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Battle Of Blenheim, The

Robert Southey 1774 (Bristol) – 1843 (London)


It was a summer's evening;
Old Casper's work was done,
And he before his cottage-door
Was sitting in the sun;
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
 
She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
That he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found.
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.
 
Old Casper took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.
 
"I find them in the garden, for
There's many here about;
And often, when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out;
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in the great victory."
 
"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
Young Peterkin he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up,
With wonder-waiting eyes:
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they kill'd each other for."
 
"It was the English," Casper cried,
"That put the French to rout;
But what they kill'd each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
"That 'twas a famous victory.
 
"My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.
 
"With fire and sword the country round,
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then
And new-born infant died.
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.
 
"They say it was a shocking sight,
After the field was won,
For many a thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun.
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.
 
"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay, nay, my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory;
 
"And everybody praised the duke,
Who such a fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why, that I cannot tell," said he;
"But 'twas a famous victory."
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Robert Southey

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. more…

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