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Beranger's My Last Song Perhaps (January 1814)

Eugene Field 1850 (St. Louis) – 1895 (Chicago)



When, to despoil my native France,
 With flaming torch and cruel sword
And boisterous drums her foeman comes,
 I curse him and his vandal horde!
Yet, what avail accrues to her,
 If we assume the garb of woe?
Let's merry be,--in laughter we
 May rescue somewhat from the foe!

Ah, many a brave man trembles now.
 I (coward!) show no sign of fear;
When Bacchus sends his blessing, friends,
 I drown my panic in his cheer.
Come, gather round my humble board,
 And let the sparkling wassail flow,--
Chuckling to think, the while you drink,
 "This much we rescue from the foe!"

My creditors beset me so
 And so environed my abode,
That I agreed, despite my need,
 To settle up the debts I owed;
When suddenly there came the news
 Of this invasion, as you know;
I'll pay no score; pray, lend me more,--
 I--I will keep it from the foe!

Now here's my mistress,--pretty dear!--
 Feigns terror at this martial noise,
And yet, methinks, the artful minx
 Would like to meet those soldier boys!
I tell her that they're coarse and rude,
 Yet feel she don't believe 'em so,--
Well, never mind; so she be kind,
 That much I rescue from the foe!

If, brothers, hope shall have in store
 For us and ours no friendly glance,
Let's rather die than raise a cry
 Of welcome to the foes of France!
But, like the swan that dying sings,
 Let us, O Frenchmen, singing go,--
Then shall our cheer, when death is near,
 Be so much rescued from the foe!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Eugene Field

Eugene Field, Sr. was an American writer, best known for his children's poetry and humorous essays. more…

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