Page images



"Who shall command Estrella's mountain-tide
Back to the source, when tempest-chafed, to hie?
Who, when Gascogne's vexed gulf is raging wide,
Shall hush it as a nurse her infant's cry?
His magic power let such vain boaster try,
And when the torrent shall his voice obey,
And Biscay's whirlwinds list his lullaby,

Let him stand forth and bar mine eagles' way, And they shall heed his voice, and at his bidding stay.


"Else, ne'er to stoop, till high on Lisbon's towers
They close their wings, the symbol of our yoke,
And their own sea hath whelm'd yon red-cross

Thus, on the summit of Alverca's rock,
To Marshal, Duke, and Peer, Gaul's leader spoke.
While downward on the land his legions press,
Before them it was rich with vine and flock,

And smiled like Eden in her summer dress;-
Behind their wasteful march, a reeking wilderness.*


And shall the boastful Chief maintain his word, Though Heaven hath heard the wailings of the land,

Though Lusitania whet her vengeful sword, Though Britons arm, and WELLINGTON Command!

No: grim Busaco's iron ridge shall stand

An adamantine barrier to his force!

And from its base shall wheel his shatter'd band, As from the unshaken rock the torrent hoarse Bears off its broken waves, and seeks a devious


1 have ventured to apply to the movements of the French army that sublime passage in the prophecies of Juel, Chap, ii. 3. "A fro devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth: the

land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness, yea, and nothing shall escape them,"


Yet not because Alcoba's mountain-hawk
Hath on his best and bravest made her food,
In numbers confident, yon Chief shall baulk
His Lord's imperial thirst for spoil and blood:
For full in view the promised conquest stood,
And Lisbon's matrons, from their walls, might


The myriads that had half the world subdued,

And hear the distant thunders of the drum, That bids the band of France to storm and havoc


[ocr errors]

Four moons have heard these thunders idly roll'd,
Have seen these wistful myriads eye their prey,
As famish`d wolves survey a guarded fold—
But in the middle path, a Lion lay!

At length they move-but not to battle-fray,
Nor blaze yon fires where meets the manly fight;
Beacons of infamy, they light the way,
Where cowardice and cruelty unite,

To damn with double shame their ignominious flight!

[ocr errors]

O triumph for the Fiends of Lust and wrath!
Ne'er to be told, yet ne'er to be forgot,
What wanton horrors mark'd their wrackful path!
The peasant butcher'd in his ruin'd cot,
The hoary priest even at the altar shot,

Childhood and age given o'er to sword and flame, Woman to infamy; no crime forgot,

By which inventive dæmons might proclaim Immortal hate to Man, and scorn of God's great



The rudest sentinel, in Britain born,

With horror paused to view the havoc done. Gave his poor crust to feed some wretch forlorn, Wiped his stern eye, then fiercer grasp "d his gun.

Even the unexampled gallantry of the British army in the campaign of 1810-11, although they never fought bus to ovaques,

Nor with less zeal shall Britain's peaceful son
Exult the debt of sympathy to pay;

Riches nor poverty the tax shall shun,

Nor prince nor peer, the wealthy nor the gay, Nor the poor peasant's mite, nor bard's more worthless lay.

[ocr errors]

But thou-unfoughten wilt thou yield to Fate,
Minion of Fortune, now miscall'd in vain!
Can vantage-ground no confidence create,

Marcella s pass, nor Guarda's mountain chain?
Vain-glorious Fugitive? yet turn again!

Behold, where, named by some Prophetic Seer, Flows Honour's Fountain, as fore-doom'd the stain

From thy dishonour'd name and arms to clearFallen Child of Fortune, turn, redeem her favour here !+


Yet, ere thou turn'st, collect each distant aid:
Those chief that never heard the Lion roar!
Within whose souls lives not a trace portray'd,
Of Talavera, or Mondego's shore!

Marshal each band thou hast, and summon more;
Of war's fell stratagems exhaust the whole;
Rank upon rank, squadron on squadron pour,
Legion on legion on thy foeman roll,

And weary out his arm-thou canst not quell his soul.


O vainly gleams with steel Agueda's shore,
Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuava's plain,
And front the flying thunders as they rear,
With frantic charge and tenfold odds, in vain!
And what avails thee that, for Cameron slain,

Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was given

will do then less honour in history than their humanity to the famished Spaniards, whom they fed as well as defended, even when they were themselves reduced to short allowance. The literal translation of Fuentes d Henoro,

+ Masseua, frequently called the Spoilt child of Victory. The gallint Colonel Cameron was wounded mortally during the desperate contest in the streets of the village called Fuentos

Vengeance and grief gave mountain rage the rein, And, at the bloody spear-point headlong driven, Thy Despot's giant guards fled like the rack of



Go, baffled Boaster! teach thy haughty mood
To plead at thine imperious master s throne!
Say, thou hast left his legions in their blood,
Deceived his hopes, and frustrated thine own;
Say, that thine utinost skill and valour shown
By British skill and valour were out vied;
Last say, thy conqueror was WELLINGTON !

And if he chafe, be his own fortune tried-
God and our cause to friend, the venture we'll abide.


But ye, the heroes of that well-fought day,
How shall a bard, unknowing and unknown,
His meed to each victorious leader pay,

Or bind on every brow the laurels won?
Yet fain my harp would wake its boldest tone,
O'er the wide sea to hail CADOGAN brave;
And he, perchance, the minstrel note might own,
Mindful of meeting brief that Fortune gave
'Mid yon far western isles, that hear the Atlantic



Yes! hard the task, when Britons wield the sword,
To give each Chief and every field its fame:
Hark! Albuera thunders BERESFORD,

And red Barossa shouts for dauntless GRAME!

O for a verse of tumult and of flame,

Bold as the bursting of their cannon sound,
To bid the world re-echo to their fame!
For never, upon gory battle-ground,

With conquest's well-bought wreath were braver
victors crowned!

d'Honoro. He fell at the head of his native Highlanders, the 71st and 79th, who raised a dreadful shriek of grief and rage. They charged, with irresistible fury, the finest body of French grenadiers ever seen, being a part of Buonaparte's selected guard, and bore them out of the contested ground at the point of the bayonet.

[ocr errors]


O who shall grudge him Albuera's bays,
Who brought a race regenerate to the field,
Roused them to emulate their fathers' praise,
Temper'd their headlong rage, their courage

And raised fair Lusitania's fallen shield,

And gave new edge to Lusitania's sword, And taught her sons forgotten arms to wieldShiver'd my harp, and burst its every chord, If it forget thy worth, victorious BERESFORD!


Not on that bloody field of battle won,
Though Gaul's proud legions roll'd like mist


Was half his self-devoted valour shown,-
He gaged but life on that illustrious day;
But when he toil'd those squadrons to array,
Who fought like Britons in the bloody game,
Sharper than Polish pike or assagay,

He braved the shafts of censure and of shame, And, dearer far than life, he pledged a soldier's fame.


Nor be his praise o'erpass'd who strove to hide Beneath the warrior's vest affection's wound, Whose wish, Heaven for his country's weal denied; Danger and fate he sought, but glory found. From clime to clime, where'er war's trumpets sound,

The wanderer went; yet, Caledonia! still Thine was his thought in march and tented ground;

He dreamed 'mid Alpine cliffs of Athole's hill, And heard in Ebro's roar his Lyndoch's lovely rill

Field-Marshal Beresford, was contented to undertake all the hazard of obloquy which might have been founded upon any miscarriage in the highly important experiment of training the Por tuguese troops to an improved state of discipline. His generous devotedness was amply rewarded by the conduct and valour of the soldiers during the whole course of the war.

« PreviousContinue »