Poems of Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Forget Me Not, 1828/Sword
The Literary Gazette, 20th October 1827, pages 675-676
Forget-Me-Not; a Christmas and New-Year's
Present for 1828. Edited by Frederic Sho-
berl. R. Ackermann.
"The Sword. By L. E. L.
’Twas the battle-field, and the cold pale moon
Look'd down on the dead and dying,
And the wind pass'd o'er, with a dirge and a wail,
Where the young and the brave were lying.
With his father's sword in his red right hand,
And the hostile dead around him,
Lay a youthful chief; but his bed was the ground,
And the grave's icy sleep had bound him.
A reckless rover, 'mid death and doom,
Pass'd a soldier, his plunder seeking:
Careless he stept where friend and foe
Lay alike in their life-blood reeking.
Drawn by the shine of the warrior's sword,
The soldier paused beside it;
He wrench'd the hand with a giant's strength,
But the grasp of the dead defied it.
He loosed his hold, and his English heart
Took part with the dead before him,
And he honour'd the brave who died sword in hand,
As with soften'd brow he leant o'er him.
‘A soldier's death thou hast boldly died,
A soldiers grave won by it;
Before I would take that sword from thine hand,
My own life's-blood should dye it.
Thou shalt not be left for the carrion crow,
Or the wolf to batten o'er thee;
Or the coward insult the gallant dead,
Who in life had trembled before thee.'
Then dug he a grave in the crimson earth
Where his warrior foe was sleeping;
And he laid him there in honour and rest,
With his sword in his own brave keeping."