Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/247

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
209
MAZEPPA.

All silent and subdued were they,
As once the nations round him lay.


III.

A band of chiefs!—alas! how few,
Since but the fleeting of a day
Had thinned it; but this wreck was true
And chivalrous: upon the clay
Each sate him down, all sad and mute,
Beside his monarch and his steed;50
For danger levels man and brute,
And all are fellows in their need.
Among the rest, Mazeppa made[1]
His pillow in an old oak's shade—
Himself as rough, and scarce less old,
The Ukraine's Hetman, calm and bold;
But first, outspent with this long course,
The Cossack prince rubbed down his horse,
And made for him a leafy bed,
And smoothed his fetlocks and his mane,60
And slacked his girth, and stripped his rein,
And joyed to see how well he fed;
For until now he had the dread
His wearied courser might refuse
To browse beneath the midnight dews:
But he was hardy as his lord,
And little cared for bed and board;
But spirited and docile too,
Whatever was to be done, would do.
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb,70
All Tartar-like he carried him;
Obeyed his voice, and came to call,
And knew him in the midst of all:
Though thousands were around,—and Night,
Without a star, pursued her flight,—
That steed from sunset until dawn
His chief would follow like a fawn.


  1. [For some interesting particulars ooncerning the Hetman Mazeppa, see Barrow's Memoir of the Life of Peter the Great, 1832, pp. 181-202.]