Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
October 19
Yorktown Centennial Lyric
By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)
 
          The surrender of the British at Yorktown, on Oct. 19, 1781, virtually ended the Revolutionary War.

HARK, hark! down the century’s long reaching slope
To those transports of triumph, those raptures of hope,
The voices of main and of mountain combined
In glad resonance borne on the wings of the wind,
The bass of the drum and the trumpet that thrills        5
Through the multiplied echoes of jubilant hills.
And mark how the years melting upward like mist
Which the breath of some splendid enchantment has kissed,
Reveal on the ocean, reveal on the shore
The proud pageant of conquest that graced them of yore,        10
When blended forever in love as in fame
See, the standard which stole from the starlight its flame,
And type of all chivalry, glory, romance,
The lilies, the luminous lilies of France.
 
Oh, stubborn the strife ere the conflict was won!        15
And the wild whirling war wrack half stifled the sun.
The thunders of cannon that boomed on the lea,
But re-echoed far thunders pealed up from the sea,
Where guarding his sea lists, a knight on the waves,
Bold De Grasse kept at bay the bluff bull-dogs of Graves.        20
The day turned to darkness, the night changed to fire,
Still more fierce waxed the combat, more deadly the ire,
Undimmed by the gloom, in majestic advance,
Oh, behold where they ride o’er the red battle tide,
Those banners united in love as in fame,        25
The brave standard which drew from the star-beams their flame,
And type of all chivalry, glory, romance,
The lilies, the luminous lilies of France.
 
No respite, no pause; by the York’s tortured flood,
The grim Lion of England is writhing in blood.        30
Cornwallis may chafe and coarse Tarleton aver,
As he sharpens his broadsword and buckles his spur,
“This blade, which so oft has reaped rebels like grain,
Shall now harvest for death the rude yeomen again.”
Vain boast! for ere sunset he’s flying in fear,        35
With the rebels he scouted close, close in his rear,
While the French on his flank hurl such volleys of shot
That e’en Gloucester’s redoubt must be growing too hot.
Thus wedded in love as united in fame,
Lo! the standard which stole from the starlight its flame,        40
And type of all chivalry, glory, romance,
The lilies, the luminous lilies of France.
 
O morning superb! when the siege reached its close;
See! the sundawn outbloom, like the alchemist’s rose!
The last wreaths of smoke from dim trenches upcurled,        45
Are transformed to a glory that smiles on the world.
Joy, joy! Save the wan, wasted front of the foe,
With his battle-flags furled and his arms trailing low;—
Respect for the brave! In stern silence they yield,
And in silence they pass with bowed heads from the field.        50
Then triumph transcendent! so Titan of tone
That some vowed it must startle King George on his throne.
 
When Peace to her own, timed the pulse of the land,
And the war weapon sank from the war-wearied hand,
Young Freedom upborne to the height of the goal        55
She had yearned for so long with deep travail of soul,
A song of her future raised, thrilling and clear,
Till the woods leaned to hearken, the hill slopes to hear:—
Yet fraught with all magical grandeurs that gleam
On the hero’s high hope, or the patriot’s dream,        60
What future, though bright, in cold shadow shall cast
The proud beauty that haloes the brow of the past.
Oh! wedded in love, as united in fame,
See the standard which stole from the starlight its flame,
And type of all chivalry, glory, romance,        65
The lilies, the luminous lilies of France.
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors