Just to remember and think--Anyone care to offer a fresh take on the theme?


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Neo-Luddite
May 2, 2007, 10:18 PM
Brown Bess

- Rudyard Kipling



In the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise--
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes--
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear;
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.

When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks,
And people wore pigtails instead of perukes,
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks.
She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
"Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think am killing enough," said Brown Bess.

So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid,
And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)

In stubborn retreat or in stately advance,
From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain,
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon--no less--
Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.

She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day--
She danced till the dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way,
And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,
"I have danced my last dance for the world!" said Brown Bess.

If you go to Museums--there's one in Whitehall--
Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her, upstanding, her back to the wall,
As stiff as a ramrod, the flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers', that arm is Brown Bess!

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Gaiudo
May 2, 2007, 10:21 PM
Good ol' Kipling. I like the poem.

Oleg Volk
May 2, 2007, 10:30 PM
Not quite as good as Kipling's, but on a similar topic:

I held the heavy, martial shape and wondered what it was
And how it saw my progenitors though long-forgotten wars

It's barrel long, it's dark stock worn, but musket it was not
And though it looked industrial, did not date from World War

The thick suppressor made it look like drug war ninja tool
But the coaxial plasma barrel postdated those murderous fools

It was the standard rebel arm, same as the army used
In the year 2064, during the Civil War, part two

With it the land was laid to waste and many perished then
But we won freedom by force of arms, liberty was reclaimed

We learned back then the heavy price of things doled out for free
Which we ourselves were forced to provide at a bayonet point or three

We learned that the state is never a friend, like rings from a Tolkien tale
That freedom to live as we see fit is worth more than a gilded cage

And that it would be too late someday, the boot would grind the face
That giving up arms is giving up hope, forfeiting that fail-safe

So the war was fought and the freedom bought, with blood and tears and sweat
And this weapon hangs by the fireplace, to reminder of high price paid

lee n. field
May 2, 2007, 11:03 PM
So where is that from?

Oleg Volk
May 3, 2007, 12:10 AM
From me.

Biker
May 3, 2007, 12:16 AM
Well done, Oleg. Was it written in English or written in Russian and translated?

Biker

Neo-Luddite
May 3, 2007, 04:51 AM
It stands up well by Kipling, Oleg-(good) gun poetry is hard to come by.
Thanks.

John-Melb
May 3, 2007, 05:42 AM
Liked Kipling and Oleg, that's good, but, being an Aussie I've always had a soft spot for Lawson.
---------------------------------------------------------------
As Far As Your Rifles Cover

Henry Lawson
1901
Do you think, you slaves of a thousand years to poverty, wealth and pride,
You can crush the spirit that has been free in a land that's new and wide?
When you've scattered the last of the farmer bands, and the war for a while is over,
You will hold the land – ay, you'll hold the land – the land that your rifles cover.

Till your gold has levelled each mountain range where a wounded man can hide,
Till your gold has lighted the moonless night on the plains where the rebels ride;
Till the future is proved, and the past is bribed from the son of the land's dead lover –
You may hold the land – you may hold the land just as far as your rifles cover.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Radagast
May 3, 2007, 05:56 AM
G'day John. I had this one pasted to my desk as a teenager:

Every Man Should Have A Rifle
Henry Lawson
1907
So I sit and write and ponder, while the house is deaf and dumb,
Seeing visions "over yonder" of the war I know must come.
In the corner – not a vision – but a sign for coming days
Stand a box of ammunition and a rifle in green baize.
And in this, the living present, let the word go through the land,
Every tradesman, clerk and peasant should have these two things at hand.

No – no ranting song is needed, and no meeting, flag or fuss –
In the future, still unheeded, shall the spirit come to us!
Without feathers, drum or riot on the day that is to be,
We shall march down, very quiet, to our stations by the sea.
While the bitter parties stifle every voice that warns of war,
Every man should own a rifle and have cartridges in store!

John-Melb
May 3, 2007, 05:59 AM
Radagast
Great minds think alike, I was looking for that one when you posted.

Some more Lawson for any that's interested
---------------------------------------------------------------

Every Man Should Have A Rifle


Henry Lawson

1907


So I sit and write and ponder, while the house is deaf and dumb,
Seeing visions "over yonder" of the war I know must come.
In the corner – not a vision – but a sign for coming days
Stand a box of ammunition and a rifle in green baize.
And in this, the living present, let the word go through the land,
Every tradesman, clerk and peasant should have these two things at hand.

No – no ranting song is needed, and no meeting, flag or fuss –
In the future, still unheeded, shall the spirit come to us!
Without feathers, drum or riot on the day that is to be,
We shall march down, very quiet, to our stations by the sea.
While the bitter parties stifle every voice that warns of war,
Every man should own a rifle and have cartridges in store!


Because My Father's One

or, I'm A Rebel Too

Henry Lawson
1908

It was the King of Virland –
0 he was angry then –
That rode to crush rebellion
With twenty thousand men.
His enemies he scattered
And hanged on every side,
Because their creed was rapine,
Their cause was greed and pride.

They searched for Outlaw Eric,
They hunted everywhere –
(Most honest of the rebels
If aught was honest there).
King Hertzberg swore to hang him,
But, when the day was done,
They had not found the Outlaw,
But found his little son.

He had not seen his father,
Nor knew where he had gone;
And someone asked him, thoughtless,
Which side himself was on,
And straightway he made answer –
They found he answered true –
"My father is a rebel,
And I'm a rebel too."

King Hertzberg, he dismounted,
And kindly bent his head:
"Now, why are you a rebel,
My little man?" he said.
The boy nor paused nor faltered,
But stood like Eric's son,
And answered Hertzberg simply –
"Because my father's one."

And then they promised all things,
Dear to his heart, I ween –
They promised they would make him
The first page to the queen,
With princesses for playmates –
But, nay, it would not do –
"My father is a rebel,
And I'm a rebel too!"

King Hertzberg sank beside him
And rested on one knee.
"I would my royal children
As loyal were!" said he.
"Go, seek and tell your father
That he and his go free,
And if his wrongs be real
Then let him come to me.

"And let him come with plain words,
With plain words in daylight,
And ride not with armed rebels
And outlaws in the night.
And let him not misjudge me –
For to all that is untrue,
And wherever Wrong's the ruler,
I am a rebel too."

The Man Who Raised Charlestown


Henry Lawson
1909

Suggested by an incident in the "Devil's Disciple", but the name "Buckland" is fictitious here, and so also is "Charlestown", and the quiet man may represent an original character for any time.

They were hanging men in Buckland who would not cheer King George –
The parson from his pulpit and the blacksmith from his forge;
They were hanging men and brothers, and the stoutest heart was down,
When a quiet man from Buckland rode at dusk to raise Charlestown.

Not a young man in his glory filled with patriotic fire,
Not an orator or soldier, or a known man in his shire;
He was just the Unexpected – one of Danger's Volunteers,
At a time for which he'd waited, all unheard of, many years.

And Charlestown met in council, the quiet man to hear –
The town was large and wealthy, but the folks were filled with fear,
The fear of death and plunder; and none to lead had they,
And Self fought Patriotism as will always be the way.

The man turned to the people, and he spoke in anger then.
And crooked his finger here and there to those he marked as men.
And many gathered round him to see what they could do –
For men know men in danger, as they know the cowards too.

He chose his men and captains, and sent them here and there,
The arms and ammunition were gathered in the square;
While peaceful folk were praying or croaking, every one,
He was working with his blacksmiths at the carriage of a gun.

While the Council sat on Sunday, and the church bells rang their peal,
The quiet man was mending a broken waggon wheel;
While they passed their resolutions on his doings (and the likes),
From a pile his men brought to him he was choosing poles for pikes.

(They were hanging men in Buckland who would not cheer King George –
They were making pikes in Charlestown at every blacksmith's forge:
While the Council sat in session and the same old song they sang,
They heard the horsemen gallop out, and the blacksmiths' hammers clang.)

And a thrill went through the city ere the drums began to roll,
And the coward found his courage, and the drunkard found his soul.
So a thrill went through the city that would go through all the land,
For the quiet man from Buckland held men's hearts in his right hand.

And he caught a Charlestown poet (there are many tell the tale),
And he took him by the collar when he'd filled him up with ale;
"Now, then, write a song for Charlestown that shall lift her on her way,
For she's marching out to Buckland and to Death at break o' day."

And he set the silenced women tearing sheet and shift and shirt
To make bandages and roll them for the men that would get hurt.
And he called out his musicians and he told them what to play:
"For I want my men excited when they march at break o' day."

And he set the women cooking – with a wood-and-water crew –
"For I want no empty stomachs for the work we have to do."
Then he said to his new soldiers: "Eat your fill while yet you may;
'Tis a heavy road to Buckland that we'll march at break o' day."

And a shout went through the city when the drums began to roll
(And the coward was a brave man and the beggar had a soul),
And the drunken Charlestown poet cared no more if he should hang,
For his song of "Charlestown's Coming" was the song the soldiers sang.

And they cursed the King of England, and they shouted in their glee,
And they swore to drive the British and their friends into the sea;
But when they'd quite finished swearing, said their leader "Let us pray,
For we march to Death and Freedom, and it's nearly dawn of day."

There were marching feet at daybreak, and close upon their heels
Came the scuffling tread of horses and the heavy crunch of wheels;
So they took the road to Buckland, with their scout out to take heed,
And a quiet man of fifty on a grey horse in the lead.

There was silence in the city, there was silence as of night –
Women in the ghostly daylight, kneeling, praying, deathly white,
As their mothers knelt before them, as their daughters knelt since then,
And as ours shall, in the future, kneel and pray for fighting men.

For their men had gone to battle, as our sons and grandsons too
Must go out, for Life and Freedom, as all nations have to do.
And the Charlestown women waited for the sounds that came too soon –
Though they listened, almost breathless, till the early afternoon.

Then they heard the tones of danger for their husbands, sweethearts, sons,
And they stopped their ears in terror, crying, "Oh, my God! The guns!"
Then they strained their ears to listen through the church-bells' startled chime –
Far along the road to Buckland, Charlestown's guns were marking time.

"They advance!" "They halt!" "Retreating!" "They come back!" The guns are done!"
But the calmer spirits, listening, said: "Our guns are going on."
And the friend and foe in Buckland felt two different kinds of thrills
When they heard the Charlestown cannon talking on the Buckland hills.

And the quiet man of Buckland sent a message in that day,
And he gave the British soldiers just two hours to march away.
And they hang men there no longer, there is peace on land and wave;
On the sunny hills of Buckland there is many a quiet grave.

There is peace upon the land, and there is friendship on the waves –
On the sunny hills of Buckland there are rows of quiet graves.
And an ancient man in Buckland may be seen in sunny hours,
Pottering round about his garden, and his kitchen stuff and flowers.

Colt46
May 3, 2007, 06:08 AM
Out-spoken, flinty lipped, brazen faced jade

Kipling sure knew what he was about.

oldfart
May 3, 2007, 01:42 PM
Don't know for sure who wrote this but I like it. Hope you do too.


"The Muster Drum"

Do ye hear the roll of the Muster Drum
Rattlin' in your brain?
Can ye hear the tramp of Redcoat files
Comin' up your lane?
Rifle and horn and hawk ye have.
Will ye join us in The Fight?
Then find a tree or wall, Good Friend,
And mark well your bright front sight!

For they're comin', Lad, they're comin' fast,
Their bayonets agleam.
And maybe we can't stop 'em here
And maybe they'll cross your stream,
To burn your house and barn, my lad,
Put your family out in the night!
So find a tree or wall, Good Friend,
And mark well your bright front sight!

We can harry 'em, harry 'em, in the road,
‘Til they wish they'd never come
To confiscate our powder and arms
And carry off our Gun!
We can show the World we're Free Men
Who'll Stand, Defend the Right!
Now find that tree or wall, Good Friend,
And mark well your bright front sight!

A Nation of Riflemen we can be,
If you'll enlist and arm and train!
Our ghosts are waiting for you, Friend,
On range and firing lane.
Can YOU hear the roll of the Muster Drum
By your fireside warm and bright?
Will you rise to find YOUR tree or wall
And mark well YOUR bright front sight?

For the need is NOW, my stranger Friend,
And it's urgent and it's plain.
The forces ranged against us
Now have everything to gain.
Take up the Call! Raise high your heart!
Answer the Muster Roll!
Stand shoulder-to with Friend and Friend.
Learn teamwork. Have a goal!
And mebbe, just mebbe, you won't be alone
Some cold and fearsome night
When to live you must find your tree or wall,
And mark well your bright front sight!!

Oleg Volk
May 3, 2007, 02:23 PM
I write in English, though sometimes take grammatical liberties to keep the rhyme.

Biker
May 3, 2007, 02:25 PM
Again, well done.

Biker

Rocketman56
May 3, 2007, 02:56 PM
Oleg: very nice.. I'll keep that one around..

I'm also interested to see more about Mr. Lawson.. sounds like my kind of writer!
Kipling we all knew about.. (and yes, he did have the "Right Stuff" to borrow a phrase from Tom Wolfe..)

Mods: Would a Literature section not be of some interest?? Permanent links to
known writers of current on-theme literature?? (Like "Lights Out", for example,
as well as the fine poetry in this thread??) Just a suggestion.. I know I enjoy
reading it.. (as well as the several hundred volumes of Science Fiction in my library..
David Weber and John Ringo are the current "hot topics..":D )

THANKS!
Steve

Oleg Volk
May 3, 2007, 04:11 PM
A line in the sand.

The enemy host approached
Beheld the line in the sand
Walked along it without crossing
Deciding what to do next

Dug into chilly foxholes
Defenders awaited onslaught
Their sights set to the distance
At which the enemy paused

As bugles signaled advance
A volley ripped into the ranks
And while the bodies were falling
Lead storm tore at them once again

Checked by effective fire
Invaders retreated in shame
Learning that line in the sand
Was also marker for range

Remember that, would-be tyrants
To boundaries pay some respect
For free men still have their rifles
And wages of evil is death

Oleg Volk
May 3, 2007, 04:35 PM
This man with a gun is a coward
Who'd rather retreat than fight
He shrinks from violent conflict
And fears enemy's might

His wife is a skittish woman
Who'd rather be safe than right
She carries a gun with reluctance
Disliking its very sight

These two who might shake in fear
On perceiving a credible threat
Would fight for each other and children
Retreating not by a step

They fear and yet they conquer
The fear that evil spreads
They like their weapons little
But they cherish what guns protect

Threeband
May 4, 2007, 12:23 AM
Ho, all to the borders! Vermonters come down!
With your britches of deerskin and jackets of brown.
With your red woolen caps, and your mocassins, come:
To the gathering summons of trumpet and drum.
Come down with your rifle; let gray wolf and fox
Howl on in the shadows of primitive rocks.
Let bear feed securely from pig-pen and stall:
Here's two-legged game for your powder and ball.

On our south came the Hessians, our land to police,
And armed for the battle, while canting of peace.
On our east came the British, that red-coated band,
To hang up our leaders and eat up our land.
Ho, all to the rescue! for Satan shall work
No gain for the legions of Hampshire and York;
They claim our possession, the pitiful knaves,
The tribute we pay shall be prisons and graves.

We owe no allegiance; we bow to no throne.
Our ruler is Law, and the law is our own.
Our leaders themselves are our own fellow men,
Who can handle the sword, and the scythe, and the pen.
Hurrah for Vermont! For the land which we till
Must have sons to defend her from valley and hill.
Our vow is recorded, our banner unfurled:
In the name of Vermont, we defy all the world!

------------------------------
That's on a "National Geographic" record Rebels and Redcoats. Old record, not at all P.C., obviously.

But to me, that's what America is all about. (Of course, Vermont's big mistake may have been joining the Union in 1795.)

Neo-Luddite
May 5, 2007, 01:38 AM
No – no ranting song is needed, and no meeting, flag or fuss –
In the future, still unheeded, shall the spirit come to us!
Without feathers, drum or riot on the day that is to be,
We shall march down, very quiet, to our stations by the sea.
While the bitter parties stifle every voice that warns of war,
Every man should own a rifle and have cartridges in store!


This goes up in the gun room, and I've got more reading to do! Thank You!

Neo-Luddite
May 5, 2007, 01:43 AM
No, it goes up on the most-hallowed ice box! We need this like we need food and kids' artwork! This is verse fit for a frigin' fridge magnet!

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