1808 17

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An Imitation
The Morning Chronicle (October 19, 1808)

"Oh! Imitatores serum pecus."—HOR.[1]

"Where shall the lover rest, &c."—SCOT'S MARMION.

Where shall the Hero rest,
    Whom the fates sever,
From the country he loves the best,
    Parted for ever.

Where shall the brave be laid,
    Who, as death glaz'd his eye,
Shouted, with shatter'd blade,
    England and victory!

Where thro' groves soften'd gloom,
    Sounds the far billow,
Where laurels ever bloom,
    Shading his pillow.

There, where the zephyr's sigh,
    Breathes o'er the Hero bold;
There, where the lily's die,
    Speckles the verdant mould.

There, deep in gentle sleep,
    Slumbers the Hero brave;
There, dews of Heaven weep,
    Over his hallow'd grave.

There, they rest, ABERCROMBIE[2] take,
    Parted for ever,
Never again to wake—
    Never—Oh! never.

But where shall the traitor rest,
    He the deceiver,
Who could sully so, glory's crest,
    Ruin and leave her.

Who cou'd vauntingly lie,
    Of deeds he did never;
Raise England's hopes proud and high,
    Then blast them for ever.

Who cou'd shamelessly yield,
    Without risking a blow,
Honours won in the field
    To a fugitive foe.[3]

There, on the blasted heath,
    Where the night ravens scream,
Echoing notes of death,
    Startles the Felon's dream.

There, where the bones of slain,
    Long fallen in battle,
Whitening the stony plain,
    To the tempest howl rattle.

There, sharing one destiny
    Under a nameless stone,
Let the Knights Cintra, three,
    Mingle their dust alone.

Shame and dishonour sit,
    By their grave ever,
Blessings shall hallow it—
    Never—Oh! Never!


1. "Oh! Imitators are a servile flock."

2. Sir Ralph Abercromby (1734-1801), hero of the battle of Abukir Bay (March 8, 1801). Fatally wounded in that battle, he died on March 28, 1801 and was buried at Malta.

3. The Convention of Cintra, August 30, 1808, allowed the defeated French army, under Junot in Spain, not only to return unharmed to France, but also to carry booty with them.

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