Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Nor a solider discharged his farewell shot
O’er the grave where our hero was buried.
We buried him darkly at the dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam’s misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
This poem, which goes on for another 7 stanzas was written in 1816 by a Church of Ireland curate called Charles Wolfe about the death of Sir John Moore in battle against the French. The meter is so tightly crafted that it remains perhaps one of the greatest examples of Victorian English Poetry.
Charles Wolfe suffered poor health, was unlucky in love and lonely in life, dying at the age of 34 on this day in 1823:
Lightly they’ll talk of the spirit that’s gone,
And o’er his cold ashes upbraid him;
But little he’ll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (serendipiday.blogspot.com)