Don Juan 05-036
Canto the Fifth

"Can this be death? then what is life or death?
     Speak!" but he spoke not: "Wake!" but still he slept: --
"But yesterday and who had mightier breath?
     A thousand warriors by his word were kept
In awe: he said, as the centurion saith,
     'Go,' and he goeth; 'come,' and forth he stepp'd.
The trump and bugle till he spake were dumb --
And now nought left him but the muffled drum."
Don Juan 05-037

And they who waited once and worshipp'd -- they
     With their rough faces throng'd about the bed
To gaze once more on the commanding clay
     Which for the last, though not the first, time bled:
And such an end! that he who many a day
     Had faced Napoleon's foes until they fled, --
The foremost in the charge or in the sally,
Should now be butcher'd in a civic alley.
Don Juan 05-038
The scars of his old wounds were near his new,
     Those honourable scars which brought him fame;
And horrid was the contrast to the view --
     But let me quit the theme; as such things claim
Perhaps even more attention than is due
     From me: I gazed (as oft I have gazed the same)
To try if I could wrench aught out of death
Which should confirm, or shake, or make a faith;
Don Juan 05-039

But it was all a mystery. Here we are,
     And there we go: -- but where? five bits of lead,
Or three, or two, or one, send very far!
     And is this blood, then, form'd but to be shed?
Can every element our elements mar?
     And air -- earth -- water -- fire live -- and we dead?
We whose minds comprehend all things? No more;
But let us to the story as before.
Don Juan 05-040
The purchaser of Juan and acquaintance
     Bore off his bargains to a gilded boat,
Embark'd himself and them, and off they went thence
     As fast as oars could pull and water float;
They look'd like persons being led to sentence,
     Wondering what next, till the caique was brought
Up in a little creek below a wall
O'ertopp'd with cypresses, dark-green and tall.

George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron (1788-1824)