Written the Night of the Illuminations
For the Battle of Vittoria
The Morning Chronicle (August 14, 1813)
"Hark! the loud peal, the thund'ring gun,
"Another glorious field is won,
"Another wreath crowns WELLINGTON,
"And Freedom's sacred cause.
"With nerve of steel, spirit of flame,
"Mighty is he, that Chief of fame;
"And Europe shouts, with loud acclaim,
"Vittoria, hail! all hail!
"And all our soldiers nobly fought;
"Nor was the victory dearly bought;
"Some fell-but fell as soldiers ought;—
"As all might wish to die!"
While shouts and blazes rend the sky,
So swells the voice of Triumph high,
From thousands in mad revelry,
Thousands who know not war;
Who never in the death-field stood;
Nor viewed that fearful scene of blood;
Nor heard the ravens scream on their food,
Blackening the noon-day sky.
But golden tho' this laurel be,
Twin'd in the glittering wreath I see
The dark leaves of the cypress tree,
Saddening its lovely hue,
Even at this hour, when Joy's bright blaze
Bursts splendid on the entranced gaze,
And countless tongues pour boundless praise;
Even at this very hour,
How many eyes with tears o'erflow!
How many hearts are sunk in woe,
For those, who in that fight laid low,
To home return no more!
Silent and cold the Heroes lie;
Earth for their bed; their canopy
Magnificent—the moonlight sky;
While Heaven's dews weep around.
'Tis o'er with them—the world is o'er;
Slumb'ring upon a foreign shore,
The trumpet call they hear no more;
It may not break their rest.
Spirits, brave spirits, be sweet your sleep;
Vigils of joy tonight we keep:
But England o'er her fallen will weep,—
The hour of triumph past.
And those who in that battle bled,
On the four winds of the world shall spread
The name and the fame of the sacred dead—
Sacred and mourned for ever.