Saturday, 11 September 2010

Bang The Drum!

It's Sepia Saturday again, and after letting you see my paternal grandparents last week, with their young family, I thought I would gradually post photos of the children in later years - much later, for the most part. This picture intrigued me when I came across it, for the boy looks so young! He had to be one of my uncles and I hazard a guess at George, but here he is anyway, in all his finery.

If I get bitten by the muse later on today, I might come back and add a suitable poem, after using the drum picture as a prompt, but I make no promises...

Having finished lunch, I suddenly thought  to look for a drum poem, ready made, on the Internet. How could I not have done so before?
There follows one from The Cambridge Intelligencer of August 3, 1793.
It was written by a Quaker, one Mr John Scott, and entitled, appropriately enough ...

The Drum

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields,
To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace and glitt'ring arms;
And when Ambition's voice commands,
To fight and fall in foreign lands.

I hate that drum's discordant sound,
Parading round, and round, and round:
To me it talks of ravaged plains,
And burning towns and ruin'd swains,
And mangled limbs, and dying groans,
And widow's tears, and orphans moans,
And all that Misery's hand bestows,
To fill a catalogue of woes.

It is hard to imagine in these days of sophisticated weapons of war and modern communication systems, that young drummer boys were used in the armies, or indeed navies, of long ago, to drum signals to the men. There's an article on the subject HERE that you might like to read if you're interested.

20 comments:

  1. Lovely photo Pen - I have similar ones. I also have quite a few drums kicking about which look exactly like that one in the photo - my first husband made them for a hobby - he had been a military bandsman in his youth.

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  2. A nice old photo Penny - Dave

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  3. He looks very fine and upstanding. Lots of lovely detail in the photo.

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  4. Wonderful photo, his drum looks so huge, it would have been very stirring to have heard him play it.

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  5. I am a poor boy too: pa rum pum pum pum.

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  6. We only think of them as part of bands but they were often at the head of the line in a battle.

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  7. Great post and perfect poem to accompany it.

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  8. Not only were they leaders in battle, they were often very young!

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  9. This is BRILLIANT, dear Pen!!! I love the photo...but your poem is extraordinary...One of my favorites of all!!! So tragic...and yet profound...It really speaks to my soul...Love you!! Janine XO

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  10. Surely the boy is too young to be in the military during the time that he was young! I don't know at what time the ages changed, but some time after the Civil War boys were not able to enlist in the service - not until they wer 18, by WWI. Perhaps he was in a a young people's military-like group?

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  11. the old family photos are such a treasure!

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  12. What a wonderful photo and a wonderful poem to go with it. I hope he didn't have to fight in a war. The poem certainly brings up the futility of war.
    I have a drum that looks very much like that one. It belonged to my nieces grandfather. I'm going to have to look into the history of it.
    Barbara

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  13. Lovely picture and poem jinksy, I don't think my family ever had a camera back then as I have not seen any pictures....:-)Hugs

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  14. I don't suppose that young lad was very old at all.
    Lovely poem.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  15. The lad certainly doesn't look to be very old, but he definitely seems proud to be a drummer. Charming photo, and nice poem selection, too.

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  16. the little drummer boy!! you've captured a moment of history.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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