After The Battle

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.

by Victor Marie Hugo

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