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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

British America: Quebec, Canada

Wolfe and Montcalm

By Charles Sangster (1822–1893)

QUEBEC,—how regally it crowns the height!

The Titan Strength has here set up his throne;

Unmindful of the sanguinary fight,

The roar of cannon mingling with the moan

Of mutilated soldiers years agone,

That gave the place a glory and a name

Among the nations. France was heard to groan,

England rejoiced, but checked the proud acclaim,—

A brave young chief had fallen to vindicate her fame.

Fallen in the prime of his ambitious years,

As falls the young oak when the mountain blast

Rings like a clarion, and the tempest jeers

To see its pride to earth untimely cast.

So fell brave Wolfe, heroic to the last,

Amid the tempest and grim scorn of war,

While leering Fate with look triumphant passed,

Pleased with the slaughter and the horrid jar

That lured him hence to see how paled a hero’s star,

Only to rise amid the heavens of Fame

With more impassioned radiance; as the sun

That sets at evening like a world on flame

Returns with calmer glory. He had run

The race that Fortune bade him, and had won

The prize which thousands perish for in vain.

For he had triumphed; they depart undone,

Like a dark day that sinks in cloud and rain,

But never can return or see the morn again.


Heroic Wolfe! the martial path he chose

Nipped his long-cherished dreams just as the bud

Of his fair promise, opening to a rose,

Was drenched in tears and stained with life’s dear blood.

A hero-martyr; for his country’s good

Yielding up life and all he held most dear;

A mind with finest sympathies imbued,

A wise companion and a friend sincere,

A soul to burn with love, a nature to revere.

Wolfe and Montcalm! two nobler names ne’er graced

The page historic or the hostile plain;

No braver souls the storm of battle faced,

None more heroic will e’er breathe again.

They passed unto their rest without a stain

Upon their kindred natures or true hearts.

One graceful column to the noble twain

Speaks of a nation’s gratitude, and starts

The tear that Valor claims and Feeling’s self imparts.

Peace to their dust! all honor to the brave!

They lived like brothers, and like men they died;

One worthy of the trust he could not save,

The other flushed not with poor mortal pride,

But giving God the praise, when on his side

The bird of Victory perched. Worthy were they

That two great nations on their zeal relied,

And wept their loss, wept the distressful day

That saw two lives like theirs untimely swept away.

Far o’er the cloud-built chateaux of the Morn

Had climbed the sun upon that autumn day

That led me to those battlements. The corn

Upon the distant fields was ripe. Away

To the far left the swelling highlands lay;

The quiet cove; the river bright and still;

The gallant ships that made the harbor gay;

And like a Thought swayed by a potent Will,

Point Levi, seated at the foot of the old hill:

What were the gardens and the terraces,

The stately dwellings, and the monuments

Upreared to human fame, compared with these?

Those ancient hills stood proudly ere the tents

Of the first voyageurs—swart visitants

From the fair, sunny Loire—were pitched upon

Wild Stadacona’s height. The armaments

Whose flaming missiles smote the solid stone

Aroused yon granite Cape that answered groan for groan.