Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Elegy on the Death of Gen. Montgomery
By Ann Eliza Bleecker (1752–1783)
 
MELPOMENE, now strike a mournful string,
Montgomery’s fate assisting me to sing!
Thou sawst him fall upon the hostile plains
Yet ting’d with blood that gush’d from Montcalm’s veins,
Where gallant Wolfe for conquest gave his breath,        5
Where numerous heroes met the angel death.
  Ah! while the loud reiterated roar
Of cannon echoed on from shore to shore,
Benigner Peace, retiring to the shade,
Had gather’d laurel to adorn his head!        10
The laurel yet shall grace his bust; but, oh!
America must wear sad cypress now.
Dauntless he led her armies to the war,
Invulnerable was his soul to fear:
When they explored their way o’er trackless snows,        15
Where life’s warm tide through every channel froze,
His eloquence made the chill’d bosom glow,
And animated them to meet the foe;
Nor flamed this bright conspicuous grace alone,
The softer virtues in his bosom shone;        20
It bled with every soldier’s recent wound;
He raised the fallen veteran from the ground;
He wiped the eye of grief, it ceased to flow;
His heart vibrated to each sound of wo:
His heart too good his country to betray        25
For splendid posts or mercenary pay,
Too great to see a virtuous land oppress’d,
Nor strive to have her injuries redress’d.
Oh had but Carleton suffer’d in his stead!
Had half idolatrous Canadia bled!        30
  ’Tis not for him but for ourselves we grieve;
Like him to die is better than to live;
His urn by a whole nation’s tears bedew’d,
His memory blest by all the great and good:
O’er his pale corpse the marble 1 soon shall rise,        35
And the tall column shoot into the skies;
There long his praise by freemen shall be read,
As softly o’er the hero’s dust they tread.
 
Note 1. In St. Paul’s Church, in the city of New York, is a beautiful monument raised to his memory by order of Congress, 1783. [back]
 
 
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