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Song of Marions Men

Written by: William Cullen Bryant | Biography
 | Quotes (29) |
OUR band is few but true and tried  
Our leader frank and bold; 
The British soldier trembles 
When Marion's name is told. 
Our fortress is the good greenwood 5 
Our tent the cypress-tree; 
We know the forest round us  
As seamen know the sea. 
We know its walls of thorny vines  
Its glades of reedy grass 10 
Its safe and silent islands 
Within the dark morass. 

Woe to the English soldiery 
That little dread us near! 
On them shall light at midnight 15 
A strange and sudden fear: 
When waking to their tents on fire  
They grasp their arms in vain  
And they who stand to face us 
Are beat to earth again; 20 
And they who fly in terror deem 
A mighty host behind  
And hear the tramp of thousands 
Upon the hollow wind. 

Then sweet the hour that brings release 25 
From danger and from toil; 
We talk the battle over  
And share the battle's spoil. 
The woodland rings with laugh and shout  
As if a hunt were up 30 
And woodland flowers are gathered 
To crown the soldier's cup. 
With merry songs we mock the wind 
That in the pine-top grieves  
And slumber long and sweetly 35 
On beds of oaken leaves. 

Well knows the fair and friendly moon 
The band that Marion leads¡ª 
The glitter of their rifles  
The scampering of their steeds. 40 
'T is life to guide the fiery barb 
Across the moonlit plain; 
'T is life to feel the night-wind 
That lifts his tossing mane. 
A moment in the British camp¡ª 45 
A moment¡ªand away 
Back to the pathless forest  
Before the peep of day. 

Grave men there are by broad Santee  
Grave men with hoary hairs; 50 
Their hearts are all with Marion  
For Marion are their prayers. 
And lovely ladies greet our band 
With kindliest welcoming  
With smiles like those of summer 55 
And tears like those of spring. 
For them we wear these trusty arms  
And lay them down no more 
Till we have driven the Briton  
Forever from our shore. 60