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Ephraim’s Song

Ephraim’s Song

by Master Hector of Black Height

When I was a lad, far too young to see battle,
I rode with the wagons and there earned my way
Beside other youngsters and grizzled old greybeards
None of us then fit to face the fierce fray.
We served at the whim of the old wagon master
Who lost arm and eye in hard days long since fled
And when our companions marched off to the fighting
He turned to his troop and these bold words he said:

Come rally round, you ragged-ass bastards,
Let no man forget the day that you fell.
Come rally round, you ragged-ass bastards,
And if we must die, then let us die well.

I think of the day that our army went marching
To meet with the foeman some leagues to the north.
With young men and old stood the proud wagon master
To guard the King’s treasure as he sallied forth.
We stood and we watched as our comrades marched northward,
We stood and we watched as they slipped from our sight
And then the foe’s horse came to fall on our wagons:
Familiar bold words called the trains to the fight.

Come rally round...

He stood on the bench of a battered old wagon,
His sword in his one hand, his eye on the foes.
Upon his command we encircled the wagons
And stood to our arms as the foe made to close.
From high on his wagon he gazed on his charges,
On boys and on greybeards whose youth was long fled.
Our captain saw clear the sure end of this battle
But how we did cheer as these bold words he said!

Come rally round...

The foe formed to charge at our curtain of wagons
That bristled with spears at an old man’s behest.
Three times did they charge and three times we repelled them,
Old men newly young and young hearts at their best.
The fourth charge set one against our wagon master,
Hid by a blind eye and no arm for a shield:
‘Twas then he was struck but he roared his defiance
As gallant old blood stained the glorious field.
Come rally round...

‘Twas I who first reached him and cradled his head
When the foe’s horse withdrew to attack us once more.
He would not surrender his sword nor the treasure
His King had entrusted him, as oft before.
We waited to fall with our bold wagon master
When our gallant knights took the foe from the side
And so I was joined by a King fresh from battle
To hear an old man say, once more ere he died,

Come rally round...

I think on that day and the spurs that a King
Girt upon a boy’s heels at an old man’s behest.
New Knight and proud King bent their backs to the shovel
To dig a fresh grave for a warrior’s rest.
And now I am old and I guard my King’s wagons
With greybeards and boys who’ve not faced a man’s fears.
I swear on my spurs, if the foe seeks this treasure
An old man’s defiance shall ring ‘cross the years!

Come rally round, you ragged-ass bastards,
Let no man forget the day that you fell.
Come rally round, you ragged-ass bastards,
And if we must die, then let us die well.


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In Uncle J's Universe the date is: Fri, Jun 22, AS 53 ( CE 2018 )