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Valenciennes Analysis

Author: Poetry of Thomas Hardy Type: Poetry Views: 310

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By Corporal Tullidge. See "The Trumpet-Major"

In Memory of S. C. (Pensioner). Died 184-

WE trenched, we trumpeted and drummed,

And from our mortars tons of iron hummed

Ath'art the ditch, the month we bombed

The Town o' ValencieŽn.

'Twas in the June o' Ninety-dree

(The Duke o' Yark our then Commander beŽn)

The German Legion, Guards, and we

Laid siege to ValencieŽn.

This was the first time in the war

That French and English spilled each other's gore;

--God knows what year will end the roar

Begun at ValencieŽn!

'Twas said that we'd no business there

A-topperŤn the French for disagreŽn;

However, that's not my affair--

We were at ValencieŽn.

Such snocks and slats, since war began

Never knew raw recruit or veterŗn:

Stone-deaf therence went many a man

Who served at ValencieŽn.

Into the streets, ath'art the sky,

A hundred thousand balls and bombs were fleŽn;

And harmless townsfolk fell to die

Each hour at ValencieŽn!

And, sweatŤn wi' the bombardiers,

A shell was slent to shards anighst my ears:

--'Twas night the end of hopes and fears

For me at ValencieŽn!

They bore my wownded frame to camp,

And shut my gapŤn skull, and washed en clešn,

And jined en wi' a zilver clamp

Thik night at ValencieŽn.

"We've fetched en back to quick from dead;

But never more on earth while rose is red

Will drum rouse Corpel!" Doctor said

O' me at ValencieŽn.

'Twer true. No voice o' friend or foe

Can reach me now, or any liveŤn beŽn;

And little have I power to know

Since then at ValencieŽn!

I never hear the zummer hums

O' bees; and don't know when the cuckoo comes;

But night and day I hear the bombs

We threw at ValencieŽn....

As for the Duke o' Yark in war,

There be some volk whose judgment o' en is mešn;

But this I say--'a was not far

From great at ValencieŽn.

O' wild wet nights, when all seems sad,

My wownds come back, as though new wownds I'd had;

But yet--at times I'm sort o' glad

I fout at ValencieŽn.

Well: Heaven wi' its jasper halls

Is now the on'y Town I care to be in....

Good Lord, if Nick should bomb the walls

As we did ValencieŽn!


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