Robert Tannahill

The Defeat

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From hill to hill the bugles sound
The soul-arousing strain,
The war-bred coursers paw the ground,
And, foaming, champ the rein:
Their steel-clad riders bound on high,
A bold defensive host,
With valour fir'd, away they fly,
Like light'ning, to the coast.

And now they view the wide-spread lines
Of the invading foe,
Now skill with British brav'ry joins,
To strike one final blow:
Now on they rush with giant stroke--
Ten thousand victims bleed--
They trample on the iron yoke
Which France for us decreed.

Now view the trembling vanquish'd crew
Kneel o'er their prostrate arms;
Implore respite of vengeance due
For all these dire alarms:
Now, while Humanity's warm glow,
Half weeps the guilty slain,
Let conquest gladden every brow,
And god-like Mercy reign.

Thus Fancy paints that awful day-
Yes, dreadful, should it come!
But Britain's sons, in stern array,
Shall brave its darkest gloom.
Who fights his native rights to save,
His worth shall have its claim;
The bard will consecrate his grave,
And give his name to fame.

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Robert Tannahill