Again have broken loose the fiends of war,
From the dark depths of that abyss afar
Where sin her life-destroying offspring breeds.
Careering o'er the world their phantom steeds,
They come! the air is poison'd by their breath--
Their pathway mark'd by pestilence and death;
With blood-stain'd banners floating in the breeze
They sweep along earth's fairest lands, her seas,
So lately smiling in the tranquil light
Of heaven-born peace. While from shades black as night
Discord and strife triumphantly arise,
Startling the awe-struck world with demon cries.
The grasping despot of the frozen north,
Hailing that sound, with savage joy sends forth
His countless hosts, who know no other will
Than their imperial tyrant's to fulfil,
Blindly, whose lawless wishes are their creed,
Though for his mad ambition thousands bleed.
See! o'er the fair Crimea's fatal shore
The ghastly war-fiends halt! and thither pour
Legions on legions--rude, barbaric swarms,
Whose hearts no spark of noble feeling warms.
Opposed to these behold the Moslem bands!
Yet impotent to guard their father-lands,
Though at their prophet's shrine their vows are paid,
Invoking Christian valour to their aid.
It comes! 'Midst the gay fertile fields of Gaul
And Afric's golden sands, the clarion's call
Awakes the martial ardour of their sires;
Once more Napoleon's name each bosom fires,
And with his conquering eagles o'er their head,
Against the hated Russ with joy are led
The gallant troops of France. As comrades--friends--
Haply no longer foes--Britannia sends
Her bravest and her best. Toil, want, disease,
Would seem to be alike despised by these
Unconquerable spirits. As if life
Were but a toy, they rush upon the strife!
Loudly the cannons roar, their lightnings flash,
And in the deadly combat weapons clash;
Forward they rush like an impetuous flood,
Those British heroes on that field of blood!
They charge, resolved to conquer or to die!
Alas! How many fall, how many lie,
After the unequal conflict, wounded, dead,
Upon the gory ground, from whence they fled
The vanquish'd foe! Shall not each noble name
Henceforth stand blazon'd on the list of fame?
Shall glory's wreath not deck each hero's grave?
Yes, while victorious Albion's banners wave!
Yet England mourns her loss, and oh! too deep
For words the grief of those who vainly weep
The gallant dead! oh, never, never more
To meet till life's sad pilgrimage be o'er!
The war-trump's blast still ringing in their ear,
They died. Until the archangel's trump they hear
Will their deep slumber last? or will they rise
At once, freed spirits, and, above the skies,
Awake to new existence, glorious birth,
Far from the feuds and passions of this earth?
In vain would sorrowing hearts pierce through the gloom
Which shrouds each mouldering tenant of the tomb!
Peace to their ashes! honour to their names!
Calm be their rest on yonder battle plains!