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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Song of the Cossack
By Francis Sylvester Mahony (Father Prout) (1804–1866)
 
From ‘The Songs of France,’ in the ‘Reliques’

COME, arouse thee up, my gallant horse, and bear thy rider on!
The comrade thou, and the friend, I trow, of the dweller on the Don.
Pillage and Death have spread their wings! ’tis the hour to hie thee forth,
And with thy hoofs an echo wake to the trumpets of the North!
Nor gems nor gold do men behold upon thy saddle-tree;        5
But earth affords the wealth of lords for thy master and for thee.
Then fiercely neigh, my charger gray!—thy chest is proud and ample;
Thy hoofs shall prance o’er the fields of France, and the pride of her heroes trample!
 
Europe is weak—she hath grown old—her bulwarks are laid low;
She is loath to hear the blast of war—she shrinketh from a foe!        10
Come, in our turn, let us sojourn in her goodly haunts of joy—
In the pillared porch to wave the torch, and her palaces destroy!
Proud as when first thou slack’dst thy thirst in the flow of conquered Seine,
Aye shalt thou lave, within that wave, thy blood-red flanks again.
Then fiercely neigh, my gallant gray!—thy chest is strong and ample!        15
Thy hoofs shall prance o’er the fields of France, and the pride of her heroes trample!
 
Kings are beleaguered on their thrones by their own vassal crew;
And in their den quake noblemen, and priests are bearded too;
And loud they yelp for the Cossack’s help to keep their bondsmen down,
And they think it meet, while they kiss our feet, to wear a tyrant’s crown!        20
The sceptre now to my lance shall bow, and the crosier and the cross
Shall bend alike when I lift my pike, and aloft THAT SCEPTRE toss!
Then proudly neigh, my gallant gray!—thy chest is broad and ample;
Thy hoofs shall prance o’er the fields of France, and the pride of her heroes trample!
 
In a night of storm I have seen a form!—and the figure was a GIANT,        25
And his eye was bent on the Cossack’s tent, and his look was all defiant;
Kingly his crest—and towards the West with his battle-axe he pointed;
And the “form” I saw was ATTILA! of this earth the Scourge Anointed.
From the Cossack’s camp let the horseman’s tramp the coming crash announce;
Let the vulture whet his beak sharp set, on the carrion field to pounce;        30
And proudly neigh, my charger gray!—Oh, thy chest is broad and ample;
Thy hoofs shall prance o’er the fields of France, and the pride of her heroes trample!
 
What boots old Europe’s boasted fame, on which she builds reliance,
When the North shall launch its avalanche on her works of art and science?
Hath she not wept, her cities swept by our hordes of trampling stallions?        35
And tower and arch crushed in the march of our barbarous battalions?
Can we not wield our father’s shield? the same war-hatchet handle?
Do our blades want length, or the reaper’s strength, for the harvest of the Vandal?
Then proudly neigh, my gallant gray, for thy chest is strong and ample;
And thy hoofs shall prance o’er the fields of France, and the pride of her heroes trample!        40
 
 
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