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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 71

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Whose realm refused thee ev'n a tomb;[325]

Better hadst thou still been leading France o'er hosts of hirelings bleeding, Than sold thyself to death and shame For a meanly royal name; Such as he of Naples wears, Who thy blood-bought title bears.

Little didst thou deem, when dashing On thy war-horse through the ranks.

Like a stream which burst its banks, While helmets cleft, and sabres clashing, Shone and shivered fast around thee-- Of the fate at last which found thee: Was that haughty plume laid low By a slave's dishonest blow?

Once--as the Moon sways o'er the tide, It rolled in air, the warrior's guide; Through the smoke-created night Of the black and sulphurous fight, The soldier raised his seeking eye To catch that crest's ascendancy,-- And, as it onward rolling rose, So moved his heart upon our foes.

There, where death's brief pang was quickest, And the battle's wreck lay thickest, Strewed beneath the advancing banner Of the eagle's burning crest-- (There with thunder-clouds to fan her, _Who_ could then her wing arrest-- Victory beaming from her breast?) While the broken line enlarging Fell, or fled along the plain; There be sure was Murat charging!

There he ne'er shall charge again!

IV.

O'er glories gone the invaders march, Weeps Triumph o'er each levelled arch-- But let Freedom rejoice, With her heart in her voice; But, her hand on her sword, Doubly shall she be adored; France hath twice too well been taught The "moral lesson"[326] dearly bought-- Her safety sits not on a throne, With Capet or Napoleon!

But in equal rights and laws, Hearts and hands in one great cause-- Freedom, such as God hath given Unto all beneath his heaven, With their breath, and from their birth, Though guilt would sweep it from the earth; With a fierce and lavish hand Scattering nations' wealth like sand; Pouring nations' blood like water, In imperial seas of slaughter!

V.

But the heart and the mind, And the voice of mankind, Shall arise in communion-- And who shall resist that proud union?

The time is past when swords subdued-- Man may die--the soul's renewed: Even in this low world of care Freedom ne'er shall want an heir; Millions breathe but to inherit Her for ever bounding spirit-- When once more her hosts assemble, Tyrants shall believe and tremble-- Smile they at this idle threat?

Crimson tears will follow yet.[327]

[First published, _Morning Chronicle_, March 15, 1816.]

STANZAS FOR MUSIC.

1.

There be none of Beauty's daughters With a magic like thee; And like music on the waters Is thy sweet voice to me: When, as if its sound were causing The charmed Ocean's pausing, The waves lie still and gleaming, And the lulled winds seem dreaming:

2.

And the midnight Moon is weaving Her bright chain o'er the deep; Whose breast is gently heaving, As an infant's asleep: So the spirit bows before thee, To listen and adore thee; With a full but soft emotion, Like the swell of Summer's ocean.

_March_ 28 [1816].

[First published, _Poems_, 1816.]

ON THE STAR OF "THE LEGION OF HONOUR."[328]

[FROM THE FRENCH.]

1.

Star of the brave!--whose beam hath shed Such glory o'er the quick and dead-- Thou radiant and adored deceit!

Which millions rushed in arms to greet,-- Wild meteor of immortal birth!

Why rise in Heaven to set on Earth?

2.

Souls of slain heroes formed thy rays; Eternity flashed through thy blaze; The music of thy martial sphere Was fame on high and honour here; And thy light broke on human eyes, Like a Volcano of the skies.

3.

Like lava rolled thy stream of blood, And swept down empires with its flood; Earth rocked beneath thee to her base, As thou didst lighten through all space; And the shorn Sun grew dim in air, And set while thou wert dwelling there.

4.

Before thee rose, and with thee grew, A rainbow of the loveliest hue Of three bright colours,[329] each divine, And fit for that celestial sign; For Freedom's hand had blended them, Like tints in an immortal gem.

5.

One tint was of the sunbeam's dyes; One, the blue depth of Seraph's eyes; One, the pure Spirit's veil of white Had robed in radiance of its light: The three so mingled did beseem The texture of a heavenly dream.

6.

Star of the brave! thy ray is pale, And darkness must again prevail!

But, oh thou Rainbow of the free!

Our tears and blood must flow for thee.

When thy bright promise fades away, Our life is but a load of clay.

7.

And Freedom hallows with her tread The silent cities of the dead; For beautiful in death are they Who proudly fall in her array; And soon, oh, Goddess! may we be For evermore with them or thee!

[First published, _Examiner_, April 7, 1816.]

STANZAS FOR MUSIC.

I.

They say that Hope is happiness; But genuine Love must prize the past, And Memory wakes the thoughts that bless: They rose the first--they set the last;

II.

And all that Memory loves the most Was once our only Hope to be, And all that Hope adored and lost Hath melted into Memory.

III.

Alas! it is delusion all: The future cheats us from afar, Nor can we be what we recall, Nor dare we think on what we are.

[First published, _Fugitive Pieces_, 1829.]

FOOTNOTES:

[305] {409} [Compare _The Corsair_, Canto I. stanza xv. lines 480-490.]

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The Works of Lord Byron Volume III Part 71 summary

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