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The Giant In Glee
by [?]

(“Ho, guerriers! je suis ne dans le pays des Gaules.”)

[V., March 11, 1825.]

Ho, warriors! I was reared in the land of the Gauls;
O’er the Rhine my ancestors came bounding like balls
Of the snow at the Pole, where, a babe, I was bathed
Ere in bear and in walrus-skin I was enswathed.

Then my father was strong, whom the years lowly bow,–
A bison could wallow in the grooves of his brow.
He is weak, very old–he can scarcely uptear
A young pine-tree for staff since his legs cease to bear;

But here’s to replace him!–I can toy with his axe;
As I sit on the hill my feet swing in the flax,
And my knee caps the boulders and troubles the trees.
How they shiver, yea, quake if I happen to sneeze!

I was still but a springald when, cleaving the Alps,
I brushed snowy periwigs off granitic scalps,
And my head, o’er the pinnacles, stopped the fleet clouds,
Where I captured the eagles and caged them by crowds.

There were tempests! I blew them back into their source!
And put out their lightnings! More than once in a course,
Through the ocean I went wading after the whale,
And stirred up the bottom as did never a gale.

Fond of rambling, I hunted the shark ‘long the beach,
And no osprey in ether soared out of my reach;
And the bear that I pinched ‘twixt my finger and thumb,
Like the lynx and the wolf, perished harmless and dumb.

But these pleasures of childhood have lost all their zest;
It is warfare and carnage that now I love best:
The sounds that I wish to awaken and hear
Are the cheers raised by courage, the shrieks due to fear;

When the riot of flames, ruin, smoke, steel and blood,
Announces an army rolls along as a flood,
Which I follow, to harry the clamorous ranks,
Sharp-goading the laggards and pressing the flanks,
Till, a thresher ‘mid ripest of corn, up I stand
With an oak for a flail in my unflagging hand.

Rise the groans! rise the screams! on my feet fall vain tears
As the roar of my laughter redoubles their fears.
I am naked. At armor of steel I should joke–
True, I’m helmed–a brass pot you could draw with ten yoke.

I look for no ladder to invade the king’s hall–
I stride o’er the ramparts, and down the walls fall,
Till choked are the ditches with the stones, dead and quick,
Whilst the flagstaff I use ‘midst my teeth as a pick.

Oh, when cometh my turn to succumb like my prey,
May brave men my body snatch away from th’ array
Of the crows–may they heap on the rocks till they loom
Like a mountain, befitting a colossus’ tomb!

Translated by Foreign Quarterly Review (adapted)