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164
SONGS FOR BOYHOOD.
A WINTERS NIGHT IN ENGLAND.
(The Crimean War.)
Gerald Massey.
Wild is the wintry weather!
Dark is the night, and cold! All closely we crowd together
Within the family fold. A mute and mighty shadow flies
Across the land on wings of gloom, And thro' each home its awful eyes
May lighten with their stroke of doom! Life's light burns dim�we hold the breath� All sit stern in the shadow of Death,
Around the household fire
This winter's night in England, Straining our ears for the tidings of war,
Holding our hearts, like beacons, up higher, For those who are fighting afar.
We talk of Britain's glory,
We sing some brave old song, Or tell the thrilling story
Of her wrestle with the wrong, Till we clutch the spirit-sword from the strife,
And into our rest would rather fall Down battle's cataract of life,
Than turn the white face to the wall. Sing O for a charge victorious! And the meekest face grows glorious,
As we sit by the household fire This winter's night in England, Our souls within us like steeds of war,
And we hold our hearts, like beacons, up higher, For those who are fijjhtiug afar.
And oft, in silence solemn,
We peer from night's dark tent, And see the quivering column,
Like a cloud by lightning rent. For death, how merry they mount and ride!
Those swords look keen for their lap of gore; Such valor leaps out deified!
Such souls must rend the clay they wore! How proud they sweep on glory's track! So many start! So few come back
To sit by the household fire
On a winter's night in England, And with rich tears wash their wounds of war,
Where we hold our hearts, like beacons, up higher, For those who are fighting afar!
We thrill to the clarion's clangor,
And harness for the fight; With the warrior's glorious anger,
We are nobly mad to smite. No dalliance, save with hate, hold we,
Where Life and Death keep bloody tryst, And all the red reality
Reels on us through a murder-mist. Wave upon wave rolls ruin's flood, And the hosts of the tyrant melt in blood,
As we sit by the household fire, This winter's night in England, And our color flies out to the music of war,
While we hold our hearts, like beacons, up higher, For those who are fighting afar.
Old England still hath heroes,
To wear her sword and shield! We knew them not while near us,
We know them in the field! Look, how the tyrant's hills they climb,
To hurl our gage in his grim hold! The Titans of the earlier time,
Tho' larger-limbed, were smaller-souled. Laurel or amaranth light their brow! Living or dead, we crown them now!
As we sit by the household fire, This winter's night in Eugland, From the white cliffs watching the storm of war.
Holding our hearts, like beacons, up higher, For those who are fightiug afar!
Oh, their brave love hath rootage
In the Old Land, deep and dear, And life's ripe, ruddy fruitage
Hangs summering for them here! And tender eyes, tear luminous,
Melt thro' the dark of dream-land skies, While, pleading aye for home and us,
The heart is one live brood of cries. Old feelings cling�oh, how they cling! And sweet birds sing�oh, how they sing
Them back to the household fire, This winter's night in England, Where we wait for them, weary and wounded from war,
Holding our hearts, like beacons, up higher, For those who are fighting afar!
Ah me! how many a maiden
Will wake o' nights, to find Her tree of life, love-laden,
Swept bare in this wild wind!







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III