'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

22 July 2012

Sunday Kipling

Late again. I'm smack in middle of a new project, turning the mud room into a laundry room. I've been working on it all this week and today Lu and I had to do the final deconstruction to get ready for wiring and plumbing starting tomorrow. I'll post some pics on Monday.

I'm feeling particularly pessimistic this afternoon and this poem always puts me in mind of those men who pledged "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor". I'm still of the opinion that we will never be forced into that same oath ourselves but I'm also preparing so take that for what it's worth.

I hope this day finds you all well. Take a moment and kiss the one you love best, throw something delicious on the grill and enjoy the day as Americans.


Brown Bess

The Army Musket--1700-1815
In the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
  Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise--
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
  With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes-- 
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
  Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear; 
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
  On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.

When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks,
   And people wore pigtails instead of perukes,
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks.
  She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
"Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think am killing enough," said Brown Bess.

So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
  From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid, 
  And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess 
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)

In stubborn retreat or in stately advance,
  From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain,
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
  Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon--no less--
 Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.

She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day--
   She danced till the dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way,
   And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,   
 "I have danced my last dance for the world!" said Brown Bess.

If you go to Museums--there's one in Whitehall--
  Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her, upstanding, her back to the wall,
  As stiff as a ramrod, the flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers', that arm is Brown Bess!


agirlandhergun said...

Your pessimism is more optimistic than my optimism:) Still, good poem. Good gun.

Can't wait for the pics.

Six said...

Thanks Girl.