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Yet, peace be with their ashes,-for by them,
It is not ours to judge,-far less condemn;
The hour must come when such things shall be made
By slumber, on one pillow,-in the dust,
Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decay'd;
And when it shall revive, as is our trust,
'T will be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just.
But let me quit man's works, again to read
To their most great and growing region, where
Italia! too,-Italia! looking on thee,
Full flashes on the soul the light of ages, Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee, To the last halo of the chiefs and sages Who glorify thy consecrated pages; Thou wert the throne and grave of empires; still, The fount at which the panting mind assuages Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill, Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial hill.
Thus far I have proceeded in a theme
And for these words, thus woven into song,
I stood and stand alone,-remember'd or forgot.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles,—nor cried aloud
They could not deem me one of such; I stood
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could, Had I not filed 24 my mind, which thus itself subdued.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,
But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
Though I have found them not, that there be
Words which are things, hopes which will not deceive, And virtues which are merciful, nor weave
Snares for the falling: I would also deem
O'er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve;25 That two, or one, are almost what they seem,That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
My daughter! with thy name this song begun
My daughter! with thy name thus much shall end—
I see thee not, I hear thee not, but none
Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend
To aid thy mind's development,-to watch
Almost thy very growth, to view thee catch
To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss,—
I know not what is there, yet something like to this.
Yet, though dull hate as duty should be taught,
Though the grave closed between us, 't were the same→
And an attainment,-all would be in vain,
Still thou wouldst love me, still that more than life retain.
The child of love,-though born in bitterness,
And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire
As, with a sigh, I deem thou might'st have been to me!
NOTES TO CANTO III.
"Pride of place" is
See Macbeth, &c.
Note 1. Stanza xviii.
In "pride of place" here last the eagle flew.
a term of falconry, and means the highest pitch of flight.
An eagle towering in his pride of place,
Note 2. Stanza xx.
Such as Harmodius drew on Athens' tyrant lord.
See the famous song on Harmodius and Aristogiton.-The best English translation is in Bland's Anthology, by Mr. Denman :
"With myrtle my sword will I wreathe," &c.
Note 3. Stanza xxi.
And all went merry as a marriage-bell.
On the night previous to the action, it is said that a ball was given at Brussels.
Notes 4 and 5. Stanza xxvi.
And Evan's, Donald's fame rings in each clansman's ears.
Sir Evan Cameron and his descendant Donald, the "gentle Lochiel" of the forty-five."
Note 6. Stanza xxvii.
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves.
The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the "forest of Ardennes," famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and immortal in Shakspeare's "As you like it." It is also celebrated in Tacitus as being the spot of successful defence by the Germans against the Roman encroachments.—I have ventured to adopt the name connected with nobler associations than those of mere slaughter.
Note 7. Stanza xxx.
I turn'd from all she brought to those she could not bring.
My guide from Mont St. Jean over the field seemed intelligent and accurate. The place where Major Howard fell was not far from two tall and solitary trees (there was a third cut down, or shivered in the battle) which stand a few yards from each other at a pathway's side.-Beneath these he died and was buried. The body has since been removed to England. A small hollow for the present marks where it lay, but will probably soon be effaced; the plough has been upon it, and the grain is.
After pointing out the different spots where Picton and other gallant men had perished, the guide said, "Here Major Howard lay; I was near him when wounded." I told him my relationship, and he seemed then still more anxious to point out the particular spot and circumstances. The place is one of the most marked in the field, from the peculiarity of the two trees above-mentioned.
I went on horseback twice over the field, comparing it with my recollection of similar scenes. As a plain, Waterloo seems marked out for the scene of some great action, though this may be mere imagination: I have viewed with attention those of Platæa, Troy, Mantinea, Leuctra, Chæronea, and Marathon; and the field around Mont St. Jean and Hougoumont appears to want little but a better cause, and that indefinable but impressive halo which the lapse of ages throws
around a celebrated spot, to vie in interest with any or all of these, except perhaps the last mentioned.
Note 8. Stanza xxxiv.
Like to the apples on the Dead Sea's shore.
The (fabled) apples on the brink of the lake Asphaltes were said to be fair without, and within ashes.-Vide Tacitus, Histor. I. v. 7.
Note 9. Stanza xli.
For sceptred cynics earth were far too wide a den.
The great error of Napoleon, "if we have writ our annals true,' was a continued obtrusion on mankind of his want of all community of feeling for or with them; perhaps more offensive to human vanity than the active cruelty of more trembling and suspicious tyranny.
Such were his speeches to public assemblies as well as individuals: and the single expression which he is said to have used on returning to Paris after the Russian winter had destroyed his army, rubbing his hands over a fire, "This is pleasanter than Moscow," would probably alienate more favour from his cause than the destruction and reverses which led to the remark.
Note 10. Stanza xlviii.
What want these outlaws conquerors should have!
That a king should have?
was King James's question on meeting Johnny Armstrong and his followers in full accoutrements.-See the Ballad.
Note 11. Song, Stanza li.
The castled crag of Drachenfels.
The castle of Drachenfels stands on the highest summit of" the Seven Mountains," over the Rhine banks; it is in ruins, and connected with some singular traditions; it is the first in view on the road from Bonn, but on the opposite side of the river; on this bank, nearly facing it, are the remains of another called the Jew's Castle, and a large cross commemorative of the murder of a chief by his brother. The number of castles and cities along the course of the Rhine on both sides is very great, and their situations remarkably beautiful.
Note 12. Stanza lvii.
The whiteness of his soul, and thus men o'er him wept.
The monument of the young and lamented General Marceau (killed by a rifleball at Alterkirchen, on the last day of the fourth year of the French republic) still remains as described.
The inscriptions on his monument are rather too long, and not required: his name was enough; France adored, and her enemies admired: both wept over him.-His funeral was attended by the generals and detachments from both armies. In the same grave General Hoche is interred, a gallant man also in every sense of the word; but though he distinguished himself greatly in battle, he had not the good fortune to die there; his death was attended by suspicions of poison.
A separate monument (not over his body, which is buried by Marceau's) is raised for him near Andernach, opposite to which one of his most memorable exploits was performed, in throwing a bridge to an island on the Rhine. The shape and style are different from that of Marceau's, and the inscription more simple and pleasing:
"The Army of the Sambre and Meuse
to its commander-in-chief,
all, and as it should be. Hoche was esteemed among the first of France's earlier generals before Buonaparte monopolized her triumphs. He was the destined commander of the invading army of Ireland.
Note 13. Stanza lviii.
Here Ehrenbreitstein, with her shatter'd wall.
Ehrenbreitstein, i. e.
'the broad Stone of Honour," one of the strongest