Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Battle of La Prairie
 
William Douw Schuyler-Lighthall (b. 1857)
 
 
1691
 
 
THAT was a brave old epoch,
  Our age of chivalry,
When the Briton met the French-man
  At the fight of La Prairie;
And the manhood of New England,        5
  And the Netherlanders true
And Mohawks sworn, gave battle
  To the Bourbon’s lilied blue.
 
That was a brave old governor
  Who gathered his array,        10
And stood to meet, he knew not what,
  On that alarming day.
Eight hundred, amid rumors vast
  That filled the wild wood’s gloom,
With all New England’s flower of youth,        15
  Fierce for New France’s doom.
 
And the brave old half five hundred!
  Theirs should in truth be fame;
Borne down the savage Richelieu,
  On what emprise they came!        20
Your hearts are great enough, O few:
  Only your numbers fail,—
New France asks more for conquerors
  All glorious though your tale.
 
It was a brave old battle        25
  That surged around the fort,
When D’Hosta fell in charging,
  And ’t was deadly strife and short;
When in the very quarters
  They contested face and hand,        30
And many a goodly fellow
  Crimsoned yon La Prairie sand.
 
And those were brave old orders
  The colonel gave to meet
That forest force with trees entrenched        35
  Opposing the retreat:
“De Calliére’s strength’s behind us,
  And in front your Richelieu;
We must go straightforth at them;
  There is nothing else to do.”        40
 
And then the brave old story comes,
  Of Schuyler and Valrennes,
When “Fight” the British colonel called,
  Encouraging his men,
“For the Protestant Religion        45
  And the honor of our King!”—
“Sir, I am here to answer you!”
  Valrennes cried, forthstepping.
 
Were those not brave old races?
  Well, here they still abide;        50
And yours is one or other,
  And the second’s at your side;
So when you hear your brother say,
  “Some loyal deed I ’ll do,”
Like old Valrennes, be ready with        55
  “I ’m here to answer you!”
 

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