Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
 
III. War
Carmen Bellicosum
Guy Humphrey McMaster (1829–1887)
 
      IN their ragged regimentals
      Stood the old Continentals,
          Yielding not,
      When the grenadiers were lunging,
      And like hail fell the plunging        5
          Cannon-shot;
          When the files
          Of the isles,
From the smoky night encampment, bore the banner of the rampant
          Unicorn,        10
And grummer, grummer, grummer rolled the roll of the drummer,
          Through the morn!
 
      Then with eyes to the front all,
      And with guns horizontal,
          Stood our sires;        15
      And the balls whistled deadly,
      And in streams flashing redly
          Blazed the fires;
          As the roar
          On the shore,        20
Swept the strong battle-breakers o’er the green-sodded acres
          Of the plain;
And louder, louder, louder, cracked the black gunpowder,
          Cracking amain!
 
      Now like smiths at their forges        25
      Worked the red St. George’s
          Cannoneers;
      And the “villanous saltpetre”
      Rung a fierce, discordant metre
          Round their ears;        30
          As the swift
          Storm-drift,
With hot sweeping anger, came the horseguards’ clangor
          On our flanks;
Then higher, higher, higher, burned the old-fashioned fire        35
          Through the ranks!
 
      Then the bare-headed colonel
      Galloped through the white infernal
          Powder-cloud;
      And his broad sword was swinging        40
      And his brazen throat was ringing
          Trumpet-loud.
          Then the blue
          Bullets flew,
And the trooper-jackets redden at the touch of the leaden        45
          Rifle-breath;
And rounder, rounder, rounder, roared the iron six-pounder,
          Hurling death!
 
 
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