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Lyr Req: The Battle of Bunker Hill (dummy title)

GUEST,Io M. Hooper 12 May 13 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Io M. Hooper 08 Jun 13 - 09:29 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Jun 13 - 04:17 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: The Battle of Bunker Hill (dummy title)
From: GUEST,Io M. Hooper
Date: 12 May 13 - 07:46 AM

I accidentally got rid of a cassette, and I've found it has the only copy of this song I've been able to find. I believe it was originally recorded from a July 4 special on the radio station KVOD sometime in the '80s or late '70s, on the off chance that anything can be done with that information.

It has a very somber tune. It begins, "'Twas June upon the seventeenth day". It has plenty of reference to the horror of war:

Many Britons gasped on the ground.

With men cut down like grass that's mown

They fought like brave men, on both sides,
And many a valiant hero died.
The earth was soak-ed with their blood
And wounded wallowed in the flood.


The longest consecutive segment I remember is the last two-and-a-half stanzas:

...The best intelligence doth tell
One thousand and near fifty fell.

They lost near five men to our one,
Although our men were forced to run;
They bought their victory so dear
It did not much increase our fear.

May God bring on the happy day
When carnal swords no more shall slay
And Christ as Prince of Peace shall reign
And war be learnt no more again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Battle of Bunker Hill (dummy title)
From: GUEST,Io M. Hooper
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 09:29 PM

I think it's high time I bumped this post.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Battle of Bunker Hill (dummy title)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Jun 13 - 04:17 PM

I don't know who sang this song, or what tune was used, but I think I found the source of the text. It's in The Diary of the American Revolution, 1775-1781 by Frank Moore and John Anthony Scott (New York: Washington Square Press, 1967), page 45:

On the Bloody engagement that was Fought on BUNKER'S HILL in Charlestown NEW-ENGLAND, on the 17th of JUNE, 1775: Together with some Remarks of the Cruelty and Barbarity of the BRITISH Troops, by Destroying the above mention'd Town by FIRE, by which a Number of Distresed Inhabitants were forced to Flee from the Flames, to seek Relief and Shelter among their Sympathizing Brethren in the neighbouring TOWNS.

By ELISHA RICH, Minister of the Gospel.

I.
AMERICANS pray lend an Ear
And you a solemn Tale shall hear
'Twas on the seventeenth of JUNE
Men were cut down all in their bloom.

II.
GOD grant it's memory may lye
A witness against TYRANNY,
Also against NEW ENGLAND'S sin
Which hath let cruel TYRANTS in.

III.
[Indecipherable]

IV.
Last JUNE, upon the seventeenth day,
These Troops for CHARLESTOWN made their way,
For to resist our SOLDIERS there,
Who a strong FORT preparing were.

V.
The SHIPS OF WAR had gather'd round,
To make our Soldiers quit the ground.
And tho' some Men by them were slain,
Yet still their courage they retain.

VI.
But when these Troops had landed there,
Our Men to fight them did prepare,
And when our Men shot their first round,
Many BRITAINS gasped on the ground.

VII.
They Fought like brave MEN on both sides,
And many a valiant HERO dy'd,
The Earth was soaked with their blood,
And wounded wallow'd in the Flood.

VIII.
So warm a Fight is seldom known,
Men were cut down like Grass that's mown,
And some say Gage who did them 'spie,
Said we that ground too dear shall buy.

IX.
Our Men that fought, they were but few,
Their POWDER being spent, withdrew,
And left the ground unto their foe,
And back again were forc'd to go.

X.
Tho' BRITISH TROOPS the ground did gain,
Yet many more of them were slain,
The best intelligence doth tell,
One THOUSAND and near FIFTY fell.

XI.
'Tis thought they lost five to our one,
Altho' our Men were fore'd to run
They bought the victory so dear
It did not much increase our fear.

[...]

XX.
Let's view the rod that GOD hath sent,
And for our many sins relent,
So that God's wrath again may cease
And may restore our land to peace.

XXI.
That TYRANTS may no more arise
And brand their swords with haughty eyes,
May Heaven cause their pride to cease,
That so Christ's Kingdom may encrease.

XXII.
May God bring on the happy day
When carnal swords no more shall slay,
And CHRIST as Prince of peace shall reign,
And War be learnt no more again.

[I used my best mojo to extract as much of the poem as possible from Google, although Google classifies the book as "snippet view only" due to copyright restrictions. I think I got the beginning and end of the poem although I'm missing a chunk in the middle.

If you go to WorldCat.org and enter your Zip Code, you may be able to locate a copy of the book in a library near you.

Google finds many other books that mention the poem by author and title (or an abbreviated version of the title) but don't give a complete text.]


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