Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Pulaski, and His Dragoons
By Charles L. S. Jones
 
          The substance of this story was related to me by my maternal uncle, Col. Aaron Benjamin, who served under Pulaski, if I am not mistaken, for some time, as an aid. Colonel B. and his two brothers entered the service very young—the youngest at sixteen.

  DURING those stormy times which tried men’s souls,
(I speak of ’76, of which the bare mention
Should ever draw an American’s attention;)
Amongst the many patriots and brave men
Associated together, some there, then,        5
Of very different grain, thou mightest find;
Some loved the storm and some the gentler wind;
  Good, bad, whigs, tories, puritans, and drolls.
 
  Reader! perhaps your wisdom thinks that I
Associate things too roughly. You’re mistaken—        10
In th’ intent, at least:—A crab is not a kraken.
The kraken I respect. Now, to me it seems
That that grave historian, Weems,
Some articles hath omitted, in his page,
Amusing and instructive, gay, though sage;        15
  To him unknown, perhaps, or unwittingly pass’d by.
 
  But short and sweet’s the best.—A sturdy limb
Of the body militant, who loved the rattle
Of the doubling drum and broadsword-clash of battle,
Served in the patriot ranks—        20
Though with small thanks
From the country, or historians, for the same—
Dealing destruction wheresoe’er he came:
  And cared no more for Death than Death for him.
 
  Better memento, doubtless, thou deserved,        25
Ill-starr’d Pulaski. Yet this trifling thing,
Back to the minds of some, thy fame may bring,
With grateful recollections;
And their affections
May yearn over thy fearless and devoted head,        30
And say, whilst pondering o’er the illustrious dead,
  Thou too wast there, thou for our country served.
 
  A light-horse squadron to his charge was given—
Pick’d men, and brave as ever falchion drew,
Who nothing fear’d but shame: a hardy crew,        35
Dragoons yclep’d, but dragons call’d
By him, when he bawl’d,
In broken phrase uncouth, the loud command:
Dragons in truth, a stern and warlike band—
  And dragon-like they charged, swift as the winds of heaven.        40
 
  ’Twas at that famous—Reader, let that rest—
The when, no matter—’Tis enough ’tis true,—
And the enemy advancing, in full view.
As he determined, and rejoicing ran,
On his fleet steed, around, from man to man,        45
To add, if indeed he might, to each constitution
Fresh vigour, by his words and resolution;
  Then call’d a halt, and thus his troops address’d:
 
  “Attendez vous, mine dragons! attendez vous!
Mine granfader he one brave man, brave and strong,        50
Been dead one long time, long time, very long:
Mine fader brave, never from battle flew:
Been dead long time, long time, too:
By Gar! G—d d—n, if I be dead I glad;
Chargez, mine dragons: en avant, my lad!”        55
  So saying, at their head, he on the foemen flew.
 
 
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