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96 AMERICAN BALLADS AND SONGS
And did Bird receive a pension?
Was he to his friends restored? No, nor even to his bosom
Clasped the maid whom he adored.
But there came most dismal tidings From Lake Erie's distant shore;
Better if poor Bird had perished Amid the battle's awful roar.
"Dearest parents," said the letter, "This will bring sad news to you.
Do not mourn your first beloved, Though this brings his last adieu.
"I must suffer for deserting
From the brig Niagara; Read this letter, brother, sister.
'Tis the last you will hear from me."
Sad and gloomy was the morning Bird was ordered out to die;
Where is the breast dares not to pity Or for him would heave one sigh?
0 he fought so brave at Erie.
Nobly bled and nobly dared, Let his courage plead for mercy—
Let his precious life be spared!