Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/128

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"War even to the knife!"

Stanza lxxxvi. line 9.

"War to the knife." Palafox's answer to the French general at the siege of Saragoza.

[Towards the close of the first siege of Zaragoza, August 5, 1808, Marshal Lefebvre (1755-1820), under the impression that the city had fallen into his hands, "required Palafox to surrender in these words: 'Quartel-general, Santa Engracia. La Capitulation!' ['Head-quarters, St. Engracia. Capitulation']. The reply was, ' Quartel-general, Zaragoza. Guerra al cuchillo' ['Head-quarters, Zaragoza. War at the knife's point']." Subsequently, December, 1808, when Moncey (1754-1842) again called upon him to surrender, he appealed to the people of Madrid. "The dogs," he said, "by whom he was beset scarcely left him time to clean his sword from their blood; but they still found their grave at Zaragoza." Southey notes that "all Palafox's proclamations had the high tone and something of the inflection of Spanish romance, suiting the character of those to whom it was directed" (Peninsular War, ii. 25; iii. 152; Narrative of the Siege, by C. R. Vaughan, 1809, pp. 22, 23). Napier, whose account of the first siege of Zaragoza is based on Caballero's Victoires et Conquètes des Français, and on the Journal of Lefebvre's Operations (MSS.), does not record these romantic incidents. He attributes the raising of the siege to the "bad discipline of the French, and the system of terror established by the Spanish leaders." The inspirers and proclaimers of "war even to the knife" were, he maintains, Tio or Goodman Jorge (Jorge Ibort) and Tio Murin, and not Palafox, who was ignorant of war, and who, on more than one occasion, was careful to provide for his own safety (History of the War in the Peninsula, i. 41-46).]


And thou, my friend! etc.

Stanza xci. line 1.

The Honourable John Wingfield, of the Guards, who died of a fever at Coimbra (May 14, 1811). I had known him ten years, the better half of his life, and the happiest part of mine. In the short space of one month I have lost her who gave me being, and most of those who had made