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CHARLES WOLFE

1791-1823

610                       The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna

NOT a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
   As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
   Oer the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
   The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeams misty light
   And the lanthorn dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
   Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
   With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
   And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
   And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hollowd his narrow bed
   And smoothd down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread oer his head,
   And we far away on the billow!
Lightly theyll talk of the spirit thats gone,
   And oer his cold ashes upbraid him
But little hell reck, if they let him sleep on
   In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done
   When the clock struck the hour for retiring:
And we heard the distant and random gun
   That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
   From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
   But we left him alone with his glory.

611                                                To Mary

IF I had thought thou couldst have died,
   I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,
   That thou couldst mortal be:
It never through my mind had past
   The time would eer be oer,
And I on thee should look my last,
   And thou shouldst smile no more!
And still upon that face I look,
   And think twill smile again;
And still the thought I will not brook,
   That I must look in vain.
But when I speakthou dost not say
   What thou neer leftst unsaid;
And now I feel, as well I may,
   Sweet Mary, thou art dead!
If thou wouldst stay, een as thou art,
   All cold and all serene
I still might press thy silent heart,
   And where thy smiles have been.
While een thy chill, bleak corse I have,
   Thou seemest still mine own;
But thereI lay thee in thy grave,
   And I am now alone!

I do not think, whereer thou art,
   Thou hast forgotten me;
And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart
   In thinking too of thee:
Yet there was round thee such a dawn
   Of light neer seen before,
As fancy never could have drawn,
   And never can restore!

 

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