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The storming of the citadel of Ratisbon in 180...

   Incident Of The French Camp

You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:
   A mile or so away,
On a little mound, Napoleon
   Stood on our storming-day;
With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,
   Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow,
   Oppressive with its mind.

Just as perhaps he mused, “My plans
   That soar, to earth may fall,
Let once my army-leader Lannes
   Waver at yonder wall,” –
Out ‘twist the battery-smokes there flew
   A rider, bound on bound
Full-galloping; nor bridle drew
   Until he reached the mound.

Then off there flung in smiling joy,
   And held himself erect
By just his horse’s mane, a boy:
   You hardly could suspect –
(So tight he kept his lips compressed,
   Scarce any blood came through)
You looked twice ere you saw his breast
   Was all but shot in two.

“Well,” cried he, “Emperor, by God’s grace
   We’ve got you Ratisbon!
The Marshal’s in the market-place,
   And you’ll be there anon
To see your flag-bird flap his vans
   Where I, to heart’s desire,
Perched him!” The chief’s eye flashed; his plans
   Soared up again like fire.

The chief’s eye flashed; but presently
   Softened itself, as sheathes
 A film the mother-eagle’s eye
   When her bruised eaglet breathes;
“You’re wounded!” “Nay,” his soldier’s pride
   Touched to the quick, he said:
“I’m killed, Sire!” And his chief beside;
   Smiling the boy fell dead.

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