Valenciennes by Thomas Hardy
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' ValencieÐ»n.
'Twas in the June o' Ninety-dree
(The Duke o' Yark our then Commander beÐ»n)
The German Legion, Guards, and we
Laid siege to ValencieÐ»n.
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 ValencieÐ»n!
'Twas said that we'd no business there
A-topperÐ¸n the French for disagreÐ»n;
However, that's not my affair--
We were at ValencieÐ»n.
Such snocks and slats, since war began
Never knew raw recruit or veterÐ°n:
Stone-deaf therence went many a man
Who served at ValencieÐ»n.
Into the streets, ath'art the sky,
A hundred thousand balls and bombs were fleÐ»n;
And harmless townsfolk fell to die
Each hour at ValencieÐ»n!
And, sweatÐ¸n wi' the bombardiers,
A shell was slent to shards anighst my ears:
--'Twas night the end of hopes and fears
For me at ValencieÐ»n!
They bore my wownded frame to camp,
And shut my gapÐ¸n skull, and washed en cleÐ´n,
And jined en wi' a zilver clamp
Thik night at ValencieÐ»n.
"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 ValencieÐ»n.
'Twer true. No voice o' friend or foe
Can reach me now, or any liveÐ¸n beÐ»n;
And little have I power to know
Since then at ValencieÐ»n!
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 ValencieÐ»n....
As for the Duke o' Yark in war,
There be some volk whose judgment o' en is meÐ´n;
But this I say--'a was not far
From great at ValencieÐ»n.
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 ValencieÐ»n.
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 ValencieÐ»n!