Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1607–1764
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. I–II: Colonial Literature, 1607–1764
 
The Death of Wolfe
Verse of the French and Indian War
 
[Pennsylvania Gazette, Nov. 8, 1759.]

THY merits, Wolfe, transcend all human praise,
The breathing marble or the muses’ lays.
Art is but vain—the force of language weak,
To paint thy virtues, or thy actions speak.
Had I Duché’s or Godfrey’s magic skill,        5
Each line to raise, and animate at will—
To rouse each passion dormant in the soul,
Point out its object, or its rage control—
Then, Wolfe, some faint resemblance should we find
Of those great virtues that adorned thy mind.        10
Like Britain’s genius shouldst thou then appear,
Hurling destruction on the Gallic rear—
While France, astonished, trembled at thy sight,
And placed her safety in ignoble flight.
Thy last great scene should melt each Briton’s heart,        15
And rage and grief alternately impart.
  With foes surrounded, midst the shades of death,
These were the words that closed the warrior’s breath—
“My eyesight fails!—but does the foe retreat?
If they retire, I’m happy in my fate!”        20
A generous chief, to whom the hero spoke,
Cried, “Sir, they fly!—their ranks entirely broke:
Whilst thy bold troops o’er slaughtered heaps advance,
And deal due vengeance on the sons of France.”
The pleasing truth recalls his parting soul,        25
And from his lips these dying accents stole:—
“I’m satisfied!” he said, then winged his way,
Guarded by angels, to celestial day.
  An awful band!—Britannia’s mighty dead,
Receives to glory his immortal shade.        30
Marlborough and Talbot hail the warlike chief—
Halket and Howe, late objects of our grief,
With joyful song conduct their welcome guest
To the bright mansions of eternal rest—
For those prepared who merit just applause        35
By bravely dying in their country’s cause.
 
 
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