Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Introductory to America
The Old Continentals
Anonymous
 
IN their ragged regimentals
Stood the old Continentals,
      Yielding not;
While the grenadiers were lunging,
And like hailstones fell the plunging        5
      Cannon shot!
      Where the files
      Of the Isles,
From the smoky night encampment,
Bore the banner of the rampant        10
      Unicorn;
And grummer, grummer, grummer,
Rolled the “roll” of the drummer,
      Through the morn.
 
Then with eyes to the front all,        15
And with guns horizontal,
      Stood our sires;
And the balls whistled deadly,
And in flames flashing redly,
      Blazed the fires;        20
      As the swift
      Billows drift,
Drove the dark battle breakers
O’er the green sodded acres
      Of the plain;        25
And louder, louder, louder,
Cracked the black gunpowder,
      All amain!
 
Then like smiths at their forges,
Labored the red St. George’s        30
      Cannoneers.
And the villanous saltpetre
Rung a fierce, discordant metre
      Round our ears;
      Like the roar        35
      On the shore,
Rose the horse-guards’ clangor,
As they rode in roaring anger
      On our flanks;
And higher, higher, higher,        40
Burned the old-fashioned fire
      Through the ranks!
 
Then the old-fashioned colonel
Galloped through the white infernal
      Powder cloud,        45
And his broad sword was swinging,
And his brazen throat was ringing
      Trumpet loud!
      And the blue
      Bullets flew,        50
And the trooper jackets redden
At the touch of the leaden
      Rifle’s breath!
And rounder, rounder, rounder,
Roared the iron six-pounder,        55
      Hurling death!
 
 
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