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Soldiers are members of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary.


  • Ay me! what perils do environ
    The man that meddles with cold iron!
  • Earth! render back from out thy breast
    A remnant of our Spartan dead!
    Of the three hundred grant but three,
    To make a new Thermopylæ!
  • His breast with wounds unnumber'd riven,
    His back to earth, his face to heaven.
  • When the final taps is sounded and we lay aside life's cares,
    And we do the last and glories parade, on Heaven's shining stairs,
    And the angels bid us welcome and the harps begin to play,
    We can draw a million canteen checks and spend them in a day,
    It is then we'll hear St. Peter tell us loudly with a yell,
    "Take a front seat you soldier men, you've done your hitch in Hell."
    • Frank Bernard Camp, "Our Hitch in Hell", st. 6, in American Soldier Ballads (1917), p. 21
    • A better known variant was later used as an epitaph of PFC Cameron, USMC, at Lunga Point Cemetery, Guadalcanal:
      • And when he goes to Heaven
        To Saint Peter he will tell:
        Another Marine reporting , Sir;
        I've served my time in Hell!
      • Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol. 5: The Struggle for Guadalcanal (1949), p. x.
  • For the army is a school in which the miser becomes generous, and the generous prodigal; miserly soldiers are like monsters, but very rarely seen.
  • Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon's mouth.
  • I thought upon one pair of English legs
    Did march three Frenchmen.
  • Give them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils.
  • Blow, wind! come, wrack!
    At least we'll die with harness on our back.
  • God's soldier be he!
    Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
    I would not wish them to a fairer death:
    And so his knell is knoll'd.
  • Of boasting more than of a bomb afraid,
    A soldier should be modest as a maid.
  • Some for hard masters, broken under arms,
    In battle lopt away, with half their limbs,
    Beg bitter bread thro' realms their valour saved.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night I, line 250.
  • Soldiers, you brave guys, who are your fathers?
    Our fathers are Russian commanders, that's what our fathers are.
    Soldiers, you brave guys, who are your mothers?
    Our mothers are white tents, that's what our mothers are.
    Soldiers, you brave guys, who are your sisters?
    Our sisters are our sharp sabres and pikes, that's what our sisters are.
    Soldiers, you brave guys, who are your wives?
    Our wives are our loaded guns, that's what our wives are.
    Soldiers, you brave guys, who are your children?
    Our children are our well-aimed bullets, that's what our children are.
    Soldiers, you brave guys, who are your grandfathers?
    Our grandfathers are glorious victories, that's what our grandfathers are.
    Soldiers, you brave guys, what is your glory?
    Our glory is Russian state, that's what our glory is.
    • Traditional Russian soldiers song. [1][2]
  • And though ten out of twelve had fallen, still the last two, sure as death, were to be bound on the first evening of rest over the bottle, drinking a silent health to their death companions, talking and laughing over all they had been through. For dangers past - an old soldier laughs. For those to come - a full glass, though death and the devil grinn there, as long as the wine was good. Such has ever been the custom of war.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 725-29.
  • O Dormer, how can I behold thy fate,
    And not the wonders of thy youth relate;
    How can I see the gay, the brave, the young,
    Fall in the cloud of war, and lie unsung!
    In joys of conquest he resigns his breath,
    And, filled with England's glory, smiles in death.
  • God and a soldier all people adore
    In time of war, but not before;
    And when war is over and all things are righted,
    God is neglected and an old soldier slighted.
    • Anonymous. Lines chalked on a sentry-box on Europa Guard. Compare Rudyard Kipling, Tommy. Otway's Soldier's Fortune, Shakespeare's Sonnet XXV.
  • O little Force that in your agony
    Stood fast while England girt her armour on,
    Held high our honour in your wounded hands,
    Carried our honour safe with bleeding feet—
    We have no glory great enough for you,
    The very soul of Britain keeps your day.
    • Anonymous. Published in a London Newspaper, 1917.
  • An Austrian army awfully arrayed.
    Siege of Belgrade.
    • Poem arranged with "Apt alliteration's artful aid." First appeared in The Trifler, May 7, 1817, printed at Winchester, Eng. Found in Bentley's Miscellany, March, 1838, p. 313. Quoted in Wheeler's Mag. Winchester, Eng, Volume I, p. 344. (1828). Attributed to Rev. B. Poulter, of Winchester. In the Wild Garland to Isaac J. Reeve. Claimed for Alaric A. Watts by his son in a biography of Watts, Volume I, p. 118.
  • See! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.
    • Bernard E. Bee, at the Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) (July 21, 1861).
  • Each year his mighty armies marched forth in gallant show,
    Their enemies were targets, their bullets they were tow.
  • The king of France with twenty thousand men
    Went up the hill, and then came down again:
    The king of Spain with twenty thousand more
    Climbed the same hill the French had climbed before.
    • From Sloane Manuscript, 1489. Written time of Charles I. Later version in Old Tarleton's Song in Pigge's Corantol or News from the North. Halliwell gives several versions in his Nursery Rhymes.
  • L'infanterie anglaise est la plus redoubtable de l'Europe; heureusement, il n'y en a pas beaucoup.
    • The English Infantry is the most formidable in Europe, but fortunately there is not much of it.
    • Marshal Bugeaud, Œuvres Militaires. Collected by Weil.
  • You led our sons across the haunted flood,
    Into the Canaan of their high desire—
    No milk and honey there, but tears and blood
    Flowed where the hosts of evil trod in fire,
    And left a worse than desert where they passed.
  • The knight's bones are dust,
    And his good sword rust;
    His soul is with the saints, I trust.
  • How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
    By all their country's wishes blest!
    * * * * *
    By fairy hands their knell is rung,
    By forms unseen their dirge is sung.
    • Collins, Ode Written in 1746.
  • Who passes down this road so late?
    Compagnon de la Majaloine?
    Who passes down this road so late,
    Always gay!

    Of all the King's Knights 'tis the flower,
    Compagnon de la Majaloine,
    Of all the King's Knights 'tis the flower,
    Always gay!
    • Compagnon de la Majaloine. Old French Song.
  • Back of the boy is Wilson,
    Pledge of his high degree,
    Back of the boy is Lincoln,
    Lincoln and Grant and Lee;
    Back of the boy is Jackson,
    Jackson and Tippecanoe,
    Back of each son is Washington,
    And the old red, white and blue!
  • I have seen men march to the wars, and then
    I have watched their homeward tread,
    And they brought back bodies of living men,
    But their eyes were cold and dead.
    So, Buddy, no matter what else the fame,
    No matter what else the prize,
    I want you to come back thru The Flame
    With the boy-look still in your eyes!
  • He stands erect; his slouch becomes a walk;
    He steps right onward, martial in his air,
    His form and movement.
  • Far in foreign fields from Dunkirk to Belgrade
    Lie the soldiers and chiefs of the Irish Brigade.
  • Terrible he rode alone,
    With his yemen sword for aid;
    Ornament it carried none
    But the notches on the blade.
    • The Death Feud. An Arab War Song, Stanza 14. Tait's Edinburgh Magazine. July, 1850. Translation signed J. S. M.
  • So let his name through Europe ring!
    A man of mean estate,
    Who died as firm as Sparta's king,
    Because his soul was great.
  • Mouths without hands; maintained at vast expense,
    In peace a charge, in war a weak defense:
    Stout once a month they march, a blustering band,
    And ever, but in times of need, at hand.
  • Under the sod and the dew,
    Waiting the Judgment Day;
    Love and tears for the Blue,
    Tears and love for the Gray.
  • Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?
    • Dogs, would you live forever?
    • Traditional saying of Frederick the Great to his troops at Kolin, June 18, 1757 (or at Kunersdorf, Aug. 12, 1759). Doubted by Carlyle.
  • We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more.
    • J. S. Gibbons. Pub. anon. in New York Evening Post (July 16, 1862).
  • The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay;
    Sat by his fire, and talked the night away,
    Wept o'er his wounds, or tales of sorrow done,
    Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were won.
  • Wake, soldier wake, thy war-horse waits
    To bear thee to the battle back;—
    Thou slumberest at a foeman's gates,—
    Thy dog would break thy bivouac;
    Thy plume is trailing in the dust,
    And thy red falchion gathering rust.
    • T. K. Hervey—Dead Trumpeter.
  • He slept an iron sleep,—
    Slain fighting for his country.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XI, line 285. Bryant's translation.
  • The sex is ever to a soldier kind.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XIV, line 246. Pope's translation.
  • Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
    And used to war's alarms;
    But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
    So he laid down his arms.
  • But for you, it shall be forever Spring,
    And only you shall be forever fearless,
    And only you shall have white, straight, tireless limbs,
    And only you, where the water lily swims,
    Shall walk along pathways, thro' the willows
    Of your West.
    You who went West,
    And only you on silvery twilight pillows
    Shall take your rest
    In the soft, sweet glooms
    Of twilight rooms.
  • The Seconds that tick as the clock moves along
    Are Privates who march with a spirit so strong.
    The Minutes are Captains. The Hours of the day
    Are Officers brave, who lead on to the fray.
    So, remember, when tempted to loiter and dream
    You've an army at hand; your command is supreme;
    And question yourself, as it goes on review—
    Has it helped in the fight with the best it could do?
    • Philander Johnson. Lines selected by Paymaster Gen. McGowan to distribute to those under his command during the Great War. See Everybody's Magazine, May, 1920, p. 36.
  • He smote them hip and thigh.
    • Judges, XV. 8.
  • In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet,
    There is a new-made grave today,
    Built by never a spade nor pick,
    Yet covered with earth ten meters thick.
    There lie many fighting men,
    Dead in their youthful prime.
  • Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
    • I Kings, XX. 11.
  • As we pledge the health of our general, who fares as rough as we,
    What can daunt us, what can turn us, led to death by such as he?
  • "What are the bugles blowin' for?" said Files-on-Parade.
    "To turn you out, to turn you out," the Colour Sergeant said.
  • "For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can 'ear the Dead March play,
    The regiment's in 'ollow square—They're hangin' him to-day;
    They're taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes away,
    An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the morning."
  • Tho 'eathen in 'is blindness bows down to wood an' stone;
    'E don't obey no orders unless they is 'is own;
    'E keeps 'is side-arms awful: 'e leaves 'em all about,
    An' then comes up the Regiment an' pokes the 'eathen out.
  • So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;
    You're a pore benighted 'eathen but a first-class fightin' man;
    And 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your 'ay-rick 'ead of 'air;
    You big black boundin' beggar—for you broke a British square!
  • For it's Tommy this an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck 'im out, the brute!"
    But it's "Savior of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot.
  • It is not the guns or armament
    Or the money they can pay,
    It's the close co-operation
    That makes them win the day.
    It is not the individual
    Or the army as a whole,
    But the everlastin' teamwork
    Of every bloomin' soul.
    • J. Mason Knox. Claimed for him by his wife in a communication in New York Times.
  • But in a large sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
  • Nulla fides pietasque viris qui castra sequuntur.
    • Good faith and probity are rarely found among the followers of the camp.
    • Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, X, 407.
  • Ned has gone, he's gone away, he's gone away for good.
    He's called, he's killed.
    Him and his drum lies in the rain, lies where they was stood.
    Where they was stilled.
    • A. Neil Lyons ("Edwin Smallweed"), Drums. Appeared in the London Weekly Dispatch.
  • Nicanor lay dead in his harness.
    • II Maccabees, XV. 28.
  • Here's to the Blue of the wind-swept North
    When we meet on the fields of France,
    May the spirit of Grant be with you all
    As the sons of the North advance!
    * * * * *
    Here's to the Gray of the sun-kissed South
    When we meet on the fields of France,
    May the spirit of Lee be with you all
    As the sons of the South advance!
    * * * * *
    And here's to the Blue and the Gray as One!
    When we meet on the fields of France,
    May the spirit of God be with us all
    As the sons of the Flag advance!
  • "Companions," said he [Saturninus], "you have lost a good captain, to make of him a bad general."
  • Napoleon's troops fought in bright fields where every helmet caught some beams of glory; but the British soldier conquered under the cold shade of aristocracy.
  • The greatest general is he who makes the fewest mistakes.
  • Judge not that ye be not judged; we carried the torch to the goal.
    The goal is won: guard the fire: it is yours: but remember our soul
    Breathes through the life that we saved, when our lives went out in the night:
    Your body is woven of ours: see that the torch is alight.
  • The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
    The soldier's last tattoo;
    No more on Life's parade shall meet
    The brave and fallen few.
    On Fame's eternal camping-ground
    Their silent tents are spread,
    And Glory guards, with solemn round
    The bivouac of the dead.
  • Miles gloriosus.
    • The bragging soldier.
    • Plautus. Title of a comedy.
  • But off with your hat and three times three for Columbia's true-blue sons;
    The men below who batter the foe—the men behind the guns!
  • I want to see you shoot the way you shout.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, at the meeting of the Mayor's Committee on National Defense, Madison Square (Oct., 1917). Speech to the audience after their enthusiastic demonstration over the patriotic addresses.
  • A thousand leagues of ocean, a company of kings,
    You came across the watching world to show how heroes die.
    When the splendour of your story
    Builds the halo of its glory,
    'Twill belt the earth like Saturn's rings
    And diadem the sky.
    • "M.R.C.S." In Anzac, on Colonial Soldiers (1919).
  • 'Tis a far, far cry from the "Minute-Men,"
    And the times of the buff and blue
    To the days of the withering Jorgensen
    And the hand that holds it true.
    'Tis a far, far cry from Lexington
    To the isles of the China Sea,
    But ever the same the man and the gun—
    Ever the same are we.
    • Edwin L. Sabin, The American Soldier, in Munsey's Magazine (July, 1899).
  • Abner … smote him under the fifth rib.
    • II Samuel, II. 23.
  • Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
    Dream of fighting fields no more:
    Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
    Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
    • Walter Scott, Lady of the Lake (1810), Canto I, Stanza 31.
  • Although too much of a soldier among sovereigns, no one could claim with better right to be a sovereign among soldiers.
  • Warriors!—and where are warriors found,
    If not on martial Britain's ground?
    And who, when waked with note of fire,
    Love more than they the British lyre?
  • Yet what can they see in the longest kingly line in Europe, save that it runs back to a successful soldier?
  • The painful warrior famoused for fight,
    After a thousand victories once foiled,
    Is from the book of honour razed quite,
    And all the rest forgot for which he toiled.
  • A soldier is an anachronism of which we must get rid.
  • When the military man approaches, the world locks up its spoons and packs off its womankind.
  • Prostrate on earth the bleeding warrior lies,
    And Isr'el's beauty on the mountains dies.
    How are the mighty fallen!
    Hush'd be my sorrow, gently fall my tears,
    Lest my sad tale should reach the alien's ears:
    Bid Fame be dumb, and tremble to proclaim
    In heathen Gath, or Ascalon, our shame
    Lest proud Philistia, lest our haughty foe,
    With impious scorn insult our solemn woe.
  • Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest
    Your truth and valor wearing:
    The bravest are the tenderest,—
    The loving are the daring.
  • Foremost captain of his time,
    Rich in saving common sense.
  • For this is England's greatest son,
    He that gain'd a hundred fights,
    And never lost an English gun.
  • Home they brought her warrior dead.
  • Home they brought him slain with spears,
    They brought him home at even-fall.
    • Alfred Tennyson, version of the song in The Princess, Canto V, as published in the Selections. (1865). T. J. Wise, Bibliography of Tennyson, only reprinted in the Miniature Edition (1870), Volume III, p. 147.
  • Dans ce pays-ci il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un admiral pour encourager les autres.
    • In this country it is found necessary now and then to put an admiral to death in order to encourage the others.
    • Voltaire, Candide, Chapter XXIII.
  • Old soldiers never die;
    They fade away!
    • War Song, popular in England. (1919).
  • Under the tricolor, long khaki files of them
    Through the Étoile, down the Champs Elysées
    Marched, while grisettes blew their kisses to miles of them,
    And only the old brushed the tear stains away—
    Out where the crows spread their ominous pinions
    Shadowing France from Nancy to Fay,
    Singing they marched 'gainst the Kaiser's gray minions,
    Singing the song of boyhood at play.
    • Charles Law Watkins, The Boys who never grew up, To the Foreign Legion, written on the Somme (Dec., 1916).
  • The more we work, the more we may,
    It makes no difference to our pay.
    • We are the Royal Sappers. War Song, popular in England. (1915).
  • Our youth has stormed the hosts of hell and won;
    Yet we who pay the price of their oblation
    Know that the greater war is just begun
    Which makes humanity the nations' Nation.
  • Where are the boys of the old Brigade,
    Who fought with us side by side?
  • Oh, a strange hand writes for our dear son—O, stricken mother's soul!
    All swims before her eyes—flashes with black—she catches the main words only;
    Sentences broken—gun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry skirmish, taken to hospital;
    At present low, but will soon be better.
  • Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
    As his corse to the rampart we hurried.
    • Charles Wolfe, The Burial of Sir John Moore at Carunna, Stanza 1.
  • No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
    Not in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;
    But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
    With his martial cloak around him.
    • Charles Wolfe, The Burial of Sir John Moore at Carunna, Stanza 3.

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