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

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THE DYNASTS                  ACT
Innumerable human figures are busying themselves like cheese-mites all along the northernmost frontage, undercutting easy slopes into steep ones, digging ditches, piling stones, felling trees, dragging them, and interlacing them along the front as required.
On the second breastwork, which is completed, only a few figures move.                                                                              ^
On the third breastwork, which is fully matured and equipped, minute red sentinels creep backwards and forwards noiselessly.
As time passes three reddish-grey streams of marching men loom out to the north, advancing southward along three roads towards three diverse points in the first defence. These form the English army, entering the lines for shelter. Looked down upon, their motion seems peristaltic and vermicular, like that of three caterpillars. The division on the left is under Picton, in the centre under Leith and Cole, and on the extreme right, by Alhandra, under Hill. Beside one of the roads two or three of the soldiers are dangling from a tree by the neck, probably for plundering.
The Dumb Show ends, and the point of view sinks to the earth.
The winter day has gloomed to a stormful evening, and the road outside the first line of defence forms the foreground of the stage.
Enter in the dusk from the hills to the north of the entrenchment, near Calandrix, a group of horsemen, which includes MASS^NA, in command of the French forces, FOY, LOISON, and other officers of his staff.
They ride forward in the twilight and tempest, and reconnoitre, till they see against the sky the ramparts blocking the road they pursue. They halt silently. MASSúNA, puzzled, endeavours with his glass to make out the obstacle.
Something stands here to peril our advance, Or^even prevent it!