Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HAARLEM HEIGHTS, by ARTHUR GUITERMAN



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HAARLEM HEIGHTS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: They've turned at last! Goodby, king george
Last Line: That we shall claim our own!
Subject(s): American Revolution; Harlem Heights, Battle Of (1776); New York City - Revolutionary Period


Captain Stephen Brown of Knowlton's Connecticut
Rangers tells of the affair of September 16, 1776.

THEY'VE turned at last! Good-by, King George,
Despite your hireling band!
The farmer boys have borne a brunt,
The 'prentice lads will stand!

Though Peace may lag and Fortune flag,
Our fight as good as won!
We've made them yield in open field!
We've made the Redcoats run!

Our Rangers sallied forth at dawn
With Knowlton at their head
To rout the British pickets out
And spend a little lead.

We gave them eight brisk rounds a-piece,
And hurried, fighting, back;
For, eighteen score, the Light Armed Corps
Were keen upon our track.

Along the vale of Bloomingdale
They pressed our scant array;
They swarmed the crag and jeered our flag
Across the Hollow Way.

Their skirmishers bawled "Hark, away!"
Their buglers, from the wall,
In braggart vaunt and bitter taunt
Brayed out the hunting call!

Oh, sound of shame! It woke a flame
In every sunburned face,
And every soul was hot as coal
To cleanse the foul disgrace.

And some that blenched on Brooklyn Heights
And fled at Turtle Bay
Fair wept for wrath, and thronged my path
And clamored for the fray.

Our General came spurring! --
There rolled a signal drum. --
His eye was bright; he rose his height;
He knew the time had come.

He gave the word to Knowlton
To lead us on once more --
The pick of old Connecticut, --
And Leitch with Weedon's corps

Of proud Virginia Riflemen,
Tall hunters of the deer, --
To round the boastful Briton's flank
And take him in the rear.

We left the dell, we scaled the fell,
And up the crest we sprang,
When swift and sharp along the scarp
A deadly volley rang;

And down went Leitch of Weedon's corps!
Deep hurt, but gallant still;
And down went Knowlton! -- he that bore
The sword of Bunker Hill.

I raised his head. But this he said,
Death-wounded as he lay:
"Lead on the fight! I hold it light
If we but get the day!"

In open rank we struck their flank,
And oh! the fight was hot!
Up came the Hessian Yagers!
Up came the kilted Scot!

Up came the men of Linsingen,
Von Donop's Grenadiers!
But soon we sped the vengeful lead
A-whistling 'bout their ears!

They buckled front to Varnum's brunt;
We crumpled up their right,
And hurling back the crimson wrack
We swept along the height.

The helmets of the Hessians
Are tumbled in the wheat;
The tartan of the Highlander
Shall be his winding-sheet!

A mingled rout, we drove them out
From orchard, field, and glen;
In goodly case it seemed to chase
Our hunters home again!

We flaunted in their faces
The flag they thought to scorn,
And left them with a loud "Hurrah!"
To choke their bugle-horn!

Upon a ledge embattled
Above the Hudson's shore
We dug the grave for Knowlton
And Leitch of Weedon's corps.

And though in plight of War's despite
We yield this island throne,
Upon that ledge we left a pledge
That we shall claim our own!





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