Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
 
Portugal: Roliça
Inscription for a Monument at Rolissa
Robert Southey (1774–1843)
 
TIME has been when Rolissa was a name
Ignoble, by the passing traveller heard,
And then forthwith forgotten; now in war
It is renowned. For when to her ally,
In bondage by perfidious France oppressed,        5
England sent succor, first within this realm
The fated theatre of their long strife
Confronted, here the hostile nations met.
Laborde took here his stand; upon yon point
Of Mount Saint Anna was his eagle fixed;        10
The veteran chief, disposing well all aid
Of height and glen, possessed the mountain straits,—
A post whose strength, thus manned and profited,
Seemed to defy the enemy, and make
The vantage of assailing numbers vain.        15
Here, too, before the sun should bend his course
Adown the slope of heaven,—so had their plans
Been timed,—he looked for Loison’s army, rich
With spoils from Evora and Beja sacked.
That hope the British knight, areeding well,        20
With prompt attack prevented; and nor strength
Of ground, nor leader’s skill, nor discipline
Of soldiers practised in the ways of war,
Availed that day against the British arm.
Resisting long, but beaten from their stand,        25
The French fell back; they joined their greater host
To suffer fresh defeat, and Portugal
First for Sir Arthur wreathed her laurels here.
 
 
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