Written after a moonlight ramble on Drummond’s Hill, U.C., the scene of that bloody action, fought July 25, 1814, where New Hampshire valor shone conspicuously.
In other days yon fatal hill,
Glittered with arms and waved with plumes,
When the sad sunset on their steel,
Flashed its last splendors; even’s glooms
Rang with the bugles’s martial breath
That called the brave to deeds of death.
Then the dismal cry of slaughter
Broke on midnight’s slumbering hour;
And the parched ground drank blood like water,
As beneath a deadly shower
Of musket and artillery,
With motto calm yet bold, “I’LL TRY,”
The bristling ranks move on,
Mid deafening thunder, sulphurous flash,
And shouts, and groans, and forests’ crash,
Till hark! the sharp, clear bayonet’s clash,
Tells that the work is done.
There deeds of deathless praise proclaim,
How rolled War’s tide when RIPLEY’s name
Swelled the wild shout of victory;
And dauntless Miller and McNeil
Led foremost, in the strife of steel,
The flower of northern chivalry;
While Scott from British brows then tore
The laurels dyed in Gallic gore.
But these terrific scenes are past;
The peasants’ slumbers, the wild blast
Alone shall break them,
And those proud bannered hosts are gone,
Where the shrill trumpet’s charging tone
No more may wake them.
Time in his flight has swept away,
Each vestige of the battle fray,
Save that the traveller views around,
The shattered oak — the grass-grown mound
That shrines a hero’s ashes!
Peace to the brave! around their stone
Shall Freedom twine her rosy wreath,
And, though with moss of year’s o’ergrown,
Fame shall applaud their glorious death,
Long as Niagara dashes!
Source: Charles James Fox, ed. The New Hampshire Book, Being Specimens of the Literature of the Granite State. Nashville: C.T. Gill, 1844.
Caleb Stark was born in Dumbarton, New Hampshire on November 21, 1804 and took up residence in his birthplace. Stark was a lawyer, historian, and member of the New Hampshire State Senate, and died in 1864.