Up to Dunbar our Cromwell went,
Not to invade was his intent;
But they who first King Charles sold
Now turn their backs on friends of old,
And principles they then held dear
Were sacrificed for self, I fear.
Another Stuart they receive,
Who knew too well how to deceive;
The most perfidious of his race,
Corrupt in life, and void of grace,
The menial of the Papacy;
And yet content by oath to free
Himself from Holy See's control,
And covenant to save his soul
By the Scotch Presbyterian mode,
As to the crown this paved the road.
But Cromwell brooked not this control;
He wished man free to save his soul
As conscience may to him dictate,
Without subservience to the State.
He saw also thro' the disguise
Of one well versed in fraud and lies,
And saw how England's liberties
Were threatened by this scheme of his.
So up to Dunbar Cromwell went;
To break this compact his intent,
Conserve the rights of Britons true
To worship God in desk and pew
As conscience may to them dictate,
Without control of king, or state,
Or Papal "bull," or legate's rod--
Only accountable to God.
On Sunday night he reached Dunbar.
From darkened sky gleamed not a star;
The way he travelled o'er was drear,
Made doubly so by Scotchmen's fear.
At his approach like sheep they fled,
Made frantic by an awful dread
Of red-hot irons, spear, and sword,
Of breasts thrust thro', and bodies gored,
Which they were told would be their lot
When Cromwell came. So from each cot
They bore away what pleased them best,
And to the flames consigned the rest.
But now Dunbar is reached; yet he
Finds himself in extremity;
Midst swamps and bogs unfit to tent,
By Lammermoor from hillside rent,
Leslie in front defiant stands
A noble army he commands
Of thousands two score seven, or more,
Ready on Cromwell shot to pour.
Behind the sea cut off retreat;
With such great odds can he compete?
The mountain sheep may safely tread
The Lammermoor, but men may dread
To cross this heath at any time;
Much more now, midst the rain and slime,
Will Cromwell with the smaller score
Dare to cross o'er to Dunbar shore?
Tho' shipped were half his guns and men
The foe falls ere he turn again.
With foresight keen, like one inspired,
He saw the end ere Leslie fired.
"THE LORD," said he, as rapt he stands,
"HATH GIVEN THEM INTO OUR HANDS!"
'Tis the ninth month and second day,
A wild, wet night, historians say.
Quit you like men, and bravely stand;
Death's wrestle now is close at hand;
Heed not the hoarse sea's doleful moan,
As on the cliffs its waves are thrown.
Think not of life nor kindred dear--
Who goes to war should nothing fear
But God, whose eye-lids never sleep--
His Israel He will safely keep.
Oh, pray! but keep your powder dry--
Your part do, then on God rely.
Stand to your arms the whole night thro'
Or lie awake with arms in view.
And you, ye Scots, your lights blow out,
But stay not in your strong redoubt.
'Midst shocks of corn your shelter seek,
And rest in sleep; your foe is weak,
Yet ere another night comes 'round
In deeper slumber shall be found
Full many of your stalwart host,
And stilled for aye their every boast.
In Cromwell's camp all night was heard
The voice of prayer in tones which stirred
The tender hearts of "Ironside" men,
As never can be told by pen.
Ere shone the first faint streak of morn,
The Scots beneath the shocks of corn,
Stretched out full length in quiet sleep,
Hear a loud blast, and upward leap
To seize their arms and face the foe.
Too late the warning! or, too slow
Their movements when the trump was heard,
Yet rang along the lines the word
Of battle-cry by Leslie sent,
"The Covenant! The Covenant!"
While high and strong was Cromwell's boast,
"The Lord of Hosts! The Lord of Hosts!"
With master skill he struck the blow,
And when shone out the crimson glow
Of morning sun upon the sea,
Brave Leslie's men began to flee.
"They run! Oh, I protest they run!
Let God arise! Let God arise!
And scattered be His enemies!"
Loud Cromwell cried. The work was done.
Then rose from England's host a cry
Which rent the very heavens on high.
Now halt they on the battle field
And to the Lord their homage yield--
And sing this song with hearts devout:
"O praise the Lord, ye nations all!
Laud Him all peoples on this ball!
His mercy toward us e'er is great;
His truth and grace for sinners wait,
Let all the people shout!"