« ZurückWeiter »
LXXV. So much for nature:- by way of variety,
Their column, though the Turkish balleries thunderd Now back to thy great joys, civilization!
Upon them, ne'ertheless bad reachd the rampari, And the sweet consequence of large society,
And naturally thought they could have pluoder d War, pestilence, the despot's desolation,
The city, without being further hamperd; The kingly scourge, the lust of motoriety,
But, as it happens to brave men, they bluuder'dThe millions slain by soldiers for their ration, The Turks at first pretended to have scamper d The scenes like Catharine's boudoir at three-score, Only to draw them '.wixt (wo bastion corners, With Ismail's storm to soften it the more.
From whence they sallied on those Christian scorners. LXIX.
LXXVI, The town was enter'd : first one column made
Theu being taken by the tail-a taking Its sanguinary way good-then another;
Fatal to bishops as to soldiers-these
Cossacks were all cut off as day was breaking,
Leaving as ladders their heap'd carcasses,
March'd with the brave battalion of Polouzki
This valiant man kill'd all the Turks he met, (With some assistance from the frost and snow) But could not eat them, being in his turn Napoleon on his bold and bloody track,
Slain by some Mussulmans, who would pot yet, It happen'd was himself beat back just now.
Without resistance, see their city burn. He was a jolly fellow, and could crack
The walls were won, but I was an even bet His jest alike in face of friend or foe,
Which of the armies would have cause to mourn Though life, and death, and victory were at stake "T was blow for blow, disputing inch by inch, But liere il second his jokes had ceased to take. For one would not retreat, nor t' other flinch. LXXI.
LSSVIII. For, having thrown himself into a ditch,
Another column also suffer'd much: Follow'd in haste by various grenadiers,
And here we may remark with the historian, Whose blood the puddle greatly did enrich,
You should but give few cartridges to such He climb'd to where the parapet appears;
Troops as are meant to march with greatest glory op: But there his project reach'd its utmost pitch
When matters must be carried by the touch ('Mongst other deaths the General Ribaupierre's Of the bright bayonet, and they all should hurry ca, Was much regretted)--for the Moslem men
They sometimes, with a hapkering for existence,
Keep merely firing at a foolish distance.
They knew not where, - being carried by the stream (Without the General, who had fallen some time
Was made at length, with those who dared, to climb
And, though the Turk's resistance was sublime, The great and gay Koutousow might have lain
They took the bastion, which the Seraskier
Defended at a price extremely dear.
Among the foremost, offer'd him good quarter,
word which little suits with Seraskiers, Took, like cameleons, some slight linge of fear, Or at least suited not this valiant Tartar.Open'd the gate call'd « hilia» to the
Ile died, deserving well his country's tears, Of baffled heroes who stood shyly pear,
A savage sort of military martyr. Sliding knee-deep in lately-frozen mud,
In Englisle naval officer, who wish'd
To make loin prisover, was also dish'd.
For all the answer to his proposition (I don't much pique myself upon orthography, Was from a pistol-shot that laid him dead; So that I do not grossly ere in facts,
On which the rest, without more intermission, Statistics, tactics, politics, and ycography)
Began to lay about with steel and lead, Hlaving been used to serve on horses' backs,
The pious metals most in requisition Aud no great dilettanti in topography
On such occasions: not a single head Of fortresses, but fighting where it pleases
Was spared, --three thousand Moslems perish'd liere. Their chicfs 10 order, -- were all cut to pieces.
And sixteen bayonets pierced the Seraskier.
And death is drunk with gore: there's not a street Where fights not to the last some desperate heart
For those for whom it soon shall cease to beat. llere War forgot his own destructive art
In more destroying nature; and the heat
Over a heap of bodies, felt his heel
Whose fangs Eve taught her human seed to feel. In vain he kick'd, and swore, and writhed, and bled,
And howld for help as wolves do for a meal-
Of a foe o'er him, snatch'd at it, and bit
(That which some ancient muse or modern wit Named after thee, Achilles) and quite through 't
He made the teeth meet; nor relinquish'd it Even with his life-for (but they lie) 't is said To the live leg still clung the sever'd head.
The Russian officer for life was lamed,
And left him 'midst the invalid and maim'd:
His patient, and perhaps was to be blamed
Of a true poet to escape from fiction
In leaving verse more free from the restriction
For what is sometimes call'd poetic diction,
There's not a Moslem that hath yielded sword: The blood may gush out, as the Danube's tlow
Rolls by the city wall; but deed nor word Acknowledge aught of dread of death or foe:
In vain the yell of victory is roar'd By the advancing Muscovite—the groan of the last foe is echoed by his own.
And human lives are lavish'd every where,
When the stripp'd forest bows to the bleak air, And groans; and thus the peopled city grieves,
Sborn of its best and loveliest, and left bare; But still it falls with vast and awful splioters, As oaks blown down with all their thousand winters.
LXXXIX. It is an awful topic—but 't is not
My cue for any time to be terrific: For chequer'd as is seen our human lot
With good, and bad, and worse, alike prolific Of melancholy merriment, to quote
Too much of one sort would be soporific;--
Is « quite refreshing »-in the affected phrase
With all their pretty milk-and-water ways, And may serve therefore to bedew these rhymes,
A little scorch'd at present with the blaze
Thousands of slaughter'd men, a yet warm group
To this vain refuge, made the good heart droop
A female child of ten years tried to stoop
With flashing eyes and weapons: match'd with them, The rudest brute chat roams Siberia's wild
Has feelings pure and polish'd as a gem,The bear is civilized, the wolf is mild ;
And whom for this at last must we condemn?
Whence her fair hair rose twining with affright, ller hidden face was plunged amidst the dead :
When Juan caught a glimpse of this sad sight,
Because it might not solace « ears polite;»
And drove them with their brutal yells to seek If there might be chirurgeons who could solder
The wounds they richly merited, and shriek
As he turn'd o'er each pale and gory cheek,
A slender streak of blood announced how pear
For the same blow which laid her mother here Had scarr'd her brow, and left its crimson trace
As the last link with all she had held dear; But else unhurt, she open'd her large eyes, And gazed on Juan with a wild surprise.
l'pon cach other, with dilated glance,
With joy to save, and dread of some mischance l'nto his protégée ; while hers, trausfix'd
With infant terrors, clared as from a trance,
pure, transparent, pale, yet radiant face, i Like to a lighted alabaster vase;
For that were vulgar, cold, and coinmon-place
On cities, as hath been the present case) l'p Jolinson came, with hundreds at his back,
Exclaiming Juan! Juan! Ou, boy! brace
But the stone bastion still remains, wherein | The old pacha sits among some hundreds dead,
Smoking his pipe quite calmly 'midst the din 1 Of our artillery and his own : 't is said
Our kill'd, already piled up to the clin,
with me!»—But Juan answerd, « Look l'pon this child-saved her-must not leave Her life to chance; but point me out some nook
Of safety, where she less may shriok and grieve, And I am with you.»- Whereon Johnsou took A glance around-and hirmgeil- and twitchid bis
sleeve sud black sok nechcloth-and replied, " You're right; Poor thing' whats to be done? I'm purtled quite',»
Done, I'll not quit lier till she seeins secure air present life a good deal more than we..-
Quoth Johnson --« Veither will I quite ensure; but at the least you may die gloriously,»
Juan roplied--« At least I will endure
In fair proportion with their comrades ;-thien
Wbidi chinu'd at every step their ranks of men
For they were heated by the hope of gain,
At least nine-tenths of what we call so;-God
As human beings, or his ways are odd. But to our subject, a brave Tartar Khan,
Or « sultan,» as the author (to whose nod lo prose I bend my humble verse) doth call This chieftain-somehow would not yield at all.
CV. But, flavk'd by five brave sons (such is polygamy,
That she spawus warriors by the score, where none Are prosecuted for that false crime bigamy)
He never would believe the city won "T:ile courage clung but to a single twig. --Am I
Describing Priam's, Peleus', or Jove's son?
When they behold the brave oppressd with odů, Are touchd with a desire to shield and save;
A mixture of wild beasts and demi-gods
Now moved with pity: even as sometimes nods
To all the propositions of surrender
As obstinate as Swedil Charles at Bender. ilis five brave boys no less the foe defied :
Whereon the Russian pathos grew less tender,
Expended all their eastern phraseology
so much less fight its might form an apology For them in saving such a desperate foe
lle wil swav, like doctors of theology When try alispute with scepries; and with curses Struck at liis friends, as babies be it their nunes.
Juan and Johnsou, whereupon they fell-
angry sultanship, pell-mell,
Atuella pertinacious infidel,
Jolidson said-« Juan, we've no time to lose,
The child's a pretty chile-a very pretty
Between your fume and fuelings, pride and piny: Turk! how the roar increases--110 rause
Will serve when there is plunder in a city ;
bould be both to inarch without you, but, liy Gou! well be too late for the first cut.»
Joluson, who really loved him in his wuy. lichid out amongst his followers with some shill
Suchen be thought the lead given up to prey: And wearing of the infant came to ill
That they should all be shot on the next day, But if she wirr deliverid safe and sound, Thucy Jould it bene duse lifly roulles round,
Stopp'd as if once more willing to concede llis third was sabred; and the fourth, most cherish'd Quarter, in case he bade them not « aroint !» Of all the five, on bayonets met his lot;
As he before had done. He did not heed
And shook (till now unshaken) like a reed,
And felt--though done with life-he was alone.
CXVIII. The eldest was a true and tameless Tartar,
But 't was a transient tremor :-with a spring As great a scorner of the Nazarene
Upon the Russian steel his breast he flung, As ever Mahomet pick d out for a martyr,
As carelessly as hurls the moth her wing Who only saw the black-eyed girls in green,
Agaiost the light wherein she dies : he clung Who make the beds of those who won't take quarter Closer, that all the deadlier they might wring, On earth, in Paradise; and, when once seen,
Unto the bayonets which bad pierced his young; Those houris, like all other pretty creatures,
And, throwing back a dim look on his sons, Do just whate'er they please, by dint of features. In one wide wound pour'd forth his soul at once. CXII.
CXIX. And what they pleased to do with the young Khan *T is strange enough--the rough, tough soldiers, who In heaven, I know not, por pretend to guess;
Spared neither sex nor age in their career But doubtless they prefer a fine young man
Of carnage, when this old man was pierced through, To tough old heroes, and can do no less;
And lay before them with his children pear, And that's the cause, no doubt, why, if we scan Touch'd by the heroism of him they slew, A field of battle's ghastly wilderness,
Were melted for a moment; though no tear For one rough, weather-beaten, veteran body,
Flow'd from their blood-shot eyes, all red with strife, You 'll find ten thousand handsome coxcombs bloody. They honour'd such determined scorn of life. CXIII.
. Your houris also have a natural pleasure
But the stone bastion still kept up its fire, In lopping off your lately married men
Where the chief Pacha calmly held his post : Before the bridal hours have danced their measure, Some twenty times he made the Russ retire, And the sad second moon grows dim again,
And baftled the assaults of all their host ; Or dull Repentance hath had dreary leisure
At length he condescended to inquire To wish him back a bachelor now and then.
If yet the city's rest were won or lost ; And thus your houri (it may be) disputes
And, being told the latter, sent a Bey
To answer Riba's summons to give way.
Thought not upon we charms of four young brides, Among the scorching ruins he sat smoking
Saw nothing like the scene around;- yet, looking These black-eyed virgins make the Moslems fight, With martial stoicism, nought seem'd to annoy
As though there were one licaven and none besides, - His stern philosophy: but gently stroking Whereas, if all be true we hear of heaven
llis beard, he puffd his pipe's ambrosial gales, And hell, there must at Icast be six or seven.
As if he had three lives as well as tails.
The town was taken-whether he might yield That when the very lance was in his heart,
Himself or bastion, little matter'd now; Ile shouted « Allah!» and saw Paradise
Bis stubborn valour was no future shield. With all its veil of mystery drawn apart,
Ismail is no more! The crescent's silver bow And bright eternity without disguise
Suok, and the crimson cross glared o'er the field, On bis soul, like a ceaseless sunrise, dart, -
But red with no redeeming gore : the glow With prophets, houris, angels, saints, descried
Of burning streets, like moonlight on the water, To one voluptuous blaze,-and then he died :
Was imaged back in blood, the sea of slaughter. CXVI.
CXXIII But, with a heavenly rapture on his face,
All that the mind would shrink from of excesses; The good old Khan-who long had ceased to see All that the body perpetrates of bad; Hlouris, or aught except his florid race,
All that we read, lear, dream, of man's distresses; Who grew like ccdars round him gloriously
All that the devil would do if run stark mad; When he beheld his latest hero grace
All that deties the worst which pen expresses; The earth, which he became like a fell'd tree,
All by which hell is peopled, or as sad Paused for a moment from the fight, and cast As hell-mere mortals who their power abuse,A glance on tbat slain son, his first and last.
Was here (as heretofore and since) let loose.
So that some disappointment there ensued
Of « single blessedness,» and thought it good (Since it was not their fault, but only fate,
To bear these crosses) for each waning prude
Were also heard to wonder in the din
« Wherefore ihe ravishing did not begin!
There was small leisure for superfluous sid ;
For Timor or for Zinghis in his trade, While mosques and streets, beneath his eyes, like that
Blazed, and the cannon's roar was scarce allay'd, With bloody hands he wrote his first dispatch ;
And here exactly follows what he said
Glory to God and to the Empress !» (Powers Eternal! such names mingled !) « Ismail's ours '$
Since Menė, Menė, Tekel,» avd « Upharsia,
Heaven help me! I'm but little of a parson : What Daniel read was short-hand of the Lord's,
Severe, sublime; the prophet wrote no sarce on
Duly accompanied by slirieks and groans,
For I will teach, if possible, the stones To rise a gainst earth's tyrants.
Never let it
And in the great joy of your millenniom.
As now occur, I thought that I would pen you emn, But may their very memory perish too!-
Yet, if perchance remember'd, still disdain you ea, More than you scorn the savages
Was shown, and some more nobleheart broke through
Child, or an aged helpless man or two-
Are purchased by all agonies and crimes :
Such doom may be your own in after times. Meantime the taxes, Castlereagh, and debt,
Are hints as good as serious, or as rhymes.
Which loves so well its country and its king,
Bear it, ye Muses, on your brightest wing! Howe'er the mighty locust, Desolation,
Strip your green fields, and to your harvests cling, Gaunt Famine never shall approach the throneThough Ireland starve, creat George weighs twenty stone.
CXXVII. But let me put an end unto my
theme: There was an end of Ismail-hapless town! Far flash'd lier burning towers o'er Danube's stream,
And redly ran his blushing waters down.
Rose still; but fainter were the thunders grown:
The Russian army upon this occasion,
And therefore worthy of commemoration :
Perhaps the season's chill, and their long station
Might here and there occur some violation
As when the French, that dissipated nation, Take towns by storm : no causes can I guess,
Except cold weather and commiseration;
Which showd a want of lanthorns, or of taste-
haste Occur, though rarely, when there is a spark
Of light to save the venerably chuste:But six old damsels, each of seventy years, Were all dellower'd by different grenadiers.
And those that sate upon them, let it be
And wonder what old world such things could see.
The pleasant riddles of futurity-