xml/lby.00012.xml Icons of Liberty: The Battle of Bunker Hill, or, The Temple of Liberty

Col. Willam Emmons , The Battle of Bunker Hill, or, The Temple of Libertyfrom Canto IV (1839)

Transcribed from pages 125-128 of the 1859 Boston edition of Col. William Emmons'sThe Battle of Bunker Hill, or, The Temple of Liberty, Canto IV. Originally published in 1839.




  • The veteran could no more—grief choked his tongue,
  • While cramping agony his bosom wrung.
  • He motions backward with his sword. The sign
  • The patriots comprehend,—to yield the line,
  • And farther combat merciful decline.
  • With funeral step relucant they recede,
  • While their rent heart-strings drops of anguish bleed
  • At times a tear falls scalding down their cheek,
  • But none the utterance of a word can speak.
  • Cold beads of sweat upon the brow congeal,
  • Which show what inward struggling they conceal.
  • Putnam yet lingering on the rear the last,
  • Back on the foe a stern defiance cast.
  • His countenance appear'd like Jupiter's, when he
  • Summon'd the gods to reverence his decree.
  • The hero leads th' immortals o'er the plain,
  • At whom the vessels pour'd their wrath in vain.
  • The Eagle, though retreating, waves her plumes
  • In radiant light and victory assumes.
  • Soon on a neighboring steep the flag is seen,
  • Touch'd with a ray of setting sun serene.
  • While round the glorious Height a rainbow curl'd
  • Its chosen colors beautiful unfurl'd—
  • A sign—that Liberty would bless the world.
  • The gazing multitudes on bended knee,
  • With upraised hands adore the Deity.
  • Pure from the altar of the heart is given
  • An incense that conveys the soul to heaven.
  • From every hill instinct with life is sent
  • Gratitude—a mental sacrament,
  • That from their neck they loosen'd felt the yoke—
  • That the first link in slavery's chain was broke—
  • That the Supreme for them his arm made bare,
  • And placed the token of remembrance there—
  • That when the hills of other lands should fail,
  • This chosen Height in memory would prevail;
  • And when no more shall other days be told—
  • Their deeds with all their circumstance grown old,
  • This day would live in capitals of gold;
  • That Warren's name a talisman would be,
  • For nations stooping on a bended knee,
  • To rend their chains—to rise—to strike—be FREE!


  • LET deafening cannon peal to heaven—
  • Their kindled thunders jar the earth—
  • Lo, this the day to glory given—
  • The day that hail'd a Nation's birth!
  • Let the full soul from south to north,
  • Join to proclaim the wondrous day—
  • Let shouting millions on the Fourth,
  • Shrill to the heavens the news convey!
  • The theme demands creation's tongue
  • To bear its swelling chorus high—
  • To anthem first Columbia sung,
  • Amd shall be heard till Time shall die!
  • As blackening whirlwinds edged with fire,
  • Strike terror to the guilty name;
  • So tyrants one by one expire,
  • Consumed by Freedom's hallow'd flame!
  • France in her giant strength sprang forth
  • Arm'd with a spear and truth's bright shield;
  • And, while she sang her glorious birth,
  • Waved the tri-banner o'er the field!
  • Beneath its folds exalted stood,
  • On honor's loftiest parapet,
  • He, who the gazing world adored—
  • Our great, our good, our own FAYETTE!
  • A captive long in durance bound,
  • England majestic feels her might;
  • Her chains fall sunder'd to the ground—
  • Indignant, she demands her right!
  • Hail! Albion! hail! the charm is broke,
  • That long hath chill'd thy heart with fear;
  • Loosed be thy neck from oppression's yoke—
  • Poised in thy hand is Freedom's spear!
  • Th' impatient goblets charge with wine—
  • Let every eye invoke the sphere;
  • Kneel—pledge the sages—names divine!
  • And hail them with enraptured tear!
  • We this proud day to them decree,
  • And swear with an uplifted hand,
  • That we'll maintain their legacy,
  • Or sprinkle with our blood the land!

WASHINGTON CITY, July 4th, 1839.

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