Imágenes de páginas

brother, a lad of about nineteen and an ensign in the regiment, had undergone the same fatigue, I took him along with me, and locking the door of the apartment to exclude intruders, we snatched a refreshing nap of five or six hours : after which we felt ourselves alert and ready for the further tasks which duty might impose.

General Washington has been censured for risking his army upon Long Island, and General Howe for permitting it to escape with impunity. Reasoning from the facts which have evolved, the blame, in both cases, seems to be well founded. But this is not the mode of judging contingent events. In conducting the war on our side, a great variety of interests was to be consulted. Our cities were, if possible, to be maintained, and no property to be sacrificed without the most manifest necessity, lest it might create disgust and disaffection. Congress, also, was to be obeyed; in which body no doubt, there was enough of local feeling. Hence, New York must be defended; and if so, there was nothing wrong in risking an action on Long Island ; it was even better than awaiting it in the city. Add to this, that the combatants had not yet measured arms with each other; and General Washington was not without ground for hope, that his troops would prove equal to the invaders. He knew the British were not invincible. He had even seen them panic struck under Braddock and Dunbar, and was aware of their having been staggered by a handful of irregulars at Bunker's hill. But it is sufficient for his exculpation, that the necessity of attempting the defence of New York, was too imperious to be dispensed with. Otherwise, there can be no question, that with the unpromising army he commanded, he should have been extremely cautious of committing himself in insular posts. No general will,

of choice, convert his army into a garrison, and invite a siege. Had this been done at New York, General Howe, by blockading it, would soon have reduced us to the necessity of starving, surrendering, or fighting our way out again ; or had he preferred an assault, what fortifications were there to justify the assertion, that it was tenable for a single day? A few batteries and redoubts do not render a place capable of sustaining a siege.

As to General Howe, I have scarce a doubt that he might have carried the entrenchments at Brooklyn, and cut off the troops posted there. Even without intercepting with his ships of war, the passage of East river, the retreat across it would have been sufficiently difficult and tardy, to have rendered the loss of much the greater portion of our army inevitable. That the works would have been well defended and cost him a great many men, can neither be affirmed nor denied. The feelings of raw troops are too uncertain to be calculated upon ; and considering what had recently happened, it is rather to be presumed, that the defence would not have been obstinate. But General Howe, it should be remembered, was yet a stranger to our circumstances and the character of our force. Though he had just vanquished a part of it in the open field, the remainder was behind entrenchments, supported by redoubts; and he had cause for being cautious from what had happened at Bunker's hill. Besides, he probably reasoned as we at first did, that our losses might be more easily supplied than his own; and, from the boldness of Congress in declaring independence in defiance of the concentrated power of Britain, he had certainly grounds to conclude, that their resources were great and their army extremely numerous. In addition to these considerations he had no reason to calculate on

our precipitate retreat. He was preparing to attack us under the cover of batteries ; and, in that case, might have been enabled to destroy the rear of our force with little loss to himself. It must, however, be admitted, that the character of Sir William's generalship savoured rather of caution than enterprise.



Days of my youth, ah! whither have ye fled?
Moments of innocence, of health and joy,
Unruffled by the thoughts of worldly care.
With throbs of sad delight, how oft I sigh,
When Recollection paints thy scenes anew.
My steps ye led to halls where minstrels struck
The breathing lyre, to sing of Beauty's charms,
Or chivalry's heroic deeds.

Not then, I pour'd
The melancholy song of memory;
No solitary tale my

idle hours could tell Of sorrow; Hope departed; or Despair. My dulcet harp was strung to Rapture's notes; Its jocund strings re-echoed themes of love, Or careless caroll’d what young joys could teach. When twilight came, I sought the mountain's brow, To mark her solemn grandeur hastening near. Then, ah! then, I woo'd the charms of silence, Far from the pageant show of restless man, The pomp of pride, the sneer of haughtiness: Malice, with quivering lip, and gnawing care: Envy, that blasts the buds whose perfumed dyes She fain would equal: green-eyed Jealousy: And spectres of despair, whom memory brings To haunt the slumbering dreams of guilty men; Of these yet ignorant, and their powers unfelt,

I rioted in youth's gay harvest,
And quaff’d the cup of roseate health and joy.

But I am changed now!
If e'er I smile, 't is as the flower of spring,
Whose tincture blooms through drops of morning dew!
And when the once loved charms of solitude
I woo, amid the valley's silence,
Or on the high hill top, where thunders loud
Proclaim to man the majesty of God,
'T is not to bathe in dreams of shadowy bliss,
Or fondly dwell on scenes of wild romance:
To weave à sonnet for my mistress' brow,
Or con an artless song to soothe her ear!
No cheerful thoughts like these entice my feet
Through tangled dells or o'er the mountain's height.
Hopeless and sad in gloomy nooks retired,
I love to watch the slow revolving moon,
And muse on visions fled of treacherous love,
Of joys departed, and deceitful hopes:
Me, now, no more the balmy breeze of spring,
Nor summer's streamlets murm’ring through the grove,
Nor changeful winds that yellow autumn brings,
Can yield delight-stern winter's joyless gloom
Suits with my bosom's cold and cheerless state!
Life's purple tide no more salubrious flows;
The vernal glow of hope is fled: and joy,
Shall glad no more my once contented cot;
False, fickle woman drove her smiles away.

All hail, December's chilling skies!
Come darken more the anguish of my soul.
Bring with thy gloomy hours despair's sad shades-
Bring all the load that misery prepares,
To gall us through the miry road of life:
Bring silent sorrow with her bitter brow:
Bring lovely woman, with her siren smile,
Like transient meteor to seduce our steps:

« AnteriorContinuar »