Poems Written, 1816-1818

By Adam Hood Burwell



(In imitation of Campbell’s “Hohenlinden”)

O’er Huron’s wave the orb of light
Sunk low in his diurnal flight,
And close behind the shades of night
                               Spread out their sable canopy.

To Lundy’s Lane the foemen flew,


And thick array’d in hostile view,
E’er the resplendent arch withdrew
                               That high o’erarch’d Niagara.

But as the parting glance of day
Shed its last beams upon the spray


That crown’d the tumbling flood, the play
                               Of battle hasten’d rapidly.
The bugle shrill the war-note spoke;
The maddening drum with furious stroke -
But louder, more appalling, broke


                               The thunders of th’ artillery.

Faint thro’ the war-cloud, dense and dun,
The moon with crimson’d crescent shone,
White gleam’d the battle’s lightenings on,
                               T’ illume the awful scenery


Fight on ye brave! but who shall know,
Or where to aim th’ uncertain blow,
Or whether bleeds a friend or foe,
                               To stain the wreaths of victory?
[Page 1]

Ceased has the fight’s tremendous roar;

The cannon’s thunders peal no more;
But death’s dark harbinger hangs o’er
                               The battle’s utmost boundary.
Charge, charge, amain! the bugle sounds;
At once the clashing steel resounds;


And forward fierce the foeman bounds
                               To boldest deeds of chivalry.

Hard pant the combatants for breath,
While bloodier grows the blood stain’d heath,
And gloomier yet the work of death,


                               Deep veil’d in night’s obscurity.
To glory rush, ye brave, rush on!
Seize, seize the laurel! lo! ’tis won
The vanquish’d yield — the work is done
                               Huzza! The shout is victory.


Sunk is the beam of midnight low;
The fires of death have ceased to glow,
But morn a bloody field shall show,
                               Along thy banks, Niagara!
His silent stand the watchman takes,


Or by his wounded comrade wakes,
Whilst the last groan of misery breaks
                               Oft midst the dying soldiery.
Ne’er saw these fields so fierce a fight
Since first this flood, with rapid flight,


Majestic from his giant height
                               Roll’d thro’ his rugged scenery. [Page 2]
And while his cloud-capt surge shall pour,
May his deep thunder-voice no more
Be mingled with the battle’s roar,

                               Along his steep declivity.


Flamborough West, July, 1816. [Page 3]

* “These lines (altho’ a little altered since then by the author) appeared first in the ‘Gleaner,’ an Upper Canada [Niagara] paper.” This note appeared with the poem when it was reprinted in The Scribbler (Montreal), I, 245-246, (24 January, 1822). [back]