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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/From the French

< The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)‎ | Poetry‎ | Volume 3
For works with similar titles, see From the French.

FROM THE FRENCH[1]

I.

Must thou go, my glorious Chief,
Severed from thy faithful few?
Who can tell thy warrior's grief,
Maddening o'er that long adieu?[2]
Woman's love, and Friendship's zeal,
Dear as both have been to me—[3]
What are they to all I feel,
With a soldier's faith for thee?[4]


II.

Idol of the soldier's soul!
First in fight, but mightiest now;[5]
Many could a world control;
Thee alone no doom can bow.
By thy side for years I dared
Death; and envied those who fell,
When their dying shout was heard,
Blessing him they served so well.[6]


III.

Would that I were cold with those,
Since this hour I live to see;
When the doubts of coward foes[7]
Scarce dare trust a man with thee,
Dreading each should set thee free!
Oh! although in dungeons pent,
All their chains were light to me,
Gazing on thy soul unbent.


IV.

Would the sycophants of him
Now so deaf to duty's prayer,[8]
Were his borrowed glories dim,
In his native darkness share?
Were that world this hour his own,
All thou calmly dost resign,
Could he purchase with that throne
Hearts like those which still are thine?[9]


V.

My Chief, my King, my Friend, adieu!
Never did I droop before;
Never to my Sovereign sue,
As his foes I now implore:
All I ask is to divide
Every peril he must brave;
Sharing by the hero's side
His fall—his exile—and his grave.[10]

[First published, Poems, 1816.]

  1. ["All wept, but particularly Savary, and a Polish officer who had been exalted from the ranks by Buonaparte. He clung to his master's knees; wrote a letter to Lord Keith, entreating permission to accompany him, even in the most menial capacity, which could not be admitted."—Private Letter from Brussels.]
  2. —— that mute adieu.—[MS.]
  3. Dear as they have seemed to me.—[MS.]
  4. In the faith I pledged to thee.—[MS.]
  5. Glory lightened from thy soul.
    Never did I grieve till now.—[MS.]

  6. ["At Waterloo one man was seen, whose left arm was shattered by a cannon-ball, to wrench it off with the other, and, throwing it up in the air, exclaimed to his comrades, 'Vive l' Empereur, jusqu' à la mort!' There were many other instances of the like: this you may, however, depend on as true."—Private Letter from Brussels.]
  7. When the hearts of coward foes.—[MS.]
  8. —— to Friendship's prayer.—[MS.]
  9. 'T would not gather round his throne
    Half the hearts that still are thine.—[MS.]

  10. Let me but partake his doom,
    Be it exile or the grave.
    or, All I ask is to abide
    All the perils he must brave,
    All my hope was to divide.—[MS.]
    or, Let me still partake his gloom,
    Late his soldier, now his slave
    Grant me but to share the gloom
    Of his exile or his grave.—[MS.]