To the Memory of the Citizen Soldier

This poem appeared in the Kentucky Gazette, 23 March 1813, page 4, chapter 1.

Courtesy John Trowbridge

From the National Intelligencer

Who were slain in the battle or massacred by the Indians and British at the River Raisin, Jan. 22d and 23d, 1813.

Is there a heart so warp’d by party zeal,
A heart so harden’d that it cannot feel,
When dire disaster with o’er whelming blows,
Lays the fond hearts of frantic mothers low.
If such a being lives in human frame,
Both God and Nature must that wretch disclaim.
Oh! shame to Britain, who with bribing gold,
Enlist the savage, scarce of “human mould,”
Works him to Fury, by unhallow’d means,
Assistant actors in death’s bloody scenes;
Loud yell the ministers of bloody strife,
And scalp the victims quiv’ring still with life;
Whilst Britons, once brave Britons, basely stand,
And view the slaughter of our Spartan Band!
Ye gallant spirits numbered with the dead!
Ye valiant soldiers, who your life blood shed;
Ye who bravely fought—so nobly fell,
For ye the tear of gratitude shall swell;
For ye shall never fading laurels blooms,
And History’s page lament your early doom.
Could the mute dead return to Realm’s of Light,
And burst the banners of eternal night—
Were it but granted that the grave,
Could for time, yield up the martyr’d brave—
Then in their country’s grateful plaudits bleat,
With honest joy they’d sink to endless rest.
But, ah!  for those who live their loss to mourn,
No ray of joy or peace shall e’er return,
Their hopes are buried in their Soldiers’ Urn.
Ye tender mothers, who you all have lost,
Ye weeping widows whose best hopes are cross’d,
Ye helpless orphans—ye heart broken sires.
Oh! that your tears could quench War’s Moloch fires!
But if the motive sanctifies the deed,
And duty bids the patriot soldier bleed—
If for his country’s rights he yields his breath,
And falls a victim on the battle heath—
Then, alone, alone, does war’s destructive flame,
Cover with GLORY the brave soldier’s name.
Weep then COLUMBIANS, duty bids you weep,
For those brave Heroes, who untimely sleep!
Spare God of Battles! spare the valiant host;
Nerve their strong arms, and give them hearts of steel, 
To cope with enemies that cannot feel—
Yet ‘midst the tide of battle bid them spare,
Nor e’er reject a yielding foeman’s prayer.

To the Memory of the Citizen Soldier