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THE WIDOW OF THE GREAT ARMY.
Ar the time that the great army under Napoleon perished in the snows of Russia, a French woman, stated to be of respectable family and education, was so deeply affected by the calamity of her country, and her melancholy apprehensions for its future fate, that she became deprived of her senses, put on widows' weeds, and wandered about Paris, bewailing the fate of the unfortunate armament. Dressed in deep sables, she may still almost daily be seen in the Champs Elysées, in the same state of mental alienation; and the Parisians, who allow neither national nor individual sorrows to deprive them of a heartless joke, have long since christened her "The Widow of the Great Army." This unfortunate female is supposed to utter the following stanzas at the period of the first invasion:
Half a million of heroes-I saw them all:
O God! 'twas a sight of awful delight
To gaze on that army, the glory of Gaul,
As it roll'd in its fierceness of beauty forth,
Like a glittering torrent, to deluge the North!
The war-horses' tramp shook the solid ground,
While their neighings aha! and the dread hurra
Of the myriad mass made the skies resound,
As th' invincible Chief, on his milk-white steed,
Vanwards gallop'd, their host to lead.
Sword, sabre, and lance of thy chivalry, France,
And helmet of brass, and the steel cuirass,
Flash'd in the sun as I saw them pass;
While day by day, in sublime array,
The glorious pageant roll'd away!
Where are ye now, ye myriads? Hark!
O God! not a sound;-they are stretch'd on the ground, Silent and cold, and stiff and stark :
On their ghastly faces the snows still fall,
And one winding-sheet enwraps them all.
The horse and his rider are both o'erthrown:-
Soldier and beast form a common feast
For the wolf and the bear; and, when day is flown,
Their teeth gleam white in the pale moonlight,
As with crash of bones they startle the night.
Oh, whither are fled those echoes dread,
As the host hurraed, and the chargers neigh'd, And the cannon roar'd, and the trumpets bray'd ?— Stifled is all this living breath,
And hush'd they lie in the sleep of death.
They come ! they come! the barbarian hordę!
Thy foes advance, oh, beautiful France,
To ravage thy valleys with fire and sword:
Calmuc and Moscovite follow the track
Of the Tartar fierce and the wild Cossack.
All Germany darkens the rolling tide;
Sclavonian dun, Croat, Prussian, Hun, With the traitorous Belgian bands allied; While the Spaniard swart, and the Briton fair, Their banners wave in our southern air.
Sound the tocsin, the trumpet, the drum!
Heroes of France, advance, advance!
And dash the invaders to earth as they come!
Where's the Grand Army to drive them back ?-
March, countrymen, march !-attack, attack!
Ah me! my heart-it will burst in twain !
One fearful thought, to my memory brought,
Sickens my soul, and maddens my brain,—
That army of heroes, our glory and trust,
Where is it? what is it?-bones and dust!
COLD was the wind, and dark the night,
When Samuel Jinkins, call'd by some
The Reverend, (tho' I doubt his right,)
Reach'd Yarmouth's town, induced to come
By ardour in the cause of Zion,
And housed him at the Golden Lion.
His chamber held another bed,
But, as it was untenanted,
Our hero, without fear or doubt,
Undress'd, and put the candle out;
And, Morpheus making haste to drop his
Drowsiest soporific poppies,
Sleep soon o'ertook the weary elf,
Who snored like—nothing but himself.
The night was pretty far advanced,
When a stray smuggler, as it chanced,
Was by the yawning Betty led
To the aforesaid empty bed.
"Tis plain that, since his own bassoon
Did not awake him with its tune,
Sam could not hear his neighbour,
Who very leisurely undress'd,
Put out the light, retired to rest,
And, weary with his labour,
Form'd a duet with nose sonorous,
Although it sounded like a chorus.
The witching-time of night is near-
Hark! 'tis the hollow midnight bell,
Whose echoes, fraught with solemn fear,
Far o'er the land and ocean swell.
The sentry, on his lonely post,
Starts, and bethinks him of a ghost;
Lists, eager for the distant sound
Of comrades marching to the round,
And bends athwart the gloom his eye,
The glimmer of their arms to spy :—
While many a startled nymph awaking,
Counts the long chime so dull and dread,
Fancies she sees the curtains shaking,
Draws underneath the clothes her head, Feels a cold shudder o'er her creep, Attempts to pray, and shrinks to sleep.
Although our Missionary woke
Just at this moment in a shiver,
'Twas not the clock's appalling stroke
That put his limbs in such a quiver ;-
The blankets on his bed were two,
So far from being thick and new,
That he could well have borne a dozen;
No wonder that, with such a store,
When his first heavy sleep was o'er,
The poor incumbent woke half-frozen.
"Since Betty has forgot the clothes,"
Quoth Sam, (confound her stupid head!) "I'll just make free to borrow those
That lie upon the empty bed:"
So up he jump'd, too cold and raw
To be punctilious in his work,
Grasp❜d the whole covering at a claw,
Offstripp'd it with a single jerk,
And was retreating with his prey,
When, to his horror and dismay,
He stood transfix'd, afraid to breathe,
With trembling lips and chatt'ring teeth;
But cry'd at last, with desperate shout,
"Satan, avaunt !-I've found thee out."
Meanwhile, the Smuggler, who had shouted
At finding all the blankets gone,
Though for a little while he doubted
The cause of the phenomenon,
Soon as he heard Sam's exclamation,
Concluded, without hesitation,
'Twas an exciseman come to seize
His contraband commodities;
Wherefore, within his fist collecting
His vigour and resentment too,
And by the voice his aim directing,
Since every thing was hid from view,
He launch'd a more than mortal blow,
Intended to conclude the matter,
Which, whizzing on its work of woe,
Fell, with a desolating clatter,
Just where our Missionary bore his
Two front teeth, or Incisores.
This made the Jinkins fiercer burn
To give his foe a due return,
And punish him for what the brute did
When his front teeth he had uprooted.
Rearing, with this intent, his fist,
Although the Smuggler's face it miss'd,
It met his ear with such a rap,
He thought it was a thunder-clap,
Especially as from the crash
His eye-balls gave a sudden flash.
Jinkins, meanwhile, with clamour dire,
Vociferating "Thieves!" and "Fire!"