« ZurückWeiter »
By Wallace' side it rung the Southron's knell,
Alderne, Kilsythe, and Tibber own'd its fame, Tummell's rude pass can of its terrore tell,
But ne'er from prouder field arose the name,
(With Spenser's parable I close my tale)
And land-ward now I drive before the gale, And now the blue and distant shore I hail,
And nearer now I see the port expand,
And, as the prow light touches on the strand,
NOTE ON THE INTRODUCTION.
And mystic Merlin harped, and grey-hair’d Llywarch sung:-St. IV. p. 608. 693 This locality may startle those readers who do not recollect, that much of the an
cient poetry, preserved in Wales, refers less to the history of the principality to which that name is now limited, 'than to events which happened in the North-west of England and South-west of Scotland, where the Britons for a long time made a stand against the Saxons.
NOTES ON THE VISION,
For fair Florinda's plunder'd charms to pay.-St. IV. p. 612. Almost all the Spanish historians, as well as the voice of tradition, ascribe the invasion of the Moors to the forcible violation committed by Roderick upon Florinda, called by the Moors Caba, or Cava. She was the daughter of Count Julian, one of the Gothic monarch's principal lieutenants, who, when the crime was perpetrated, was engaged in the defence of Ceuta against the Moors. In his indignation at the ingratitude of his sovereign, and the dishonour of his daughter, Count Julian forgot the duties of a Christian, and a patriot, and forming an alliance with Musa, then the caliph's lieutenant in Africa, he countenanced the invasion of Spain by a body of Saracens and Africans, commanded by the celebrated Tarik; the issue of which was the defeat and death of Roderick, who was drowned in the river Guadelete as he fled from the battle, and the occupation of almost the whole peninsula by the Moors.
While trumpets rang, and heralds cried, “ Castile."-St. XLIII. p. 620. The heralds at the coronation of a Spanish monarch proclaim his name three times, and repeat three times the word Castilla, Castilla, Castilla ; which, with all other ceremonies, was carefully copied in the mock inauguration of Joseph Buo
High blazed the war, und long, and far, and wide.—St. XLVIII. p. 622. Those who were disposed to believe that mere virtue and energy are able of themselves to work forth the salvation of an oppressed people, surprised in a moment of confidence, deprived of their officers, armies, and fortresses, who had every means of resistance to seek in the very moment when
they were to be made use of, and whom the numerous treasons among the higher orders deprived of confidence in
their natural leaders,—those who entertained this enthusiastic but delusive piace may be pardoned for expressing their disappointment at the protracted warfare in the peninsula. There are, however, another class of persons, who, baving thes. selves the highest dread or veneration, or something allied to both, for the power ei the modern Attila, will nevertheless give the heroical Spaniards little or no cruds for the long, stubborn, and unsubdued resistance of three years to a power bear whom their former well-prepared, well-armed, and numerous adversaries fell in the course of as many months. While these gentlemen plead for deference to Buon parte, and crave
Respect for his great place and bid the devil
Be duly honoured for his burning throne, it may not be altogether unreasonable to claim some modification of censure upcr those, who have been long, and to a great extent, successfully resisting this great eze my of mankind. That the energy of Spain has not uniformly been directed by cor duct equal to its vigour, has been too obvious ; that her armies, under their compi cated disadvantages, have shared the fate of such as were defeated after taking the field with every possible advantage of arms and discipline, is surely not to be wondered at. But that a nation, under the circumstances of repeated discomfiture, internal treason, and the mismanagement incident to a temporary and hastis, adopted government, should have wasted, by its stubborn, uniform, and prolonged resistance, myriads after myriads of those soldiers who had overrun the world that some of its provinces should, like Galicia, after being abandoned by their alles
, and overrun by their enemies, have recovered their freedom by their own unasusted exertions--that others, like Catalonia, undismayed by the treason which betrayed some fortresses, and the force which subdued others, should not only have costnued their resistance, but have attained over their victorious enemy a superiority, which is even now enabling them to besiege and retake the places of strength which had been wrested from them, is a tale hitherto untold in the revolutionary
To say that such a people cannot be subdued, would be presumption similar to that of those who protested that Spain could not defend herself for a year, or Portugal for a month ; but that a resistance wbich has been continue ed during so long a space, when the usurper, except during the short-lived Austrian campaign, had no other enemies on the continent, should be now less successful
, when repeated defeats have broken the reputation of the French armies, and when they are likely (it would seem almost in desperation) to seek occupation elsewhere
, is a prophecy as improbable as ungracious. "And while we are in the humour of soverely censuring our allics, gallant and devoted as they have shewn themselves in the cause of national liberty, because they may not instantly adopt those measures which
we in our wisdom may deem essential to success, it might be well, if we endea voured first to resolve the previous questions, --ist, Whether we do not at this who ment know much less of the Spanish armies than of those of Portugal, which were so promptly condemned as totally inadequate to assist in the preservation of their country? 2d, Whether, independently of any right we have to offer more than advice and assistance to our independent allies, we can expect that they should te nounce entirely the national pride, which is inseparable from patriotism, and at once condescend not only to be saved by our assistance, but to be saved in our own way 3d, Whether, if it he an object, (as undoubtedly it is a main one,) that the Spanish troops should be trained under British discipline, to the flexibility of movement, and power of rapid concert and combination, which is essential to modern war; such a consummation is likely to be produced by abusing them in newspapers and periodo cal publications ? Lastly, Since the undoubted authority of British officers makes
is now acquainted with part of the horrors that attend invasion, and which the Proidence of God, the valour of our navy, and perhaps the very efforts of these Spajards, have hitherto diverted from us, it may be modestly questioned whether we vught to be too forward to estimate and condemn the feeling of temporary stupefacion which they create; lest, in so doing, we should resemble the worthy clergynan, who, while he had himself never snuffed a candle with his fingers, was dispoed severely to criticise the conduct of a martyr who winced a little among bis lames.
NOTES ON THE CONCLUSION.
While downward on the land his levions press,
Before them it was rich with vine and flock,
Behind their wasteful march, a reeking wilderness. -St. II. p. 626. I have ventured to apply to the movements of the French army that sublime pasage in the Prophecies of Joel, chapter 2d, which seems applicable to them in more espects than that I, have adopted in the text, and to which the reader is referred.
The rudest centinel, in Britain born,
Gave his poor crust to feed some wretch forlorn.–St. VII p. 627. Even the unexampled gallantry of the British army in the campaign of 1810-11, Ithough they never fought but to conquer, will do them less honour in history than jeir humanity, attentive to soften, to the utmost of their power, the horrors which ar, in its mildest aspect, must always inflict upon the defenceless inhabitants of be country in which it is waged, and which on this occasion were tenfold augmentd by the barbarous cruelties of the French. Soup kitchens were established by ubscription among the officers, wherever the troops were quartered for any length of time. The Commissaries contributed the heads, feet, &c. of the cattle slaughterd for the soldiery; rice, vegetables, and bread where it could be had, were purchased y the officers. Fifty or sixty starving peasants were daily fed at one of these reimental establishments, and carried home the reliques to their famished households. The emaciated wretches, who could not crawl from weakness, were speediy employed in pruning their vines. While pursuing Massena, the soldiers evinced he same spirit of humanity, and in many instances, when reduced themselves to bort allowance, from having outmarched their supplies, they shared their pittance with the starving inhabitants, who had ventured back to view the ruins of their habitations burned by the retreating enemy, and to bury the bodies of their relations whom they had butchered. Is it possible to know such facts without feeling a jort of confidence that those who so well deserve victory are most likely to attain t?- It is not the least of Lord Wellington's military merits, that the slightest disvosition towards marauding meets immediate punishment. Independently of all poral obligation, the army which is most orderly in a friendly country, has always proved most formidable to an armed enemy. Vain-glorious Fugitive !
-St. VIII. p. 628. The French conducted this memorable retreat with much of the fanfarronade proper to their country, by which they attempt to impose upon others, and perhaps in themselves, a belief that they are triumphing in the very moment of their discomfiture. On the 30th May, 1811, their rear-guard was overtaken, near Pega, by he British cavalry. Being well posted, and conceiving themselves safe from infanTy (who were, indeed, many miles in the rear,) and from artillery, they indulged $
themselves in parading their bands of music, and actually performed “God save the King." Their minstrelsy was, however, deranged by the undesired accompaniment of the British horse-artillery, on whose part in the concert they had not calculated. The surprise was sudden, and the rout complete, for the artillery and cavalry did execution upon them for about four miles, pursuing at the gallop as often as they get beyond the range of the guns.
Vainly thy squadrons hide Assuada's plain,
And front the flying thunders as they roar,
With frantic charge and ten-fold odds, in vain !-St. X. p. 678. In the severe action of Fuentes d'Honoro, upon 5th May, 1811, the grand mass of the French cavalry attacked the right of the British position, ĉovered by two guns of the horse-artillery and two squadrons of cavalry. After suffering considerably from the fire of the guns, which annoyed them in every attempt to formation, the enemy turned their wrath entirely towards them, distributed brandy among their troopers, and advanced to carry the field-pieces with the desperation of drunken fury. They were in no ways checked by the heavy loss which they sustained in this daring attempt
, but closed and fairly mingled with the British'cavalry, to whom they bore the proportion of ten to one. Captain Ramsay (let me be permitted to hame a gallant countryman), who commanded the two guns, dismissed them at the gallop, and, putting himself at the head of the mounted artillerymen, ordered them to fall upon the French sabre-in-hand. This very unexpected conversion of artillerymen into dragoons contributed greatly to the defeat of the enemy, already disconcerted by the reception they met from the two British squadrons; and the appearance of some small' reinforcements, notwithstanding the immense disproportion of force, put them to absolute rout. A colonel or major of their cavalry, and many prisoners, (almost all intoxicated), remained in our possession. Those who consider for a moment the difference of the services, and how much an artilleryman is accustomed necessarily and naturally to identify his own safety and utility with abiding by the tremendous implement of war, to the exercise of which he is chiefly, if not exclusively, trained, will know how to estimate the presence of mind which commanded so bold a manæuvre, and the steadiness and confidence with which it was executed.
And whut avuils thee that, for Cameron slain,
Wild from his plaided ranks the yell was given.-St. X. p. 628. The gallant Colonel Cameron was wounded mortally during the desperate contest in the streets of the village called Fuentes de Honoro. He fell at the head of his native Highlanders, the 71st and 79th, who raised a dreadful shriek of grief and rage. They charged, with irresistible fury, the finest body of French grenadiers ever seen, being a part of Buonaparte's selected guard. The officer who led the Frenci, a man remarkable for stature and symmetry, was killed on the spot. The French man who stepped out of his rank to take aim at Colonel Cameron was also bayonet. ted, pierced with a thousand wounds, and almost torn to pieces by the furious Highlanders, who, under the command of Colonel Cadogan, bore the enemy out of the contested ground at the point of the bayonet. Massena pays my countrymen a sin gular compliment, in his account of the attack and defence of this village, in which, he says, the British lost many officers, and Scotch.
O who shall grudge him Albuera's bays,
Who brought a race regenerate to the field,
Temper'd their headlong ruge, their courage steel'd.-St. XIV. p. 629. Nothing during the war of Portugal seems, to a distinct observer, more deserti