Charles Lamb

The Force Of Habit

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A little child, who had desired
To go and see the Park guns fired,
Was taken by his maid that way
Upon the next rejoicing day.
Soon as the unexpected stroke
Upon his tender organs broke,
Confused and stunned at the report,
He to her arms fled for support,
And begged to be conveyed at once
Out of the noise of those great guns,
Those naughty guns, whose only sound
Would kill (he said) without a wound:
So much of horror and offence
The shock had given his infant sense.


Yet this was he in after days
Who filled the world with martial praise,
When from the English quarter-deck
His steady courage swayed the wreck
Of hostile fleets, disturbed no more
By all that vast conflicting roar,
That sky and sea did seem to tear,
When vessels whole blew up in air,
Than at the smallest breath that heaves,
When Zephyr hardly stirs the leaves.

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Charles Lamb