Under General Greene, in South Carolina,
who fell in the action of September 8, 1781

AT Eutaw Springs the valiant died;
Their limbs with dust are covered o’er–
Weep on, ye springs, your tearful tide;
How many heroes are no more!

If in this wreck or ruin, they
Can yet be thought to claim a tear,
O smite your gentle breast, and say
The friends of freedom slumber here!

Thou, who shalt trace this bloody plain,
If goodness rules thy generous breast,
Sigh for the wasted rural reign;
Sign for the shepherds, sunk to rest!

Stranger, their humble graves adorn;
You too may fall, and ask a tear;
‘Tis not the beauty of the morn
That proves the evening shall be clear.–

They saw their injured country’s woe;
The flaming town, the wasted field;
Then rushed to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear–but left the shield.

Led by thy conquering genius, Greene,
The Britons they compelled to fly;
None distant viewed the fatal plain,
None grieved, in such a cause to die–

But, like the Parthian, famed of old,
Who, flying, still their arrows threw,
These routed Britons, full as bold,
Retreated, and retreating slew.

Now rest in peace, our patriot band,
Though far from nature’s limits thrown,
We trust they find a happier land,
A brighter sunshine of their own.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Philip Freneau's poem To the Memory of the Brave Americans

13 Comments

  1. Abbey Pike says:

    What does “wasted rural reign” mean??

  2. Al James Untalan says:

    Most countries in the world were shaped and molded by what they had experienced in the past. Disappointingly, only few recognizes the people that played roles in shaping their nation.

    In relation to this, I think that this particular quote from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere applies to what I was saying:

    “I die without seeing the dawn brighten over my native land. You who have it to see, welcome it–and forget not those who have fallen during the night!”

    Similar to the experiences of the Philippines, the United States have also experienced wars and revolutions. Eventually, these helped the nation reach its current status. But apparently, most people forgot to remember the people that brought them to what they are in the present.

  3. Val Chuaquico says:

    With high regard for the American soldiers who fought for freedom, Freneau expressed such feeling through a powerful idyll. As I was reading through the poem, i sensed a feeling of triumph amidst the “death” of the soldiers. Despite their downfall, America was liberated. And it was through their bravery and sense of patriotism that this happened.

    I especially liked the lines–
    “None distant viewed the fatal plain,
    None grieved, in such a cause to die–“.
    It depicted valor with strong will that even pursued death. I can just imagine the soldiers running towards the battle field with gnashing teeth and weapon-clenched fists, ready to fight… ready to die… ready for freedom.

    I would like to honor the Americans for such bravery and will. But I must not neglect my countrymen who fought for the same cause, perhaps with the same will.
    Mabuhay!

  4. Roh Suhyeun says:

    Philip Morin Freneau lived as a nature lover and a very patriotic man. His
    intense love for his country is very vivid in his innumerable writings. He
    basically wrote a number of anti-British pieces.
    Moreover, in his writings he was able to combine his appreciation of
    nature to the political situation being faced by America during his era.
    This later on is said to have paved the way of Transcendentalism in
    literature.

    Reading his biography, I found out that he was supposed to study ministry
    but then in sudden turn of events he found himself writing poems expressing
    his great devotion to his country and his indignation against Britain.
    Even these days he is regarded as the Poet of the Revolution and the Father
    of the American Literature.

    Based on my readings, I could say that he made use of God’s gift of writing
    in service to his country. He served as a guardian in protecting the
    Americans’ moral and uplifting their self-image in spite of the turmoil and
    travail they were experiencing because of the war.

    I am very much impressed to realize how he skillfully used his pen to
    express his disgust to the English country yet be able to produce
    masterpieces of writings which up to know are regarded as important
    contributions from his time.

  5. Judith Ochengco says:

    “Then rushed to meet the insulting foe;
    They took the spear–BUT LEFT THE SHIELD.”

  6. Xiayi Zhang says:

    I was told when I was very young that if there were no nation, there will be no home.What we are enjoying now came from those whom foght with lives. War is the most horrible and cruel reality. Soldiers should be the most respectful people. They use their precious life to fight for a better nation for their fellowmen.Be thankful, cherish the life we have.

  7. Roh Suhyeun says:

    Philip Morin Freneau lived as a nature lover and a very patriotic man. His intense love for his country is very vivid in his innumerable writings. He basically wrote a number of anti-British pieces.
    Moreover, in his writings he was able to combine his appreciation of nature to the political situation being faced by America during his era. This later on is said to have paved the way of Transcendentalism in literature.

    Reading his biography, I found out that he was supposed to study ministry but then in sudden turn of events he found himself writing poems expressing his great devotion to his country and his indignation against Britain. Even these days he is regarded as the Poet of the Revolution and the Father of the American Literature.

    Based on my readings, I could say that he made use of God’s gift of writing in service to his country. He served as a guardian in protecting the Americans’ moral and uplifting their self-image in spite of the turmoil and travail they were experiencing because of the war.

    I am very much impressed to realize how he skillfully used his pen to express his disgust to the English country yet be able to produce masterpieces of writings which up to know are regarded as important contributions from his time.

  8. Nicole Caranto says:

    i love the poem of Philip Frenuau because it shows that the american soldiers are doing their best in everything just to protect the people and save their country from terrorism.. i admire the poet because he was able to give American soldiers recognition for what they have done for their country.. It shows that the soldiers didnt care for their lives.. what is important is to do their job..

  9. Dannah Chua says:

    In addition to what I have already said, the lives of the American soldiers and heroes were not wasted. Their independence did them good, their independence was well used by the government and the people, and now they have achieved, they have become a world power. If before, other countries are conquering their territory, now it is them who is putting great influence to the countries all over the world. This poem is also very appropriate to us Filipinos today since the Philippines’ Independence Day is on June 12. It reminds us of how our heroes fought for our freedom and gave up their lives for the country. But unlike the Americans, sometimes I wish that the Philippines had not been independent. With all the problems our country is facing, sometimes I think if the country would have been better off if we were still under the American colony in particular because of the prosperity their country has at the present. Maybe our country would be richer, maybe we would be having better lives, maybe we would have no OFWs, maybe other nationalities would respect Filipinos more, or maybe they would even look up to us.

  10. Dannah Chua says:

    it’s a sad, lovely poem and through the words of Freneau, i could imagine what was happening. Soldiers and civilians dying, many are wounded and running for their lives. Americans are truly brave and should be idolized for it. The blood and sweat they have wasted in exchange for their country’s independence is something to be proud of.

  11. Angeli Rivera says:

    It was like picturing Freneau apprehensively writing in details and observing the Americans and Britons in action. I was overwhelmed that I can’t put my comments into paragraphs, will a poem be enough?

    A hero’s grave we might say,
    the Eutaw Springs had become–
    where patriots of contending parties,
    each fought as one.

    Claiming Carolinas was not in vain,
    the proud soldiers took no shame.
    The land became a test of will,
    For freedom and Independence! It was a duty to kill.

    The Americans once oppressed,
    in here they found no rest!
    Avowed was the first strike,
    with Green first in line,
    the climax was near, awaiting.

    General Greene earned himself,
    the good beasts of the best,
    from Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Delaware,
    the British struggled and fled. (to Charleston)

    The Continentals won
    and ransacked the British’s left over feast
    without them fathoming,
    the reinforced British fleet.
    Astounded the Americans,
    they can’t be taken back.
    The last cry they gave,
    completing boldly the last wave.

    Both belligerents succumbed,
    blood littered too much.

    The last claim for South Carolina showed the competence of both parties pushed to the farthest of their limits. Who won might still be a peripatetic question, but the thing to be joyous about is the Americans’ determination for sovereignty or identity perhaps. From Freneau’s last two lines (of this poem), it is interpreted that Americans who were once oppressed by the British rule sought happiness in the New World. Yes, lives were spent enough—but the Americans were more pleased that they can make their own destiny without being impeded by any forms of convention. Americans were once dreamers, but winning the Battle for Independence transcended the existence of a dream—it transformed to a reality. Americans (as of the moment) are neither broken souls nor travelers of broken dreams anymore.

  12. aiza sarmiento says:

    For me this poem shows the bravery of most Americans, especially the soldiers who fought in the war just to protect their country. Even though they are already experiencing so much pain in their body they are not giving up, they are still fighting for the sake of their country. Those Americans almost give up their lives just to save and protect their own country.

  13. estreliya says:

    i want to have analysis of to the memory of the brave americans. please help me

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