Wide World of Quotes > Thomas Osbert Mordaunt Quotes


Thomas Osbert Mordaunt
British officer and poet
(1730-1809)



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Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.


-- "The Call". Originally published as "A Poem, said to be written by Major Mordaunt during the last German War", in: The Bee, or Literary Weekly Intelligencer, 12 October 1791.


This poem, written by Mordaunt during the Seven Years' War (1756-63), was for long incorrectly attributed to Sir Walter Scott who had in fact quoted a stanza from this poem at the beginning of Chapter 34 of his novel Old Mortality.

The phrase "one crowded hour" used in the title of the biography of the one of the world's greatest combat cinecameramen, Neil Davis: One Crowded Hour: Neil Davis, Combat Cameraman (Collins, 1987) by Tim Bowden.

Below is the full text of "The Call" by Thomas Osbert Mordaunt:

Go, lovely boy! to yonder tow'r
The fame of Janus, ruthless King!
And shut, O! shut the brazen door,
And here the keys in triumph bring.

Full many a tender heart hath bled,
Its joys in Belgia's soil entomb'd:
Which thou to Hymen's smiling bed,
And length of sweetest hours had doom'd.

Oh, glory! you to ruin owe
The fairest plume the hero wears:
Raise the bright helmet from his brow;
You'll mock beneath the manly tears.

Who does not burn to place the crown
Of conquest on his Albion's head?
Who weeps not at her plaintive moan,
To giver her hapless orphans bread?

Forgive, ye brave, the generous fault,
If thus my virtue falls; alone
My Delia stole my earliest thought,
And fram'd its feelings by her own.

Her mind so pure, her face so fair;
Her breast the seat of softest love;
It seemed her words an angel's were,
Her gentle percepts from above.

My mind thus form'd, to misery gave
The tender tribute of a tear:
O! Belgia, open thy vast grave,
For I could pour and ocean there.

When first you show'd me at your feet
Pale liberty, religion tied,
I flew to shut the glorious gate
Of freedom on a tyrant's pride.

Tho great the cause, so wore with woes,
I can not but lament the deed:
My youth to melancholy bows,
An Clotho trifles with my thread.

But stop, my Clio, wanton muse,
Indulge not this unmanly strain:
Beat, beat the drums, my ardor rouse,
And call the soldier back again.

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

Go then, thou little lovely boy,
I can not, must not, hear thee now;
And all thy soothing arts employ
To sooth my Delia of her wo.

If the gay flow'r, in all its youth,
Thy scythe of glory here must meet;
Go, bear my laurel, pledge of truth,
And lay it at my Delia's feet.

Her tears shall keep it ever green,
To crown the image in her breast;
Till death doth close the hapless scene,
And calls its angel home to rest.


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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