Don Juan 07-61 ~ 65

Don Juan 07-61
Canto the Seventh

"You served at Widdin?" -- "Yes." -- "You led the attack?"
     "I did." -- "What next?" -- "I really hardly know."
"You were the first i' the breach?" -- "I was not slack
     At least to follow those who might be so."
"What follow'd?" -- "A shot laid me on my back,
     And I became a prisoner to the foe."
"You shall have vengeance, for the town surrounded
Is twice as strong as that where you were wounded.

Don Juan 07-62
Canto the Seventh

"Where will you serve?" -- "Where'er you please." -- "I know
     You like to be the hope of the forlorn,
And doubtless would be foremost on the foe
     After the hardships you've already borne.
And this young fellow -- say what can he do?
     He with the beardless chin and garments torn?"
"Why, general, if he hath no greater fault
In war than love, he had better lead the assault."

Don Juan 07-63
Canto the Seventh

"He shall if that he dare." Here Juan bow'd
     Low as the compliment deserved. Suwarrow
Continued: "Your old regiment's allow'd,
     By special providence, to lead to-morrow,
Or it may be to-night, the assault: I have vow'd
     To several saints, that shortly plough or harrow
Shall pass o'er what was Ismail, and its tusk
Be unimpeded by the proudest mosque.

Don Juan 07-64
Canto the Seventh

"So now, my lads, for glory!" -- Here he turn'd
     And drill'd away in the most classic Russian,
Until each high, heroic bosom burn'd
     For cash and conquest, as if from a cushion
A preacher had held forth (who nobly spurn'd
     All earthly goods save tithes) and bade them push on
To slay the Pagans who resisted, battering
The armies of the Christian Empress Catherine.

Don Juan 07-65
Canto the Seventh

Johnson, who knew by this long colloquy
     Himself a favourite, ventured to address
Suwarrow, though engaged with accents high
     In his resumed amusement. "I confess
My debt in being thus allow'd to die
     Among the foremost; but if you'd express
Explicitly our several posts, my friend
And self would know what duty to attend."

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)