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And with the waving of ten thousand plumes,
Like a land's harvest in the autumn-wind,
And with fierce light, which is not of the sun,
But flung from sheets of steel—it comes, it comes,
The vengeance of our God!
I hear it now,
The heavy tread of mail-clad multitudes,
Like thunder-showers upon the forest-paths.
Aye, earth knows well the omen of that sound,
And she hath echoes, like a sepulchre's,
Pent in her secret hollows, to respond
Unto the step of death !
Hark! how the wind
Swells proudly with the battle-march of Spain!
Now the heart feels its power —A little while
Grant me to live, my God!—What pause is this?
A deep and dreadful one !—the serried files
Level their spears for combat; now the hosts
Look on each other in their brooding wrath,
Silent, and face to face.
voices HEARD witHouT, cHANTING.
Calm on the bosom of thy God,
Fair spirit ! rest thee now !
E’en while with ours thy footsteps trod,
His seal was on thy brow.
Dust, to its narrow house beneath !
Soul, to its place on high
They that have seen thy look in death,
ELMINA (to GonzALEz).
It is the death-hymn o'er thy daughter's bier'
—But I am calm, and e'en like gentle winds,
That music, through the stillness of my heart,
Sends mournful peace.
Oh! well those solemn tones
Accord with such an hour, for all her life
Breath’d of a hero's soul |
[.4 sound of trumpets and shouting from the plain.
Now, now they close 1–Hark! what a dull dead sound
Is in the Moorish war-shout!—I have known
Such tones prophetic oft.—The shock is given—
Lo! they have placed their shields before their hearts,
And lower'd their lances with the streamers on,
And on their steeds bent forward!—God for Spain!
The first bright sparks of battle have been struck
From spear to spear, across the gleaming field !
—There is no sight on which the blue sky looks
To match with this!—'Tis not the gallant crests,
Nor banners with their glorious blazonry;
The very nature and high soul of man
Doth now reveal itself!
Oh, raise me up, That I may look upon the noble scene ! —It will not be l—That this dull mist would pass A moment from my sight !—Whence rose that shout, As in fierce triumph? HERNANDEz (clasping his hands).
Must I look on this f The banner sinks—'tis taken
GONZALEZ. Oh, God of Battles' ELMINA. Calm thy noble heart! Thou wilt not pass away without thy meed. Nay, rest thee on my bosom. her NANDEz. Cheer thee yet! Our knights have spurr'd to rescue.—There is now A whirl, a mingling of all terrible things, Yet more appalling than the fierce distinctness Wherewith they moved before —I see tall plumes All wildly tossing o'er the battle's tide, Sway’d by the wrathful motion, and the press Of desperate men, as cedar-boughs by storms. Many a white streamer there is dyed with blood, Many a false corslet broken, many a shield Pierced through —Now, shout for Santiago, shout! Lo! javelins with a moment's brightness cleave The thickening dust, and barbed steeds go down With their helm’d riders —Who, but One, can tell How spirits part amidst that fearful rush And trampling on of furious multitudes:
Thou'rt silent!—Seest thou more ?—My soul grows dark.
And dark and troubled, as an angry sea,
Dashing some gallant armament in scorn
Against its rocks, is all on which I gazel
—I can but tell thee how tall spears are cross'd,
And lances seem to shiver, and proud helms
To lighten with the stroke —But round the spot,
Where, like a storm-sell'd mast, our standard sank,
The heart of battle burns.
Where is that spot?
It is beneath the lonely tuft of palms,
That list their green heads o'er the tumult still,
In calm and stately grace.
There, didst thou say?
Then God is with us, and we must prevail!
For on that spot they died —My children's blood
Calls on th’ avenger thence