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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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1795.1
The Soldier
Anon
The Cabinet, II (1795), pp. 212-214

Who hath beene a soldier O,
    Who hath foughten glorie?
Who hath thronged with archers bolde,
    Till his lockes were hoarie?

I have beene a soldier O,
    Seekinge ever glorie,
Facinge death with my archers bolde,
    Till my lockes be hoarie.

My bodie is well seam'd with scarrs,
    Though ne'er a limbe be wantinge;
But let me not the braggart seeme,
    True valour is not vauntinge.

Good Lorde, and though thy haires be gray,
    And thy bodie roughe and seamed,
Hath thy greene manhood dedes achieved,
    To make thine age esteemed.

Tygres that doe thirste for blood,
    Through forestes wilde are raginge;
Ah me! that man like tygre gaunte
    With man should warre be waginge.

Grieslie demons sprong from hell,
    Fraught with accursed vengeance,
Lead on grimm discorde through the world,
    And hurle their slaughtering engines.

Townes they sack and realms despoyle,
    Maidens are defloured,
Babes doe bleed and age doth groane
    Contemned and orepowred.

Swaines that fed their several flocke,
    Nor thought of other harminge,
Now foot to foot and hand to hand,
    In breache or scarpe are storminge.

What the angrie surrde did leave,
    Sharpe battel axe, or bowmen,
Fire and wastinge must complete,
    For warre is ever foaming.

Where shall hie th' affrayed dame,
    With infante offspring clinginge?
Not farre off is the fatal storm,
    Eche gale its terrours bringinge.

Tell me now thou gallante soldier,
    Now thy lockes with age be hoarie,
Can'st thou praise thy wilde carriere,
    Can'st thou call thy madnesse glorie?

To upholde some lordlinge proud,
    Or king with curst ambition,
What soule murders hast thou done!
    Sweet Christ, give thee contrition.

Amen, amen, thou reverent priest,
    Thy Counsaile is most holie;
Thy wordes do teache repentante age,
    To curse its manhood's follie.

But doubly curst be kinglie pride,
    Makinge erthe one charnel,
Millions of masses dailie sayde
    Stay not Hell's payees eternal.


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Published @ RC

September 2004