Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
In Memory of James Lawrence, Esquire
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
 
          Late commander of the United States frigate Chesapeake, who fell in the action with the British ship of war Shannon, June 1st, 1813

Semper honoratum habebo.—Virg.

TO lift his name to high renown,
  His native merits led the way;
His morning sun resplendent shone
  Till clouds obscured the fading ray:
His country’s voice his worth confess’d,        5
His country’s tears disclose the rest.
 
In battle brave, his lofty mind
  Aspired to all that fame relates
Of those whom on her page we find,
  Defenders of insulted states:        10
Of all who fought, of all who fell,
The noblest part he copied well.
 
For Lawrence dead, his Jersey mourns,
  With tearful eyes laments the day,
When all the worth that men adorns        15
  One fatal moment snatch’d away!
On honour’s bed his doom he found,
In honour’s cause the deadly wound.
 
To what vast heights his mind aspired,
  Who knew him best can best relate:—        20
A longer term the cause required
  That urged him to an early fate:
But HE, whose fires illumed his breast,
Knew what was right and what was best.
 
His country to her breast receives        25
  His mangled form, and holds it dear;
She plants her marble, while she grieves,
  Where all, who read, might drop a tear.
And say, while memory calls to mind
The chief, who with our worthies shined,        30
Here Lawrence rests, his country’s pride,
On valour’s decks who fought and died!
 
 
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