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NARRATIVE AND DRAMATIC POEMS

ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S

HOMER

Much have I traveled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his de-

mesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and

bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacificand all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise-
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

— JOHN KEATS

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YO

know we French stormed Ratisbon:
A mile or so away,
On a little mound, Napoleon

Stood on our storming-day;
With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,

Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow,

Oppressive with its mind.

Just as perhaps he mused, “My plans

That soar, to earth may fall,
Let once my army-leader Lannes

Waver at yonder wall,”-
Out 'twixt the battery smokes there flew

A rider, bound on bound
Full galloping; nor bridle drew

Until he reached the mound.

· Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect
By just his horse's mane, a boy;

You hardly could suspect,
(So tight he kept his lips compressed,

Scarce any blood came through),
You looked twice ere you saw his breast

Was all but shot in two.

"Well,” cried he, “Emperor, by God's grace

We've got you Ratisbon!
The marshal's in the market-place,

And you'll be there anon

To see your flag-bird flap his vans

Where I, to heart's desire,
Perched him!” The chief's eye flashed; his plans

Soared up again like fire.

The chief's eye flashed; but presently

Softened itself, as sheathes
A film the mother-eagle's eye

When her bruised eaglet breathes:
“You're wounded!” “Nay,” his soldier's pride

Touched to the quick, he said:
"I'm killed, sire!” And, his chief beside,
Smiling, the boy fell dead.

Robert Browning

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2

HERVÉ RIEL 1

ON

N the sea and at the Hogue, sixteen hundred ninety-two,

Did the English fight the French,—woe to France! And, the thirty-first of May, helter-skelter through the blue, Like a crowd of frightened porpoises a shoal of sharks pursuc,

Came crowding ship on ship to Saint Malo on the Rance, With the English fleet in view.

'Twas the squadron that escaped, with the victor in full chase; First and foremost of the drove, in his great ship, Dam

freville; Close on him fled, great and small, Twenty-two good ships in all; And they signaled to the place: “Help the winners of a race! Get us guidance, give us harbor, take us quick-or, quicker

still, Here's the English can and will!”

1 Reprinted with the permission of The Macmillan Company.

Then the pilots of the place put out brisk and leapt on board; "Why, what hope or chance have ships like these to pass?

laughed they: “Rocks to starboard, rocks to port, all the passage scarred and

scored, Shall the Formidable here with her twelve and eighty guns

Think to make the river mouth by the single narrow way, Trust to enter where 'tis ticklish for a craft of twenty tons, And with flow at full beside? Now, 'tis slackest ebb of tide.

Reach the mooring? Rather say, While rock stands or water runs,

Not a ship will leave the bay!”

Then was called a council straight. Brief and bitter the debate: “Here's the English at our heels, would you have them take

in tow All that's left us of the fileet, linked together stern and bow, For a prize to Plymouth Sound? Better run the ships aground!”

(Ended Damfreville his speech). "Not a minute more to wait!

Let the captains all and each

Shove ashore, then blow up, burn the vessels on the beach! France must undergo her fate.

a

"Give the word!” But no such word Was ever spoke or heard:

up stood, for out stepped, for in struck amid all these -A captain? A lieutenant? A mate—first, second, third?

For

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