Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


O Dormer, how can I behold thy fate,
And not the wonders of thy youth relate;
How can I see the gay, the brave, the young,
Fall in the cloud of war, and lie unsung!
In joys of conquest he resigns his breath,
And, filled with England’s glory, smiles in death.
Addison—Campaign. To Philip Dormer.

God and a soldier all people adore
In time of war, but not before;
And when war is over and all things are righted,
God is neglected and an old soldier slighted.
Anon. Lines chalked on a sentry-box on Europa Guard. Compare Kipling—Tommy. Otway’s Soldier’s Fortune, Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXV.

O little Force that in your agony
Stood fast while England girt her armour on,
Held high our honour in your wounded hands,
Carried our honour safe with bleeding feet—
We have no glory great enough for you,
The very soul of Britain keeps your day.
Anon—Published in a London Newspaper, 1917.

An Austrian army awfully arrayed.
Siege of Belgrade.
Poem arranged with “Apt alliteration’s artful aid.” First appeared in The Trifler, May 7, 1817, printed at Winchester, Eng. Found in Bentley’s Miscellany, March, 1838. P. 313. Quoted in Wheeler’s Mag. Winchester, Eng. Vol. I. P. 344. (1828). Attributed to Rev. B. Poulter, of Winchester. In the Wild Garland to Isaac J. Reeve. Claimed for Alaric A. Watts by his son in a biography of Watts. Vol. I. P. 118.

See! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.
Bernard E. Bee—Battle of Manassas (Bull Run). July 21, 1861.

Each year his mighty armies marched forth in gallant show,
Their enemies were targets, their bullets they were tow.
Berenger—Le Roi d’Yvetot. Trans. by Thackeray—The King of Brentford.

The king of France with twenty thousand men
Went up the hill, and then came down again:
The king of Spain with twenty thousand more
Climbed the same hill the French had climbed before.
From Sloane MS. 1489. Written time of Charles I. Later version in Old Tarleton’s Song in Pigge’s Corantol or News from the North. Halliwell gives several versions in his Nursery Rhymes.

L’infanterie anglaise est la plus redoubtable de l’Europe; heureusement, il n’y en a pas beaucoup.
The English Infantry is the most formidable in Europe, but fortunately there is not much of it.
Marshal Bugeaud—Œuvres Militaires. Collected by Weil.

You led our sons across the haunted flood,
Into the Canaan of their high desire—
No milk and honey there, but tears and blood
Flowed where the hosts of evil trod in fire,
And left a worse than desert where they passed.
Amelia J. Burr—To General Pershing.

Ay me! what perils do environ
The man that meddles with cold iron!
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto III. L. 1.

Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylæ!
Byron—Don Juan. Canto III. St. 86.

His breast with wounds unnumber’d riven,
His back to earth, his face to heaven.
Byron—Giaour. L. 675.

For the army is a school in which the miser becomes generous, and the generous prodigal; miserly soldiers are like monsters, but very rarely seen.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Ch. XXXIX.

The knight’s bones are dust,
And his good sword rust;
His soul is with the saints, I trust.
Coleridge—The Knight’s Tomb.

How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung.
Collins—Ode Written in 1746.

Who passes down this road so late?
Compagnon de la Majaloine?
Who passes down this road so late,
Always gay!

Of all the King’s Knights ’tis the flower,
Compagnon de la Majaloine,
Of all the King’s Knights ’tis the flower,
Always gay!
Compagnon de la Majaloine. Old French Song.

Back of the boy is Wilson,
Pledge of his high degree,
Back of the boy is Lincoln,
Lincoln and Grant and Lee;
Back of the boy is Jackson,
Jackson and Tippecanoe,
Back of each son is Washington,
And the old red, white and blue!
Edmund Vance Cooke—Back of the Boy.

I have seen men march to the wars, and then
I have watched their homeward tread,
And they brought back bodies of living men,
But their eyes were cold and dead.
So, Buddy, no matter what else the fame,
No matter what else the prize,
I want you to come back thru The Flame
With the boy-look still in your eyes!
Edmund Vance Cooke—The Boy-Look.

He stands erect; his slouch becomes a walk;
He steps right onward, martial in his air,
His form and movement.
Cowper—The Task. Bk. IV. L. 638.

Far in foreign fields from Dunkirk to Belgrade
Lie the soldiers and chiefs of the Irish Brigade.
Thomas Davis—Battle Eve of the Brigade.

Terrible he rode alone,
With his yemen sword for aid;
Ornament it carried none
But the notches on the blade.
The Death Feud. An Arab War Song. St. 14. Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine. July, 1850. Trans. signed J. S. M.

His helmet now shall make
A hive for bees.
Robert Devereux—Sonnet.

So let his name through Europe ring!
A man of mean estate,
Who died as firm as Sparta’s king,
Because his soul was great.
Sir Francis Hastings Doyle—The Private of the Buffs.

Mouths without hands; maintained at vast expense,
In peace a charge, in war a weak defense:
Stout once a month they march, a blustering band,
And ever, but in times of need, at hand.
Dryden—Cymon and Iphigenia. L. 401.

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the Judgment Day;
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.
Francis M. Finch—The Blue and the Gray.

Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?
Dogs, would you live forever?
Traditional saying of Frederick the Great to his troops at Kolin, June 18, 1757 (or at Kunersdorf, Aug. 12, 1759). Doubted by Carlyle.

We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more.
J. S. Gibbons. Pub. anon. in New York Evening Post. July 16, 1862.

The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay;
Sat by his fire, and talked the night away,
Wept o’er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,
Shoulder’d his crutch, and show’d how fields were won.
Goldsmith—Deserted Village. L. 155.

Wake, soldier wake, thy war-horse waits
To bear thee to the battle back;—
Thou slumberest at a foeman’s gates,—
Thy dog would break thy bivouac;
Thy plume is trailing in the dust,
And thy red falchion gathering rust.
T. K. Hervey—Dead Trumpeter.

He slept an iron sleep,—
Slain fighting for his country.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. XI. L. 285. Bryant’s trans.

The sex is ever to a soldier kind.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. XIV. L. 246. Pope’s trans.

Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
And used to war’s alarms;
But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
So he laid down his arms.
Hood—Faithless Nellie Gray.

But for you, it shall be forever Spring,
And only you shall be forever fearless,
And only you shall have white, straight, tireless limbs,
And only you, where the water lily swims,
Shall walk along pathways, thro’ the willows
Of your West.
You who went West,
And only you on silvery twilight pillows
Shall take your rest
In the soft, sweet glooms
Of twilight rooms.
Ford Madox Hueffer—One Day’s List.

The Seconds that tick as the clock moves along
Are Privates who march with a spirit so strong.
The Minutes are Captains. The Hours of the day
Are Officers brave, who lead on to the fray.
So, remember, when tempted to loiter and dream
You’ve an army at hand; your command is supreme;
And question yourself, as it goes on review—
Has it helped in the fight with the best it could do?
Philander Johnson. Lines selected by Paymaster Gen. McGowan to distribute to those under his command during the Great War. See Everybody’s Magazine, May, 1920. P. 36.

He smote them hip and thigh.
Judges. XV. 8.

In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet,
There is a new-made grave today,
Built by never a spade nor pick,
Yet covered with earth ten meters thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime.
Joyce Kilmer—Rouge Bouquet.

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
I Kings. XX. 11.

As we pledge the health of our general, who fares as rough as we,
What can daunt us, what can turn us, led to death by such as he?
Charles Kingsley—A March.

“What are the bugles blowin’ for?” said Files-on-Parade.
“To turn you out, to turn you out,” the Colour Sergeant said.
Kipling—Danny Deever.

“For they’re hangin’ Danny Deever, you can ’ear the Dead March play,
The regiment’s in ’ollow square—They’re hangin’ him to-day;
They’re taken of his buttons off an’ cut his stripes away,
An’ they’re hangin’ Danny Deever in the morning.”
Kipling—Danny Deever.

Tho ’eathen in ’is blindness bows down to wood an’ stone;
’E don’t obey no orders unless they is ’is own;
’E keeps ’is side-arms awful: ’e leaves ’em all about,
An’ then comes up the Regiment an’ pokes the ’eathen out.
Kipling—The ’Eathen.

So ’ere’s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your ’ome in the Soudan;
You’re a pore benighted ’eathen but a first-class fightin’ man;
And ’ere’s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your ’ay-rick ’ead of ’air;
You big black boundin’ beggar—for you broke a British square!

For it’s Tommy this an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck ’im out, the brute!”
But it’s “Savior of ’is country,” when the guns begin to shoot.

It is not the guns or armament
Or the money they can pay,
It’s the close co-operation
That makes them win the day.
It is not the individual
Or the army as a whole,
But the everlastin’ teamwork
Of every bloomin’ soul.
J. Mason Knox. Claimed for him by his wife in a communication in New York Times.

But in a large sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
Lincoln—Gettysburg Address. Nov. 19, 1863.

Nulla fides pietasque viris qui castra sequuntur.
Good faith and probity are rarely found among the followers of the camp.
Lucan—Pharsalia. X. 407.

Ned has gone, he’s gone away, he’s gone away for good.
He’s called, he’s killed.
Him and his drum lies in the rain, lies where they was stood.
Where they was stilled.
A. Neil Lyons (“Edwin Smallweed”)—Drums. Appeared in the London Weekly Dispatch.

Nicanor lay dead in his harness.
II Maccabees. XV. 28.

Here’s to the Blue of the wind-swept North
When we meet on the fields of France,
May the spirit of Grant be with you all
As the sons of the North advance!
Here’s to the Gray of the sun-kissed South
When we meet on the fields of France,
May the spirit of Lee be with you all
As the sons of the South advance!
And here’s to the Blue and the Gray as One!
When we meet on the fields of France,
May the spirit of God be with us all
As the sons of the Flag advance!
George Morrow Mayo—A Toast.

“Companions,” said he [Saturninus], “you have lost a good captain, to make of him a bad general.”
Montaigne—Essays. Of Vanity.

Napoleon’s troops fought in bright fields where every helmet caught some beams of glory; but the British soldier conquered under the cold shade of aristocracy.
Sir W. F. P. Napier—Hist. of the Peninsular War. II. 401. (Ed. 1851).

The greatest general is he who makes the fewest mistakes.
Saying attributed to Napoleon.

Judge not that ye be not judged; we carried the torch to the goal.
The goal is won: guard the fire: it is yours: but remember our soul
Breathes through the life that we saved, when our lives went out in the night:
Your body is woven of ours: see that the torch is alight.
Edward J. O’Brien—On the Day of Achievement.

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
The brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
Theodore O’Hara—The Bivouac of the Dead.

Miles gloriosus.
The bragging soldier.
Plautus. Title of a comedy.

But off with your hat and three times three for Columbia’s true-blue sons;
The men below who batter the foe—the men behind the guns!
John Jerome Rooney—The Men Behind the Guns.

I want to see you shoot the way you shout.
Roosevelt. At the meeting of the Mayor’s Committee on National Defense. Madison Square, Oct., 1917. Speech to the audience after their enthusiastic demonstration over the patriotic addresses.

A thousand leagues of ocean, a company of kings,
You came across the watching world to show how heroes die.
When the splendour of your story
Builds the halo of its glory,
’Twill belt the earth like Saturn’s rings
And diadem the sky.
“M.R.C.S.” In Anzac. On Colonial Soldiers. (1919).

’Tis a far, far cry from the “Minute-Men,”
And the times of the buff and blue
To the days of the withering Jorgensen
And the hand that holds it true.
’Tis a far, far cry from Lexington
To the isles of the China Sea,
But ever the same the man and the gun—
Ever the same are we.
Edwin L. Sabin—The American Soldier. In Munsey’s Mag. July, 1899.

Abner … smote him under the fifth rib.
II Samuel. II. 23.

Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er,
Dream of fighting fields no more:
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
Scott—Lady of the Lake. Canto I. St. 31.

Although too much of a soldier among sovereigns, no one could claim with better right to be a sovereign among soldiers.
Scott—Life of Napoleon.

Warriors!—and where are warriors found,
If not on martial Britain’s ground?
And who, when waked with note of fire,
Love more than they the British lyre?
Scott—Lord of the Isles. Canto IV. St. 20.

Yet what can they see in the longest kingly line in Europe, save that it runs back to a successful soldier?
Scott—Woodstock. Ch. XXXVII.

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
As You Like It. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 149.

Arm’d at point exactly, cap-à-pie.
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 200.

I thought upon one pair of English legs
Did march three Frenchmen.
Henry V. Act III. Sc. 6. L. 158.

Give them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils.
Henry V. Act III. Sc. 7. L. 161.

I am a soldier and unapt to weep
Or to exclaim on fortune’s fickleness.
Henry VI. Pt. I. Act V. Sc. 3. L. 134.

I said an elder soldier, not a better.
Did I say, better?
Julius Cæsar. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 56.

Fie, my Lord, fie! a soldier, and afear’d?
Macbeth. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 41.

Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we’ll die with harness on our back.
Macbeth. Act V. Sc. 5. L. 51.

God’s soldier be he!
Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
I would not wish them to a fairer death:
And so his knell is knoll’d.
Macbeth. Act V. Sc. 8. L. 47.

He is a soldier fit to stand by Cæsar
And give direction.
Othello. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 127.

The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.
Sonnet XXV. “Fight” is “worth” in original.

A soldier is an anachronism of which we must get rid.
Bernard Shaw—Devil’s Disciple. Act III.

When the military man approaches, the world locks up its spoons and packs off its womankind.
Bernard Shaw—Man and Superman.

Prostrate on earth the bleeding warrior lies,
And Isr’el’s beauty on the mountains dies.
How are the mighty fallen!
Hush’d be my sorrow, gently fall my tears,
Lest my sad tale should reach the alien’s ears:
Bid Fame be dumb, and tremble to proclaim
In heathen Gath, or Ascalon, our shame
Lest proud Philistia, lest our haughty foe,
With impious scorn insult our solemn woe.
W. C. Somerville—The Lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan.

Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest
Your truth and valor wearing:
The bravest are the tenderest,—
The loving are the daring.
Bayard Taylor—The Song of the Camp.

Foremost captain of his time,
Rich in saving common sense.
Tennyson—Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington.

For this is England’s greatest son,
He that gain’d a hundred fights,
And never lost an English gun.
Tennyson—Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington.

Home they brought her warrior dead.
Tennyson—The Princess. Song at end of Canto V.

Home they brought him slain with spears,
They brought him home at even-fall.
Tennyson. Version of the song in The Princess. Canto V, as published in the Selections. (1865). T. J. Wise—Bibliography of Tennyson. Only reprinted in the Miniature Edition. (1870). Vol. III. P. 147.

Dans ce pays-ci il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un admiral pour encourager les autres.
In this country it is found necessary now and then to put an admiral to death in order to encourage the others.
Voltaire—Candide. Ch. XXIII.

Old soldiers never die;
They fade away!
War Song, popular in England. (1919).

Under the tricolor, long khaki files of them
Through the Étoile, down the Champs Elysées
Marched, while grisettes blew their kisses to miles of them,
And only the old brushed the tear stains away—
Out where the crows spread their ominous pinions
Shadowing France from Nancy to Fay,
Singing they marched ’gainst the Kaiser’s gray minions,
Singing the song of boyhood at play.
Charles Law Watkins—The Boys who never grew up. To the Foreign Legion. Written on the Somme, Dec., 1916.

The more we work, the more we may,
It makes no difference to our pay.
We are the Royal Sappers. War Song, popular in England. (1915).

Our youth has stormed the hosts of hell and won;
Yet we who pay the price of their oblation
Know that the greater war is just begun
Which makes humanity the nations’ Nation.
Willard Wattles—The War at Home.

Where are the boys of the old Brigade,
Who fought with us side by side?
F. E. Weatherley—The Old Brigade.

Oh, a strange hand writes for our dear son—O, stricken mother’s soul!
All swims before her eyes—flashes with black—she catches the main words only;
Sentences broken—gun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry skirmish, taken to hospital;
At present low, but will soon be better.
Walt Whitman—Drum-Taps. Come up from the Fields, Father.

Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried.
Chas. Wolfe—The Burial of Sir John Moore at Carunna. St. 1.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
With his martial cloak around him.
Chas. Wolfe—The Burial of Sir John Moore at Carunna. St. 3.

Of boasting more than of a bomb afraid,
A soldier should be modest as a maid.
Young—Love of Fame. Satire IV.

Some for hard masters, broken under arms,
In battle lopt away, with half their limbs,
Beg bitter bread thro’ realms their valour saved.
Young—Night Thoughts. Night I. L. 250.