Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
To Colonel Lovelace, of the British Guards
 
HAIL, gallant chieftain! 1 whose renowned name
Without a rival fills the trump of fame;
Whose matchless feats shall shine in glory’s page;
Thyself the wonder of the applauding age;
Whose praise is chanted by that heavenly choir,        5
Where Phœbus with the muses joins his lyre;
Forgive an earthly bard the bold design,
And deign, for once, in mortal verse to shine.
  Hail, Lovelace, hail, great master of that art
Which joins to valour, valour’s better part:        10
Who know’st by instinct whether danger’s nigh,
And whether prudence bids to fight or fly;
And when with subtle wiles to cheat the foe,
And, by dissembling, ward the fatal blow;
By feigning death, arise again to life,        15
When danger’s over from the doubtful strife.
What though the rebel snatch’d thy passive steel!
Too well you counterfeit, to seem to feel;
The marks of death, imprinted with such force,
Had turn’d a bear with loathing from thy corse.        20
Not e’en that chief, whose gallant feats, of old,
In Shakspeare’s memorable page are told,
With happier talent could dissemble death,
Or yielded sooner to the loss of breath,
Than thou, when battle raged on Guildford’s plains,        25
Which many a luckless Briton’s blood distains.
  Hear them the high reward the muse decrees—
For high rewards attend on feats like these—
While mimic heroes tread the buskin’d stage,
Be thou the living Falstaff of the age.        30
 
Note 1. He counterfeited death, at the battle of Guildford, when Colonel Washington’s regiment made the memorable attack upon the Guards, and cut through them twice: in this situation, his sword and watch were taken from him by a continental soldier, who supposed him dead. A day or two after he sent into our camp to purchase his watch, which it seems was an old family piece. Colonel Washington had previously bought it and refused to part with it. [back]
 
 
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