Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
From The Siege of Corinth
By Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
    THE NIGHT is past, and shines the sun
    As if that morn were a jocund one.
    Lightly and brightly breaks away
    The morning from her mantle gray,
    And the noon will look on a sultry day.        5
    Hark to the trump, and the drum,
And the mournful sound of the barbarous horn,
And the flap of the banners, that flit as they’re borne,
And the neigh of the steed, and the multitude’s hum,
And the clash, and the shout, “They come, they come!”        10
The horse-tails are plucked from the ground, and the sword
From its sheath; and they form, and but wait for the word.
Tartar, and Spahi, and Turcoman,
Strike your tents, and throng to the van;
Mount ye, spur ye, skirr the plain,        15
That the fugitive may flee in vain,
When he breaks from the town; and none escape,
Aged or young, in the Christian shape;
While your fellows on foot, in fiery mass,
Bloodstain the breach through which they pass.        20
The steeds are all bridled, and snort to the rein;
Curved is each neck, and flowing each mane;
White is the foam of their champ on the bit:
The spears are uplifted; the matches are lit;
The cannon are pointed and ready to roar,        25
And crush the wall they have crumbled before:
Forms in his phalanx each Janizar;
Alp at their head; his right arm is bare,
So is the blade of his scimitar;
The Khan and his pachas are all at their post:        30
The vizier himself at the head of the host.
When the culverin’s signal is fired, then On!
Leave not in Corinth a living one—
A priest at her altars, a chief in her halls,
A hearth in her mansions, a stone on her walls.        35
God and the prophet—Alla Hu!
Up to the skies with that wild halloo!
“There the breach lies for passage, the ladder to scale;
And your hands on your sabres, and how should ye fail?
He who first downs with the red cross may crave        40
His heart’s dearest wish; let him ask it, and have!”
Thus uttered Coumourgi, the dauntless vizier;
The reply was the brandish of sabre and spear,
And the shout of fierce thousands in joyous ire:—
Silence—hark to-the signal—fire!        45
 
 
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