Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/85

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

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?[1]
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![2][3]
As o'er thy plain the Pilgrim pricked his steed,
Who could foresee thee, in a space so brief,
A scene where mingling foes should boast and bleed![4]
Peace to the perished! may the warrior's meed[5]
And tears of triumph their reward prolong![6]
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.[7][8]

  1. —— a fancied throne?
    As if they compassed half that hails their sway.—[MS. erased.]

  2. —— glorious sound of grief.—[D.]
  3. [The battle of Albuera (May 16, 1811), at which the English, under Lord Beresford, repulsed Soult, was somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory. "Another such a battle," wrote the Duke, "would ruin us. I am working hard to put all right again." The French are said to have lost between 8000 and 9000 men, the English 4158, the Spaniards 1365.]
  4. A scene for mingling foes to boast and bleed.—[D.]
  5. Yet peace be with the perished ——.—[D. erased.]
  6. And tears and triumph make their memory long.—[D. erased.]
  7. —— there sink with other woes.—[D. erased.]
  8. [Albuera was celebrated by Scott, in his Vision of Don Roderick. The Battle of Albuera, a Poem (anon.), was published in October, 1811.]