Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEATH OF WARREN [JUNE 17, 1775], by EPES SARGENT



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THE DEATH OF WARREN [JUNE 17, 1775], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the war-cry of liberty rang through
Last Line: "'t is sweet, oh, 't is sweet for our country to die!"
Subject(s): American Revolution; Bunker Hill, Battle Of; Warren, Joseph (1741-1775)


WHEN the war-cry of Liberty rang through the land.
To arms sprang our fathers the foe to withstand;
On old Bunker Hill their entrenchments they rear,
When the army is joined by a young volunteer.
"Tempt not death!" cried his friends; but he bade them good-by,
Saying, "Oh! it is sweet for our country to die!"

The tempest of battle now rages and swells,
'Mid the thunder of cannon, the pealing of bells;
And a light, not of battle, illumes yonder spire --
Scene of woe and destruction; -- 't is Charlestown on fire!
The young volunteer heedeth not the sad cry
But murmurs, "'T is sweet for our country to die!"

With trumpets and banners the foe draweth near:
A volley of musketry checks their career!
With the dead and the dying the hill-side is strown,
And the shout through our lines is, "The day is our own!"
"Not yet," cries the young volunteer, "do they fly!
Stand firm! -- it is sweet for our country to die!"

Now our powder is spent, and they rally again; --
"Retreat." says our chief, "since unarmed we remain!"
But the young volunteer lingers yet on the field,
Reluctant to fly, and disdaining to yield.
A shot! Ah! he falls! but his life's latest sigh
Is, "'T is sweet, oh, 't is sweet for our country to die!"

And thus Warren fell! Happy death! noble fall!
To perish for country at Liberty's call!
Should the flag of invasion profane evermore
The blue of our seas or the green of our shore,
May the hearts of our people reecho that cry, --
"'T is sweet, oh, 't is sweet for our country to die!"





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