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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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1796.8
Pro Patria Mori
Anon
The Monthly Magazine, I (May 1796), p. 313
The Scots Magazine, LVIII (October 1796), p. 703

From the German of Burger.

For virtue, freedom, human rights, to fall,
    Beseems the brave: it is a Saviour's death.
Of heroes only the most pure of all
    Thus with their heart's blood tinge the
                      battle-heath.

And this proud death is seemliest in the man
    Who for a kindred race, a country bleeds:
Three hundred Spartans form the shining van
    Of those, whom fame in this high triumph
                      leads.

Great is the death for a good prince incurr'd;
    Who wields the sceptre with benignant hand:
Well may for him the noble bare his sword,
    Falling he earns the blessings of a land.

Death for friend, parent, child, or her we love,
    If not so great, is beauteous to behold:
This the fine tumults of the heart approve:
    It is the walk to death unbought of gold.

But for mere majesty to meet a wound—
    Who holds that great or glorious, he mistakes:
That is the fury of the pamper'd hound,
    Which envy, anger, or the whip, awakes.

And for a tyrant's sake to seek a jaunt
    To hell—'s a death which only hell enjoys:
Where such a hero falls—the gibbet plant,
    A murderer's trophy, and a plunderer's prize.


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Published @ RC

September 2004