Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
To the Memory of Captain Jacob Cheeseman
 
Of the New York forces

IN yon deep gloom, yon dreary, cavern’d cell,
Where darkening clouds the solar ray repel;
Whose craggy roofs the notes of wo rebound,
And mournful echo lengthens out the sound:
Where Melancholy makes her ceaseless moan,        5
And Sorrow’s queen erects her ebon throne,
There, on the breast of wounded Peace reclined,
See sacred Liberty to grief resign’d;
The robes which Commerce gave, with every fold
Inwrought with gems and shining streaks of gold;        10
The melting viol, high-strung harp, and lute,
Inverted copia, and harmonious flute,
Now, all neglected, strew the dusty floor,
While hollow winds throughout the caverns roar;
Midst all these horrors, see the friendly pair        15
With fond endearments soothe each other’s care:
Kindly by turns relate their own distress,
And, by imparting, make the burden less;
As summer breezes soft, spake dove-eyed Peace;
“Forbear those sighs, and let those plainings cease,        20
When I am driven by proud Ambition’s train
To seek a refuge on some distant plain,
Where humble shepherds no distinction know,
And Love and Freedom undivided grow,
Thy cause Americans will still maintain,        25
And rather die than damp thy glowing flame.”
This roused the fair, and, starting from the ground,
Her bursting sorrows knew no check nor bound;
“Heart-rending thought,” the weeping seraph cried,
“For me, already, have they bled and died;        30
Ere yon bright sun his last sad circuit roll’d,
Within those walls the doleful tale was told.
Here did the swift-wing’d messenger proclaim,
That on Quebec’s ill-fated, hapless plain,
The pride of Mars, Montgomery, was slain;        35
And by his side the young M’Pherson fell,
Whose praises weeping graces fondly tell;
For on his mind the beams of Science shone,
And smiling Beauty claim’d him for her own.
Not distant far, young Cheeseman met his fate,        40
And o’er his corse Death’s train in triumph sat;
Ah! cruel Death! could aught thy power control,
The graceful form, the true, heroic soul,
Where strength with courage, truth with sweetness blend,
To form the soldier, brother, son, and friend:        45
Couldst thou, insatiate, by less worth been fed,
Cheeseman had not been number’d with the dead.”
She ceased; the vaulted roof with lengthen’d sighs resound,
And deep-felt darkness spread its horrors round;
Not long it reign’d, for o’er the snow-capp’d hills        50
A form appears, that every vacuum fills
With streaming light.—’Tis Fame, whose vivid breath
Bids heroes triumph o’er the power of Death;
Swift as she moves, the rising mists retire,
Darkness draws back to wonder and admire.        55
To Sorrow’s cave, as air she speeds her way,
And sounds her trump and darts a sudden day;
The cheering peal calls forth the mourning bands,
And sabled Liberty attentive stands.
Peace for a moment dropp’d her spreading wings,        60
While thus the tuneful messenger begins;
“Majestic mother of the brave! from far,
Where Mars now reigns, in all the pomp of war,
In pity to thy anguish’d breast I came,
To render justice to thy Cheeseman’s name        65
Not swell’d with rage he fought the dreadful fight,
But rush’d on danger to secure his right;
To spread thy rays throughout his native land,
Or Death prefer to dire Oppression’s band.
But, lest too long he should the contest see,        70
Fate gave the word to set the spirit free:
The powerful word his eager hopes repel,
And on the ground the graceful champion fell.
Yet strove to rise while life’s swift current pass’d,
Nor groan’d, till in Death’s arms he groan’d his last:        75
His spirit floated on the crimson tide,
And as he lived, the much-loved hero died.”
With matchless grace the goddess raised her head,
And Grief, discarded, to her cavern fled;
The crystal sluice in either eye was dried:        80
“Enough,” the balmy-breathing seraph cried,
“Resume thy song, and let thy trump, O Fame,
Spread wide the honours of each hero’s name.
O, Peace, once more thy heavenly pleasures bring,
And save the world from discord’s poison’d sting;        85
Bid parent states their rage for power control,
Nor form a wish to bind the freeborn soul;
Then shall thy sons in due obedience move,
And acts of duty flow from heart-felt love.”
Fame clapp’d her wings, and to her lips applied        90
The silver trump which lately graced her side;
And, as she soars, the warrior’s praises sounds;
The herds all listen, and the wild deer bounds;
To each shrill note the vocal hills reply,
And floating ether bears it through the sky.        95
The Congress, too, demands thy high applause,
Those grand supporters of the best of laws;
For these the palm and laurel-wreath prepare,
And Peace or Freedom shall reward their care.
 
 
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