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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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