The Antiquary's Armory
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The Antiquary's Armory

The Antiquary's Armory


The Antiquary's Armory

Weapons of War and Chase

They hang on the carven oaken wall
Of picturesque, ancestral hall,
Armors in ancient battles worn,
Banners and pennons shred and torn;
Cuirass and helmet, gorget bright,
Dinted and pierced in stormy fight,
Breastplate and morion, casques of proof,
Hanging from rafter and groined roof.
Burnish’d shields that have turned aside
Bullet and arrow in battletide;
Swords double-handed, claymore blade,
By Scottish hands in forays sway’d ---
Weapons of every age and race
In this old gallery find a place.

Stiletto, dagger and poniard keen,
Toledo rapier, Highland skene,
Banners that stream’d from castle crag,
Trafalgar Nelson’s blazon’d flag,
Standards at Moscow’s gate that flew,
Or wav’d in the flames of waterloo,
Banners of Cressy and Poitiers,
Star-flags that wav’d on Bunker’s height,
Or Marston Moon in the vanish’d years,
Flags of the old Saratoga fight,
Blood –red ensigns of Lundy Lane,
Of Orleans, borne o’er British slain;
Flags of the grand, chivalric joust,
Where spears were shiver’d and lances lost:
Flags of Gettysburg’s stricken field,
Or where the cannon of Shiloh peal’d;
And many another tatter’d fold,
Schorch’d in the fires, in slaughter roll’d.

There were weapons of Indian strife,
Red tomahawk and scalping-knife;
Buckler of skin and wampum crest,
War-club and sling of the savage West,
Shafts of prehistoric race,
Fashion’d for ravage or the chase;
Knife of the Norseman, keen to slay,
Pawnee arrows of lawless fray,
Spears of the ruthless Carib band,
Light assegais of Afric land,
Deerhorn naliget, tipt with steel
Of Arctic hunter of the seal;
A Feejee paddle and war-canoe
Once mann’d by a Cannibal Island crew.

All these mementoes of peace and war,
From frozen pole to the tropics far,
Shine out as the sunbeam filters clear,
O’er kandjar, creese, and spur and spear;
They rest in peace from hunt and fight,
The dust of the years gathers on them white;
They crumble in Time’s corroding rust,
The hands that fashion’d them lie in dust.

These weapons remind of other years,
When swept the Saxon with plump of spears,
Of pulk of Cossacks in wild hurrah,
Storming around Napolean’s war;
Of Indian tribesman o’er grassy plain,
The plunging charges, the tossing mane,
The swinging lariat, levell’d lance,
The massacre, the great war dance,
And of many another stirring scene ---
When these old weapons were bright and keen.

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