Songs of Action/A Forgotten Tale
[The scene of this ancient fight, recorded by Froissart, is still called 'Altura de los Inglesos.' Five hundred years later Wellington's soldiers were fighting on the same ground.]
'Say, what saw you on the hill,
'I saw my brindled heifer there,
A trail of bowmen, spent and bare,
And a little man on a sorrel mare
Riding slow before them.'
'Say, what saw you in the vale,
'There I saw my lambing ewe
And an army riding through,
Thick and brave the pennons flew
From the lances o'er them.'
'Then what saw you on the hill,
'I saw beside the milking byre,
White with want and black with mire,
The little man with eyes afire
Marshalling his bowmen.'
'Then what saw you in the vale,
'There I saw my bullocks twain,
And amid my uncut grain
All the hardy men of Spain
Spurring for their foemen.'
'Nay, but there is more to tell,
'I could not bide the end to view;
I had graver things to do
Tending on the lambing ewe
Down among the clover.'
'Ah, but tell me what you heard,
'Shouting from the mountain-side,
Shouting until eventide;
But it dwindled and it died
Ere milking time was over.'
'Nay, but saw you nothing more,
'Yes, I saw them lying there,
The little man and sorrel mare;
And in their ranks the bowmen fair,
With their staves before them.'
'And the hardy men of Spain,
'Hush! but we are Spanish too;
More I may not say to you:
May God's benison, like dew,
Gently settle o'er them.'