Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
British America: Quebec, Canada
Wolfe and Montcalm
Charles Sangster (1822–1893)
  QUEBEC,—how regally it crowns the height!
  The Titan Strength has here set up his throne;
  Unmindful of the sanguinary fight,
  The roar of cannon mingling with the moan
  Of mutilated soldiers years agone,        5
  That gave the place a glory and a name
  Among the nations. France was heard to groan,
  England rejoiced, but checked the proud acclaim,—
A brave young chief had fallen to vindicate her fame.
  Fallen in the prime of his ambitious years,        10
  As falls the young oak when the mountain blast
  Rings like a clarion, and the tempest jeers
  To see its pride to earth untimely cast.
  So fell brave Wolfe, heroic to the last,
  Amid the tempest and grim scorn of war,        15
  While leering Fate with look triumphant passed,
  Pleased with the slaughter and the horrid jar
That lured him hence to see how paled a hero’s star,
  Only to rise amid the heavens of Fame
  With more impassioned radiance; as the sun        20
  That sets at evening like a world on flame
  Returns with calmer glory. He had run
  The race that Fortune bade him, and had won
  The prize which thousands perish for in vain.
  For he had triumphed; they depart undone,        25
  Like a dark day that sinks in cloud and rain,
But never can return or see the morn again.
*        *        *        *        *
  Heroic Wolfe! the martial path he chose
  Nipped his long-cherished dreams just as the bud
  Of his fair promise, opening to a rose,        30
  Was drenched in tears and stained with life’s dear blood.
  A hero-martyr; for his country’s good
  Yielding up life and all he held most dear;
  A mind with finest sympathies imbued,
  A wise companion and a friend sincere,        35
A soul to burn with love, a nature to revere.
  Wolfe and Montcalm! two nobler names ne’er graced
  The page historic or the hostile plain;
  No braver souls the storm of battle faced,
  None more heroic will e’er breathe again.        40
  They passed unto their rest without a stain
  Upon their kindred natures or true hearts.
  One graceful column to the noble twain
  Speaks of a nation’s gratitude, and starts
The tear that Valor claims and Feeling’s self imparts.        45
  Peace to their dust! all honor to the brave!
  They lived like brothers, and like men they died;
  One worthy of the trust he could not save,
  The other flushed not with poor mortal pride,
  But giving God the praise, when on his side        50
  The bird of Victory perched. Worthy were they
  That two great nations on their zeal relied,
  And wept their loss, wept the distressful day
That saw two lives like theirs untimely swept away.
  Far o’er the cloud-built chateaux of the Morn        55
  Had climbed the sun upon that autumn day
  That led me to those battlements. The corn
  Upon the distant fields was ripe. Away
  To the far left the swelling highlands lay;
  The quiet cove; the river bright and still;        60
  The gallant ships that made the harbor gay;
  And like a Thought swayed by a potent Will,
Point Levi, seated at the foot of the old hill:
  What were the gardens and the terraces,
  The stately dwellings, and the monuments        65
  Upreared to human fame, compared with these?
  Those ancient hills stood proudly ere the tents
  Of the first voyageurs—swart visitants
  From the fair, sunny Loire—were pitched upon
  Wild Stadacona’s height. The armaments        70
  Whose flaming missiles smote the solid stone
  Aroused yon granite Cape that answered groan for groan.

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