The Bowling Green Massacre, where the only real casualty was the truth. With apologies to William Shakespeare . . .
If we are mark’d to die, we are as now
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Trump, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my love, wish not a man from Bowling Green.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Sarah Sanders, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his non-returnable passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Bowling Green.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Bowling Green.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is the day of Bowling Green”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Bowling Green’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.
Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Donald the King, Bannon and Spicer,
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Bowling Green shall ne’er drive by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of white brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in Kentucky now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Bowling Green Day.