Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Old Soldier’s Prayer
GREAT God, deign to smile on our worthy Monroe,
Who sits in the high chair of state here below:
Reward him thrice double for his friendly deed,
In helping old soldiers in time of their need.
He wept for their sorrows, bore a part in their grief,        5
And held out his hand, to their joy and relief:
And God bless his name for considering the poor;
For this is the promise the Scriptures insure.
God bless him for granting a pension to me,
A wounded old soldier, in deep poverty;        10
Whose scenes of hard fortune, from youth to old age,
Have been, perhaps, equall’d by few on the stage.
Lord, smile on the Congress and Senate likewise,
Who sanction’d the plan our Monroe did devise:
May they long in honour resplendently shine,        15
And meet the applauses of freemen through time.
But now he looks forward in hopes of the day,
When his doctor’s doubtful old bills he can pay,
And buy a new Bible to read when he’s old,
That book of more value than jewels or gold.        20
This long-tried soldier, through all this campaign,
Fought hard for his country, rich freedom to gain:
Through hunger and cold he was there call’d to fight,
In combats by day, and patrolling by night.
Long, cold, frosty nights he in ambush did lie,        25
To rise and take cow-boys as they passed by;
Those stout, sulky fellows, and villains so old,
Who robb’d Whig and Tory of silver and gold.
On the Indian’s lines hard fatigue he did bear,
Came nigh being stabb’d by a savage prince there:        30
Should all his dark scenes through the war now unfold,
’Twould shock human nature the sight to behold.
In Germantown battle this soldier was one
Who march’d in the field when the fray there begun,
And found on that morning that God was his shield,        35
While his fellow-soldiers fell slain on the field.
And he is the same hardy soldier also,
Who in Monmouth battle did meet the proud foe,
And fought that hot day in the ranks on the plain,
Where Britain’s tall champions lay piled with the slain.        40
May the President give him a listening ear
To facts the old soldier has now stated here;
And his simple story of trials believe,
For he that’s a soldier will scorn to deceive.
May kind angels guard the American chief        45
Safe through this dark world of pale sorrow and grief;
May he follow Christ, his dear Saviour and King,
And learn the old soldier his praises to sing.
And when he is call’d from this busy stage here,
And summon’d by death at Thy bar to appear,        50
May angels that moment wing him to the skies,
And pleasures immortal unfold to his eyes.
A bright crown of glory, O, then may he wear!
And shine in those courts like seraphim there;
While ransomed millions, on that happy shore,        55
Assist him in singing thy praise evermore.

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