Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Bunker’s Hill
By John Neal (1793–1876)
 
NO shout disturb’d the night,
Before that fearful fight,
There was no boasting high,
No marshalling of men,
Who ne’er might meet again—        5
No cup was fill’d and quaff’d to victory!
    No plumes were there,
    No banners fair,
  No trumpet breath’d around;
  Nor the drum’s startling sound        10
    Broke on the midnight air.
There was a “still small voice,”
  As of one from out the grave
  Who call’d upon the brave
To perish and rejoice!        15
There was a sound of wo,
  Of heartful agony—
 
For those who were to go
  That day to do and die;
Then fell the widow’s tear,        20
  Upon her only son—
  Her sole surviving one,
Who ere the day was done,
Might be upon the bier;
Then was the thick-drawn breath,        25
  And the parent’s parting sigh,
  And the husband’s startling cry,
And the lover’s moan swept by,
And all was still as death.
 
There was no proud array!        30
No gorgeous show of military power,
  That lasteth for an hour
And then hath passed away
  On that eventful day
No monarch gave the word,        35
  No hirelings obey;
No trumpet’s sound was heard,
  Nor the steed’s startling neigh!
But commanders gather’d there,
Stout of heart and strong of limb,        40
  Then heard the chanted hymn,
And the lowly mutter’d prayer,
  And the foeman’s sullen gun;
  As slowly he came on,
And the loud peal’d “hurrah!”        45
 
Then the strongest knees did fall,
And the ruddy cheeks grew pale,
And the balmy summer gale,
  A chill o’er many cast,
  Who had braved the winter’s blast;        50
There was a distant roar,
  There was a nearer crash,
There was a shout along the shore,
  Along the hill a flash,
Then came the foeman’s cry,        55
  And then the foeman’s gun;
A single yell of agony,
  A groan and all was done;
  A battle fought, a victory won!
 
 
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