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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' ValencieŽn.

'Twas in the June o' Ninety-dree
(The Duke o' Yark our then Commander beŽn)
The German Legion, Guards, and we
Laid siege to ValencieŽn.

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 ValencieŽn!

'Twas said that we'd no business there
A-topperŤn the French for disagreŽn;
However, that's not my affair--
We were at ValencieŽn.

Such snocks and slats, since war began
Never knew raw recruit or veterŗn:
Stone-deaf therence went many a man
Who served at ValencieŽn.

Into the streets, ath'art the sky,
A hundred thousand balls and bombs were fleŽn;
And harmless townsfolk fell to die
Each hour at ValencieŽn!

And, sweatŤn wi' the bombardiers,
A shell was slent to shards anighst my ears:
--'Twas night the end of hopes and fears
For me at ValencieŽn!

They bore my wownded frame to camp,
And shut my gapŤn skull, and washed en clešn,
And jined en wi' a zilver clamp
Thik night at ValencieŽn.

"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 ValencieŽn.

'Twer true. No voice o' friend or foe
Can reach me now, or any liveŤn beŽn;
And little have I power to know
Since then at ValencieŽn!

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 ValencieŽn....

As for the Duke o' Yark in war,
There be some volk whose judgment o' en is mešn;
But this I say--'a was not far
From great at ValencieŽn.

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 ValencieŽn.

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 ValencieŽn!