Don Juan 08-091 ~ 095

Don Juan 08-091
Canto the Eighth

Upon a taken bastion, where there lay
     Thousands of slaughter'd men, a yet warm group
Of murder'd women, who had found their way
     To this vain refuge, made the good heart droop
And shudder; -- while, as beautiful as May,
     A female child of ten years tried to stoop
And hide her little palpitating breast
Amidst the bodies lull'd in bloody rest.


Don Juan 08-092
Canto the Eighth

Two villainous Cossacques pursued the child
     With flashing eyes and weapons: match'd with them,
The rudest brute that roams Siberia's wild
     Has feelings pure and polish'd as a gem, --
The bear is civilised, the wolf is mild;
     And whom for this at last must we condemn?
Their natures? or their sovereigns, who employ
All arts to teach their subjects to destroy?


Don Juan 08-093
Canto the Eighth

Their sabres glitter'd o'er her little head,
     Whence her fair hair rose twining with affright,
Her hidden face was plunged amidst the dead:
     When Juan caught a glimpse of this sad sight,
I shall not say exactly what he said,
     Because it might not solace "ears polite;"
But what he did, was to lay on their backs,
The readiest way of reasoning with Cossacques.


Don Juan 08-094
Canto the Eighth

One's hip he slash'd, and split the other's shoulder,
     And drove them with their brutal yells to seek
If there might be chirurgeons who could solder
     The wounds they richly merited, and shriek
Their baffled rage and pain; while waxing colder
     As he turn'd o'er each pale and gory cheek,
Don Juan raised his little captive from
The heap a moment more had made her tomb.


Don Juan 08-095
Canto the Eighth

And she was chill as they, and on her face
     A slender streak of blood announced how near
Her fate had been to that of all her race;
     For the same blow which laid her mother here
Had scarr'd her brow, and left its crimson trace,
     As the last link with all she had held dear;
But else unhurt, she open'd her large eyes,
And gazed on Juan with a wild surprise.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)