Posts tagged ‘1775’

Monday, 4 July 2016

An Elegy to the Memory of the American Volunteers Who Fell in the Engagement Between the Massachusetts-Bay Militia, and the British Troops, April 19, 1775 by Anna Young Smith

Let joy be dumb, let mirth’s gay carol cease —
See plaintive sorrow comes bedew’d with tears,
With mournful steps retires the cherub Peace,
And horrid War with all his train appears.

He comes, and crimson slaughter marks his way,
Stern famine follows in his vengeful tread,
Before him pleasure, hope, and love decay,
And meek-eyed mercy hangs drooping head.

Fled like a dream are those delightful hours,
When here with innocence and peace we roved,
Secure and happy in our native bowers,
Bless’d with the presence of the youths we loved.

The blow is struck, which through each future age
Shall call from Pity’s eye the frequent tear;
Which gives the brother to the brother’s rage,
And dyes with British blood the British spear.

Where’er the barbarous story shall be told,
The British cheek shall glow with conscious shame,
This deed, in bloody characters enroll’d,
Shall stain the lustre of their former name.

But you, ye brave defenders of our cause,
The first in this dire contest eall’d to bleed,
Your names hereafter, crown’d with just applause,
Each manly breast with joy-unixt woe shall read.

Your memories dear to every freeborn mind,
Shall need no monument your fame to raise,
Forever in our grateful hearts enshrined ;
And bless’d by your united country’s praise.

But, O, permit the muse with grief sincere,
The widows’ heartfelt anguish to bemoan ;
To join the sisters’ and the orphans’ tear,
Whom this sad day from all they loved has torn

Blest be this humble strain, if it imparts
The dawn of peace to but one pensive breast,
If it can hush one sigh that rends your hearts,
Or lull your sorrows to a short-lived rest.

But vain the hope, too well this bosom knows
How faint is Glory’s voice to Nature’s calls;
How weak the balm the laurel wreath bestows,
To heal our breasts when love or friendship falls.

Yet think, they in their country’s cause expired,
While guardian angels watch’d their parting sighs,
Their dying breasts with constancy inspired,
And bade them welcome to their native skies.

Our future fate is wrapt in darkest gloom,
And threatening clouds, from which their souls are freed :
E’er the big tempest burst they press the tomb,
Not doom’d to see their much-loved country bleed.

O let such thoughts as these assuage your grief,
And stop the tear of sorrow as it flows,
Till Time’s all-powerful hand shall yield relief,
And shed a kind oblivion o’er your woes.

But, O, thou Being infinitely just,
Whose boundless eye with mercy looks on all,
On thee alone thy humbled people trust,
On thee alone for their deliverance call.

Long did thy hand unnumber’d blessings shower,
And crown our land with Liberty and Peace,
Extend, O Lord, again, thy saving power,
And bid the horrors of invasion cease.

But if thy awful wisdom has decreed
That we severer evils yet shall know,
By thy Almighty justice doom’d to bleed,
And deeper drink the bitter draughts of woe,

O, grant us, Heaven, that constancy of mind
Which over adverse fortune rises still ;
Unshaken faith, calm fortitude resign’d,
And full submission to thy holy will.

To thee, Eternal Parent, we resign
Our bleeding cause, and on thy wisdom rest,
With grateful hearts we bless thy power divine,
And own, resign’d, ” Whatever is, is best.”

From: Harris, Sharon M. (ed.), American Women Writers to 1800, 1996, Oxford University Press: New York, p. 336.

Date: 1775

By: Anna Young Smith (1756-1780)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

To Stella by Hester Mulso Chapone

No more, my Stella, to the sighing shades,
Of blasted hope and luckless love complain;
But join the sports of Dian’s careless maids,
And laughing Liberty’s triumphant train.

And see, with these is holy Friendship found,
With chrystal bosom open to the sight;
Her gentle hand shall close the recent wound,
And fill the vacant heart with calm delight.

Nor Prudence slow, that ever comes too late,
Nor stern-brow’d Duty, check her gen’rous flame;
On all her footsteps Peace and Honour wait,
And Slander’s ready tongue reveres her name.

Say, Stella, what is Love, whose tyrant pow’r
Robs Virtue of content and Youth of joy?
What nymph or goddess, in a fatal hour,
Gave to the world this mischief-making boy?

By lying bards in forms so various shewn,
Deck’d with false charms or arm’d with terrors vain,
Who shall his real properties make known,
Declare his nature, and his birth explain?

Some say, of Idlness and Pleasure bred,
The smiling babe on beds of roses lay,
There, with sweet honey-dews by Fancy fed,
His blooming beauties open’d to the day.

His wanton head with fading chaplets bound,
Dancing, he leads his silly vot’ries on
To precipices deep o’er faithless ground,
Then laughing flies, nor hears their fruitless moan.

Some say from Etna’s burning entrails torn,
More fierce than tygers on the Libyan plain,
Begot in tempests, and in thunders born,
Love wildly rages like the foaming main.

With darts and flames some arm his feeble hands,
His infant brow with regal honours crown;
Whilst vanquish’d Reason, bound with silken bands,
Meanly submissive, falls before his throne.

Each fabling poet sure alike mistakes
The gentle pow’r that reigns o’er tender hearts!
Soft Love no tempest hurls, nor thunder shakes,
Nor lifts the flaming torch, nor poison’d darts.

Heav’n-born, the brightest seraph of the sky,
For Eden’s bow’r he left his blissful seat,
When Adam’s blameless suit was heard on high,
And beauteous Eve first chear’d his lone retreat.

At Love’s approach all earth rejoic’d, each hill,
Each grove that learnt it from the whisp’ring gale;
Joyous the birds their liveliest chorus fill,
And richer fragrance breathes in ev’ry vale.

Well pleased in Paradise awhile he roves,
With Innocence and Friendship, hand in hand;
Till Sin found entrance in the with’ring groves,
And frighted Innocence forsook the land.

But Love, still faithful to the guilty pair,
With them was driv’n amidst a world of woes,
Where oft he mourns his lost companion dear,
And trembling flies before his rigid foes.

Honour, in burnish’d steel completely clad,
And hoary Wisdom, oft against him arm;
Suspicion pale, and Disappointment sad,
Vain Hopes and frantic Fears his heart alarm.

Fly then, dear Stella, fly th’ unequal strife,
Since Fate forbids that Peace should dwell with Love!
Friendship’s calm joys shall glad thy future life,
And Virtue lead to endless bliss above.

From: Chapone, Mrs., Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, The Third Edition, To which is now first added, A Letter to a new-married Lady, 1777, E. and C. Dilly and J. Walter: London, pp. 146-149.

Date: 1775

By: Hester Mulso Chapone (1727-1801)

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Political Litany by Philip Morin Freneau

Libera Nos, Domine.—Deliver us, O Lord, not only from British dependence, but also

From a junto that labour with absolute power,
Whose schemes disappointed have made them look sour,
From the lords of the council, who fight against freedom,
Who still follow on where delusion shall lead them.

From the group at St. James’s, who slight our petitions,
And fools that are waiting for further submissions—
From a nation whose manners are rough and severe,
From scoundrels and rascals,—do keep us all clear.

From pirates sent out by command of the king
To murder and plunder, but never to swing.
From Wallace and Greaves, and Vipers and Roses,
Whom, if heaven pleases, we’ll give bloody noses.

From the valiant Dunmore, with his crew of banditti,
Who plunder Virginians at Williamsburg city,
From hot-headed Montague, mighty to swear,
The little fat man with his pretty white hair.

From bishops in Britain, who butchers are grown,
From slaves that would die for a smile from the throne,
From assemblies that vote against Congress proceedings,
(Who now see the fruit of their stupid misleadings.)

From Tryon the mighty, who flies from our city,
And swelled with importance disdains the committee:
(But since he is pleased to proclaim us his foes,
What the devil care we where the devil he goes.)

From the caitiff, lord North, who would bind us in chains,
From a royal king Log, with his tooth-full of brains,
Who dreams, and is certain (when taking a nap)
He has conquered our lands, as they lay on his map.

From a kingdom that bullies, and hectors, and swears,
We send up to heaven our wishes and prayers
That we, disunited, may freemen be still,
And Britain go on—to be damned if she will.

From: Freneau, Philip, Poems of Philip Freneau, Volume II, 1902, The University Library: Princeton NJ, pp. 139-141.

Date: 1775

By: Philip Morin Freneau (1752-1832)