Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
465. The Fight at the San Jacinto
 
By John Williamson Palmer
 
 
“NOW for a brisk and cheerful fight!”
  Said Harman, big and droll,
As he coaxed his flint and steel for a light,
  And puffed at his cold clay bowl;
“For we are a skulking lot,” says he,        5
  “Of land-thieves hereabout,
And these bold señores, two to one,
  Have come to smoke us out.”
 
Santa Anna and Castillon,
  Almonte brave and gay,        10
Portilla red from Goliad,
  And Cos with his smart array.
Dulces and cigaritos,
  And the light guitar, ting-tum!
Sant’ Anna courts siesta,        15
  And Sam Houston taps his drum.
 
The buck stands still in the timber—
  “Is it patter of nuts that fall?”
The foal of the wild mare whinnies—
  Did he hear the Comanche call?        20
In the brake by the crawling bayou
  The slinking she-wolves howl;
And the mustang’s snort in the river sedge
  Has startled the paddling fowl.
 
A soft, low tap, and a muffled tap,        25
  And a roll not loud nor long—
We would not break Sant’ Anna’s nap,
  Nor spoil Almonte’s song.
Saddles and knives and rifles!
  Lord! but the men were glad        30
When Deaf Smith muttered “Alamo!”
  And Karnes hissed “Goliad!”
 
The drummer tucked his sticks in his belt,
  And the fifer gripped his gun.
Oh, for one free, wild, Texan yell,        35
  As we took the slope in a run!
But never a shout nor a shot we spent,
  Nor an oath nor a prayer, that day,
Till we faced the bravos, eye to eye,
  And then we blazed away.        40
 
Then we knew the rapture of Ben Milam,
  And the glory that Travis made,
With Bowie’s lunge, and Crockett’s shot,
  And Fannin’s dancing blade;
And the heart of the fighter, bounding free        45
  In his joy so hot and mad—
When Millard charged for Alamo,
  Lamar for Goliad.
 
Deaf Smith rode straight, with reeking spur,
  Into the shock and rout:        50
“I ’ve hacked and burned the bayou bridge;
  There ’s no sneak’s back-way out!”
Muzzle or butt for Goliad,
  Pistol and blade and fist!
Oh, for the knife that never glanced,        55
  And the gun that never missed!
 
Dulces and cigaritos,
  Song and the mandolin!
That gory swamp is a gruesome grove
  To dance fandangoes in.        60
We bridged the bog with the sprawling herd
  That fell in that frantic rout;
We slew and slew till the sun set red,
  And the Texan star flashed out.
 

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