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

June 17

Warren’s Address

By John Pierpont (1785–1866)

  • This was the second battle of the Revolution to take place upon New England soil. It was fought in Charlestown, Mass., on June 17, 1775, and resulted in the Americans being obliged to retire owing to their ammunition giving out. The British forces outnumbered the American but their loss was far greater, though the Americans lost their leader, Joseph Warren.

  • STAND! the ground’s your own, my braves!

    Will ye give it up in slaves?

    Will ye look for greener graves?

    Hope ye mercy still?

    What’s the mercy despots feel?

    Hear it in that battle peal!

    Read it on yon bristling steel!

    Ask it,—ye who will.

    Fear ye foes who kill for hire?

    Will ye to your homes retire?

    Look behind you!—they’re afire!

    And, before you, see

    Who have done it! From the vale

    On them come!—and will ye quail?

    Leaden rain and iron hail

    Let their welcome be!

    In the God of battles trust!

    Die we may,—and die we must:

    But, oh where can dust to dust

    Be consign’d so well,

    As where Heaven its dews shall shed

    On the martyr’d patriot’s bed,

    And the rocks shall raise their head

    Of his deeds to tell?