Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE FALL OF ZALONA, by EMILY JANE BRONTE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ON THE FALL OF ZALONA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: All blue and bright, in glorious light
Last Line: May he forsake our foes!
Alternate Author Name(s): Bell, Ellis

All blue and bright, in glorious light
The morn comes marching on
And now Zalona's steeples white
Glow golden in the sun --

This day might be a festal day;
The streets are crowded all,
And emerald flags stream broad and gay
From turret, tower and wall;

And hark! how music, evermore
Is sounding in the sky:
The deep bells boom -- the cannon roar,
The trumpets sound on high --

The deep bells boom, the deep bells clash
Upon the reeling air:
The cannon, with unceasing crash
Make answer far and near --

What do those brazen tongues proclaim?
What joyous fete begun --
What offering to our country's fame --
What noble victory won?

Go, ask that solitary sire
Laid in his house alone;
His silent hearth without a fire --
His sons and daughters gone --

Go, ask those children, in the street
Beside their mother's door;
Waiting to hear the lingering feet
That they shall hear no more.

Ask those pale soldiers round the gates
With famine-kindled eye --
They'll say, 'Zalona celebrates
The day that she must die!'

The charger, by his manger tied
Has rested many a day;
Yet ere the spur have touched his side,
Behold, he sinks away!

And hungry dogs, with wolf-like cry
Unburied corpses tear,
While their gaunt masters gaze and sigh
And scarce the feast forbear --

Now, look down from Zalona's wall --
There war the unwearied foe:
If ranks before our cannon fall,
New ranks, forever, grow --

And many a week, unbroken thus,
Their troops, our ramparts hem;
And for each man that fights for us
A hundred fight for them!

Courage and Right and spotless Truth
Were pitched 'gainst traitorous crime
We offered all -- our age, our youth --
Our brave men in their prime --

And all have failed! the fervent prayers,
The trust in heavenly aid,
Valour and faith and sealed tears
That would not mourn the dead --

Lips, that did breathe no murmuring word;
Hearts, that did ne'er complain
Though vengeance held a sheathed sword
And martyrs bled in vain --

Alas, alas, the Myrtle bowers
By blighting blasts destroyed!
Alas, the Lily's withered flowers
That leave the garden void!

Unfolds o'er tower, and waves o'er height,
A sheet of crimson sheen --
Is it the setting sun's red light
That stains our standard green?

Heaven help us in this awful hour!
For now might Faith decay --
Now might we doubt God's guardian power
And curse, instead of pray --

He will not even let us die --
Not let us die at home;
The foe must see our soldiers fly
As they had feared the Tomb:

Because, we dare not stay to gain
Those longed for, glorious graves --
We dare not shrink from slavery's chain
To leave our children slaves!

But when this scene of awful woe
Has neared its final close
As God forsook our armies, so
May He forsake our foes!

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