Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MOLLY MAGUIRE AT MONMOUTH, by WILLIAM COLLINS (1875-)



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MOLLY MAGUIRE AT MONMOUTH, by            
First Line: On the bloody field of monmouth
Last Line: Stands beside her smoking gun.
Subject(s): Monmouth, Battle Of (1778); Patriotism


On the bloody field of Monmouth,
Flashed the guns of Green and Wayne,
Fiercely roared the tide of battle,
Thick the sward was heaped with slain.
Foremost, facing death and danger,
Hessian, horse, and grenadier,
In the vanguard, fiercely fighting
Stood an Irish cannoneer.

Loudly roared his iron cannon,
Mingling ever in the strife,
And beside him, firm and daring
Stood his faithful Irish wife.
Of her bold contempt of danger
Greene and Lee's brigades could tell;
Every one knew "Captain Molly"
And the army loved her well.

Surged the roar of battle round them,
Swiftly flew the iron hail,
Forward dashed a thousand bayonets,
That lone battery to assail,
From the foeman's foremost columns
Swept a furious fusillade
Mowing down the massed battalions,
In the ranks of Greene's brigade.

Faster and faster worked the gunner,
Soiled with powder, blood and dust,
English bayonets shone before him,
Shot and shell around him burst;
Still he fought with reckless daring,
Stood and manned her long and well
Till at last the gallant fellow
Dead, beside his cannon, fell.

With a bitter cry of sorrow
And a dark and angry frown,
Looked that band of gallant patriots
At their gunner stricken down.
"Fall back, comrades, it is folly
Thus to strive against the foe."
"No, not so," cried Irish Molly,
"We can strike another blow."

Quickly leaped she to the cannon,
In her fallen husband's place,
Sponged and rammed it fast and steady,
Fired it in the foeman's face.
Flashed another ringing volley,
Roared another from the gun;
"Boys, hurrah!" cried gallant Molly,
"For the flag of Washington."

Greene's brigade, though torn and shattered,
Slain and bleeding half their men,
When they heard that Irish slogan,
Turned and charged the foe again.
Knox and Wayne and Morgan rally,
To the front they forward wheel,
And before their rushing onset
Clinton's English columns reel.

Still the cannon's voice in anger
Rolled and rattled o'er the plain,
Till there lay in swarms around it
Mangled heaps of Hessians slain.
"Forward! Charge them with the bayonet!"
'Twas the voice of Washington,
And there burst a fiery greeting
From the Irish woman's gun.

Monckton falls; against his columns
Leap the troops of Wayne and Lee,
And before their reeking bayonets
Clinton's red battalions flee.
Morgan's rifles, fiercely flashing,
Thin the foe's retreating ranks;
And behind them, onward dashing
Ogden hovers on their flanks.

Fast they fly, these boasting Britons,
Who in all their glory came,
With their brutal Hessian hirelings
To wipe out our country's name.
Proudly floats the starry banner,
Monmouth's glorious field is won,
And in triumph, Irish Molly
Stands beside her smoking gun.





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