The Battle of Lundy’s Lane by Erieus

(In imitation of Campbell’s “Hohenlinden”)

Archway commemorating the Battle of Lundy’s Lane

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?

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.

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, 1816erieus2

Adam Hood Burwell published poems under the pen name Erieus2

Source: Burwell, Adam Hood.  The Poems of Adam Hood Burwell, Pioneer Poet of Upper Canada. ed. by Dr. Carl F. Klinck. (Western Ontario History Nuggets no. 30, May 1963). London, Ont.: Lawson Memorial Library, The University of Western Ontario, 1963

This version of the poem appeared in The Scribbler (Montreal) I, p. 245-246, January 24, 1822

The original version was published in The Niagara Gleaner, date unknown, no copies of The Niagara Gleaner exist before 1818.

From “New” Poems of Adam Hood Burwell
Edited and Introduced by Mary Lu MacDonald

In Klinck’s edition, the text of “The Battle of Lundy’s Lane”, dated “Flamborough West, July 1816” is taken from the Scribbler of January 24, 1822. The editor has appended Burwell’s note that the lines had been “a little altered” since they first appeared in the Niagara Gleaner. No copies of the Gleaner printed before 1818 have survived. The poem was also printed in the Montreal Gazette of February 2, 1820, under the heading “from the Gleaner”. The Gazette’s version does vary slightly from that published in the Scribbler, although whether or not it is the same as the Gleaner original we may never be able to ascertain. Apart from differences in punctuation and spelling, and what are probably typographical errors (i.e. stanza 7. Scribbler: “The cannon’s thunders peal no more”. Gazette: “The cannon’s thunder peals no more”), there are three minor and two major differences. In line 4 the Gazette refers to a “murky” rather than a “sable” canopy. In line 7 the Gazette text reads “resplendent bow”, not “resplendent arch”; and in line 43 the Gazette’s field is “bloodier”, rather than “bloody” as in the Scribbler. A more major change is in the tenth stanza where, in the Scribbler version, the last two lines have been altered to remove any specific reference to victor and vanquished. In the Gazette these lines read:

Columbia yields! — the work is done! —
Britannia shouts the victory!

The Gazette text also includes a final stanza, missing from the Scribbler.

Long may the trav’ler who has stood,
In wonder lost, beside yon flood,
Turn to behold this field of blood,
Where fought the sons of chivalry.

About Adam Hood Burwell


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