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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/247

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209
MAZEPPA.

All silent and subdued were they,
As once the nations round him lay.


III.

A band of chiefs!—alas! how few,
Since but the fleeting of a day
Had thinned it; but this wreck was true
And chivalrous: upon the clay
Each sate him down, all sad and mute,
Beside his monarch and his steed;50
For danger levels man and brute,
And all are fellows in their need.
Among the rest, Mazeppa made[1]
His pillow in an old oak's shade—
Himself as rough, and scarce less old,
The Ukraine's Hetman, calm and bold;
But first, outspent with this long course,
The Cossack prince rubbed down his horse,
And made for him a leafy bed,
And smoothed his fetlocks and his mane,60
And slacked his girth, and stripped his rein,
And joyed to see how well he fed;
For until now he had the dread
His wearied courser might refuse
To browse beneath the midnight dews:
But he was hardy as his lord,
And little cared for bed and board;
But spirited and docile too,
Whatever was to be done, would do.
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb,70
All Tartar-like he carried him;
Obeyed his voice, and came to call,
And knew him in the midst of all:
Though thousands were around,—and Night,
Without a star, pursued her flight,—
That steed from sunset until dawn
His chief would follow like a fawn.


  1. [For some interesting particulars ooncerning the Hetman Mazeppa, see Barrow's Memoir of the Life of Peter the Great, 1832, pp. 181-202.]