1807.7 - "The Soldier's Embarkation"

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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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1807.7
The Soldier's Embarkation
"T. J. J."
The Monthly Mirror, II n.s. (August, 1807), pp. 138-139

                         1.

O, blame me not—fair Emily,
    That I've a soul awake to duty,
Which bids me plough the boist'rous sea,
     And leave awhile the arms of beauty.
'Tis England's mandate I obey;
    'Tis honour leads where cannons rattle;
'Tis valour beckons me away;
    'Tis glory calls her sons to battle.

                         2.

Then dry those eyes, my only dear,
    Dispel thy fears about the morrow,
Nor wound thy faithful William's ear
    With incoherent tales of sorrow.
The sun shines bright, the fields look green,
    The village bells are cheerly ringing:
The breeze is fresh, the sky serene,
    And merrily the lark is singing.

                         3.

Then spare those sighs, Oh, dry that tear,
    Divest thy heart of all its sadness;
Let Nature's voice thy bosom cheer,
    And give thy soul to joy and gladness.
But—when around thy snow-roof'd cot
    The storm at night is darkly scowling,
Then think thee on thy lover's lot,
    When wintry winds are hoarsely howling.

                         4.

Then think thee on the foaming sea,
    The shatter'd bark on quicksands driven;
Of him, who lives alone for thee,
    And breathe for him a pray'r to heaven.
For tho' he struggle with the wave,
    And all his cherish'd hopes neglect him,
There is an arm outstretch'd to save,
    A friend above, who will protect him.

                         5.

Hark! Hark! I hear the hollow drum,
    E'en now, with double beat resounding;
My joyful comrades bid me come,
    Their hearts with martial ardour bounding.
Their burnish'd arms are gleaming wide,
    The banner in the breeze is dancing;
And now towards the vessel's side
    Behold the gallant band advancing.

                         6.

Their kerchiefs waving in the wind,
    They view the billows' rocking motion,
And leave like me their loves behind,
    To share the perils of the ocean.
Then Oh! dear girl, before we part,
    Receive, (but ah! I would not fret thee)
The pledges of a bleeding heart,
    Which, till it breaks, will ne'er forget thee.

                         7.

But, when the battle's bray is o'er,
    And I have won a wreath of glory,
I'll tread again old England's shore,
    My name inscrib'd in British story.
And wilt thou then—sweet Emily,
    Blame me that I have done my duty,
And plough'd unfear'd the bois'rous sea,
    To rest me in the arms of beauty?

July, 1807.


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Published @ RC

September 2004