A series by Clyde Wilson
Homage to Revolutionary Heroes
DOLLEY PAYNE MADISON (1768—1849) was the wife of President James Madison.
Born, nurtured, wedded, prized, within the pale
Of peers and princes, high in camp—at court—
He hears, in joyous youth, a wild report,
Swelling the murmurs of the Western gale,
Of a young people struggling to be free!
Straight quitting all, across the wave he flies,
Aids with his sword, wealth, blood, the high emprise!
And shares the glories of its victory,
Then comes for fifty years a high romance
Of toils, reverses, sufferings, in the cause
Of man and justice, liberty and France,
Crowned, at the last, with hope and wide applause.
Champion of Freedom! Well thy race was run!
All time shall hail thee, Europe’s noblest Son!
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HENRY LEE (1756—1818), was an outstanding cavalry officer in the War of American Independence, Governor of Virginia, and father of Robert E. Lee. This is a part of his eulogy for his comrade Washington.
Henry Lee on George Washington
First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen. He was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him, as were the effects of that example lasting.
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THOMAS JEFFERSON (1732-1826). Here is Jefferson’s self-composed epitaph. Note he does not consider the high offices he held in the U.S. federal government as his most important achievements.
Here was buried THOMAS JEFFERSON, Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia
Born April 2, 1743 O.S.
Died July 4, 1826
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CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY (1749-1825) of South Carolina was one of the most outstanding figures of the American War of Independence and the early national period. This is his memorial tablet in St. Michael’s Church, Charleston.
To the memory of
GENERAL CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY
one of the founders of
the American Republic.
he was the companion in arms
and the friend of Washington.
he enjoyed his unchanging confidence
and maintained with enlightened zeal
the principles of his administration
and of the Constitution.
As a Statesman
he bequeathed to his country the sentiment,
Millions for defence
not a cent for tribute.
As a lawyer,
his learning was various and profound
his principles pure, his practice liberal.
With all the accomplishments
of the gentleman
he combined the virtues of the patriot
And the piety of the Christian.
is recorded in the history of his country
inscribed on the charter of her liberties,
And cherished in the affections of her citizens.
Obiit XVI August MDCCCXXV
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JOHN CHARLES MCNEILL (1874-1907) was Poet Laureate of North Carolina whose work will appear later in this series. He wrote this verse in honour of the naval hero of the American Revolution John Paul Jones, whose first American home was North Carolina. Jones died in Paris in 1792. McNeill probably wrote before 1906 when Jones’s body was brought back for burial at Annapolis.
John Paul Jones
Twice exiled, let his ashes rest
At home, afar, or in the wave,
But keep his great heart with us, lest
Our nation’s greatness find its grave;
And, while the vast deep listens by,
When armored wrong makes terms to right,
Keep on our lips his proud reply,
“Sir, I have but begun to fight!”