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 Joseph Reed
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
 
SOON to the grave descends each honour’d name
That raised their country to this blaze of fame:
Sages, that plann’d, and chiefs that led the way
To Freedom’s temple, all too soon decay—
Alike submit to one impartial doom,        5
Their glories closing in perpetual gloom,
Like the pale splendours of the evening, fade,
While night advances to complete the shade.
  REED, ’tis for thee we shed the unpurchased tear,
Bend o’er thy tomb, and plant our laurels there:        10
Your acts, your life, the noblest pile transcend,
And Virtue, patriot Virtue, mourns her friend—
Gone to those realms where worth may claim regard,
And gone where Virtue meets her best reward.
  No single art engaged his vigorous mind,        15
In every scene his active genius shined:
Nature, in him, in honour to our age,
At once composed the soldier and the sage—
Firm to his purpose, vigilant and bold,
Detesting traitors, and despising gold,        20
He scorn’d all bribes from Briton’s hostile throne,
For all his country’s wrongs he held his own.
  REED! rest in peace—for time’s impartial page
Shall raise the blush on this ungrateful age:
Long, in these climes, thy name shall flourish fair,        25
The statesman’s pattern and the poet’s care:
Long, in these climes, thy memory shall remain,
And still new tributes from new ages gain:
Fair to the eye that injured honour rise—
Nor traitors triumph while the patriot dies.        30
 
 
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