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Calls out in words of jeering, just as if they all were

hearing, And his wooden leg thumps fiercely on the dusty bel

fry floor :

65

“Oh! fire away, ye villains, and earn King George's

shillin's, But ye 'll waste a ton of powder afore a rebel 'falls; You may bang the dirt and welcome, they're as safe

as Dan'l Malcolm Ten foot beneath the gravestone that you've splin

tered with your balls !”

70

In the hush of expectation, in the awe and trepidation Of the dread approaching moment, we are well-nigh

breathless all; Though the rotten bars are failing on the rickety bel

fry railing, We are crowding up against them like the waves

against a wall.

67. Dr. Holmes ma the following note to this line : “ The following epitaph is still to be read on a tall gravestone, standing as yet undisturbed among the transplanted monuments of the dead in Copp's Hill Burial Ground, one of the three city [Boston] cemeteries which have been desecrated and ruined within my own remembrance :

“ Here lies buried in a

Stone Grave 10 feet deep
Capt. DANIEL MALCOLM Mercht

Who departed this Life

October 23, 1769,

Aged 44 years,
A true son of Liberty,
A Friend to the Publick,
An Enemy to oppression,

And one of the foremost
In opposing the Revenue Acts

On America."

Just a glimpse (the air is clearer), they are nearer,

nearer, nearer, When a flash - a curling smoke-wreath - then a

crasii the steeple shakes — The deadly truce is ended; the tempest's shroud is

rended; Like a morning mist it gathered, like a thunder-cloud

it breaks!

75

O the sight our eyes discover as the blue-black smoke

blows over! The red-coats stretched in windrows as a mower rakes

his hay; Here a scarlet heap is lying, there a headlong crowd

is flying Like a billow that has broken and is shivered into

spray.

80

Then we cried, “ The troops are routed! they are

beat -- it can't be doubted ! God be thanked, the fight is over!” – Ah! the grim

old soldier's smile! “ Tell us, tell us why you look so ?” (we could hardly

speak we shook so),“Are they beaten ? Are they beaten ? ARE they

beaten ?66 Wait a while.”

85

O the trembling and the terror! for too soon we saw

our error: They are baffled, not defeated; we have driven them

back in vain ; And the columns that were scattered, round the colors

that were tattered, Toward the sullen silent fortress turn their belted

breasts again.

All at once, as we were gazing, lo ! the roofs of Charles

town blazing! They have fired the harmless village ; in an hour it

will be down! The Lord in Heaven confound them, rain his fire and

brimstone round them, The robbing, murdering red-coats, that would burn a

peaceful town!

90

They are marching, stern and solemn; we can see

each massive column As they near the naked earth-mound with the slanting

walls so steep. Have our soldiers got faint-hearted, and in noiseless

haste departed ? Are they panic-struck and helpless? Are they palsied

or asleep?

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Now! the walls they ’re almost under ! scarce a rod

the foes asunder! Not a firelock flashed against them! up the earthwork

they will swarm ! But the words have scarce been spoken when the

ominous calm is broken, And a bellowing crash has emptied all the vengeance

of the storm!

100

So again, with murderous slaughter, pelted backwards

to the water, Fly Pigot's running beroes and the frightened braves

of Howe;

102. The generals on the British sido were Howe, Clinton, and Pigoto

And we shout, “ At last they ’re done for, it's their

barges they have run for : They are beaten, beaten, beaten; and the battle 's over

now!”

105

And we looked, poor timid creatures, on the rough

old soldier's features, Our lips afraid to question, but he knew what we

would ask : “ Not sure,” he said ; " keep quiet, once more, I

guess, they 'll try it Here's damnation to the cut-throats!” then he

handed me his flask,

110

Saying, “Gal, you 're looking shaky; have a drop of

Old Jamaiky; I'm afeard there 'll be more trouble afore the job is

done;" So I took one scorching swallow; dreadful faint I felt

and hollow, Standing there from early morning when the firing

was begun.

All through those hours of trial I had watched a calm

clock dial, As the hands kept creeping, creeping, - they were

creeping round to four, When the old man said, “ They ’re forming with their

bagonets fixed for storming: It's the death-grip that's a coming, - they will try

the works once more."

115

With brazen trumpets blaring, the flames behind them

glaring,

The deadly wall before them, in close array they

come ; Still onward, upward toiling, like a dragon's fold un

coiling, Like the rattlesnake's shrill warning the reverberating

drum!

120

Over heaps all torn and gory — shall I tell the fearful

story, How they surged above the breastwork, as a sea

breaks over a deck; How, driven, yet scarce defeated, our worn-out men

retreated, With their powder-horns all emptied, like the swim.

mers from a wreck ?

125

It has all been told and painted; as for me, they say

I fainted, And the wooden-legged old Corporal stumped with

me down the stair: When I woke from dreams affrighted the evening

lamps were lighted, On the floor a youth was lying ; his bleeding breast

was bare.

And I heard through all the flurry, “Send for WAB

REN! hurry! hurry! Tell him here's a soldier bleeding, and he 'll come

and dress his wound!” Ah, we knew not till the morrow told its tale of death

130

and sorrow,

129. Dr. Joseph Warren, of equal note at the time as a medical man and a patriot. He was a volunteer in the battle, and fell there, the most serious loss on the American side. See pp. 328, 329.

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