Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
To Lord Cornwallis
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
At York, Virginia—1781

HAIL, great destroyer (equall’d yet by none)
Of countries not your master’s, nor your own;
Hatch’d by some demon on a stormy day,
Satan’s best substitute to burn and slay;
Confined at last; hemm’d in by land and sea,        5
Burgoyne himself was but a type of thee!
  Like his, to freedom was your deadly hate,
Like his your baseness, and be his your fate:
To you, like him, no prospect nature yields
But ruin’d wastes and desolated fields;        10
In vain you raise the interposing wall,
And hoist those standards that, like you, must fall:
In you conclude the glories of your race,
Complete your monarch’s and your own disgrace.
  What has your lordship’s pilfering arms attain’d?        15
Vast stores of plunder, but no state regain’d:
That may return, though you perhaps may groan;
Restore it, Charley, for ’tis not your own;
Then, lord and soldier, headlong to the brine
Rush down at once—the devil and the swine.        20
  Wouldst thou at last with Washington engage,
Sad object of his pity, not his rage?
See, round thy posts how terribly advance
The chiefs, the armies, and the fleets of France;
Fight while you can, for warlike Rochambeau        25
Aims at your head his last decisive blow;
Unnumberd ghosts, from earth untimely sped,
Can take no rest till you, like them, are dead;
Then die, my lord; that only chance remains
To wipe away dishonourable stains;        30
For small advantage would your capture bring,
The plundering servant of a bankrupt king.

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