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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Bunker Hill

By Benjamin Franklin Taylor (1819–1887)

[From Old-Time Pictures, and Sheaves of Rhyme. 1874.]

TO the wail of the fife and the snarl of the drum

Those Hedgers and Ditchers of Bunker Hill come,

Down out of the battle with rumble and roll,

Straight across the two ages, right into the soul,

And bringing for captive the Day that they won

With a deed that like Joshua halted the sun.

Like bells in their towers tolled the guns from the town,

Beat that low earthen bulwark so sullen and brown,

As if Titans last night had plowed the one bout

And abandoned the field for a Yankee redoubt;

But for token of life that the parapet gave

They might as well play on Miles Standish’s grave!

Then up the green hill rolled the red of the Georges

And down the green vale rolled the grime of the forges;

Ten rods from the ridges hung the live surge,

Not a murmur to meet it broke over the verge,

But the click of flint-locks in the furrows along,

And the chirp of a sparrow just singing her song.

In the flash of an eye, as the dead shall be raised,

The dull bastion kindled, the parapet blazed,

And the musketry cracked, glowing hotter and higher,

Like a forest of hemlock, its lashes of fire,

And redder the scarlet and riven the ranks,

And Putnam’s guns hung, with a roar on the flanks.

Now the battle grows dumb and the grenadiers wheel,

’Tis the crash of clubbed musket, the thrust of cold steel,

At bay all the way, while the guns held their breath,

Foot to foot, eye to eye, with each other and Death.

Call the roll, Sergeant Time! Match the day if you can;

Waterloo was for Britons—Bunker Hill is for man!