Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  The Soldier-Boy

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Maginn 1793–1842

The Soldier-Boy


I GIVE my soldier-boy a blade,

In fair Damascus fashion’d well;

Who first the glittering falchion sway’d,

Who first beneath its fury fell,

I know not; but I hope to know

That for no mean or hireling trade,

To guard no feeling base or low,

I give my soldier-boy a blade.

Cool, calm, and clear, the lucid flood

In which its tempering work was done:

As calm, as clear, as cool of mood,

Be thou whene’er it sees the sun.

For country’s claim, at honor’s call,

For outraged friend, insulted maid,

At mercy’s voice to bid it fall,

I give my soldier-boy a blade.

The eye which mark’d its peerless edge,

The hand that weigh’d its balanced poise,

Anvil and pincers, forge and wedge,

Are gone with all their flame and noise—

And still the gleaming sword remains;

So, when in dust I low am laid,

Remember by these heart-felt strains,

I gave my soldier-boy a blade.