Imagini ale paginilor

No such man of mark, and meet
With his betters to compete!
But a simple Breton sailor pressed by Tourville for the fleet,

A poor coasting-pilot he, Hervé Riel the Croisickese.

And “What mockery or malice have we here?” cries Hervé

Riel: “Are you mad, you Malouins? Are you cowards, fools, or

rogues? Talk to me of rocks and shoals, me who took the soundings, tell On my fingers every bank, every shallow, every swell, 'Twixt the offing here and Grève where the river disem.

bogues? Are you bought by English gold? Is it love the lying's for? Morn and eve, night and day, Have I piloted your bay, Entered free and anchored fast at the foot of Solidor. Burn the feet and ruin France? That were worse than

fifty Hogues! Sirs, they know I speak the truth! Sirs, believe me there's

a way! Only let me lead the line,

Have the biggest ship to steer,

Get this Formidable clear, Make the others follow mine, And I lead them, most and least, by a passage I know well,

Right to Solidor past Grève, And there lay them safe and sound: And if one ship misbehave, -Keel so much as grate the ground, Why I've nothing but my life,-here's my head!” cries

Hervé Riel.


Not a minute more to wait. “Steer us in, then, small and great! Take the helm, lead the line, save the squadron!” cried

its chief. Captains, give the sailor place!

He is Admiral, in brief. Still the north-wind, by God's grace! See the noble fellow's face As the big ship, with a bound, Clears the entry like a hound, Keeps the passage as its inch of way were the wide sea's

profound! See, safe through shoal and rock,

How they follow in a flock,
Not a ship that misbehaves, not a keel that grates the ground,

Not a spar that comes to grief!
The peril, see, is past,
All are harbored to the last,
And just as Hervé Riel hollas "Anchor!”--sure as fate,
Up the English come—too late!

So, the storm subsides to calm:

They see the green trees wave

On the heights o'erlooking Grève. Hearts that bled are stanched with balm.

“Just our rapture to enhance,

Let the English rake the bay,
Gnash their teeth and glare askance

As they cannonade away!
"Neath rampired Solidor pleasant riding on the Rance!”
How hope succeeds despair on each captain's countenance!
Out burst all with one accord,

“This is Paradise för Hell!

Let France, let France's King
Thank the man that did the thing!”
What a shout, and all one word,

“Hervé Riel!”
As he stepped in front once more,

Not a symptom of surprise

In the frank blue Breton eyes, Just the same man as before.

Then said Damfreville, “My friend,
I must speak out at the end,

Though I find the speaking hard.
Praise is deeper than the lips:
You have saved the King his ships,

You must name your own reward.
'Faith, our sun was near eclipse!
Demand whate'er you will,
France remains your debtor still.
Ask to heart's content and have! or my name's not Dam-


Then a beam of fun outbroke
On the bearded mouth that spoke,
As the honest heart laughed through
Those frank eyes of Breton blue:
“Since I needs must say my say,

Since on board the duty's done,
And from Malo Roads to Croisic Point, what is it but a

Since 'tis ask and have, I may-

Since the others go ashoreCome! A good whole holiday!

Leave to go and see my wife, whom I call the Belle Aurore!” That he asked and that he got,—nothing more.

Name and deed alike are lost:
Not a pillar nor a post

In his Croisic keeps alive the feat as it befell;
Not a head in white and black
On a single fishing-smack,
In memory of the man but for whom had gone to wrack
All that France saved from the fight whence England bore

the bell. Go to Paris: rank on rank

Search the heroes Aung pell-mell On the Louvre, face and flank!

You shall look long enough ere you come to Hervé Riel. So, for better and for worse, Hervé Riel, accept my verse, In my verse, Hervé Riel, do thou once more Save the squadron, honor France, love thy wife, the Belle Aurore!

Robert Browning




F Nelson and the North

Sing the glorious day's renown,

When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;

By each gun the lighted brand
In a bold, determined hand,
And the Prince of all the land

Led them on.

Like leviathans afloat
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;

While the sign of battle few
On the lofty British line:
It was ten of April morn by the chime:

As they drifted on their. path
There was silence deep as death;
And the boldest held his breath

For a time.

But the might of England Aushed To anticipate the scene;

And her van the fleeter rushed O’er the deadly space between. "Hearts of oak!” our captains cried, when each gun

From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse

Of the sun.

Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,

Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back;
Their shots along the deep slowly boom:

Then ceased—and all is wail,
As they strike the shattered sail;
Or in conflagration pale

Light the gloom.

Out spoke the victor then
As he hailed them o'er the wave,

“Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save:

« ÎnapoiContinuă »