Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

“It is not yet near day. Come, go with me;
Under our tents I’ll play the eavesdropper.”

THE night comes on, and o'er the field The moon shines bright on helm and shield; But there are many on that plain That shall not see her light again ; She looks serene on countless bands Of mailèd breasts and steel-bound hands; And shows a thousand faces there Of courage high, and dark despair, All mingled as the legions lie Wrapped in their dreams of victory. A lowering sound of doubt and fear Breaks sudden on the startled ear, And hands are clinched, and cheeks are pale, And from bright blade and ringing mail

A thousand hands, with busy toil,
Clean off each ancient stain or soil;
Or spots of blood, where truth may read
For every drop a guilty deed.

Survey the crowds who there await,
In various mood, the shock of fate ;
Who burn to meet, or strive to shun,
The dangers of to-morrow’s sun.
Took on the husband's anxious tears,
The hero's hopes, the coward’s fears,
The vices that e'en here are found,
The follies that are hovering round ;
And learn that (treat it as you will)
Our life must be a mockery still.
Alas! the same caprices reign
In courtly hall, or tented plain:
And the same follies are revealed
In ball-room, and in battle-field.

Turn to yon open tent, and see Where, drunk with youth and Burgundy, Reclines, his midnight revel o'er, The beau of battle, Theodore. Before him, on his desk, he lays The billet-doux of other days; And while he reads his fancy lingers On those white hands and witching fingers That traced the darling signatures—

« PreviousContinue »