Thy gentle nature, owns no sense, Estelle!
Like that which Warriors feel when arrows rattle,
Nor can I language find, thee sweet, to tell
The rage, the fearful tumult of the battle;
While glory calls, and valiant deeds are doing
Our hearts expand, and our bold breasts are glowing,
Reverse the scene, gaze on the heaps of dead,
Pause for a while—where is the wild fire fled
Which lighted erst, the hero’s breast elate,
While strech’d before him on the field of Fate,
Lie those whom fitful fight no more can warn,
Lo! Death sits heavy on each lifeless form.
On bleeding Knights, who but the day before
Bloom’d high in health, and boasted youth’s fair store,
By war’s decree, even here, untimely hurled,
To await their fiat in another world!
Still, lies the heart, that beat with joyous bound,
Stiff, the bold hand, that deadly blows dealt round;
Nerveless and weak, opprest with dust and gore,
That heart! those hands will ne’er know warfare more,
And not alone, the youthful warrior lies,
On the wide field to the wild fowl a prize;
All ages, ranks, yea all conditions must
Mix with the slain, and mingle with the dust,
Whiles, the survivors heave heart rending moan
For dearest friends, and nearest kinsmen gone!
But to the fray—the eventful dawn display’d
To watchful, waking eyes a gorgeous sight
In richest guise, and goodliest garb array’d,
Came forth, each wily Saracen of might
And in defiance waved his sabre bright,
Gilding and gallantry without, I wis
Within, all cruelty and cowardice;
High on each Tower, a blood red streamer set
Waved high in air from rocking minaret:
Twas then we entered Palestina fair,
Banners, and flags, and standards flaming there,
Bold bands of music, our choice spirits charm’d,
And waked new ardour, in the hearts they warm’d;
For with such strains, now in my fay, I think
It were impossible for soul to shrink:
Then, then on high, the crystal cross we rais’d,
Strung our strong bows, and armed with hawberke bright,
Brandish’d our spears and burnished shields that blaz’d,
And dared the heathen rebels to the fight:
Yea loudly, in their recreant ears did ring
Around with manful might, God and the King;
And now, they rais’d a fierce and savage yell
Whiles we advanced with axe and mangonel
Unto the main Tower of their citadel!
Sending our beehives to announce from far
That we were skilful in the arts of war!
Besides the ever gallant Salisbury
So justly styl’d the sword of Chivalry,
Now that I mind me, lady, there was one
Whose shield emblazon’d bore a rising sun;
Fierce in the conflict but of him anon.
Our Eagle eyed, and Lion hearted Liege
Impatient of the long protracted seige,
With battle axe, of huge and pond’rous cast,
Spread ruin ‘ronnd him wheresoe’er he past:
On each and every side, behold them falling!
Like grass before the scythe, O sight appalling;
Some lay on shore, whiles others darkly slept
In the blue ocean, by no eye be wept:
Wide o’er that fair expanse, and fatal main
What signs of carnage, and what heaps of slain;
Yet ever still success our arms attending
We dealt destruction, ‘mid the Paynim throng,
And from bold mountains, we appeared descending,
With Templar Knights, who dealt dread blows along,
To after time; a signal Victory,
That day’s success, shall aye transmitted be.
© Fidelia S. T. Hill