Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1765–1787
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vol. III: Literature of the Revolutionary Period, 1765–1787
 
From “The Political Green-House”
“The Hartford Wits”
 
[By Alsop, Dwight, and Hopkins, 1799.—From The Echo, etc. 1807.]

BONAPARTE AND NELSON.

BEHOLD the Chief, whose mighty name
With glory fills the trump of fame,
Before whose genius, smote with dread,
The veteran hosts of Austria fled,
The imperial eagle drooped forlorn,        5
His plumage soiled, his pinions torn,
And Conquest’s self, ’mid fields of blood,
Attendant on his footsteps trode,—
To gain new palms on Afric’s coast,
Lead o’er the deep a chosen host.        10
And lo! at first, with favoring ray,
Kind fortune lights him on his way;
Those ramparts, Europe’s ancient pride,
Which erst the Turkish power defied,
By stratagem and force compelled,        15
To him the towers of Malta yield.
Victorious, thence to Egypt’s coast
He leads his fell marauding host;
In vain the Turks oppose their force,
To stop the fierce invader’s course,        20
Nor Alexandria’s time-worn towers,
Nor Cairo long resist his powers;
By desperate courage fierce impelled
The Mameluke squadrons tempt the field;
But vain the bold, undaunted band        25
In close and furious contest stand;
Against the column’s solid force,
In vain impel their scattered horse,
And wake anew, by deeds of fame,
The ancient glories of their name—        30
Foiled, slain, dispersed, the routed train
In wild confusion quit the plain.
  But lo! the ever-varying queen,
Delusive Fortune, shifts the scene:
To crush the towering pride of France,        35
Behold brave Nelson firm advance!
Beneath his rule, in close array,
The Britons plough the watery way;
To famed Rosetta bends his course,
Where, deemed secure from hostile force,        40
The fleet superior of the foe
A lengthened line of battle show.
Lo! from the west, the setting ray
Slopes the long shades of parting day!
The fight begins;—the cannon’s roar        45
In doubling echoes rends the shore;
Wide o’er the scene blue clouds arise,
And curl in volumes to the skies,
While momentary flashes spread
Their fleecy folds with fiery red.        50
More desperate still the battle glows
As night around its horrors throws.
*        *        *        *        *
But when the morning’s golden eye
Beheld the dusky shadows fly,
Wild Havoc, frowning o’er the flood,        55
His giant form exulting showed;
The Gallic navy foiled and torn,
With pale discomfiture forlorn,
Wide scattered o’er Rosetta’s bay,
In prostrate ruin helpless lay;        60
Two shattered fly; the rest remain
To wear the valiant victor’s chain;
While o’er the wreck-obstructed tide
The British ships in triumph ride.
All-anxious, from Abucar’s height,        65
The Gallic leaders view the fight,
And desperate see their fleet compelled
To force inferior far to yield.
So when, by night, o’er Memphis trod
The avenging minister of God,        70
At morn pale Egypt viewed with dread,
Her first-born numbered with the dead.
  Ambitious Chief! in dust laid low,
Behold the honors of thy brow,
The laurels culled on Egypt’s shore        75
Shall wither ere the day be o’er;
Thy armies thinned, reduced thy force,
Fell Ruin waits thy onward course,
While of thy country’s aid bereft,
No safety but in flight is left,        80
And victory’s self but seals thy doom,
And brings thee nearer to the tomb.
I see destruction wing her way,
I see the eagles mark their prey,
Where pent in Cairo’s putrid wall,        85
In heaps thy dying soldiers fall;
Or, mid the desert’s burning waste,
Smote by the Samiel’s fiery blast;
Or pressed by fierce Arabian bands,
With thirst they perish on the sands.        90
While Bonaparte’s dreaded name
Shall shine a beacon’s warning flame,
To point to times of future date
Unprincipled ambition’s fate.
 
 
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