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

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1809.6
The Spanish Mother
“A Young Lady”
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXIX (May, 1809), p. 453

    Go, Carlos, go, thy Country calls thee,[1]
    Nor must she call her Sons in vain;
    And, oh! whatever fate befalls thee,
    Forget not thou'rt a Chief of Spain.

    Those sighs I heave, those tears I shed,
    Prove how I prize the life I gave,
    Yet would I rather know thee dead
    Than see thee live of France the slave.
But Hope, sweet Hope! amid this parting pain
Whispers, "in happier hours we'll meet again."

    This glaive be thine; it once was wielded
    By an arm well known to Fame;
    The foe it crush'd, the friend it shielded,
    And thousand blest the Hero's name.

    Then be my Carlos like his sire,
    Lost, sainted object of my love,
    In war, a swift consuming fire.
    In peace, mild, gentle as the dove.
So look'd he once, so smiled he on me—
My Son, my Son, how can I part from thee!

    Thro' long, long years of pain and sorrow,
    A beam of joy—thou'st been to me,
    And Hope still pointed to to-morrow,
    And pictur'd all my Boy would be.

    And when my griefs were near forgot,
    And when my cares were almost past;
    If—oh! it is a fearful thought;—
    If I should lose thee, now at last—
My Son, my Son, when perils round thee wait
On thine, remember, hangs thy Mother's fate.

    Last of a line well known in story
    Whose valour was their Country's pride,
    Who for that Country fought with glory,
    And in her battles nobly died;
    Let sad, yet high remembrance dwell
    On those who're laid for ever low—
    And now a fond, a long farwell;—
    My Son, to Conquest proudly go—
Thy Mother bids thee—all her weakness o'er—
Return a Hero, or return no more.


Notes

1. In Spain guerrilla warfare continued against the French after the British were forced to evacuate in January, 1809. The Spanish defended Saragossa, but were forced to capitulate on February 21, 1809. Nevertheless, the Spanish continued to wage war against the French invaders.

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September 2004

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