Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ack, say you so

The Danish musket-balls fell thick around them as the Danish troops sought from their trenches to repel the invaders.

"What strange whizzing noise is this in the air?" asked the young king, now for the first time in action.

"'Tis the noise of the musket-balls they fire upon you," was the reply.

"Ack, say you so," said Charles: "good, good; from this time forward that shall he my music."

In the face of this "music" the shore was gained, the trenches were carried by fierce assault and King Charles's first battle was won. Two days later, Copenhagen submitted to its young conqueror, and King Frederick of Denmark hastened to the defence of his capital, only to find it in the possession of the enemy, and to sign a humiliating treaty of peace.

The boy conqueror's first campaign was over, and, as his biographer says, he had "at the age of eighteen begun and finished a war in less than six weeks." Accepting nothing for himself from this conquest, he spared the land from which his dearly remembered mother had come from the horrors of war and pillage which in those days were not only allowable but expected.

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