The Soldier's Return
THE SOLDIER’S RETURN [*]
Beat up, my fond heart, the worn veteran cries;
His dear native village just op’ning to view;
Here parents—here Anna—here love’s tender ties,
Will soothe ev’ry care, ev’ry kindness renew.
Hail, woodlands, though leafless!—Hail, streams so long lost!5
My friendships, my cottage, my Home full in sight!
Thou mansion of bliss, screen my scars from the frost!
I’ve gold now—and love will give zest to delight.
O’er kingdoms to thee, rapid Fancy oft flew;
Thy low mossy roof in fond mem’ry survived;10
Oft homeward at eve, when I took a long view,
I’ve sigh’d with a tear, for the day now arrived!
Round Libia’s south point, when from toils lately freed,
Sweet Hope cheer’d my soul whilst we skimm’d the rough sea.
I strove, ’midst the tars, to improve our ship’s speed;15
Nor thought I of toils—but of Anna and thee.
Here comes the dear girl—comes with kind arms extended
To welcome me home, and my fondness to prove:
My cheek feels the glowing of rapture, warm blended
With answering drops—’tis the meed of chaste love.20
*For a slightly different version of this, which dates from 1786, see ‘The Soldier’s Return’. BACK