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

It was the dead midnight ;

No star was in the sky;
The struggling moon shed a troubled light,

As she won her way on high ;


And deepest silence hung,

Like a garment, o'er the land;
When a loud, and shrill reveillé rung

From a grisly drummer's hand !


It rolled through the startled space-

That wild, unearthly sound;
Till the martyred dead of a doomed race
Uprose, and crowded round.

From the sleeping city near ;-

From the warm and genial South ;-
From the sands of Egypt's deserts drear ;

From the Danube's stormy mouth ;

v. From the ice-realms of the North ;

From devoted Moscow's plain ;Trooped the might of armed thousands forth

To that stirring call again!

From the depths of Indian seas ;-

From the Tyrol's hills of blue ;-
From the base of the snowy Pyrenees ;-

From the “ deadly Waterloo :”

For many a far-off land,

And many a wandering wave,
Had heard that stern and loud command,

And had yielded up its brave !

The trumpet's peal is blown;

Those scattered hosts combine;
And the soldier-slaves of the iron crown

Arise and make their sign!


On shadowy chargers mounted,

With swords uplifted high,
From battle-fields uncounted,

The' Imperial Guards draw nigh ! *

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

They raise their pallid brows

In the wan moon's sickly glare;
But vain the once loved sight to rouse

Their leader's deep despair !


With folded arms he stands,

As they pass him in review;
And sadly he looks on those gallant bands,

As he thinks on Waterloo !

* The idea of the Spectre Drummer, is borrowed from a French Poem by Messrs. Barthelmy and Mery. This and the four succeeding stanzas are little more than a paraphrase.


Still the drummer by his side,

Plies his bleached and Aleshless arm; Till surging on like the ocean tide,

Those grisly phantoms swarm.


They shout no vivas now

For the chieftain once so dear;
But curses deep, though murmured low,

Alone salute his ear.

They clench their bony hands,

As they wheel beneath his sight;
Where with folded arms, absorbed, he stands

On Montmartre’s frowning height.

Ha! whence that phantom throng,

That file before him now;
And drag their maimed limbs along

So painfully and slow!


From Jaffa’s burning plain,

That shadowy host hath wended ; In cool and savage triumph slain,

When the battle strife was ended !


He shuts his conscious eyes

Their shrinking sense to save;
But a darker scene within them lies--

'T is the gallant D’Enghein's grave !

XIX. The torches glare around,

Where the dauntless Bourbon kneels; In the castle fosse, on the damp chill ground,

As the murderous volley peals!


And the muffled drum tolls out

The youthful hero's knell :-
The chieftain starts—’t is the battle-shout,

And the roll of the deep reveil !

XXI. Myriads before him spread,

Their standards rear on high ; But the flags are white as the charnelled dead,

For the grave hath the victory!

He strains his glance to look

Beyond that grisly train;
What doth he see but a barren rock,

A vulture, and a chain !

« PreviousContinue »