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TO

HER GRACE

THE

DUCHESS OF WELLINGTON

PRINCESS OF WATERLOO,

&c. &c. &c.

THE FOLLOWING VERSES

ARE MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED

BY

THE AUTHOR.

THE

FIELD OF WATERLOO.

I.
FAIR Brussels, thou art far behind,
Though, lingering on the morning wind,

We yet may hear the hour
Peal'd over orchard and canal,
With voice prolong'd and measured fall

From proud St. Michael's tower; Thy wood, dark Soignies, holds us now,' Where the tall beeches' glossy bough

For many a league around,
With birch and darksome oak between,
Spreads deep and far a pathless screen,

Of tangled forest ground.
Stems planted close by stems defy
The adventurous foot — the curious eye

For access seeks in vain;
And the brown tapestry of leaves,
Strew'd on the blighted ground, receives

Nor sun, nor air, nor rain.

'[“ 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." -- BYRON.) tt

No opening glade dawns on our way,
No streamlet, glancing to the ray,

Our woodland path has cross'd;
And the straight causeway which we tread,
Prolongs a line of dull arcade,
Unvarying through the unvaried shade

Until in distance lost.

II.
A brighter, livelier scene succeeds :'
In groups the scattering wood recedes,
Hedge-rows, and huts, and sunny meads,

And corn-fields, glance between;
The peasant, at his labour blithe,
Plies the hook'd staff and shorten'd scythe:->

'[“Southward from Brussels lies the field of blood,

Some three hours' journey for a well-girt man;
A horseman who in haste pursued his road

Would reach it as the second hour began.
'The way is through a forest deep and wide,
Extending many a mile on either side.
“ No cheerful woodland this of antique trees,

With thickets varied and with sunny glade ;
Look where he will, the weary traveller secs

One gloomy, thick, impenetrable shade
Of tall straight trunks, which move before his sight,
With interchange of lines of long green light.
“ Here, where the woods receding from the road

Have left on either hand an open space
For fields and gardens, and for man's abode,

Stands Waterloo ; a little lowly place
Obscure till now, when it hath risen to fame,
And given the victory its English name.”

SOUTHEY's Pilgrimage to Waterloo.] * The reaper in Flanders carries in his left hand a stick with an iron hook, with which he collects as much grain as he can one sweep with a short scythe, which he holds in his right hand. They carry on this double process with great spirit and dexterity. But when these ears were green, Placed close within destruction's scope, Full little was that rustic's hope

Their ripening to have seen!
And, lo, a hamlet and its fane :
Let not the gazer with disdain

Their architecture view;
For yonder rude ungraceful shrine,
And disproportioned spire, are thine,
Immortal WATERLOO !'

III.
Fear not the heat, though full and high
The sun has scorch'd the autumn sky,
And scarce a forest straggler now
To shade us spreads a greenwood bough;
These fields have seen a hotter day
Than e'er was fired by sunny ray.
Yet one mile on -yon shatter'd hedge
Crests the soft hill whose long smooth ridge

Looks on the fields below,
And sinks so gently on the dale,
That not the folds of Beauty's veil

In easier curves can flow.

"[" What time the second Carlos ruled in Spain,

Last of the Austrian line by fate decreed,
Here Castanaza rear'd a votive fane,

Praying the patron saints to bless with seed
His childless sovereign. Heaven denied an heir,
And Europe mourn'd in blood the frustrate prayer.”

SOUTHEY. To the original chapel of the Marquis of Castanaza has now been added a building of considerable extent, the whole interior of which is filled with monumental inscriptions for the heroes who fell in the battle.]

VOL. V.-26

Brief space from thence, the ground again
Ascending slowly from the plain,

Forms an opposing screen,
Which, with its crest of upland ground,
Shuts the horizon all around.

The soften'd vale between
Slopes smooth and fair for courser's tread.
Not the most timid maid need dread
To give her show-white palfrey head

On that wide stubble-ground ;'
Nor wood, nor tree, nor bush, are there,
Her course to intercept or scare,

Nor fosse nor fence are found,
Save where, from out her shatter'd bowelo,
Rise Hougomont's dismantled towers.

IV.
Now, see'st thou aught in this lone scene
Can tell of that which late hath been?

A stranger might reply,
“ The bare extent of stubble-plain
Seems lately lightend of its grain ;
And yonder sable tracks remain
Marks of the peasant's ponderous wain,

When harvest-home was nigh.?

* [“ 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 Platea, Troy, Mantinea, Leuctra, Chæronea, and Marathon; and the field around Mont St. Jean and Hougomont appears to want little but a better cause, and that indefinable but impressive haló which the lapse of ages throws around a consecrated spot, to vie in interest with any or all of these, except, perhaps, the last mentioned.”— BYRON.]

[“ Is the spot mark'd with no colossal bust,
Nor column trophied for triumphal show?

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