And bounds like a blood-hound new-slipt to the field.
Heard ye the horrible roar of the gun?
Destruction is raging, the battle's begun.
Another dread peal!—and a flash again
With a flickering light illumines the plain.
Tis gone, before ye might say 'tis gone,
But death it has borne to many a one;
The youthful, the gallant are falling around
Like corn just reaped on the damp cold ground,
And the blood flows fast of the fallen and falling,
As if it came forth at the spear-point's calling!
The opposing hosts now madly rush
Like the destructive volcanic tide,
When forced by the throbs of earth's bosom to gush
Down a smoke-skirted mountain's side.
Behold ! they join, and the crash is loud,
And lightnings fly as when cloud meets cloud;
And the shout of the royal chivalry
Is loud and wild, as the jubilee
Which the tempest-fiends, in their fearful wake,
Over a wreck exulting make.
Bravely the horsemen onward ride,
And each takes blood from his charger's side;
Their glittering lances are purpled o'er
As if with a sheath in their foemen's gore;
But each bold heart of the Robber-band
Shows them the strength of a good right hand,
And their swords have drunk of the blood that flows
Like wine from the hearts of their gallant foes.
The war-steed snorts as over the plain
He dashes regardless of rowel and rein,
Enwrapt by the smoke like a battle-shroud
He replies with his neigh to th' artillery loud;
His collar of gold is gemmed with blood,
And his fetlocks are washed in that crimson floods
The earth is convulsed, as if quaked with fear
And countless demons were raging here;
As if unchained were the powers of air
And the spirits of wrath to do what they dare.
Save the carbine's flash and the sabre's gleam,
To scare the darkness there is not a beam,
For powerless is the thin moon's ray
To pierce through the battle-rack its way.
Hark! a shout, a maddening yell
As if it rushed from the depths of hell;
'Tis the victors' proud exulting cry
O'er those who low on the cold sod lie.
The royal ranks are weak they find,
They waver like mountain reeds in the wind—
And as each steps where his comrade fell
The work of destruction prospers well!
Now, Robber-chief! once more, once more
And the field is thine, and the triumph o'er!
His bold band of heroes tried and true
Keep their ground, as if there they grew;
Their foes, like waves of the stormy main,
By bolts of heaven are cleft in twain;
The royal spears or break or rest
Deep in some gallant outlaw's breast,
Till these at length now reckless grown
Rush with a fury all their own;
Alike to them to live or die—
Their foes give way—they fly! they fly!