THE CLAY SHIP
Written for the National Clay Minstrel.
BY B. LUTHER LELAND,
Tune— “Soldier’s Dream,”
Our song we had sung — for the feast was all o’er,
And the curtains of night were drawn closely around,
And we sought our repose like the soldiers of yore,
With our guns at our sides on the damp and cold ground.
I dreamed that John Tyler no more was the head
Of this beautiful country by liberty blest,
But that treachery’s home was the grave of the dead
And the bugle blast echoed aloud from the West.
Harry Clay had the helm of the huge ship of state,
And well did she buffet the billows of time,
Though the storm it was high, and the danger was great,
Her appearance was grandeur, her bearing sublime.
Sub-treasury shoals we passed under her lea,
And swiftly the failing pet banks she swept by,
Nor heeded the cry as she sailed o’er the sea,
“Oh! where shall Van Buren Democracy fly!”
The banner of Freedom was, nailed to her mast,
And American Thunder pealed loud from her side;
Her spars swept the heavens, and her form it was glassed,
In the trackless, the dark, and the deep rolling tide.
The tars on her deck rent the air with their cheers,
As the stars and the stripes were in glory displayed,
And the song that they sung, “Boys banish your fears,
For although we’re betrayed we can ne’er be dismayed!”
The Whigs really didn’t like “the traitor” Tyler. He had been elected as a Whig, but as president vetoed the Whigs’ bank bills, as they attempted to create a bank of the United States., not attached to state or local banks.
The Sub-treasury plan of the Democrat Martin Van Buren, disconnecting the Treasury from banking, was a contentious one. This article may prove enlightening for those interested in the issues and the people supporting the various sides. The idea that the central government had grown too large and too powerful is not a modern one.
The text to the song “Soldier’s Dream” by Thomas Campbell is:
Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lower’d,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground overpower’d;
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet Vision I saw;
And thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again.
Methought from the battle-field’s dreadful array
Far, far, I had roam’d on a desolate track:
’Twas Autumn,—and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to part;
My little ones kiss’d me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobb’d aloud in her fulness of heart.
‘Stay—stay with us!—rest!—thou art weary and worn!’—
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;—
But sorrow return’d with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
Tomorrow: The Star of Ashland