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With him, aiding heart and hand,
The remnant of his gallant band.
Still the church is tenable,

Whence issued late the fated ball
That half avenged the city's fall,
When Alp, her fierce assailant, fell:
Thither bending sternly back,
They leave before a bloody track;
And, with their faces to the foe,
Dealing wounds with every blow,
The chief, and his retreating train,
Join to those within the fane:
There they yet may breathe awhile,
Sheltered by the massy pile.

XXIX.

Brief breathing-time! the turbaned host,
With added ranks and raging boast,
Press onwards with such strength and heat,
Their numbers balk their own retreat;
For narrow the way that led to the spot
Where still the Christians yielded not;
And the foremost, if fearful, may vainly try
Through the massy column to turn and fly;
They perforce must do or die.

They die; but ere their eyes could close

Avengers o'er their bodies rose;

Fresh and furious, fast they fill

The ranks unthinned, though slaughtered still;

And faint the weary Christians wax

Before the still renewed attacks:

And now the Othmans gain the gate;

Still resists its iron weight,

And still, all deadly aimed and hot,

From every crevice comes the shot;

From every shattered window pour

The volleys of the sulphurous shower:

But the portal wavering grows and weak—

The iron yields, the hinges creak—

It bends—it falls—and all is o'er;

Lost Corinth may resist no more!

XXX.

Darkly, sternly, and all alone,
Minotti stood o'er the altar stone:
Madonna's face upon him shone,
Painted in heavenly hues above,
With eyes of light and looks of love;
And placed upon that holy shrine
To fix our thoughts on things divine,
When pictured there, we kneeling see
Her, and the boy-God on her knee,
Smiling sweetly on each prayer
To heaven, as if to waft it there.
Still she smiled; even now she smiles,
Though slaughter streams along her aisles:
Minotti lifted his aged eye,
And made the sign of a cross with a sigh,
Then seized a torch which blazed thereby;
And still he stood, while, with steel and flame,
Inward and onward the Mussulman came.

XXXI.

The vaults beneath the mosaic stone 920

Contained the dead of ages gone;

Their names were on the graven floor,

But now illegible with gore;

The carved crests, and curious hues

The varied marble's veins diffuse, 925

Were smeared, and slippery—stained, and strown

With broken swords, and helms o'erthrown:

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There were dead above, and the dead below
Lay cold in many a coffined row;
You might see them piled in sable state,
By a pale light through a gloomy grate;
But War had entered their dark caves,
And stored along the vaulted graves
Her sulphurous treasures, thickly spread
In masses by the fleshless dead:
Here, throughout the siege, had been
The Christians' chiefest magazine;
To these a late formed train now led,
Minotti's last and stern resource
Against the foe's o'erwhelming force.

XXXII.
The foe came on, and few remain
To strive, and those must strive in vain:
For lack of further lives, to slake
The thirst of vengeance now awake,
With barbarous blows they gash the dead,
And lop the already lifeless head,
And fell the statues from their niche,
And spoil the shrines of offerings rich,

And from each other's rude hands wrest

The silver vessels saints had blessed. 950

To the high altar on they go;

Oh, but it made a glorious show!

On its table still behold

The cup of consecrated gold;

Massy and deep, a glittering prize, 955

Brightly it sparkles to plunderers' eyes:

That morn it held the holy wine,

Converted by Christ to his blood so divine,

Which his worshippers drank at the break of day,

To shrive their souls ere they joined in the fray. 960

Still a few drops within it lay;

And round the sacred table glow

Twelve lofty lamps, in splendid row,

From the purest metal cast;

A spoil—the richest, and the last. 965

XXXIII.
So near they came, the nearest stretched
To grasp the spoil he almost reached,

When old Minotti's hand
Touched with the torch the train—

Tis fired J 970

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