Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Surprise
NOW, shroud thy banners, Freedom,
  And fire the minute gun,
For the red men of the forest
  A hellish deed have done.
Not on the field of battle,        5
  Where a soldier loves to die,
Have thy young martyrs fallen,
  For whom the brave will sigh.
O, deed of shame inhuman!
  O, deed of blood and woe—        10
A hundred bold and gallant men
  The tomahawk laid low.
Flush’d with high hopes they trail
  Through the shady palmettos,
When sudden flash’d the savage knife—        15
  The war-whoop wild arose.
From out the oaken hammocks
  A thousand Indians sprang,
As with their rifles’ thundering crash
  The forest arches rang.        20
Still, ’gainst o’erpowering numbers,
  The white men battled on:
And many a savage roll’d in death
  On that eventful morn.
At last, the brave have perish’d,—        25
  Their dirge, the war-whoop wild!
For whom will stream deep sorrow’s tear,
  From maiden, wife, and child.
And oft will memory wander,
  And shuddering give a prayer,        30
For the brave who fell in Florida,
  And weep, no aid was there.
No hand to give them burial,
  To close their dying eyes;—
God take those gallant spirits home,        35
  Who perish’d by surprise!

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