The Fight at Montgomery's

Original Text: 
Mackenzie's Gazette (August 18, 1838): 119. M-10 O215 Fisher Rare Book Library.
2As the fierce winds of Heaven that course over the sea --
3They have met, in bright hope, with no presage of fear,
4Tho' the bugle and drum of the foeman they hear:
5Some seize the dread rifle, some wield the tall pike,
6For God and their country -- for Freedom they strike,
7No proud ensign of glory bespeaks their renown,
8Yet the scorn of defiance now darkens their frown.
9See the foeman advancing, and now sounds afar
10The clang and the shout of disastrous war.
11Yes! onward they come like the mountain's wild flood,
12And the lion's dark talons are dappled in blood.
13O, God of my country! they turn now to fly --
14Hark! the Eagle of Liberty screams in the sky!
15Where, where are the thousands that morn should have found
16In battle array on that dew-covered ground?
17The few that were there, now wildly have flown,
18Did fear stay the others?
   * * * * * *
19Some in the dungeon -- some on swelling flood,
20Some seek the shelter of the pathless wood,
21And some in exile -- 'neath a foreign sky,
22Curse the sad hour they madly turned to fly.
23Firmer their tyrants o'er the oozy main
24Bind on their shackles -- forge the triple chain,
25Till other days they still must sadly bear
26The withering curse that marks a Despot's care.


1] William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861), the first major of Toronto, led a rebellion against the British establishment that was defeatedwhen, on December 7, 1837, loyalists routed the rebels at Montgomery's Tavern (The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2nd edn. [Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988]: 1271), which is now a museum at the corner of Dundas Street West and Islington Avenue in West Toronto. This poem was published in the newspaper that Mackenzie briefly published in New York when he, like other rebels, fled "in exile" (21). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.