O VALIANT leader of the little band
That, fearless, forward rushed to victory,
Tho far outnumbered by the enemy,
And, daring death, saved our Canadian land, —
What honors can we pay the noble name
Of one who held as naught th’ invaders’ art
Of war,— whose glory hath become a part
For evermore of our Canadian fame?
Lo, on the looming crown of that ascent
Where thy life ceased, a loyal host hath reared
To thee — whose patriot heart was pure, nor feared,—
A high commemorative monument!
Still is thy memory green who fell to save,
Still, Brock, art thou the bravest of our brave!
Source: Logan, John Daniel. Songs of the Makers of Canada and Other Homeland Lyrics. Toronto: William Briggs, 1911.
“Enshrined in the records of Canadian achievement a century ago, is the fascinating and thrilling story of a daring feat performed at Brock’s monument on Queenston Heights by a young Bytonian — Matthew Murphy, father of Mr. J.A. Murphy of 412 McLeod Street. Mr. Murphy has penned the following lines relating to the historic incident but fuller details will be found in a story elsewhere on this page.” Ottawa Citizen, December 17, 1938
Well nigh a century ago,
Beside Niagara's river,
On Queenston Heights was struck a blow
Brock's monument to shiver.
A dastard alien's coward hand
Had piled within its bottle
A quarter hundred powder bags
The tower to o'ertopple.
When fired, the blast was strong enough
The wooden stair to shatter,
Mortar and stone proved all too tough,
For such a piffling matter.
As angry embryo nation rose
To right the wrong intended,
From town and country, copse and close,
Their various ways they wended.
Not trains nor aeroplanes, nor cars
Conveyed these sturdy yeomen.
None carried arms though some bore scars,
But all were worthy foemen.
They rode, they ran, they sailed, they swam
O'er trails through swamps, wet, dreary;
Berries and leaves their stomachs cram,
Footsore they were, and weary.
From nearby hills and dales they come,
From broad Ontario's beaches,
Where'er a spark or loyal flame
Gave urge to man the breaches.
Another such determined host
Not all our land could muster
They frightened rebels from our coast
And quelled the Yankee bluster. Continue reading "Ode to a Bytown Youth by J. A. Murphy"→
When brave Van Rensselaer cross'd the stream,
Just at the break of day
Distressing thoughts, a restless dream,
Disturb'd me where I lay.
But all the terrors of the night
Did quickly flee away:
My opening eyes beheld the light,
And hail'd the new-born day.
Soon did the murdering cannon's roar
Put blood in all my veins;
Columbia's sons have trod the shore
Where the proud Britain reigns.
To expose their breast to cannon's ball,
Their country's rights to save,
O what a grief to see them fall!
True heroes, bold and brave!
The musket's flash, the cannon's glow,
Thunder'd and lighten'd round,
Struck dread on all the tawny foe,
And swept them to the ground.
I thought what numbers must be slain,
What weeping widows left!
And aged parents full of pain,
Of every joy bereft.
The naked savage yelling round
Our heroes where they stood,
And every weapon to be found
Was bathed in human blood.
But bold Van Rensselaer, full of wounds,
Was quickly carried back;
Brave Colonel Bloom did next command
The bloody fierce attack.
Where Brock, the proud insulter, rides
In pomp and splendor great;
Our valiant heroes he derides,
And dared the power of fate.
Continue reading "The Battle of Queenstown (October 13, 1812) by William Banker, Jr."→