The Battle of Queenston Heights by William Thomas White

white
Queenston, Upper Canada on the Niagara. Looking from the village to the Heights. By Edward Walsh, c.1803-1807
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress


A Patriotic Poem Written on the Anniversary of that Great Victory

Ho ! ye who are  Canadians, and glory in your birth,
Who boast your land the fairest of all the lands on earth,

To-night go home with cheerful heart and lay all care aside,
And set aglow your brightest lamps and throw the shutters wide.

Heap high with coal the fire, till its merriest sparks you win,
And send out all your messengers to call the neighbors in.

Then when the evening well is spent with feast and mirthful sound,
In circle deep about the hearth range girls and boys around.

Bring forth the book of heroes’ deeds, and to your listening flock,
Read reverently of Queenston Heights and the death of Isaac Brock.

Oh, there are some amongst us who spurn the patriot’s name,
Who say our country has no past, no heroes known to fame.

They talk of bold Leonidas who held the pass of blood,
And how Horatius Cocles braved swollen Tiber’s flood.

They never tire of dark Cortez who spared nor blood nor tears,
Nor yet of Arnold Winkelreid, who broke the Austrian spears.

Their glory is of Waterloo, that crimson-memoried fight,
Of the thin red line” of Inkerman and Alma’s bloody height.

For Canada their voice is mute, yet history’s pages tell
That braver blood was never spilt than where her heroes fell.

To-day o’er Queenston’s lofty heights the autumn sky is drear,
From drooping limbs the withering leaves hang bloodless, wan and sere.

From fertile sward the plough has gone, and from the field the wain,
In bursting barns the farmer views his wealth of garnered grain.

Those fields are sacred and that sward shall be Canadians’ boast,
The spot where valor’s few hurled back the dark invader’s host.

The tale shall live while grow the trees, while rippling water runs,
Of fame’s bright birth to Canada from the life-blood of her sons.

You know it well ! The invaders crossed with the first grey dawn of light,
And foot by foot their numbers told and gained the stubborn height.

The guns are ta’en ! on Dennis’ flank the reinforcements pour,
While from the battery on the hill the crashing round-shot tore.

And backward, surely backward, the patriot heroes move,
With death to left and death to right and death on high above.

But, hark ! When hope has almost fled, at the hour of sorest need,
Is heard the clatter of iron hoofs and the neigh of a coursing steed.

Now let the martial music breathe its most inspiring notes,
As bursts the shout of welcome from the faltering veterans’ throats !

What spell so much could nerve them in that losing battle’s shock,
Courage, boys ! It is the General ! Onward comrades ! On with Brock !”

Now forward to the battery ! They lend a ready ear ;
There’s a hero’s form, to lead them and a hero’s voice to cheer.

And o’er the level plain they press, and up the sloping hill,
‘Mid hiss of shot and volleys’ smoke his cry is Onward !” still.

And now they pass the low ravine, they clamber o’er the wall ;
The fatal death-shot strikes him ; they see their leader faIl.

Push on, push on, York volunteers !” brave words—they were his last,
And like the vision of a dream the charging column passed.

He heard their cry of vengeance as they reached the mountain’s crest,
Then rushed in purpling tide the flood of life-blood from his breast.

You’ve read the rest ; their comrades came to stay their second flight,
Dashed on to meet the foe in blue and hurled them from the height.

Then, Canada, was seen thy might ! by equal ardour led,
Fought Indians like white men, and coloured men like red.

One spirit moved, one thought inspired that gallant little band ;
That foot of no invading foe should e’er pollute their land.

A thousand men laid down their arms to force inferior far ;
Blush, fickle land of commerce, for thy myrmidons of war.

Sleep, heroes ! Rest upon the hill where valor’s deed was done,
No flower shall ever wither in a crown so nobly won.

While Canada can rear her sons, the bravest of the brave,
From the tempests of Atlantic to the placid western wave,

So surely as shall come the day that tells your deathless fame,
Shall future patriots mourn you and festal rites proclaim.

And thou, whose sacred dust entombed on yonder summit lies,
Beneath that noble monument far-reaching toward the skies,

Thy name shall be a holy word, a trumpet-note to all,
When bravery’s arm is needed and they hear their country’s call.

And future sires, shall take their sons at evening on their knee,
And tell the old tale over, and thus shall speak of thee—

His is the noblest name we have in all our bright array ;
He taught our youth to falter not tho’ death might bar the way ;

He showed our might, he led our arms, he conquered, tho’ he fell ;
He gave up all he had—his life—for the land he loved so well.”


Source: Raise the Flag and Other Patriotic Canadian Songs and Poems. Toronto: Rose Publishing, 1891

About William Thomas White

Upon the Heights at Queenston by James L. Hughes

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Brock’s Monument, Queenston Heights. Sketched by I.F. Bouchette.
Courtesy of Archives de Montréal

UPON the heights at Queenston,
‡‡One dark October day,
Invading foes were marshalled
‡‡In battle’s dread array ;
Brave Brock looked up the rugged steep,
‡‡And planned a bold attack,
“No foreign flag shall float” said he,
‡‡Above the Union Jack !”

His loyal-hearted soldiers
‡‡Were ready, every one,
Their foes were thrice their number—
‡‡But duty must be done.
They started up the fire-swept hill
‡‡With loud resounding cheers,
While Brock’s inspiring voice rang out
‡‡Push on York Volunteers !”

But soon a fatal bullet
‡‡Pierced through his manly breast,
And loving friends, to help him,
‡‡Around the hero pressed ;
Push on,” he said, “do not mind me,”
‡‡And ere the setting sun,
Canadians held the Queenston Heights—
‡‡The victory was won.

Each true Canadian patriot
‡‡Laments the death of Brock.
Our country told its sorrow
‡‡In monumental rock ;
And if a foe should e’er invade
‡‡Our land in future years,
His dying words will guide us still—
‡‡Push on brave volunteers !”


Source: Raise the Flag and Other Patriotic Canadian Songs and Poems. Toronto: Rose Publishing, 1891

About James L. Hughes

The Fredoniad; or Independence Preserved by Richard Emmons

The full title of this epic poem is The Fredoniad; or, Independence Preserved. An Epic Poem on The Late War of 1812.

This is a poem in 40 cantos covering the entire War of 1812. This page contains the table of contents of each of the 4 volumes, and links to the full text of this poem found on the Hathi Trust.

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The Fredoniad vol 1 Table of Contents. Click on the image to see larger

 

Click to view the full text of volume 1 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fredoniad vol 2 Table of Contents (p. 1).
Click on the image to see larger
fredoniad
The Fredoniad vol 2 Table of Contents (p. 2). Click on the image to see larger

 

Click to view the full text of volume 2

 

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The Fredoniad vol 3 Table of Contents (p. 1). Click on the image to see larger
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The Fredoniad vol 4 Table of Contents (p. 2). Click on the image to see larger

 

Click to see the full text of volume 3

 

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The Fredoniad vol 4 Table of Contents (p. 1). Click on the image to see larger
fredoniad
The Fredoniad vol 4 Table of Contents (p. 2). Click on the image to see larger

 

Click to see the full text of volume 4


Source: Emmons, Richard.  The Fredoniad; or, Independence Preserved. An Epic Poem on The Late War of 1812.  2nd ed. Philadelphia:  W. Emmons, 1832

A discussion of this poem can be found in Severance, Frank H.  Old Trails on the Niagara Frontier.  Buffalo:  The Matthews-Northrup Co.,  1899 (Chapter entitled Niagara and the Poets)
Available digitally by clicking here

 

Reminiscences by James McIntyre

On the laying of the corner stone of the Brock monument at Queenston Heights, and the final interment of the General who had fallen at the battle of Queenston, Oct. 13th, 1812. The remains of his Aide, Col. McDonald, [Lt.-Col. John Macdonell] were also deposited under the new tower.


mcintyre
First Brock’s Monument After the Explosion as it Appeared in 1842
Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

A wail went o’er broad Canada,
When it was known a vile outlaw
Had at midnights awful hour,
With ruffian hand blown up the tower.

‘Neath which had slept the gallant Brock
Who bravely fell on Queenston’s rock,
But graceful column soon shall rise,
Its beauteous shaft will kiss the skies.

For from Queenston’s woody height
You may behold a pleasing sight,
The grim old veterans of the war,
Militiamen with many a scar.

Indian braves from each nation,
Grouped to pay their last ovation,
Round the remains of General Brock,
Who led them oft in battle’s shock.

Old heroes now again do rally,
Feebly they move along the valley,
Not as they rushed in days of yore
When torrent like they onward bore.

And swept away the foeman’s ranks
O’er Niagara’s rugged banks,
So indignant was their grief
On losing of their warrior chief.

Now, with triumphant funeral car,
Adorned with implements of war,
The sad procession slow ascends,
As round the hill its way it wends.

Marching to mournful, solemn note,
While grand old flags around it float,
And now may peace be never broken
‘Mong lands where Saxon tongue is spoken.

“For peace hath victories by far
More glorious than horrid war,”
England doth Longfellow revere,
And America loves Shakespeare.


Note by James McIntyre: The oration on the above interesting occasion was delivered by the late Hon. William H. Merritt, projector of the Welland Canal. He served at the battle when a young man. We witnessed the interesting ceremony and shall never forget it.


Source:  James McIntyre.  Poems of James McIntyre. Ingersoll, Ont.:  The Chronicle, 1889

See J.A. Murphy’s Ode to a Bytown Youth for the story of how the giant flag was affixed to the remains of the first Brock’s monument.

The Death of Brock by Erieus

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The original Brock Monument Overlooking the Village of Queenston by J.C. Armytage. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Lines composed on seeing the Proposals of the Commissioners for
erecting a Monument to the memory of the late MAJOR
GENERAL SIR ISAAC BROCK. — In imitation of the death of
WOLFE.


CROWN’D with sad cypress Britannia sat mournful,
Where Queenston’s bold heights overlook the broad plain;
Her Garments were wet with the tears of Aurora,
And she mus’d on the deeds of her BROCK that was slain.
Her soul was absorb’d in profound contemplation;
‘Neath her feet roll’d the surge of its turbid career;
Now she gazed on the skies — now the dark deep before her,
While Niagara’s thunders broke full on her ear.
“My BROCK!” she exclaimed — “did death here arrest thee!
Did thy gallant spirit here burst from its clay!
Ah! why was so short the bright path of thy glory!
Why cut down so soon in the noon of thy day?”
‘Twas morn, — and sublime o’er the guiph of Niagara,
On the dark folding cloud rising dense to the sky,
Sat the GENIUS of CANADA — round far below him,
Majestic he shot the quick glance of his eye.
He saw the disconsolate Queen of the Ocean
Reclin’d on the ground — in an instant was there
Before her the vision cloud built, and suspended,
It hung o’er the channel’s rocks in mid the air.
She gazed with wonder—the genius refulgent
In glory, descended and stood at her feet: —
Ah! why, he exclaim’d dost thou sorrow, fair Empress,
And pour the sad sigh on the midnight retreat?
Thy BROCK is not dead,— for still fresh in his glory;
Unscathed remained the bright wreath of his fame;
And long shall posterity tell the proud story,
And kindle anew at the sound of his name.
When called to the council of state, by his wisdom
He banish’d discordance, uniting all hands
And all hearts into one, all their energies guiding
As one, to one object, his Sovereign’s commands
The glory of Britain — the good of his country
United, stood firm in the views of his mind,
In battle a thunderbolt, — mild to the vanquish’d,
In council a sage, — and a friend to mankind.
His labors were ended, and ripe was his glory: —
The FATHER of all call’d him home to his rest;
Now a crown, never fading, encircles his temples,
And peace, gentle peace, reigns serene in his breast.
‘Tis mine here below his fair fame to watch over;
His memory to guard from oblivion’s dun shade;
And here on this ground will I raise his proud trophy,
Where he fell — where his last gallant act was display’d.
E’en now are my faithful Canadians preparing
The pile of affection to rear to his name.
The marble shall tell of his deeds to the stranger.
And ages unborn shall recount all his fame.

ERIEUS
Port Talbot, Dec. 23, 1823


Adam Hood Burwell published poems under the pen name Erieus

Source: Burwell, Adam Hood.  “New” Poems of Adam Hood Burwell. Edited and Introduced by Mary Lu MacDonald.
canadianpoetry.org/ 2020