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

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