Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Columbiad by Joel Barlow

Part 3 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

To seek new seats beneath a safer sky;
Where faith and freedom yield a forceful charm,
And toils and dangers every bosom warm.

Amid the tried unconquerable train,
Whom tyrants press and seas oppose in vain,
See Plymouth colons stretch their standards o'er,
Face the dark wildmen and the wintry shore;
See virtuous Baltimore ascend the wave,
See peaceful Penn its unknown terrors brave;
Swedes, Belgians, Gauls their various flags display,
Full pinions crowding on the watery way;
All from their different ports, their sails unfurl'd,
Point their glad streamers to the western world.

Book V.

Argument.

Vision confined to North America. Progress of the colonies. Troubles
with the natives. Settlement of Canada. Spirit of the English and
French colonies compared. Hostilities between France and England
extended to America. Braddock's defeat. Washington saves the re
of the English army. Actions of Abercrombie, Amherst, Wolfe. Peace.
Darkness overspreads the continent. Apprehensions of Columbus from that
appearance. Cause explained. Cloud bursts away in the centre.
of congress, and of the different regions from which its members are
delegated. Their endeavors to arrest the violence of England compared
with those of the Genius of Rome to dissuade Cesar from passing the
Rubicon. The demon War stalking over the ocean and leading on the
English invasion. Conflagration of towns from Falmouth to Norfolk.
Battle of Bunker Hill seen thro the smoke. Death of Warren. American
army assembles. Review of its chiefs. Speech of Washington. Actions and
death of Montgomery. Loss of Newyork.

Columbus hail'd them with a father's smile,
Fruits of his cares and children of his toil;
While still his eyes, thro tears of joy, descried
Their course adventurous on the distant tide.
Thus, when o'er deluged earth her Numen stood,
The tost ark bounding on the shoreless flood,
The sacred treasure fixt his guardian view,
While climes unnoticed in the wave withdrew.

The Hero saw them reach the rising strand,
Leap from their ships and share the joyous land;
Receding forests yield the laborers room,
And opening wilds with fields and gardens bloom.
Fill'd with the glance ecstatic, all his soul
Now seems unbounded with the scene to roll,
And now impatient, with retorted eye,
Perceives his station in another sky:
Waft me, indulgent Angel, waft me o'er,
With those blest heroes, to the happy shore;
There let me live and die. But all appears
A fleeting vision! these are future years.
Yet grant the illusion still may nearer spread,
And my glad steps may seem their walks to tread;
While Europe, wrapt in momentary night,
Shall rise no more to intercept the sight.

Columbus thus; when Hesper's potent hand
Moves brightening o'er the visionary land;
The height that bore them still sublimer grew,
And earth's whole circuit settled from their view.
A dusky deep, serene as breathless even,
Seem'd vaulting downward like another heaven;
The sun, rejoicing on his western way,
Stampt his fair image in the inverted day:
When now Hesperia's coast arose more nigh,
And life and action fill'd the dancing eye.

Between the gulphs, where Laurence drains the world
And where Floridia's farthest floods are curl'd,
Where midlands broad their swelling mountains heave
And slope their champaigns to the Atlantic wave,
The sandy streambank and the woodgreen plain
Raise into sight the new-made seats of man.
The placid ports, that break the seaborn gales,
Shoot forth their quays and stretch aloft their sails,
Full harvests wave, new groves with fruitage bend,
Gay villas smile, defensive towers ascend;
All the rich works of art their charms display,
To court the planter and his cares repay:
Till war invades; when soon the dales disclose
Their meadows path'd with files of savage foes;
High tufted quills their painted foreheads press,
Dark spoils of beasts their shaggy shoulders dress,
The bow bent forward for the combat strung,
Ax, quiver, scalpknife on the girdle hung;
Discordant yells, convulsing long the air,
Tone forth at last the war whoop's hideous blare.

The Patriarch look'd; and every frontier height
Pours down the swarthy nations to the fight.
Where Kennebec's high source forsakes the sky,
Where long Champlain's yet unkeel'd waters lie,
Where Hudson crowds his hill-dissundering tide,
Where Kaatskill dares the starry vault divide,
Where the dim Alleganies sit sublime
And give their streams to every neighboring clime,
The swarms descended like an evening shade,
And wolves and vultures follow'd where they spread.
Thus when a storm, on eastern pinions driven,
Meets the firm Andes in the midst of heaven,
The clouds convulse, the torrents pour amain,
And the black waters sweep the subject plain.

Thro harvest fields the bloody myriads tread,
Sack the lone village, strow the streets with dead;
The flames in spiry volumes round them rise,
And shrieks and shouts redoubling rend the skies.
Fair babes and matrons in their domes expire,
Or bursting frantic thro the folding fire
They scream, fly, fall; promiscuous rave along
The yelling victors and the driven throng;
The streams run purple; all the peopled shore
Is wrapt in flames and trod with steps of gore.
Till colons, gathering from the shorelands far,
Stretch their new standards and oppose the war,
With muskets match the many-shafted bow,
With loud artillery stun the astonish'd foe.
When, like a broken wave, the barbarous train
Lead back the flight and scatter from the plain
Slay their weak captives, drop their shafts in haste,
Forget their spoils and scour the trackless waste;
From wood to wood in wild confusion hurl'd,
They hurry o'er the hills far thro the savage world.

Now move secure the cheerful works of peace,
New temples rise and fruitful fields increase.
Where Delaware's wide waves behold with pride
Penn's beauteous town ascending on their side,
The crossing streets in just allinement run,
The walls and pavements sparkle to the sun,
Like that famed city rose the checker'd plan,
Whose spacious towers Semiramis began;
Long ages finish'd what her hand design'd,
The pride of kings and wonder of mankind.

Newyork ascends o'er Hudson's seaward isles,
And flings the sunbeams from her glittering tiles;
Albania, opening thro the distant wood,
Rolls her rich treasures on her parent flood;
Amid a thousand sails young Boston laves,
High looms majestic Newport o'er the waves,
Patapsco's bay contracts his yielding side,
As spreading Baltimore invades his tide;
Aspiring Richmond tops the bank of James,
And Charleston sways her two contending streams.

Thro each colonial realm, for wisdom great,
Elected sires assume the cares of state;
Nursed in equality, to freedom bred,
Firm is their step and straight the paths they tread;
Dispensing justice with paternal hand,
By laws of peace they rule the happy land;
While reason's page their statute codes unfold,
And rites and charters flame in figured gold.
All rights that Britons know they here transfuse,
Their sense invigorate and expand their views,
Dare every height of human soul to scan,
Find, fathom, scope the moral breadth of man,
Learn how his social powers may still dilate,
And tone their tension to a stronger state.

Round the long glade where lordly Laurence strays,
Gaul's migrant sons their forts and villas raise,
Stretch over Canada their colon sway,
And circling far beneath the western day
Plant sylvan Wabash with a watchful post,
O'er Missisippi spread a mantling host,
Bid Louisiana's lovely clime prepare
New arts to prove and infant states to rear;
While the bright lakes, that wide behind them spread,
Unfold their channels to the paths of trade,
Ohio's waves their destined honors claim,
And smile, as conscious of approaching fame.

But Gallic planters still their trammels wear,
Their feudal genius still attends them here;
Dependent feelings for a distant throne
Gyve the crampt soul that fears to think alone,
Demand their rulers from the parent land,
Laws ready made, and generals to command.
Judge, priest and pedagogue, and all the slaves
Of foreign masters, crowding o'er the waves,
Spread thick the shades of vassalage and sloth,
Absorb their labors and prevent their growth,
Damp every thought that might their tyrants brave,
And keep the vast domain a desert and a grave.

Too soon the mother states, with jealous fear,
Transport their feuds and homebred quarrels here.
Now Gallia's war-built barks ascend in sight,
White flags unfold, and armies robed in white
On all the frontier streams their forts prepare,
And coop our cantons with surrounding war.
Quebec, as proud she rears her rocky seat,
Feeds their full camp and shades their anchored fleet:
Oswego's rampart frowns athwart his flood,
And wild Ontario swells beneath his load.

And now a friendly host from Albion's strand
Arrives to aid her young colonial band.
They join their force, and tow'rd the falling day
Impetuous Braddock leads their hasty way;
O'er Allegany heights, like streams of fire,
The red flags wave and glittering arms aspire
To meet the savage hordes, who there advance
Their skulking files to join the arms of France.

Where, old as earth, yet still unstain'd with blood,
Monongahela roll'd his careless flood,
Flankt with his mantling groves the fountful hills,
Drain'd the vast region thro his thousand rills,
Lured o'er his lawns the buffle herds, and spread
For all his fowls his piscatory glade;
But now perceives, with hostile flag unfurl'd,
A Gallic fortress awe the western world;
There Braddock bends his march; the troops within
Behold their danger and the fire begin.
Forth bursting from the gates they rush amain,
Front, flank and charge the fast approaching train;
The batteries blaze, the leaden volleys pour,
The vales, the streams, the solid mountains roar;
Clouds of convolving smoke the welkin spread,
The champaign shrouding in sulphureous shade.
Lost in the rocking thunder's loud career,
No shouts nor groans invade the Patriarch's ear,
Nor valorous feats are seen, nor flight nor fall,
But one broad burst of darkness buries all;
Till chased by rising winds the smoke withdrew,
And the wide slaughter open'd on his view.
He saw the British leader borne afar,
In dust and gore, beyond the wings of war;
And while delirious panic seized his host,
Their flags, their arms in wild confusion tost,
Bold in the midst a youthful warrior strode,
And tower'd undaunted o'er the field of blood;
He checks the shameful rout, with vengeance burns,
And the pale Britons brighten where he turns.
So, when thick vapors veil the nightly sky,
The starry host in half-seen lustre fly,
Till Phosphor rises o'er the twinkling crowd,
And gives new splendor thro his parting cloud.

Swift on a fiery steed the stripling rose,
Form'd the light files to pierce the line of foes;
Then waved his gleamy sword that flash'd the day,
And thro the Gallic legions hew'd his way:
His troops press forward like a loose-broke flood,
Sweep ranks away and smear their paths in blood;
The hovering foes pursue the combat far,
And shower their balls along the flying war;
When the new leader turns his single force,
Points the flight forward, speeds his backward course;
The French recoiling half their victory yield,
And the glad Britons quit the fatal field.

These deathful deeds as great Columbus eyed,
With anxious tone he thus addrest the Guide:
Why combat here these transatlantic bands,
And strow their corses thro thy pathless lands?
Can Europe's realms, the seat of endless strife,
Afford no trophies for the waste of life?
Can monarchs there no proud applauses gain,
No living laurel for their people slain?
Nor Belgia's plains, so fertile made with gore,
Hide heroes' bones nor feast the vultures more?
Will Rhine no longer cleanse the crimson stain,
Nor Danube bear their bodies to the main,
That infant empires here the shock must feel,
And these pure streams with foreign carnage swell?
But who that chief? his name, his nation say,
Whose lifeblood seems his follies to repay;
And who the youth, that from the combat lost
Springs up and saves the remnant of his host?

The Power replied: Each age successive brings
Their varying views to earth's contentious kings;
Here roll the years when Albion's parent hand,
In aid of thy brave children, guards the land;
That growing states their veteran force may train,
A nobler prize in later fields to gain;
In fields where Albion's self shall turn their foe,
Spread broader sails and aim a deadlier blow,
Recross, in evil hour, the astonish'd wave,
Her own brave sons to ravage and enslave.
But here she combats with the powers of Gaul:
Here her bold Braddock finds his destined fall;
Thy Washington, in that young martial frame,
From yon lost field begins a life of fame.
Tis he, in future straits, with loftier stride,
The colon states to sovereign rule shall guide;
When, prest by wrongs, their own full force they find,
To wield the sword for man, and bulwark humankind.

The Seraph spoke; when thro the purpled air
The northern armies spread the flames of war.
Swift o'er the lake, to Crownpoint's fortful strand,
Rash Abercrombie leads his headlong band
To fierce unequal fight; the batteries roar,
Shield the strong foes and rake the banner'd shore;
Britannia's sons again the contest yield,
Again proud Gaul triumphant sweeps the field.

But Amherst quick renews the raging toil,
And drives wide hosting o'er Acadia's isle;
Young Wolfe beside him points the lifted lance,
The boast of Britain and the scourge of France.
The tide of victory here the heroes turn,
And Gallic navies in their harbors burn;
High flame the ships, the billows swell with gore,
And the red standard shades the conquer'd shore.

Wolfe, now detacht and bent on bolder deeds,
A sail-borne host up sealike Laurence leads,
Stems the long lessening tide; till Abraham's height
And famed Quebec rise frowning into sight.
Swift bounding on the bank, the foe they claim.
Climb the tall mountain like a rolling flame,
Push wide their wings, high bannering bright the air,
And move to fight as comets cope in war.
The smoke falls folding thro the downward sky.
And shrouds the mountain from the Patriarch's eye,
While on the towering top, in glare of day,
The flashing swords in fiery arches play.
As on a side-seen storm, adistance driven,
The flames fork round the semivault of heaven,
Thick thunders roll, descending torrents flow,
Dash down the clouds and whelm the hills below;
Or as on plains of light when Michael strove,
The swords of cherubim to combat move,
Ten thousand fiery forms together fray,
And flash new lightning on empyreal day.

Long raged promiscuous combat, half conceal'd,
When sudden parle suspended all the field;
Then roar the shouts, the smoke forsakes the plain
And the huge hill is topt with heaps of slain.
Stretch'd high in air Britannia's standard waved,
And good Columbus hail'd his country saved;
While calm and silent, where the ranks retire,
He saw brave Wolfe in victory's arms expire.
So the pale moon, when morning beams arise,
Veils her lone visage in her midway skies;
She needs no longer drive the shades away,
Nor waits to view the glories of the day.

Again the towns aspire; the cultured field
And crowded mart their copious treasures yield;
Back to his plough the colon soldier moves,
And songs of triumph fill the warbling groves,
The conscious flocks, returning joys that share,
Spread thro the grassland o'er the walks of war,
Streams, freed of gore, their crystal course regain,
Serener sunbeams gild the tentless plain;
A general jubilee, o'er earth and heaven,
Leads the gay morn and lights the lambent even.

Rejoicing, confident of long repose,
(Their friends triumphant, far retired their foes,)
The British colonies now feel their sway
Span the whole north and crowd the western day.
Acadia, Canada, earth's total side,
From Slave's long lake to Pensacola's tide,
Expand their soils for them; and here unfold
A range of highest hope, a promised age of gold.

But soon from eastern seas dark vapors rise,
Sweep the vast Occident and shroud the skies,
Snatch all the vision from the Hero's sight,
And wrap the coast in sudden shades of night.
He turn'd, and sorrowful besought the Power:
Why sinks the scene, or must I view no more?
Must here the fame of that young world descend?
Shall our brave children find so quick their end?
Where then the promised grace? "Thou soon shalt see
That half mankind shall owe their seats to thee."

The Saint replied: Ere long, beneath thy view
The scene shall brighten and thy joys renew.
Here march the troublous years, when goaded sore
Thy sons shall rise to change the ruling power;
When Albion's prince, who sways the happy land,
To lawless rule extends his tyrant hand,
To bind in slavery's bands the peaceful host,
Their rights unguarded and their charters lost.
Now raise thine eye; from this delusive plain;
What nations leap to life, what deeds adorn their fame!

Columbus look'd; and still around them spread,
From south to north, the immeasurable shade;
At last the central darkness burst away,
And rising regions opened on the day.
Once more bright Delaware's commercial stream
And Penn's throng'd city cast a cheerful gleam;
The dome of state, as conscious of his eye,
Now seem'd to silver in a loftier sky,
Unfolding fair its gates; when lo, within
The assembled states in solemn Congress shine.

The sires elect from every province came,
Where wide Columbia bore the British name,
Where Freedom's sons their highborn lineage trace,
And homebred bravery still exalts the race:
Her sons who plant each various vast domain
That Chesapeak's uncounted currents drain;
The race who Roanoke's clear stream bestride,
Who fell the pine on Apalachia's side,
To Albemarle's wide wave who trust their store,
Who dike proud Pamlico's unstable shore.
Whose groaning barks o'erload the long Santee,
Wind thro the realms and labor to the sea,
(Their cumbrous cargoes, to the sail consign'd,
Seek distant worlds, and feed and clothe mankind;)
The race whose rice-fields suck Savanna's urn,
Whose verdant vines Oconee's bank adorn;
Who freight the Delaware with golden grain,
Who tame their steeds on Monmouth's flowery plain,
From huge Toconnok hills who drag their ore,
And sledge their corn to Hudson's quay-built shore.
Who keel Connecticut's long meadowy tide,
With patient plough his fallow plains divide,
Spread their white flocks o'er Narraganset's vale,
Or chase to each chill pole the monstrous whale;
Whose venturous prows have borne their fame afar,
Tamed all the seas and steer'd by every star,
Dispensed to earth's whole habitants their store,
And with their biting flukes have harrow'd every shore.

The virtuous delegates behold with pain
The hostile Britons hovering o'er the main,
Lament the strife that bids two worlds engage,
And blot their annals with fraternal rage;
Two worlds in one broad state! whose bounds bestride,
Like heaven's blue arch, the vast Atlantic tide,
By language, laws and liberty combined,
Great nurse of thought, example to mankind.
Columbia rears her warning voice in vain,
Brothers to brothers call across the main;
Britannia's patriots lend a listening ear,
But kings and courtiers push their mad career;
Dissension raves, the sheathless falchions glare,
And earth and ocean tremble at the war.

Thus with stern brow, as worn by cares of state,
His bosom big with dark unfolding fate,
High o'er his lance the sacred Eagle spread,
And earth's whole crown still resting on his head,
Rome's hoary Genius rose, and mournful stood
On roaring Rubicon's forbidden flood,
When Cesar's ensigns swept the Alpine air,
Led their long legions from the Gallic war,
Paused on the opposing bank with wings unfurl'd,
And waved portentous o'er the shuddering world.
The god, with outstretch'd arm and awful look,
Call'd the proud victor and prophetic spoke:
Arrest, my son, thy parricidious hate,
Pass not the stream nor stab my filial state,
Stab not thyself, thy friends, thy total kind,
And worlds and ages in one state combined.
The chief, regardless of the warning god,
Rein'd his rude steed and headlong past the flood,
Cried, Farewel, Peace! took Fortune for his guide,
And o'er his country pour'd the slaughtering tide.

High on the foremost seat, in living light,
Resplendent Randolph caught the world's full sight.
He opes the cause, and points in prospect far
Thro all the toils that wait impending war:
But, reverend sage! thy race must soon be o'er,
To lend thy lustre and to shine no more.
So the mild morning star, from shades of even,
Leads up the dawn and lights the front of heaven,
Points to the waking world the sun's broad way,
Then veils his own, and vaults above the day.
And see bright Washington behind thee rise,
Thy following sun, to gild our morning skies,
O'er shadowy climes to pour enlivening flame,
The charms of freedom and the fire of fame.
For him the patriot bay beheld with pride
The hero's laurel springing by its side;
His sword still sleeping rested on his thigh,
On Britain still he cast a filial eye;
But sovereign fortitude his visage bore,
To meet her legions on the invaded shore.

Sage Franklin next arose with cheerful mien,
And smiled unruffled o'er the solemn scene;
His locks of age a various wreath embraced,
Palm of all arts that e'er a mortal graced;
Beneath him lay the sceptre kings had borne,
And the tame thunder from the tempest torn.

Wythe, Mason, Pendleton with Henry join'd,
Rush, Rodney, Langdon, friends of humankind,
Persuasive Dickinson, the former's boast,
Recording Thomson, pride of all the host,
Nash, Jay, the Livingstons, in council great,
Rutledge and Laurens held the rolls of fate,
O'er wide creation turn'd their ardent eyes,
And bade the opprest to selfexistence rise;
All powers of state, in their extended plan,
Spring from consent, to shield the rights of man.
Undaunted Wolcott urged the holy cause,
With steady hand the solemn scene he draws;
Stern thoughtful temperance with his ardorjoin'd,
Nor kings nor worlds could warp his steadfast mind.

With graceful ease but energetic tones;
And eloquence that shook a thousand thrones,
Majestic Hosmer stood; the expanding soul
Darts from his eyebeams while his accents roll.
But lo! the shaft of death untimely flew,
And fell'd the patriot from the Hero's view;
Wrapt in the funeral shroud he sees descend
The guide of nations and the Muse's friend.
Columbus dropt a tear; while Hesper's eye
Traced the freed spirit mounting thro the sky.

Each generous Adams, freedom's favorite pair,
And Hancock rose the tyrant's rage to dare,
Groupt with firm Jefferson, her steadiest hope,
Of modest mien but vast unclouded scope.
Like four strong pillars of her state they stand,
They clear from doubt her brave but wavering band;
Colonial charters in their hands they bore,
And lawless acts of ministerial power.
Some injured right in every page appears,
A king in terrors and a land in tears;
From all his guileful plots the veil they drew,
With eye retortive look'd creation thro,
Traced moral nature thro her total plan,
Markt all the steps of liberty and man;
Crowds rose to reason while their accents rung.
And INDEPENDENCE thunder'd from their tongue.

Columbus turn'd; when rolling to the shore
Swells o'er the seas an undulating roar;
Slow, dark, portentous, as the meteors sweep.
And curtain black the illimitable deep,
High stalks, from surge to surge, a demon Form,
That howls thro heaven and breathes a billowing storm.
His head is hung with clouds; his giant hand
Flings a blue flame far flickering to the land;
His blood-stain'd limbs drip carnage as he strides,
And taint with gory grume the staggering tides;
Like two red suns his quivering eyeballs glare,
His mouth disgorges all the stores of war,
Pikes, muskets, mortars, guns and globes of fire.
And lighted bombs that fusing trails exspire.
Percht on his helmet, two twin sisters rode,
The favorite offspring of the murderous god,
Famine and Pestilence; whom whilom bore
His wife, grim Discord, on Trinacria's shore;
When first their Cyclop sons, from Etna's forge,
Fill'd his foul magazine, his gaping gorge:
Then earth convulsive groan'd, high shriek'd the air.
And hell in gratulation call'd him War.

Behind the fiend, swift hovering for the coast,
Hangs o'er the wave Britannia's sail-wing'd host;
They crowd the main, they spread their sheets abroad,
From the wide Laurence to the Georgian flood,
Point their black batteries to the peopled shore,
And spouting flames commence the hideous roar.

Where fortless Falmouth, looking o'er her bay,
In terror saw the approaching thunders play,
The fire begins; the shells o'er arching fly,
And shoot a thousand rainbows thro the sky;
On Charlestown spires, on Bedford roofs they light,
Groton and Fairfield kindle from the flight,
Norwalk expands the blaze; o'er Reading hills
High flaming Danbury the welkin fills;
Esopus burns, Newyork's delightful fanes
And sea-nursed Norfolk light the neighboring plains.
From realm to realm the smoky volumes bend,
Reach round the bays and up the streams extend;
Deep o'er the concave heavy wreaths are roll'd,
And midland towns and distant groves infold.

Thro solid curls of smoke, the bursting fires
Climb in tall pyramids above the spires,
Concentring all the winds; whose forces, driven
With equal rage from every point of heaven,
Whirl into conflict, round the scantling pour
The twisting flames and thro the rafters roar,
Suck up the cinders, send them sailing far,
To warn the nations of the raging war,
Bend high the blazing vortex, swell'd and curl'd,
Careering, brightening o'er the lustred world,
Absorb the reddening clouds that round them run,
Lick the pale stars, and mock their absent sun:
Seas catch the splendor, kindling skies resound,
And falling structures shake the smouldering ground.

Crowds of wild fugitives, with frantic tread,
Flit thro the flames that pierce the midnight shade,
Back on the burning domes revert their eyes,
Where some lost friend, some perisht infant lies.
Their maim'd, their sick, their age-enfeebled sires
Have sunk sad victims to the sateless fires;
They greet with one last look their tottering walls,
See the blaze thicken, as the ruin falls,
Then o'er the country train their dumb despair,
And far behind them leave the dancing glare;
Their own crusht roofs still lend a trembling light,
Point their long shadows and direct their flight.
Till wandering wide they seek some cottage door,
Ask the vile pittance due the vagrant poor;
Or faint and faltering on the devious road,
They sink at last and yield their mortal load.

But where the sheeted flames thro Charlestown roar,
And lashing waves hiss round the burning shore,
Thro the deep folding fires dread Bunker's height
Thunders o'er all and shows a field of fight.
Like nightly shadows thro a flaming grove,
To the dark fray the closing squadrons move;
They join, they break, they thicken thro the glare,
And blazing batteries burst along the war;
Now wrapt in reddening smoke, now dim in sight,
They rake the hill, or wing the downward flight;
Here, wheel'd and wedged, Britannia's veterans turn,
And the long lightnings from their muskets burn;
There scattering strive the thin colonial train,
Whose broken platoons still the field maintain;
Till Britain's fresh battalions rise the height,
And with increasing vollies give the fight.
When, choked with dust, discolor'd deep in gore,
And gall'd on all sides from the ships and shore,
Hesperia's host moves off the field afar,
And saves, by slow retreat, the sad remains of war.

There strides bold Putnam, and from all the plains
Calls the tired troops, the tardy rear sustains,
And, mid the whizzing balls that skim the lowe,
Waves back his sword, defies the following foe.

In this prime prelude of the toil that waits
The nascent glories of his infant states,
Columbus mourn'd the slain. A numerous crowd,
Half of each host, had bought their fame with blood;
From the whole hill he saw the lifestream pour,
And sloping pathways trod with tracks of gore.
Here, glorious Warren, thy cold earth was seen,
Here spring thy laurels in immortal green;
Dearest of chiefs that ever prest the plain,
In freedom's cause with early honors slain;
Still dear in death, as when before our sight
You graced the senate, or you led the fight.
The grateful Muse shall tell the world your fame,
And unborn realms resound the deathless name.

Now from all plains, as settling smokes decay,
The banded freemen rise in open day;
Tall thro the lessening shadows, half conceal'd,
They throng and gather in a central field;
In unskill'd ranks but ardent soul they stand,
Claim quick the foe, and eager strife demand.

In front firm Washington superior shone,
His eye directed to the half-seen sun;
As thro the cloud the bursting splendors glow,
And light the passage to the distant foe.
His waving steel returns the living day,
And points, thro unfought fields, the warrior's way;
His valorous deeds to be confined no more,
Monongahela, to thy desert shore.
Matured with years, with nobler glory warm,
Fate in his eye and empire on his arm,
He feels his sword the strength of nations wield,
And moves before them with a broader shield.

Greene rose beside him emulous in arms,
His genius brightening as the danger warms,
In counsel great, in every science skill'd,
Pride of the camp and terror of the field.
With eager look, conspicuous o'er the crowd,
And port majestic, brave Montgomery strode,
Bared his tried blade, with honor's call elate,
Claim'd the first field and hasten'd to his fate.
Lincoln, with force unfolding as he rose,
Scoped the whole war and measured well the foes;
Calm, cautious, firm, for frugal counsels known,
Frugal of other's blood but liberal of his own.
Heath for impending toil his falchion draws,
And fearless Wooster aids the sacred cause,
Mercer advanced an early death to prove,
Sinclair and Mifflin swift to combat move;
Here stood stern Putnam, scored with ancient scars.
The living records of his country's wars;
Wayne, like a moving tower, assumes his post.
Fires the whole field, and is himself a host;
Undaunted Stirling, prompt to meet his foes,
And Gates and Sullivan for action rose;
Macdougal, Clinton, guardians of the state,
Stretch the nerved arm to pierce the depth of fate;
Marion with rapture seized the sword of fame,
Young Laurens graced a father's patriot name;
Moultrie and Sumter lead their banded powers,
Morgan in front of his bold riflers towers,
His host of keen-eyed marksmen, skill'd to pour
Their slugs unerring from the twisted bore.
No sword, no bayonet they learn to wield,
They gall the flank, they skirt the battling field,
Cull out the distant foe in full horse speed,
Couch the long tube and eye the silver bead,
Turn as he turns, dismiss the whizzing lead,
And lodge the death-ball in his heedless head.

So toil'd the huntsman Tell. His quivering dart,
Prest by the bended bowstring, fears to part,
Dreads the tremendous task, to graze but shun
The tender temples of his infant son;
As the loved youth (the tyrant's victim led)
Bears the poised apple tottering on his head.
The sullen father, with reverted eye,
Now marks the satrap, now the bright-hair'd boy;
His second shaft impatient lies, athirst
To mend the expected error of the first,
To pierce the monster, mid the insulted crowd,
And steep the pangs of nature in his blood.
Deep doubling tow'rd his breast, well poised and slow.
Curve the strain'd horns of his indignant bow;
His left arm straightens as the dexter bends,
And his nerved knuckle with the gripe distends;
Soft slides the reed back with the stiff drawn strand,
Till the steel point has reacht his steady hand;
Then to his keen fixt eye the shank he brings,
Twangs the loud cord, the feather'd arrow sings.
Picks off the pippin from the smiling boy,
And Uri's rocks resound with shouts of joy.
Soon by an equal dart the tyrant bleeds,
The cantons league, the work of fate proceeds;
Till Austria's titled hordes, with their own gore,
Fat the fair fields they lorded long before;
On Gothard's height while freedom first unfurl'd
Her infant banner o'er the modern world.

Bland, Moylan, Sheldon the long lines enforce
With light-arm'd scouts, with solid squares of horse;
And Knox from his full park to battle brings
His brazen tubes, the last resort of kings.
The long black rows in sullen silence wait,
Their grim jaws gaping, soon to utter fate;
When at his word the carbon clouds shall rise,
And well aim'd thunders rock the shores and skies.

Two foreign Youths had caught the splendent flame,
To Fame's hard school the warm disciples came;
To learn sage Liberty's unlesson'd lore,
To brave the tempest on her war-beat shore,
Prometheus like, to snatch a beam of day,
And homeward bear the unscintillating ray,
To pour new life on Europe's languid horde,
Where millions crouch beneath one stupid lord.
Tho Austria's keiser and the Russian czar
To dungeons doom them, and with fetters mar,
Fayette o'er Gaul's vast realm some light shall spread,
Brave Kosciusko rear Sarmatia's head;
From Garonne's bank to Duna's wintry skies,
The morn shall move, and slumbering nations rise.
And tho their despots quake with wild alarms,
And lash and agonize the world to arms,
Whelm for a while the untutor'd race in blood,
And turn against themselves the raging flood;
Yet shall the undying dawn, with silent pace,
Reach over earth and every land embrace;
Till Europe's well taught sons the boon shall share,
And bless the labors of the imprison'd Pair.

So Leda's Twins from Colchis raped the Fleece,
And brought the treasure to their native Greece.
She hail'd her heroes from their finished wars,
Assigned their place amid the cluster'd stars,
Bade round the eternal sky their trophies flame,
And charged the zodiac with their deathless fame.
--Here move the Strangers, here in freedom's cause
His untried blade each stripling hero draws,
On the great chief their eyes in transport roll,
And war and Washington renerve the soul.

Steuben advanced, in veteran armor drest,
For Prussian lore distinguish'd o'er the rest,
The tactic lore; to this he bends his care,
And here transplants the discipline of war.
Other brave chieftains of illustrious name
Rise into sight and equal honors claim;
But who can tell the dew-drops of the morn,
Or count the rays that in the diamond burn?
--Grieve not, my valiant friends; the faithful song
Shall soon redress the momentary wrong;
Your own bright swords have cleaved your course to fame,
And all her hundred tongues recognize every claim.

Now the broad field as untaught warriors shade,
The sun's glad beam their shining arms display'd;
High waved great Washington his glittering steel,
Bade the long train in circling order wheel;
And, while the banner'd youths around him prest,
With voice revered he thus the ranks addrest:
Ye generous bands, behold the task to save,
Or yield whole nations to an instant grave.
See hosted myriads crowding to your shore,
Hear from all ports their vollied thunders roar;
From Boston heights their bloody standards play,
O'er long Champlain they lead their northern way,
Virginian banks behold their streamers glide,
And hostile navies load each southern tide.
Beneath their steps your towns in ashes lie,
Your inland empires feast their greedy eye;
Soon shall your fields to lordly parks be turn'd,
Your children butcher'd and your villas burn'd;
While following millions, thro the reign of time.
Who claim their birth in this indulgent clime,
Bend the weak knee, to servile toils consigned,
And sloth and slavery still degrade mankind.
Rise then to war, to timely vengeance rise,
Ere the gray sire, the helpless infant dies;
Look thro the world, see endless years descend,
What realms, what ages on your arms depend!
Reverse the fate, avenge the insulted sky,
Move to the work; we conquer or we die.

So spoke Columbia's chief; his guiding hand
Points out their march to every ardent band,
Assigns to each brave leader, as they claim,
His test of valor and his task of fame.
With his young host Montgomery first moves forth,
To crush the vast invasion of the north;
O'er streams and lakes their flags far onward play,
Navies and forts surrendering mark their way;
Rocks, fens and deserts thwart the paths they go,
And hills before them lose their crags in snow.
Loud Laurence, clogg'd with ice, indignant feels
Their sleet-clad oars, choked helms and crusted keels;
They buffet long his tides; when rise in sight
Quebec's dread walls, and Wolfe's unclouded height
Already there a few brave patriots stood,
Worn down with toil, by famine half subdued;
Untrench'd before the town, they dare oppose
Their fielded cohorts to the forted foes.
Ah gallant troop! deprived of half the praise
That deeds like yours in other times repays,
Since your prime chief (the favorite erst of fame)
Hath sunk so deep his hateful, hideous name,
That every honest Muse with horror flings
The name unsounded from her sacred strings;
Else what high tones of rapture must have told
The first great action of a chief so bold!
Twas his, twas yours, to brave unusual storms,
To tame rude nature in her drearest forms;
Foodless and guideless, thro that waste of earth,
You march'd long months; and, sore reduced by dearth,
Reach'd the proud capital, too feeble far
To tempt unaided such a task of war;
Till now Montgomery's host, with hopes elate,
Joins your scant powers, to try the test of fate.

With skilful glance he views the fortress round.
Bristled with pikes, with dark artillery crown'd;
Resolves with naked steel to scale the towers,
And snatch a realm from Britain's hostile powers.
Now drear December's boreal blasts arise,
A roaring hailstorm sweeps the shuddering skies,
Night with condensing horror mantles all,
And trembling watch-lights glimmer from the wall.
From bombs o'erarching, fusing, bursting high,
The glare scarce wanders thro the loaded sky;
And in the louder shock of meteors drown'd,
The accustom'd ear in vain expects the sound.

He points the assault; and, thro the howling air,
O'er rocky ramparts leads audacious war.
Swift rise the rapid files; the walls are red
With flashing flames, that show the piles of dead;
Till back recoiling from the ranks of slain,
They leave their leader with a feeble train,
Begirt with foes within the sounding wall,
Who thick beneath his single falchion fall.
But short the conflict; others hemm'd him round,
And brave Montgomery prest the gory ground.
A second Wolfe Columbus here beheld,
In youthful charms, a soul undaunted yield;
Forlorn, o'erpower'd, his hardy host remains,
Stretch'd by his side, or led in captive chains.
Macpherson, Cheesman share their general's doom;
Meigs, Morgan, Dearborn, planning deeds to come,
Resign impatient prisoners; soon to wield
Their happier swords in many a broader field.

Triumphant to Newyork's ill forted post
Britannia turns her vast amphibious host,
That seas and storms, obedient to her hand,
Heave and discharge on every distant land;
Fleets, floating batteries shake Manhattan's shore,
And Hellgate rocks reverberate the roar.
Swift o'er the shuddering isles that line the bay
The red flags wave, and battering engines play;
Howe leads aland the interminable train,
While his bold brother still bestorms the main,
Great Albion's double pride; both famed afar
On each vext element, each world of war;
Where British rapine follows peaceful toil,
And murders nations but to seize their spoil.

Wide sweep the veteran myriads o'er the strand,
Outnumbering thrice the raw colonial band;
Flatbush and Harlem sink beneath their fires,
Brave Stirling yields, and Sullivan retires.
In vain sage Washington, from hill to hill,
Plays round his foes with more than Fabian skill,
Retreats, advances, lures them to his snare,
To balance numbers by the shifts of war.
For not their swords alone, but fell disease
Thins his chill camp and chokes the neighboring seas.
The baleful malady, from Syrius sent,
floats in each breeze, impesting every tent,
Strikes the young soldier with the morning ray,
And lays him lifeless ere the close of day,
Far from his father's house, his mother's care,
And all the charities that nursed him there.

Damp'd is the native rage that first impell'd
The insulted colons to the battling field;
When first their high-soul'd sentiment of right
And full-vein'd vigor nerved their arm to fight.
For stript of health, benumb'd thy vital flood,
Thy muscles lax'd and decomposed thy blood,
What is thy courage, man? a foodless flame,
A light unseen, a soul without a frame.

Each day the decimated ranks forgo
Their dying comrades to repulse the foe,
And each damp night, along the slippery trench,
Breathe at their post the suffocating stench;
They sink by hundreds on the vapory soil,
Till a new fight relieves their deadlier toil.
At last from fruitless combat, sore defeat,
To Croton hills they lead a long retreat;
Pale, curbed, exanimate, in dull despair,
Train the scant relics of the twofold war:
The sword, the pestilence press hard behind;
The body both assail, and one beats down the mind.

Book VI.

Argument.

British cruelty to American prisoners. Prison Ship. Retreat of
Washington with the relics of his army, pursued by Howe. Washington
recrossing the Delaware in the night, to surprise the British van, is
opposed by uncommon obstacles. His success in this audacious enterprise
lays the foundation of the American empire. A monument to be ere
on the bank of the Delaware. Approach of Burgoyne, sailing up the St.
Laurence with an army of Britons and various other nations. Indignant
energy of the colonies, compared to that of Greece in opposing the
invasion of Xerxes. Formation of an army of citizens, under the command
of Gates. Review of the American and British armies, and of the savage
tribes who join the British standard. Battle of Saratoga. Story of
Lucinda. Second battle, and capture of Burgoyne and his army.

But of all tales that war's black annals hold,
The darkest, foulest still remains untold;
New modes of torture wait the shameful strife,
And Britain wantons in the waste of life.

Cold-blooded Cruelty, first fiend of hell,
Ah think no more with savage hordes to dwell;
Quit the Caribian tribes who eat their slain,
Fly that grim gang, the Inquisitors of Spain,
Boast not thy deeds in Moloch's shrines of old,
Leave Barbary's pirates to their blood-bought gold,
Let Holland steal her victims, force them o'er
To toils and death on Java's morbid shore;
Some cloak, some color all these crimes may plead;
Tis avarice, passion, blind religion's deed;
But Britons here, in this fraternal broil,
Grave, cool, deliberate in thy service toil.
Far from the nation's eye, whose nobler soul
Their wars would humanize, their pride control,
They lose the lessons that her laws impart,
And change the British for the brutal heart.
Fired by no passion, madden'd by no zeal,
No priest, no Plutus bids them not to feel;
Unpaid, gratuitous, on torture bent,
Their sport is death, their pastime to torment;
All other gods they scorn, but bow the knee,
And curb, well pleased, O Cruelty, to thee.

Come then, curst goddess, where thy votaries reign,
Inhale their incense from the land and main;
Come to Newyork, their conquering arms to greet,
Brood o'er their camp and breathe along their fleet;
The brother chiefs of Howe's illustrious name
Demand thy labors to complete their fame.
What shrieks of agony thy praises sound!
What grateless dungeons groan beneath the ground!
See the black Prison Ship's expanding womb
Impested thousands, quick and dead, entomb.
Barks after barks the captured seamen bear,
Transboard and lodge thy silent victims there;
A hundred scows, from all the neighboring shore,
Spread the dull sail and ply the constant oar,
Waft wrecks of armies from the well fought field,
And famisht garrisons who bravely yield;
They mount the hulk, and, cramm'd within the cave,
Hail their last house, their living, floating grave.

She comes, the Fiend! her grinning jaws expand,
Her brazen eyes cast lightning o'er the strand,
Her wings like thunder-clouds the welkin sweep,
Brush the tall spires and shade the shuddering deep;
She gains the deck, displays her wonted store,
Her cords and scourges wet with prisoners' gore;
Gripes, pincers, thumb-screws spread beneath her feet,
Slow poisonous drugs and loads of putrid meat;
Disease hangs drizzling from her slimy locks,
And hot contagion issues from her box.

O'er the closed hatches ere she takes her place,
She moves the massy planks a little space,
Opes a small passage to the cries below,
That feast her soul on messages of woe;
There sits with gaping ear and changeless eye,
Drinks every groan and treasures every sigh,
Sustains the faint, their miseries to prolong,
Revives the dying and unnerves the strong.

But as the infected mass resign their breath.
She keeps with joy the register of death.
As tost thro portholes from the encumber'd cave,
Corpse after corpse fall dashing in the wave;
Corpse after corpse, for days and months and years,
The tide bears off, and still its current clears;
At last, o'erloaded with the putrid gore,
The slime-clad waters thicken round the shore.
Green Ocean's self, that oft his wave renews,
That drinks whole fleets with all their battling crews,
That laves, that purifies the earth and sky,
Yet ne'er before resign'd his natural dye,
Here purples, blushes for the race he bore
To rob and ravage this unconquer'd shore;
The scaly nations, as they travel by,
Catch the contagion, sicken, gasp and die.

Now Hesper turns the Hero's tearful eye
To other fields where other standards fly;
For here constrain'd new warfare to disclose,
And show the feats of more than mortal foes,
Where interposing with celestial might,
His own dread labors must decide the fight,
He bids the scene with pomp unusual rise,
To teach Columbus how to read the skies.

He marks the trace of Howe's triumphant course,
And wheels o'er Jersey plains his gathering force;
Where dauntless Washington, begirt with foes,
Still greater rises as the danger grows,
And wearied troops, o'er kindred warriors slain,
Attend his march thro many a sanguine plain.

From Hudson's bank to Trenton's wintry strand,
He guards in firm retreat his feeble band;
Britons by thousands on his flanks advance,
Bend o'er his rear and point the lifted lance.
Past Delaware's frozen stream, with scanty force,
He checks retreat; then turning back his course,
Remounts the wave, and thro the mingled roar
Of ice and storm reseeks the hostile shore,
Wrapt in the gloom of night. The offended Flood
Starts from his cave, assumes the indignant god,
Rears thro the parting tide his foamy form,
And with his fiery eyeballs lights the storm.
He stares around him on the host he heard,
Clears his choked urn and smooths his icy beard,
And thus: Audacious chief, this troubled wave
Tempt not; or tempting, here shall gape thy grave.
Is nothing sacred to thy venturous might?
The howling storm, the holy truce of night,
High tossing ice-isles crashing round thy side,
Insidious rocks that pierce the tumbling tide?
Fear then this forceful arm, and hear once more,
Death stands between thee and that shelvy shore.

The chief beholds the god, and notes his cry,
But onward drives, nor pauses to reply;
Calls to each bark, and spirits every host
To toil, gain, tempt the interdicted coast.
The crews, regardless of the doubling roar,
Breast the strong helm, and wrestle with the oar,
Stem with resurgent prow the struggling spray,
And with phosphoric lanterns shape their way.

The god perceived his warning words were vain,
And rose more furious to assert his reign,
Lash'd up a loftier surge, and heaved on high
A ridge of billows that obstruct the sky;
And, as the accumulated mass he rolls,
Bares the sharp rocks and lifts the gaping shoals.
Forward the fearless barges plunge and bound,
Top the curl'd wave, or grind the flinty ground,
Careen, whirl, right, and sidelong dasht and tost,
Now seem to reach and now to lose the coast.

Still unsubdued the sea-drench'd army toils,
Each buoyant skiff the flouncing godhead foils;
He raves and roars, and in delirious woe
Calls to his aid his ancient hoary foe,
Almighty Frost; when thus the vanquish'd Flood
Bespeaks in haste the great earth-rending god:
Father of storms! behold this mortal race
Confound my force and brave me to my face.
Not all my waves by all my tempests driven,
Nor black night brooding o'er the starless heaven,
Can check their course; they toss and plunge amain,
And lo, my guardian rocks project their points in vain.

Come to my help, and with thy stiffening breath
Clog their strain'd helms, distend their limbs indeath.
Tho ancient enmity our realms divide,
And oft thy chains arrest my laboring tide,
Let strong necessity our cause combine,
Thy own disgrace anticipate in mine;
Even now their oars thy sleet in vain congeals,
Thy crumbling ice-cakes crash beneath their keels;
Their impious arms already cope with ours,
And mortal man defies immortal Powers.

Roused at the call, the Monarch mounts the storm;
In muriat flakes he robes his nitrous form,
Glares thro the compound, all its blast inhales,
And seas turn crystal where he breathes his gales.
He comes careering o'er his bleak domain,
But comes untended by his usual train;
Hail, sleet and snow-rack far behind him fly,
Too weak to wade thro this petrific sky,
Whose air consolidates and cuts and stings,
And shakes hoar tinsel from its flickering wings.
Earth heaves and cracks beneath the alighting god;
He gains the pass, bestrides the roaring flood,
Shoots from his nostrils one wide withering sheet
Of treasured meteors on the struggling fleet;
The waves conglaciate instant, fix in air,
Stand like a ridge of rocks, and shiver there.
The barks, confounded in their headlong surge,
Or wedged in crystal, cease their oars to urge;
Some with prone prow, as plunging down the deep,
And some remounting o'er the slippery steep
Seem laboring still, but moveless, lifeless all;
And the chill'd army here awaits its fall.

But Hesper, guardian of Hesperia's right,
From his far heaven looks thro the rayless night;
And, stung to vengeance at the unequal strife,
To save her host, in jeopardy of life,
Starts from his throne, ascends his flamy car.
And turns tremendous to the field of war.
His wheels, resurging from the depth of even,
Roll back the night, streak wide the startled heaven,
Regain their easting with reverted gyres,
And stud their path with scintillating fires.
He cleaves the clouds; and, swift as beams of day,
O'er California sweeps his splendid way;
Missouri's mountains at his passage nod,
And now sad Delaware feels the present god,
And trembles at his tread. For here to fight
Rush two dread Powers of such unmeasured might,
As threats to annihilate his doubtful reign,
Convulse the heaven and mingle earth and main.

Frost views his brilliant foe with scornful eye,
And whirls a tenfold tempest thro the sky;
Where each fine atom of the immense of air,
Steel'd, pointed, barb'd for unexampled war,
Sings o'er the shuddering ground; when thus he broke
Contemptuous silence, and to Hesper spoke:
Thou comest in time to share their last disgrace,
To change to crystal with thy rebel race,
Stretch thy huge corse o'er Delaware's bank afar,
And learn the force of elemental war.
Or if undying life thy lamp inspire,
Take that one blast and to thy sky retire;
There, roll'd eternal round the heavens, proclaim
Thy own disaster and my deathless fame.

I come, said Hesper, not to insult the brave,
But break thy sceptre and let loose my wave,
Teach the proud Stream more peaceful tides to roll,
And send thee howling to thy stormy pole;
That drear dominion shall thy rage confine;
This land, these waters and those troops are mine.

He added not; and now the sable storm,
Pierced by strong splendor, burst before his form;
His visage stern an awful lustre shed,
His pearly planet play'd around his head.
He seized a lofty pine, whose roots of yore
Struck deep in earth, to guard the sandy shore
From hostile ravage of the mining tide,
That rakes with spoils of earth its crumbling side.
He wrencht it from the soil, and o'er the foe
Whirl'd the strong trunk, and aim'd a sweeping blow,
That sung thro air, but miss'd the moving god,
And fell wide crashing on the frozen flood.
For many a rood the shivering ice it tore,
Loosed every bark and shook the sounding shore;
Stroke after stroke with doubling force he plied,
Foil'd the hoar Fiend and pulverized the tide.
The baffled tyrant quits the desperate cause;
From Hesper's heat the river swells and thaws,
The fleet rolls gently to the Jersey coast,
And morning splendors greet the landing host.

Tis here dread Washington, when first the day
O'er Trenton beam'd to light his rapid way,
Pour'd the rude shock on Britain's vanguard train,
And led whole squadrons in his captive chain;
Where veteran troops to half their numbers yield,
Tread back their steps, or press the sanguine field,
To Princeton plains precipitate their flight,
Thro new disasters and unfinish'd fight,
Resign their conquests by one sad surprise,
Sink in their pride and see their rivals rise.

Here dawn'd the daystar of Hesperia's fame,
Here herald glory first emblazed her name;
On Delaware's bank her base of empire stands,
The work of Washington's immortal hands;
Prompt at his side while gallant Mercer trod,
And seal'd the firm foundation with his blood.

In future years, if right the Muse divine,
Some great memorial on this bank shall shine;
A column bold its granite shaft shall rear,
Swell o'er the strand and check the passing air,
Cast its broad image on the watery glade,
And Bristol greet the monumental shade;
Eternal emblem of that gloomy hour,
When the great general left her storm-beat shore,
To tempest, night and his own sword consign'd
His country's fates, the fortunes of mankind.

Where sealike Laurence, rolling in his pride,
With Ocean's self disputes the tossing tide,
From shore to shore, thro dim distending skies,
Beneath full sails imbanded nations rise.
Britain and Brunswick here their flags unfold,
Here Hessia's hordes, for toils of slaughter sold,
Anspach and Darmstadt swell the hireling train,
Proud Caledonia crowds the masted main,
Hibernian kerns and Hanoverian slaves
Move o'er the decks and darken wide the waves.

Tall on the boldest bark superior shone
A warrior ensign'd with a various crown;
Myrtles and laurels equal honors join'd,
Which arms had purchased and the Muses twined;
His sword waved forward, and his ardent eye
Seem'd sharing empires in the southern sky.
Beside him rose a herald to proclaim
His various honors, titles, feats and fame;
Who raised an opening scroll, where proudly shone
_Burgoyne and vengeance from the British throne._

Champlain receives the congregated host,
And his husht waves beneath the sails are lost;
Ticonderoga rears his rocks in vain,
Nor Edward's walls the weighty shock sustain;
Deep George's loaded lake reluctant guides
Their bounding barges o'er his sacred tides.
State after state the splendid pomp appalls,
Each town surrenders, every fortress falls;
Sinclair retires; and with his feeble train,
In slow retreat o'er many a fatal plain,
Allures their march; wide moves their furious force,
And flaming hamlets mark their wasting course;
Thro fortless realms their spreading ranks are wheel'd,
On Mohawk's wrestern wave, on Bennington's dread field.

At last where Hudson, with majestic pace,
Swells at the sight, and checks his rapid race,
Thro dark Stillwater slow and silent moves,
And flying troops with sullen pause reproves,
A few firm bands their starry standard rear,
Wheel, front and face the desolating war.
Sudden the patriot flame each province warms,
Deep danger calls, the freemen quit their farms,
Seize their tried muskets, name their chiefs to lead,
Endorse their knapsacks and to vengeance speed.
O'er all the land the kindling ardor flies,
Troop follows troop, and flags on flags arise,
Concentred, train'd, their forming files unite,
Swell into squadrons and demand the fight.

When Xerxes, raving at his sire's disgrace,
Pour'd his dark millions on the coast of Thrace,
O'er groaning Hellespont his broad bridge hurl'd,
Hew'd ponderous Athos from the trembling world,
Still'd with his weight of ships the struggling main,
And bound the billows in his boasted chain,
Wide o'er proud Macedon he wheel'd his course,
Thrace, Thebes, Thessalia join'd his furious force.
Thro six torn states his hovering swarms increase,
And hang tremendous on the skirts of Greece;
Deep groan the shrines of all her guardian gods,
Sad Pelion shakes, divine Olympus nods,
Shock'd Ossa sheds his hundred hills of snow,
And Tempe swells her murmuring brook below;
Wild in her starts of rage the Pythian shrieks,
Dodona's Oak the pangs of nature speaks,
Eleusis quakes thro all her mystic caves,
And black Trophonius gapes a thousand graves.
But soon the freeborn Greeks to vengeance rise,
Brave Sparta springs where first the danger lies,
Her self-devoted Band, in one steel'd mass,
Plunge in the gorge of death, and choke the Pass,
Athenian youths, the unwieldy war to meet,
Couch the stiff lance, or mount the well arm'd fleet;
They sweep the incumber'd seas of their vast load,
And fat their fields with lakes of Asian blood.

So leapt our youths to meet the invading hordes,
Fame fired their courage, freedom edged their swords.
Gates in their van on high-hill'd Bemus rose,
Waved his blue steel and dared the headlong foes;
Undaunted Lincoln, laboring on his right,
Urged every arm, and gave them hearts to fight;
Starke, at the dexter flank, the onset claims,
Indignant Herkimer the left inflames;
He bounds exulting to commence the strife.
And buy the victory with his barter'd life.

And why, sweet Minstrel, from the harp of fame
Withhold so long that once resounding name?
The chief who, steering by the boreal star,
O'er wild Canadia led our infant war,
In desperate straits superior powers display'd,
Burgoyne's dread scourge, Montgomery's ablest aid;
Ridgefield and Compo saw his valorous might
With ill-arm'd swains put veteran troops to flight.
Tho treason foul hath since absorb'd his soul,
Bade waves of dark oblivion round him roll,
Sunk his proud heart abhorrent and abhorr'd,
Effaced his memory and defiled his sword;
Yet then untarnisht roll'd his conquering car;
Then famed and foremost in the ranks of war
Brave Arnold trod; high valor warm'd his breast,
And beams of glory play'd around his crest.
Here toils the chief; whole armies from his eye
Resume their souls, and swift to combat fly.

Camp'd on a hundred hills, and trench'd in form,
Burgoyne's long legions view the gathering storm;
Uncounted nations round their general stand,
And wait the signal from his guiding hand.
Canadia crowds her Gallic colons there,
Ontario's yelling tribes torment the air,
Wild Huron sends his lurking hordes from far,
Insidious Mohawk swells the woodland war;
Scalpers and ax-men rush from Erie's shore,
And Iroquois augments the war whoop roar;
While all his ancient troops his train supply,
Half Europe's banners waving thro the sky;
Deep squadron'd horse support his endless flanks,
And park'd artillery frowns behind the ranks.
Flush'd with the conquest of a thousand fields,
And rich with spoils that all the region yields,
They burn with zeal to close the long campaign,
And crush Columbia on this final plain.

His fellow chiefs inhale the hero's flame,
Nerves of his arm and partners in his fame:
Phillips, with treasured thunders poised and wheel'd
In brazen tubes, prepares to rake the field;
The trench-tops darken with the sable rows,
And, tipt with fire, the waving match-rope glows.
There gallant Reidesel in German guise,
And Specht and Breyman, prompt for action, rise;
His savage hordes the murderous Johnson leads,
Files thro the woods and treads the tangled weeds,
Shuns open combat, teaches where to run,
Skulk, couch the ambush, aim the hunter's gun,
Whirl the sly tomahawk, the war whoop sing,
Divide the spoils and pack the scalps they bring.

Frazer in quest of glory seeks the field;--
False glare of glory, what hast thou to yield?
How long, deluding phantom, wilt thou blind,
Mislead, debase, unhumanize mankind?
Bid the bold youth, his headlong sword who draws,
Heed not the object, nor inquire the cause;
But seek adventuring, like an errant knight,
Wars not his own, gratuitous in fight,
Greet the gored field, then plunging thro the fire,
Mow down his men, with stupid pride expire,
Shed from his closing eyes the finish'd flame,
And ask, for all his crimes, a deathless name?
And when shall solid glory, pure and bright,
Alone inspire us, and our deeds requite?
When shall the applause of men their chiefs pursue
In just proportion to the good they do,
On virtue's base erect the shrine of fame,
Define her empire, and her code proclaim?

Unhappy Frazer! little hast thou weigh'd
The crirneful cause thy valor comes to aid.
Far from thy native land, thy sire, thy wife,
Love's lisping race that cling about thy life,
Thy soul beats high, thy thoughts expanding roam
On battles past, and laurels yet to come:
Alas, what laurels? where the lasting gain?
A pompous funeral on a desert plain!
The cannon's roar, the muffled drums proclaim,
In one short blast, thy momentary fame,
And some war minister per-hazard reads
In what far field the tool of placemen bleeds.

Brave Heartly strode in youth's o'erweening pride;
Housed in the camp he left his blooming bride,
The sweet Lucinda; whom her sire from far,
On steeds high bounding o'er the waste of war,
Had guided thro the lines, and hither led,
That fateful morn, the plighted chief to wed.
He deem'd, deluded sire! the contest o'er,
That routed rebels dared the fight no more;
And came to mingle, as the tumult ceased,
The victor's triumph with the nuptial feast.
They reach'd his tent; when now with loud alarms
The morn burst forth and roused the camp to arms;
Conflicting passions seized the lover's breast,
Bright honor call'd, and bright Lucinda prest:--
And wilt thou leave me for that clangorous call?
Traced I these deserts but to see thee fall?
I know thy valorous heart, thy zeal that speeds
Where dangers press and boldest battle bleeds.
My father said blest Hymen here should join
With sacred Love to make Lucinda thine;
But other union these dire drums foredoom,
The dark dead union of the eternal tomb.
On yonder plain, soon sheeted o'er with blood,
Our nuptial couch shall prove a crimson clod;
For there this night thy livid corse must lie,
I'll seek it there, and on that bosom die.
Yet go; tis duty calls; but o'er thy head
Let this white plume its floating foliage spread;
That from the rampart, thro the troubled air,
These eyes may trace thee toiling in the war.
She fixt the feather on his crest above,
Bound with the mystic knot, the knot of love;
He parted silent, but in silent prayer
Bade Love and Hymen guard the timorous fair.

Where Saratoga show'd her champaign side,
That Hudson bathed with still untainted tide,
The opposing pickets push'd their scouting files,
Wheel'd skirmisht, halted, practised all their wiles;
Each to mislead, insnare, exhaust their foes,
And court the conquest ere the armies close.

Now roll like winged storms the solid lines,
The clarion thunders and the battle joins,
Thick flames in vollied flashes load the air,
And echoing mountains give the noise of war;
Sulphureous clouds rise reddening round the height,
And veil the skies, and wrap the sounding fight.
Soon from the skirts of smoke, where thousands toil,
Ranks roll away and into light recoil;
Starke pours upon them in a storm of lead;
His hosted swains bestrew the field with dead,
Pierce with strong bayonets the German reins,
Whelm two battalions in their captive chains,
Bid Baum, with wounds enfeebled, quit the field,
And Breyman next his gushing lifeblood yield.

This Frazer sees, and thither turns his course,
Bears down before them with Britannia's force,
Wheels a broad column on the victor flank,
And springs to vengeance thro the foremost rank.
Lincoln, to meet the hero, sweeps the plain;
His ready bands the laboring Starke sustain;
Host matching host, the doubtful battle burns,
And now the Britons, now their foes by turns
Regain the ground; till Frazer feels the force
Of a rude grapeshot in his flouncing horse;
Nor knew the chief, till struggling from the fall,
That his gored thigh had first received the ball.
He sinks expiring on the slippery soil;
Shock'd at the sight, his baffled troops recoil;
Where Lincoln, pressing with redoubled might,
Broke thro their squadrons and confirmed the flight;
When this brave leader met a stunning blow,
That stopt his progress and avenged the foe.
He left the field; but prodigal of life,
Unwearied Francis still prolong'd the strife;
Till a chance carabine attained his head,
And stretch'd the hero mid the vulgar dead.
His near companions rush with ardent gait,
Swift to revenge, but soon to share his fate;
Brown, Adams, Coburn, falling side by side,
Drench the chill sod with all their vital tide.

Firm on the west bold Herkimer sustains
The gather'd shock of all Canadia's trains;
Colons and wildmen post their skulkers there,
Outflank his pickets and assail his rear,
Drive in his distant scouts with hideous blare,
And press, on three sides close, the hovering war.
Johnson's own shrieks commence the deafening din,
Rouse every ambush and the storm begin.
A thousand thickets, thro each opening glen,
Pour forth their hunters to the chase of men;
Trunks of huge trees, and rocks and ravines lend
Unnumber'd batteries and their files defend;
They fire, they squat, they rise, advance and fly,
And yells and groans alternate rend the sky.
The well aim'd hatchet cleaves the helmless head,
Mute showers of arrows and loud storms of lead
Rain thick from hands unseen, and sudden fling
A deep confusion thro the laboring wing.

But Herkimer undaunted quits the stand,
Breaks in loose files his disencumbered band,
Wheels on the howling glens each light-arm'd troop,
And leads himself where Johnson tones his whoop,
Pours thro his copse a well directed fire;
The semisavage sees his tribes retire,
Then follows thro the brush in full horse speed,
And gains the hilltop where the Hurons lead;
Here turns his courser; when a grateful sight
Recals his stragglers, and restrains his flight.
For Herkimer no longer now sustains
The loss of blood that his faint vitals drains:
A ball had pierced him ere he changed his field;
The slow sure death his prudence had conceal'd,
Till dark derouted foes should yield to flight,
And his firm friends could finish well the fight.

Lopt from his horse the hero sinks at last;
The Hurons ken him, and with hallooing blast
Shake the vast wilderness; the tribes around
Drink with broad ears and swell the rending sound,
Rush back to vengeance with tempestuous might,
Sweep the long slopes from every neighboring height,
Full on their check'd pursuers; who regain,
From all their woods, the first contested plain.
Here open fight begins; and sure defeat
Had forced that column to a swift retreat,
But Arnold, toiling thro the distant smoke,
Beheld their plight, a small detachment took,
Bore down behind them with his field-park loud,
And hail'd his grapeshot thro the savage crowd;
Strow'd every copse with dead, and chased afar
The affrighted relics from the skirts of war.

But on the centre swells the heaviest charge,
The squares develop and the lines enlarge.
Here Kosciusko's mantling works conceal'd
His batteries mute, but soon to scour the field;
Morgan with all his marksmen flanks the foe,
Hull, Brooks and Courtlandt in the vanguard glow;
Here gallant Dearborn leads his light-arm'd train,
Here Scammel towers, here Silly shakes the plain.

Gates guides the onset with his waving brand,
Assigns their task to each unfolding band,
Sustains, inspirits, prompts the warrior's rage,
Now bids the flank and now the front engage,
Points the stern riflers where their slugs to pour,
And tells the unmasking batteries when to roar.
For here impetuous Powell wheels and veers
His royal guards, his British grenadiers;
His Highland broadswords cut their wasting course,
His horse-artillery whirls its furious force.
Here Specht and Reidesel to battle bring
Their scattering yagers from each folding wing;
And here, concentred in tremendous might,
Britain's whole park, descending to the fight,
Roars thro the ranks; tis Phillips leads the train,
And toils and thunders o'er the shuddering plain.

Burgoyne, secure of victory, from his height,
Eyes the whole field and orders all the fight,
Marks where his veterans plunge their fiercest fire,
And where his foes seem halting to retire,
Already sees the starry staff give way.
And British ensigns gaining on the day;
When from the western wing, in steely glare,
All-conquering Arnold surged the tide of war.
Columbia kindles as her hero comes;
Her trump's shrill clangor and her deafening drums
Redoubling sound the charge; they rage, they burn,
And hosted Europe trembles in her turn.
So when Pelides' absence check'd her fate,
All Ilion issued from her guardian gate;
Her huddling squadrons like a tempest pour'd,
Each man a hero and each dart a sword,
Full on retiring Greece tumultuous fall,
And Greece reluctant seeks her sheltering wall;
But Pelius' son rebounding o'er the plain,
Troy backward starts and seeks her towers again.

Arnold's dread falchion, with terrific sway,
Rolls on the ranks and rules the doubtful day,
Confounds with one wide sweep the astonish'd foes,
And bids at last the scene of slaughter close.
Pale rout begins, Britannia's broken train
Tread back their steps and scatter from the plain,
To their strong camp precipitate retire,
And wide behind them streams the roaring fire.

Meantime, the skirts of war as Johnson gored,
His kindred cannibals desert their lord;
They scour the waste for undistinguish'd prey,
Howl thro the night the horrors of the day,
Scalp every straggler from all parties stray'd,
Each wounded wanderer thro the moonlight glade;
And while the absent armies give them place,
Each camp they plunder and each world disgrace.

One deed shall tell what fame great Albion draws
From these auxiliars in her barbarous cause,
Lucinda's fate; the tale, ye nations, hear;
Eternal ages, trace it with a tear.
Long from the rampart, thro the imbattled field,
She spied her Heartly where his column wheel'd,
Traced him with steadfast eye and tortured breast,
That heaved in concert with his dancing crest;
And oft, with head advanced and hand outspread,
Seem'd from her Love to ward the flying lead;
Till, dimm'd by distance and the gathering cloud;
At last he vanish'd in the warrior crowd.
She thought he fell; and wild with fearless air,
She left the camp to brave the woodland war,
Made a long circuit, all her friends to shun,
And wander'd wide beneath the falling sun;
Then veering to the field, the pickets past,
To gain the hillock where she miss'd him last.
Fond maid, he rests not there; from finish'd fight
He sought the camp, and closed the rear of flight.

He hurries to his tent;--oh rage! despair!
No glimpse, no tidings of the frantic fair;
Save that some carmen, as acamp they drove,
Had seen her coursing for the western grove.
Faint with fatigue and choked with burning thirst,
Forth from his friends with bounding leap he burst,
Vaults o'er the palisade with eyes on flame,
And fills the welkin with Lucinda's name,
Swift thro the wild wood paths phrenetic springs,--
Lucind! Lucinda! thro the wild wood rings.
All night he wanders; barking wolves alone
And screaming night-birds answer to his moan;
For war had roused them from their savage den;
They scent the field, they snuff the walks of men.

The fair one too, of every aid forlorn,
Had raved and wander'd, till officipus morn
Awaked the Mohawks from their short repose,
To glean the plunder, ere their comrades rose.
Two Mohawks met the maid,--historian, hold!--
Poor Human Nature! must thy shame be told?
Where then that proud preeminence of birth,
Thy Moral Sense? the brightest boast of earth.
Had but the tiger changed his heart for thine,
Could rocks their bowels with that heart combine,
Thy tear had gusht, thy hand relieved her pain,
And led Lucinda to her lord again.

She starts, with eyes upturn'd and fleeting breath,
In their raised axes views her instant death,
Spreads her white hands to heaven in frantic prayer,
Then runs to grasp their knees, and crouches there.
Her hair, half lost along the shrubs she past,
Rolls in loose tangles round her lovely waist;
Her kerchief torn betrays the globes of snow
That heave responsive to her weight of woe.
Does all this eloquence suspend the knife?
Does no superior bribe contest her life?
There does: the scalps by British gold are paid;
A long-hair'd scalp adorns that heavenly head;
Arid comes the sacred spoil from friend or foe,
No marks distinguish, and no man can know.

With calculating pause and demon grin,
They seize her hands, and thro her face divine
Drive the descending ax; the shriek she sent
Attain'd her lover's ear; he thither bent
With all the speed his wearied limbs could yield,
Whirl'd his keen blade, and stretch'd upon the field
The yelling fiends; who there disputing stood
Her gory scalp, their horrid prize of blood.
He sunk delirious on her lifeless clay,
And past, in starts of sense, the dreadful day.

Are these thy trophies, Carleton! these the swords
Thy hand unsheath'd and gave the savage hordes,
Thy boasted friends, by treaties brought from far,
To aid thy master in his murderous war?

But now Britannia's chief, with proud disdain
Coop'd in his camp, demands the field again.
Back to their fate his splendid host he drew,
Swell'd high their rage, and led the charge anew;
Again the batteries roar, the lightnings play,
Again they fall, again they roll away;
For now Columbia, with rebounding might,
Foil'd quick their columns, but confined their flight.
Her wings, like fierce tornados, gyring ran,
Crusht their wide flanks and gain'd their flying van;
Here Arnold charged; the hero storm'd and pour'd
A thousand thunders where he turn'
No pause, no parley; onward far he fray'd,
Dispersed whole squadrons every bound he made,
Broke thro their rampart, seized theircampand stores
And pluck'd the standard from their broken towers.

Aghast, confounded in the midway field,
They drop their arms; the banded nations yield.
When sad Burgoyne, in one disastrous day,
Sees future crowns and former wreaths decay,
His banners furl'd, his long battalions wheel'd
To pile their muskets on the battle field;
While two pacific armies shade one plain,
The mighty victors and the captive train.

Book VII.

Argument.

Coast of France rises in vision. Louis, to humble the British power,
forms an alliance with the American states. This brings France, Spain
and Holland into the war, and rouses Hyder Ally to attack the English
in India. The vision returns to America, where the military operations
continue with various success. Battle of Monmouth. Storming of
Stonypoint by Wayne. Actions of Lincoln, and surrender of Charleston.
Movements of Cornwallis. Actions of Greene, and battle of Eutaw. French
army arrives, and joins the American. They march to besiege the English
army of Cornwallis in York and Gloster. Naval battle of Degrasse and
Graves. Two of their ships grappled and blown up. Progress of the
siege. A citadel mined and blown up. Capture of Cornwallis and his
army. Their banners furled and muskets piled on the field of battle.

Thus view'd the Pair; when lo, in eastern skies,
From glooms unfolding, Gallia's coasts arise.
Bright o'er the scenes of state a golden throne,
Instarr'd with gems and hung with purple, shone;
Young Bourbon there in royal splendor sat,
And fleets and moving armies round him wait.
For now the contest, with increased alarms,
Fill'd every court and roused the world to arms;
As Hesper's hand, that light from darkness brings,
And good to nations from the scourge of kings,
In this dread hour bade broader beams unfold,
And the new world illuminate the old.

In Europe's realms a school of sages trace
The expanding dawn that waits the Reasoning Race;
On the bright Occident they fix their eyes,
Thro glorious toils where struggling nations rise;
Where each firm deed, each new illustrious name
Calls into light a field of nobler fame:
A field that feeds their hope, confirms the plan
Of well poized freedom and the weal of man.
They scheme, they theorize, expand their scope,
Glance o'er Hesperia to her utmost cope;
Where streams unknown for other oceans stray,
Where suns unseen their waste of beams display,
Where sires of unborn nations claim their birth,
And ask their empires in those wilds of earth.
While round all eastern climes, with painful eye,
In slavery sunk they see the kingdoms lie,
Whole states exhausted to enrich a throne,
Their fruits untasted and their rights unknown;
Thro tears of grief that speak the well taught mind,
They hail the aera that relieves mankind.

Of these the first, the Gallic sages stand,
And urge their king to lift an aiding hand.
The cause of humankind their souls inspired,
Columbia's wrongs their indignation fired;
To share her fateful deeds their counsel moved,
To base in practice what in theme they proved:
That no proud privilege from birth can spring,
No right divine, nor compact form a king;
That in the people dwells the sovereign sway,
Who rule by proxy, by themselves obey;
That virtues, talents are the test of awe,
And Equal Rights the only source of law.
Surrounding heroes wait the monarch's word,
In foreign fields to draw the patriot sword,
Prepared with joy to join those infant powers,
Who build republics on the western shores.

By honest guile the royal ear they bend,
And lure him on, blest Freedom to defend;
That, once recognised, once establisht there,
The world might learn her profer'd boon to share.
But artful arguments their plan disguise,
Garb'd in the gloss that suits a monarch's eyes.
By arms to humble Britain's haughty power,
From her to sever that extended shore,
Contents his utmost wish. For this he lends
His powerful aid, and calls the opprest his friends.
The league proposed, he lifts his arm to save,
And speaks the borrow'd language of the brave:

Ye states of France, and ye of rising name
Who work those distant miracles of fame,
Hear and attend; let heaven the witness bear,
We wed the cause, we join the righteous war.
Let leagues eternal bind each friendly land,
Given by our voice, and stablisht by our hand;
Let that brave people fix their infant sway,
And spread their blessings with the bounds of day.
Yet know, ye nations; hear, ye Powers above,
Our purposed aid no views of conquest move;
In that young world revives no ancient claim
Of regions peopled by the Gallic name;
Our envied bounds, already stretch'd afar,
Nor ask the sword, nor fear encroaching war;
But virtue, coping with the tyrant power
That drenches earth in her best children's gore,
With nature's foes bids former compact cease;
We war reluctant, and our wish is peace;
For man's whole race the sword of France we draw;
Such is our will, and let our will be law.

He spoke; his moving armies veil'd the plain,
His fleets rode bounding on the western main;
O'er lands and seas the loud applauses rung,
And war and union dwelt on every tongue.

The other Bourbon caught the splendid strain,
To Gallia's arms he joins the powers of Spain;
Their sails assemble; Crillon lifts the sword,
Minorca bows and owns her ancient lord.
But while dread Elliott shakes the Midland wave,
They strive in vain the Calpian rock to brave.
Batavia's states with equal speed prepare
Thro western isles to meet the naval war;
For Albion there rakes rude the tortured main,
And foils the force of Holland, France and Spain.

Where old Indostan still perfumes the skies,
To furious strife his ardent myriads rise;
Fierce Hyder there, unconquerably bold,
Bids a new flag its horned moons unfold,
Spreads o'er Carnatic kings his splendid force,
And checks the Britons in their waiting course.

Europe's pacific powers their counsels join,
The laws of trade to settle and define.
The imperial Moscovite around him draws
Each Baltic state to join the righteous cause;
Whose arm'd Neutrality the way prepares
To check the ravages of future wars;
Till by degrees the wasting sword shall cease,
And commerce lead to universal peace.

Thus all the ancient world with anxious eyes
Enjoy the lights that gild Atlantic skies,
Wake to new life, assume a borrow'd flame,
Enlarge the lustre and partake the fame.
So mounts of ice, that polar heavens invade,
Tho piled unseen thro night's long wintry shade.
When morn at last illumes their glaring throne,
Give back the day and imitate the sun.

But still Columbus, on his war-beat shore,
Sees Albion's fleets her new battalions pour;
The states unconquer'd still their terrors wield,
And stain with mingled gore the embattled field.
On Pennsylvania's various plains they move,
And adverse armies equal slaughter prove;
Columbia mourns her Nash in combat slain,
Britons around him press the gory plain;
Skirmish and cannonade and distant fire
Each power diminish and each nation tire.
Till Howe from fruitless toil demands repose,
And leaves despairing in a land of foes
His wearied host; who now, to reach their fleet,
O'er Jersey hills commence their long retreat,
Tread back the steps their chief had led before,
And ask in vain the late abandon'd shore,
Where Hudson meets, the main; for on their rear
Columbia moves; and checks their swift career.

But where green Monmouth lifts his grassy height,
They halt, they face, they dare the coming fight.
Howe's proud successor, Clinton, hosting there,
To tempt once more the desperate chance of war,
Towers at their head, in hopes to work relief,
And mend the errors of his former chief.
Here shines his day; and here with loud acclaim
Begins and ends his little task of fame.
He vaults before them with his balanced blade,
Wheels the bright van, and forms the long parade;
Where Britons, Hessians crowd the glittering field,
And all their powers for ready combat wield.
As the dim sun, beneath the skirts of even,
Crimsons the clouds that sail the western heaven;
So, in red wavy rows, where spread the train
Of men and standards, shone the fateful plain.

They shone, till Washington obscured their light,
And his long ranks roll'd forward to the fight.
He points the charge; the mounted thunders roar,
And rake the champaign to the distant shore.
Above the folds of smoke that veil the war,
His guiding sword illumes the fields of air;
And vollied flames, bright bursting o'er the plain,
Break the brown clouds, discovering far the slain:
Till flight begins; the smoke is roll'd away,
And the red standards open into day.
Britons and Germans hurry from the field,
Now wrapt in dust, and now to sight reveal'd;
Behind, swift Washington his falchion drives,
Thins the pale ranks, but saves submissive lives.
Hosts captive bow and move behind his arm,
And hosts before him wing the sounding storm;
When the glad sea salutes their fainting sight,
And Albion's fleet wide thundering aids their flight;
They steer to sad Newyork their hasty way,
And rue the toils of Monmouth's mournful day.

But Hudson still, with his interior tide,
Laves a rude rock that bears Britannia's pride,
Swells round the headland with indignant roar,
And mocks her thunders from his murmuring shore;
When a firm cohort starts from Peekskill plain,
To crush the invaders and the post regain.
Here, gallant Hull, again thy sword is tried,
Meigs, Fleury, Butler, laboring side by side,
Wayne takes the guidance, culls the vigorous band,
Strikes out the flint, and bids the nervous hand
Trust the mute bayonet and midnight skies,
To stretch o'er craggy walls the dark surprise.
With axes, handspikes on the shoulder hung,
And the sly watchword whisper'd from the tongue,
Thro different paths the silent march they take,
Plunge, climb the ditch, the palisado break,
Secure each sentinel, each picket shun,
Grope the dim postern where the byways run.
Soon the roused garrison perceives its plight;
Small time to rally and no means of flight,
They spring confused to every post they know,
Point their poized cannon where they hear the foe,
Streak the dark welkin with the flames they pour,
And rock the mountain with convulsive roar.

The swift assailants still no fire return,
But, tow'rd the batteries that above them burn,
Climb hard from crag to crag; and scaling higher
They pierce the long dense canopy of fire
That sheeted all the sky; then rush amain,
Storm every outwork, each dread summit gain,
Hew timber'd gates, the sullen drawbridge fall,
File thro and form within the sounding wall.
The Britons strike their flag, the fort forgo,
Descend sad prisoners to the plain below.
A thousand veterans, ere the morning rose,
Received their handcuffs from five hundred foes;
And Stonypoint beheld, with dawning day,
His own starr'd standard on his rampart play.

From sack'd Savanna, whelm'd in hostile fires,
A few raw troops brave Lincoln now retires; 2l
With rapid march to suffering Charleston goes,
To meet the myriads of concentring foes,
Who shade the pointed strand. Each fluvial flood
Their gathering fleets and floating batteries load,
Close their black sails, debark the amphibious host,
And with their moony anchors fang the coast.

Book of the day: