…from the quills of dead white poets
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
(From “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,” Canto One)
Ye, who would more of Spain and Spaniards know,
Go, read whate’er is writ of bloodiest strife:
Whate’er keen Vengeance urged on foreign foe
Can act, is acting there against man’s life:
From flashing scimitar to secret knife,
War mouldeth there each weapon to his need –
So may he guard the sister and the wife,
So may he make each curst oppressor bleed –
So may such foes deserve the most remorseless deeds!
Flows there a tear of Pity for the dead?
Look o’er the ravage of the reeking plain;
Look on the hands with female slaughter red;
Then to the dogs resign the unburied slain,
Then to the vulture let each corpse remain,
Albeit unworthy of the prey-bird’s maw;
Let their bleached bones, and blood’s unbleaching stain,
Long mark the battle-field with hideous awe:
Thus only may our sons conceive the scenes we saw.
Not all the blood at Talavera shed,
Not all the marvels of Barossa‘s fight,
Not Albuera lavish of the dead,
Have won for Spain her well asserted right.
When shall her Olive-Branch be free from blight?
When shall she breathe her from the blushing toil?
How many a doubtful day shall sink in night.
Ere the Frank robber turn him from his spoil,
And Freedom’s stranger-tree grow native of the soil!