Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 24, 2011

The Old Continentals



The Old Continentals.
Carmen Bellicosum.


IN their ragged regimentals
Stood the old Continentals,
Yielding not,
When the grenadiers were lunging,
And like hail fell the plunging
Cannon shot;
When the files
Of the Isles,
From the smoky night encampment bore the banner of the rampant
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;
And the balls whistled deadly,
And in streams flashing redly
Blazed the fires;
As the roar
On the shore
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
Worked the red St. George’s
And the “villainous saltpeter”
Rang a fierce, discordant meter
Round their ears;
As the swift
With hot sweeping anger, came the horse-guards’ clangor
On our flanks.
Then higher, higher, higher, burned the old-fashioned fire
Through the ranks!

Then the old-fashioned colonel
Galloped through the white infernal
And his broadsword was swinging,
And his brazen throat was ringing
Trumpet loud.
Then the blue
Bullets flew,
And the trooper-jackets redden at the touch of the leaden
And rounder, rounder, rounder, roared the iron six-pounder,
Hurling death!

—Guy Humphrey McMaster.