19th Century

My Heart is in the Battlefield | “W.”

The poem ‘My Heart is in the Battlefield’ by someone known only as “W,” was first written in November 1839. It was later published in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). The author’s identity remains a mystery but the text has been newly-transcribed by Stephen Basdeo for Reynolds’s New and Miscellany. It is a pro-democracy song—it is not actually a song about a battle against a foreign foe, for the only battle is against the ruling classes (after all, it appeared in a Chartist poetry collection).

My heart is in the battle-field,

And there my grave may be;

My all I’ll risk, my life-blood yield,

To set my country free:

I long not for a victor-wreath,

No warrior-fame for me;

I’ll humbly join till latest breath

To set my country free:

I’ll wed me to our cause for aye,

A fondled mate to be,—

The same I woo’d in earliest lay

To set my country free!

And fast as passion binds this heart

To one who’s true to me,

I still from her, for death would part

To set my country free!