Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Battle of Bunker’s Hill
THE SUN, emerging from his bed,
Began to tinge the hills with red;
Unfolding to the distant sight
The heroes brave on Bunker’s height—
Determined to be free, or fight        5
      For country’s rights and liberty.
Great Warren led his patriot-band
Of heroes nursed in Freedom’s land,
Whose sturdy limbs, they boldly swear
No tyrant’s chains shall ever wear,        10
Nor lordly despots ever share
      The products of their industry.
Thus fill’d with courage—roused with ire,
Whilst indignation lends its fire,
With hasty steps to arms they fly,        15
And Britain’s hosts their look defy,
Resolved to conquer, or to die,
      Nor brook disgraceful slavery.
Commission’d by perfidious Gage,
The foe approaches, arm’d with rage;        20
“Disperse, ye rebels,” loud they roar,
“Ye rebels damn’d,” nor added more,
But soon they shook the solid shore
      With thunders of artillery.
Then Warren snatch’d his shining blade:        25
But courage cool his words display’d:
“Your fathers’ voice cries from their graves,
My generous sons, scorn to be slaves!
Nor ever yield to royal knaves
      Your birthright and your legacy.”        30
Together then the armies clash,
And lightnings from their weapons flash!
Now cannons roar! and muskets blaze!
And sheets of fire the hill displays,
Which all the distant towns amaze!        35
      So dreadful was the scenery.
Now blood of heroes stains the ground,
And slaughter’d ranks lie scatter’d round,
And fiercer still the contest grows,
As Putnam rushes on the foes,        40
And warmly every bosom glows
      With hopes of glorious victory.
Twice the foe was put to flight,
And, rallied twice, renew the fight,
And if some god had brought supply        45
Of ammunition from the sky,
Again they had been forced to fly,
      Before the arms of bravery.
What scenes of horror and surprise
Now struck the wondering Briton’s eyes!        50
What groups of dying, wounded, slain,
Brave Freedom’s sons left on the plain!
The blood streams warm from many a vein,
      Of heroes famed for gallantry.
In rocky caves and gloomy cells,        55
In gaping vaults and deep-dug wells,
They crowd their dead—a piteous heap!
Far from their native land to sleep,
Where widows mourn and orphans weep,
      The effects of British tyranny.        60
But, Warren, hapless was thy doom!
On Bunker’s height to find a tomb;
What tongue can give thee due applause,
A martyr in thy country’s cause,
Supporter of its rights and laws,        65
      A scourge to fraud and villainy.

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