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Full text of "The Dynasts : Parts First And Second"

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THE DYNASTS                 ACT n
A courier arrives with dispatches, and enters the Emperor's quarters, whence he emerges and goes on with other dispatches to the hut of DECR&S, lower down. Immediately after, NAPOLEON comes out from his hut with a paper in his hand, and musingly proceeds towards an eminence commanding the Channel,
Along the shore below are forming in a far-reaching line more than a hundred thousand infantry. On the downs in the rear of the camps fifteen thousand cavalry are manoeuvring, their accoutrements flashing in the sun like a school of mackerel. The flotilla lies in and around the port, alive with moving figures.
With his head forward and his hands behind him the Emperor surveys these animated proceedings in detail, but more frequently turns his face towards the telegraph on the cliff to the south-west, erected to signal when VILLENEUVE and the combined squadrons shall be visible on the west horizon.
He summons one of the aides, who descends to the [hut of DECR&S. DECR&S comes out from his hut, and hastens to join the Emperor. Dumb show ends,
NAPOLEON and DECRIES advance to the foreground of the scene.
Decr£s, this wrestle with Sir Robert Calder Three weeks aback, whereof we dimly heard, And clear details of which I have just unsealed, Is on the whole auspicious for our plan. It seems that twenty of our ships and Spain's— None over eighty-gunned, and some far less— Leapt at the English off Cape Finisterre With fifteen vessels of a hundred each. We coolly fought and orderly as they, And, but for mist, we had closed with victory. Two English were much mauled, some Spanish scarred, And Calder then drew off with his two wrecks And Spain's in tow, we giving chase forthwith. Not overtaking him our admiral, Having the coast clear for his purposes, Entered Coruna, and found orders there To open the port of Brest and come on hither. Thus hastes the moment when the double fleet Of Villeneuve and of Ganteaume should appear. He looks again towards the telegraph, 58