The Death of General Wolfe
IN a mouldering cave where the wretched retreat,
Britannia sat wasted with care;
She mourned for her Wolfe, and exclaim’d against fate
And gave herself up to despair.
The walls of her cell she had sculptured around
With the feats of her favorite son;
And even the dust, as it lay on the ground,
Was engraved with the deeds he had done.
The sire of the Gods, from his crystalline throne,
Beheld the disconsolate dame,
And moved with her tears, he sent Mercury down,
And these were the tidings that came:
“Britannia forbear, not a sigh nor a tear
For thy Wolfe so deservedly loved,
Your tears shall be changed into triumphs of joy,
For thy Wolfe is not dead but removed.
“The sons of the East, the proud giants of old.
Have crept from their darksome abodes,
And this is the news as in Heaven it was told,
They were marching to war with the Gods;
A Council was held in the chambers of Jove,
And this was their final decree,
That Wolfe should be called to the armies above,
And the charge was entrusted to me.
“To the plains of Quebec with the orders I flew,
He begg’d for a moment’s delay;
He cry’d ’Oh! forbear, let me victory hear,
And then thy command I’ll obey.’
With a darksome thick film I encompass’d his eyes,
And bore him away in an urn,
Lest the fondness he bore to his own native shore,
Should induce him again to return.”