James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 14


By Francis Saltus Saltus (1849–1889)

  • The battle of Jena, fought on Oct. 14, 1806, was one of Napoleon’s victories over the Prussians and Saxons.

  • THE PRUSSIAN eagle in its eyrie screamed,

    And, from the sandy plains in war’s array,

    Dense hordes of stolid, boorish soldiers streamed

    To meet the men of Rivoli that day;

    The martial hosts yearning to smite and slay,

    Stood there defiant with bare swords that gleamed,

    And in calm, haughty insolence they seemed

    Like hungry condors watching for their prey.

    The Titan fray began, and with disdain

    The laureled grenadiers of France marched on,

    Stern and majestic, through the bullets’ rain,

    Until the corpse-clogged field was nobly won,

    While the astounded Vandals fled in vain

    Before the cold sneer of Napoleon.