In the Eric Bogle's anti-war song "Welcome Home" (about the Vietnam War) there is a line "I heard old war drums beat.". Is it grammatical or is it licentia poetica? I think I understand the meaning, but I do not understand how it can be grammatical.
On the face of it, it appears to use this grammatical construction that does not exist in Croatian (my native language), but exists in Latin and English, called accusative with infinitive. However, that does not fully explain that sentence. The word beat is the present active infinitive. If we use accusative with infinitive, and the action that the infinitive describes happens at the same time as the main verb (and the drums were being beaten at the same time as he heard them), the tense of the infinitive has to match the tense of the main verb. That is called consecutio temporum (that does not exist in Croatian, but it exists in Latin and English). Furthermore, drums did not beat, they were being beaten, so we need to use the past passive infinitive. The grammatical version of that sentence would be, if I am not mistaken, "I heard old war drums have been beaten."
Am I misunderstanding something about English grammar here?