Song of Marions Men
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.
'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.
William Cullen Bryant
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