Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  The Battle of La Prairie

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Douw Schuyler-Lighthall b. 1857

The Battle of La Prairie

THAT was a brave old epoch,

Our age of chivalry,

When the Briton met the French-man

At the fight of La Prairie;

And the manhood of New England,

And the Netherlanders true

And Mohawks sworn, gave battle

To the Bourbon’s lilied blue.

That was a brave old governor

Who gathered his array,

And stood to meet, he knew not what,

On that alarming day.

Eight hundred, amid rumors vast

That filled the wild wood’s gloom,

With all New England’s flower of youth,

Fierce for New France’s doom.

And the brave old half five hundred!

Theirs should in truth be fame;

Borne down the savage Richelieu,

On what emprise they came!

Your hearts are great enough, O few:

Only your numbers fail,—

New France asks more for conquerors

All glorious though your tale.

It was a brave old battle

That surged around the fort,

When D’Hosta fell in charging,

And ’t was deadly strife and short;

When in the very quarters

They contested face and hand,

And many a goodly fellow

Crimsoned yon La Prairie sand.

And those were brave old orders

The colonel gave to meet

That forest force with trees entrenched

Opposing the retreat:

“De Calliére’s strength’s behind us,

And in front your Richelieu;

We must go straightforth at them;

There is nothing else to do.”

And then the brave old story comes,

Of Schuyler and Valrennes,

When “Fight” the British colonel called,

Encouraging his men,

“For the Protestant Religion

And the honor of our King!”—

“Sir, I am here to answer you!”

Valrennes cried, forthstepping.

Were those not brave old races?

Well, here they still abide;

And yours is one or other,

And the second’s at your side;

So when you hear your brother say,

“Some loyal deed I ’ll do,”

Like old Valrennes, be ready with

“I ’m here to answer you!”