After The Battle – Victor Marie Hugo

MY father, hero of benignant mien, 

On horseback visited the gory scene, 

After the battle as the evening fell, 

And took with him a trooper loved right well, 

Because of bravery and presence bold. 

The field was covered with the dead, all cold, 

And shades of night were deepening : came a sound, 

Feeble and hoarse, from something on the ground ; 

It was a Spaniard of the vanquished force, 

Who dragged himself with pain beside their course. 

Wounded and bleeding, livid and half dead, 

‘Give me to drink – in pity, drink!’ he said. 

My father, touched, stretched to his follower now 

A flask of rum that from his saddle-bow 

Hung down : ‘The poor soul – give him drink,’ said he 

But while the trooper prompt, obediently 

Stooped towards the other, he of Moorish race 

Pointed a pistol at my father’s face, 

And with a savage oath the trigger drew : 

The hat flew off, a bullet passing through. 

As swerved his charger in a backward stride, 

‘Give him to drink the same,’ my father cried.