Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Surprise
 
NOW, shroud thy banners, Freedom,
  And fire the minute gun,
For the red men of the forest
  A hellish deed have done.
 
Not on the field of battle,        5
  Where a soldier loves to die,
Have thy young martyrs fallen,
  For whom the brave will sigh.
 
O, deed of shame inhuman!
  O, deed of blood and woe—        10
A hundred bold and gallant men
  The tomahawk laid low.
 
Flush’d with high hopes they trail
  Through the shady palmettos,
When sudden flash’d the savage knife—        15
  The war-whoop wild arose.
 
From out the oaken hammocks
  A thousand Indians sprang,
As with their rifles’ thundering crash
  The forest arches rang.        20
 
Still, ’gainst o’erpowering numbers,
  The white men battled on:
And many a savage roll’d in death
  On that eventful morn.
 
At last, the brave have perish’d,—        25
  Their dirge, the war-whoop wild!
For whom will stream deep sorrow’s tear,
  From maiden, wife, and child.
 
And oft will memory wander,
  And shuddering give a prayer,        30
For the brave who fell in Florida,
  And weep, no aid was there.
 
No hand to give them burial,
  To close their dying eyes;—
God take those gallant spirits home,        35
  Who perish’d by surprise!
 
 
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