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by [?]

“All that day raged the war they waged,
And again dumb night held reign,
Save that ever upspread from the dark deathbed
A miles-wide pant of pain.

“Hard had striven brave Ney, the true Bertrand,
Victor, and Augereau,
Bold Poniatowski, and Lauriston,
To stay their overthrow;

“But, as in the dream of one sick to death
There comes a narrowing room
That pens him, body and limbs and breath,
To wait a hideous doom,

“So to Napoleon, in the hush
That held the town and towers
Through these dire nights, a creeping crush
Seemed inborne with the hours.

“One road to the rearward, and but one,
Did fitful Chance allow;
‘Twas where the Pleiss’ and Elster run –
The Bridge of Lindenau.

“The nineteenth dawned. Down street and Platz
The wasted French sank back,
Stretching long lines across the Flats
And on the bridge-way track;

“When there surged on the sky an earthen wave,
And stones, and men, as though
Some rebel churchyard crew updrave
Their sepulchres from below.

“To Heaven is blown Bridge Lindenau;
Wrecked regiments reel therefrom;
And rank and file in masses plough
The sullen Elster-Strom.

“A gulf was Lindenau; and dead
Were fifties, hundreds, tens;
And every current rippled red
With Marshal’s blood and men’s.

“The smart Macdonald swam therein,
And barely won the verge;
Bold Poniatowski plunged him in
Never to re-emerge.

“Then stayed the strife. The remnants wound
Their Rhineward way pell-mell;
And thus did Leipzig City sound
An Empire’s passing bell;

“While in cavalcade, with band and blade,
Came Marshals, Princes, Kings;
And the town was theirs . . . Ay, as simple maid,
My mother saw these things!

“And whenever those notes in the street begin,
I recall her, and that far scene,
And her acting of how the Allies marched in,
And her touse of the tambourine!”