Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MARYLAND BATTALION [AUGUST 27, 1776], by JOHN WILLIAMSON PALMER

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MARYLAND BATTALION [AUGUST 27, 1776], by                    
First Line: Spruce macaronis, and pretty to see
Last Line: And fair freedom is singing sweet home in the west.
Subject(s): American Revolution; Brooklyn Heights, Battle Of (1776); Patriotism; United States - Continental Army

SPRUCE Macaronis, and pretty to see,
Tidy and dapper and gallant were we;
Blooded, fine gentlemen, proper and tall,
Bold in a fox-hunt and gay at a ball;
Prancing soldados so martial and bluff,
Billets for bullets, in scarlet and buff --
But our cockades were clasped with a mother's low prayer,
And the sweethearts that braided the sword-knots were fair.

There was grummer of drums humming hoarse in the hills,
And the bugle sang fanfaron down by the mills;
By Flatbush the bagpipes were droning amain,
And keen cracked the rifles in Martense's lane;
For the Hessians were flecking the hedges with red,
And the grenadiers' tramp marked the roll of the dead.

Three to one, flank and rear, flashed the files of St. George,
The fierce gleam of their steel as the glow of a forge.
The brutal boom-boom of their swart cannoneers
Was sweet music compared with the taunt of their cheers --
For the brunt of their onset, our crippled array,
And the light of God's leading gone out in the fray!

Oh, the rout on the left and the tug on the right!
The mad plunge of the charge and the wreck of the flight!
When the cohorts of Grant held stout Stirling at strain,
And the mongrels of Hesse went tearing the slain;
When at Freeke's Mill the flumes and the sluices ran red,
And the dead choked the dyke and the marsh choked the dead!

"O Stirling, good Stirling! how long must we wait?
Shall the shout of your trumpet unleash us too late?
Have you never a dash for brave Mordecai Gist,
With his heart in his throat, and his blade in his fist?
Are we good for no more than to prance in a ball,
When the drums beat the charge and the clarions call?"

Tralara! Tralara! Now praise we the Lord
For the clang of His call and the flash of His sword!
Tralara! Tralara! Now forward to die;
For the banner, hurrah! and for sweet-hearts, good-bye!
"Four hundred wild lads!" Maybe so. I'll be bound
'T will be easy to count us, face up, on the ground.
If we hold the road open, tho' Death take the toll,
We'll be missed on parade when the States call the roll --
When the flags meet in peace and the guns are at rest,
And fair Freedom is singing Sweet Home in the West.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net