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Herve Riel
by [?]

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, 130
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 flung pell-mell
On the Louvre, face and flank! 135
You shall look long enough ere you come to Herve Riel.
So, for better and for worse,
Herve Riel, accept my verse!
In my verse, Herve Riel, do thou once more
Save the squadron, honour France, love thy wife the Belle Aurore! 140


(Published in the Cornhill Magazine, 1871. Browning gave the L100 received for the poem to the fund for the relief of the people of Paris, who were starving after the siege of 1870.)

The cause of James II., who had been removed from the English throne in 1688, and succeeded by William and Mary, was taken up by the French. The story is strictly historical, except that Herve Riel asked a holiday for the rest of his life.

5. =St. Malo on the Rance=. On the northern coast of France, in Brittany. See any large atlas.

43. =pressed=. Forced to enter service in the navy.

44. =Croisickese=. A native of Croisic, in Brittany. Browning has used the legends of Croisic for poetic material in his Gold Hair of Pornic and in The Two Poets of Croisic.

46. =Malouins=. Inhabitants of St. Malo.

135. =The Louvre=. The great palace and art gallery of Paris.