Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
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William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
 
Braddock’s Defeat
 
From the New York Gazette, or the Weekly Post Boy, November 10, 1755

   Verses occasioned by the melancholy news of the British forces being defeated, and General Braddock slain, on the banks of the river Ohio.

 ———Mares animos in martia bella
Versibus exacuit.

The dying general speaks:
THEN, ’tis decreed—the vain exulting Gaul
In these ill-fated fields beholds my fall.
But let not Britain, when she hears the tale,
In timid indolence my fate bewail.
O! rather let her sons, unused to fear,        5
To women leave the tribute of a tear.
A brave revenge alone becomes the brave,
A brave revenge these dying heroes crave.
See where their mangled limbs bestrew the field:
Firm, undismay’d, unknowing how to yield.        10
Behold them with their latest gasp of breath,
Implore their country to revenge their death.
May Britain, then, let loose her vengeful ire,
Redoubled force repeated wrongs require;
Each active hand with martial terror arm,        15
Each martial bosom with her spirit warm.
So, haughty Gaul, when her exploits she hears
Shall with her ill-starr’d triumph mix her fears;
As midnight thieves that, wrapt in vile disguise,
Have made some luckless traveller their prize,        20
Afraid of justice, drop the booty won,
And tremble for the mischief they have done.
In vain the fetter’d Gaul prepares his chains,
For British freedom, even in India’s plains.
Great George, born to command the free and brave        25
Shall break his weapons and chastise the slave.
My blood I freely spill; rejoiced to make
The first libation for fair Freedom’s sake.
For as, in Greece of old, the warrior’s meed
For liberty, is nobly thus to bleed.        30
  Here then I cheerful quit life’s poor remains,
For glory well exchanged in martial plains;
In future times, (nor do I boast in vain,)
When Britain numbers o’er her warrior-train,
When time my errors shall obliterate        35
And veil my faults in pity to my fate,
In the fair list, perhaps, shall stand his name,
Who through these regions show’d the road to fame;
Who midst these pathless wilds, and streams that roll
From sources unexplored, first taught the Gaul        40
That Britain’s freeborn sons, inspired by fame,
Nor danger daunts, nor toilsome marches tame.
What though by me, these ill-starr’d heroes led,
With me, oppress’d by numbers, fought and bled:
What though our blood these barbarous currents dye,        45
To savage rage exposed our bodies lie;
Yet still our name a terror shall remain,
For length of ages to the servile train.
Oft shall these warrior’s shades, who sullen rove,
Along the o’er-shaded stream or twilight grove,        50
Or o’er savannahs drear, in dread array,
By moonlight gleam, their marshall’d ranks display,
Affright the Gaul, whose dazzled fancy sees
The horrid armour glittering through the trees,
His shrivell’d soul within him dies with fear,        55
Whilst bursts of imaged cannon wound his ear.
Nor will our pensive ghosts one comfort know,
Till destined vengeance overtake the foe;
Till (servile Gaul expell’d) fix’d in these plains
By British valour, British freedom reigns.        60
 
 
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