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The Field Of The Grounded Arms, Saratoga
(1790-1867 / the United States)

The Field Of The Grounded Arms, Saratoga

STRANGERS! your eyes are on that valley fixed
Intently, as we gaze on vacancy,
When the mind's wings overspread
The spirit-world of dreams.

True, 'tis a scene of loveliness—the bright
Green dwelling of the summer's first-born Hours,
Whose wakened leaf and bud
Are welcoming the morn.

And morn returns the welcome, sun and cloud
Smile on the green earth from their home in heaven,
Even as a mother smiles
Above her cradled boy,

And wreath their light and shade o'er plain and mountain,
O'er sleepless seas of grass whose waves are flowers,
The rivers' golden shores,
The forests of dark pines.

The song of the wild bird is on the wind,
The hum of the wild bee, the music wild
Of waves upon the bank,
Of leaves upon the bough.

But all is song and beauty in the land,
Beneath her skies of June; then journey on,
A thousand scenes like this
Will greet you ere the eve.

Ye linger yet—ye see not, hear not now
The sunny smile, the music of to-day,
Your thoughts are wandering up
Far up the stream of time;

And boyhood's lore and fireside listened tales
Are rushing on your memories, as ye breathe
That valley's storied name,

Strangers no more, a kindred 'pride of place,'
Pride in the gift of country and of name
Speaks in your eye and step—
Ye tread your native land.

And your high thoughts are on her glory's day,
The solemn Sabbath of the week of battle,
Whose tempests bowed to earth
Her foeman's banner here.

The forest leaves lay scattered cold and dead,
Upon the withered grass that autumn morn,
When, with as withered hearts
And hopes as dead and cold,

A gallant army formed their last array
Upon that field, in silence and deep gloom,
And at their conqueror's feet
Laid their war-weapons down.

Sullen and stern, disarmed but not dishonoured;
Brave men, but brave in vain, they yielded there:
The soldier's trial task
Is not alone 'to die.'

Honour to chivalry! the conqueror's breath
Stains not the ermine of his foeman's fame,
Nor mocks his captive's doom—
The bitterest cup of war.

But be that bitterest cup the doom of all
Whose swords are lightning flashes in the cloud
Of the Invader's wrath,
Threatening a gallant land.

His armies' trumpet-tones wake not alone
Her slumbering echoes; from a thousand hills
Her answering voices shout,
And her bells ring to arms!

Then danger hovers oer the Invader's March,
On raven wings, hushing the song of fame,
And glory's hues of beauty
Fade from the check of death.

A foe is heard in every rustling leaf,
A fortress seen, in every rock and tree,
The eagle eye of art
Is dim and power-less then,

And war becomes a people's joy, the drum
Man's merriest music, and the field of death
His couch of happy dreams,
After life's harvest home.

He battles heart and arm, his own blue sky
Above him, and his own green land around,
Land of his father's grave,
His blessing and his prayers,

Land where he learnt to lisp a mother's name,
The first beloved in life, the last forgot,
Land of his frolic youth,
Land of his bridal eve,

Land of his children,—vain your columned strength
Invaders! vain your battles' steel and fire!
Choose ye the morrow's doom,—
A prison or a grave.

And such were Saratoga's victors—such
The Yeomen-Brave, whose deeds and death have given
A glory to her skies,
A music to her name.

In honourable life her fields they trod,
In honourable death they sleep below;
Their sons' proud feelings here
Their noblest monuments.

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