Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
An Elegy: ‘A happy autumn, with accustom’d cheer’
          On the glorious death of that brave colonel of cavalry, Joseph Hamilton Daviess, a victim to his love of country, in the battle of Tippecanoe, fought near the river Wabash, on the 7th day of November, 1811. Written in Latin by Stephen Theodore Badin.

Translated By Dr. Mitchill

  A HAPPY autumn, with accustom’d cheer,
Had in profusion deck’d the fruitful year;
And elms, presaging winter’s dreary reign,
Had spread their drooping foliage round the plain;
When Fame’s loud trump the vault of ether rends,        5
As thus the true but mournful news she sends:
“Pretending peace, the faithless savage bands
By night in blood imbrued their murderous hands:
With lead and steel, and unexpected force,
Assail’d and slew the leader of the horse;        10
Pierced by three wounds, the brave commander fell;
The routed foes expired a hideous yell,
Till death o’ertook them with relentless frown,
And flames vindictive triumph’d through their town.”
A comet’s glare foretold the sad event;        15
The quaking earth confirm’d the dire portent;
E’en Wabash slow his shores and islands laves,
As thick with gore he rolls his viscid waves.
The Dryads deeply sigh; sweet Hymen faints,
Refusing comfort midst imbittered plaints.        20
The Muses silent sit; while Friendship weeps,
On hand and arm the crape of mourning keeps,
And in incessant tears her eyelids steeps.
  Yet what avails a never-ending wo?
The fates, obdurate, disregard their flow.        25
But Themis eyes the scene with kinder view,
Decides the meed of praise to merit due,
And thus, with mind from doubt and error free,
In solemn words declares her just decree:
  “Brave Daviess’ bust shall decorate the wall,        30
Where courts and juries meet within my hall;
The civic oak shall round his temples twine,
And victor laurel rival sprigs combine:
The legislature pay the debt of grief,
And Clio’s pen inscribe the historic leaf:        35
Cypress the field shall shelter with its shade;
And for his noble heart an urn be made:
A marble tomb shall faithful friendship rear,
To guard his ashes with peculiar care;
Heroic Daviess, this our age shall sing;        40
Heroic Daviess future ages ring;
In eloquence among the foremost found,
In peace and war with deathless virtue crown’d.”
  Life occupies a small and bounded place,
But glory’s as unlimited as space:        45
They who to country give their dying breath,
Shall live immortal, and shall conquer death;
Their great example times to come inflame
To shed their patriot-blood for everlasting fame.

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