Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

The enterprises of Trenton and Princeton shall be regarded as the dawnings of that bright day, which afterward broke forth with such resplendent lustre.'-Hamilton.

1.

thus spent,

At last should rend the galling links Tramp!- tramp! Tramp! - tramp! asunder ? "What rushing band with thundering tread My kindred share their country's fate : Along the bridge disordered led,

Two sons I boast in yonder train, With rapid and alarming stamp,

And had these limbs their nerve again, Now hurries o'er the tide ?

I were not here to prate.'
Waking the pattering echoes far and wide ?
On - on they come — tumultuous come!

"Whence haste they now,
With rattling arms, and clamoring drum : forlorn,
Till all the wooden arches round

Half-armed, half-clad, on winter-morn, Challenge aloud the intruding sound, With bleeding feet unshod, and torn ? And clank for clank, and stamp for stamp And, as their wheeling ranks advance, rebound !

Why turn they back the anxious glance,

As if some danger tracked them near ? Thus spake a stranger to the crowd New-gathered on Passaic's banks, Alas! their dearest hopes are crossed : Drawn by the din of trampling ranks Defeated, driven, the city lost, Resounding far, and loud.

Surrendered every fort and post, A skulking, and half-hidden knave

Before them, shame and fear : From out the group this answer gave:

Behind, with all the royal host, 'It is the rebel band,

Cornwallis stops the rear : In arms, audacious, to withstand

Despair, disgrace The legions of their lawful king.'

In every face;

No glance along their panic lines ‘Base renegade! 't is false !' replied With still unshrinking courage sbines, A crippled veteran at his side,

Save his, in whom they trust alone, With locks all wintry-white, and waving: The gallant chief that leads them on : 'No rebels these a righteous monarch But he is WASHINGTON ! braving;

Oh! that he now would turn, and stand ! The holiest cause that ever prayers Stop! leader of the flying band Of good men rose to aid, is theirs : Freedom, and the wailing land No! these are honest patriots – steeled Beseeching, cling around thy knees : With Justice' sword, and Freedom's Oh! shield them from their enemies ! shield

The sacred soil by foes is trod : Alas! with other armor scarce, or none: Drive back th' invaders to the waves ! Sprung from the shop, the woods, the One freeman on his native sod To die, perchance, but not to yield [field, Can match a score of slaves : Till all their country's wounds are healed, Stop! better were the deadliest fight And all their rights are won!

Than such unworthy flight: Long, long have they besought in vain All is not lost — or if it be, Their rulers to relax their chain :

Still stand !- the dead at least are free: Unheard was every prayer :

Why shun the strife that must begin? Thus writhing with the pain, what won. Then ranged by that humble stream, stand

The frenzied struggles of despair (der fast! VOL. XVI.

44

II.

And show the world though crushed at ! Clattering with irregular beat

You have deserved to win: [last, | Tumultuous ring the mingled iron feet :
Stand all! that narrow bridge before, Now in banded order tramp
And e'er one foeman passes o'er,

Ranks of foot, with timing stamp,
With your free bodies pave the floor, Clad in robes of gory shade,
That tyranny may see

Livery of their dreadful trade;
Her path to power so ghastly dread, O'er their heads, their breezes braving,
O'er bloody causeway of the dead, St. George's bloody banner-cross is waving:
Appalled, she shall not dare to tread, Now o'er the trembling bridge with
But leave the free land free!'

groaning jar

(non-car:

Rolls lumbering on the ponderous can. They're gone!- why should they list to But who are these that last appear, And fast beyond the hills afar (me? With foreign garb and reckless air, Sink the last plumes of passing war. In shaggy caps of savage hair ? Yet stood there in their leader's eye

No Briush troops so wildly stare : A fixed enduring energy --.

What strangers have we here?
A beacon steady in the storm's turmoil :

There must be hope, hope e'en in flight, *This' – cried the old man, and clenched
While such an eye as that keeps bright; his hand
He may retreat, yet scorn to fly,

"This is the hireling Hessian band, And thus his forces gathering,

Bought and sold Sudden as bended steel may spring,

With British gold:
With terrible recoil !'

Sent, with murderous heart, and brand,
To subdue this savage land:

Come with robberies and fires,
Tramp!- tramp! Tramp!- tramp!

Come with rapine all unsparing, Hark! - again the martial stamp

Terror of the sick and old : On the hollow bridge resounds,

Insulung helpless women -- scaring From the steepy shore rebounds,

Children which their arms enfold, Peopling thick with sounds the air ;

And butchering their sires.
Mid shouting horns and glittering armor

See! in dazzling pomp a Ivancing, [fair !
Banners flaunting, horses prancing,

Ah! while I watch yon mighty host Seas of plumes in billows dancing,

I feel as every hope were lost: And far away the frosty bayonets glan.

Their dazzling arms grow foully dark Hark! harmonious music, sent (cing!

As I their coming horrors mark : From many a breathing instrument,

Horrors thato'er my sense already fleet:

I hear yon cannon's stunning din
Pouring from their mellow throats
Streaming hoards of golden notes :

O'er whelming Pity's voice within :
That the ear

I hear those horns whose song ascends
Which turns to hear,

With voice of angels urge to deeds of Cloyed at last with luscious treasure,

fiends : Sickens with delirious pleasure,

I see the horse with crushing feet Till rattling bugle-call, and cymbal-clash

The fractured breasts of brethren beat : Startle the hosi-- and arms and armor

Those glittering tubes already roar : With sudden glory there!

I hear their fatal bullets whistle:

[flash, While ever and anon

I see their steely points that bristle The trumpet's lawless tone

Grow crimson wet with kindred gore: Rips up with rent outrageous the broad air.

Come back ! ye scarlet legions dread : What troops are these in burnished armor

Oh! think on what ye do! fair ?

'Tis brothers' blood ye seek to shed :

The curse of Cain will brand your head, At which the busy knave once more And ghusts of all the murdered dead Intruded answer as before :

Your visions will pursue ! • It is the royal host

Loose not those hireling wolves to howl, Sent from England's distant coast On kindred homes and fields to prowl, In full accoutred pomp, to bring,

On kindred flesh to prey ! The rebel crew submissive to their king. Be generous in your pride of power !

Have mercy now in iriumph's hour, 'Silence that raven's horrid croak !

And further havoc stay! The veteran then impatient broke: Alas! they hasten on their way, "These are the foes of whom I spoke, Nor heed what prating age may say : The tyrant's bloodhounds dread.'

But urge their cruel course,

Untouched with pity or remorse. 'A goodly sight! the stranger cried : Come back! ye bloody fiends of war, 'How gaily pass their ranks of pride Ye slaves of tyrants bloodier far; Along the bridge successive led !

Defeated as your victims are, First in the glittering course,

Still have they mortal fangs to scar: Stately slow, with conscious force,

Ye shall not crush unstung! Snorting, prance the gallant horse! Yes! -- one free fragment of a blade

v.

Ere this has deadliest havoc made

Invaders' ranks among;
For Freedom is a tigress, bayed :

* Beware! - touch not her young!

They're gone beyond hills afar :
Convulsive, faint, no longer shrill,

Along Passaic's lonely brink
Swell the last clarion-notes of passing war,

That heave, and sink

Heave and sink,
And all again is still!

A thousand men surrender there,

And Rahl, their chief is slain !
'T is night along Assà:pink stream,
And wide the flaming watch-fires gleam;
While here and there, from either shore,
The bellowing cannon rarely roar,
As if to clear their rugged throats
To chant to-morrow's death-hymn notes;
For, quickened with the late disgrace,
Cornwallis rushed with force apace
From royal ’scutcheon to efface

The foul, corroding stain :
To-morrow shall the shame atone
For that shoal, narrow creek alone

Divides the foes in twain.

III.

What now can save the little band ?

Behind, the frozen Delaware,

Too frail an army's weight to bear Would yet all passing boats withstand : Before, around them all the land

Is mastered by the foe: And were it not, the moistening sky Has mired the ways, they cannot fiy: Loud shout the royal chivalry!

"To-morrow with a blow

Will lay the ragged rebels low!' Oh! God of suffering right, be with them

now!

VI.

IV.

'Tis night along the Delaware

'Tis merry Christmas night; And all the holiday may share, Save yonder band of patriots there,

Preparing for the fight. Extended on the opposing coast Is quartered all the royal host,

Wide-spread in many a post. ‘Now! the patriot captain said, *Clip their wings ere they are spread !'* Rattling hail, and drizzling sleet 'Gainst their freezing faces beat :

But storms, as well as armies, fail To make the breast where freedom lodges

quail : Lo! in many a shallow boat Thick-crowded on the stream they float, With horse and cannon laden low, Fast whitening in the driving snow; With darkness, storm, and foes before,

While round them, with alarming roar, Fragments of massive ice rush crashing on

the shore ! 'Tis night along the Delaware

'Tis merry Christmas night, And all the holiday may share: The Hessian ranks throw off their care, And Trenton rings right merrily, With strangest warrior-minstrelsy: "Glory greet the roving band ! "What ihough banished far to roam "Soldiers ever find a home! "When unwelcome thoughts o'ercome, 'Still with drinking,

Banish thinking! Glory greet the exiled band ! 'Let the toast be Father-land ! 'Till peep of morning light:

'Fill high the can!

'Fill high the can! "To Glory's prize -- the soldier's mark : "The toast

the toast be Fatherland! 'Till peep of morning' — Hark! Hark to the deadly volley's rattle! Hark to the shout- the crash of battle! To arms! to arms! they rush, they form, The post surprised – the vanguard beat, No hope is left them but retreat! Away! their foes hold every street; 'Tis Washington that guides the storm, And flight and strife alike are vain : Surrounded, humbled, in despair,

'Tis morn along Assànpink stream,
And paling watch-fires dimly gleam :
Cornwallis heads his bright array
But ah! the rebels — where are they?
Gone with all their tools of war!
Tent, cannon, stores, and baggage-car-

All save their fires alone!
At midnight fell a sudden cold,
That froze the yielding earth to stone -
Oh, sure from pitying Heaven it came !
And back with all their force they rolled,
Safe-shielded by the treacherous flame:

But whither are they gone? Hark! cracking cannon in the rear, Ring sharply on the frosty air — The British leader, struck with wonder,

Cries 'Can that be thunder ?'* Yes! 'tis thunder tears the sky Yes! those crashing bolts thai fly Shall rend the ears of Tyranny

Those lightnings blast her form! A tempest bursts on Princeton plain Of iron hail, and leaden rain, Which, ere its fury hush again,

Shall strew the ravaged earth with slain: 'Tis liberty that wings ihe whirlwindstorm!

See her chosen son
Lead her scanty forces on !
Half-armed, half-trained in warlike arts,

No matter! dangerous still:
The steel they boast is in their hearts,

And Heaven will teach them skill! Hark their leader's trumpet-tones of cheer!

'One stout blow will set us clear ;

* His very words.

* Literally true.

The first report that stuns his ear,

When the young banner 'gan to fly, Will bring Cornwallis furious here: First peeped through trouble's cloudy sky We must at once break through the rear! And sparkled on the eye! We must - we can — we WILL!' And joy the bright alliance crowned

Which Freedom made with Fame, Then cannon oped the dreadful revel

When Trenton grew a battle-cry,
Then muskets dropped in deadly level,

And Princeton found a name.
And Murder, as the signal broke,
Threw o'er the foes his sulphurous cloak, Then broke th' auspicious day!
The better in its folds of smoke

As hope new arms to courage gave
His bloody work to do :

Fast rolled successes wave on wave, And deeds were done so foul, alas!

All brightly gilt with glory's morning ray: Himself, all butcher as he was,

The Lion, blinded, in despair, In face of heaven had shuddered to pursue.

Slunk baffled to his lair : But vain the patriot's bold attack

While boldly high The van is checked - 't is beaten back!

The Eagle, with a scream of joy, Oh Freedom's God! must all be lost Soared sunward with unquailing eye, Atonce, uncounting risk, or cost,

And flapped his wings for victory! Their daring leader goes

And as the vapors fold by fold A star-lit standard seizes there,

Before the light retreating rolled, And waves it through the sulphurous air, Lo! Freedom on the lofty stand Then spurs between the foes!

Of Alleghanian mountains towered, and Thickens the din, the smoke, the flash;

blazed, The bayonet thrust, the sabre gash;

Sole sovereign of the land : The heated combatants, grown rash,

Long, long from man in mists concealed, Madly on each other dash;

Then first with every charm revealed, Bui God defends the right;

Her form august she raised ; To Freedom gives the conqueror's might, August, yet gracious, and her brows were But claims a hero for his prize;

bound For shattered in the front of fight, With lustrous stars that like a glorycrown'd. Devoted Mercer lies!

Her front looked on th’ Atlantic shore,

One beckoning hand outheld before, A stubborn remnant yet maintain

Waved welcome to the world! Their stand within the college fane: And one, to point the promised ground The muses' hallowed halls they stain

She proffered to her guest,
With all the wreck of fighi.

Turn'dbackward to th’unmeasur'd west, The victor summons -- and they yield; Whose desert wealth of soil spread Triumphant now he quits the field,

widely round; Before the royal vanguard daunts the sight. Still spreading, spreading, 'till the roar

Of sounding seas at length proclaimed its Cornwallis comes with thundering speed,

bound, Revenge his raging senses blinds;

Where, heaving without rest, Too late! 't is past the hour of need:

Pacific's solemn billows curled, His dead along his track he finds,

And broke unheard along the lonely shore! His living, scattered to the winds! And sheltered mid the hills afar,

Then, at the radiant light The rebels, in his grasp at night, Poured lavish from her presence bright, Themselves victorious from the fight,

The mighty crowd With all the spoils of war!

Of gazing nations, awed, with homage Astounded at the daring feat,

bowed; At once he sounds retreat;

And hailed, with pæans hailed, the fairest And leaves the soil he late profaned,

queen, Save by the captured foe, unstained.

That through all time benighted earth

To rule her race, and lead to glory on : Applauding shouts the land rang round: And trebly hailed the youthful land

Of triumph, and of victory! [found, Whose Heaven-directed band
Then hope first pierced the gloom pro- Had show'd the world how Freedom should
And then the stars, which rose in shame be won!

had seen,

VII.

[blocks in formation]

THE CRAYON PAPERS.

THE SEMINOLES.

From the time of the chimerical cruisings of Old Ponce de Leon in search of the Fountain of Youth; the avaricious expedition of Pamphilo de Narvaez in quest of gold; and the chivalrous enterprise of Hernando de Soto, to discover and conquer a second Mexico, the natives of Florida have been continually subjected to the invasions and encroachments of white men. They have resisted them perseveringly but fruitlessly, and are now battling amidst swamps and morasses, for the last foothold of their native soil, with all the ferocity of despair. Can we wonder at the bitterness of a hostility that has been handed down from father to son, for upward of three centuries, and exasperated by the wrongs and miseries of each succeeding generation! The very name of the savages with which we are fighting, betokens their fallen and homeless condition. Formed of the wrecks of once powerful tribes, and driven from their ancient seats of prosperity and dominion, they are known by the name of the Seminoles, or Wanderers.'

Bartram, who travelled through Florida in the latter part of the last century, speaks of passing through a great extent of ancient Indian fields, now silent and deserted, overgrown with forests, orange groves, and rank vegetation, the site of the ancient Alachua, the capital of a famous and powerful tribe, who in days of old could assemble thousands at bull-play and other athletic exercises 'over these then happy fields and green plains.' • Almost every step we take,' adds he, over these fertile heights, discovers the remains and traces of ancient human habitations and cultivation.'

About the year 1763, when Florida was ceded by the Spaniards to the English, we are told that the Indians generally retired from the towns and the neighborhood of the whites, and burying themselves in the deep forests, intricate swamps and hommocks, and vast savannahs of the interior, devoted themselves to a pastoral life, and the rearing of horses and cattle. These are the people that received the name of the Seminoles, or Wanderers, which they still retain.

Bartram gives a pleasing picture of them at the time he visited them in their wilderness ; where their distance from the abodes of the white man gave them a transient quiet and security. This handful of people,' says he, possesses a vast territory, all East and the greatest part of West Florida, which being naturally cut and divided into thousands of islets, knolls, and eminences, by the innumerable rivers, lakes, swamps, vast savannahs, and ponds, form so many secure retreats and temporary dwelling places that effectually guard them from any sudden invasions or attacks from their enemies; and being such a swampy, hommocky country, furnishes such a plenty and variety of supplies for the nourishment of varieties of animals, that I can venture to assert, that no part of the globe so abounds with wild game, or creatures fit for the food of man.

• Thus they enjoy a superabundance of the necessaries and conve

« PreviousContinue »