1805.4 - "The Muffled Drum"

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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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1805.4
The Muffled Drum
John Mayne [1]
The European Magazine, XLVIII (July 1805), p. 51
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXV (July 1805), p. 656
The Monthly Mirror, XX (August 1805), p. 126
The Morning Chronicle (August 17, 1805)

Ah me! how sorrowful and slow,
    With arms revers'd, the soldiers come—
Dirge-sounding trumpets, full of woe,
    And, sad to hear, the Muffled Drum!

Advancing to the House of Pray'r,
    Still sadder flows the dolesome strain;
Ev'n Industry forgets her care,
    And joins the melancholy train!

O! after all the toils of war,
    How blest the brave man lays him down!
His bier is a triumphal car—
    His grave is—glory and renown!

What tho' nor friends nor kindred dear,
    To grace his obsequies, attend?
His comrades are his brothers here,
    And ev'ry hero is his friend!

See Love and Truth, all woe begone;
    And beauty, drooping in the crowd—
Their thoughts intent on him alone
    Who sleeps for ever in his shroud!

Again, the trumpet slowly sounds
    The Soldier's last Funeral Hymn:—
Again the muffled drum rebounds,
    And ev'ry eye with grief is dim!

The gen'rous steed, which late he rode,
    Seems, too, its master to deplore;
And follows to his last abode
    The warrior—who returns no more!

For him, far hence, a mother sighs,
    And fancies comforts yet to come!
He'll never bless her longing eyes—
    She'll only hear the Muffled Drum!

July, 1805.


Notes

1. A Scottish poet, Mayne began his career as a printer in the office of the Dumfries Journal. He went to London in 1787 where he became proprietor and joint editor of TheStar. His long poem, Siller Gun, expanded over a period 1777-1836, was considered by Walter Scott to be superior to anything of Ferguson and close to Burns (Lady of the Lake, v. 20.).

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