Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
James Allen’s Poem on the Battle of Bunker Hill
Abercrombie’s Speech against waiting for the Fleet to attack.
“I KNOW, ye chieftains, where their valour lies,
In dastard ambush, and in base surprise; &c.
Gods! that brigades by noble Percy led,
Whose sires so oft on fields of triumph bled,
Should thus the honour of his name forego,        5
And fly the face of such a scoundrel foe;
My choice to-day, the grenadiers I’ll lead,
Whose giant limbs on yonder field shall bleed;
And me their chief to ravening birds a prey,
If I relieve not that disastrous day,” &c.        10
British Admiral’s Speech.
“The hag, Religion, ever mumbling prayer,
With hypocritic breath here taints the air;
The Fury faction spreads her forky wing,
And loathes, infernal imp, the name of king,
These Stygian powers protect the baneful coast,        15
And gifted shrines and holy temples boast,
To these, of old, their execrable sires
Hung gibbets high and kindled martyr fires;
Till Heaven, grown weary of their crying crimes,
Chased the foul harpies to these savage climes.        20
Then hurl your thunder on the rebel shore,
Till yonder mounded summit streams with gore;
And Charlestown, fated to this day of joy,
Shall cruel sack and crackling flames destroy,” &c.
So spake the chief, whose will the navy ruled,        25
From beardless youth in naval tactic school’d.
His lofty ships, ere Britain drew the sword,
Happy at anchor in our haven rode;
Here oft have prosperous breezes blown his sail,
And oft the wing of some tempestuous gale;        30
Yet he, from storms who sought our friendly shore,
Or whom to land the winds auspicious bore,
Cast, with like scorn, his envious eye around,
And, with like haughty step, disdained the ground.
Our kind regard and every busy care,        35
In his depraved idea sprung from fear.
If with some honour’d guest he deign’d to dine,
He loath’d the dainties and he mouth’d the wine;
Yet brimming dishes piled his greedy plate,
And servants bore him reeling to the gate,” &c.        40
Pomeroy’s Answer to the British Herald.
“If your proud master ask what hardy man,
Presumptuous thus conducts the rebel van,
Tell him ’tis he the Gallic phalanx broke,
Who fell’d proud Dieskau with a single stroke.
From mid his guards the wounded chieftain bore,        45
Myself, my captive, all imbrued in gore,
My noble prisoner every care was shown,
His wounds were bandaged ere was stanch’d my own.
Seven days to heal him every art we tried,
But on the eighth the princely warrior died.        50
This dirk I wear recalls the mournful day,
When, in deep swoons, he breathed his soul away.
This hand, that smote him mid the rage of fight,
Pillow’d his head and laid his coverings light, &c.
What scenes around the savage plain o’erspread,        55
What sights of wo, the dying and the dead!
There, Titcomb fell, and Williams, hapless man,
Both dauntless chiefs who led our thundering van.
There pale and breathless, pierced with many a brand,
Lay the great Hendric, weltering on the strand.        60
Two thousand warriors to our aid he brought,
And he, their chief, beneath our standard fought, &c.
The charms of chase their sportive lives engage,
And all their death is but the sleep of age;
And breath of rosy morn their youth inhale        65
On breezy mountains, or the balmy vale.
Children of nature, peaceable and kind,
If no awakening passion vex the mind,
But if proud insult dare obtrude a wrong,
Burns the war-fire and howls the deathful song.        70
The god of vengeance all the tribes adore,
And steep, O horrid rite, their tongues in gore, &c.
The tribes assembled all resent our wrongs,
Their altars blaze, and thrill the warrior’s songs,
Prepared for march, they offer all their aid,        75
From every river, bank, or bowery shade.
Then tell your master from the savage plains,
Where freedom’s throne in natal glory reigns,” &c.

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