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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

By 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,

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;

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.

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,

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,

The French fell back; they joined their greater host

To suffer fresh defeat, and Portugal

First for Sir Arthur wreathed her laurels here.