Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Achievements of Our Naval Heroes
 
BUT who can paint the bright, effulgent flame,
Which shines, eternal, round our naval name?
Who can describe our honour’d, gallant tars,
The dauntless heroes of our marine wars?
No bard of earth, unless Apollo’s fire        5
Has kindled halos round his veteran lyre,
Can mark the prowess of our infant fleets—
Unknown to terror—strangers to defeats.
See conquering Hull his flag in triumph wave,
The sea his field of glory, or his grave!        10
See brave Decatur bare his dauntless arm,
And still the fury of the raging storm!
See Britain’s boasted lion fall, and die,
And Bainbridge wave his trophied flag on high!
See Jones in thunder seize the high command,        15
Old Neptune’s trident grasping in his hand!
While all mankind with wondering eyes behold
The “infant navy” mount above the old!
The lawless savage of the western wood
Has view’d his inland ocean dyed with blood;        20
The warrior’s shout, the thundering cannon’s roar,
Have broke the solemn silence of its shore,
And rode in triumph o’er the azure wave,
Where bled the hero, and where sleep the brave!
Perry! the waves of Erie proudly claim        25
The first effulgence of thy naval fame:
And future cities, towering on the shore,
Shall claim their honour from the deeds of yore:
Our “children’s children” glow with kindred fire,
And, taught by thee, to noble deeds aspire,        30
Till proud Columbia’s standard is unfurl’d,
And waves, unrivall’d, by the conquered world.
M’Donough’s name and thine eternal live,
With all the honour that this world can give:
And when translated from this busy stage,        35
Be traced with dazzling flames on History’s page.
 
But does no mournful, envious thought intrude?
Is Pleasure’s cup with not a tear imbued?
Does mirth alone sound o’er the glittering main,
And leave no solitary thought of pain?        40
Yes, gallant Lawrence! o’er thy honour’d bier
Has dropp’d the real sympathizing tear:
A nation’s gratitude—a nation’s grief,
Have mark’d the downfall of a noble chief!
A foe, too just to press misfortune down,        45
Has added incense to thy mortal crown—
A foe, too great to trample on the brave,
Has bent in sorrow o’er a hero’s grave.
The flag he honour’d was his winding-shroud—
The land that bless’d him was his last abode.        50
 
Long! long Columbia’s weeping tars shall mourn
The fall of Burrows, and revere his urn:
He rush’d to meet the willing foe, and fell!
The cannons’ thunder was his dying knell;
And Death, in terror hovering o’er the scene,        55
Destroy’d his life to make his laurels green:
While Victory, perching on his fleeting soul,
Bade Fame’s loud blasts o’er Ocean’s billows roll,
And sound his enterprise from pole to pole.
 
 
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