Union Songs

Patriot's Grave

A poem by Linus Miller©Linus Miller 1844

I sought the grave of my friend,
Amid the slumb'ring dead;
In the yard where outcast men,
Are doom'd to lay their head.

Where the wrong'd and injur'd lie-
Neglected, and forgot :
And the raven's mournful cry-
Alone bewails their lot.

Where the felon finds at last,
An end to sin and crime ;
His weary pilgrimage pass'd,
And sorrow heal'd in Time.

Where the Free and Bond both sleep,
In earth's cold dismal cell :
And the Gaoler Death will keep,
And tend his pris'ners well.

I sought in vain for the place-
Where they had made his bed :
The sexton had left no trace
Of the forgotten dead !

Stranger ! would'st thou wish to hear-
Why I thus sought that grave ?
To mingle a comrade's tear,
With ashes of the brave.

'Twas to bid him sweetly rest,
Though in a foreign land ;
And plant a rose upon his breast-
Cull'd by a comrade's hand.

To erect a humble stone-
In honor of the brave,-
With this inscription thereon,
" This is a Patriot's grave. "


This poem was published in the Tasmanian newspaper the Colonial Times on 26 June 1844 under the heading Poetry with the remark 'A CANADIAN. Hobart Town, June 22, 1844.'

Linus W. Miller, a twenty-two year old American lawyer who was transported to Van Diemen's Land as a state prisoner from Canada after becoming involved in the 1838 Canadian rebellion, arrived on the 'Canton' in Hobart Town on 17 January 1840.

Returning to the US after his pardon, Miller wrote a book 'Notes of an Exile in Van Diemen's Land' in 1846. This poem appears on pp.258-259. Read the book online at http://openlibrary.org/books/OL24445252M/Notes_of_an_exile_to_Van_Dieman's_Land

Miller writes that he wrote the poem after searching in vain for the grave of his fellow convict and friend Alexander McLeod: 'When compelled to abandon all hope of finding the grave, I sat down and penned the following lines, which were published in the 'Colonial Times' of Hobart Town. I introduce it here out ot respect to the memory of the dead, and not as possessing literary merit.'

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