Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Sonnet on the Revolutionary War in America
By Colonel David Humphreys (1752–1818)
  WHEN civil war awaked his wrathful fire,
I saw the Britons’ burnings stain the sky;
  I saw the combat rage with ruthless ire—
Weltering in gore the dead and dying lie.
  How devastation crimson’d on my eye,        5
When swoon’d the frighten’d maid; the matron fled,
  And wept her missing child with thrilling cry;
Old men on staffs, and sick men, from their bed
Crept, while the foe the conflagration sped!
  So broods, in upper skies, that tempest dire,        10
Whence fiercer heat these elements shall warm:
  What time in robes of blood, and locks of fire,
The exterminating angel’s awful form
Blows the grave-rending blast, and guides the reddening storm.

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