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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 7.djvu/56

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JEUX D'ESPRIT AND MINOR POEMS, 1798-1824.

Though an Emperor's taste was displeased with his haste,
The Devil he thought it clever;
And he laughed again in a lighter strain,
O'er the torrent swoln and rainy,60
When he saw "on a fiery steed" Prince Pon,
In taking care of Number One
Get drowned with a great many!


8.

But the softest note that soothed his ear
Was the sound of a widow sighing;
And the sweetest sight was the icy tear,
Which Horror froze in the blue eye clear
Of a maid by her lover lying—
As round her fell her long fair hair,
And she looked to Heaven with that frenzied air70
Which seemed to ask if a God were there!
And stretched by the wall of a ruined hut,
With its hollow cheek, and eyes half shut,

A child of Famine dying:

    Dulauloy had entrusted the operation to Colonel Montford. The Colonel, instead of remaining on the spot to direct it, and to give the signal, ordered a corporal and four sappers to blow up the bridge the instant the enemy should appear. The corporal, an ignorant fellow, and ill comprehending the nature of the duty with which he was charged, upon hearing the first shot discharged from the ramparts of the city, set fire to the fougades and blew up the bridge. A part of the army was still on the other side, with a park of 80 pieces of artillery and some hundreds of waggons. The advance of this part of the army, who were approaching the bridge, seeing it blow up, conceived it was in the power of the enemy. A cry of dismay spread from rank to rank. 'The enemy are close upon our rear, and the bridges are destroyed!' The unfortunate soldiers dispersed, and endeavoured to effect their escape as well as they could. The Duke of Tarentum swam across the river. Prince Poniatowsky, mounted on a spirited horse, darted into the water and appeared no more. The Emperor was not informed of this disaster until it was too late to remedy it.... Colonel Montfort and the corporal of the sappers have been handed over to a court-martial."]