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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1810.5
On a Late Noble Action
“An Orphan”
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXX (March, 1810), pp. 255-256

Spent with want, fatigue, and anguish,
    On th' ungrateful land of Spain,
See a British Mother languish!
    See her perish on the plain!

Near her rests an infant smiler,
    Reckless of her dreadful fate;
Fearless of the brutal spoiler,
    And the thousand ills that wait.

Mark! that look of tortur'd feeling!
    Is that Nature's parting groan?
No—a Mother's prayer appealing,
    Now ascends before the throne.

See, on wings of Mercy hasting,
    Yonder fainting Chief appear!
Ebbing life with him seems wasting,
    But—a fellow mortal's dear!

Vainly to her lips he proffers
    Water!—all he can bestow;
But his look of kindness offers
    Balm, and soothes maternal woe.

See fleeting life a moment hover
    On her pale, her dying cheek!
And "God bless you!"—"All is over!"
    The last words allow'd to speak.

From the breathless Mother turning,
    Pity's offspring clasps the boy;
His large heart, with ardour burning,
    Emits e'en here a gleam of joy!

Animates frail, sinking nature,
    On grand effort now to make;
To Britain bears the tiny creature,
    HIS OWN—for future years to take.

Friend of orphans! gallant stranger!
    May Heav'n from ev'ry evil shield,
Guide in each surrounding danger,
    Guard through all the bloody field!

When in thy country's cause contending,
    In the deadly, sanguine strife,
May guardian Angels, round thee bending,
    Protect thy justly-valued life!

May Heav'n its choicest blessings pour
    On that life of longest date;
And, when the world can add no more,
    Thee to its own bliss translate!

Great Ormond-Street.


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September 2004

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