Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH, by R. H.

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THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH, by            
First Line: Whilst in peaceful quarters lying
Last Line: Welcome mirth, and fear farewell.
Subject(s): American Revolution; Monmouth, Battle Of (1778)

WHILST in peaceful quarters lying
We indulge the glass till late,
Far remote the thought of dying,
Hear, my friends, the soldier's fate:
From the summer's sun hot beaming,
Where you dust e'en clouds the skies,
To the plains where heroes bleeding,
Shouts and dying groans arise,
Halt! halt! halt! form every rank here;
Mark you dust that climbs the sky,
To the front close up the long rear,
See! the enemy is nigh;
Platoons march at proper distance,
Cover close each rank and file,
They will make a bold resistance,
Here, my lads, is gallant toil.

Now all you from downy slumber
Roused to the soft joys of love,
Waked to pleasures without number,
Peace and ease your bosoms prove:
Round us roars Bellona's thunder,
Ah! how close the iron storm,
O'er the field wild stalks pale wonder,
Pass the word there, form, lads, form.
To the left display that column,
Front, halt, dress, be bold and brave;
Mark in air you fiery volume,
Who'd refuse a glorious grave;
Ope your boxes, quick, be ready,
See! our light-bobs gain the hill;
Courage, boys, be firm and steady,
Hence each care, each fear lie still.

Now the dismal cannon roaring
Speaks loud terror to the soul,
Grape shot wing'd with death fast pouring,
Ether rings from pole to pole;
See, the smoke, how black and dreary,
Clouds sulphureous hide the sky,
Wounded, bloody, fainting, weary,
How their groans ascend on high!
Firm, my lads; who breaks the line thus!
Oh! can brave men ever yield,
Glorious danger now combines us,
None but cowards quit the field.
To the rear each gun dismounted;
Close the breach, and brisk advance
All your former acts recounted
This day's merit shall enhance.

Now half-choked with dust and powder,
Fiercely throbs each bursting vein:
Hark! the din of arms grows louder,
Ah! what heaps of heroes slain!
See, from flank to flank wide flashing,
How each volley rends the gloom;
Hear the trumpet; ah! what clashing,
Man and horse now meet their doom;
Bravely done! each gallant soldier
Well sustained this heavy fire;
Alexander ne'er was bolder;
Now by regiments retire.
See, our second line moves on us,
Ope your columns, give them way,
Heaven perhaps may smile upon us,
These may yet regain the day.

Now our second line engaging,
Charging close, spreads carnage round,
Fierce revenge and fury raging,
Angry heroes bite the ground.
The souls of brave men here expiring
Call for vengeance e'en in death,
Frowning still, the dead, the dying,
Threaten with their latest breath.
To the left obliquely flying,
Oh! be ready, level well,
Who could think of e'er retiring,
See, my lads, those volleys tell.
Ah! by heavens, our dragoons flying,
How the squadrons fill the plain!
Check them, boys, ye fear not dying,
Sell your lives, nor fall in vain.

Now our left flank they are turning;
Carnage is but just begun;
Desperate now, 't is useless mourning,
Farewell, friends, adieu the sun!
Fix'd to die, we scorn retreating,
To the shock our breasts oppose,
Hark! the shout, the signal beating,
See, with bayonets they close:
Front rank charge! the rear make ready!
Forward, march -- reserve your fire!
Now present, fire brisk, be steady,
March, march, see their lines retire!
On the left, our light troops dashing,
Now our dragoons charge the rear,
Shout! huzza! what glorious slashing,
They run, they run, hence banish fear!

Now the toil and danger 's over,
Dress alike the wounded brave,
Hope again inspires the lover,
Old and young forget the grave;
Seize the canteen, poise it higher,
Rest to each brave soul that fell!
Death for this is ne'er the nigher,
Welcome mirth, and fear farewell.

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