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Let his faithless heart be torn,
From his recreant bosom riven,
To the carrion be given !
Guard it, freemen !-guard it well!
Spotless as your maiden's fame!
of your weakness—of your shame
What was bought with blood and toil
Here on Freedom's sacred soil !
Let your eagle's quenchless eye,
From his lofty mountain height;
O’er this treasure, pure and free,
The home and shrine of liberty.
TO A CHILD.
Bright thing of love and joy! it glads minc eye
To gaze upon that cherub form and face,
On each wild, artless motion's gentle grace,
Unclouded yet by thought or passion's trace.
mcthinks thou scemest A vision from a better sphere to be,
Sent like some fair young angel unto men, A type of innocence and purity,
And lead them back to that lost llcaven again.
Ah, little dreams thy bright young licart, or liceuls, The solemn lesson which in thce my spirit reads !
REVOLUTIONARY REMINISCENCES OF
AN OLD SOLDIER.
I SHALL never forget the memorable morning that gave me my father's consent to become a soldier. I had strongly imbibed the spirit of the times, and earnestly desired 10 march with the noble band that had left our neighbourhood for the camp at Cambridge My father was a warm " Liberty man," and liad contributed largely to the outfit of his neighbours who exchangcil thc plough for the mus ket; yet as I was his only son, and had not yet scen sixteen sum. mers, it is not strange that he desircıl to retain me at home. With habitual obcdience, I yielded to his decision, but could not refrain from tears of vexation and longing, as I saw my companions depart This practical proof of my unfitness for a soldier did not escape the observation of my father, and it was owing to a resolutiou that I formed in consequence of his scvcrc and scornful rebuke, that my cheek has never since been seen moistened by a tear-which people will find easier than they may think, if they will only try. But not many days after, as my father and myself were passing towards the fields, the scene of our daily toils, thc cheerful stille ness of the morning was broken by thc sound of cannon. in the direction of Boston, and we instinctively felt that war had, in good earnest, begun. The sounds became more frequent. My father would fain have preserved his usual composure, which so well became the oldest deacon of the church, but his patriotic feel. ings became too strong for mastery. Clapping his hands with a force that made me start as if one of the cannon liad been fired by my side, lie exclaimed, “ John, you may go!" There was no mistaking his meaning. Though these were all the words he uttered, yet I knew I had permission to join thic army, and that the permission would not be recalled. I threw away the cart-whip that I had in my hand, which neither of us stopped to pick up, and we immediately returned to the house, and began arrangements for my departure. The old musket was taken down and examined; there was not a particle of dust about it, as I had cleaned it daily for months. The time spent by my father in changing, adjusting, and proving the flint, was to me excessively annoying. But he knew better than I did that feelings, however fiery, would not ignite gunpowder. In the mean time, I had packed my knapsack, with more haste than skill, and hitched our old bay to the chaise. In less than an hour after the sound of the first cannon had rcached our cars, we were moving, father, knapsack, musket and I, towards Boston. The horse, who did not seem to partake of my enthusiasm, moved
as deliberately as if travelling liis usual Sabbath-day journey. I would gladly have dispensed with his services, but my father's cool and slow self-possession had returned, and no deviation from his will was to be thought of.
I should have remarked that my mother was absent on a visit to my married sister, so that I was spared the trial of bidding her fare. well, which would, bo doubt, have been a very different assair from the parting with my father.
We had cleared the lane, and gained the main road towarıl: Boston. I was devising expedients for quickening the pace of the Tory beast, as in my heart I had called him, when we met our worthy and revered pastor, Mr. Forbes. He paused as we drew near. My musket and knapsack-and probably my countenance too, though I am sure my father's would not-informed him whither we were bound. When one all-absorbing idea is present, conversation, as far as it relates to it, can be carried on at small expense to words.
“So, John, you are going to fight the battles of God and your country."
“Yes, sir, I'ın going to try," I replied, etiqaette forbidding the use of any of the expletives that rose to my lips, in the presence of a minister.
“Well, may the blessing of the God of battles go with you, John. But remember, John, when you are away from your minister and your father, that you are not away from God. Rememberand the old man's eyes filled with tears as he gazed upon me, he closed them, and for a few seconds was engaged in mental supplication,- then bestowing a “God bless you !" upon me, he passed on, as if unwilling to delay us from such an errand. This meeting passed in a minute, but the impression that it lest on my mind has lasted for many a year, and was far deeper than if he had bestowed a lengthened lecture, to which I am sure he would not have found a very patient listener. But the good man knew always what to say, and when to say it; in this respect differing widely from some of his sacred profession that I have fallen in with in the evening of my days. Whatever improvements there may have been made in other things, I am free to say that the breed of our ministers has not im. proved. The fact is, they could not be much better than they were in those days, much as they are now sometimes ridiculed by ungrateful blockheads, who are enjoying the liberty which the ministers of that day, quite as much as any other class of men, aided to secure.
The distance from my native place to Boston was about fourteen miles. My father left mc to perform the latter half of the distance on foot; his parting advice was brief: "Farewell, John, you know your duty; and mind what Mr. Forbes said to you."
I arrived at the camp before nightfall, somewhat exhausted by the laste I had made during the latter half of the way. I sought the company to which my companions belonged, and entered it as a volunteer. My friends had not taken part in the engagement, but were full of enthusiasm in consequence of the events of the day. One
very dark night we were called out, and formed with the utmost stillness. With the object of the movement we were not acquainted. Hence our fancy had free scope during the half-hour we were drawn up, and commanded, in a whisper, to remain perfectly silent. We supposed, of course, that an attack was either expected or designed. Not a few of us, notwithstanding our love of country, I suspect were led to compare a good bed at home with the prospect of a bloody one on the night plain.
I have never been oppressed with a sense of fear; indeed, I may say, I have ever borne the character of a brave man; but I frankly confess, that I heartily wished for daylight, that I might see where I was going; and I believe it is true úniversally, that men will fight better in the daylight than by night, although the smoke be so dense as to hide all objects from view as effectually as if it were night. There is something about night that I do not understand.
But to my story. After standing about half an hour, our muskets were taken from us, and spades, pickaxes, &c., distributed. We then breathed more freely, and the injunction to entire silence was not so perfectly obeyed as before. We were then marched to what was called the Neck, for the purpose of erecting a fort. This point was fully within the reach of the enemy's guns, hence a dark night was naturally chosen for the work, and the strictest silence enjoined. Arrived on the ground, we found an abundance of dry cedar rails, and with these we proceeded to build huge fires to supply the lack of daylight. Whether this originated with the soldiers or officers I know not; it is certain that it was not forbidden by the latter. When they were well on fire, and all around us was illuminated, we began to break ground. But we were very unceremoniously interrupted by a thundering volley of cannon balls from the enemy. It had not occurred to our sapient officers that the same light that was serviceable to us, would be so to the enemy's artilJery. But so it was. Orders were then given to put out the fires. It was done with great promptness; a cannon ball now and then aiding us in scattering the rails.
I have in my latter days heard a great deal about the stimulants of industry, but I give it as the result of my ohservation, that nothing is equal to a cannon ball for this. Men will work when cannon balls arc whizzing around them in a way difficult to describe, Thc rails on this occasion flew as if the power of gravitation were for the ocaasion, totally suspended.
I recollect another occasion when the same stimulus worked ad. mirably. It was at the battle of White Plains. We were in a trench, and about ten rods in advance was a stone wall. When it appeared that the enemy were about to advance to storm our lines, (a brisk fire of cannon balls being sent to clear the way,) a party were sent out to throw down the wall, that it might not prove a shelter to the advancing foe. I never saw stones handled as those were. I am clear in the opinion that cannon balls are the greatest possible stimulants to industry. But I forget my narrative.
When the lights were extinguished, we were drawn off behind a small descent, where, by lying down, we were out of reach of the enemy's balls. We had just begun to realize that the whistling of balls was not so destructive, after all, and to make ourselves merry at the enemy's waste of ammunition, when a cross fire that swept the bottom of the hill was opened upon us. The first shot took effect, and killed four men in my vicinity. Orders were given to retreat, and the ground was soon cleared, without further loss. We gained the camp, and listened, with no small degree of composure, to the sound of the enemy's artillery. It is surprising, the difference in the sound of a piece when you are, or are not, within range. In the one case the sound is pleasant enough ; in the other it is by no means the most agreeable music in the world. The British continued to plough up the said Neck until broad daylight showed them what they were about. In fact, it did present the appearance of ploughed land. • My stars," said honest Job Eaton, “if it has not cost the King nigh on tew hundred dollars to plough that 'ere piece; I'd ploughed it with my oxen for five.”
We were so much more courageous by daylight, that we went down to the Neck for ball, and there were picked up nine hundred and sixty, of various sizes. Occasionally field pieces were discharged at us, but without effect.
During the winter we lay on Dorchester heights; I cannot say that I was as comfortable and contented as I might have been in my father's house. I was, however, indulged with frequent visits home, and often received from thence tokens of remembrance and regard. Still a barrack is not one's father's house, and our troops were becoming more of soldiers and less of citizens. The distinction between mine and thine became less distinctly marked, and a growing looseness of morals in other respects led me to look with less enthusiasm on a soldier's life.
Still our company was in the main correct in their deportment, the instructions of Mr. Forbes having sunk deep into our hearts. Once or twice the old man paid us a visit, to the no small joy of our hearts and increase of his influence. Oh, could I see such min. isters now, I would be content that their salaries be raised by law; yea, that they should liberally have tithes of all. The fact is, the old fashioned ministers of those days did more to make patriotic,