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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Introductory to America

The Old Continentals

By Anonymous

IN their ragged regimentals

Stood the old Continentals,

Yielding not;

While the grenadiers were lunging,

And like hailstones fell the plunging

Cannon shot!

Where the files

Of the Isles,

From the smoky night encampment,

Bore the banner of the rampant


And grummer, grummer, grummer,

Rolled the “roll” of the drummer,

Through the morn.

Then with eyes to the front all,

And with guns horizontal,

Stood our sires;

And the balls whistled deadly,

And in flames flashing redly,

Blazed the fires;

As the swift

Billows drift,

Drove the dark battle breakers

O’er the green sodded acres

Of the plain;

And louder, louder, louder,

Cracked the black gunpowder,

All amain!

Then like smiths at their forges,

Labored the red St. George’s


And the villanous saltpetre

Rung a fierce, discordant metre

Round our ears;

Like the roar

On the shore,

Rose the horse-guards’ clangor,

As they rode in roaring anger

On our flanks;

And higher, higher, higher,

Burned the old-fashioned fire

Through the ranks!

Then the old-fashioned colonel

Galloped through the white infernal

Powder cloud,

And his broad sword was swinging,

And his brazen throat was ringing

Trumpet loud!

And the blue

Bullets flew,

And the trooper jackets redden

At the touch of the leaden

Rifle’s breath!

And rounder, rounder, rounder,

Roared the iron six-pounder,

Hurling death!