Keep the British Watching

Blackened embers a ruddy glow cast upon two men
Seated near a dying flame in the camp of Washington.
Liberty, another flame, in their soldier’s hearts was burning;
And one man, speaking to his friend and from the fire turning, said:

“The victory at Trenton the months have chilled with time;
The Continental army has soldiers in their prime.
Too long the men have idle been — but that is soon to change,
For beyond the river Delaware the redcoats cross the range!

“The colonies are panting for a triumph once again,
And the British stalk too near for us for help to send.
The tension grows hour by hour — who could ever stay,
With the British always watching, each and every day?”

Said his friend,”I know of Washington; a careful choice he’ll make —
If not but for the soldiers, at least for freedom’s sake.
Await our orders patiently, though hard as it may be
To have the British always watching, expecting us to flee.”

Then came the General’s order — to Princeton, for to fight,
Shielded by the darkness of the chilly winter night.
“A few shall stay at Trenton and build fires on the bank
To keep the British watching as the army slips away.”

Row by row the men they marched; a few began the fires,
Provoking them and stoking them till flames flew high and higher!
One soldier found his fiddle and soon began to play
To keep the British watching as the army slipped away.

All through the night the fires burned in hearts and by the camp;
Fueled by the call of Freedom, who lifted up her lamp
And cried, “All you Yankee soldiers — press fast upon your way!
I’ll keep the British watching as your army slips away!”

Sure enough, by morning, the Continentals were all gone;
Princeton fell to soldiers who had marched the whole night long.
There upon fair Trenton’s banks the British bellowed and brayed —
For while they were watching, the army slipped away!

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