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GALLIC PERFIDY: A Poem.

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GALLIC PERFIDY: A Poem.

By John Maylem Philo-Bellum.

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BOSTON: NEW-ENGLAND: Printed and Sold by Benjamin Mecom, at The New Printing-Office, July 13. 1758. — Where may be had that noted little Book, called Father ABRA­HAM'S SPEECH.

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The Argument.

THE Subject proposed. Invocation. [M. Montcalm, the 9th of August last, with 11,000 Regulars, Canadians, and Indians, and 19 Pieces of Brass and Iron Cannon, 2 Mortars and a Hoit, invested the Garrison of William Henry and Lines adjacent, consisting of 500 re­gular and 1300 provincial Troops, effective; which, after eight Days Siege, capitulated.] Ar­ticles of Capitulation. Description of the Savages. Horrid Violation of the Treaty. We are over­powered and put to Flight. Pursuit. Numbers captivated. The Author taken Prisoner by the Indians. Their Behaviour to him. He embarks, with 50 Prisoners painted in Savage Order. An Indian War-Revel. Arrives at Montreal. Re­deemed, with others, [by M. Vaudreil.] [An Hundred Prisoners carried to the Indian Country, that arrived before us, by another Way.] A shocking Instance of Savage Cruelty. Concludes with a hearty Address.

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Gallic PERFIDY, &c.

I Who, of late, in Epic Strains essay'd,
* And sung the Hero on Acadie's Plains,
Dreadful in Arms, and Vest of Tyrian crown'd,
With Laurel-Wreath, and mighty Conquest Hue,
In equal Numbers still attempt to sing;
But yet in rougher Strain, for softer Rhyme
Seems not adapt to this my solemn Theme.
Not how the Gaul and swarthy Foe approach'd,
And first assail'd the Fortress; nor what pass'd
In the dread Interval of eight Days Siege:
I mean to sing but Breach of plighted Faith,
And Violation of the sacred Laws
Of Nature and of Nations; with th' Event,
The dire Event and fatal Consequence,
Attendant on the Foes perfidious Breach
Of solemn and capitulated Terms.
[Page 8]
Amazing Perfidy! —
— Not to invoke
A vulgar Muse. — Ye Powers of Fury lend
Some mighty Phrensy to enrage my Breast
With solemn Song, beyond all Nature's Strain!
For such the Scene of which I mean to sing.
Enough! I rave! —the Furies rack my Brain!
I feel their Influence now inspire my Song!
My lab'ring Muse swells with the raving God!
I feel him here! my Head turns round! 'twill burst!
So have I seen a Bomb, with livid Train,
(Emitted from a Mortar) big with Death,
And fraught, full fraught with Hell's Combustibles,
Lay dreadful on the Ground; then with a Force
Stupendous, shiver in a thousand Atoms!
But on, my Muse. —
— Scarce had the Dawn appear'd,
And Phoebus rose from Thetis' Lap in Blood,
Portending dreadful Scenes and Wide of Death,
When now the War-worn Troops, in close Array,
With list'ning Ear impatient wait the Sound,
Graceful to march (pursuant to the Terms
Capitulated with the Victor Gaul)
[Page 9] With streaming Ensigns waving in the Air,
And sounding Drums; with Arms and Baggage fraught,
A brazen Engine big with threat'ning Death,
And lighted Match, to awe the Savage Foe;
With large Escorts of (faithless) Troops to guard
Our destin'd Way to Edward's happier Plains;
While we with Gaul nor more offensive War,
Nor yet in Arms our martial Vigour try,
'Till six revolving Seasons have expir'd.
But, Oh! Reverse of Scenes, and Morn of Woe!
For now behold Hell's swarthy Allies dire,
With Visage foul, and horrid awful Grin;
Red, black, and green besmear'd their mighty Fronts;
With snaky Braids, and dreadful Ornament,
And pitchy Feathers platted on their Hair;
Obscene and naked, daub'd with various Paints,
With Aspect dire, and fell Canadian Rage,
And murd'rous Shafts (Presage of awful Death!)
Like Fiends of Hell, or worse (if possible)
With fearful Yell, to raise the Hell below,
To th' Assistance of the Hell within 'em,
Rush on their unforewarn'd defenceless Prey.
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And now the Scene of Death begins, for, Oh!
Amaz'd on every Side th' unwary Troops
Fall hapless Victims to the Savage Furies.
Hark! hark! what lamentable, Soul-fetch'd Sighs
Of dying Soldiers now invade my Ears.
See yonder Savage with his bloody Shaft,
Just reeking from the Heart of one more bold,
Who dar'd oppose the dread impending Stroke
Lift up to strike the suppliant Soul! who begs,
On bended Knee, to spare his wretched Life;
But only stoop'd to take the fatal Blow!
O Scene of Horror, black tremendous Day,
Ill-fated Hour! But, hark! again what Cries?
The Mother's Shrieks, and Father's manlier Grief,
And Childrens Screams, and Soldiers dying Groans,
Now pierce my Soul. But turn about and see,
O Sight of Woe! what Floods of streaming Gore
And vital Carnage spread the ample Field!
See! welt'ring on the sandy Shore, the Babe,
The harmless Babe (torn from its Mother's Arms
And dash'd, impetuous, on the Wave-worn Cliff!)
My Numbers fail me! Oh! it is too much!
But up, my Soul, and take another View.
[Page 11] See, discompos'd, the naked flying Troops
Asylum seek in Woods and miry Swamps;
On bended Knees implore the Gallic Aid;
Remind 'em of their Honour; — but in vain.
The dread Pursuit begins; — Now louder Shouts
And hideous Screechings fill the neighb'ring Wild,
Which echo back the Sound with fearful Horror!
The hindmost now a Victim fall, while some
More nimble, make Asylum of the Fort;
While others, captiv'd by Satanic Fiends,
Reserv'd for Pastime of their midnight Revels.
While thus, in awful Dread, I gaz'd around,
Three brawny Savages, as huge as fell,
(Titanian Sons, that warr'd on Jove of Yore)
With thrice three Yells, seiz'd me a hapless Captive.
Thence hurry'd on thrô Vallies, Swamps, and o'er
Stupendous Precipices; then through Woods,
O'er Cliffs and craggy Steeps, 'till now at length
A dreary Waste presented to my View
The sad Destruction of a thousand Years;
Here sable Pines promiscuous lay along,
And thorny Brakes and miry Bogs, the Haunt
Of hissing Serpents, and envenom'd Toads;
[Page 12] It seem'd the solemn Exile of the damn'd:
Hither, with awful Pace, they me conduct
And, with terrific Menace, sat me down
(But mutter'd first some hellish Charm) then with
Extended brawny Arm, and winged Shaft,
They thrice essay'd to fell me to the Ground;
And thrice the over-ruling God withheld!
For now relenting, Oh! stupendous Change!
One Mind had sway'd the three, with one Consent
To spare my truly wretched Life; but yet
Nor suppliant Tone, nor Cry for Mercy had
Escap'd my Tongue; for Mercy who'd expect
From Cannibals that gorge on Human Flesh,
And swill, like Polypheme, the reeking Gore?
Proceed my Muse; how they with grumb'ling Tone
And antic Sign and Gesture bid me rise:
I quick obey'd, and rose as from the Dead,
(For Death inevitable seem'd my Lot)
And now with rapid Pace again I move,
But yet with lighter Heart, for heav'nly Gleam
Of Hopes of Liberty inspir'd my Soul.
Now had we near twelve Furlongs run, when lo!
O Life to Death! behold again the Lake,
[Page 13] Ill-fated Waters, — but to me auspicious;
Thither we bent our Course and reach'd the Shore.
Sight unexpected! — fifty Captives there,
Besmear'd with Paint of sable, red, and green,
With Looks uncouth, in Savage Order sat
By twenty Barks, which lay upon the Sand.
While thus I wond'ring stood, a fearful Screach
Hoarse thunder'd horrid thrô the Ruffian Croud,
Which scarce had echo'd from the neighb'ring Wild,
When all the fierce Banditti Force I saw
In close Employ, to launch their ample Boats;
This done, we all embark, and push from Land,
And skim the liquid Surface of the Lake,
'Till low'ring Night concludes the dreadful Day;
But ushers on a Scene of ten-fold Fear!
For now to Land explore the dusky Way,
And, with Herculean Labour, strait begin
(With sweaty Brow) to fell the sturdy Oak,
Which, Pile on Pile, compos'd a spacious Heap.
Then, from the solid Steel and Flint condense,
Extract the dormant Sparks of hidden Fire,
And set the Whole into a mighty Blaze:
And now the curling Flames ascend in Spires,
[Page 14] And Pyramids of Smoke obscure the Stars,
Assault the Skies, and mingle with the Clouds.
Then with distorted Grin and Visage fierce,
And solemn Howl, they move us to the Pile,
Nor less it seem'd than antient Funeral Fire:
But, Oh! in every Face what wild Amaze
Conspicuous appear'd! and Dread of Death!
Not all that Bards in antient Fables tell
Of Dis's Realm and subteraneous Vaults;
Sulphureous Caverns (Streaks of livid Fire)
Where suffocating Stench assault the damn'd;
And ghastly Spectres glaring to the View,
Speak ten-fold Horror and amazing Dread;
Where Hell's grim Porter, with his triple Front,
A fell Chimera vomits purple Flame,
And damned Hydra with his seven Heads;
Can seem to parallel this baleful Scene
Of Dread, Astonishment, and wild Disorder!
But yet (stupendous Love of God to Man!)
Nor Blood was spilt, nor perish'd yet a Hair!
For barb'rous Music struck to antic Dance,
And hoarse Powaws conclude the dreadful Night.
Seven Days and Nights of Horror thus pass'd o'er
Our Heads; when lo! O Soul-reviving Sight!
[Page 15] The eighth, as we pursue our wonted Course,
See all Montreal open to our View;
Where sovereign Liquor bought our Liberty;
But yet not all, for still in Savage Bands,
An hundred hapless Captives now remain.
Nor must omit how, on Montreal Plains,
Th' inhuman Banditti (in drunken Mood)
Ript up the Bowels of a Prisoner;
Then, with extended Jaw, the beating Heart
(Yet warm with parting Life) varacious swallow'd!
And swill'd the Blood, and revell'd on the Carcase!
O Chief in War! of all (young) Albion's Force,
Invest me only with SUFFICIENT Power;
I (yet a Boy) will play the Man, and chase
The wily Savage from his secret Haunts;
Not Alpine Mounts shall thwart my rapid Course;
I'll scale the Craggs, then, with impetuous Speed,
Rush down the Steep, and scow'r along the Vale;
Then on the Sea-Shore halt; and last, explore
The green Meanders of eternal Wood!
JOHN MAYLEM.

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