1813 4

Previous Poem    -    Next Poem

The British Soldier[1]
“S. W. X. Z.”
The European Magazine, LXIII (April, 1813), p. 319

"Chide not my chief, the gallant soldier cries,
"Knit not your brows, oh cast that frown away;
"Your wishes to my feelings sacrifice,
"Nor harshly judge me if I disobey.
"Oh, I have seen the day when thousands fell,
"Have join'd in th' inspiring battle cry;
"These scars, more eloquent than words, can tell
"I did my part towards the victory.
"Then pardon, chieftain, if this once I dare,
"Refuse performing the too harsh decree;
"Oh pardon then, and in my feelings share,
"Unsoldier like I am, unchristian cannot be."
He ceas'd, his leader felt as soldiers ought,
Felt all his words, and all his feelings priz'd;
He knew him brave, he knew how he had fought,
And with his generous feelings sympathized.
He saw beneath a rough war-beaten form,
Nature's affections, and best virtue lie;
Honour and pity, valour, truth, inborn,
The soldier's courage, christian's charity.
He saw, and anger from his bosom flew,
He could not punish, where reward was due.

February 7th, 1813.


1. [Author's note]: "Who refused to obey his officer's command, to shoot an officer of the enemy, who was standing singly.—Vide 'Letters from Flushing.'"

Previous Poem    -    Next Poem