The Field of Waterloo

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Sitting in Special Collections (University of Leeds), I’ve come across a most interesting, and thought provoking poem concerning the Battle of Waterloo.

Sir Walter Scott

Entitled ‘The Field of Waterloo’ it was written by Sir Walter Scott in 1815. Starting off by noting how the lovely land of Brussels can be transformed from scenic woodland and bountiful harvest to fields of carnage and death, Scott’s work really does capture the bloodiness of war and the emotions that must have been present during Battle.

I just wanted to blog my favourite passage from the poem. One that haunts me and is extremely moving:

“Feast on, stern foe of mortal life,
Feast on!–but think not that a strife,
With such promiscuous carnage rife,
Protracted space may last;
The deadly tug of war at length
Must limits find in human strength,
And cease when these are past.
Vain hope!–that morn’s o’erclouded sun
Heard the wild shout of fight begun
Ere he attained his height,
And through the war-smoke, volumed high,
Still peals that unremitted cry,
Though now he stoops to night.
For ten long hours of doubt and dread,
Fresh succours from the extended head
Of either hill the contest fed;
Still down the slope they drew,
The charge of columns paused not,
Nor ceased the storm of shell and shot;
For all that war could do
Of skill and force was proved that day,
And turned not yet the doubtful fray
On bloody Waterloo.”

If you want to read the full poem please visit: http://www.online-literature.com/walter_scott/2563/

 

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