Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SOLDIER, by WILLIAM SMYTH



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THE SOLDIER, by            
First Line: What dreaming drone was ever blest
Last Line: Thy country and thy duty.
Subject(s): Honor; Soldiers; War


WHAT dreaming drone was ever blest
By thinking of the morrow?
To-day be mine—I leave the rest
To all the fools of sorrow:
Give me the mind that mocks at care;
The heart, its own defender;
The spirits that are light as air,
And never beat surrender.

On comes the foe—to arms! to arms!
We meet—'tis death or glory:
'Tis victory in all her charms,
Or fame in Briton's story:
Dear native land, thy fortunes frown,
And ruffians would enslave thee:
Thou land of honour and renown,
Who would not die to save thee?

'Tis you,'tis I, that meets the ball;
And me it better pleases
In battle with the brave to fall,
Than die of cold diseases;
Than drivel on in elbow chair,
With saws and tales unheeded,
A tottering thing of aches and cares,
No longer loved nor needed.

But thou—dark is thy flowing hair,
Thine eye with fire is streaming;
And o'er thy cheek, thy looks, thine air,
Health sits in triumph beaming:
Thou, brother soldier, fill the wine,
Fill high the wine to beauty;
Love, friendship, honour, all are thine,
Thy country and thy duty.





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