Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
To the Memory of Edward Rutledge, Esq.
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
Late Governor of South Carolina

REMOVED from life’s uncertain stage,
  In virtue firm, in honour clear,
One of the worthies of our age,
  Rutledge! resigns his station here.
Alike in arts of war and peace,        5
  And form’d by Nature to excel,
From early Rome and ancient Greece
  He modell’d all his actions well.
When Britons came, with chains to bind,
  Or ravage these devoted lands,        10
He our firm league of freedom sign’d,
  And counsell’d how to break their bands.
To the great cause of honour true,
  He took his part with manly pride;
His spirit o’er these regions flew,        15
  The patriots’ and the soldiers’ guide.
In arts of peace, in war’s bold schemes,
  Amongst our brightest stars he moved,
The Lees, the Moultries, Sumters, Greenes—
  By all admired, by all beloved.        20
A patriot of superior mould,
  He dared all foreign force oppose,
Till, from a tyrant’s ashes cold,
  The mighty pile of freedom rose.
In process of succeeding days,        25
  When Peace resumed her joyous reign,
With laurel-wreaths and twining bays
  He sought less active life again.
There, warm to plead the orphan’s cause,
  From Misery’s eye to dry the tear,        30
He stood where Justice guards the laws,
  At once humane, at once severe.
’Twas not his firm, enlighten’d mind,
  So ardent in affairs of state;
’Twas not that he in armies shined        35
  That made him so completely great:
Persuasion dwelt upon his tongue:
  He spoke—all hush’d, and all were awed;
From all he said conviction sprung,
  And crowds were eager to applaud.        40
Thus long esteem’d, thus early loved,
  The tender husband, friend sincere;
The parent, patriot, sage, approved,
  Had now survived his fiftieth year—
Had now the highest honours met        45
  That Carolina could bestow;
Presiding o’er that potent state,
  Where streams of wealth and plenty flow;
Where Labour spreads her rural reign
  To western regions bold and free;        50
And Commerce, on the Atlantic main,
  Wafts her rich stores of industry;
Then left this stage of human things
  To shine in a sublimer sphere,
Where time to one assemblage brings        55
  All virtuous minds, all hearts sincere.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.