The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Monday and Swain's Lock


The Swamp Fox
By William Gilmore Simms

We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,
  His friends and merry men are we;
And when the troop of Tarleton rides,
  We burrow in the cypress tree.
The turfy hammock is our bed,
  Our home is in the red deer's den,
Our roof, the tree-top overhead,
  For we are wild and hunted men.

We fly by day and shun its light,
  But, prompt to strike the sudden blow,
We mount and start with early night,
  And through the forest track our foe.
And soon he hears our chargers leap,
  The flashing sabre blinds his eyes,
And ere he drives away his sleep,
  And rushes from his camp, he dies.

Free bridle-bit, good gallant steed,
  That will not ask a kind caress
To swim the Santee at our need,
  When on his heels the foemen press,—
The true heart and the ready hand,
  The spirit stubborn to be free,
The twisted bore, the smiting brand,—
  And we are Marion's men, you see.

Now light the fire and cook the meal,
  The last perhaps that we shall taste;
I hear the Swamp Fox round us steal,
  And that's a sign we move in haste.
He whistles to the scouts, and hark!
  You hear his order calm and low.
Come, wave your torch across the dark,
  And let us see the boys that go.

We may not see their forms again,
  God help'em, should they find the strife!
For they are strong and fearless men,
  And make no coward terms for life;
They'll fight as long as Marion bids,
  And when he speaks the word to shy,
Then, not till then, they turn their steeds,
  Through thickening shade and swamp to fly.

Now stir the fire and lie at ease,—
  The scouts are gone, and on the brush
I see the Colonel bend his knee,
  To take his slumbers too. But hush!
He's praying, comrades;'t is not strange;
  The man that's fighting day by day
May well, when night comes, take a change,
  And down upon his knees to pray.

Break up that hoe-cake, boys, and hand
  The sly and silent jug that's there;
I love not it should idly stand
  When Marion's men have need of cheer.
'Tis seldom that our luck affords
  A stuff like this we just have quaffed,
And dry potatoes on our boards
  May always call for such a draught.

Now pile the brush and roll the log;
  Hard pillow, but a soldier's head
That's half the time in brake and bog
  Must never think of softer bed.
The owl is hooting to the night,
  The cooter crawling o'er the bank,
And in that pond the flashing light
  Tells where the alligator sank.

What! 'tis the signal! start so soon,
  And through the Santee swamp so deep,
Without the aid of friendly moon,
  And we, Heaven help us! half asleep!
But courage, comrades! Marion leads,
  The Swamp Fox takes us out to-night;
So clear your swords and spur your steeds,
  There's goodly chance, I think, of fight.

We follow where the Swamp Fox guides,
  We leave the swamp and cypress-tree,
Our spurs are in our coursers' sides,
  And ready for the strife are we.
The Tory camp is now in sight,
  And there he cowers within his den;
He hears our shouts, he dreads the fight,
  He fears, and flies from Marion's men.

--------

It wasn't as warm on Sunday as it had been on Saturday, but it was bright and sunny, when we retrieved younger son after Hebrew school, we went to Swain's Lock on the C&O Canal. We couldn't remember the last time we'd been there; at the time, there was a boat launch and I think people could even rent bicycles. We walked between the canal and the Potomac River and saw as many animals as people -- a deer, a fox, a raccoon, mallards, a woodpecker -- and when we finally walked back to the parking lot, there was a policeman checking up on a report of two dogs who'd been left locked in a car without the windows open (I am glad they actually follow up on such reports in our county).















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I had to fold laundry in the afternoon so for the first time in years I watched the entire broadcast of the US Figure Skating Championships pairs and men's long programs. I had absolutely nothing invested in who won and so I was very happy with the results, which in both cases I thought sent the best skaters by far to Worlds. Adam went ice skating with his girlfriend, so we had peanut soup for dinner (not his favorite but it is mine!) and I made Paul watch the SAG Awards, which I enjoyed greatly -- I had little invested in who won any of the TV categories (though I never mind Boardwalk Empire winning things and I was glad Kathy Bates was even nominated) and I felt bad for Glenn Close going home empty-handed, but I really wanted The Help to kick ass in all its categories, and it did. I would love for it to do as well at the Oscars.
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