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And fiends in upper air ;
Oh, life and death were in the shout,
Recoil and rally, charge and rout,
And triumph and despair.
(2.) THE DEATH OF MARMION.
When, doff’d his casque, he felt free air,
Around 'gan Marmion wildly stare :
“ Where's Harry Blount? Fitz-Eustace where ?
Linger ye here, ye hearts of hare !
Redeem my pennon,-charge again ! . .
Cry—“Marmion to the rescue !'—Vain !
Last of my race, on battle-plain
That shout shall ne'er be heard again ! -
Yet my last thought is England's :-fly,
To Dacre bare my signet-ring;
Tell him his squadrons up to bring :-
Fitz-Eustace, to Lord Surrey hie ;
Tunstall lies dead upon the field,
His life-blood stains the spotless shield :
Edmund is down ;-my life is reft;-
The Admiral alone is left.
Let Stanley charge with spur of fire,-
With Chester charge, and Lancashire,
Fall upon Scotland's central host,
Or victory and England's lost.-
Must I bid twice hence, varlets ! fly!
Leave Marmion here alone—to die.”
The war, that for a space did fail,
Now trebly thundering swell’d the gale,
And—Stanley! was the cry;-
A light on Marmion's visage spread,
And fired his glazing eye:
With dying hand, above his head
He shook the fragment of his blade,
And shouted “ Victory !-
Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!”...
Were the last words of Marmion.
The English shafts in volleys hail'd,
In headlong charge their horse assail'd;
Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep,
To break the Scottish circle deep,
That fought around their King.
But yet, though thick the shafts as snow,
Though charging knights like whirlwinds go,
Though billmen ply the ghastly blow,
Unbroken was the ring;
The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood,
The instant that they fell.
No thought was there of dastard fight ;-
Link'd in the serried phalanx tight,
Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As fearlessly and well;
Till utter darkness closed her wing
O'er their thin host and wounded King.
Then skilful Surrey's sage commands
Led back from strife his shatter'd bands;
And from the charge they drew
As mountain-waves, from wasted lands,
Sweep back to ocean blue.
Then did their loss his foemen know;
Their King, their lords, their mightiest, low,
They melted from the field as snow,
When streams are swollen and south winds blow.
- Dissolves in silent dew. .
Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
While many a broken band,
Disorder'd, through her currents dash,
To gain the Scottish land;
To town and tower, to down and dale,
To tell red Flodden's dismal tale,
And raise the universal wail.
(1.) HORATIUS OFFERS TO DEFEND THE
THEN outspake brave Horatius,
· The captain of the gate :
“ To every man upon the earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods.
“ Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may:
I, with two more to help me,
Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand
May well be stopp'd by three;
Now, who will stand on either hand,
And keep the bridge with me?"
Then outspake Spurius Lartius
A Ramnian proud was he-
“Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
And keep the bridge with thee."
And outspake strong Herminius–
• Of Titian blood was he-
"I will abide on thy left side,
And keep the bridge with thee."
“Horatius,” quoth the Consul,
“ As thou say'st, so let it be;" And straight against that great array
Forth went the dauntless three.
For Romans in Rome's quarrel
Spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,
In the brave days of old.
(2.) THE FALL OF THE BRIDGE.
But meanwhile axe and lever
Have manfully been plied ;
And now the bridge hangs tottering
Above the boiling tide.
“Come back, come back, Horatius 1"
Loud cried the Fathers all. “ Back, Lartius! back, Herminius!
Back, ere the ruin fall !"
Back darted Spurius Lartius;
Herminius darted back: And, as they pass'd, beneath their feet
They felt the timbers crack ; But when they turn'd their faces,
:And on the farther shore Saw brave Horatius stand alone,
They would have cross'd once more.
But with a crash like thunder
Fell every loosen'd beam,
And, like a dam, the mighty wreck
Lay right athwart the stream:
And a long shout of triumph
Rose from the walls of Rome, As to the highest turret-tops
Was splash'd the yellow foam.
And, like a horse unbroken
When first he feels the rein, The furious river struggled hard,
And toss'd his tawny mane;
And burst the curb, and bounded,
Rejoicing to be free;
And whirling down, in fierce career,
Battlement, and plank, and pier,
Rush'd headlong to the sea.