A Soliloquy

These verses were composed by Philip Freneau, a native of the city of New York. Ile was born on the second of January, 1752, and died December 18, 1832. He is celebrated as the most popular poet of the revolution. The greater part of his productions do not come under the class of songs or ballads. This specimen of his writings was first published in the United States Magazine, and afterwards, with some alterations and improvements, to suit the more mature judgment of the poet; it appeared in the various editions of his poems.


OH! blast this Congress, blast each upstart State,
On whose commands ten thousand warriors wait;
From various climes that dire assembly came,
True to their trust, yet hostile to my fame.
'Tis these, ah! these have ruin'd half my sway,
Disgrac'd my arms, and lead my realm astray.

France aids them now; I play a desperate game,
And sunburnt Spain they say will do the same,
My armies vanquish'd, and my heroes fled,
My people murmuring, and my commerce dead.
My shatter'd navy, pelted, bruis'd, and clubb'd,
By Dutchmen bullied, and by Frenchmen drubb'd.

My name abborr'd, my nation in disgrace,
What should I do in such a mournful case ?
My hopes and joys are vanish'd, with my coin,
My ruined army, and my lost Burgoyne !
What shall I do, confess my labors vain,
Or whet my tusks, and to the charge again ?

But where's my force, my choicest troops are fled,
Some thousands crippled, and a myriad dead;
If I were owned the stoutest of mankind,
And hell with all her rage inspired my mind;
Could I at once with France and Spain contend,
And fight the rebels on the world's green end ?

Yet rogues and savage tribes I must employ,
And what I cannot conquer, will destroy.
Is there a robber close in Newgate hemm'd?
Is there a cut-throat fetter'd and condemn'd ?
Haste, loyal slaves, to George's standard come,
Attend his lectures when you hear the drum.

Your chains I break, for better days prepare,
Come out, my friends, from prison and from care;
Far to the west I plan your desperate way,
There, 'tis no sin, to ravage, burn, and slay;
There, without fear, your bloody trade pursue,
And show mankind what British rage can do.

Ye daring hosts that crowd Columbia's shore,
Tremble, ye traitors ! and exult no more;
Flames I will hurl with an unceasing hand,
Till fires eternal blaze throughout your land;
And every dome and every town expires,
And traitors perish in the unfeeling fires.

But hold - though this be all my soul's desire,
Will my own towns be proof to rebel fire ?
If in revenge my raging foes should come
And burn my London - it would strike me dumb
To see my children and my queen in tears,
And these tall piles come tumbling round my ears.

Curs'd be the day when first I saw the sun,
Curs'd be the hour when I this war begun;
The fiends of darkness then inspir'd my mind,
And powers unfriendly to the human kind;
My future years I consecrate to woe,
For this great loss-my soul in tears shall flow.

To wasting grief and sullen rage a prey,
To Scotland's utmost verge I take my way;
With nature's storms eternal concert keep,
And while her billows rage as fiercely weep;
Oh ! let the earth my rugged fate bemoan,
And give at least one sympathizing groan.