A Volunteer Song Poem by Joanna Baillie

A Volunteer Song

YE , who Britain's soldiers be,
Freemen, children of the free,
Who freely come at danger's call
From shop and palace, cot and hall,
And brace ye bravely up in warlike geer
For all that ye hold dear!
Blest in your hands be sword and spear!
There is no banded Briton here
On whom some fond mate hath not smil'd,
Or hung in love some lisping child;
Or aged parent, grasping his last stay
With locks of honour'd grey.
Such men behold with steady pride
The threaten'd tempest gath'ring wide,
And list, with onward forms inclin'd,
To sound of foemen on the wind,
And bravely act, 'mid the wild battle's roar,
In scenes untried before.

Let vet'rans boast, as well they may,
Nerves steel'd in many a bloody day;
The gen'rous heart, who takes his stand
Upon his free and native land,
Doth with the first sound of the hostile drum
A fearless man become.
Come then, ye hosts that madly pour
From wave-toss'd floats upon our shore!
If fell or gentle, false or true,
Let those enquire who wish to sue:
Nor fiend nor hero from a foreign strand
Shall lord it in our land.
Come then, ye hosts that madly pour
From wave-toss'd floats upon our shore!
An adverse wind or breezeless main,
Lock'd in their ports our tars detain,
To waste their wistful spirits, vainly keen,
Else here ye had not been.
Yet, ne'ertheless, in strong array,
Prepare ye for a well-fought day.
Let banners wave, and trumpets sound,
And closing cohorts darken round,
And the fierce onset raise its mingled roar,
New sound on England's shore!

Freemen, children of the free,
Are brave alike on land or sea;
And every rood of British ground,
On which a hostile glave is found,
Proves, under their firm tread and vig'rous stroke,
A deck of royal oak.

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