The Death of Brock by Erieus

monument
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

The Battle of Queenston Heights by Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson

Fought October 13th, 1812

wilkinson
Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights and cenotaph erected on spot where he fell in battle, Canada. A Keystone View Stereotype, 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

They crossed in the gray of the morning,
‡‡Stole o’er from the other shore,
To invade the land of the Maple Leaf,
‡‡Two thousand proud foes, or more:
A detachment of the old Forty-Ninth,
‡‡And Dennis’s brave volunteers,
Opposed their landing determinedly,
‡‡Opening on them with cheers.

The roar of the guns from the battery
‡‡Rolled down Niagara’s gorge,
Awakening Brock and his fearless men
‡‡From their rest at old Fort George.
And in a hot haste Brock and his aides-de-camp
‡‡Rode fast through the pale, cold light,
Bidding Sheaffe and his men to follow on
‡‡To aid in the coming fight.

Meanwhile the Americans won the heights,
‡‡And the guns half way below;
Their loss was a serious menace, too,
‡‡In the hands of the haughty foe.
Swift as the fleet wind Brock gained the vale
‡‡And lifted his flashing eye,
Measuring the foe on the cold, gray steeps,
‡‡And the battery nearer by.

“The guns must be won!” Brock quickly cried,
‡‡And came an answering cheer
From the intrepid, ready Forty-Ninth —
‡‡Brave souls devoid of all fear!
“Forward! charge home to the battery’s side!”
‡‡And dauntless he led the way,
Driving the foe from the smoking guns
‡‡By the cold steel’s deadly play.

Heroically leading, he drew their fire,
‡‡And fearlessly fighting fell,
Pierced through the breast by a mortal shot,
‡‡The leader all loved so well.
“Don’t mind me,” he thoughtfully cried;
‡‡“Push on, brave York volunteers!”
Sent a message to his sister over the sea,
‡‡His eyes suffused with tears.

Thus perished war’s genius gloriously,
‡‡A great leader, young in years;
So loved and mourned for, brave, pure soul,
‡‡Thy name we bedew with tears.
Gallantly Sheaffe by St. David’s moves up,
‡‡Turning their flank by the way,
Gaining the heights by an impetuous rush,
‡‡Not a moment held at bay.

Consuming volleys they hurl on the foe,
‡‡Then charge with their deadly steel,
And hundreds are slain in the mad mêlée —
‡‡See, the foe in panic reel!
The British line sweeps resistlessly down;
‡‡The proud foe must surely yield.
Ha! they break — they break into headlong flight
‡‡In defeat from that blood-red field!

Over the heights in mad flight now leaping,
‡‡Some were impaled on the trees,
Where mockingly their garments fluttered
‡‡For years in the storm and breeze.
Some plunged in the cold, rushing river
‡‡To gain safely the other shore,
But were lost in the swirl of its waters,
‡‡And were heard of nevermore.

Nine hundred men surrendered to Sheaffe,
‡‡A force greater than his own.
Ah! ’twas a gallant day, and nobly won;
‡‡Signally the enemy were overthrown.
And standing there on the glorious Heights,
‡‡They cheered for country and King;
They unfurled the “flag of a thousand years”;
‡‡Their shouts o’er the scene did ring.

‘Twas a far-famed day for our lovèd land,
‡‡Ring it over the world so wide;
Like veterans Canadians fought that day,
‡‡With the regulars side by side.
Dearly the victory was won for us
‡‡In the death of beloved Brock.
Immortal hero! thy irreparable loss
‡‡Was to all a grievous shock.

They muffled their drums and reversed their arms,
‡‡And marshalled around his bier,
And solemnly bowed their war-worn heads,
‡‡And silently dropped a tear.
E’en the painted savages loved him well,
‡‡And o’er each stoical face
Stole a shadow of pain and tenderness,
‡‡Hallowing that sacred place.

A grateful country has planted there
‡‡A monument tow’ring high,
His memory e’er to perpetuate,
‡‡Pointing ever to the sky.
The hero and his aide, parted not by death,
‡‡Secure their relics rest there,
In the lovely land of the Maple Leaf
‡‡Ever so loyal and fair.

Aye, a grateful country placed it there —
‡‡On earth there’s no grander scene —
And we sing with a grateful, fervant heart
‡‡To our Country and our Queen.
Revere, then, the dead, and honor them still,
‡‡They died our freedom to save;
God bless the flag of a thousand years,
‡‡May it long o’er us proudly wave!

Source: Lieut.-Col. J. R. Wilkinson. Canadian Battlefields and Other Poems. 2nd ed. Toronto, William Briggs, 1901

Click here for more information on the Battle of Queenston Heights

Poem to Commemorate the Battle of Queenston Heights by a Soldier

You British subjects passing by
Queenston’s proud Monument, cast your eye,
For there entombed within that rock
Lies the sacred dust of Sir Isaac Brock,
Also the dust of McDonald* the brave
Who shared his fate, and shares his grave :
The invaders of Canada to repel,
They bravely fought and gloriously fell.
This fertile country from these heights view round
Then let a grateful tear drop down,
For since the conquest of Quebec was told,
When Briton mourned for valiant Wolfe of old,
Canada had ne’er such reason to complain
As when her gallant patriarch, Brock was slain.

* Lieutenant Colonel John Macdonell

soldier
A painting of the original Brock’s Monument prior to the 1840 bombing (painting by Philip John Bainbrigge, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/ C-011799)

Source: Dr. Thomas Rolph. A Brief Account, Together With Observations, Made During a Visit in the West Indies, and a Tour Through the United States of America, in Parts of the Years 1832-3; Together With a Statistical Account of Upper Canada. Dundas, U.C. : G. Heyworth Hackstaff, Printer, 1836.

From Rolph’s Book (p, 203-204): “Sir Isaac Brock’s memory is held in the profoundest veneration by the Canadians, his bravery, courtesy, gallant bearing, kindness, and indefatigable attention to the troops he commanded, procured him their utmost confidence and affection. At a dinner which took place in Hamilton on the 14th of October, 1833, to commemorate the anniversary of the battle of Queenston, a Canadian soldier, who was wounded in that engagement, sent in the following elegy to Sir Isaac Brock’s memory. I give it not so much for its merit, as a proof of the fervour and intensity of their regard to the memory of their departed hero.

The verse, although rude an unharmonious is characteristic of the general feeling of Upper Canadians toward General Brock.”

Brock: Valiant Leader by John Daniel Logan

Logan Brock
General Sir Isaac Brock leaving Fort George on the morning of Oct 13th 1812 for Queenston Heights. Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

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.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Queenston Heights and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara

Fondly Remembered Old Queenston by Lini Grol

Grol Queenston
Laura Secord Scissorcut by Lini Grol

Grol Queenston
A small town
huddling far below
the high BROCK monument,
in honor of the hero
of that historic war
of eighteen twelve.

Far below,
in old Queenston
one little house
speaks of the simple life
of one who also had shared
the atrocity and misery
of that war and had shown
extreme bravery.

LAURA SECORD’s humble old house
facing the blue Niagara,
only whispers of her valour,
but right next door
her fame sells galore
delicious ice cream and sumptuous candy
in the little ice cream parlour.

No, it was not General BROCK
who gave Queenston its fame.
Rather a clever candy maker
knowing the importance of
a woman’s name in the candy trade
who made Queenston famous
with his ice-cream and chocolate
in LAURA SECORD’s name.

Source: Grol, Lini, ed. by Kevin McCabe and Lynne Prunskus. Lake to Lake: Lini Grol’s Niagara.  St. Catharines: Blarney Stone Books, c2000.

Click to see more poems about the Battle of Queenston Heights and other Poems of the War of 1812 in Niagara