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Slow Seine might hear each lovely note
Fall light as summer dew,

While through the moonless air they float,
Prolong'd from fair Saint Cloud.

And sure a melody more sweet
His waters never knew,

T

Though music's self was wont to meet
With Princes at Saint Cloud.

Nor then, with more delighted, ear,
The circle round her drew,

Than ours, when gather'd round to hear
Our songstress at St. Cloud.

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Few happy hours poor mortals pass,-
Then give those hours their due,
And rank among the foremost class
Our evenings at Saint Cloud.

1[These lines were written after an evening spent at Saint Cloud with the late Lady Alvanley and her daughters, one of whom was the songstress alluded to in the text.]

THE

DANCE OF DEATH.

I.

NIGHT and morning were at meeting
Over Waterloo;

Cocks had sung their earliest greeting;
Faint and low they crew,

For no paly beam yet shone
On the heights of Mount Saint John;
Tempest-clouds prolong'd the sway
Of timeless darkness over day;
Whirlwind, thunder-clap, and shower,
Mark'd it a predestined hour.
Broad and frequent through the night
Flash'd the sheets of levin-light;
Muskets, glancing lightnings back,
Show'd the dreary bivouack
Where the soldier lay,

Chill and stiff, and drench'd with rain,
Wishing dawn of morn again,

1

Though death should come with day.`

II.

"Tis at such a tide and hour,

Wizard, witch, and fiend, have power,

[Originally published in 1815, in the Edinburgh Annual Register, vol. v.]

And ghastly forms through mist and shower Gleam on the gifted ken;

And then the affrighted prophet's ear
Drinks whispers strange of fate and fear,
Presaging death and ruin near

Among the sons of men;-
Apart from Albyn's war-array,
'Twas then grey Allan sleepless lay;
Grey Allan, who, for many a day,
Had follow'd stout and stern,
Where, through battle's rout and reel,
Storm of shot and hedge of steel,
Led the grandson of Lochiel,
Valiant Fassiefern.

Through steel and shot he leads no more,
Low laid 'mid friends' and foemen's gore-
But long his native lake's wild shore,
And Sunart rough, and high Ardgower
And Morven long shall tell,
And proud Bennevis hear with awe,
How, upon bloody Quatre-Bras,
Brave Cameron heard the wild hurra
Of conquest as he fell.'

III.

'Lone on the outskirts of the host,
The weary sentinel held post,
And heard, through darkness far aloof,
The frequent clang of courser's hoof,
Where held the cloak'd patrol their course,
And spurr'd 'gainst storm the swerving horse;

1 [See note, ante, p. 321.]

•^

But there are sounds in Allan's ear,
Patrol nor sentinel may hear,
And sights before his eye aghast
Invisible to them have pass'd,

When down the destined plain,
"Twixt Britain and the bands of France,
Wild as marsh-borne meteors glance,
Strange phantoms wheel'd a revel dance,
And doom'd the future slain.-

Such forms were seen, such sounds were heard
When Scotland's James his march prepared
For Flodden's fatal plain;'

Such, when he drew his ruthless sword,
As Choosers of the Slain, adored

The yet unchristen'd Dane.
An indistinct and phantom band,
They wheel'd their ring-dance hand in hand,
With gestures wild and dread;

The Seer, who watch'd them ride the storm,
Saw through their faint and shadowy form
The lightning's flash more red;
And still their ghastly roundelay
Was of the coming battle-fray,
And of the destined dead.

IV.

Song.

Wheel the wild dance
While lightnings glance,

1

1 [See ante, vol. ii., Marmion, canto v., stanzas 24, 25, 26, and Appendix, Note N, p. 331.]

And thunders rattle loud, And call the brave

To bloody grave,

To sleep without a shroud.

Our airy feet,

So light and fleet,

They do not bend the rye

That sinks its head when whirlwinds rave,

And swells again in eddying wave,

As each wild gust blows by;

But still the corn,

At dawn of morn,

Our fatal steps that bore,

At eve lies waste,

A trampled paste

Of blackening mud and gore.

V. Wheel the wild dance While lightnings glance,

And thunders rattle loud, And call the brave

To bloody grave,

To sleep without a shroud.

Wheel the wild dance!
Brave sons of France,

For you our ring makes room;
Make space
full wide
For martial pride,

For banner, spear, and plume.
Approach, draw near,
Proud cuirassier!

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