Elegy on the death of Gen. Montgomery

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Melpomene, now strike a mournful string,
Montgomery's fate assisting me to sing!
Thou saw him fall upon the hostile plain
Yet ting'd with blood that gush'd from Moncalm's veins,
Where gallant Wolfe for conquest gave his breath,
Where num'rous heroes met the angel Death.
Ah! while the loud reiterated roar
Of cannon echoed on from shore to shore,
Benigner Peace, retiring to the shade,
Had gather'd laurel to adorn his head:
The laurel yet shall grace his bust; but, oh!
America must wear sad cypress now.
Dauntless he led her armies to the war,
Invulnerable was his soul to fear:
When they explor'd their way o'er trackless snows,
Where Life's warm tide thro' every channel froze,
His eloquence made the chill'd bosom glow,
And animated them to meet the foe;
Now flam'd this bright conspicuous grace alone,
The softer virtues in his bosom shone;
It bled with every soldier's recent wound;
He rais'd the fallen vet'ran from the ground;
He wip'd the eye of grief, it ceas'd to flow;
His heart vibrated to each sound of woe:
His heart too good his country to betray
For splendid posts or mercenary pay,
Too great to see a virtuous land opprest,
Nor strive to have her injuries redress'd.
Oh had but Carleton suffer'd in his stead!
Had half idolitrous Canadia bled!
'Tis not for him but for ourselves we grieve,
Like him to die is better than to live;
His urn by a whole nation's tears bedew'd,
His mem'ry blest by all the great and good:
O'er his pale coarse the marble [1] soon shall rise,
And the tall column shoot into the skies;
There long his praise by freemen shall be read,
As softly o'er the hero's dust they tread.


  1. In St. Paul's Church, in the city of New-York, is a beautiful monument raised to his memory, by order of Congress, 1783

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.