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Awake, ye sons of Spain ! awake! advance!
Lo! Chivalry, your ancient goddess, cries ;
But wields not, as of old, her thirsty lance,
Nor shakes her crimson plumage in the skies :
Now on the smoke of blazing bolts she flies,
And speaks in thunder through yon engine's roar :
In every peal she calls—“ Awake! arise !"
Say, is her voice more feeble than of yore,
When her war-song was heard on Andalusia’s shore?
Hark! heard you not those hoofs of dreadful note?
Sounds not the clang of conflict on the heath?
Nor saved your brethren ere they sank beneath
Tyrants and tyrants' slaves ?—the fires of death,
The bale-fires flash on high :—from rock to rock
Each volley tells that thousands cease to breathe ;
Death rides upon the sulphury Siroc,
Red Battle stamps his foot, and nations feel the shock.
Lo! where the Giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deepening in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye that scorcheth all it glares upon;
Restless it rolls, now fix’d, and now anon
Flashing afar,—and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers to mark what deeds are done;
For on this morn three potent nations meet,
To shed before his shrine the blood he deems most sweet.
By Heaven ! it is a splendid sight to see
(For one who hath no friend, no brother there)
Their rival scarfs of mix'd embroidery,
Their various arms that glitter in the air !
What gallant war-hounds rouse them from their lair,
And gnash their fangs, loud yelling for the prey!
All join the chase, but few the triumph share ;
The Grave shall bear the chiefest prize away,
And Havoc scarce for joy can number their array.
Three hosts combine to offer sacrifice;
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high ;
Three gaudy standards flout the pale blue skies ;
The shouts are France, Spain, Albion, Victory!
The foe, the victim, and the fond ally
That fights for all, but ever fights in vain,
Are met—as if at home they could not die-
To feed the crow on Talavera's plain,
And fertilise the field that each pretends to gain.
There shall they rot-Ambition's honour’d fools!
Yes, Honour decks the turf that wraps their clay!
Vain sophistry! in these behold the tools,
The broken tools, that tyrants cast away
By myriads, when they dare to pave their way:
With human hearts—to what ?-a dream alone. .
Can despots compass aught that hails their sway?
Or call with truth one span of earth their own,
Save that wherein at last they crumble bone by bone ?
Oh, Albuera! glorious field of grief!
As o'er thy plain the Pilgrim prick'd his steed,
Who could foresee thee, in a space so brief,
A scene where mingling foes should boast and bleed!
Peace to the perish'd! may the warrior's meed
And tears of triumph their reward prolong!
Till others fall where other chieftains lead,
Thy name shall circle round the gaping throng,
And shine in worthless lays, the theme of transient song!
Enough of Battle's minions ! let them play
Their game of lives, and barter breath for fame :
Fame that will scarce reanimate their clay,
Though thousands fall to deck some single name.
In sooth 'twere sad to thwart their noble aim
Who strike, bless'd hirelings ! for their country's good,
And die, that living might have proved her shame ;
Perish'd, perchance, in some domestic feud,
Or in a narrower sphere wild Rapine's path pursued.
Full swiftly Harold wends his lonely way
Where proud Sevilla triumphs unsubdued :
Yet is she free—the spoiler's wish’d-for prey!
Soon, soon shall Conquest's fiery foot intrude,
Blackening her lovely domes with traces rude.
Inevitable hour! 'Gainst Fate to strive
Where Desolation plants her famish'd brood
Is vain, or Ilion, Tyre might yet survive,
And Virtue vanquish all, and Murder cease to thrive.
But all unconscious of the coming doom,
The feast, the song, the revel here abounds ;
Strange modes of merriment the hours consume,
Nor bleed these patriots with their country's wounds:
Not here War's clarion, but Love's rebeck sounds;
Here Folly still his votaries inthralls ;
And young-eyed Lewdness walks her midnight rounds :
Girt with the silent crimes of capitals,
Still to the last kind Vice clings to the tottering walls.
Not so the rustic—with his trembling mate
He lurks, nor casts his heavy eye afar,
Lest he should view his vineyard desolate,
Blasted below the dun hot breath of War.
No more beneath soft eve's consenting star
Fandango twirls his jocund castanet:
Ah, monarchs! could ye taste the mirth ye mar,
Not in the toils of Glory would ye fret ;
The hoarse dull drum would sleep, and man be happy yet !