Henry O'Meara Ballads of America

Things of deep sense we may in
   prose unfold,
But they much more in lofty
   numbers told.




MARCH 5, 1770
'TIS March - the frosted ways are crystal 'neath the crescent light,
Fitly relucent glow for deeds that blot, yet gild this night -
Its stain, the patriots' mantling blood as light effused as spray,
Its gold an auric glimmer ere a dawning Nation's day,
Rising to flame in freemen's souls, hot-fanned by hirelings' breath,
While air bereft of liberty is charged with dews of death.
Long has a People's Chivalry hurled back the helot chain,
Spurned links of thrall with proud will fetterless in vain;
A Charter scorned, an om'nous squadron brooding on the Bay,
Troops quartered on a chafing Town tell Britain's lust of sway.
With idolled leaders outlawed - imposts and vassal taxes planned -
Her aliened offspring yield no tribute of a filial hand.
"Adams and Hancock wilt be seized!" - this night the warnings ring -
Through King Street rumors steal despite the sentry of the King -
"Disperse, conspirators!" the stern demand is heard from him -
The group, in sullen silence firm, is riveted and grim;
Hence free civilians throng, here Preston's reinforcements meet -
A moment, and a deathlike stillness falls upon the street.
Fiercely the scene is rent with roar of musketry and strife -
Swiftly the startled people wake to patriotic life;
Boston is roused to hear her stricken sons' avenging cry,
The crimson on her streets, foreshowing crime of deeper dye.
Heartsl beat - " to arms" - eyes flash like signal fires on Beacon Height,
New England's righteous flame is stirred to rage of martial might;
"Fire! Fire! " rings forth - from Brattle Street's bold tower outpeals the bell -
That fire ignites a Nation's life - that peal is thraldom's knell.
Then was a blow at king-craft by a sovereign people aimed -
Then, as an Adams proved, "an Empire's severance stood proclaimed."


Edited and formatted by Sheldon Brown

updated Wednesday, April 19, 2000
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