Valenciennes

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' Valencieën.

  'Twas in the June o' Ninety-dree
  (The Duke o' Yark our then Commander beën)
  The German Legion, Guards, and we
  Laid siege to Valencieën.

  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 Valencieën!

  'Twas said that we'd no business there
  A-topperèn the French for disagreën;
  However, that's not my affair--
  We were at Valencieën.

  Such snocks and slats, since war began
  Never knew raw recruit or veteràn:
  Stone-deaf therence went many a man
  Who served at Valencieën.

  Into the streets, ath'art the sky,
  A hundred thousand balls and bombs were fleën;
  And harmless townsfolk fell to die
  Each hour at Valencieën!

  And, sweatèn wi' the bombardiers,
  A shell was slent to shards anighst my ears:
  --'Twas night the end of hopes and fears
  For me at Valencieën!

  They bore my wownded frame to camp,
  And shut my gapèn skull, and washed en cleän,
  And jined en wi' a zilver clamp
  Thik night at Valencieën.

  "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 Valencieën.

  'Twer true. No voice o' friend or foe
  Can reach me now, or any liveèn beën;
  And little have I power to know
  Since then at Valencieën!

  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 Valencieën....

  As for the Duke o' Yark in war,
  There be some volk whose judgment o' en is meän;
  But this I say--'a was not far
  From great at Valencieën.

  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 Valencieën.

  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 Valencieën!

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Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, was a Scottish Minister, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Professor of Eccesiastical History at Edinburgh University. more…

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"Valenciennes" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 22 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/36610/valenciennes>.

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