Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
To General Kosciusko
By John Wolcot (Peter Pindar) (1738–1819)
 
          Kosciusko was a Polish count: in his earlier days he enjoyed the confidence of his sovereign, by whom he had been frequently employed in a military character. Early in the revolutionary war he came to America, and offered his services to General Washington, who received him with cordiality, and gave him a command. After the peace which acknowledged the independence of the United States, he returned to Poland, where he greatly distinguished himself in an attempt to liberate his country from the odious vassalage of Russia. The attempt was foiled; Poland was dismembered; and Kosciusko, dangerously wounded, was cast into a prison near Petersburgh, where he was released on the accession of Paul. He then went to London, where, emaciated as he was by his wounds and his sufferings, he became an object of jealousy to the government, by which he was ordered to depart the country. He came thence to America, where he was welcomed as his valour and his virtues deserved, and rewarded as justice and gratitude demanded. The following lines (by Dr. Walcot) were written when Kosciusko was going to embark for America.

O THOU, whose wounds from Pity’s eye
Could force the stream and bid her sigh,
  That godlike valour bled in vain:
Sigh that the land which gave them birth
Should droop its sorrowing head to earth,        5
  And, groaning, curse the despot’s chain!
 
Her beams around shall Glory spread,
Where’er thy star thy steps shall lead,
  And Fame thy every deed repeat;
Each heart in suffering Virtue’s cause        10
Shall swell amid the loud applause,
  And, raptured, catch a kindred heat.
 
In Fancy’s eye, thy friend, the Muse,
Thy bark from wave to wave pursues,
  With fondest wish to join the way,        15
To view the shore where Freedom reigns,
(An exile long from British plains,)
  And blesses millions by her sway.
 
While thou, in Peace’s purple vale,
Fair Freedom, Fame, and Health shall hail,        20
  At ease reclined amid the shade—
Britannia’s wail will wound thy ear;
And, lo! I see thy generous tear
  Embalms her laurels as they fade.
 
 
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