Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Monody to the Memory of the Young Heroes
 
Who fell at the Miami, under General St. Clair

  DESCEND, bland Pity, from thy native sky,
Come with thy moving plaint and melting eye:
The muses court thee from thy bless’d abode,
Thy throne of light embosom’d in thy God;
With balmy voice the lurid tidings tell,        5
How the brave bled—and how lamented fell:
How, in the earliest pride of opening bloom,
On houseless wilds demand a sheltering tomb,
Far from the social tie, the kindred tear,
Denied the relic’d urn, and trophied bier,        10
In the deep horrors of the midnight shade,
In the first onset dauntless valour made,
Each youthful warrior wastes his rosy breath,
And woo’s stern honour, in the grasp of death;
Scarce seen to charm, just rising to applause,        15
The blameless victim of a lubric cause,
Torn like a plant beneath the early spring,
When shivering Eurus flaps his fateful wing.
 
  Ah! say, what pure libations can be paid,
What fond atonement soothe the suffering shade?        20
In vain from frozen age the warm tears flow,
In vain bright beauty droops in clouds of wo,
In vain the hero’s laurell’d wreaths decline,
In vain the minstrel swells the notes divine:
They, who afar these bootless griefs deride,        25
And stain the fair Ohio’s flowery side,
Who the wrong’d Indian’s scanty treasures spoil,
Waste his weak hope, and strip his subject soil,
And, like the rattling serpent of the heath,
On the lone sleepers pour the darts of death,        30
They must atone; from them the mourners claim
Each loved associate and each treasured name;
Their cruel hands these desolations spread,
Lost in their cause, each martyr’d hero bled;
Driven by their rage, the forest’s children roam,        35
And the lorn female wants a pitying home;
As if that wild which bounteous Heaven displays
From orient Phœbus to his western rays,
Spread its broad breast in vain; to them denies
The gifts which Nature’s equal care supplies.        40
 
  Since thine own hills and widening vales demand
The forming ploughshare and the labouring hand,
Why must that hand pollute the ravaged heath,
That culturing ploughshare wage the deeds of death?
Though wakening Reason join her forceful strain,        45
Still shall dejected Mercy plead in vain?
Or shall Columbia hear the rude behest,
And clasp her murderers to her bleeding breast?
Shall she, with impious hand and ruffian knife,
From her first offspring rend the cords of life?        50
To Nature’s sons with tyrant rage deny
The woody mountain and the covering sky?
Ah, no! each sainted shade indignant bends,
Bares his wide wounds, his reddening arm extends:
Return, he cries, ere every hope is lost;        55
Ohio claims you on his osier coast:
Return, though late; the treacherous wish disclaim,
Awake to justice, and arise to fame;
No more with blood the weeping soil deface,
But spare the patient, suffering, warlike race.        60
To you our lacerated spirits turn,
From you demand a monumental urn;
For you our blushing wounds uncover’d lie,
Press the hard earth, and meet the bathing sky,
Where the sick moon o’erveils her pallid brow,        65
And the lone night-bird swells the peals of wo.
  Not crimson War, nor Valour’s glittering wreath
To the pale corse restores the quivering breath;
’Tis the mild power of seraph Peace alone
Can charm each grief, and every wrong atone;        70
Her healing hand shall waft oblivion round,
And pour her opiates through each gushing wound,
O’er the cold ghost the mantling olive spread,
And shade the sod which laps the glorious dead.
 
 
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