Military history



On Linden, when the sun was low,
All bloodless lay the untrodden snow,
And dark as winter was the flow
Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

But Linden saw another sight,
When the drum beat, at dead of night,
Commanding fires of death to light
The darkness of her scenery.

By torch and trumpet fast arrayed,
Each horseman drew his battle blade,
And furious every charger neighed
To join the dreadful revelry.

Then shook the hills, with thunder riven;
Then rushed the steed, to battle driven;
And, louder than the bolts of heaven,
Far flashed the red artillery.

But redder yet that light shall glow,
On Linden’s hills of stained snow;
And bloodier yet, the torrent flow
Of Iser, rolling rapidly.

’Tis morn; but scarce yon level sun
Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun,
Where furious Frank, and fiery Hun,
Shout in their sulphurous canopy.

The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Who rush to glory, or the grave!
Wave, Munich, all thy banners wave,
And charge with all thy chivalry!

Few, few shall part, where many meet!
The snow shall be their winding sheet,
And every turf, beneath their feet,
Shall be a soldier’s sepulchre.

Note: On 3 December 1800, the French General Jean Victor Moreau crossed the Rhine with his troops, decisively defeating the Austrian and allied forces in the Bavarian village of Hohenlinden. The battle marked a turning point in the French Revolutionary Wars.

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