Thursday, October 13, 2011

McDonnell on the Heights

Today marks the Battle of Queenston Heights, when the US attempted to forcibly unite with Canada - or rather, unite Canada with us. Here's a great, great song by Stan Rogers (a performer I really love) - with one of those little odd moments that comes to an American from the States when "the Redcoats" are the good guys!
From the liner notes: Another unsung hero of Canadian history . . . The texts give a terribly sparse accounting of this man. He was a Major under Brock, and apparently not a very popular one. He was one of those "good young men" form the "right" kind of family with the "right" kind of gentleman's education, a law practise and the ear of influential people of the day. There's nothing to indicate he was not a decent sort, but somebody writing up the accounts didn't want too much of the glory to be taken from the General! Perhaps this is one way of vindicating the historical vagaries of this nation. It gives me no small amount of satisfaction to think that more people will know that there's more than just Brock under that huge stone monument.




Too thin the line that charged the Heights
And scrambled in the clay,
Too thin the Eastern Township Scot
Who showed them all the way,
And perhaps had you not fallen,
You might be what Brock became
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

To say the name 'MacDonnell'
It would bring no bugle call,
But the Redcoats stayed beside you
When they saw the General fall.
'Twas MacDonnell raised the banner then
And set the Heights aflame,
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

You brought the field all standing with your courage and your luck
But unknown to most, you're lying there beside old General Brock.
So you know what it is to scale the Heights and fall just short of fame
And have not one in ten thousand know your name.

At Queenston now, the General on his tower stands alone
And there's lichen on 'MacDonnell' carved upon that weathered stone
In a corner of the monument to glory you could claim,
But not one in ten thousand knows your name.

You brought the field all standing with your courage and your luck
But unknown to most, you're lying there beside old General Brock.
So you know what it is to scale the Heights and fall just short of fame
And have not one in ten thousand know your name.

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