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

September 12

The Lamentable Ballad of the Bloody Brook

By Edward Everett Hale (1822–1909)

  • A brook about a mile from Deerfield, Mass. It was the scene of an Indian massacre on Sept. 12, 1675.

  • COME listen to the Story of brave Lathrop and his Men.—

    How they fought, how they died,

    When they marched against the Red Skins in the Autumn Days, and then

    How they fell, in their pride,

    By Pocumtuck Side.

    “Who will go to Deerfield Meadows and bring the ripened Grain?”

    Said old Mosely to his men in Array.

    “Take the Wagons and the Horses, and bring it back again;

    But be sure that no Man stray

    All the Day, on the Way.”

    Then the Flower of Essex started, with Lathrop at their head,

    Wise and brave, bold and true.

    He had fought the Pequots long ago, and now to Mosely said,

    “Be there Many, be there Few,

    I will bring the Grain to you.”

    They gathered all the Harvest, and marched back on their Way

    Through the Woods which blazed like Fire.

    No Soldier left the Line of march to wander or to stray,

    Till the Wagons were stalled in the Mire,

    And the Beasts began to tire.

    The Wagons have all forded the Brook as it flows,

    And then the Rear-Guard stays

    To pick the Purple Grapes that are hanging from the Boughs,

    When, crack!—to their Amaze,

    A hundred Fire-locks blaze!

    Brave Lathrop, he lay dying; but as he fell he cried,

    “Each Man to his Tree,” said he,

    “Let no one yield an inch;” and so the Soldier died;

    And not a Man of all can see

    Where the Foe can be.

    And Philip and his Devils pour in their Shot so fast,

    From behind and before,

    That Man after Man is shot down and breathes his last.

    Every Man lies dead in his Gore

    To fight no more,—no more!

    Oh, weep, ye Maids ef Essex, for the Lads who have died,—

    The Flower of Essex they!

    The Bloody Brook still ripples by the black Mountain-side,

    But never shall they come again to see the ocean-tide,

    And never shall the Bridegroom return to his Bride,

    From that dark and cruel Day.—cruel Day!