When darkly rose the louring morn,
Tall waved the thickly-ripening corn,
By Soignies’ Wood, as yet untorn
By war’s destructive enginry:
But, when a noontide beam had broke,
How startled Soignies’ echoes woke
To peals that swelled, mid fire and smoke,
Dread warfare’s fatal revelry!
In squares immovable arrayed,
There shone the British bay’net blade,
And many a gallant charger neighed
To meet the coming enemy.
Then rolled the prodigal of blood
Fast o’er the plain his armed flood,
And like their cliffs the Britons stood,
Firm in unyielding bravery.
How poured the cannon’s sulph’rous breath,
How thickly fell the volleying death,
How steeped in blood th’ unfading wreath
That crowns this day’s dread mastery!
How glowed the crimson hue of even,
Yet still they rush, to battle driven,
And volumes still ascend to heaven
Of battle’s smouldering canopy.
One effort more — the Tyrant’s last —
’Tis foiled — he flies in coward haste,
And leagued pursuers, following fast,
O’erwhelm his proudest chivalry.
When next those trampled fields shall wave,
Their stems shall shelter many a grave,
And many a heart shall mourn the brave
In Waterloo’s great sepulchre.