Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII. 1876–79.

Blenheim (Blindheim)


By Joseph Addison (1672–1719)

BUT now the trumpet, terrible from far,

In shriller clangors animates the war,

Confederate drums in fuller concert beat,

And echoing hills the loud alarm repeat:

Gallia’s proud standards, to Bavaria’s joined,

Unfurl their gilded lilies in the wind;

The daring prince his blasted hopes renews,

And while the thick embattled host he views

Stretched out in deep array, and dreadful length,

His heart dilates, and glories in his strength.

The fatal day its mighty course began,

That the grieved world had long desired in vain:

States that their new captivity bemoaned,

Armies of martyrs that in exile groaned,

Sighs from the depth of gloomy dungeons heard,

And prayers in bitterness of soul preferred,

Europe’s loud cries, that Providence assailed,

And Anna’s ardent vows, at length prevailed;

The day was come when Heaven designed to show

His care and conduct of the world below.

Behold, in awful march and dread array,

The long extended squadrons shape their way!

Death, in approaching terrible, imparts

An anxious horror to the bravest hearts;

Yet do their beating breasts demand the strife,

And thirst of glory quells the love of life.

No vulgar fears can British minds control:

Heat of revenge, and noble pride of soul,

O’erlook the foe, advantaged by his post,

Lessen his numbers, and contract his host:

Though fens and floods possessed the middle space,

That unprovoked they would have feared to pass;

Nor fens nor floods can stop Britannia’s bands,

When her proud foe ranged on their borders stands.

But, O my Muse, what numbers wilt thou find

To sing the furious troops in battle joined!

Methinks I hear the drum’s tumultuous sound,

The victor’s shouts, and dying groans confound,

The dreadful burst of cannon rend the skies,

And all the thunder of the battle rise.

’T was then great Marlbro’s mighty soul was proved,

That, in the shock of charging hosts unmoved,

Amidst confusion, horror, and despair,

Examined all the dreadful scenes of war;

In peaceful thought the field of death surveyed,

To fainting squadrons sent the timely aid,

Inspired repulsed battalions to engage,

And taught the doubtful battle where to rage.

So when an angel by divine command

With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,

Such as of late o’er pale Britannia past,

Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;

And pleased the Almighty’s orders to perform,

Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.