Home Life Works Articles Contact

Anna Jane Vardill

A Relic of Waterloo *

Farewell!—the blow that ends the strife
 Dooms but a ruin to decay—
One—but one link of less than life
 Remains to end in nameless clay.

Let him who treads the death-field, spare
 This relic lov’d too late and long—
Ah!—leave it in my dust to share
 The home a miser dare not wrong.

And if to greet thy proud return
 My father lifts his hoary head,
He will not start nor shrink to learn
 How low I rest in Honour’s bed.

But shun the deep blue melting eye
 That fondly looks and glistens near;
Nor tell what lonely sepulchre
 Thy pity gave the Cuirassier.

My mother!—Fancy’s earliest flow’r
 Was by thy tender fost’ring nurst;
Thine was my noon tide’s brightest hour,
 And thine the thought that warm’d it first—

Receive the last!—thy glory’s stem
 Has fallen, and its pride is past;
But thou wilt treasure as a gem
 The blighted leaf that linger’d last.

Thou wast the eyelid of my soul,
 Preserver of its purest sense;
And once beneath thy bland controul
 It slept in holy innocence.

Oft to the brink of ruin’s flood
 Thou cam’st a wand’rer to arrest;
And smiling in thy bounty shew’d
 The softness of the matron’s breast.

Then by thy mild—thy pleading look,
 Light of my erring life!—I vow’d
To write my name in Glory’s book,
 Or moulder in an early shroud.

The flow’rs of revelry and wit
 Have left this hollow bosom bare;
But one long-hid remembrance yet
 Lives like the dark soft violet there.

There is an eye that will not mock
 The ruin in this breast unseen—
The chasm in the shatter’d rock
 Tells where a diamond mine has been.

’Twas plunder’d!—but enough is left
 A lightning spark from Heav’n to win—
Its thunderbolt has struck the cleft,
 But woke the glorious flame within!—


* Collected from fragments found near a dead cuirassier, with a broken picture.

The European Magazine, Vol. 72, July 1817, pp. 69-70