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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Guy Humphrey McMaster (1829–1887)

The Old Continentals

(Carmen Bellicosum)

IN their ragged regimentals

Stood the old Continentals,

Yielding not,

When the grenadiers were lunging,

And like hail fell the plunging

Cannon shot;

When the files

Of the isles

From the smoky night encampment bore the banner of the rampant


And grummer, grummer, grummer, rolled the roll of the drummer

Through the morn!

But with eyes to the front all,

And with guns horizontal,

Stood our sires:

And the balls whistled deadly,

And in streams flashing redly

Blazed the fires;

As the swift

Billows’ drift

Drove the dark battle breakers o’er the green sodded acres

Of the plain,

And louder, louder, louder, cracked the black gunpowder,

Cracking amain!

Now like smiths at their forges

Labored red St. George’s


And the “villainous saltpetre”

Rang a fierce discordant metre

Round their ears;

Like the roar

On a shore,

Rose the Horse Guards’ clangor, as they rode in roaring anger

On our flanks:

Then higher, higher, higher, burned the old-fashioned fire

Through the ranks!

And the old-fashioned colonel

Galloped through the white infernal

Powder cloud;

His broadsword was swinging

And his brazen throat was ringing,

Trumpet loud:

Then the blue

Bullets flew,

And the trooper jackets reddened at the touch of the leaden

Rifle breath,

And rounder, rounder, rounder, roared the iron six-pounder,

Hurling death!