Don Juan 08-016 ~ 020

Don Juan 08-016
Canto the Eighth

And this was admirable; for so hot
    The fire was, that were red Vesuvius loaded,
Besides its lava, with all sorts of shot
    And shells or hells, it could not more have goaded.
Of officers a third fell on the spot,
    A thing which victory by no means boded
To gentlemen engaged in the assault:
Hounds, when the huntsman tumbles, are at fault.

Don Juan 08-017
Canto the Eighth

But here I leave the general concern,
    To track our hero on his path of fame:
He must his laurels separately earn;
    For fifty thousand heroes, name by name,
Though all deserving equally to turn
    A couplet, or an elegy to claim,
Would form a lengthy lexicon of glory,
And what is worse still, a much longer story:

Don Juan 08-018
Canto the Eighth

And therefore we must give the greater number
    To the Gazette -- which doubtless fairly dealt
By the deceased, who lie in famous slumber
    In ditches, fields, or wheresoe'er they felt
Their clay for the last time their souls encumber; --
    Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt
In the despatch: I knew a man whose loss
Was printed Grove, although his name was Grose.


Don Juan 08-019
Canto the Eighth

Juan and Johnson join'd a certain corps,
    And fought away with might and main, not knowing
The way which they had never trod before,
    And still less guessing where they might be going;
But on they march'd, dead bodies trampling o'er,
    Firing, and thrusting, slashing, sweating, glowing,
But fighting thoughtlessly enough to win,
To their two selves, one whole bright bulletin.


Don Juan 08-020
Canto the Eighth

Thus on they wallow'd in the bloody mire
    Of dead and dying thousands, -- sometimes gaining
A yard or two of ground, which brought them nigher
    To some odd angle for which all were straining;
At other times, repulsed by the close fire,
    Which really pour'd as if all hell were raining
Instead of heaven, they stumbled backwards o'er
A wounded comrade, sprawling in his gore.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)