Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/513

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
469
THE CURSE OF MINERVA.

Lo! there Rebellion rears her ghastly head,
And glares the Nemesis of native dead;
Till Indus rolls a deep purpureal flood,
And claims his long arrear of northern blood.
So may ye perish!—Pallas, when she gave
Your free-born rights, forbade ye to enslave.


"Look on your Spain!—she clasps the hand she hates,
But boldly clasps, and thrusts you from her gates.230
Bear witness, bright Barossa![1] thou canst tell

Whose were the sons that bravely fought and fell.
  1. [The victory of "bright Barossa," March 5, 1811, was achieved by the sudden determination—"an inspiration rather than a resolution," says Napier—of the British commander, General Graham (Thomas, Lord Lynedoch, 1750-1843), to counter-march his troops, and force the eminence known as the Cerro de Puerco, or hill of Barosa, which had fallen into the hands of the French under Ruffin. Graham was at this time second in command to the Spanish Captain-general, La Peña, and at his orders, but under the impression that the hill would be guarded by the Spanish troops, was making his way to a neighbouring height. Meantime La Peña had withdrawn the corps of battle to a distance, and left the hill covered with baggage and imperfectly protected. Graham recaptured Barosa, and repulsed the French with heavy loss, in an hour and a half. Napier affirms that La Peña "looked idly on, neither sending his cavalry nor his horse artillery to the assistance of his ally;" and testifies "that no stroke in aid of the British was struck by a Spanish sabre that day."

    "Famine" may have raised the devil in the English troops, but it prevented them from following up the victory. A further charge against the Spaniards was that, after Barosa had been won, the English were left for hours without food, and, as they had marched through the night before they came into action, they could only look on while the French made good their retreat.

    Two companies of the 20th Portuguese formed part of