1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gen. John Burgoyne

J. W., "An Ode [on General Burgoyne's Surrender]" Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 48 (9 May 1780) 143.



Now from the Pole's inclement shores,
Condens'd beneath an icy chain,
Tremendous Winter hoarsely roars,
Environ'd with his awful train:
The howling blast, the gathering storm,
Array'd in ev'ry dismal form,
With circling speed pursue their wild career,
Along the welkin rage, and shut the rolling year.

Again the brumal horrors rise,
And check the sanguine hand of war;
Benumb'd the power of battle flies,
Descending from his clotted car.
The bands who scower'd the gory field
To Winter's welcome mandate yield;
The lessen'd squadrons quit the purple plain,
While peace again resumes her sweet but transient reign.

Hail meek-ey'd Peace! angelic maid!
The storms of civil war assuage,
Let mutual concord lend her aid
To soothe rebellion's lawless rage:
May Albion's frantic foes obey
Thy meek, enchanting, modest sway,
And gently woo'd by thy assuasive charms,
May her deluded sons throw down their impious arms.

But hark! I hear the shriek of woe,
I hear the captive warriors' cry;
The shouts of an exulting foe
Along the trem'lous aether fly:
With notes of joy the trumpets sound,
And yells of triumph shake the ground;
The harsh discordant bray of arms is o'er,
The missive thunders cease, the javelins clash no more.

Ah, wayward fate! 'tis brave BURGOYNE,
Britannia's strength, Britannia's boast!
The noblest of the martial line,
And bulwark of the loyal host.
Surrounded by the rebel train,
And borne from Saratoga's plain,
See fetter'd fast the valiant hero lies,
His labouring bosom swell'd, and sunk his humid eyes.

But hark, he speaks: — "O day of shame!
Unhappy, inauspicious morn!
For ever lost my former fame,
My honour stain'd, my laurel torn:
No clarion now will sound my praise,
No hand will twine my tarnish'd bays,
No trophied wreaths my captive head will crown,
But stern G—NE will chide and royal G—GE will frown.

"And yet, ah me! were I alone
The victim of unbridled zeal,
Not one ignoble passive groan
Should from my wounded bosom steal:
But see yon firm unshaken train
Condemn'd to drag a galling chain—
On me they lour, the author of their woe,
Whom blinded rage impell'd to meet the ambush'd foe."

Cease, brave BURGOYNE! heroic chief!
Each sad presaging thought repell,
Allay thy groans, suspend thy grief,
And ev'ry rising sorrow quell.
The voice of truth will yet proclaim
Thy mighty deeds, thy spotless fame:
With val'rous WOLFE thy slander'd name she'll join,
And while she mourns his lot, she'll sympathise with thine.

While merit meets with due applause,
While Britons hold their freedom dear,
Each patriot heart will plead thy cause,
Each eye will drop a pitying tear:
Then tho' imperious N—TH deride,
And proud G—NE with rancour chide,
Yet conscious worth will recompense thy toil,
And, even when fortune frowns, adorn thee with a smile.