Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PARSON ALLEN'S RIDE [AUGUST 15, 1777], by WALLACE BRUCE



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PARSON ALLEN'S RIDE [AUGUST 15, 1777], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The 'catamount tavern' is lively tonight
Last Line: The parson who came in his one-horse chaise.
Subject(s): Allen, Thomas (1743-1810); American Revolution; Bennington, Battle Of (1777); Clergy; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops


THE "Catamount Tavern" is lively to-night,
The boys of Vermont and New Hampshire are here,
Assembled and grouped in the lingering light,
To greet Parson Allen with shout and with cheer.

Over mountain and valley, from Pittsfield green,
Through the driving rain of that August day,
The "Flock" marched on with martial mien,
And the Parson rode in his "one-hoss shay."

"Three cheers for old Berkshire!" the General said,
As the boys of New England drew up face to face,
"Baum bids us a breakfast to-morrow to spread,
And the Parson is here to say us the 'grace.'"

"The lads who are with me have come here to fight,
And we know of no grace," was the Parson's reply,
"Save the name of Jehovah, our country and right,
Which your own Ethan Allen pronounced at Fort Ti."

"To-morrow," said Stark, "there'll be fighting to do,
If you think you can wait for the morning light,
And, Parson, I'll conquer the British with you,
Or Molly Stark sleeps a widow at night."

What the Parson dreamed in that Bennington camp,
Neither Yankee nor Prophet would dare to guess;
A vision, perhaps, of the King David stamp,
With a mixture of Cromwell and good Queen Bess.

But we know the result of that glorious day,
And the victory won ere the night came down;
How Warner charged in the bitter fray,
With Rossiter, Hobart, and old John Brown:

And how in the lull of the three hours' fight,
The Parson harangued the Tory line,
As he stood on a stump, with his musket bright,
And sprinkled his texts with the powder fine: --

The sword of the Lord is our battle-cry,
A refuge sure in the hour of need,
And freedom and faith can never die,
Is article first of the Puritan creed.

"Perhaps the 'occasion' was rather rash,"
He remarked to his comrades after the rout,
"For behind a bush I saw a flash,
But I fired that way and put it out."

And many the sayings, eccentric and queer,
Repeated and sung through the whole country side,
And quoted in Berkshire for many a year,
Of the Pittsfield march and the Parson's ride.

All honor to Stark and his resolute men,
To the Green Mountain Boys all honor and praise,
While with shout and with cheer we welcome again,
The Parson who came in his one-horse chaise.





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