Philip Morin Freneau


Contributed by Jack Gardner


Philip Morin Freneau was a patriot as well as one of America's first romantic poets. Here are two pieces of his work:


"To the Memory of the brave Americans, under General Greene, in South Carolina, who fell in the action of September 8, 1781"
Inspired by the Maryland Line

At Eutaw springs the valient died:
Their limbs with dust are cover'd o'er —
Weep on, ye springs, your tearful tide;
How many heroes are no more!
If in this wreck of ruin, they
Can yet be thought to claim a tear,
O smite thy gentle breast, and say
The friends of freedom slumber here!
Thou, who shall trace this bloody plain,
If goodness rules they generous breast,
Sigh for the wasted rural reign;
Sigh for the sheperds, sunk to rest!
Stranger, their humble graves adorn;
You too may fall, and ask a tear:
'Tis not the beauty of the morn
That proves the evening shall be clear —
They saw their injur'd country's woe;
The flaming town, the wasted field;
Then rush'd to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear — but left the shield,
Led by the conquering genious, Greene,
The Britons they compell'd to fly:
None distant view'd the fatal plain,
None griev'd, in such a cause, to die —
But, like the Parthian, fam'd of old,
Who, flying, still their arrows threw;
These routed Britons, full as bold,
Retreated, and retreating slew.
Now rest in peace, our patriot band
Though far from Nature's limits thrown,
We trust, they find a happier land,
A brighter sun-shine of their own.


"Arnold's Departure"

With evil omens from the harbour sails
The ill-fated ship that worthless Arnold bears,
God of the southern winds, call up thy gales,
And whistle in rude fury round his ears.
With horrid waves insult his vessel's sides,
And may the east wind on a leeward shore
Her cables snap, while she in tumalt rides,
And shatters into shivers every oar.
And let the north wind to her ruin haste,
With such a rage, as when from mountains high
He rends the tall oak with his mighty blast,
And ruin spreads, where'er his forces fly.
When toss'd upon the vast Atlantic main
Your groaning ship the southern gales shall tear,
How will your sailors sweat, and you complain
And meanly howl to Jove, that will not hear.
But if, at last, upon some winding shore
A prey to hungry cormorants you lie,
A wanton goat to every stormy power,
And a fat lamb, in sacrifice, shall die.