James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 23

Death of General Marceau

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

  • From “Childe Harold”
  • A French general of the Napoleonic wars. He died Sept. 23, 1796.

  • BY Coblentz, on a rise of gentle ground,

    There is a small and simple pyramid,

    Crowning the summit of the verdant mound;

    Beneath its base are heroes’ ashes hid,

    Our enemy’s—but let not that forbid

    Honor to Marceau! o’er whose early tomb

    Tears, big tears, gush’d from the rough soldier’s lid,

    Lamenting and yet envying such a doom,

    Falling for France, whose rights he battled to resume.

    Brief, brave, and glorious was his young career,—

    His mourners were two hosts, his friends and foes,

    And fitly may the stranger lingering here

    Pray for his gallant spirit’s bright repose;

    For he was Freedom’s champion, one of those,

    The few in number, who had not o’erstept

    The charter to chastise which she bestows

    On such as wield her weapons; he had kept

    The whiteness of his soul, and thus men o’er him wept.