1812 4

Previous Poem    -    Next Poem

To the Sons of Britain and America

“The Rev. John Black”
The Monthly Magazine, XXXIV (November 1, 1812), p. 329

Occasioned by the Commencement of Hostilities;[1]

By the Rev. John Black, Woodbridge.

Sons of Columbia, sheathe the sword!
    And Britain stay thy vengeful hand!
What profit can dire War afford?
    Why thus with hostile banners stand?
Let Passion's swelling wave subside,
And Reason rule instead of Pride.

Ah! think, if War spread wide his flame,
    What thousands in the strife must die—
How few behind them leave a name,
    Yet tears for each fill some fond eye!
Think of the widow's heavy sighs,
And the poor orphan's melting cries!

But should not these soft sorrows move,
    And headlong Anger shout "To arms!"
And fierce Defiance long to prove,
    His might amidst the field's alarms;
And Hate and Ire inflame each host,
And cannon thunder round the coast.

Yet will not Interest's voice prevail?
    Reflect, how Commerce must decline,
The loom stand still, and Want assail
    The many that must starving pine;
And burdens weigh each nation down,
And wild Despair with fury frown.

Ye brothers are: both Freedom prize;
    And in one language worship Heav'n:
Why then Religion's voice despise,
    By hellish Hatred madly driv'n?
Let Reason and Religion reign,
And War's grim dogs once more enchain!

Encroach not on each other's right,
    Let Justice lift aloft her scale!
Ye both are brave—both prov'd in fight—
    Oppressive Wrong cannot prevail;
Then throw those gleaming arms aside,
As peace the plough and shuttle guide!


1. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain on grounds of violation of the three-mile limit, impressment of seamen, the paper blockade, and orders in council. The war was ended on December 24, 1814 by the Treaty of Ghent, though the causes of the war were never settled.

Previous Poem    -    Next Poem