And a lean farmer on a stony farm
Came home from mowing, buttoned up his shirt
And walked ten miles to town.
Musket in hand.
He didn’t know the sky was falling down
And, it may be, he didn’t know so much.
But people oughtn’t to be pushed around
By kings or any such.
A workman in the city dropped his tools.
An ordinary, small-town kind of man
Found himself standing in the April sun,
One of a ragged line
Against the skilled professionals of war,
The matchless infantry who could not fail,
Not for the profit, not to conquer worlds,
Not for the pomp or the heroic tale
But first, and principally, since he was sore.
They could do things in quite a lot of places.
They shouldn’t do them here, in Lexington.
He looked around and saw his neighbors’ faces…
John Brown’s Body is on my list of works that, like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, really needs to be reread every few years. I think I’m about due.
His Majesty: “One has to love a poem with lines like:”
Cushing ran down the last of his guns to the battle-line.
The rest had been smashed to scrap by Lee’s artillery fire.
He held his guts in his hand as the charge came up to the wall
And his gun spoke out for him once before he fell to the ground.
I think, this time, I agree with His Majesty.