The Final March of the Tercio Platoon

Axe and mattock, hammer and horn

Along by many a pike was borne

The Spaniard at the head of the row

Looked back to check the men in tow

And seeing a hardened, flustered platoon

With armour glinting under the moon

Called a halt arrested by quiet

And the meagerly rationed army diet

Was broken out that fateful eve

But not a Tercio there believed

That he would fall that pleasant night

Hardly a single one expected a fight

Still, the Capitán demanded a Mass

Before another hour could pass

And so each man whisper'd with wafer and wine:

"Christ our Lord, our souls art thine

May we suffer gladly for your banner

And show the honour of the Spaniard

Amen." They said, and bottomed up

Each eating his bread and draining his cup

And silently each man awaited his orders

The Captain said, "The damned French hoarders

This night shall suffer their match, I say

And they shall not see the dawn's first ray."

So quietly gathered the men and their pikes

When a gunshot shattered the silent night

And the Capitán staggered and fell to the side

Feeling the hot lead lodge in his hide

But up he rose and roared in his power,

"Smite them off the earth this very hour!"

And so the pikes went and gored the French bastard

And mounted his body on a pole, blood plastered

And the Tercio platoon made way thro' night

To defeat the French Voltiguers in their fight

The surprise of all showed on each face

When the Capitán rose and led the race

Against the reload speed of the French Voltiguers

And they made contact before the next volley flew

The Capitán honoured his officer rank

By falling first to the French bullies' blanks

But rather than retreat in morbid despair,

Cries of "For the Capitán!" Filled the night air

And the Tercios fought and might have won

If not had the French backed up to the guns

Culverins! blasting the Spanish ranks away

Thinning out the close-at-hand combat fray

The sky grew lighter ever so slowly

As the Spanish platoon battled holy

For though the Capitán died that night

The Lieutenant-at-arms took up the fight

He led a small band of Spain's rodeleros

To defeat the French guns, the mighty hero

And succeeded in capturing the Culverin block

Loading to help his own in combat lock

As luck would hold, the Spanish guns

The fálconets came just before the sun

And seeing the battery the French dismayed,

So the Voltiguers pulled out of the fray

The cannons blew the Frenchmen apart

And for Spain, at least it was a start

For what little was left of the Tercio platoon

Was challenged that same day at high noon

France's Gendarme came steady on horse

And the Lieutenant at arms felt some little remorse

For he could not pull out the Spanish pike

The Gendarme would crush them with all their might

But not without honour would the Lieutenant fall

Taking a pike of his brethren, he rose to stand tall

"Friends," said he dearly, a tear in his eye

"This day, this hour we shall die

For the horsemen Gendarme come swift by hoof

And we've all had our fill of battle, enough

But though there is no escape, take heart and take pike

For we shall die for Spain in this ugly fight!

The Garrochistas will avenge us full well

And the Frenchmen will feel the heat of Hell!

Man the guns! Pikes forward! Stand to your row

If we cannot win this fight, deliver a mighty blow!"

And so the Lieutenant went forward the ranks

He stood at the head on the river banks

He recalled his bold Capitán and gave one final word:

"FOR THE CAPITÁN!" He cried as the Gendarme crossed the ford

 

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