Across The Delaware

By Will Carleton

The winter night is cold and drear,
Along the river’s sullen flow; The cruel frost is camping here—
The air has living blades of snow. Look! pushing from the icy strand,
With ensigns freezing in the air. There sails a small but mighty band,
Across the dang’rous Delaware.

Oh, wherefore, soldiers, would you fight
The bayonets of a winter storm? In truth it were a better night
For blazing fire and blankets warm! We seek to trap a foreign foe.
Who fill themselves with stolen fare; We carry freedom as we go
Across the storm-swept Delaware!

The night is full of lusty cheer
Within the Hessians’ merry camp; And faint and fainter on the ear
Doth fall the heedless sentry’s tramp. O hirelings, this new nation’s rage
Is something ‘t is not well to dare; You are not fitted to engage
These men from o’er the Delaware!

A rush—a shout—a clarion call,
Salute the early morning’s gray: Now, roused invaders, yield or fall:
The refuge-land has won the day! Soon shall the glorious news be hurled
Wherever men have wrongs to bear; For freedom’s torch illumes the world,
And God has crossed the Delaware!

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