Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Carmen Bellicosum
By Guy Humphrey McMaster (1829–1887)
 
[Born in Clyde, N. Y., 1829. Died at Bath, N. Y., 1887. The Knickerbocker Magazine. 1849.]

                IN their ragged regimentals
                Stood the old Continentals,
                        Yielding not,
                While 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
                While 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 villainous saltpeter
                Rang a fierce, discordant metre
                        Round our ears:        30
                        As the swift
                        Storm-drift,
With hot sweeping anger, came the horse-guards’ 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 broadsword 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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