Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Decatur’s Grave
By William Bingham Tappan (1794–1849)
 
WHY weeps the muse, her glory fled?
  Why droops Columbia’s genius so?
The laurel wreath is sere and dead;
  Decatur’s gallant form is low!
Ye hoary warriors, hither bring        5
  Your tribute to the kindred brave;
Ye beauteous maidens, haste, and fling
  Your chaplets on Decatur’s grave.
 
Let those depart, who tear away
  The wreath that marks a godlike soul;        10
Let those depart, who chide the lay,
  And for one error blot the scroll—
Approach! ye generous, feeling, few,
  Where selfishness can ne’er intrude;
Approach—Decatur’s grave bedew;        15
  Sweet are the tears of gratitude!
 
The hero mingles with the dust,
  But glory shrines his deathless fame;
The tomb receives its hallow’d trust,
  But unborn ages breathe his name!        20
Yes, mighty dead! in every breast,
  Thou still shalt live, to memory dear;
This turf, by virgin footsteps prest,
  Shall witness Sorrow’s dewy tear!
 
Hither will Sympathy repair,        25
  To deck her favourite’s early tomb;
While Charity, with aspect fair,
  Will mantle thy untimely doom;
Farewell! the gem that hail’d thy morn,
  Now sunk beneath the western sky,—        30
Will wake for thee a brighter dawn:
  The star of glory ne’er can die!
 
 
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