1794.14 - "The annex'd elegy is on a gravestone in the churchyard at Hythe."

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1794.14
The annex'd elegy is on a gravestone in the churchyard at Hythe.
John Gabriel Stedman and "Lord Fortescue"
The Journal of John Gabriel Stedman, 1744-1797, Soldier
and Author
. Ed. Stanbury Thompson (London, 1962), pp. 355-356.

To the memory of Henry Harding, who died May 17th 1794 aged 21, and of Will. Harding, his brother, aged 35, who died on June 20th following. They were both of the parish of Landskey, in the county of Devon, and were at the time of their deaths, soldiers in the N. Devon Militia, encamped near this town.

Who e'er thou art by solemn fancy led,
That wander'st o'er these mansions of the dead,
Here pause awhile, and let this stone relate
In humble strain, two brothers kindred fate
To arms alike they flew, by glory spurr'd,
Soon as their King and country gave the word.
Braving the damps of night, and heats of noon,
They camp'd, they marched, they halted, ah! too soon.
No more the shrill Reveille shall convey
To their cold breathless frame, the dawn of day,
No more at evening's sun, the drums shall beat,
To them the tidings of the sun's retreat.
    To them, far distant from their native fields,
Some hallow'd earth this sanctuary yields.
This tomb contains their dust, still lives their name,
And rises in their comrades hearts, to honest fame
"One brother still remains, to march or stand,
As God shall will, or as his King commands."

N.B. The two last lines wrote in chalk by Lieut.-col. Stedman. The others by Lord Fortescue, colonel of the N. Devon Regiment.


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Published @ RC

September 2004

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