Don Juan 08-011 ~ 015

Don Juan 08-011
Canto the Eighth


Also the General Markow, Brigadier,
    Insisting on removal of the Prince
Amidst some groaning thousands dying near, --
    All common fellows, who might writhe and wince,
And shriek for water into a deaf ear, --
    The General Markow, who could thus evince
His sympathy for rank, by the same token,
To teach him greater, had his own leg broken.


Don Juan 08-012
Canto the Eighth


Three hundred cannon threw up their emetic,
    And thirty thousand muskets flung their pills
Like hail, to make a bloody diuretic.
    Mortality! thou hast thy monthly bills;
Thy plagues, thy famines, thy physicians, yet tick,
    Like the death-watch, within our ears the ills
Past, present, and to come; -- but all may yield
To the true portrait of one battle-field;


Don Juan 08-013
Canto the Eighth


There the still varying pangs, which multiply
    Until their very number makes men hard
By the infinities of agony,
    Which meet the gaze whate'er it may regard --
The groan, the roll in dust, the all-white eye
    Turn'd back within its socket, -- these reward
Your rank and file by thousands, while the rest
May win perhaps a riband at the breast!


Don Juan 08-014
Canto the Eighth


Yet I love glory; -- glory's a great thing: --
    Think what it is to be in your old age
Maintain'd at the expense of your good king:
    A moderate pension shakes full many a sage,
And heroes are but made for bards to sing,
    Which is still better; thus in verse to wage
Your wars eternally, besides enjoying
Half-pay for life, make mankind worth destroying.


Don Juan 08-015
Canto the Eighth


The troops, already disembark'd, push'd on
    To take a battery on the right; the others,
Who landed lower down, their landing done,
    Had set to work as briskly as their brothers:
Being grenadiers, they mounted one by one,
    Cheerful as children climb the breasts of mothers,
O'er the entrenchment and the palisade,
Quite orderly, as if upon parade.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)