1816
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On the Death of General Ross.

Juvenile Poems.

Chandos Leigh


Two Spenserians, anonymously printed: "Shall noble souls be fritter'd thus away | To sanctify the statesman's cruel creed?| Scarce had his virtues reach'd their summer's day, | The gallant chieftain dies, to lurking knaves a prey." Robert Ross (1766-1815), who distinguished himself in the wars against France, commanded the expeditionary force against the United States. After taking the American capitol of Washington in August 1814, he died of wounds received at Baltimore Maryland. A monument was erected at St. Paul's Cathedral. Leigh was a great admirer of Lord Byron, whose sentiments are echoed.



By heartless witlings vers'd, by all forgot,
Save by his brother warriors, they can feel
For him who lov'd them; 'tis the hero's lot.
Brave Ross has perish'd; victim to his zeal,
That would uphold, what seems the public weal,
He fell to rise no more: and others bled—
While pageantries amuse the bloated sort;
And senseless courtiers prate of honour's bed,
Then smiling seek the couch dishonour stains instead.

The wise men sicken at protracted war;
The brave man falls, for Ross was brave indeed,
In useless contest that portends afar
Eternal strife; since many yet must bleed,
Ere the devouring tide of death recede.
Shall noble souls be fritter'd thus away
To sanctify the statesman's cruel creed?
Scarce had his virtues reach'd their summer's day,
The gallant chieftain dies, to lurking knaves a prey.

[pp. 58-59]