Battle of Talavera, or, The soldier's threnody
The Soldier's Threnody.
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WHOLESALE and RETAIL.
THE BATTLE OF TALAVERA
The Soldier's Threnody.
Ye ſcourges of mankind, diffuſers of ſorrow,
Behold theſe ſad ends of the victims of War:—
Ah! think, ere the loud roaring cannons do rattle,
Before hoſtile armies in cloſe combat meet.
NEAR Tal'vera's heights where the battle rag'd fearleſs
As when wolves with lions in combat contend;
From the brave Britiſh allies a ſoldier ſtray'd cheerleſs
The ground where they ſtrove Spanish rights to defend;
As with rage 'gainſt the foe his boſom was burning,
While the wrongs of the patriot's he truly was mourning,
He ſigh'd for himſelf, thinking ne'er of returning
To his dear native Iſland that ſits in the ſea
That day we embark'd, I ſhall ever remember,
For this cheerleſs country we left much-lov'd home;
My wife ſobb'd aloud with a heart the moſt tender,
My mother wept too but not for me alone;
For on a ſick-bed my poor father was lying,
While brothers and ſiſters around me ftood crying;
Ah! ceaſe cruel Mem'ry, my heart rends with ſighing.
Sad was the day of departure to me!
Lives my poor parents in peace at their home now,
Children and wife with all dear boſom friends,
Health and content can they call it their own now,
Perhaps heavy trials ſtill on them portends:
Yet, even now, lone ideas ſuppreſſing,
Which ever rife my poor boſom diſtreſſing;
Now, I'll ſuppoſe Fortune's favours carreſſing
Them, far in the Iſland that ſits in the ſea.
"No more, ſhall I climb, o'er the wind-beaten mountain,
Where mem'ry the track of my home ſtill can trace;
No more ſhall I drink from the pure glaſſy fountain,
Which oft has reflected content in my face;
Yet who can forſee the events of to-morrow,
Tho' now on my head lowers the chill blaſt of ſorrow,
Perhaps joy's bright ſunſhine may gladden my ſtory
Once more in the Iſland that ſits in the ſea.
"Yet now I exiſt to taſte life's bitter anguiſh,
Where the battle bled moſt, ſure I fought for the foe;
My comrades who fell tho' for hours they did languiſh,
Inſenſible now to the changes below.
Thrice o'er my head glanc'd the ſabre victorious!
Thrice might I finiſh'd my career ſo glorious
When cannons ſublime roar'd aloud in full chorus,
Far from the Iſland that ſits in the ſea.”
Thus the ſoldier lamented, deſpair mark'd his feature,
And hope for a moment was fled from his ſoul;
When he heard a ſoft voice, exclaim "wretched of creatures,
Here ſurely your fate from theſe monſters that prowl.
When a female he ſaw, her ſteps quickly bending
To where the new raiz'd turf the ſlain was defending,
As from her ſtaind garments the blood was deſcending,
In mad ſtrains ſhe utter'd this ſad Threnody.
"Thy daughter is wretch'd, ſleep ſoftly my mother,
Kind heaven reliev'd thee from this rending ſcene,
Beneath this green turf lies my huſband and brother,
Perhaps my brave father is now 'mongſt the ſlain:
Demons! 'twas brutely, in ſpite of my ſcreaming,
To murder my babe with pure innocence beaming,
Soldier's 'twas mad while this wound ſtill was ſtreaming,
To take the laſt Treaſure of poor Malvonie."
Thus the poor Maniac rav'd, till exhauſted, expiring,
She ſunk to the ground, all aſſiſtance was vain;
Now faſt from her body the ſoul was tranſpiring,
The ſoldier advanc'd but to ſee life's laſt ſcene,
For a bandage ſhe'd tore, which her boſom had bound,
That ſcarce ſtem'd the flow of a large gaſhing wound;
The laſt feeble accent her pale lips did ſound,
Was "Oh! my dear mother, I come unto thee."
"Ah! ſad was thy fate," ſaid the ſoldier, "poor woman,
The ſight of thy woes has made mine leſs appear;
I bluſh at myſelf now, 'twas ſo unbecoming
To droop with deſpair when Hope offer'd to chear.
Afreſh ſtream my tears! theſe ſad ſcenes deploring,
Tho' diſtant the fire-balls of battle were roaring.
Yet the widows will ſuffer, the fatherleſs mourn,
Afar in the Iſland that ſits in the ſea.
Ye natives of Britain, how happy your fate now,
Unknown to you the ravages of Spain;
How many this poor Maniac's tale could relate now,
Whoſe dear boſom friend's have been rank'd 'mongſt the ſlain:
But happy ſecure, while thy ſon's are repelling
The foe from afar off thy much-eſteem'd dwelling;
To thee, war is juſt like the ſtorm's diſtant yelling
Far from the Iſland that ſits in the ſea.