Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
The Heroine of the Revolution
By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)
To men in power

YE 1 Congressmen and men of weight,
  Who fill the public chairs,
And many a favour have conferr’d
  On some unknown to Mars;
And ye, who hold the post of fame,        5
  The helmsmen of our great affairs,
Afford a calm attentive ear
To her who handled sword and spear,
A heroine in a bold career,
  Assist a war-worn dame.        10
With the same vigorous soul inspired
  As Joan of Arc, of old,
With zeal against the Briton fired,
  Her spirit warm and bold,
She march’d to face her country’s foes        15
  Disguised in male attire:
Where’er they prowl’d through field or town,
With steady step she follow’d on;
Resolved the conflict to sustain,
She met them on the hill, the plain,        20
And hostile to the English reign,
  She hurl’d the blasting fire.
Now for such generous toils endured,
  Her day of warfare done,
In life’s decline at length reward        25
  This faithful Amazon:
She asks no thousands at your hands,
  Though mark’d with many a scar;
She asks no share of Indian lands,
  Though lands you have to spare!        30
But something in the wane of days
  To make her snug, and keep her warm,
A cottage and the cheery blaze,
  To shield her from the storm;
And something to the pocket, too,        35
  Your bounty might afford,
Of her, who did our foes pursue
  With bayonet, gun, and sword.
Reflect how many tender ties
  A female must forego        40
Ere to the martial camp she flies
  To meet the invading foe:
How many bars has nature placed,
  And custom many more,
Lest slighted woman should be graced        45
  With trophies gain’d in war.
All these she nobly overcame,
  And scorn’d a censuring age,
Join’d in the ranks, her road to fame,
  Despised the Briton’s rage        50
And men, who, with contracted mind,
  All arrogant, condemn
And make disgrace in womankind
  What honour is in them.
Note 1. On December 28, 1797, Deborah Gannet presented a petition to Congress for a pension, in consideration of services rendered during the whole of the American revolutionary war, in the rank of a common soldier in the regular armies of the United States. The above lines were written on this occasion, at the request of the heroine. It is needless to say, she had a competency bestowed on her during her natural life. [back]

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