Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Death of General Wolfe
From the New York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy, October 29, 1759

WHILST war now rages with impetuous roar,
And cannons thunder on our western shore—
From pole to pole whilst Frederick’s name rebounds.
And Amherst’s triumphs swell the grateful sounds—
Whilst English hearts with emulation glow,        5
To form some wreath for each victorious brow,
Soft Melancholy calls: she bids us turn
And mix our griefs o’er Wolfe’s untimely urn.
Wolfe is no more! who, to his latest breath,
Still conquer’d, and still triumphs in his death.        10
O, happy shade! what trophies can we raise?
How pay an adequate return of praise?
What has America to give, since she
Her being owes to Amherst and to thee.
  When first the noble conquest reach’d our ears,        15
Complete were all our hopes, dispell’d our fears:
“Quebec is taken!” was the joyful note:
“Quebec is taken!” thrills through every throat:
To distant lands the welcome tidings fly,
And shouts of joy proclaim it to the sky:        20
But when we hear of thy lamented doom,
To this our joy, succeeds a general gloom.
Each countenance was changed, for each one thought
E’en Canada was thus too dearly bought:
That savage, treacherous race, which, to subdue,        25
Required no less a conqueror than you.
  Our bosoms thus by different passions torn,
In doubt we stand or to rejoice or mourn;
In doubt which was the greatest victory—
Thine o’er the foe, or that of death o’er thee.        30
To whom shall we submit this seeming strife,
This noble conquest, and this loss of life?
Could we appeal to thy heroic breast,
Thus wouldst thou charm our ill-timed griefs to rest:
“Since you have conquer’d, why should you complain?        35
My joy’s complete—I did not fall in vain:
Life’s not my own whene’er my country calls;
He’s bless’d, in such a cause who greatly falls.
My toil’s rewarded far beyond my aim;
A grateful memory is all I claim.        40
Rejoice with me—pay your glad vows to Heaven:
Live, and enjoy the victory God has given.”
  Yes, thou brave hero! gladly will we pay
Our highest tribute each revolving day:
And long as English annals shall retain        45
The glorious deeds of George’s happy reign,
To distant ages shall be handed down
How Louisburg and how Quebec were won;
And late posterity from these shall know
To whom their safety and their all they owe.        50
  Meantime, O Wolfe! permitted from above,
Mayst thou still, angel-like, our guardian prove:
Think on those cruelties we late did feel
From savage enemies, whose hearts were steel—
Think, if thy patriot zeal will give thee leave,        55
On those deep, mortal wounds thou didst receive:
Thus shall thy breast, still fired with generous flame,
Protect America’s succeeding fame;
Nor we by treacherous foes be more enslaved,
Whilst thou shalt guard that country thou hast saved.        60

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