#English # Irish # Scottish # Welsh #Poetry
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Excerpt THE CHRONICLE OF THE DRUM. PART I. At Paris, hard by the Maine barriers,Whoever will choose to repair,Midst a dozen of wooden-legged warriorsMay haply fall in with old Pierre.On the sunshiny bench of a tavernHe sits and he prates of old wars,And moistens his pipe of tobaccoWith a drink that is named after Mars.The beer makes his tongue run the quicker,And as long as his tap never fails,Thus over his favorite liquorOld Peter will tell his old tales.Says he, "In my life's ninety summersStrange changes and chances I've seen,—So here's to all gentlemen drummersThat ever have thump'd on a skin."Brought up in the art militaryFor four generations we are;My ancestors drumm'd for King Harry,The Huguenot lad of Navarre.And as each man in life has his stationAccording as Fortune may fix,While Condé was waving the baton,My grandsire was trolling the sticks."Ah! those were the days for commanders!What glories my grandfather won,Ere bigots, and lackeys, and pandersThe fortunes of France had undone!In Germany, Flanders, and Holland,—What foeman resisted us then?No; my grandsire was ever victorious,My grandsire and Monsieur Turenne."He died: and our noble battalionsThe jade fickle Fortune forsook;And at Blenheim, in spite of our valiance,The victory lay with Malbrook.The news it was brought to King Louis;Corbleu! how his Majesty sworeWhen he heard they had taken my grandsire:And twelve thousand gentlemen more."At Namur, Ramillies, and MalplaquetWere we posted, on plain or in trench:Malbrook only need to attack itAnd away from him scamper'd we French.Cheer up! 'tis no use to be glum, boys,—'Tis written, since fighting begun,That sometimes we fight and we conquer,And sometimes we fight and we run."To fight and to run was our fate:Our fortune and fame had departed.And so perish'd Louis the Great,—Old, lonely, and half broken-hearted.His coffin they pelted with mud,His body they tried to lay hands on;And so having buried King LouisThey loyally served his great-grandson."God save the beloved King Louis!(For so he was nicknamed by some,)And now came my father to do hisKing's orders and beat on the drum.My grandsire was dead, but his bonesMust have shaken I'm certain for joy,To hear daddy drumming the EnglishFrom the meadows of famed Fontenoy."So well did he drum in that battleThat the enemy show'd us their backs;Corbleu! it was pleasant to rattleThe sticks and to follow old Saxe!We next had Soubise as a leader,And as luck hath its changes and fits,At Rossbach, in spite of dad's drumming,'Tis said we were beaten by Fritz."And now daddy cross'd the Atlantic,To drum for Montcalm and his men;Morbleu! but it makes a man franticTo think we were beaten again!My daddy he cross'd the wide ocean,My mother brought me on her neck,And we came in the year fifty-sevenTo guard the good town of Quebec."In the year fifty-nine came the Britons,—Full well I remember the day,—They knocked at our gates for admittance,Their vessels were moor'd in our bay....
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