To lead him treacherously.
By Joidoigne, near to east, as we ondrew,
Dawn pierced the humid air;
And eastward faced I with him, though I knew
Never marched Grouchy there.
Near Ottignies we passed, across the Dyle
(Lim’lette left far aside),
And thence direct toward Pervez and Noville
Through green grain, till he cried:
“I doubt thy conduct, man! no track is here
I doubt they gagиd word!”
Thereat he scowled on me, and pranced me near,
And pricked me with his sword.
“Nay, Captain, hold! We skirt, not trace the course
Of Grouchy,” said I then:
“As we go, yonder went he, with his force
Of thirty thousand men.”
-At length noon nighed, when west, from Saint-John’s-Mound,
A hoarse artillery boomed,
And from Saint-Lambert’s upland, chapel-crowned,
The Prussian squadrons loomed.
Then to the wayless wet gray ground he leapt;
“My mission fails!” he cried;
“Too late for Grouchy now to intercept,
For, peasant, you have lied!”
He turned to pistol me. I sprang, and drew
The sabre from his flank,
And ‘twixt his nape and shoulder, ere he knew,
I struck, and dead he sank.
I hid him deep in nodding rye and oat-
His shroud green stalks and loam;
His requiem the corn-blade’s husky note –
And then I hastened home….
-Two armies writhe in coils of red and blue,
And brass and iron clang
From Goumont, past the front of Waterloo,
To Pap’lotte and Smohain.
The Guard Imperial wavered on the height;
The Emperor’s face grew glum;
“I sent,” he said, “to Grouchy yesternight,
And yet he does not come!”
‘Twas then, Good Father, that the French espied,
Streaking the summer land,
The men of Blьcher. But the Emperor cried,
“Grouchy is now at hand!”
And meanwhile Vand’leur, Vivian, Maitland, Kempt,
Met d’Erlon, Friant, Ney;
But Grouchy-mis-sent, blamed, yet blame-exempt –
Grouchy was far away.
Be even, slain or struck, Michel the strong,
Bold Travers, Dnop, Delord,
Smart Guyot, Reil-le, l’Heriter, Friant.
Scattered that champaign o’er.
Fallen likewise wronged Duhesme, and skilled Lobau
Did that red sunset see;
Colbert, Legros, Blancard!… And of the foe
Picton and Ponsonby;
With Gordon, Canning, Blackman, Ompteda,
L’Estrange, Delancey, Packe,
Grose, D’Oyly, Stables, Morice, Howard, Hay,
Von Schwerin, Watzdorf, Boek,
Smith, Phelips, Fuller, Lind, and Battersby,
And hosts of ranksmen round…
Memorials linger yet to speak to thee
Of those that bit the ground!
The Guards’ last column yielded; dykes of dead
Lay between vale and ridge,
As, thinned yet closing, faint yet fierce, they sped
In packs to Genappe Bridge.
Safe was my stock; my capple cow unslain;
Intact each cock and hen;
But Grouchy far at Wavre all day had lain,
And thirty thousand men.
O Saints, had I but lost my earing corn
And saved the cause once prized!
O Saints, why such false witness had I borne
When late I’d sympathized!…
So, now, being old, my children eye askance
My slowly dwindling store,
And crave my mite; till, worn with tarriance,
I care for life no more.
To Almighty God henceforth I stand confessed,
And Virgin-Saint Marie;
O Michael, John, and Holy Ones in rest,
Entreat the Lord for me!