Can’st tell who lose the battle, oft in the council-field?
Not they who struggle bravely, not they who never yield.

Chorus.—Not they who are determined to conquer or to die,
And hearken to this caution: Boys, keep your powder dry!

The foe awaits you yonder! he may await you here,
Have brave hearts, stand with courage; be strangers all to fear!
And when the charge is given, be ready at the cry:
Look well each to his priming—Boys, keep your powder dry!

Does a lov’d one home await you, who wept to see you go,
When with a kiss imprinted, you left with sacred vow—
You’d come again when warfare and arms are all laid by,
To take her to your bosom?—Boys, keep your powder dry!

Does a father home await you? a sister whom you love?
A mother who has reared you, and pray’d to Him above—
“Protect my boy, preserve him, and when the battle’s done,
Send to his weeping mother, bereft, her darling son!”

The name of Freedom calls you, the names of martyr’d sires,
And Liberty’s imploring, from all her hallow’d fires!
Can you withstand their calling? You cannot pass them by—
You cannot! now charge fiercely!—Boys, keep your powder dry.