J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

“Warren step’s beyond their path”

When Ezekiel and Sarah Russell put together their “ELEGIAC POEM” about Bunker Hill, they didn’t stint. Their customers didn’t get just sixty woodcut coffins and four columns of poetry.

The Russells also provided “An ACROSTIC on the late Major-General WARREN Who was slain fighting for the LIBERTIES of AMERICA”:
J ust as JOSEPH took his flight
O nward to the realm of light,
S atan hurl’d his hellish darts,
E vil angels played their parts;
P iercy, Burgoyne, Howe, and Gage,
H over about infernal rage:

W ARREN step’d beyond their path,
A w’d by none, nor fear’d their wrath;
R an his race to joy and rest,
R ose amongst the loyal blest;
E nter’d in the rolls of fame,
N orth and Devil mist their aim.
To squeeze full value from that poem, it was also reprinted in an almanac for the following year.

The image above shows John Norman’s frontispiece for Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s play about Bunker Hill published in Philadelphia in 1776, another early portrayal of Dr. Warren as a martyr.

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