Commonplace Book: The Soldier’s Tear

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.

Painting by Margaret Keane
Upon a hill he turned,
To take a last fond look
Of the valley and the village church,
And the cottage by the brook.
He listened to the sounds
So familiar to the ear,
And the soldier leant upon his sword
And wiped away a tear. …

He turned and left the spot,
Oh! do not deem him weak,
For dauntless was the soldier’s heart,
Tho’ tears were on his cheek.
Go watch the foremost ranks,
In danger’s dark career.
Be sure the hand most daring there
Has wiped away a tear.

– Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797 – 1839)

From The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse, selected and arranged by D. B. Wyndham Lewis and Charles Lee (1930); New York Review Books reprint 2003.

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