Don Juan 08-006 ~ 010

Don Juan 08-006
Canto the Eighth


The night was dark, and the thick mist allow'd
    Nought to be seen save the artillery's flame,
Which arch'd the horizon like a fiery cloud,
    And in the Danube's waters shone the same --
A mirror'd hell! the volleying roar, and loud
    Long booming of each peal on peal, o'ercame
The ear far more than thunder; for Heaven's flashes
Spare, or smite rarely -- man's make millions ashes!


Don Juan 08-007
Canto the Eighth

The column order'd on the assault scarce pass'd
    Beyond the Russian batteries a few toises,
When up the bristling Moslem rose at last,
    Answering the Christian thunders with like voices:
Then one vast fire, air, earth, and stream embraced,
    Which rock'd as 't were beneath the mighty noises;
While the whole rampart blazed like Etna, when
The restless Titan hiccups in his den.


Don Juan 08-008
Canto the Eighth


And one enormous shout of "Allah!" rose
    In the same moment, loud as even the roar
Of war's most mortal engines, to their foes
    Hurling defiance: city, stream, and shore
Resounded "Allah!" and the clouds which close
    With thick'ning canopy the conflict o'er,
Vibrate to the Eternal name. Hark! through
All sounds it pierceth "Allah! Allah Hu!"


Don Juan 08-009
Canto the Eighth


The columns were in movement one and all,
    But of the portion which attack'd by water,
Thicker than leaves the lives began to fall,
    Though led by Arseniew, that great son of slaughter,
As brave as ever faced both bomb and ball.
    "Carnage" (so Wordsworth tells you) "is God's daughter:"
If he speak truth, she is Christ's sister, and
Just now behaved as in the Holy Land.


Don Juan 08-010
Canto the Eighth


The Prince de Ligne was wounded in the knee;
    Count Chapeau-Bras, too, had a ball between
His cap and head, which proves the head to be
    Aristocratic as was ever seen,
Because it then received no injury
    More than the cap; in fact, the ball could mean
No harm unto a right legitimate head:
"Ashes to ashes" -- why not lead to lead?

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)