Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
The Capture of Burgoyne
 
        
Oct. 1777
  
  From a manuscript furnished the editor (1842), by John Ely, now in his eighty-fifth year, a soldier of the Revolution, who was at the capture of Burgoyne.

WHEN discord had rear’d her black standard on high,
And sent her hoarse voice thro’ the sky—the sky,
    Convulsing all Nature with dreadful alarms;
Then Freedom commanded her heroes from far,
They heard the proud summons, and shouted for war!        5
Here might you see youth of high spirit,
    Of genius and merit, in arms.
 
O’er Champlain, proud Burgoyne all terrible comes,
With thundering cannon, and drums—and drums.
    He shook all the neighbouring regions around;        10
Of blustering titles he told a long tale,
And thought pomp and nonsense would turn our cheek pale;
But then full soon bold Stark and his yeomen,
    The glory of freemen, he found.
 
Three times in fierce combat the armies were join’d,        15
But battle went not to his mind—his mind;
    For American souls were too gallant to yield.
Amazed from the hill he beheld his hard fate,
And wish’d to retire, when the hour was too late:
Sighing, he saw his hundreds were dying,        20
    His thousands were flying the field.
 
While hosts of brave patriots with hearts that beat high,
Rush onward to conquer or die—or die;
    Led by Gates, Morgan, Lincoln, those heirs of bright fame:
He saw skill and discipline ever must bend,        25
Where Freedom, and Virtue, and glory contend:
Humble and sad this haughty pretender
    Was forced to surrender, with shame.
 
Then the merry bells rung round American plains,
And pleasure enliven’d the strains—the strains;        30
    While Fame the bold acts of our warriors sung;
The breath of our heroes new ardour inspired,
New hopes the sad hearts of the timorous fired;
By Virtue’s voice, like odours of even,
    Sweet praise to high Heaven was sung.        35
 
 
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