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Two long sad hours the life-blood flowed ;

Two long sad hours he lay;
But the dying face looked up and smiled

When England won the day.
And ere the deep red sun had set,

In purple waves of beauty,
He breathed the last inspiring word,

“Thank God, I've done my duty!"

The great black hulls dismasted swing

Across the darkening main,
Down, down they hauled the shot-pierc'd tags,

The flags of France and Spain.
And since that day St. George's Cross

Has ruled the dark blue sea,
For Nelson led the windward line,

And Collingwood the lee!

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THE EVE OF QUATRE BRAS.

1815.

(One of the battles that preceded Waterloo.)

a

The scene is a ball, given by the Duchess of Richmond, at Brussels,

at which the news of Napoleon's advance was heard.

THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry: and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose, with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,

And all went merry as a marriage-bell:
But, hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising

knell !

Did ye not hear it?—No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street :
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined ;
No sleep till morn when 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 echoes would repeat;

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before !
Arm ! arm ! it is-it is—the cannon's opening roar!

Within a windowed niche of that high hall,
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain: 1 he did hear
That sound the first amid the festival,
And caught its tone with death's prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,

And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell: He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.

2

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress.,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness!
And there were sudden partings such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne'er might be repeated : who could guess

If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could

rise ?

And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder peal on peal afar ;

1 The Duke of Brunswick, who was killed in the battle. ? His father was mortally wounded at the battle of Jena, in Prussia.

And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star ;

While thronged the citizens, with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips-." The foe! they come!

they come!”

And wild and high the Cameron's gathering rose,
The war-note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills
Have heard; and heard, too, have her Saxon foes:-
How in the noon of night that pibroch' thrills,
Savage and shrill! But, with the breath which fills
Their mountain-pipe, so fill the mountaineers
With the fierce native daring which instils

The stirring memory of a thousand years,
And Evan's, Donald's, fame rings in each clansman's

ears!

a

And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Dewy with nature's tear-drops, as they pass,
Grieving—if aught inanimate e'er grieves,
Over the unreturning brave,-alas !
Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
Which, now beneath them, but above shall grow
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass

Of living valour, rolling on the foe,
And burning with high hope, shall moulder cold and

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low.

| Tune on the bagpipes. 2 The forest of Ardennes, through which lay the route of march.

Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in beauty's circle proudly gay;
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,
The morn the marshalling in arms, the day
Battle's magnificently stern array !
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, which when rent
The earth is covered thick with other clay,

Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent, Rider and horse, friend, foe, in one red burial blent !

LORD BYRON.

1 Mingled.

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