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Still he combated unwounded,
Though retreating, unsurrounded.
Many a scar of former fight
Lurk'd beneath his corslet bright;
But of every wound his body bore,
Each and all had been ta'en before :
Though aged, he was so iron of limb,
Few of our youth could cope with him ;
And the foes whom he singly kept at bay
Outnumber'd his thin hairs of silver gray.
From right to left his sabre swept :
Many an Othman mother wept
Sons that were unborn when dipp'd
first in Moslem gore,
Ere his years could count a score.
Of all he might have been the sire
Who fell that day beneath his ire :
For, sonless left long years ago,
His wrath made many a childless foe;
And since the day, when in the strait 9
His only boy had met his fate,
His parent's iron hand did doom
More than a human hecatomb.
If shades by carnage be appeased,
Patroclus' spirit less was pleased
Than his, Minotti's son, who died
Where Asia's bounds and ours divide.
Buried he lay, where thousands before
For thousands of years were inhumed on the shore:
What of them is left to tell
Where they lie, and how they fell ?
Not a stone on their turf, nor a bone in their graves ;
But they live in the verse that immortally saves.
Hark to the Allah shout! a band
Of the Mussulmans bravest and best is at hand :
Their leader's neryous arm is bare,
Swifter to smite, and never to spare-
Unclothed to the shoulder it waves them on,
Thus in the fight he is ever known:
Others a gaudier garb may show,
To tempt the spoil of the greedy foe;
Many a hand 's on a richer hilt,
But none on a steel more ruddily gilt ;
Many a loftier turban may wear,
Alp is but known by the white arm bare ;
Look through the thick of the fight, 't is there.
There is not a standard on that shore
So well advanced the ranks before;
There is not a banner in Moslem war
Will lure the Delhis half so far ;
It glances like a falling star !
Where'er that mighty arm is seen,
The bravest be, or late have been !
There the craven cries for quarter
Vainly to the vengeful Tartar ;
Or the hero, silent lýing,
Scorns to yield a groan in dying ;
Mustering his last feeble blow
'Gainst the nearest levell’d foe,
Though faint beneath the mutual wound.
Grappling on the gory ground.
Still the old man stood erect,
And Alp's career a moment check’d.
- Yield thee, Minotti ; quarter take,
For thine own, thy daughter's sake.”
“ Never, renegado, never !
Though the life of thy gift would last for ever,"
“Francesca !-Oh, my promised bride!
Must she too perish by thy pride ?"
“ She is safe !" "Where? where?” “ In heaven,
From whence thy traitor soul is driven-.
Far from thee, and undefiled.”
Grimly then Minotti smiled,
As he saw Alp staggering bow
Before his words, as with a blow.
6 Oh God! when died she?"- Yesternight--
Nor weep I for her spirit's flight:
None of my pure race shall be
Slaves to Mahomet and thee-
Come on!”—That challenge is in vain-
Alp 's already with the slain!
While Minotti's words were wreaking
More revenge in bitter speaking
Than his falchion's point had found,
Had the time allow'd to wound,
From within the neighbouring porch
Of a long defended church,
Where the last and desperate few
Would the failing fight renew,
The sharp shot dash'd Alp to the ground;
Ere an eye could view the wound
That crash'd through the brain of the infidel,
Round he spun, and down he fell;
A flash like fire within his eyes
Blazed, as he bent no more to rise,
And then eternal darkness sunk
Through all the palpitating trunk :
Nought of life left, save a quivering
Where his limbs were slightly shivering,
They turn'd him on his back ; his breast
And brow were stain'd with
And through his lips the life-blood oozed.
From its deep veins lately loosed ;
But in his pulse there was no throb,
Nor on his lips one dying sob;
Sigh, nor word, nor struggling breath
Heralded his way to death ;
Ere his very thought could pray,
Unanel'd he pass'd away,
Without a hope from mercy's aid,-
To the last a renegade.
Fearfully the yell arose
Of his followers, and his foes ;
These in joy, in fury those;
Then again in conflict mixing,
Clashing swords and spears transfixing,
Interchanged the blow and thrust,
Hurling warriors in the dust.
Street by street, and foot by foot,
Still Minotti dares dispute
The latest portion of the land
Left beneath his high command ;
With him, adding 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,
Shelter'd by the massy pile.
Brief breathing-time! the.turban'd 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 unthinn'd, though slaughter'd still;
And faint the weary Christians wax
Before the still renew'd attacks :
And now the Othmans gain the gate;
Still resists its iron weight,
And still, all deadly aim'd and hot,
From every crevice comes the shot ;
shatter'd 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 !
Darkly, sternly, and all alone,
Minotti stood o'er the altar stone :
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 Mussulmans came,
The vaults beneath the mosaic stone
Contain'd 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,
Were smear'd and slippery-stain'd and strown
With broken swords, and helms o'erthrown:
There were dead above, and the dead below
Lay cold in many a coffin'd row,
You might see them piled in sable state,
By a pale light through a gloomy grate:
But war had enter'd 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-form'd train now led,
Minotti's last and stern resource
Against the foe's o'erwhelming force.
The foe came on, and few remain
To strive, and those must strive in vain :
For lack of further lifes, 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 blest.
To the high altar on they go ;
made a glorious show!
On its table still behold
of consecrated gold ; Massy and deep, a glittering prize, 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 join'd in the fray. Still a few drops within it lay ; And round the sacred table glow Twelve lofty lamps, in splendid row,