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XVIII. And Harold stands upon this place of skulls, The grave ot France, the deadly Waterloo ! How in an hour the power which gave annuls Its gifts, transferring fame as fleeting too ! In “pride of place"! here last the eagle flew, Then tore with bloody talon the rent plain, ? Pierced by the shaft of banded nations through;
Ambition's life and labours all were vain; (chain. Ile wears the shatter'd links of the world's broken
XXII. Did ye not hear it? - No; 't was but the wind, Or the car rattling o'er the stony street; On with the dance ! let joy be uncontined ; Yo sleep til morn, wien Youth and Pleasure meet To chase the glowing Hours with flying feet But, hark !--that heavy sound breaks in once more, As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And ncarer, clearer, deadlier than before ! Arm! arm ! it is - it is -- the cannon's opening roar !
1 " Pride of place" is a term of falconry, and means the highest pitch of fight. See Macbeth, &c.
* An eagle towering in his pride of place," &c. ? (In the original draught of this stanza (which, as well as the preceding one, was written after a visit to the field of Waterloo), the lines stood
* Here his last fight the haughty eagle flew,
Then tore with bloody beak the fatal plain." On seeing these lines, Mr. Reinagle sketched a spirited chained eagle, grasping the earth with his talons. The circumstance being mentioned to Lord Byron, he wrote thus to a friend at Brussels, - “ Reinagle is a better poet and a better ornithologist than I am: eagles, and all birds of prey, attack with their talons, and not with their beaks ; and I have altered the line thus :
• Then tore with bloody talon the rent plain.' This is, I think, a better line, besides its poetical justice."]
See the famous song on Harmodius and Aristogiton. The best English translation is in Bland's Anthology, by Mr. (now Lord Chief Justice) Denman,
“ With myrtle my sword will I wreathe,” &c. * (There can be no more remarkable proof of the greatness of Lord Byron's genius, than the spirit and interest he has contrived to communicate to his picture of the oiten-drawn and difficult scene of the breaking up from Brussels before the great Battle. It is a trite remark, that poets generally fail in the representation of great events, where the interesi
is recent, and the particulars are consequently clearly and commonly known. It required some courage to venture on a theme beset with so many dangers, and deformed with the wrecks of so many former adventures. See, however, with what easy strength he enters upon it, and with how much grace he gradually finds his way back to his own peculiar vein of sentiment and diction ! - JEFFREY.]
s On the night previous to the action, it is said that a ball was given at Brussels. - [The popular error of the Duke of Wellington having been surprised, on the eve of the battle of Waterloo, at a ball given by the Duchess of Richinond at Brussels, was first corrected on authority, in the History of Napoleon Buonaparte, which forms a portion of the Family Library." The Duke had received intelligence of Napoleon's decisive operations, and it was intended to put off the ball : but, on relection, it seemed highly important that the people of Brussels should be kept in ignorance as to the course of erents, and the Duke not only desired that the hall should proceed, but the general officers received his commands to appear at it pach taking care to quit the apartment as quietly as possible at ten o'clock, and proceed to join his respective division en route.)
5 [The father of the Duke of Brunswick, who fell at Quatre Bras, received his death.wound at Jena]
7 [This stan za is very srand, eren from its total unadorn. ment. It is only a verstication of the common narratives : but here may well be applied a position of Johnson, that s where truth is sufficient to fill the mind, fiction is worse than useless." — BRYDGES.]
! Sir Evan Cameron, and his descendant Donald, the “gentle Lochiel " of the “ forty-five."
* The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the forest of Ardeones, famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and inhortal in Shakspeare's “ As you like it." It is also celebrated in Tacitus, as being the spot of successful defence by the Germans against the Roman encroachments. I have ventured to adopt the name connected with pobler associations than those of mere slaughter.
* Childe Harold, though he shuns to celebrate the victory of Waterloo, gives us here a most beautiful description of the evening which preceded the battle of Quatre Bras, the alarm which called out the troops, and the hurry and confusion which preceded their march, I am not sure that any verses in oar language surpass, in vigour and in feeling, this most beautiful description. -- SIR WALTER SCOTT.] * (See post, note to English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.]
sp" In the late battles, like all the world, I have lost a conDection - poor Frederick Howard, the best of his race. I had httle intercourse of late years with his family ; but I never taw or heard but good of him." - Lord B. to Jir. Moore.?
S My guide from Mont St. Jean over the field seemed in. telligent and accurate. The place where Major Howard fell was not far from two tall and solitary trees (there was a third, cut down, or shirered in the battle), which stand a few yards from each other at a pathway's side. Beneath these he died
and was buried. The body has since been removed to England. A small hollow for the present marks where it lay, but will probably soon be eflaced; the plough has been upon it, and the grain is. After pointing out the different spots where Picton and other gallant men had perished, the guide said, “ Here Major Howard lay: I was near him when wounded." I told him my relationship, and he seemed then still more anxious to point out the particular spot and cir. cumstances. The place is one of the most marked in the field, from the peculiarity of the two trees above mentioned. I went on horseback twice over the field, comparing it with my recollection of similar scenes. As a plain, Waterloo seems marked out for the scene of some great action, though this may be mere imagination : I have viewed with attention those of Platea, Troy, Mantinea, Leuctra, Chæronea, and Marathon ; and the field aro;ind Mont St. Jean and Hougoumont appears to want little but a better cause, and that undefinable but impressive halo which the lapse of ages throws around a celebrated spot, to vie in interest with any or all of these, except, perhaps, the last mentioned.
7 [There is a richness and energy in this passage, which is peculiar to Lord Byron, among all modern poets. - a throng of glowing images, poured forth at once, with a facility and profusion, which must appear mere wastefulness to more economical writers, and a certain negligerce and harshness of diction, which can belong only to an anthor who is oppressed with the exuberance and rapidity of his conceptions. - JEPFREY.]
Nor its fair promise from the surface mow He who ascends to mountain-tops, shall find
With the sharp scythe of conflict, -- then to see The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow; 1 Thy valley of sweet waters, were to know He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
Earth paved like Heaven ; and to seem such to me, Just look down on the hate of those below. Even now what wants thy stream ? - that it slouid 'Though high abore the sun of glory glow,
Lethe be. And far beneath the earth and ocean spread,
LI. Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow
A thousand battles have assail'd thy banks, Contending tempests on his naked head,
But these and half their fame have pass'd away, And thus reward the toils which to those summits led. 1 And Slaughter heap'd on high his weltering ranks;
Their very graves are gone, and what are they ? XLVI.
Thy tide wash'd down the blood of yesterday, A tay with these ! true Wisdom's world will be And ali was stainless, and on thy clear stream Within its own creation, or in thine,
Glass'd with its dancing light the sunny ray ; Maternal Nature ! for who teems like thee,
But o'er the blacken'd memory's blighting dream Thus on the banks of thy majestic Rhine ?
Thy waves would vainly roll, all sweeping as they There Harold gazes on a work divine,
seem. A blending of all beauties; streams and dells,
Yet not insensibly to all which here From gray but leafy walls, where Ruin greenly Awoke the jocund birds to early song dwells.
In glens which might have made even exile dear : XLVII.
Though on his brow were gravan lines austere, And there they stand, as stands a lofty mind,
And tranquil sternness which had ta'en the place Word, but unstooping to the baser crowd,
Of feelings fierier far but less severe, All tenantless, save to the crannying wind,
Joy was not always absent from his face, (trace. Or holding dark communion with the cloud. But o'er it in such scenes would steal with transient * There was a day when they were young and proud, Banners on high, and battles pass'd below;
LIII. But they who fought are in a bloody shroud,
Nor was all love shut from him, though his days And those which waved are shredless dust ere now,
Of passion had consumed themselves to dust. And the bleak battlements shall bear no future blow.
It is in vain that we would coldly gaze
On such as smile upon us ; the heart must
Leap kindly back to kindness, though disgust Beneath these battlements, within those walls,
Hath wean'd it from all worldlings : thus he felt, Power dwelt amidst her passions; in proud state
For there was soft remembrance, and sweet trust Each robber chief upheld his armed balls,
In one fond breast, to which his own would melt, Doing his evil will, nor less elate
And in its tenderer hour on that his bosom dwelt. Than mightier heroes of a longer date.
LIV. What want these outlaws? conquerors should have ?
• And he had learn'd to love, - I know not why, But History's purchased page to call them great ?
For this in such as him seems strange of mood, A wider space, an ornamented grave ? (brave.
The helpless looks of blooming infancy, Their bopes were not less warm, their souls were full as
Even in its earliest nurture; what subdued,
To change like this, a mind so far imbued
With scorn of man, it little boots to know;
But thus it was ; and though in solitude What deeds of prowess unrecorded died !
Small power the nipp'd affections have to grow, And Love, which lent a blazon to their shields,
In him this glow'd when all beside had ceased to glow, With emblems well devised by amorous pride, Through all the mail of iron hearts would glide;
LV. But still their tiame was fierceness, and drew on And there was one soft breast, as hath been said, Keen contest and destruction near allied,
Which unto his was bound by stronger ties And many a tower for some fair mischief won, Than the church links withal ;, and, though unwed, Saw the discolour'd Rhine beneath its ruin run.
That love was pure, and, far above disguise,
Had stood the test of mortal enmities
Still undivided, and cemented more
By peril, dreaded most in female eyes; Making thy waves a blessing as they flow
But this was firm, and from a foreign shore Through banks wliose beauty would endure for ever Well to that heart might his inese absent greetings Could man but leave thy bright creation so,
! [This is certainly splendidly written, but we trust it is not true. From Macedonia's madman to the Swede -- from Nimrod to Buonaparte, -- the hunters of men have pursued their sport with as much gaiety, and as little remorse, as the hunters of other animals; and have lived as cheerily in their diys of action, and as comfortably in their repose, as the follovers of better pursuits. It would be strange, therefore, if the other active but more innocent spirits, whom Lord Byron has here placed in the same predicament, and who share all their sources of enjoyment, without the guilt and
the hardness which they cannot fail of contracting, should be more miserable or more unfriended than those splendid curses of their kind; and it would be passing strange, and pitiful, if the inost precious gifts of Providence should produce only unhappiness, and mankind regard with hostility their greatest benefactors. — JEFFREY.]
2 " What wants that knare that a king should hare?" was King James's question on meeting Johnny Armstrong and his followers in full accoutrements. - See the Ballad.
LVIII. Here Ehrenbreitstein”, with her shatter'd wall Black with the miner's blast, upon her height Yet shows of what she was, when shell and ball Rebounding idly on her strength did light: A tower of victory! from whence the flight Of battled foes was watch'd along the plain : But Peace destroy'd what War could never blight,
And laid those proud roofs bare to Summer's rainOn which the iron shower for years had pour'd in vain.
Wild but not rude, awful yet not austere,
LX. Adieu to thee again! a vain adieu : There can be no farewell to scene like thine; The mind is colour'd by thy every hue ; And if reluctantly the eyes resign Their cherish'd gaze upon thee, lovely Rhine ! 4 'Tis with the thankful glance of parting praise ; More mighty spots may rise — more glaring shine,
But none unite in one attaching maze The brilliant, fair, and soft, - the glories of old days,
poison. A separate monument (not over his body, which is buried by Marceau's) is raised for him pear Andernach, opposite to which one of his most memorable exploits was performed, in throwing a bridge to an island on the Rhine. The shape and style are different from that of Marceau's, and the inscription more simple and pleasing :-" The Army of the Sambre and Meuse to its Cominander-in-Chiet Hoche." This is all, and as it should be. Hoche was esteemed among the first of France's earlier generals, before Buonaparte monopolised her triumphs. He was the destined commander of the invading army of Ireland.
3 Ehrenbreitstein, i, e. "the broad stone of honour." of the strongest fortresses in Europe, was dismantled and blown up by the French at the truce of Leoben. It had been. and could only be, reduced by famine or treachery. It yielded to the former, itided by surprise. Alter having seen the for. tifications of Gibraltar and Malta, it did not inuch strike by comparison ; but the situation is commanding. General Marceau besieged it in vain for some time, and I slept in a room where I was shown a window at which he is said to have been standing observing the progress of the siege by moonlight, when a ball struck immediately below it.
The charm of this enchanted ground,
The castle of Drachenfels stands on the highest summit of " the Seven Mountains," over the Rhine banks ; it is in ruins, and connected with some singular traditions : it is the first in view on the road from Bonn, but on the opposite side of the river ; on this bank, nearly facing it, are the remains of another, called the Jew's Castle, and a large cross com. memorative of the murder of a chief by his brother. The number of castles and cities along the course of the Rhine on both sides is very great, and their situations remarkably heautiful. [These verses were written on the banks of the Rhine, in May. The original pencilling is before us. It is needless to observe that they were addressed to his Sister.]
2 The monument of the young and lamented General Marceau (killed by a rifle-ball at Alterkirchen, on the last day of the fourth year of the French republic) still remains as de. scribed. The inscriptions on his monument are rather too long, and not required : his name was enough; France adored, and her enemics admired; both wept orer him. His funeral was attended by the generals and detachments from both arinies. In the same grave General Hoche is interred, a gallant man also in every sense of the word; but though he distinguished himself greatly in battle, he had not the good fortune to die there : his death was attended by suspicions of
4 (On taking Hockheim, the Austrians, in one part of the