Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CHARGE BY THE FORD, by THOMAS DUNN ENGLISH



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THE CHARGE BY THE FORD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Eighty and nine with their captain
Last Line: Give them the roll of the drum!
Subject(s): American Civil War; Calvary; United States - History


EIGHTY and nine with their captain
Rode on the enemy's track,
Rode in the gray of the morning:
Nine of the ninety came back.

Slow rose the mist from the river,
Lighter each moment the way:
Careless and tearless and fearless
Galloped they on to the fray.

Singing in tune, how the scabbards
Loud on the stirrup-irons rang,
Clinked as the men rose in saddle,
Fell as they sank with a clang.

What is it moves by the river,
Jaded and weary and weak,
Gray-backs -- a cross on their banner --
Yonder the foe whom they seek.

Silence! They see not, they hear not,
Tarrying there by the marge:
Forward! Draw sabre! Trot! Gallop!
Charge! like a hurricane, charge!

Ah! 't was a man-trap infernal --
Fire like the deep pit of hell!
Volley on volley to meet them,
Mixed with the gray rebel's yell.

Ninety had ridden to battle,
Tracing the enemy's track, --
Ninety had ridden to battle,
Nine of the ninety came back.

Honor the name of the ninety;
Honor the heroes who came
Scatheless from five hundred muskets,
Safe from the lead-bearing flame.

Eighty and one of the troopers
Lie on the field of the slain --
Lie on the red field of honor:
Honor the nine who remain!

Cold are the dead there, and gory,
There where their life-blood was spilt,
Back come the living, each sabre
Red from the point to the hilt.

Give them three cheers and a tiger!
Let the flags wave as they come!
Give them the blare of the trumpet!
Give them the roll of the drum!





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