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C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The next dreadful thing to a battle lost is a battle won.


Troops of heroes undistinguished die.


As well the soldier dieth who standeth still, as he that gives the bravest onset.

Sir P. Sidney.

  • When Greeks join’d Greeks, then was the tug of war;
  • The labor’d battle sweat, and conquest bled.
  • Lee.

  • Hand to hand and foot to foot,
  • Nothing there save death, was mute;
  • Stroke and thrust, and flash, and cry
  • For quarter or for victory,
  • Mingle there with the volleying thunder.
  • Byron.

    It was a goodly sight to see the embattled pomp, as with the step of stateliness the barbed steeds came on, to see the pennons rolling their long waves before the gale, and banners, broad and bright, tossing their blazonry.


  • That awful pause, dividing life from death
  • Struck for an instant on the hearts of men,
  • Thousands of whom were drawing their last breath!
  • A moment all will be life again.
  • ****one moment more,
  • The death-cry drowning in the battle’s roar.
  • Byron.

    The cannons have their bowels full of wrath; and ready mounted are they to spit forth their iron indignation against your walls.


    The fame of a battlefield grows with its years; Napoleon storming the Bridge of Lodi, and Wellington surveying the towers of Salamanca, affect us with fainter emotions than Brutus reading in his tent at Philippi, or Richard bearing down with the English chivalry upon the white armies of Saladin.


  • This day hath made
  • Much work for tears in many a English mother,
  • Whose sons lie scatter’d on the bleeding ground;
  • Many a widow’s husband grovelling lies,
  • Coldly embracing the discolor’d earth.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Then after length of time, the labouring swains,
  • Who turn the turfs of those unhappy plains,
  • Shall rusty piles from the plough’d furrows take,
  • And over empty helmets pass the rake;
  • Amazed at antique titles on the stones,
  • And mighty relics of gigantic bones.
  • Dryden.

  • Then more fierce
  • The conflict grew; the din of arms—the yell
  • Of savage rage—the shriek of agony—
  • The groan of death, commingled in one sound
  • Of undistinguish’d horrors; while the sun,
  • Retiring slow beneath the plain’s far verge,
  • Shed o’er the quiet hills his fading light.
  • Southey.

  • Hark! the death-denouncing trumpet sounds
  • The fatal charge, and shouts proclaim the onset;
  • Destruction rushes dreadful to the field,
  • And bathes itself in blood; havoc let loose
  • Now undistinguish’d rages all around,
  • While ruin, seated on her dreary throne,
  • Sees the plain strewed with subjects truly hers,
  • Breathless and cold.
  • Havard.

  • Therewith they gan, both furious and fell,
  • To thunder blowes, and fiercely to assaile
  • Each other, bent his enemy to quell,
  • That with their force they perst both plate and maile,
  • And made wide furrows in their fleshes fraile,
  • That it would pity any living eie,
  • Large floods of blood adowne their sides did raile,
  • But floods of blood could not them satisfie:
  • Both hongred after death; both chose to win or die.
  • Spenser.

  • From camp to camp, through the foul womb of night,
  • The hum of either army stilly sounds,
  • That the fixed sentinels almost receive
  • The secret whispers of each other’s watch;
  • Fire answers fire; and through their paly flames,
  • Each battle sees the other’s umbered face:
  • Steed threatens steed in high and boastful neighs,
  • Piercing the night’s dull ear; and from the tents,
  • The armourers accomplishing the knights,
  • With busy hammers closing rivets up,
  • Give dreadful note of preparation.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Here you might see
  • Barons and peasants on th’ embattled field,
  • Slain or half dead, in one huge ghastly heap
  • Promiscuously amass’d. With dismal groans,
  • And ejaculation, in the pangs of death,
  • Some call for aid, neglected; some o’erturn’d
  • In the fierce shock lie gasping, and expire,
  • Trampled by fiery coursers: Horror thus,
  • And wild uproar, and desolation reign’d
  • Unrespited.
  • Philips.