James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 21

Prince Eugene

By Anonymous

  • Translated by John Hughes
  • Belgrade is a town in Hungary which has sustained many sieges. Prince Eugene gained a brilliant victory there over the Turks on August 21, 1717.

  • PRINCE EUGENE, our noble leader,

    Made a vow in death to bleed, or

    Win the emperor back Belgrade:

    “Launch pontoons, let all be ready

    To bear our ordnance safe and steady

    Over the Danube”—thus he said.

    There was mustering on the border

    When our bridge in marching order

    Breasted first the roaring stream;

    Then at Semlin, vengeance breathing,

    We encamped to scourge the heathen

    Back to Mahound, and fame redeem.

    ’Twas on August one-and-twenty,

    Scouts and glorious tidings plenty

    Galloped in, through storm and rain;

    Turks, they swore, three hundred thousand

    Marched to give our prince a rouse, and

    Dared us forth to battle-plain.

    Then at Prince Eugene’s headquarters

    Met our fine old fighting Tartars

    Generals and field marshals all;

    Every point of war debated,

    Each in his turn the signal waited,

    Forth to march and on to fall.

    For the onslaught all were eager

    When the word sped round our leaguer:

    “Soon as the clock chimes twelve to-night

    Then, hold hearts, sound boot and saddle,

    Stand to your arms, and on to battle,

    Every one that has hands to fight!”

    Musqueteers, horse, yagers, forming,

    Sword in hand each bosom warming,

    Still as death we all advance;

    Each prepared, come blows or booty,

    German-like to do our duty,

    Joining hands in the gallant dance.

    Our cannoneers, those tough old heroes,

    Struck a lusty peal to cheer us,

    Firing ordnance great and small;

    Right and left our cannon thundered,

    Till the pagans quaked, and wondered,

    And by platoons began to fall.

    On the right, like a lion angered,

    Bold Eugene cheered on the vanguard;

    Ludovic spurred up and down,

    Crying, “On, boys; every hand to’t;

    Brother Germans nobly stand to’t;

    Charge them home, for our old renown!”

    Gallant prince! he spoke no more; he

    Fell in early youth and glory,

    Struck from his horse by some curst ball:

    Great Eugene long sorrowed o’er him,

    For a brother’s love he bore him;

    Every soldier mourned his fall.

    In Waradin we laid his ashes;

    Cannon peals and musket flashes

    O’er his grave due honors paid:

    Then, the old black eagle flying,

    All the pagan powers defying,

    On we marched and stormed Belgrade.