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Philip James Bailey (Филип Джеймс Бэйли)


War


So heathen against heathen, tribe 'gainst tribe,
Streamed onward in embattled waves of war;
Not that so vast, to immemorial age
Sacred, of Scythic birth, which flood--like surged
Far round the mount Armenian; nor so wide
Which once the crutchéd hermit's eyes beheld,
Uprist in bodily answer to his prayers,
By Danube's bank, whence hardy knighthood's shield;--
Nor host immixed that by Propontic wave
Its ranks deployed, by nations, to salute
The golden--footed dame, who sheathed in steel
Her lilied breast, and couched her lance for love
Of Christ; and, with the hope of wresting back
From infidels, His hallowed tomb, led on
With jewelled rein, and morion snowy plumed,
Her maiden chivalry, and glittering queans,
Luckless; for ah! their virgin valour quailed,
Ere yet the manlier might of stern Islam
Bounded upon the spoil; nor, till unhorsed,
Unhelmed, knew these the delicate foe they proved,
Flower breath'd, as in the moon of blossoms earth;--
Nor that, by gay Chalons, where fell the force
Moorish beneath the Frankland monarch's mace,
Which Europe saved from turban and Koraun;--
Nor those above whose heads the flaming sword
Two handled, and two edged with pest and fire,
Of militant angel, pierced the clouds and slew,
At one stroke, squadrons. Thus, for many an age,
Prevailed the universal lust of death,
And vulgar slaughter; war, of all bad things
Worst, and man's crowning crime, save when for faith,
Or freedom waged, but when for greed of ground,
And mere dominion, cursed of man and God.
And people against people rose, and wronged
Each one the other; robbed of land or life;
As when the clans Mogul, which late had left
Their maze of mountains the high plains that bound
Whence Buzanghir, and all his valorous brood,
Heads of the golden horde, and sons of light,
Whom Alancova to her sun--spouse bare,
At treble birth, the lords of throne and crown,
Khaliph's, or king's, or Tzar's, which Zinghis gained,
Or filial Kublai, with all suasive sword--
Bright ravisher of souls--into one realm,
Rounded, and died; strict Theists they who held
In God and their own swords, a brief, brave creed,--
O'er Europe's quaking heart careered, and like
Sunblast on greensward, graved their fiery name
In blazing towns and harvests blackening; woke,
With tramp terrific of their horses' hoofs,
The slumbering nations; to its stony foot
Burned Breslaw; and at Wollstadt won a field
Red with the gore of Christian chivalry,
But fled from their own conquest, fled aghast,
And perished in the wilds where they were born;--
And when, in later times, and distant lands
By sumless crimes indignant made, distraught,
The Azteks, for their lord and woe--crowned head,
Stern Moctezuma, archer of the heavens--
Beset by bigots, falsely named white gods,
Their deeds of black fiends rather savouring,
But, steel--clad cowards, strong in fulminant arms,
Instalments thought of thunder at command,
By the plume mailed barbarians, gold who held
The sun's bright tearlets--sought in vain to buy
Humanity of Christians, infidel
These to earth's purest creed;--or southwards, where
His quadripartite world the Ynga ruled,
Earth's universal passion wasting not
On king--faced coin, but hallowing every mote
To beauty, or to deity, till came
Crowding, the guests profane, with priest and cross,
Who slaughtering thousands of his flock, and him
Incarcerating, bade pile his prison walls
With the soul--soiling dross they hungered for,
Ere he should know release, his sole release
Death. The Invader vaunted him of wrongs,
And gloried in the havoc of his hand.
And victor after victor vexed the world;
With scythéd chariots mowed the fields of blood
Cities of wealth and states despoiled of peace;
Red rapine reaped the land, and famine fed;
While maid and mother, eld and childhood ate
The heart of grief and drank the tears of woe. 



Philip James Bailey's other poems:
  1. Festus - 31
  2. Britian’s Cause
  3. Nottingham Castle
  4. The Nemesis Of Nations
  5. To The Trent


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