Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BATTLE OF CHARLESTOWN, by HENRY HOWARD BROWNELL



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THE BATTLE OF CHARLESTOWN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fresh palms for the old dominion!
Last Line: There's an end of old john brown!
Subject(s): Abolitionists; Brown, John (1800-1859); Capital Punishment; Slavery; Anti-slavery; Hanging; Executions; Death Penalty; Serfs


FRESH palms for the Old Dominion!
New peers for the valiant Dead!
Never hath showered her sunshine
On a field of doughtier dread --
Heroes in buff three thousand,
And a single scarred gray head!

Fuss, and feathers, and flurry --
Clink, and rattle, and roar --
The old man looks around him
On meadow and mountain hoar;
The place, he remarks, is pleasant,
I had not seen it before.

Form, in your boldest order,
Let the people press no nigher!
Would ye have them hear to his words --
The words that may spread like fire?

'T is a right smart chance to test him
(Here we are at the gallows-tree),
So knot the noose -- pretty tightly --
Bandage his eyes, and we'll see
(For we'll keep him waiting a little),
If he tremble in nerve or knee.

There, in a string, we've got him!
(Shall the music bang and blow?)
The chivalry wheels and marches,
And airs its valor below.

Look hard in the blindfold visage
(He can't look back), and inquire
(He has stood there nearly a quarter),
If he does n't begin to tire?

Not yet! how long will he keep us,
To see if he quail or no?
I reckon it's no use waiting,
And 't is time that we had the show.

For the trouble -- we can't see why --
Seems with us, and not with him,
As he stands 'neath the autumn sky,
So strangely solemn and dim!
But high let our standard flout it!
"Sic Semper" -- the drop comes down --
And (woe to the rogues that doubt it!)
There's an end of old John Brown!






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