Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Departed Patriots
 
From the New York Journal, or General Advertiser, March 21, 1776

WHEN haughty monarchs quit this checker’d scene,
  When cruel tyrants fall a prey to death,
Their actions may employ a venal pen,
  Their praise may sound upon the venal breath:
 
But when the hero and the patriot fall,        5
  (Heroes and patriots must submit to fate,)
Then may the mournful verse their virtues tell,
  And elegy their fame may celebrate.
 
Come, then, thou weeping, mournful goddess, come,
  In baleful cypress and in yew array’d;        10
Meet me, O meet me by the marble tomb
  In which some hero, or some patriot’s laid.
 
Meet me beside the vault, whose space contains
  Some great preserver of his country’s peace:
Or where the pious Randolph’s dear remains        15
  Lie bound by death’s insatiate, cold embrace.
 
And, Melancholy, sable queen! attend,
  Sadness and Sorrow will support thy train—
Ye sheeted phantoms, from your grave ascend,
  And add a horror to the awful scene.        20
 
’Tis great Montgomery demands the tear:
  The brave M’Pherson’s fate we’ll also mourn;
And Cheeseman, to his country no less dear,
  Nor great, nor brave—from her forever torn.
 
Could prayers or tears avert the dreadful blow,        25
  Could piercing sighs recall the once-lost breath,
Then would our briny torrents ceaseless flow,
  Until we’d draw them from the arms of death.
 
But, ah! they’re gone! they now are past relief:
  Their fate we mourn in vain—in vain we weep:        30
Our fears will not avail—our boundless grief
  Can ne’er awake them from their deadly sleep.
 
Stretch’d on the hostile plain, they breathless lay—
  Their mortal eyes are closed in endless night:
But, then, their souls are fled to endless day,—        35
  Methinks I see them near the world of light!
 
Wrapp’d up in ecstasy, I now behold
  The glorious gates of heaven open wide:
Millions of seraphs, clothed in robes of gold,
  Enclose the heroes in on every side.        40
 
Chief of the band, illustrious Warren’s seen,
  Sweetness ineffable beams in his face:
Piercing his eyes—though piercing, still serene—
  Awful his looks—yet, in each look a grace.
 
A wreath of laurel does his brow surround;        45
  A crown of glory does adorn his head;
And on his breast is seen the purple wound
  Through which, from earth, his soul with honour fled.
 
Warren is sent to greet his much-loved friends:
  To him the lovely, gentle task is given        50
Safe to conduct them where joy never ends,
  And bid them welcome to the bliss of heaven.
 
 
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