments broke, as melt away
        The lessening slopes into the ridges gray.
        The platform’s won, and Colborne’s bold brigade
        Of rifles far above, like huntsmen gay,
        Is seen to emerge from forth the forest shade
      To the broad space before the star-redoubt displayed.


XXIII.

        Nial was there, and swift he led his men
        With rapid fire the strong redoubt to storm.
        Their dark attire the French mistaking then
        For garb of Southron soldiers, forth they swarm,
        And face our caçadores in conflict warm.
        Sudden their charge, and struggling hand to hand,
        The firelock and its fixéd bayonet form
        Against the unarméd rifle surer brand,
      And shrill the Frenchmen cried as backward drew the band.


XXIV.

        But Nial with his sword the bayonet matched,
        And as he fought upon the rocky verge
        That bounds the platform, he a firelock snatched
        From forth a Frenchman’s hands whom he did urge
        At swordpoint till he slew him. While the surge
        Of foemen rushed, he kept them all at bay,
        Till from the forest swift our troops emerge.
        Their crimson garb with panic struck the fray,
      And Nial cheered his men to give their rifles play.


XXV.

        Then loud arose the sturdy British shout.
        Rifles and foot in full career advance.
        The foe to their intrenchment wheel about;
        And England’s sons, improving well the chance,
        The fort have entered with the sons of France.
        Dense clouds of smoke o’er all the works ascended.
        Sharp rang the musket, active played its lance.
        But soon the mass of French and English blended
      Emerged, while British cheers proclaimed the conflict ended.


XXVI.

        Up, up the crags the rapid Frenchman flies,
        The powerful Briton following in his trail,
        Till new intrenchment, new redoubts, arise.
        Once more they stand--once more our troops assail
        Their abatís, till France again doth quail.
        And ever Nial flourished in the van
        His faithful sword that turned the foeman pale,
        And cheered his rifles on, and foremost ran,
      Like gallant chief whose port gives courage to each man.


XXVII.

        And Colborne nobly guided the brigade,
        Which now the mount hath carried to its crest;
        But there a terrible redoubt’s displayed,
        Where loop-holed works with musketry arrest
        The brave who fall with many a piercéd breast.
        No howitzer is there--no mountain-gun,
        But missiles scarce less dire our troops molest;
        For thundering down the steep comes many a stone,
      Huge, rugged, dealing death, or shattering flesh and bone.


XXVIII.

        But Kempt’s brigade its toilsome way hath gained
        With Andaluzan comrades up the steep,
        And turned the fort’s left flank--’tis scarce attained,
        When rush the foemen in disordered heap
        Down the far hill-side to the valley deep.
        The fort is our’s! The tricolor is torn
        By Nial from the flag-staff at a leap;
        And, Spain, thy lions and thy towers upborne
      In many a victor field its summit proud adorn.


XXIX.

        The Bayonnette is won! The mountain’s brow
        Doth bear a signal-tower whose beechen arms
        Soult’s mandates wonted to transmit till now,
        And o’er his lines convey with magic charms
        Of fleetness War’s instructions and alarms.
        “Now down,” quoth Nial, “with the wooden head,
        Whose baleful movement oft the Spaniard harms.
        His clumsy flourishes through æther sped
      No more shall wound the Allies, no more by Soult be read.”


XXX.

        From Leon’s corps two sturdy pioneers
        With gleaming axes clove the column’s foot.
        The laughing Andaluz the tell-tale jeers:
        “’Tis thus we lay the hatchet to the root.”
        “That tree,” said Nial, “shall no more give fruit!”
        The Andaluzes yet more fiercely mock,
        Keen as the shafts their bullring Majos shoot:--
        “Now did king Joseph’s self receive the shock,
      Right lustily the axe should cleave the senseless block!”


XXXI.

        Soon pierced the column round, till scarce a thread
        Supports its weight:--“Look out--look out below!”
        Another stroke--and stoops its monstrous head.
        It sways--it topples o’er--first bending slow,
        Then falls with mighty crash beneath the blow.
        As when ’mid storms, some labouring ship to ease,
        The mast is hewn away, and falls where flow
        The seething billows--tackles, shrouds, and trees,
      Canvass and cordage sink, a victim to the seas.


XXXII.

        Meanwhile great Arthur hath so well combined
        His several forces tow’rds the frontier nigh,
        That Commissari and Puérto, as designed,
        Our flag now wear upon their summits high.
        Five perilous hours our heroes by the cry
        Of Freedom spurred, o’er crags stupendous toiling,
        Have ceaseless fought where dead and wounded lie,
        At every guarded post the Frenchman foiling,
      And round Pyrene’s girth like powerful serpent coiling.


XXXIII.

        But now the greater Rhune must too be won,
        And Colborne’s corps and Longa’s force the hill.
        Through wooded gorge, up craggy slopes they run,
        Then breathless pause--again with lusty will
        Burst fresh and sparkling like a mountain rill.
        And many and fleet the skirmishers of France,
        With fusillade severe but conquering still,
        They backward drive along the broad expanse,
      And Nial’s gleaming sword was ever in advance.


XXXIV.

        Strong was the line of abatís that rose
        Full in the path of Longa’s wearied men.
        They halt irresolute before their foes,
        Nor list to Longa’s voice nor mark his ken.
        But Nial whom all loved was ’mongst them then,
        And “_adelante_” crying waved his sword--
        Leapt o’er the abatís i’ the lion’s den.
        The generous Spaniards bounded at the word,
      Saved “the fair boy” and smote the French with one accord.


XXXV.

        To Rhune’s enormous sides the foemen fled,
        Where ’neath Clausel the Gaul doth muster strong.
        The Hermitage upon the mountain’s head
        Is thick with arméd men,--though Fate should wrong,
        Full stern resolved the contest to prolong.
        By others not less fierce are held his flanks;
        To Sarre and to Ascain extends the throng.
        A lower ridge the greater Rhune embanks,
      And this too bristles o’er with Gallia’s hostile ranks.


XXXVI.

        Now--now the Andaluzes scale the Rhune,
        By Colborne’s caçadores supported still.
        A musket-shot below the crest full soon
        Their charge doth reach, to where a craggy hill
        Detached doth rise. This natural bulwark fill
        The skirmishers of France, whose fusillade
        Not long withstands the assailants’ vengeful will.
        The bulwark’s cleared, the pathway free is made,
      And up the Spaniards climb--nor ask for British aid.


XXXVII.

        But from the Hermitage terrific rocks
        Come bounding fierce, of such enormous size,
        That seemeth each of those succeeding shocks
        Enough to sink a column ne’er to rise!
        Not Valour’s self can with unmovéd eyes
        That horrid task of Sisyphus survey.
        Appalled and unadvancing the allies
        With distant fire along the mountain way
      The foe in vain assail, withheld by dire dismay.


XXXVIII.

        But saw great Arthur now with Lyncean ken,
        Though Rhune was there impregnable, a side
        Which might a pathway open to his men,
        And give their arms of Gaul to tame the pride.
        O’er Sarre the ascent arose more fair and wide,
        And strongly there concentred the brigades
        Assail the rocks that long approach defied.
        The rocks are won--the Gaulish valour fades,--
      And won a height intrenched their camp at Sarre which shades.


XXXIX.

        From Echallar on Barbe our men descend,
        And win the fort with British shouts of power.
        The camp of Sarre’s outflanked, Clausel doth end
        Resistance there, retiring in that hour.
        He dreads his rear cut off, resigns his tower
        Of strength--the greater Rhune, and takes his stand
        Upon the lesser height. But soon the flower
        Of Britain’s rifles crown the mountain grand,
      And from the Hermitage the lower heights command.


XL.

        And while the garrison was swift retiring
        From that strong ground, their path young Nial crost
        With six poor rifles not a shot e’en firing,
        When forth the gallant stept, and from his post,
        “Lay down your arms!” he shouted to the host--
        Three hundred men! His mandate they obeyed,
        Scared by that voice of power, and deeming lost
        All means of ’scape. Resistance none they made,
      And Nial at their head regained his bold brigade.


XLI.

        And when the eye of England’s glorious Chief,
        Great Arthur, fell with favour on the youth,
        And praise he spoke in stirring words though brief,
        Such as with thought impregnate all and truth
        It was his wont to utter, Envy’s tooth
        Of calumny to silence proudly shaming,
        Beat Nial’s heart, and soldiers all uncouth
        Felt tears well nigh to flow, the stripling naming
      So loved by all, their hearts with gentlest Valour taming.


XLII.

        And Nial thought upon his Isabel,
        For all his proudest feelings centred there,
        Prophetic that the maid he loved so well
        The praise would echo sweetly, smiling fair;
        And while his brow a loftier plume doth wear
        Through glory for that day’s achievements done,
        With her he thought the joyous fruits to share,
        With her to feel the glow of Victory’s sun,
      For still for her and Spain was Freedom’s battle won.


XLIII.

        Now our’s the Bidasóa, our’s the Rhune,
        And Bayonnette, and Commissari too.
        Oh France! thy fields shall now be entered soon,
        For at our feet the fair Nivelle doth flow.
        Saint Jean de Luz, thy vesper-lights below
        O’erhang the Gascon gulf. Invasion’s tread
        Hath passed thy border, yet no sound of wo
        Shall rend thy sky, thy homes shall mourn no dead,
      For Justice now humane with Britain’s arms is wed.


XLIV.

        The wail of San Sebastian reached thy heart,
        Great Arthur, and provoked the stern command,
        Which none may dare dispute. The conqueror’s part
        Shall Mercy temper in the Gaulish land.
        Now on Pyrene’s farthest summit stand
        Thy legions bolder than e’er Cæsar’s arm
        To victory marshalled. Every crag was manned
        By arméd foes, yet quelled is War’s alarm
      Through Spain, such Valour’s power, such godlike Freedom’s charm!


XLV.

        But mourn the brave who nobly fighting fell
        Upon Pyrene’s mountains, mourn the brave
        Whose breasts were pierced, where strove those bosoms well,
        And, ah, too oft have found not e’en a grave!
        For o’er those pathless solitudes the wave
        Of War hath rolled, and ’mid those regions vast
        Full many a wounded man, with none to save,
        Hath sighed his aidless death-groan to the blast,
      And vultures strip the bones which Heaven will clothe at last!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO X.


The Passage of the Bidasoa, with the military movements which
immediately ensued, completing that operation and establishing the
left wing of our army on the soil of France, occupies the entire of
this Canto. The events with which it deals will be found very fully
and satisfactorily recorded in Napier’s _History_, book xxii. chap.
4. The thunder-storm which rolled over the district on the eventful
morning chosen by Wellington for this remarkable strategical
evolution is by no means exaggerated in the text. It is in the
Pyrenees that thunder is witnessed to perfection. The exploits
which in this Canto I attribute to Nial have all their foundation
in the genuine history of the campaign.

General Alten had the command of the Light Division, and the Rifle
corps, to which I suppose Nial to have belonged, was under the
immediate guidance of the gallant Colborne.

Captain Batty’s description of the Passage of the Bidasoa, with
which operation, the first in which he shared, he commences
his _Campaign of the Western Pyrenees_, is very animated, and
illustrated by spirited etchings of the event of the Passage and of
Pyrenean scenery. His view of Fuenterrabia and of the mountain of
Jaizquibel is particularly deserving of praise. It is impossible
to describe the effect upon my feelings of going over this heroic
mountain ground from Andaye to the Louis Quatorze, from Bildox and
Mandale to the Bayonnette and Commissari, and from thence to the
greater Rhune.

The allusion in the commencement of this Canto to the Vale of
Baigorri refers to the rescue of an enormous amount of forage by
Mina’s Guerrilla from the French, including 2,000 sheep.

The pastoral habits, to which large districts in Spain are still
addicted, cause the people to occupy five times the extent of land,
which with agricultural pursuits would be sufficient for their
maintenance. The pastoral institution of the _mesta_ encourages the
feeding of sheep, and the enormous migratory flocks of Estremadura
and elsewhere move every year some hundreds of miles, devastating
the tracts over which they pass. “By the increase of pasture,”
says Sir Thomas More, “your sheep, that are naturally mild, may
be said now to devour men, and unpeople, not only villages, but
towns.”--_Utopia_, book i. The invaders found their account in this
primitive system, and their entire subsistence was derived from
ready plunder. The French in their Peninsular prowlings resembled
in one other respect, as well as in their Republican and Heathen
names, the Lacedæmonians, who held a grand hunt annually, in which
the agricultural peasantry were pursued and destroyed like wild
beasts--a fact which, though Müller questions the testimony that
supports it, is as well authenticated as any other incident in the
Dorian history. The argument, taken from the improbable inhumanity
of the fact, is refuted by the modern practices of the French in
Spain and Portugal, and in their Algerian Razzias to this hour.
They differ from the Lacedæmonians, it would seem, in this, that
the Spartans perpetrated the enormity only once a year, while the
French perform it weekly. I have seen with my own eyes the ravages
which they have left in the Peninsula, the glorious monuments of
antiquity which they have disfigured and defaced, the desecration
which they have brought upon shrine and tomb. And, much as I may
be disposed to forget and forgive, it is not easy to suppress
one’s choler amidst the mutilated glories of Burgos, Alcobaça, and
Batalha.


  II.      “The Fuéntarábian waters poured between.”

      When Charlemagne with all his peerage fell
      By Fontarabia.
                          Milt. _Par. Lost_, i. 586.

In this name, I have departed slightly from the Spanish
orthography, a corruption of the Latin _Fons rapidus_, and made
“_errabia_” “_arabia;_” in deference to the example of Milton, and
for the sake of the excellent musical effect in connection with one
of the finest names in romance.


  V.      “When first beheld by Vimieiro’s wall.”

Vimieiro is merely a village about 35 miles N.N.W. of Lisbon, where
the accommodations are so miserable that it was with difficulty I
could procure a _calda de gallinha_ (boiled fowl served up with
its broth) the only thing in the shape of comfortable nourishment
which is to be had in the country parts of Portugal. The walls
referred to are therefore, as may be supposed, not turret-crowned
like Berecynthian Cybele. For the allusion to the effect produced
on the French by the sight of our Highlanders first met by them in
this battle, see Southey, _Hist. Penins. War_, and Campbell, _Ode
for the Highland Society_.


  VI.      “Where Bidasoa’s stream impetuous runs.”

The Passage of the Bidasoa took place on the 7th October, a month
after the fall of San Sebastian. The morning was heavy and louring,
and the day’s work was ushered in by a thunder-storm (already
referred to) which caused the early British operations to be
happily unperceived.


  VII.      “To lynx-eyed vigilance their soundings yield.”

“By the help of Spanish fishermen he had secretly discovered three
fords, practicable at low water, between the bridge of Behobia and
the sea.” Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._ book xxii. chap. 4.


  XI.      “Their cannon from the Grand Monarque on high.”

The mountain of Louis XIV., overhanging the Bidasoa at Biriatú,
where the French had their principal battery.


  XII.      “The Lusitan battalion’s fairest flower,”

The Portuguese brigade lost one hundred and fifty men.


  XIV.      “The peak where stands the wreathéd cross.”

The Croix des Bouquets--a height adjoining the mountain of Louis
XIV.


  XV.      “The British bayonet ne’er withstanding in its ire.”

This is no boast. It is a fact attested by the whole of our
Peninsular and Belgian campaigns that the French never withstood
one bayonet charge, and scarcely ever, indeed, would cross that
weapon with us.


  XVI.      “Where the green mountain glistens in the sun.”

Bildox, called the Sierra Verde, a little northward of the Mandale
mountain.

  “The Bidasoa’s won--not least of England’s deeds.”

      “This stupendous operation.”
                          Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._,
                          book xxii. chap. 4.


  XXII.               ----“Colborne’s bold brigade
             Of Rifles far above, like huntsmen gay.”

      Des jägers muth ist immer grün,
      Und aus dem grünen muth soll blühn
        Ein blümlein blutig roth,
        Soll heissen feindes tod. * *
      Mein schatz gab mir ’nen silbern ring,
      Dass ich ihr einen gold’nen bring’;
        Der ring soll sein entwandt
        Von eines Franzmanns hand!
                          Rückert.

“The jäger’s courage (like his raiment) is evergreen, and out of
the green courage shall spring a blood-red flowret, and be called
Death to the Foe! * * My beloved gave to me a silver ring, that
I may bring her a ring of gold. The ring shall be taken from a
Frenchman’s hand!”


  XXIV.                      ----“A firelock snatched
             From forth a Frenchman’s hand whom he did urge
             At sword point till he slew him,” &c.

      Tancredi con un colpo il ferro crudo
      Del nemico ribatte, e lui fere anco:
      Nè poi, ciò fatto, in ritirarsi tarda,
      Ma si raccoglie, e si ristringe in guarda.
                          Tasso, Gerus. _Lib._ vi. 43.


  XXVI.      “Like gallant chief whose port gives courage to each man.”

                    ----como sabio capitão,
      Tudo corria, e via, e a todos dava
      Com presença e palavras coração.
                          Camóens, _Lus._ iv. 36.


  XXIX.                    ----“The mountain’s brow
             Doth bear a signal tower whose beechen arms.”

“Longa was also to send some men over the river to Andarlasa, to
seize a telegraph which the French used to communicate between the
left and centre of their line.” Napier, xxii. 4.


  XXXIV.      “And ‘_adelante!_’ crying, waved his sword.”

“_Adelante!_” which signifies “forward,” is the word of
encouragement used at charging in the Spanish service.

  “Saved ‘the fair boy,’ and smote the French with one accord.”

This act of bravery was performed almost literally as described,
by an officer of the 43rd regiment named Havelock. The Spaniards
shouted for _el chico blanco_, “the fair boy,” and followed him
into the abatis.


  XXXVIII.      “But saw great Arthur now with Lyncean ken.”

      ἴδεν Λυγκεὺς. κείνου γὰρ ἐπιχθονίων
      πάντων γένετ’ ὀξύτατον
      ὄμμα.
                          Pind. _Nem._ x.

“Lynceus saw. For his sight was of all men’s the sharpest.” See
also Theocritus. (_Idyl._ 27.) “Lynceo perspicacior” became an
adage.

                ----Prolesque Aphareïa Lynceus
      Et velox Idas.
                          Ovid. _Met._ viii. 304.


  XL.      “‘Lay down your arms!’ he shouted to the host.”

This adventure actually occurred to the gallant Colborne.
“Accompanied by only one of his staff and half-a-dozen riflemen, he
crossed their march unexpectedly, and with great presence of mind
and intrepidity ordered them (three hundred men) to lay down their
arms, an order which they thinking themselves entirely cut off
obeyed.” (Napier, _Hist._ book xxii. chap. 4.)


  XLV.      “And vultures strip the bones which Heaven will clothe at
                   last!”

            ----οἱ δ’ ἐπὶ γαίῃ
      Κείατο, γύπεσσιν πολὺ φίλτεροι ἢ ἀλόχοισιν.
                          Hom. _Il._ xi. 161.

“Upon the ground they lay, far dearer to the vultures than to their
wives!”--one of the most terrible lines that ever was written.



IBERIA WON.

Canto XI.


I.

        There are two Fountains in the Vale of Life,
        That flow for lovers--one with nectar runs,
        The other poison! One with joy is rife,
        The other with a deadly gurgle stuns.
        Their stream commingles for all Eva’s sons
        And daughters who with mutual passion thrill.
        None, none may drink the nectar pure, which shuns
        All human lips till with the poison-rill
      ’Tis mixed, and happiest they whose cups the least may fill!


II.

        And Young Love sits upon a flowery knoll
        Where those two streamlets mix, his shafts he dips
        In their joint flow, and ceaseless twangs at all
        Who pass his ivory bow with wanton quips.
        But in the honeyest kiss of human lips
        There lurks a poison--ay, when hearts most mingle,
        Doth Fate perchance prepare his scorpion whips;
        And nerves that with the keenest rapture tingle
      Shall haply curse the hour when ceased they to be single!


III.

        ’Twas a delicious, soft autumnal eve;
        Salustian through his lovely garden strayed,
        By Isabel supported. Mountains heave
        Their giant forms to Heaven, Pyrene’s shade
        Thrown to the Frenchward side. His bulwarks made
        A fence the westering sunbeam to reflect,
        And balmy gales from many an opening glade
        Came soft the old man’s forehead to protect
      From fiercer rays, while moved his form no more erect.


IV.

        And, as on Isabel’s sustaining arm
        He passed ’neath trellised vine that dropt its load
        Of blooming clusters near their heads, the charm
        Of youthful beauty in that fair abode
        More interest took from sorrows that corrode
        The old man’s brow beside her. Ne’er was seen
        A lovelier picture than the pains bestowed
        On that ripe senior by that maiden green--
      No sire more grave, no maid more dutiful I ween.


V.

        Between the apple-trees with loaded boughs
        Peeped ever and anon Ernani’s towers,
        And Haya tops them with his craggy brows,
        And distant Jaizquibel where tempest lours
        So oft serenely smiles. Through scented bowers
        Of orange, jasmine, myrtle, balm, they pass,
        And Isabel now tends, now plucks the flowers,
        A nosegay for her sire, while dew like glass
      In beads begins to strew the eve-reviving grass.


VI.

        Not fairer opened in Alcina’s isle
        Upon Ruggiero’s wild, enchanted view
        The magic garden, mightiest wings the while
        Furled the aërial steed on which he flew.
        Not fairer that to which Armida drew
        The Christian Knight whom fatal toils ensnared,
        Where side by side the fruit and blossoms grew,
        The bough green apples with the golden shared,
      And the full ripened with the nascent fig compared.


VII.

        Salustian to the sheltering house returned
        For twilight’s bland repose, and Isabel
        Amongst the flowers she loved till night sojourned,
        Then to a bower retired in distant dell
        Upon the garden’s verge she cherished well,
        For there full oft with Nial joyous seated
        She deep had drunk of Love’s delicious spell,
        And many a Vascon legend oft repeated,
      And now with thought of him the tedious hours she cheated.


VIII.

        Sudden a tall gaunt man before her stood,
        With hat broad-flapping slouched upon his face,
        Xaquéta and buckled shoon: in masking mood
        He seemed, half-monk and half of worldlier race.
        He raised his head, his features showed apace.
        Screamed Isabel who saw ’twas Fray Beltrán,
        Don Carlos’ brother who a rival place
        Had sought in Isidora’s heart, and ran,
      When Carlos he had smote, to cloisters fenced from man.


IX.

        Now glared his eye with fearful purpose--swift
        He caught her wrist--she screamed again: “Thou’lt come
        “With me!” he said--she struggled--he did lift
        Her in his arms, where swooned the maid struck dumb
        With terror--to a steed he bore her from
        The bower, upon its shoulder laid her form,
        Then sprang to the saddle ere her senses numb
        Revived, and galloped swift his courser warm,
      Till on an ocean-cliff he stood ’neath gathering storm.


X.

        Here by steep paths he led the maid perforce
        Adown the cliff amid the seamew’s wail.
        Terrific were the perils of their course,
        And Isabel with sobs outsighed the gale.
        Oh, dire to see that beauty lorn and pale!
        At length so difficult the rude descent,
        That in his arms he lifted her;--no jail
        She dreaded like those arms, and shuddering bent
      Away and shrieked, but none to aid the maiden went.


XI.

        Within a lofty cave and wide they now
        Together stood, the ocean-wave before,
        Stalactites pendent from its rocky brow,
        And moon-lit shells and shingle strewed the floor.
        Little of these thought Isabel, though more
        Delighted none with Nature’s works than she,
        In calmer hours. Beltrán she doth implore
        On bended knees with tears full sad to see,
      And prayers and passionate sobs, to set her stainless free.


XII.

      He shook his head: “Oh dread, mysterious man,
      “What would’st thou with me here?”--“Not harm a hair
      “Of thine, most beauteous maiden.” Curdling ran
      Her blood, for she did think he mocked her prayer.
      “If just thy purpose, why felonious tear
      “Me from my father’s side--my father ailing?”
      She wept again: “My innocence, oh, spare----
      “Release me”--but her prayers were unavailing,
      And loud resounded all the cavern with her wailing.


XIII.

        “Now hear me,” said Beltrán, while flashed his eye
        With supernatural light, and instant flushed
        His pale and haggard cheek. “My destiny
        “Thou know’st is terrible as e’er hath hushed
        The heart of man, or youthful spirit crushed.
        I loved, and in a brother found, oh God!
        A rival--all unconsciously I rushed
        And stabbed him--then a cloister’s pavement trod,
      And sought relief in prayer, in monkish fast, and rod.


XIV.

        “But vain the toil. Thy image, Isidor,
        For ever haunted thus my troubled brain.
        The prisoned lion doth the fiercer roar,
        And chafed my tortured spirit ’neath its chain.
        The thought that Isidora”--’Twas in vain
        He checked the tears that here began to flow,
        Tears that like molten fire adown did rain.--
        “The thought that _she_ could not be mine--the wo
      Unutterable racked my brain to madness--so!


XV.

        “The sack of San Sebastian came to ope
        My convent-door which War’s dread fire consumed.
        Kindled that fire in me a ray of hope.
        I rushed to your house--but found its Lar entombed
        In smouldering ashes. Like a spirit doomed,
        I wandered then Guipúscoa’s confines through,
        When chance another ray of Hope illumed.
        I found the garden, saw your sire and you,
      But nought of Isidor could learn, nor e’er could view.


XVI.

        “All thought of her I checked--but while my soul
        Shook with its mortal agony I sought
        Relief in the design to this rude goal
        To bear thee, maiden, as I now have brought,
        And gaze upon thy face where Nature wrought
        Such likeness unto _her_--but fear not harm
        From me! Thou’rt as a sister dear, whom nought
        Shall dare to injure. Let me drink the charm
      Of thy sweet face i’ the Moon--nay, curb thy vain alarm!


XVII.

        “’Tis her’s I see in thine--her angel face
        In thee depictured. In the moonlight stand,
        I pray thee, Isabel.”--On that lone place
        The sound of oars and voices from the strand
        Fell--’tis the Basque barqueras come to land;
        And straight they fill the cave, where from the storm
        They seek retreat. Amazed the Nereid band
        Behold the frayle’s and the maiden’s form;
      But soon the mystery solved uproused their spirits warm.


XVIII.

        “Go, Frayle, to thy book and to thy beads;
        With dame or damsel nought concerns thee more.
        Off to thy cloister, breviary, and weeds,
        Or straight we’ll drive thee forth with lusty oar,
        Laid on thy shoulders till no bull shall roar
        On Guetaría’s plain more loud than thou.
        The peerless lily, Doña Isidor,
        Whom thou so madly lov’dst, is buried now
      In Santiago’s green, where lilies o’er her bow.”


XIX.

        Dire was the change in all his face, when heard
        This fatal news he ne’er before had learned.
        He gasped with horror--nor could e’en a word
        Put forth--his jawbone fell--as pale he turned
        As monumental marble, for inurned
        His hopes lay in her tomb. Upon his face
        Grief stamped a fearful image. He sojourned
        But for an instant more--“’Tis lilies grace
      “Her grave?” he said--they nod--he roelike fled the place!


XX.

        Soon found the blithe Barqueras dry old wood,
        And kindled fire i’ the centre of the cave.
        Bright flashed the blaze, and sparkling keener stood
        The dark-eyed daughters of the ocean-wave,
        But brighter flashed, that thus they came to save
        In peril’s hour, the eyes of Isabel.
        Her glances eloquent the tribute gave
        Of gratitude, nor looked she e’er so well
      As when the o’erflowing heart threw Beauty’s softer spell.


XXI.

        Her mobile face with play of sweetest smiles
        Gives forth her innocent thoughts and nought conceals:
        An aspect changeful still that ne’er beguiles,
        For every change a beauty new reveals,
        Its form vibrating as her bosom feels.
        As some fair lake reflects each passing cloud,
        Each sun-bright ray that o’er its bosom steals,
        So were her looks with mirror truth endowed,
      Nor could she, if she would, emotion’s play enshroud.


XXII.

        “Oh, Isidor’s and Blanca’s blessing fall
        “From Heaven upon your heads!” she weeping cried.
        At Blanca’s name the maidens kist her all,
        In memory of their Armadilla’s pride.
        From Contrabandist stores, the cavern wide
        Embosomed, then refreshment meet they drew;
        And while the flickering blaze, as nightwinds sighed,
        In light or shade their beauties lambent threw,
      They waited till more calm the Ocean grow to view.


XXIII.

        ’Twas after Sunset but the second hour,
        When Nial from the Bidasoa came,
        Glowing with valour’s pride and passion’s power,
        And eager to recount the army’s fame
        To Isabel--for sealed a blushing shame
        His lips to his own daringness of deed,
        And to conceal it e’en was oft his aim.
        Swift lit the hero from his foaming steed,
      And met Salustian wild distracted, borne at speed:


XXIV.

        “Hast seen her? Hast thou seen my daughter? Say,
        “Know’st thou aught of my girl?”--“Great Heaven, what means
        “Thy question?”--“They have ta’en my girl away--
        “One, one was not enough. Oh, Hell-born scenes
        “Of War!” An instant’s breathing-time he leans
        On Nial. “Isabel--.” “Who dared to harm?”
        Quoth Nial, flashing terrible wrath, then gleans
        From the old man, how, sleeping, the alarm
      Reached him that she was torn away by a stranger’s arm,


XXV.

        And then to horse, and galloped out of sight,
        But none knew whither--none who dared aspire.
        Swift to his steed leapt Nial airy light,
        His nostril panting with excitement dire,
        His lips compressed with fearful purpose--ire
        And vengeance from his eagle glances fly.
        “Stay--stay; I join thee,” cried the plundered sire.
        “Stir not for love of Heaven!” was the reply.
      Salustian screamed: “I go! Who so bereaved as I?”


XXVI.

        Vain Nial’s words--Salustian would to horse:
        “Then let your ailing master be your care,”
        Quoth Nial to Salustian’s men. “Remorse
        “Be his who shall neglect my fervent prayer,
        “That, if he still will follow, slow ye fare!”
        He spurred his generous charger--at a bound
        Crost half the court-yard, learnt the route to bear
        Upon the robber’s track, and soon the sound
      Of his steed’s hoofs was lost upon the mountain-ground.


XXVII.

        Vain his long gallop, vain his bird-like speed,
        Vain every turn and venture far and near.
        Sad, sad grew Nial’s heart, and ’gan to bleed,
        While from his eye fell many a bitter tear.
        O’er leagues of mountain heath did nought appear,
        Save his own shadow and his steed’s i’ the Moon
        Reflected long and dreary as the year
        It seemed since he had parted, vowing soon
      To meet, from Isabel thus lost in Beauty’s noon!


XXVIII.

        He sickened at the thought of what might be,
        And let his weary charger pace at will,
        While o’er the heath Salustian rapidly
        At peril of his life through dale and hill
        Careered, grief’s energy sustaining still.
        “Oh Nial, know’st thou aught?”--A tear he shed,
        More speaking Silence than might volumes fill.
        The old man tore his hair. His steed they led
      By the rein, and held his hands in pity for his head.


XXIX.

        Thus by the far-resounding shore they past,
        High o’er the bosom of the heaving main,
        When reached their ears upon the lulling blast
        A chorus sweet that seemed to ease their pain.
        Their eyes cast downward o’er the Ocean-plain
        Beheld the Basque barqueras distant ply
        Their shallops in the moonlight, like a chain
        Of jet o’er sparkling emerald. Both drew nigh
      To the cliff’s edge, amazed a sight so strange to espy.


XXX.

        Sudden the chorus ceased--the shallops stopt--
        The oars arose like spear-shafts in the air;
        “_Parad!_” a voice exclaimed, like music dropt
        Upon the gale that hastened swift to bear
        The summons to the victims of Despair.
        Down fell the oars again, and swift each hand
        The green wave lashed, till urged those Nereids fair
        Their prows with rival speed upon the strand,
      And soon in beauteous file upon the beach they land.


XXXI.

        Great Heaven! what is’t? ’Tis she, ’tis Isabel,
        That from the midst takes rapidly the lead,
        With eager cry of transport. Each full well
        Of each the features recognized. His steed
        Soon Nial left, and sprang with headlong speed
        Adown the cliff, of Isabel’s alarms
        And imminent perils taking little heed.
        His magnet strong was her recovered charms,
      Nor drew he foot nor breath till clasped within his arms!


XXXII.

        Oh, rapturous embrace! oh, tenfold joy,
        All sweeter for the racking grief sustained.
        Salustian shook with transport to destroy,
        Upon the cliff where he perforce remained,
        By iron bonds of age and sickness chained.
        But swift sweet Isabel to cheer him flew,
        Like beauteous fawn, and soon the summit gained,
        And wept with bliss, and on her bosom true
      The old man’s weary head sustained, and kist anew.


XXXIII.

        And soon her story wondrous strange was told,
        Beltrán’s devoted frenzy, harmless all,
        And how the Basque barqueras, even though bold
        And criminal his passion, seemed to fall
        From Heaven to her relief. From Vascon tall,
        Salustian’s servitor, doth Nial here
        Take well-trained steed, then lift her wrapt in shawl;
        And, homeward wending, Heaven received a tear
      Of gratitude for her who now was doubly dear.


XXXIV.

        And many a noble gift Salustian sent
        With old Hidalgo lavishment to mark
        His grateful spirit to the maids who went
        To aid his daughter when the sky was dark,
        And safely bore to his arms in gallant bark.
        But what of San Sebastian ’mid this play
        Of grief and joy alternate? Is no ark
        Of saving launched upon the torrent spray,
      That swept her homes? Alas, still desolate are they!


XXXV.

        In Santiago’s burial-green, while fall
        The struggling moonbeams from a stormy sky,
        With brilliance now unclouded, now with pall
        Of darkness shadowed intermittingly,
        A haggard, gaunt, and ghostly form doth try
        Each mound of earth for some peculiar sign,
        With preternatural strides and gleaming eye
        Doth pass from grave to grave, from line to line,
      With eye more fearful bright then halt and cry: “’Tis thine!”


XXXVI.

        ’Twas Fray Beltrán, who ’mongst the graves had found,
        With instinct’s fatal truth and frenzy’s lore,
        The lilies planted o’er the new-raised mound,
        That hid the Vascon lily, Isidor!
        And as some mariner a rock-bound shore
        Doth find in shipwreck, where his limbs are cast
        And dashed to pieces with the saving oar,
        So baleful was this sight of earth that passed
      Before Beltrán’s red eyes, and like to prove their last!


XXXVII.

        With nerves mad-strung he knelt upon the sod,
        And deeply groaned, and raised a fervent prayer.
        That prayer, ah me, it was not breathed to God;
        It seemed the very echo of Despair!
        Nor yet the name of Heaven invoked he there,
        But loud at first he called the Fiend and Hell,
        Till breathed the name of Isidora fair,
        All ’midst his anguish dire it was a spell,
      Melting his heart to tears that now in torrents fell!


XXXVIII.

        “Oh, lily torn and crushed,” he said, “thou art gone!
        Mine--mine--though Fate had given thee to another.
        Let cold, weak hearts condemn the love whose dawn
        Was ere the altar bound thee to a brother.
        I sought that world-condemnéd love to smother--
        As well might stifle a volcano, bind
        The ocean-wave, or bid the yearning mother
        Curse her first-born. The cloister more enshrined
      Thy image--Solitude the gold but more refined!


XXXIX.

        “Sack-cloth, the fast, the scourge could not o’ercome
        The force of passion tyrant-strong like this;
        Heart-rooted, it can ne’er be torn but from
        My heart with life. Grief, anguish, Death e’en, miss
        The aim to mar it. Memory’s self is bliss--
        An anguished bliss--the only I can know.
        My love hath fed on agony. A kiss,
        Stol’n from thee once unwilling, soothed my wo,
      When after days of fast had laid me fainting low!


XL.

        “Cloisters are not for me. Ascetic bands,
        Although of iron, chain not souls like mine.
        Withes bind not giants, twirled by pigmy hands.
        Earth’s hidden fires the globe cannot confine.
        They burst in lava torrents! Shade divine
        Of Isidor, the fires within my breast
        Consume me--for a sight of thee I pine.
        Thy lovely lips must yet once more be prest,
      Even though in death, or ere I find eternal rest!”


XLI.

        Then with a frantic energy he tore
        The earth light-piled upon the new-made grave;
        Digging with kite-like nails till they were sore,
        But slow his progress, dire the toil he gave.
        Ill brooked his soul of time to be the slave.
        Again he tore the earth, till stiff and numb
        His hands refuse the task. Not demons rave
        More wild than he; he shrieked and howled o’ercome;
      And tears like molten lead descend till he is dumb!


XLII.

        Sudden a thought flashed o’er him--he is gone,
        Swift as the antelope, and soon returns
        With spade and mattock--unto Heaven ’tis known
        Where found, but frantic energy that burns
        Like his the will that shapes a way inurns;
        And rapid his career the churchyard ’mid.
        Now, now the clay to either side he spurns
        With swift-plied implements in earth deep hid,
      And now his mattock strikes upon a coffin-lid!


XLIII.

        He yelled for joy! In vain his fingers flew
        To loose the firm new lid--it mocks his art.
        His toil with ten-fold zeal he doth renew,
        And clear the earth away from every part.
        Oh now, how glare his eyes, how bounds his heart!
        Gently his mattock’s pressure is applied
        ’Twixt lid and coffin till the strong nails start;
        Gently, for all is sacred by her side,
      Loveliest of Vascon maids, who Virtue’s martyr died!


XLIV.

        The lid is moved--the beauteous face unveiled,
        Whose beauty not e’en violent death could mar.
        That instant forth the Moon sublimely sailed
        From darkest cloud that long its stormy bar
        To her light opposed, and shone o’er every star,
        Peerless in Heaven as Isidor on earth.
        Heart-piercing was the cry that pealed afar,
        As threw Beltrán his form on hers, in mirth
      Hysteric mixed with sobs, and clasped her frozen girth,


XLV.

        And kist her icy lips--ah me, ’twas cold
        Reply to love that like a furnace glowed;
        Love that all lawless and forbidden told
        Its tale more fierce that o’er such bounds it strode--
        The solemn bounds ’twixt Life and Death’s abode,
        ’Twixt Transience and Eternity! Her form
        Was fresh and pure, Decay could not corrode
        So soon its loveliness. Beltrán i’ the storm
      Still kist as if his breath her lifeless clay could warm.


XLVI.

        But vain his kisses, vain his burning tears,
        Though poured in showers like those that left the sky.
        Man cannot weep for aye--his brain it sears
        To feel such anguish as Beltrán made cry
        Beneath the withering stroke of Destiny!
        Up from the grave he sprang, and fiercely bore
        The coffin-lid--its parts asunder fly--
        With spade and mattock into lengths he tore
      The stubborn wood, and thus the grave he laid them o’er.


XLVII.

        And from the churchyard near he gathered stones,
        And deftly filled the spaces ’twixt the wood;
        Then took what came to hand,--or clay or bones--
        And wedged each interstice with worm’s old food,
        And when the work was done pronounced it good!
        Then o’er the deathful pit thus covered in
        He heaped the earth beside the margins strewed,
        Leaving but at the head a fissure thin
      For meagre body worn by sorrow and by sin!


XLVIII.

        He entered worming through the aperture
        With cautious care lest all his toil should fail,
        And smiled he last to see the work so sure,
        Then drew his head within the covert frail.
        He laid him down beside that beauty pale,
        And with his hands the boards he turned aside,
        Destroying the slight arch that propt his gaol.
        The earth-fall smothered the last words he cried:
      “Though severed in our lives, yet Death could not divide!”



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO XI.


The character of Fray Beltrán, as portrayed in this Canto, is meant
to represent a portion of the extraordinary and irregular energies
which the events of the French Revolution and Invasion produced
in Spanish cloisters. It is with a view to impart variety to my
subject, that I have dwelt upon love and madness as the shapes
which Beltrán’s wild energy assumed, though political propagandism,
patriotic denunciation of the French, and even taking up arms, were
acts familiar to the Exclaustrados or expelled inmates of religious
houses, violated by the ruthless invader--often for the purpose of
converting cloisters into stables!

In these transactions, the French took one way of realising Sir
Thomas More’s “Happy Republic.” “In no victory do they glory so
much, as in that which is gained without bloodshed.” They rejoiced
to triumph by fraud, like the ancient Spartans, or liker perhaps
the Egyptian Harami--incorporated for plunder. The monks and
friars of the Peninsula were not all, however, helpless. Many fled
to the mountains and marshalled or joined Guerrilla parties, and
there was scarcely a Guerrilla throughout Spain during the War
of Independence that had not some monks and friars incorporated
with it. This system continues down to the present hour, and the
accession of these clerical auxiliaries has ever thrown a sort of
halo over the pursuit in a superstitious country. “_La Patria y la
Religion!_” was a potent cry, and the life of perpetual adventure
was in the highest degree exciting and romantic.

But the poetical view of the Guerrillas must be counterbalanced
by the more strictly historical view of their character. It is
questionable whether these irregular levies did not produce
nearly as much evil as good. Candour must confess that there was
as much robbery as patriotism in the system. Amongst the leaders
of the _partidas_ personal interests were too often predominant.
Discipline under such a system is of course impossible, and each
man’s object is naturally to secure the largest share of the
plunder for himself. The leaders of the different _partidas_ were
terribly jealous of each other; and one of the first exploits of
Espoz y Mina, the most distinguished of all their chiefs, was to
slay the leader of a Guerrilla band in his neighbourhood, because
he plundered his own countrymen under the mask of patriotism: he
was also, doubtless, in Mina’s way. All through Mina’s career,
“he would never suffer any _partida_ but his own to be in his
district.” (_Life of Mina._) The irregularity inherent in the
Guerrilla system of warfare encouraged violence, license, and
disregard for the rights of property. The _partidas_ were an
admirable instrument for raising a whole people against the
invader; but the application of the force was subsequently
misdirected, and the surprise of Figueras was the only service of
first-rate importance that they ever performed in Spain. Their
minor exploits were, however, innumerable, and the disparaging
observations of Napier, Foy, and St. Cyr, all regular military men,
are to be received with caution.

The course of life of the Spanish Guerrillero, commencing often as
a soldier, then becoming a deserter, next flying to the mountains
and turning robber, and lastly turning soldier on his own account,
closely resembles the description of the Roman Spartacus by
Florus:--“Ille de stipendiario Thrace miles, de milite desertor,
inde latro, deinde in honore virium gladiator.... Exercitum
percecidit ... castra delevit ... in primo agmine fortissimè
dimicans.” (_Lib. iii. cap._ 30.)

It is not intended to palliate the numerous acts of jealousy,
hatred, treachery, and plunder, which our army sustained from
Spanish and Portuguese allies. But many important services were
rendered by the Guerrillas, and still more by the regular troops of
Portugal. And, in addition to the Guerrilla chiefs, of whom I have
already noticed the principal, the regular troops of Spain achieved
some successes under the command of Castaños, Palafox, Reding,
Blake, O’Donnel, Sarsfield, Downie (these four Generals were Irish
or of Irish extraction), Albuquerque, Freyre, Ballasteros, Longa,
Giron, Mendizabal, Romana and Morillo.

Amongst the Portuguese officers, who distinguished themselves in
these campaigns, must be noticed with praise, besides Saldanha and
Terceira, the Condes of Amarante, Villareal, Das Antas and Bomfim,
the Freires, Lecor, Leite, Vallongo, and Talaia.


  II.      “And Young love sits upon a flowery knoll.”

Vide Claudian. _Nupt. Honor. et Mariæ._ Claudian makes one of the
fountains of honey.

  “And nerves that with the keenest rapture tingle
  Shall haply curse the hour when ceased they to be single!”

      Molestæ hæ sunt nuptiæ!
                          Terent. _Andr._ act ii. sc. 2.


  VI.      “Not fairer opened in Alcina’s isle.”

      Vide Ariosto, _Orlando Furioso_, canto vi.

  “Where side by side the fruit and blossoms grow.”

      Vide Tasso, _Gerusalemme_, canto xvi.


  XX.      “But brighter flashed, that thus they came to save
            In peril’s hour, the eyes of Isabel.”

      Wer rettete vom tode mich,
      Von sklaverey?
      Hast du nicht alles selbst vollendet,
      Heilig glühend herz?
                          Goethe (Prometheus).

“Who rescued me from death, from slavery? Hast thou not all
achieved, holily glowing heart?”


  XXII.      “In memory of their Armadilla’s pride.”

_Armada_ “a fleet,” _Armadilla_ “a little fleet.”


  XXIV.      “Hast seen her? Hast thou seen my daughter? Say,
              Know’st thou aught of my girl?”

      Er rief in das geheul des windes,
      Lenorens namen hundertmal;
      Doch statt des heissgeliebten kindes,
      Antwortet ihm der wiederhall.
                          Langbein.

“He cried out, ’mid the howling of the winds, Leonora’s name a
hundred times; but echo answered him instead of his best-beloved
child.”


  XXX.      “_Parad!_ a voice exclaimed like music dropt.”

_Parad_, “stop!”


  XXXII.      “Oh, rapturous embrace, oh tenfold joy,
               All sweeter for the racking grief sustained!”

“Idem est beate vivere, et secundum naturam,” says Seneca. This
was the great rule of the Stoic philosophy, and may likewise be
applied to Christian lovers. Tranquil wedded bliss appears to be
its consummation. This living according to Nature will, of course,
be varied in its interpretation, according to each man’s individual
temperament. “Tot sensus, quot capita,” says Tertullian. And the
decision of Protagoras will find too many adherents, who conceived
himself to be the only standard of what was right and proper, and
believed all things good which seemed so to him. Christianity
happily gets rid of the evanescent and impalpable vagueness of
the ancient philosophy, which slipt through the fingers like the
statues of Dædalus, and comes to our aid with positive precept.
In illustration of this vagueness the advocates of the atomic
theory as an adjunct of their system made the chief part of man’s
happiness consist in pleasure, which an Epicurean would interpret
literally to signify the enjoyments of sense, and a Platonist would
expound, properly understood, to mean the exercise of virtue.
Yet both in their philosophizing would be probably theoretical,
and their practice, as in most instances, would be the result
of temperament and impulse; for “every man calleth that which
pleaseth, and is delightful to himself, _good_; and _evil_ that
which displeaseth him.” (Hobbes, _Treatise on Human Nature_, c.
vii.)


  XXXIV.      “With old Hidalgo lavishment.”

      Que un hidalgo no debe á otro que a Dios y al Rei nada.
                          (Mendoza, _Lazarillo de Tormes_.)

“An Hidalgo owes nothing, except to God and the King.” Such were
the ideas of justice, which prevailed amongst the noble class in
Old Spain. The funds which were denied to creditors were squandered
in largesses.

  “To aid his daughter when the sky was dark.”

      Die hand die uns durch dieses dunkel führt.--Wieland.

“The hand that leads us through this darkness.”


  XL.      “Earth’s hidden fires the globe cannot confine.”

      Nè sì scossa giammai trema la terra,
      Quando i vapori in sen gravida serra.
                          Tasso, _Ger. Lib._ iv. 3.

Those who may think the beauty of Salustian’s garden, as described
in this Canto, exaggerated, I would invite to visit the country
between San Sebastian and Ernani, as I did last year, and revel in
its groves and orchards.



IBERIA WON.

Canto XII.


I.

        Bright be thy fame, illustrious Wellington!
        Whose arm Britannia’s glory raised so far
        That all the matchless victories she had won
        Before thee pale beside thy Victory’s star!
        For when the Conqueror whirled o’er earth his car,
        More strong than Philip’s son to Indus rolled,--
        Invoking Freedom’s power his path to mar,
        Thou gav’st him battle with thy Britons bold,
      And vanquished him who Earth had cast in tyrant-mould.


II.

        Bright be thy fame, illustrious Wellington!
        Whose ordinance pure, proscribing Rapine’s lust,
        Outshone in peace and war Napoléon;--
        Like Aristides fitly called “The Just;”
        Or liker his associate in the trust
        Of Athens, great Themistocles, excelling
        In martial prowess all that turns to dust,
        Nor less in Wisdom. Gaul is grateful telling
      Thy glories, Scipio-pure, amidst her Lares dwelling.


III.

        Shall I not sing thy triumph? I was born
        Amid the thunder of thy victories!
        The cannon fired for joy upon the morn
        That told the nation Salamanca’s skies
        Saw thy most skilful battle’s trophy rise--
        Reached me still wombed. The fame of Waterloo,
        That made each cheek to glow and lit all eyes,
        Even to my infant ear half-conscious flew.
      All Hail!--for to this Earth I soon must bid adieu.


IV.

        My cup of life is broken at the full,
        My lamp doth fade ere half its light is shed,
        And whispereth angel sternly beautiful,
        Whose shadowy wings have touched my aching head:
        Before the greybeard shall the youth be dead!
        Yet still, though perisheth my mortal part,
        With thine and England’s glory shall be fed
        The echoes roused by my enduring art,
      And patriot strains of pride shall free my bursting heart!


V.

        Soldier of Liberty! Be this thy praise;
        Thy sword was drawn to shield the rights of Man
        Against his mightiest Tyrant. Length of days,
        And honours of a Demigod, the plan
        Of Heaven assigned thy front revered to fan:
        Sublime reward! Yet conquests greater thine:--
        The path of Cæsar blood and tears o’erran;
        Thou mad’st War human--and in Peace canst shine;
      Thy hand struck off the chain that galled Milesius’ line!


VI.

        And well were seconded thy glorious views
        By noblest Captains. Many a gallant name
        Amongst thy host, if destined thee to lose,
        Would surely have achieved eternal Fame!
        ’Twas patriot zeal of Valour fanned the flame,
        That glowed within their breasts like purest gem,
        And nought but godlike deeds could quench or tame.
        Of hero-pith thy legions, root and stem;
      Thy host was worthy thee--and thou wert worthy them!


VII.

        I late have stood upon thy battle-fields;
        On rugged-browed Roriça, where ’gainst France
        Was earliest proved the strength that Britain wields,
        And up the dread ravines thou didst advance
        ’Mongst olive-groves and ilex, where enhance
        The perils of the way such crags as none
        Save mountain-goats may leap--yet drove thy lance
        The foeman thence. Arbutus smiled upon,
      And myrtles kist thy brow, revived by Victory’s sun!


VIII.

        And on Vimieiro, where the deep defile
        With rocks and torrent-beds and hardy pines
        The foe entangles, while they climb with toil
        The crescent-ridge that sweeps to the Atlantic. Shines
        Thy bristling bayonet-row, and fall their lines,
        Like corn the yeoman reaps. Thy triumph graced
        Their cannon captured ’mid the purpling vines;
        And backward fell their force to Torres chased,
      Where I have marked the skill thy glorious Lines that traced.


IX.

        And upon Talavera’s glorious hill,
        Scorched by the glare of Leo’s burning sun,
        Where drank the rival warriors from the rill,
        And fired Belluno many a thunderous gun,
        Which Britain’s warriors fiercely shouting won;
        And plunged our horsemen down the fearful chasm,
        Though smote, victorious; and terrific run
        The flames through shrubs all parched by heat’s miasm,
      Burning the wounded men who lay in mortal spasm!


X.

        And on Busaco’s horrid mountain-crest,
        Where topples o’er the crags the convent-tower,
        And bayonets bristled o’er the eagle’s nest.
        The foeman climbs the steep with wondrous power,
        But swift our charging files their host devour,
        And down the mountain-side they slaughtered roll.
        Massena rash, of valour Ney the flower,
        Vainly up wooded dell and pine-clad knoll
      Urged their fierce veterans. Our’s that day was Glory’s goal!


XI.

        And at Fuéntes d’Onor, whose chapelled steep
        ’Gainst multiplied assaults thy forces shield;
        Too late arriving, save the dead to weep,
        At Albuera’s dire, tremendous field,
        Where great the cost--yet Victory’s clarion pealed;
        And with terrific march the fusiliers,
        When shook the balance scorning proud to yield,
        Mounted the fatal hill which cannon clears,
      And hurled the foeman down with deafening British cheers!


XII.

        And at Rodrigo, where the counterscarp
        Inviolate standing cost thy Crawfurd’s life,
        And ’gainst stern wall and cannon rattling sharp
        Man’s naked breast maintained unequal strife;
        And Badajoz, where on the stormers, rife
        With daring, rushed by deadly breach and scale,
        Like lava poured ’gainst bayonet, pike, and knife,
        Fronting a hurricane of iron hail,
      And mowed by shot and shell--yet made the foeman quail!


XIII.

        For nought could baffle England’s trusted Chief,
        Who Marmont’s lines on Salamanca’s plain
        Smote like a thunderbolt, keen--rapid--brief,
        And rent his legions like a shattered chain!
        And at Vitoria wrenched the crown of Spain
        From the poor tremulous Usurper’s hand,
        The spoils of Empire seized, a countless train
        Of cannon, standards, eagles--trophies grand--
      Nor, fiery Jourdan, least, thy bâton of command!


XIV.

        And now upon Navarre’s Typhæan crest
        He stands triumphant, threatening haughty France,
        While bounds once more Iberia’s lovely breast,
        And close the wounds that held in death-like trance.
        Proud beams her eye--she bids the Chief advance,
        And points to Roncesvalles where of old
        She crushed the invading Gaul with mighty lance.
        See, see a Briton as Bernardo bold
      His conquering chariot-wheel o’er Gallia’s host hath rolled!


XV.

        Sublime Pyrene feels his vigorous tread,
        And trembles Gaul with all her martial sons,
        For sure as Fate his legions shall be led
        To where Garumna’s stream to Ocean runs.
        Even now his mighty stride the nations stuns!
        Soult, on thine arm an Empire’s fate depends.
        From San Sebastian’s fortress to Bayonne’s,
        By Sarre and Ustaritz great Arthur bends.
      Soult spreads incessant toils which England’s lion rends.


XVI.

        Through many a craggy pass and dread defile,
        From Oyarzún and Bidasóa’s stream,
        By rugged steeps that Ossa’s crest outpile,
        And cataract beds that Earth to sunder seem--
        Pyrene’s fearful wilderness where teem
        All forms of savage beauty--olive, larch,
        Pine, myrtle mixed,--and forests hair-like gleam
        Upon that couchant monster’s spinal arch,--
      Still slow the leaguered French recede before our march.


XVII.

        What cavalcade through San Sebastian rides?
        A Chieftain mighty and a senior grave;
        A blooming warrior next his steed bestrides,
        Like young Achilles to whom Chiron gave
        The Centaur’s mastery. With bounding wave
        His light plume dances o’er a maiden fair,
        Who reins her genet too with spirit brave;
        Worthy, me seems, her grace and beauty rare
      With that young hero proud companionship to bear.


XVIII.

        ’Tis Nial--Isabel; great Arthur’s form
        With grave Salustian’s stately fills the van.
        They reach the central square where late the storm
        Of War with surges wild hath rolled o’er San
        Sebastian dire calamity to Man.
        Great Arthur sad surveyed the ruin round,
        And at the sight a tear his eye o’erran,
        For every house was now a blackened mound,
      And Solitude more grim where Life so late was found.


XIX.

        Round Santa Clara’s isle that instant came
        The Basque barqueras in their shallops slight;
        Their graceful oaring still was plied the same,
        But one fair pinnace less careered in sight.
        Ah, where is she--their glory and delight?
        Rose softly sad and low from distance borne
        A plaintive strain that in its dying flight
        Fell on the town where other breasts are torn.
      ’Tis thus in chorus sweet they raise their plaint forlorn:--


The Dirge.

      Weep, Biscaya, weep!
        ’Mongst dead and dying,
      On the bloody heap
        Is Blanca lying.
      William’s sword hath smote
        Her bosom heaving,
      Her on whom we doat
        Of life bereaving.
          Weep, Biscaya, weep!

      Pierced though William’s sword
        That bounding billow,
      Yet his corse adored
        She makes her pillow.
      Red is William’s vest,
        With glory wreathéd.
      Redder is the breast
        Transfixed beneath it.
          Weep, Biscaya, weep!

      Ne’er could William stain
        That bosom tender.
      How the deed would pain
        Her brave defender!
      Who in all the land
        So crime-convicted?
      Ah, ’twas Blanca’s hand
        The wound inflicted.
          Weep, Biscaya, weep!

      Heaven for deeds of note
        So daring made her.
      Her’s the arm that smote
        The French invader.
      Flashed her carbine true,
        The Norman felling.
      Pierced that spirit, too,
        Its own pure dwelling.
          Weep, Biscaya, weep!

      Ne’er was true-love seen
        Like her’s undying.
      Few like her, I ween,
        The grave defying.
      Broken heart the sod
        Can fittest cover.
      _She_ could not, oh God!
        Survive her lover.
          San Sebastian, weep!


XX.

        “Now, Don Salustian”--thus great Arthur said--
        “This piteous scene doth touch my heart full sore,
        And if War brought not Peace, the Invader fled,
        My sword were haply sheathed for ever more;
        For none can deeplier Battle’s wreck deplore.
        But e’en these ills can Spaniards bear for Spain,
        As England bears her warriors’ streaming gore;
        And from this hour the villain wears a chain,
      Who dares by deeds like these our triumphs to profane.”


XXI.

        Salustian bowed with grave Hidalgo pride:--
        “Your words, great Chief, console the Spanish heart.”
        Then Nial bounded to great Arthur’s side;
        His hat is doffed, his plume doth bird-like start,
        His curls rich wave, his eyes new lightnings dart:
        “Give, give the right this maiden fair to shield;
        Still suffering she from San Sebastian’s smart,
        Saved from the wreck of worse than battle-field:
      Give, give at altar-foot a husband’s right to wield.”


XXII.

        A word Salustian with the Chief exchanged,
        And smiles on both their faces cordial beam.
        Sweet Isabel her timid glances ranged
        From side to side--a momentary gleam
        O’ercast with blushes that like roses seem.
        Her fluttering breast now pants like prisoned bird,
        Her downcast eyes reluctant ye might deem;
        But oh, what joy doth light them at a word:
      Young Nial says, “Thou’rt mine!” and every heart is stirred.


XXIII.

        Great Arthur blest the union, promising
        That Nial’s fortunes should be England’s care,
        For of her eaglets none with stronger wing
        To soar in Victory’s blazing sunlight dare.
        Salustian called on both a blessing rare!
        And Nial caught her beauteous hand, while fast
        She melts in tears which joy and sorrow share;
        In kisses o’er her hand his soul was cast,
      The hastening cavalcade to Fuéntarabia past.


XXIV.

        Now War his direful tasks again pursues
        O’er rugged steep and castled crag sublime;
        And, Gaul, thy fields no longer sacred lose
        The conquering fame that propt Invasion’s crime.
        The mountain-barriers of thy Southern clime
        No more shall serve as bulwarks for thy soil,
        For Britain’s sons advance as sure as Time,
        Soult’s bristling huge entrenchments instant spoil,
      And onward march with ease where mocked was human toil.


XXV.

        See on Pyrene’s loftiest summit stand
        Majestic Freedom, o’er the despot’s frown
        Gigantic towering till her forehead grand
        The Sun encircles for a fitting crown,
        And stream rays brighter from her eyelids down!
        The rainbow clothes her Heaven-ascending form.
        Her mighty arm great Arthur beckons on,
        Against Soult’s host to urge the fiery storm,
      And thus with voice sublime she speaks in accents warm:--


XXVI.

        “Oh Arthur! thou my soldier and my shield,
        In whom revived to-day is e’en surpassed
        Another Arthur’s fame who first revealed
        The heroic glow of Chivalry, and cast
        A blaze o’er England which for aye will last.
        Greater thy glory than Pendragon’s son
        With all his knights achieved--to strike aghast
        My fiercest foe in many a battle won,
      And still with Victory’s march his countless legions stun.


XXVII.

        “List to thy Destiny, and nerve thy arm
        To accomplish Heaven’s designs. By fair Nivelle
        Thy next great battle shall with dire alarm
        Man’s bitter foes affright in Earth and Hell.
        For fortress-crags and precipices fell,
        Cyclopian castles hewn from solid rock,
        Redoubt and natural tower where eagles dwell,
        Thou’lt instant carry with resistless shock,
      The arméd river ford, the plains of France bemock!


XXVIII.

        “Next o’er the Nive thou’lt pass by quick surprise
        At Ustaritz ’neath Cambo’s beacon light
        The stream thy dashing cavalry defies,
        Scorns the pontoon and dares the unequal fight
        And some shall perish torrent-swept from sight!
        Next by Barouilhet’s ridge with thickets spread
        Thou’lt stand resistless, battling thrice till night
        The combat palls, and still to Victory led--
      Triumphant at Saint Pierre, ’mid thousand warriors dead.


XXIX.

        “Then o’er the Adour a monster-bridge thou’lt cast,
        Lashing the Ocean-tide with chain of power,
        Through no vain boast like Xerxes when he past
        The stormy Hellespont to mine my tower
        In godlike Greece--but fell before her flower!
        Hope’s chained chasse-marées and gigantic boom
        Shall ope a pathway to extend my dower
        To Nations suffering ’neath despotic doom,
      And o’er the dashing surge shall roll the cannon’s womb.


XXX.

        “And next at Orthez from its Roman camp
        Thou’lt baffle Soult upon his convex hill,
        His ardour ev’n ’mid seeming victory damp,
        And pour thy Picton’s veterans, matchless still,
        Through the dread marsh with new dismay to fill
        The French battalions, Cotton’s bold hussars
        Their rout completing. There thy dauntless will
        Thou’lt prove ’neath wound which nought thy progress bars,
      And France thy onward tread shall feel, despite of scars!


XXXI.

        “Then on the steep and wooded height of Aire,
        Where Lusitain’s brigade shall bleeding fly,
        And lose the battle but that Hill is there,
        Resolved with British steel to do or die!
        While ’neath the Frenchman’s charge your galled ally
        Outnumbered falls, the might of England’s sons
        Will turn the stream of battle, raising high
        The fearful war-shout which the foeman stuns,
      Who flies to where the Adour with branching channel runs.


XXXII.

        “At Tarbes, Bigorre, and Gaudens thou shalt next
        Still conquering pass to fair Tolosa’s wall,
        Where Soult will desperate stand, and Spain perplext
        Behold her warriors snared in thousands fall.
        But Clinton, Beresford his breast-works all
        Will dauntless carry amid carnage dire;
        Mont Rave thou’lt win ere Night shall spread her pall,
        And bristling still shall warlike Soult retire,
      While o’er Garonne thou’lt pass and Victory’s salvo fire.


XXXIII.

        “And in that hour thou’lt learn not e’en the great
        Usurper’s genius can avert his doom.
        His crown an instant he resigns to Fate,
        But with more fierce rebound new sway to assume.
        War-fires shall then the Belgian fields illume.
        ’Tis thine Napoléon’s self at Waterloo
        To crush for aye. Despite his cannon’s boom,
        Terrific rout and bondage he will rue.
      Soldier of Liberty, this task remains to do!”


XXXIV.

        She said, and pointing to the fields of France,
        And beckoning Arthur on with Godlike smile,
        That bids the Hero fearlessly advance,
        Her giant form dissolves in air, the while
        Pyrene shakes with earthquake many a mile,
        From peak to peak the volleying thunders roll.
        Great Arthur marched, and heaped the trophied pile,
        His Destiny fulfilling to its goal,
      And Heaven for long renown hath spared his hero-soul.


XXXV.

        Aggressive Conquest! tempt not Freedom’s shields,
        For Britons still your fiercest ire can quell.
        Ambition, Treachery seized Iberia’s fields,
        And mark how freemen tyrant-bands expel!
        If Victory cheered us, ’twas that Spain might dwell
        Beneath her vine secure from despot’s frown.
        And if thy dauntless children battled well,
        No need thy Edwards, Henries left thy crown,
      No need, Britannia, left thy Marlborough of renown!


XXXVI.

        Grand though thy trophies, ne’er by land or main
        Shall War’s barbarian triumphs wake thy pride;
        No blood-stained laurels shall thy forehead stain,
        But Peace with olive branch o’ershadowing bide,
        And mark the Godhead in thy empire wide.
        Not human anguish but new joy to Man
        Thy limbs shall shed in their colossal stride;
        Foredoomed despotic wrath and wrong to ban,
      And make creation square with the Eternal plan!


XXXVII.

        As thine the curb, so thine be too the scourge,
        Not lightly used, but terrible in need.
        Earth, like Alcides, of its monsters purge,
        Both hydra-tyrants and the single breed!
        Untusk the boar, and shatter like a reed
        The swords resisting Justice; yet be thine
        With mercy to attemper strength of deed;
        Nor let thy Fecial seers too nice refine,
      But loveliest rays of Truth through all thy orbit shine.


XXXVIII.

        Strong be thy armament as fits thy strength
        Of mandate powerful thy Lernæan clave;
        Nor pinch nor waste distort from its due length
        The sword of Justice which the Godhead gave.
        And, firstly, still, Britannia, rule the wave!
        With floating battlements to plough the main,
        Make peaceful every shore! Bid every slave,
        While freemen prouder swell, dash off his chain,
      When thy artillery’s roar is heard o’er Ocean’s plain!


XXXIX.

        And lording o’er thy empire of the Deep,
        Whose noblest uses are thy virtue’s dower,
        Diffusing knowledge where thy navies sweep,
        And linking distant lands, where rolls each hour
        That mightiest image of surpassing power,
        Reign on beneficent--the Nations tell
        Thy commerce, like thy shore, is Freedom’s tower.
        Scatter with Godlike hand wide blessings--quell
      The factious voice abroad, the subjects who rebel.


XL.

        Shall boys the emerald from thy circlet rend,
        Queen of the Nations, Mistress of the Seas?
        Must all thy glories thus obscurely end--
        A rag of Empire fluttering to the breeze!
        And shall Britannia vail to such as these,
        Barbarian traffickers in base turmoil,
        The sceptre at whose wave Oppression flees?
        No, no; while springs a leaf o’er all her soil,
      Shall men too spring up there to mock Sedition’s toil!


XLI.

        And generous hearts are Erin’s. Think not they
        Who storm the loudest are the deepest felt.
        Fair shines the Moon, though dogs unquiet bay,
        And rusts the sword that rattled in the belt;
        Ere crost, how would the clamorous phalanx melt?
        In scurril threats, that wound not, most they shine.
        Too base the altars where they’ve groveling knelt,
        To feel--true Celts--the valourous glow divine
      That led thy “hope forlorn” in many a battle line.


XLII.

        Let selfish virulence its coffers fill,
        Let half-formed striplings dream that they have minds;
        But vaunts mistake not for a nation’s will,
        Nor lucre’s lust for what the true heart binds.
        Some fervent spirits still the mockery blinds
        Of patriot zeal, but fades the dream amain,
        And scatters the weak bubble to the winds.
        Not Erin’s heart partakes the traitor-stain;
      Sound to the core the breast that bled for thee in Spain!


XLIII.

        Yet gently deal with that distracted land;
        With generous flood of bounty soothe her woes.
        Mete Justice with no nice or niggard hand,
        But heap like coals of fire upon thy foes
        Magnanimous replies to dastard blows!
        Not false the people--every boon be theirs,
        Each healing measure quivering wounds to close.
        Forget not that thy fame Ierne shares;
      Forget not that she gave great Arthur to thy wars!


XLIV.

        Fulfil thy destiny! Resistless spread
        Through boundless Asia, forced to bear thy arms.
        O’er Scindian waters be thy spirit shed,
        Divulging ev’n in Conquest Freedom’s charms!
        Earth shaketh still with Battle’s late alarms,
        Yet peace and joy pervade the fields thou’st won;
        VICTORIA blesses with her hand--not harms.
        Beneath Britannia’s sway shall millions run;
      Earth’s labouring head art thou, her Cyclop eye and sun!


XLV.

        Yet robed in power and grandeur, bate thy pride,
        And ’mid thy glory shudder at thy shame,
        For starves the vagrant by the palace side,
        And misery’s blight is tarnishing thy fame.
        Your bosoms, boundless wealth and luxury, tame;
        Nor rags nor squalor all your laws can ban.
        Deal, deal more kindly with the poor, nor frame
        A felon statute each offence to scan;
      And let not Ignorance mar the Eternal’s image, Man!


XLVI.

        Oh England! to thyself be true, nor fear
        But every hostile voice will soon be dumb.
        Smile on majestic ev’n while thou dost hear
        O’er subject Ocean roll the doubling drum.
        There sleep their wrath, or let the Invader come!
        To thee indifferent--thou wilt strike no blow,
        Save for such cause as Heaven descendeth from.
        Live, Arbitress of Peace and War, that so
      All Earth may court thy smile, and dread thee as a foe!



HISTORICAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES TO CANTO XII.


The allusion at the commencement of this Canto is more especially
to the admirable regulations established and enforced while our
troops were upon the French territory. Never, since the days of
the great Gustavus, was such discipline preserved in an enemy’s
country. Captain Batty attests the excellent feeling produced
amongst the inhabitants of St. Jean de Luz and its neighbourhood
by the wonderful restraint observed by our army while stationed
there in cantonments. (_Campaign of the Western Pyrenees._) The
well-known General Order of Wellington enforcing this discipline
can never be forgotten, as the brightest monument of civilized
war--perhaps in certain circumstances an inevitable calamity, but
by him softened to the smallest infliction of injury. An official
letter written from Bayonne, and quoted by Napier, book xxiv.
chap. 1, contains this splendid testimony;--“The English general’s
policy, and the good discipline he maintains, do us more harm than
ten battles. Every peasant wishes to be under his protection.”

The principal battles are described in the order of their
occurrence, and my impressions from recent visits are here recorded.

The ravines which intersect the heights of Roriça are overgrown
with the beautiful shrubs, which make the wild districts of
Portugal so delightful. The arbutus and myrtle I noted especially.
Near the top of the middle pass is a small opening in the form
of a wedge, nearly covered with these shrubs, where the severest
fighting took place. The principal column in the main attack
advanced under cover of some olive and cork trees, the _ilex_
of the text. The name of this battle-ground (as remarked in my
Introduction) has been frequently disfigured in English accounts.
“Rolissa” is a common form of error; and the usual, but absurdly
erroneous, form was for many years, “Roleia.” The true reading is
that in the text. This battle was fought on the 17th August, 1808.

The difficulty of the ground, both at Vimieiro and at Roriça,
struck me as only inferior to that of the terrible Serra of
Busaco, and the still more gigantic inequalities of the Pyrenees.
In front of the little village of Vimieiro, sweetly situated in
a valley watered by the silver stream of Maceira, rises a rugged
and detached flat-topped hill, commanding the passes which stretch
to the south and east. A fearful ravine, the scene of great
carnage, separates a mountain, that sweeps in a crescent from
the coast, from another range of heights over which passes the
road from Vimieiro to Lourinham, and which returns to the coast
with a sudden bend backwards, terminating there in a tall and
precipitous cliff. The ground between the points where the two
armies were posted is wooded and broken in an extraordinary degree,
especially by the deep ravine above referred to, where Brennier
was for a considerable time entangled. Kellerman’s reserves were
posted in a pine wood. Our 43rd regiment, stationed amongst some
vineyards, covered with ripening grapes, to which allusion is made
in the text, for the battle was fought on the 21st August, 1808,
maintained a fierce contest against the French grenadiers, whom
they eventually scattered with a furious onset of the bayonet, the
regiment suffering severely. On the crest of the ridge Solignac was
equally defeated; the French artillery, taken and rescued for a
time, were finally retaken, and their discomfited troops compelled
to retreat.

The glorious battle of Talavera was fought on the 28th July,
1809, when the “burning sun” described in the text was so fierce
and scathing as to tempt the soldiers of both armies, before the
commencement of the fight, down to the little brook which separated
their positions, not far from the memorable hill which was the
vital point of the action, where they quenched their thirst
together, mingling without any attempt at mutual molestation, with
a degree of reciprocal confidence which was not without something
chivalrous in its character. I slaked my thirst at the same stream
on my visit, and could not help smiling at the remark of a Spanish
peasant, that that water to this hour is “_ensangrentada!_” I
pointed to its limpid purity, which assuredly had nothing of the
crimson hue. The mingling of the French and English troops at this
stream for such a purpose reminded me of a passage in my life which
occurred in 1836 at Compiègne in France, where the late lamented
Duke of Orléans had formed a camp for military exercises, which I
attended as a spectator. The heat was likewise then intolerable,
and I slaked my thirst at a streamlet on the ground in the midst of
scores of French soldiers, similarly employed, who assisted me with
great politeness. At Talavera the French, posted near the Tagus,
amongst some olive groves which were in full bloom at the period of
my visit, commenced the battle with a tempest of bullets from no
fewer than 80 pieces of artillery. The “Belluno” alluded to in the
text was Marshal Victor, Duke of that name. “The English regiments
met the advancing columns.” “Their loud and confident shouts--sure
augury of success--were heard along the whole line.” (Napier,
_Hist. War in the Penins._ book viii. chap. 2.) A terrible charge
of cavalry was executed by the 23rd, down a nearly precipitous
cleft, in which half the regiment was sacrificed. The charge of the
48th decided the day, which says Napier “was one of hard, honest
fighting,” and for which Sir Arthur Wellesley first was made a
Peer. “The battle was scarcely over when the dry grass and shrubs
taking fire, a volume of flames passed with inconceivable rapidity
across a part of the field, scorching in its course both the dead
and the wounded.” (Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._ book viii.
chap. 2.)

My first reflection, on ascending the Serra of Busaco, was one of
astonishment how any troops could act in such terrifically broken
ground. It seemed almost impracticable to my mule. Yet up these
tremendous steeps the French scaled rather than charged with a
degree of active energy and hardihood, which well deserves the
compliment paid to them by Napier: “In this battle of Busaco, the
French, after astonishing efforts of valour, were repulsed, in
the manner to be expected from the strength of the ground, and
the goodness of the soldiers opposed to them.” (_Hist. War in
the Penins._ book xi. chap. 7.) It was not easy in imagination
to conjure up the spectacle of these elevated crags fronting the
peaceful convent, and these crests of rugged mountains scattered
in tumbling confusion around, bristling all over with bayonets as
they did before sunrise on that eventful morning, thirty-six years
since, and the French emerging from those wooded ravines, and
rushing up the face of these fearful heights, down which they were
hurled again, their bodies strewing the way to the very depths of
the valley. A mist capped the mountain on my visit, and it was so
on the day of the battle--the 27th September, 1810. “In less than
half an hour the French were close upon the summit; so swiftly
and with such astonishing power and resolution did they scale
the mountain.” (Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins. ibid._) “The
Duke”’s despatch is, as usual, succinct and forcible. Massena’s
character, as drawn by Napoléon, was as follows:--“Brave, decided,
and intrepid * * his dispositions for battle bad, but his temper
pertinacious to the last degree.” His rashness was here apparent.
His ruthless cruelty and infamous burnings and destruction, in
retreating from the Lines of Torres Vedras six months later,
including his firing of the Convent of Alcobaça, make the name
which Napoléon gave him, “the child of victory,” unworthy by the
side of Ney, “the bravest of the brave.”

The battle of Fuentes de Onoro, fought on the 5th May, 1811, was
no very decided triumph, although most undoubtedly a victory,
since the principal object of the allies, the covering of the
blockade of Almeida, was successfully accomplished. The village of
Fuentes, so often attacked throughout the day, was unflinchingly
and gallantly defended; and on the chapel and crags which surmount
the town we maintained our ground to the last, while the French
retired a cannon-shot from the stream. My attention was invited
in a more lively degree by the neighbouring fortress of Almeida,
which was the scene of such repeated actions during the Peninsular
War, and where occurred the curious siege in 1844 by the forces of
the Portuguese government, when it was occupied by a revolutionary
party under the Conde do Bomfim, aiming at the subversion of Dona
Maria’s prerogative.

The battle of Albuera was fought on the 16th May, 1811, eleven
days after the battle of Fuentes de Onoro. At Albuera the personal
gallantry of Marshal Beresford was more conspicuous than the
generalship. Our loss in killed and wounded here was greater than
in any other action during the Peninsular War. Wellington arrived
on the field the third day after the battle. For several days
before it the Spaniards had been reduced to horse-flesh for a
subsistence! Yet on the whole they fought well. It was the terrific
charge and indomitable valour of the Fusiliers that gained the
day. Never was British infantry seen to greater advantage. “The
terrible balance hung for two hours, and twice trembling to the
sinister side, only yielded at last to the superlative vigour of
the fusiliers.” (Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._ book xii. chap.
7.)

The assault of Ciudad Rodrigo took place on the 19th January, 1812.
The success was the result of desperate valour, time not permitting
the regular approaches of scientific skill, as it was hourly
expected that Marmont would arrive to succour the town. “Wellington
resolved to storm the place without blowing in the counterscarp; in
other words, to overstep the rules of science, and sacrifice life
rather than time, for such was the capricious nature of the Agueda
that in one night a flood might enable a small French force to
relieve the place.” (Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._ book xvi.
chap. 3.) “The storming party went straight to the breach, which
was so contracted that a gun placed lengthwise across the top
nearly blocked up the opening. * * The audacious manner in which
Wellington stormed the redoubt of Francisco, and broke ground on
the first night of the investment; the more audacious manner in
which he assaulted the place before the fire of the defence had
been in any manner lessened, * * were the true causes of the sudden
fall of the place. * * When the general terminated his order for
the assault with this sentence, ‘Ciudad Rodrigo must be stormed
this evening,’ he knew well that it would be nobly understood.”
(_Ibid._) The vital contest lasted only a few minutes, but cost
the gallant Crawfurd’s life. “Throwing off the restraints of
discipline, the troops committed frightful excesses. The town was
fired in three or four places, the soldiers menaced their officers,
and shot each other; many were killed in the market-place,
intoxication soon increased the tumult, disorder everywhere
prevailed, and at last, the fury rising to an absolute madness,
a fire was wilfully lighted in the middle of the great magazine,
when the town and all in it would have been blown to atoms, but
for the energetic courage of some officers and a few soldiers who
still preserved their senses.” (_Ibid._) It is fit that the glories
of War should have hung up by their side this pendent picture of
its Hellish atrocities and horrors. The “frightful excesses” are
here but imperfectly detailed. Neither age nor sex was spared from
any description of outrage; and it was against the Spanish people
unarmed, helpless, and allies, that these villanies of unbridled
passion were committed. Warlike ambition contains within it the
germs of every crime; and War itself, unless purely defensive and
inevitable, is the concentration of all malignity.

The approach to Badajoz from the side of Elvas is exceedingly
interesting. The Portuguese fortress of Elvas is perched on a
lofty hill, with the valley at its foot which separates it at
the distance of three leagues from Badajoz and the mountains of
the Spanish frontier. I was struck by the contrast between the
warm and cultivated quintas on the Elvas side, and the bleakness
on that of Badajoz. The sun had just risen over the hills of
Spanish Estremadura, which clad in the deepest purple were boldly
yet delicately limned along the sky. The road was covered with
numberless screeching _carros_, and the whistling contrabandists
and sturdy almocrebes conducting their mules in listless silence
formed a wonderful contrast with my thoughts, which were full of
the ‘pride, pomp, and circumstance’ of War. When I entered Badajoz,
which I did from the side of Madrid, I could not help shuddering
at the sight of those walls which, little more than thirty years
back, witnessed so terrible a conflict--“a combat,” says Napier
“so fiercely fought, so terribly won, so dreadful in all its
circumstances, that posterity can scarcely be expected to credit
the tale; but many are still alive who know that it is true.”
(_Hist. War in the Penins._ book xvi. chap. 5.) The courage of
Philippon and the garrison was of the highest order. The assault
combined escalade and storm, and took place in the night of the
6th April, 1812. For a detailed description of this wonderful and
terrific scene I must refer to Napier’s History, whose magnificent
narrative it is impossible to abridge. “The ramparts crowded with
dark figures and glittering arms were seen on the one side, and
on the other the red columns of the British, deep and broad, were
coming on like streams of burning lava; * * a crash of thunder
followed, and with incredible violence the storming parties were
dashed to pieces by the explosion of hundreds of shells and
powder-barrels.” (Napier, _ibid._) “Now a multitude bounded up
the great breach as if driven by a whirlwind, but across the top
glittered a range of sword-blades, sharp-pointed, keen-edged on
both sides, and firmly fixed in ponderous beams, which were chained
together and set deep in the ruins; and fourteen feet in front,
the ascent was covered with loose planks, studded with sharp iron
points, on which the feet of the foremost being set the planks
moved, and the unhappy soldiers, falling forward on the spikes,
rolled down upon the ranks behind.” (_Ibid._) “Two hours spent
in these vain efforts convinced the soldiers that the breach of
the Trinidad was impregnable. * * Gathering in dark groups, and
leaning on their muskets, they looked up with sullen desperation,
while the enemy stepping out on the ramparts, and aiming their
shot by the light of the fire-balls which they threw over, asked,
as their victims fell, _Why they did not come into Badajoz?_”
(_Ibid._) Five thousand men fell during the siege, of whom 3,500
were struck during the assault. Five generals were wounded. More
than 2,000 men fell at the breaches! Philippon surrendered early
next morning. To the heroic Picton and his “fighting third”
division the success was chiefly attributable. “Now commenced that
wild and desperate wickedness, which tarnished the lustre of the
soldier’s heroism. All indeed were not alike, for hundreds risked
and many lost their lives in striving to stop the violence, but
the madness generally prevailed, and as the worst men were leaders
here, all the dreadful passions of human nature were displayed.
Shameless rapacity, brutal intemperance, savage lust, cruelty,
and murder, shrieks and piteous lamentations, groans, shouts,
imprecations, the hissing of fires bursting from the houses, the
crashing of doors and windows, and the reports of muskets used
in violence, resounded for two days and nights in the streets of
Badajoz! on the third, when the city was sacked, when the soldiers
were exhausted by their own excesses, the tumult rather subsided
than was quelled. The wounded men were then looked to, the dead
disposed of.” (_Ibid._) Let this scene be for ever engraven on our
minds--let its horrors be a response to the insane clamour for war.
And, notwithstanding the glories of our Peninsular campaigns, let
us resolve that a sword we will never draw but in defence of our
own soil!

The ever memorable battle of Salamanca took place in the same
month of July in which three years before had been fought the
equally glorious battle of Talavera--and even in still more sultry
weather, so much so that before the engagement at Salamanca, on one
occasion when the French, pressing upon our rear, were scattered
by the bayonet, some of our men fainted with the heat. On the eve
of the battle, a terrific thunder-storm came on just as the enemy
were taking up their position. The sky was kindled with incessant
lightnings, and through the heavy rain which subsequently fell,
the French fires could be seen along their entire line. It is a
remarkable fact that nearly every one of our chief battles in the
Peninsula was heralded by a storm, as if Nature sympathized in the
contest. That of Salamanca was fought upon a plain surrounded by
ranges of hills--one of the few open and level tracts upon which
the rival armies met in the Peninsula, which seemed peculiarly
adapted for such a struggle, bearing at opposite and distant
points two striking rocky eminences, steep and rugged, called the
Arapiles (cut out, as it were, for rival generals) on which the
left of the French and the right of the Allies were posted. The
battle of Salamanca lasted only forty minutes. It originated in an
error of Marmont’s, which Wellington seized as thus described by
Napier: “Starting up, he repaired to the high ground, and observed
their movements for some time, with a stern contentment, for their
left wing was entirely separated from the centre. The fault was
flagrant, and he fixed it with the stroke of a thunder-bolt.”
(_Hist. War in the Penins._ book xviii. chap. 3.)

The battle of Vitoria was fought on the 21st June, 1813. The
weather was rainy, and a thick curtain of vapour overspread both
armies till noon. The utter rout which the French sustained was
in great part the result of a complication of enormous faults and
errors on the part of King Joseph. The basin of Vitoria, into which
he poured not only his troops, but his parks, baggage, convoys,
stores and encumbrances of every description--is unequally divided
by the winding Zadora, and nearly ten miles long by an average
breadth of eight miles. The stream which intersects it is narrow,
and the banks very steep in parts and uniformly rugged. Here he
was utterly exposed, and to the last moment undecided even as to
a line of retreat. The line of the Ebro had been admirably turned
by Wellington, and of the strength of the country about that
river the French were by most judicious movements deprived. Their
position was liable to be taken in flank, and this advantage was
mercilessly seized. My emotion here was little short of that which
I experienced on the plain of Waterloo; for though the contest here
was immeasurably more brief, the blow was struck with matchless
vigour, and likewise on a noble battle ground. The stress of the
action lay about the heights of La Puebla. This important point by
which the river was passed and the village of Subijana de Alava
having been successively carried by the allies, as well as the
bridges of Tres Puentes, Mendoza, and Arriaga, the French hotly
pressed on all sides were forced to retire on Vitoria, when the
rout ensued which was one of the most complete in history. “It was
the wreck of a nation.” (Napier, _Hist. War in the Penins._ book
xx. chap. 8.) An officer who was present well expressed it thus:
“The French were beaten before the town, and in the town, and
through the town, and out of the town, and behind the town, and
all round about the town;” and Gazan, a French officer’s account
was that “they lost all their equipages, all their guns, all their
treasure, all their stores, and all their papers, so that no man
could prove how much pay was due to him.” From the total wreck even
king Joseph with difficulty escaped, a pistol-shot having been
fired into his carriage. “The trophies were innumerable,” (Napier,
_ibid._) The spoils resembled those of an Oriental rather than an
European army; for Joseph had all his luxuries and treasures with
him. Five millions and a half of dollars were stated by the French
accounts to have been in the money-chests. Our troops had abundant
spoil, for “not one dollar,” says Napier, “came to the public.”
A profusion was found of the choicest wines and delicacies, the
baggage was rifled, and our soldiers attired themselves in the gala
dresses of the enemy. Marshal Jourdan’s bâton was taken by the 87th
regiment. “The Duke”’s despatch is excellent.

Minute details of the several battles of the Pyrenees, and of
those fought upon the soil of France up to the gates of Toulouse,
will be found in the last volume of Napier’s _History_.

With regard to the Lines of Torres Vedras, the testimony of
Colonel (since General) Jones, an eminent engineer officer, whose
writings are of the plainest and most practical character, and who
evidently had little imagination to incite him to enthusiasm, is
as follows:--“The lines in front of Lisbon are a triumph to the
British nation. They are without doubt the finest specimen of a
fortified position ever effected. From their peninsular situation
there is no possibility of manœuvring on the flanks, cutting off
the supplies, or getting in the rear of them: in the details
of the work there is no pedantry of science; nor long lines of
fortification for show without strength; mountains themselves are
made the prominent points; the gorges alone derive their total
strength from retrenchments. The quantity of labour bestowed on
them is incredible, but in no part has the engineer done more than
his duty; assisted nature, assisted the general, and assisted
the troops, and for each arm has procured a favourable field
of action.” (_Journals of the Sieges undertaken by the Allies
in Spain_, note 1.) I have frequently witnessed at Lisbon the
excitement of French military travellers about these works. Their
first rush from Lisbon is to Torres Vedras and the neighbourhood
to see them; and their admiration, although a little bitterly,
is always freely expressed. The testimony of a distinguished
French general is equally explicit:--“Ce monument remarquable de
l’industrie de nos ennemis, les lignes construites en 1810 pour la
defence de Lisbonne.” (Foy, _Hist. Guerre. Pénins._ liv. ii.)

The modes of warfare and the structure of society have undergone
such an utter change that it appears delusive to seek any
parallel for the achievements of Wellington in the records of
ancient history. The naked fact that he had to contend against
the incomparable military genius of Napoléon, and without any
exaggeration became “_le vainqueur du vainqueur du monde_”
attests in the severe sobriety of History more than the most
fulsome adulation. All the great conquerors of the ancient
world--Sesostris, Alexander, Hannibal, Cæsar--were invaders:
Wellington’s battles were nearly all defensive of human rights
and liberty. In Roman annals he may be most fittingly compared to
Scipio Africanus, the conqueror of Hannibal--the more especially
for the purity of both their characters. In Grecian history he
might be likened to Themistocles, who also maintained a glorious
defensive war, but that the English, unlike the Greek hero, was
incorruptible. His character is a compound of the two great joint
rulers of Athens--of the military conduct of Themistocles and the
inflexible justice of Aristides. The admirable strokes of policy
by which Themistocles circumvented Xerxes might be paralleled in
several parts of Wellington’s career, who like Themistocles could
lead his foes astray as well as rout them at Salamis. There is one
part of the Athenian’s character, his venality, over which the
Englishman towers with transcendent superiority. There is another,
and curious particular, in which the comparison is likewise to
his advantage. Themistocles was unskilled in music, and therefore
by his contemporaries (who prized that art so highly) twitted
with ignorance, as Cicero informs us. (_Tusc. Quest. lib._ i.)
Plutarch, (_lib._ i.) and Athenæus (_lib._ xiv.) mention that
those who were unskilled in the harp were forced jocosely to sing
to the accompaniment of a branch of laurel or myrtle held in a
cithara-like form, as we sometimes now-a-days see a wag perform a
tune with poker and bellows. The ancients in their banquets were
in the habit of sending round the lyre to each of the guests in
succession, an event of which kind caused Themistocles to be found
wanting, from whence Quintilian (_lib._ i. cap. 16) takes occasion
to inculcate on his pupils the necessity of learning music. The
same practice prevailed amongst our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, at whose
feasts the harp was sent round in a precisely similar manner.
(Bede, _Hist. Eccles. Anglor._ iv. 24.) The Duke of Wellington’s
love of music is inherited from his accomplished father, the Earl
of Mornington, and his Directorship of the Ancient Concerts proves
that he is not more devoted to Mars than to Apollo.

The gallantry and intelligence with which the views of Wellington
were seconded throughout the Peninsular campaigns most amply
deserve the honourable record of the following names amongst the
leaders:--(Lord) Hill, Graham (Lord Lynedoch), Picton, Cole, Robert
Crawfurd, George Murray, Cotton (Lord Combermere), (Lord) Colborne,
Hope (Lord Hopetoun), Kempt, Pakenham, Pack, Clinton, Byng, (Lord)
Beresford, Stewart (Marquis of Londonderry), Paget (Marquis of
Anglesey), Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Lord Edward Somerset, Stopford,
Catlin Crawfurd, Colville, Leith, Barnes, Barnard, Vandeleur,
Borthwick, Bowes, Harvey, Skerrett, Myers, Spencer, Oswald,
Bradford, Hamilton, Houghton, Cadogan, Power, William Stewart,
Lumley, (Lord) Saltoun, Anson, Hulse, Erskine, Nightingale,
(Lord) Vivian, Dalhousie, Le Marchant, Walker, Fletcher, Howorth,
Mackenzie, Lightfoot, Payne, Campbell, Colin Campbell, Donkin,
Langworth, Ludlow, Guise, Dilkes, Ferguson, Ridge, Canch, D’Urban,
Anstruther, Mackinnon, Baird, Sherbrooke, Wilson, Hay, Sprye,
Robinson, Inglis, Aylmer, Howard, Talbot, Watson, Grant, Madden,
Bull, Gibbs, Gough, Hinuber, Bock, &c. And amongst the officers who
greatly distinguished themselves, to complete this Walhalla, (Lord)
Hardinge, the Napiers, Mackie, Gurwood, Smith, Grant, O’Toole,
Sturgeon, Manners, Ridge, Duncan, Campbell, Macleod, Hardyman, Shaw
(Kennedy), Lord March (Duke of Richmond), Nicholas, Lord William
Russell, Hare, Ferguson, Lake, Nugent, Hughes, Barnard, Seymour,
Ponsonby, Donnellan, Trant, Waters, Halket, Ellis, Blakeney,
Dickson, Otway, Collins, Burgoyne, Hartman, Way, Duckworth,
Inglis, Abercrombie, Hawkshawe, M’Intosh, Dyas, Forster, Putton,
M’Geechy, Hunt, M’Adam, Maguire, Gethin, Cooke, Robertson, Rose,
Patrick, Frier, Lloyd, Arentschild, M’Bean, Snodgrass, Moore,
Herries, Townsend, Maitland, Stuart, Woodford, Sullivan, Crofton,
Hervey, Wheatly, Brown, &c. Neither must I omit mention of Graham’s
glorious victory at Barosa, and Hill’s splendid achievement at
Almaraz, or of the crossing of the Douro and expulsion of Soult
from Oporto.


  I.      “Bright be thy fame, illustrious Wellington!”

      Πῶς ἄν σ’ ἐπαινέσαιμι μὴ λίαν λόγοις,
      Μήτ’ ἐνδεῶς, * *
      Αἰνούμενοι γὰρ οἱ ’γαθοὶ, τρόπον τινὰ
      Μισοῦσι τοὺς αἰνοῦντας, ἐὰν αἰνῶσ’ ἄγαν.
                          Eurip. _Iph. in Aul._ 977.

“How shall I praise thee in words neither too many nor too few?
For the good, when they are praised, in some manner hate those who
praise them, if they praise too much.”


  II.      ----“Great Themistocles, excelling
           In martial prowess all that turns to dust.”

                              Ἑλέομαι
      πὰρ μὲν Σαλαμῖνος, Ἀθηναίων χάριν,
      μισθόν.
                          Pind. _Pyth._ i.

“I will embrace at Salamis the benefit conferred by Athens upon
Greece, and will magnify its great reward.” The allusion is to the
fulfilment of the ancient prophecy, that “the Attic city would
be saved by her wooden walls,” a phrase curiously reproduced in
the modern history of England. For the details of this victory
see Herodotus, _lib._ viii. Pindar, in the foregoing passage,
incidentally refers to the splendid reward which he received
from the Athenians, who gave him 2000 drachmas, being twice the
amount of the fine inflicted on him by his Theban countrymen for
celebrating the praises of the Athenians at Salamis. (Æschines,
_Epist._ iv.)


  III.      “The cannon fired for joy upon the morn,
             That told the nation Salamanca’s skies,” &c.

The battle of Salamanca was fought on the 22nd July, 1812. The
author was born on the 27th December in the same year. “Salamanca
will always be referred to as the most skilful of Wellington’s
battles.” (Napier, _Hist. War in the Peninsula_, book xix. chap.
7.) This splendid achievement was designated by a French officer at
the time as “the beating of forty thousand men in forty minutes.”


  V.              “Length of days,
          And honours of a Demigod,” &c.

      ὁ νικῶν δὲ λοιπὸν ἀμφὶ βίοτον
      ἔχει μελιτόεσσαν εὐδίαν,
      ἀέθλων γ’ ἕνεκεν.
                          Pind. _Olymp._ i.

“The Conqueror for the remainder of his days enjoyeth a honeyed
security, the reward of his victories.”


  V.      “The path of Cæsar blood and tears o’erran.”

See Ferguson’s _Roman Republic_, book iv. chap. 1, 2, 3, 7.


  VII.      “I late have stood upon thy battle-fields.”

      Sint tibi Flaminius, Thrasymenaque litora, testes.
                          Ovid. _Fast._ vi. 765.


  IX., XI.      For poetical allusions to the battles of Talavera and
  Albuera see Byron’s _Childe Harold_, Canto i., and Scott’s _Don
  Roderick_.


  XV.      “To where Garumna’s stream to ocean runs.”

“Pernicior unda Garumnæ,” the Garonne on which Toulouse is
situated, the ‘docta Tolosa’ of Ausonius.


  XX.      “‘Now, Don Salustian,’ thus great Arthur said--
            ‘This piteous scene doth touch my heart full sore.’”

      Ὑψηλόφρων μοι θυμὸς αἴρεται πρόσω·
      Ἐπίσταται δὲ τοῖς κακοῖσί τ’ ἀσχαλᾷν,
      Μετρίως τε χαίρειν τοῖσιν ἐξωγκωμένοις.
                          Eurip. _Iphig. in Aul._ 919.

“My lofty mind is vehemently raised. But it knows how to pity
misfortune, and moderately to enjoy prosperity.”


  XXII.      “O’ercast with blushes that like roses seem.”

      And ever and anon with rosy red
      The bashful blood her snowy cheeks did die,
      And her became as polished ivorie,
      Which cunning craftsman’s hand hath overlaid
      With fair vermillion on pure lasterie.
                          Spenser, _Fairy Queen_.


  XXIII.      “In kisses o’er her hand his soul was cast.”

      Suaviolum dulci dulcius ambrosiâ.
                          Catul. xcvi.


  XXVI.      “Greater thy glory than Pendragon’s son,” &c.

                        What resounds
      In fable or romance of Uther’s son
      Begirt with British and Armoric knights.
                          Milt. _Par. Lost_, i. 579.

I have preferred the name Pendragon to Uther, as more resonant.
King Arthur’s father had both names. (Robert de Borron, _Hist._)


  XXVII.      “List to thy Destiny, and nerve thy arm.”

      Nunc age ... quæ deinde sequatur Gloria ...
      Expediam dictis, et te tua fata docebo.
                          Virg. _Æn._ vi.

  “Cyclopian castles hewn from solid rock.”

Though the penultimate in the first word is long in the Greek, in
Latin it is short:

      ----Vos et Cyclopia saxa, Experti.
                          Virg. _Æn._ i. 205.


  XXIX.      “Through no vain boast like Xerxes.”

      ----Tumidum super æquora Xerxem.
                          Luc. _Phars._ ii. 627.

      Suppositumque rotis solidum mare ...
      Ille tamen qualis rediit Salamine relictâ,
      Ipsum compedibus qui vinxerat Ennosigæum?
                          Juvenal. _Sat._ x. 176.


  XXXIV.      “She said, and pointing to the fields of France.”

      Così dicendo ...
      ... tremò l’aria riverente, e i campi
      Dell’ Oceano, e i monti, e i ciechi abissi.
                          Tasso, _Gerus. Lib._ xiii. 74.

  “And Heaven for long renown hath spared his hero soul.”

      Εὖ δὲ παθεῖν, τὸ πρῶτον ἀέθλων·
      εὖ δ’ ἀκούειν, δευτέρα μοῖ-
      ρ’. Ἀμφοτέροισι δ’ ἀνὴρ
      ὃς ἂν ἐγκύρσῃ, καὶ ἕλῃ,
      στέφανον ὕψιστον δέδεκται.
                          Pind. _Pyth._ i.

“To use good fortune is the first of gifts, and to hear men’s
praise is the second felicity; but to whatever man both these
have fallen, he hath received the highest crown!” While Pindar
was eulogizing the Syracusan Hiero, one might think that he was
describing Wellington.


  XXXVI.                ----“Ne’er by land or main
              Shall War’s barbarian triumphs wake thy pride.”

      Ipsum nos carmen deducit Pacis ad aram.
        Pax ades; et toto mitis in orbe mane.
      Dum desunt hostes, desit quoque causa triumphi.
        Tu ducibus bello gloria major eris!
      Sola gerat miles, quibus arma coërceat, arma;
        Canteturque ferâ, nil nisi pompa, tubâ.
      Horreat Æneadas et primus et ultimus orbis:
        Si qua parum Romam terra timebit, amet.
      Utque domus, quæ præstat eam, cum Pace perennet,
        Ad pia propensos vota rogate Deos!
                          Ovid. _Fast._ i. 709.

  “But Peace with olive branch o’ershadowing bide,
   And mark the Godhead in thy empire wide.”

      Φιλόφρον Ἡσυχία, Δίκας
      ὦ μεγιστόπολι
      θύγατερ, βουλᾶν τε καὶ πολέμων
      ἔχοισα κλαῗδας
      ὑπερτάτας.
                          Pind. _Pyth._ viii.

“Oh bland Tranquillity, thou city-exalting daughter of Justice,
holding the keys supreme of councils and of wars!”

  XXXVII.      “Nor let thy Fecial seers too nice refine.”

To the college of Feciales was intrusted in ancient Rome the
preparation of treaties.


  XXXVIII.      “Strong be thy armament, as fits thy strength
                 Of mandate--powerful thy Lernæan clave.”

      Quis facta Herculeæ non audit fortia clavæ?
                          Propert. l. iv. Eleg. 10.

  “When thy artillery’s roar is heard o’er Ocean’s plain.”

      While o’er the encircling deep Britannia’s thunder roars.
                          Thomson, _Castle of Indolence_, Canto ii.


  XXXIX.      “And lording o’er thy empire of the Deep.”

Our dominion of the sea seems to be in some degree indicated by
this line of Ovid, from his splendid panegyric on Julius Cæsar:

      Scilicet æquoreos plus est domuisse Britannos!
                          _Met._ xv. 752.


  XLIV.                    ----“Resistless spread
             Through boundless Asia, forced to bear thy arms.”

          ----Super et Garamantas et Indos
      Proferet imperium * * *
      Nec vero Alcides tantum telluris obivit;
      Nec qui pampineis victor juga flectit habenis,
      Liber, agens celso Nisæ de vertice tigres * *
      Tu regere imperio populos, &c.
                          Virg. _Æn._ vi.

It is the glory of England to be able to claim the excellence in
which Virgil admitted that the Romans were surpassed:

      Excudent alii spirantia mollius æra,
      Credo equidem; vivos ducent de marmore vultus;
      Orabunt causas melius, cœlique meatus
      Describent radio et surgentia sidera dicent.

In all these arts which Virgil excepts, it is our fortune to shine
pre-eminent. Our bar is unquestionably the first in the world;
our astronomers and scientific men are the first; our workers in
the metals and engravers are the best; and our sculptors are not
excelled.

  “VICTORIA blesses with her hand--not harms.”

      ----Victoria læta.
                          Hor. _Sat._ i. 1.

      ----prima viam Victoria pandit!
                          Virg. _Æn._ xii.


  XLV.      “Your bosoms, boundless wealth and luxury, tame.”

      At postquàm Fortuna loci caput extulit hujus,
        Et tetigit summos vertice Roma Deos;
      Creverunt et opes, et opum furiosa cupido;
        Et, cùm possideant plurima, plura volunt.
      Quærere ut absumant, absumpta requirere, certant;
        Atque ipsæ vitiis sunt alimenta vices.
      Sic, quibus intumuit suffusâ venter ab undâ,
        Quo plus sunt potæ, plus sitiuntur aquæ.
      In pretio pretium nunc est: dat census honores,
        Census amicitias; pauper ubique jacet!
                          Ovid. _Fast._ i. 209.

I shall conclude with the passage with which Euripides ends his
_Iphigenia in Tauris_:--

      Ὦ μέγα σεμνὴ Νίκη, τὸν ἐμὸν
      Βίοτον κατέχοις,
      Καὶ μὴ λήγοις στεφανοῦσα.

“Oh great and august VICTORIA, hold my life, nor fail to crown it
with thy smile!”



  William Stevens, Printer, Bell Yard, Temple Bar.



FOOTNOTES:

[A] Napier begins his account thus: “RENEWED SIEGE OF SAN
SEBASTIAN.--Villatte’s demonstration against Longa on the 28th of
July had caused the ships laden with the battering-trains to put to
sea, but on the 5th of August the guns were re-landed and the works
against the fortress resumed,” &c.--_Hist. War in the Penins._ book
xxii. chap. 1.

[B] Part. This purely Saxon word (modern German, _theil_) is now
written by us _deal_. “A great deal” means “a great part.”

[C] Ambling like an Andalucian barb.



  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  The ‘Table of Contents’ has been created and inserted before the
  Preface by the Transcriber.

  Omitted text in quotations was indicated by ‘ * * ’ in the original
  book, sometimes ‘ * * * ’, and this has been retained in the etext.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg 15, ‘Athenian narrater’ replaced by ‘Athenian narrator’.
  Pg 62, ‘recals the main’ replaced by ‘recalls the main’.
  Pg 65, Stanza number ‘XI.’ replaced by ‘XII.’.
  Pg 123, ‘Hom. _Od._ xi. 592’ replaced by ‘Hom. _Od._ xi. 598’.
  Pg 126, ‘Porphyrio’ replaced by ‘Porphyrion’.
  Pg 168, Stanza number ‘II.’ replaced by ‘III.’.
  Pg 194, ‘Thy statues’ replaced by ‘Of statues’.
  Pg 255, Stanza number ‘XI.’ replaced by ‘VII.’.
  Pg 257, Stanza number ‘XXIII.’ replaced by ‘XLIII.’.
  Pg 282, Stanza number ‘XLVII.’ inserted before “Even the dread ...”.
  Pg 358, Stanza number ‘IV.’ replaced by ‘V.’.
  Pg 358, Stanza number ‘VI.’ replaced by ‘VII.’.
  Pg 358, All subsequent stanza numbers in the Notes for this Canto were
          off by one, (so ‘VIII’ has been replaced by ‘IX’, etc.)

  Pg 31, παραίφαμενος replaced by παραιφάμενος.
  Pg 88, δέ μισῶ replaced by δὲ μισῶ.
  Pg 90, της ἀκμῆς replaced by τῆς ἀκμῆς.
  Pg 125, Ὤ λῆμ replaced by Ὦ λῆμ.
  Pg 125, τοις φίλοις replaced by τοῖς φίλοις.
  Pg 126, Βία δέ replaced by Βία δὲ.
  Pg 126, Τυφώς Κίλιξ replaced by Τυφὼς Κίλιξ.
  Pg 126, Διμᾶθεν δέ replaced by Δμᾶθεν δὲ.
  Pg 170, Σθένελός τέ replaced by Σθένελός τε.
  Pg 194, μηκἐθ’ ἁλίου replaced by μηκέθ’ ἁλίου.
  Pg 194, δὲ παξας replaced by δὲ πάξας.
  Pg 226, Ὀμως δὲ replaced by  Ὅμως δὲ.
  Pg 226, Ἐλῶσι γὰρ replaced by Ἐλῶσι γάρ.
  Pg 254, σπερμ’ Ἀχιλλέως replaced by σπέρμ’ Ἀχιλλέως.
  Pg 254, Πατρῷ’ ἑλέσθαί replaced by Πατρῷ’ ἑλέσθαι.
  Pg 255, νῷν ἀπέχθὴς replaced by νῷν ἀπεχθὴς.
  Pg 255, γῦνὴ γὰρ replaced by γυνὴ γὰρ.
  Pg 256, Ἐφυμεν, ὡς replaced by Ἔφυμεν, ὡς.
  Pg 256, εἰ δοκεἶ replaced by εἰ δοκεῖ.
  Pg 256, ἀτίμασας’ ἔχε replaced by ἀτιμάσασ’ ἔχε.
  Pg 256, Δαϊζων ἵππους replaced by Δαΐζων ἵππους.
  Pg 257, ἔπος, ὁυτέ replaced by ἔπος, οὗτέ.
  Pg 257, σὴν χὲῤ replaced by σὴν χὲρ’.
  Pg 281, φοινίου σαλου replaced by φοινίου σάλου.
  Pg 357, ἐὰν αἰνῶς’ replaced by ἐὰν αἰνῶσ’.
  Pg 357, μισθον replaced by μισθόν.
  Pg 360, Αμφοτέροισι replaced by Ἀμφοτέροισι.
  Pg 361, ἔχοισα κλαῖδας replaced by ἔχοισα κλαῗδας.





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