Poems of Felicia Hemans in The Literary Souvenir, 1829/The Battle Field

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From The Museum of Literature and Science, Volume 14, 1829, page 95

From the same.


I looked on the field where the battle was spread,
When thousands stood forth in their glancing array
And the beam from the steel of the valiant was shed
Through the dun rolling clouds that o'ershadowed the fray.

I saw the dark forest of lances appear,
As the ears of the harvest unnumbered they stood;
I heard the stern shout as the foeman drew near,
Like the storm, that lays low the proud pines of the wood.

Afar, the harsh notes of the war-drum were rolled,
Uprousing the wolf from the depth of his lair;
On high to the gust stream'd the banner's red fold
O'er the death-close of Hate, and the scowl of Despair,—

I looked on the field of contention again,
When the sabre was sheathed and the tempest had past;
The wild weed and thistle grew rank on the plain,
And the fern softly sighed in the low wailing blast.

Unmoved lay the lake in its hour of repose,
And bright shone the stars through the sky’s deepened blue;
And sweetly the song of the night-bird arose,
Where the foxglove lay gemmed with its pearl-drops of dew.

But where swept the ranks of that dark frowning host,
As the ocean in might—as the storm-cloud in speed!
Where now were the thunders of victory's boast,—
The slayer's dread wrath and the strength of the steed!

Not a time-wasted cross, not a mouldering stone,
To mark the lone scene of their shame or their pride;—
One grass-covered mound told the traveller alone,
Where thousands lay down in their anguish and died!

Oh! glory!—behold thy famed guerdon's extent,
For this toil thy slaves through their earth-wasting lot;
A name like the mist, when night's beacons are spent—
A grave, with its tenants unwept and forgot!
F. H.