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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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Deeds of Glory
“Mr. J. Irving”
The Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry, VIII (1814), pp. 140-141

Tell me not of deeds of glory,
    Ye who seek a laurell'd brow,
Ye who seek to live in story,
    But as giving mankind woe.

Is the thundering cannon dealing
    Death and ruin all around,
Music to a heart of feeling?
    Or is joy in murder's sound?

See the storm of battle raving,
    Mark each banner high and low,
Victory now her standard waving,
    In proud triumph o'er the foe.

Hear the trump of joy and gladness,
    Pealing through the vaulted air,
Mingling with the cries of sadness,
    And the groans of deep despair.

See an aged mother bending
    O'er her dear, her slaughter'd son—
Mark the bitter tear descending—
    Hear her agonizing groan.

See a widow senseless falling
    On her bleeding husband's breast;
Hear her now, in horror, calling
    On the sword to give her rest.

See her babes in stupor standing,
    And, in Nature's artless tongue,
Still with tears of her demanding,
    Why their father sleeps so long?

See the maid, in wildest sorrow,
    Seeking, 'mong the ghastly slain,
Him who promis'd that the morrow
    Bound them in the nuptial chain.

See her wildly bending o'er him,
    Not a tear her grief proclaim—
Madness only can deplore him;
    Madness call upon his name.

Talk not then of deeds of glory,
    Ye who seek a laurell'd brow,—
Ye who seek to live in story,
    But as giving mankind woe.

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Original publication date


Published @ RC

September 2004