Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
On the Death of General Wolfe
 
From the Pennsylvania Gazette, November 8, 1759—Published by B. Franklin

THY merits, Wolfe, transcend all human praise,
The breathing marble or the muses’ lays.
Art is but vain—the force of language weak,
To paint thy virtues, or thy actions speak.
Had I Duché’s or Godfrey’s magic skill,        5
Each line to raise, and animate at will—
To rouse each passion dormant in the soul,
Point out its object, or its rage control—
Then, Wolfe, some faint resemblance should we find
Of those great virtues that adorn’d thy mind.        10
Like Britain’s genius shouldst thou then appear,
Hurling destruction on the Gallic rear—
While France, astonish’d, trembled at thy sight,
And placed her safety in ignoble flight.
Thy last great scene should melt each Briton’s heart,        15
And rage and grief alternately impart.
  With foes surrounded, midst the shades of death,
These were the words that closed the warrior’s breath—
“My eyesight fails!—but does the foe retreat?
If they retire, I’m happy in my fate!”        20
A generous chief, to whom the hero spoke,
Cried, “Sir, they fly!—their ranks entirely broke:
Whilst thy bold troops o’er slaughter’d heaps advance,
And deal due vengeance on the sons of France.”
The pleasing truth recalls his parting soul,        25
And from his lips these dying accents stole:—
“I’m satisfied!” he said, then wing’d his way,
Guarded by angels to celestial day.
  An awful band!—Britannia’s mighty dead,
Receives to glory his immortal shade.        30
Marlborough and Talbot hail the warlike chief—
Halket and Howe, late objects of our grief,
With joyful song conduct their welcome guest
To the bright mansions of eternal rest—
For those prepared who merit just applause        35
By bravely dying in their country’s cause.
 
 
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