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In the hush of expectation, in the awe and trepida.

tion 70 Of the dread approaching moment, we are well

nigh breathless all; Though the rotten bars are failing on the rickety

belfry railing, We are crowding up against them like the waves

against a wall.

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Just a glimpse (the air is clearer), they are nearer,

nearer, – nearer,
When a flash -a.curling smoke-wreath

then a crash — the steeple shakes 75 The deadly truce is ended; the tempest's shroud

is rended; Like a morning mist it gathered, like a thunder

cloud it breaks!

O the sight our eyes discover as the blue-black

smoke blows over! The red-coats stretched in windrows as a mower

rakes his hay; Here a scarlet heap is lying, there a headlong

crowd is flying 80 Like a billow that has broken and is shivered into


Then we cried, “ The troops are routed! they are

beat - it can't be doubted! God be thanked, the fight is over 1”. Ah! the

grim old soldier's smile! “ Tell us, tell us why you look so ?(we could

hardly speak, we shook so), “ Are they beaten ? Are they beaten ? ARB

they beaten ? " Wait a while."

85 O the trembling and the terror! for too soon we

saw our error:

They are baffled, not defeated; we have driven

them back in vain; And the columns that were scattered, round the

colors that were tattered, Toward the sullen silent fortress turn their belted

breasts again.

All at once, as we are gazing, lo the roofs of

Charlestown blazing! 90 They have fired the harmless village; in an hour

it will be down! The Lord in heaven confound them, rain his fire

and brimstone round them, The robbing, murdering red-coats, that would burn

a peaceful town!

They are marching, stern and solemn; we can see

each massive column As they near the naked earth-mound with the

slanting walls so steep. 95 Have our soldiers got faint-hearted, and in noise

less haste departed ? Are they panic-struck and helpless? Are they

palsied or asleep?


Now! the walls they ’re almost under! scarce a rod

the foes asunder! Not a firelock flashed against them! up the earth

work they will swarm! But the words have scarce been spoken, when the

ominous calm is broken, 100 And a bellowing crash has emptied all the ven

geance of the storm!

So again, with murderous slaughter, pelted back

wards to the water, Fly Pigot's running heroes and the frightened

braves of Howe; And we shout, “ At last they're done for, it's

their barges they have run for: They are beaten, beaten, beaten; and the battle's

over now!"

105 And we looked, poor timid creatures, on the rough

old soldier's features, Our lips afraid to question, but he knew what we

would ask:
“ Not sure,” he said ; “keep quiet, - once more,

I guess, they 'll try it-
Here's damnation to the cut-throats!”

then he handed me his flask,

Saying, "Gal, you're looking shaky; have a drop

of old Jamaiky; 110 I’m afeard there 'll be more trouble afore the job

is done”; So I took one scorching swallow; dreadful faint I

felt and hollow, Standing there from early morning when the fir

ing was begun.

All through those hours of trial I had watched a

calm clock dial, As the hands kept creeping, creeping, — they were

creeping round to four, 115 When the old man said, “ They're forming with

their bagonets fixed for storming: 102. The generals on the British side were Howe, Clinton and Pigoi.

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