O Germany, bright fatherland! O German love, so true! Thou sacred land, thou beauteous land, We swear to thee anew! Outlawed, each knave and coward shall The crow and raven feed; But we will to the battle all— Revenge shall be our meed.
Flash forth, flash forth, whatever can, To bright and flaming life! Now all ye Germans, man for man, Forth to the holy strife! Your hands lift upward to the sky— Your heart shall upward soar— And man for man, let each one cry, Our slavery is o'er!
Let sound, let sound, whatever can, Trumpet and fife and drum, This day our sabres, man for man, To stain with blood we come; With hangman's and with Frenchmen's blood, O glorious day of ire, That to all Germans soundeth good— Day of our great desire!
Let wave, let wave, whatever can, Standard and banner wave! Here will we purpose, man for man, To grace a hero's grave. Advance, ye brave ranks, hardily— Your banners wave on high; We'll gain us freedom's victory, Or freedom's death we'll die!
From the German of ERNST MORITZ ARNDT.
* * * * *
MEN AND BOYS
The storm is out; the land is roused; Where is the coward who sits well housed? Fie on thee, boy, disguised in curls, Behind the stove, 'mong gluttons and girls! A graceless, worthless wight thou must be; No German maid desires thee, No German song inspires thee, No German Rhine-wine fires thee. Forth in the van, Man by man, Swing the battle-sword who can!
When we stand watching, the livelong night, Through piping storms, till morning light, Thou to thy downy bed canst creep, And there in dreams of rapture sleep. A graceless, worthless wight, etc.
When, hoarse and shrill, the trumpet's blast. Like the thunder of God, makes our heart beat fast, Thou in the theatre lov'st to appear, Where trills and quavers tickle the ear. A graceless, worthless wight, etc.
When the glare of noonday scorches the brain, When our parched lips seek water in vain, Thou canst make champagne corks fly At the groaning tables of luxury. A graceless, worthless wight, etc.
When we, as we rush to the strangling fight, Send home to our true-loves a long "Good-night," Thou canst hie thee where love is sold, And buy thy pleasure with paltry gold. A graceless, worthless wight, etc.
When lance and bullet come whistling by, And death in a thousand shapes draws nigh, Thou canst sit at thy cards, and kill King, queen, and knave with thy spadille. A graceless, worthless wight, etc.
If on the red field our bell should toll, Then welcome be death to the patriot's soul! Thy pampered flesh shall quake at its doom, And crawl in silk to a hopeless tomb. A pitiful exit thine shall be; No German maid shall weep for thee, No German song shall they sing for thee, No German goblets shall ring for thee. Forth in the van, Man for man, Swing the battle-sword who can!
From the German of KARL THEODOR KOeRNER. Translation of CHARLES TIMOTHY BROOKS.
* * * * *
THE WATCH ON THE RHINE[A]
[Footnote A: Written by a manufacturer of Wurtemburg in 1840, when France was threatening the left bank of the Rhine. It was set to music by Carl Wilhelm, and during the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 was adopted as the national folk-hymn and rallying cry of the army.]
A voice resounds like thunder-peal, 'Mid dashing waves and clang of steel:— "The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine! Who guards to-day my stream divine?"
Dear Fatherland, no danger thine: Firm stand thy sons to watch the Rhine_!
They stand, a hundred thousand strong, Quick to avenge their country's wrong; With filial love their bosoms swell, They'll guard the sacred landmark well!
The dead of a heroic race From heaven look down and meet their gaze; They swear with dauntless heart, "O Rhine, Be German as this breast of mine!"
While flows one drop of German blood, Or sword remains to guard thy flood, While rifle rests in patriot hand,— No foe shall tread thy sacred strand!
Our oath resounds, the river flows, In golden light our banner glows; Our hearts will guard thy stream divine: The Rhine, the Rhine, the German Rhine!
Dear Fatherland, no danger thine: Firm stand thy sons to watch the Rhine!
From the German of MAX SCHNECKENBURGER.
* * * * *
FROM "THE KALEVALA" (Land of heroes), THE NATIONAL EPIC OF FINLAND.[A]
[Footnote A: Aside from its national significance "The Kalevala" is interesting from the fact of its having been taken as the model in rhythm and style for Longfellow's "Hiawatha," the epic of the American Indian.]
Mastered by desire impulsive, By a mighty inward urging, I am ready now for singing, Ready to begin the chanting Of our nation's ancient folk-song, Handed down from bygone ages. In my mouth the words are melting, From my lips the tones are gliding, From my tongue they wish to hasten; When my willing teeth are parted, When my ready mouth is opened, Songs of ancient wit and wisdom Hasten from me not unwilling. Golden friend, and dearest brother, Brother dear of mine in childhood, Come and sing with me the stories, Come and chant with me the legends, Legends of the times forgotten, Since we now are here together, Come together from our roamings. Seldom do we come for singing, Seldom to the one, the other, O'er this cold and cruel country, O'er the poor soil of the Northland. Let us clasp our hands together, That we thus may best remember. Join we now in merry singing, Chant we now the oldest folk-lore, That the dear ones all may hear them, That the well-inclined may hear them, Of this rising generation. These are words in childhood taught me, Songs preserved from distant ages; Legends they that once were taken From the belt of Wainamoinen, From the forge of Ilmarinen, From the sword of Kaukomieli, From the bow of Youkahainen, From the pastures of the Northland, From the meads of Kalevala. These my dear old father sang me When at work with knife and hatchet: These my tender mother taught me When she twirled the flying spindle, When a child upon the matting By her feet I rolled and tumbled. Incantations were not wanting Over Sampo and o'er Louhi, Sampo growing old in singing, Louhi ceasing her enchantment. In the songs died wise Wipunen, At the games died Lemminkainen. There are many other legends, Incantations that were taught me, That I found along the wayside, Gathered in the fragrant copses, Blown me from the forest branches, Culled among the plumes of pine-trees, Scented from the vines and flowers, Whispered to me as I followed Flocks in land of honeyed meadows, Over hillocks green and golden, After sable-haired Murikki, And the many-colored Kimmo. Many runes the cold has told me, Many lays the rain has brought me, Other songs the winds have sung me; Many birds from many forests, Oft have sung me lays in concord; Waves of sea, and ocean billows, Music from the many waters, Music from the whole creation, Oft have been my guide and master. Sentences the trees created, Rolled together into bundles, Moved them to my ancient dwelling, On the sledges to my cottage, Tied them to my garret rafters, Hung them on my dwelling-portals, Laid them in a chest of boxes, Boxes lined with shining copper. Long they lay within my dwelling Through the chilling winds of winter, In my dwelling-place for ages. Shall I bring these songs together? From the cold and frost collect them? Shall I bring this nest of boxes, Keepers of these golden legends, To the table in my cabin, Underneath the painted rafters, In this house renowned and ancient? Shall I now these boxes open, Boxes filled with wondrous stories? Shall I now the end unfasten Of this ball of ancient wisdom? These ancestral lays unravel? Let me sing an old-time legend, That shall echo forth the praises Of the beer that I have tasted, Of the sparkling beer of barley, Bring to me a foaming goblet Of the barley of my fathers, Lest my singing grow too weary, Singing from the water only. Bring me too a cup of strong beer; It will add to our enchantment, To the pleasure of the evening, Northland's long and dreary evening, For the beauty of the day-dawn, For the pleasures of the morning, The beginning of the new day.
From the FINNISH. Translation of JOHN MARTIN CRAWFORD.
* * * * *
I love thee, love thee, Giulio! Some call me cold, and some demure, And if thou hast ever guessed that so I love thee ... well;—the proof was poor, And no one could be sure.
Before thy song (with shifted rhymes To suit my name) did I undo The persian? If it moved sometimes, Thou hast not seen a hand push through A flower or two.
My mother listening to my sleep Heard nothing but a sigh at night,— The short sigh rippling on the deep,— When hearts run out of breath and sigh Of men, to God's clear light.
When others named thee,... thought thy brows Were straight, thy smile was tender,... "Here He comes between the vineyard-rows!"— I said not "Ay,"—nor waited, Dear, To feel thee step too near.
I left such things to bolder girls, Olivia or Clotilda. Nay, When that Clotilda through her curls Held both thine eyes in hers one day, I marvelled, let me say.
I could not try the woman's trick: Between us straightway fell the blush Which kept me separate, blind, and sick. A wind came with thee in a flush, As blow through Horeb's bush.
But now that Italy invokes Her young men to go forth and chase The foe or perish,—nothing chokes My voice, or drives me from the place: I look thee in the face.
I love thee! it is understood, Confest: I do not shrink or start: No blushes: all my body's blood Has gone to greaten this poor heart, That, loving, we may part.
Our Italy invokes the youth To die if need be. Still there's room, Though earth is strained with dead, in truth. Since twice the lilies were in bloom They had not grudged a tomb.
And many a plighted maid and wife And mother, who can say since then "My country," cannot say through life "My son," "my spouse," "my flower of men," And not weep dumb again.
Heroic males the country bears, But daughters give up more than sons. Flags wave, drums beat, and unawares You flash your souls out with the guns, And take your heaven at once!
But we,—we empty heart and home Of life's life, love! we bear to think You're gone,... to feel you may not come,... To hear the door-latch stir and clink Yet no more you,... nor sink.
Dear God! when Italy is one And perfected from bound to bound,... Suppose (for my share) earth's undone By one grave in't! as one small wound May kill a man, 'tis found!
What then? If love's delight must end, At least we'll clear its truth from flaws. I love thee, love thee, sweetest friend! Now take my sweetest without pause, To help the nation's cause.
And thus of noble Italy We'll both be worthy. Let her show The future how we made her free, Not sparing life, nor Giulio, Nor this ... this heart-break. Go!
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
* * * * *
O mother of a mighty race, Yet lovely in thy youthful grace! The elder dames, thy haughty peers, Admire and hate thy blooming years; With words of shame And taunts of scorn they join thy name.
For on thy cheeks the glow is spread That tints thy morning hills with red; Thy step,—the wild deer's rustling feet Within thy woods are not more fleet; Thy hopeful eye Is bright as thine own sunny sky.
Ay, let them rail, those haughty ones, While safe thou dwellest with thy sons. They do not know how loved thou art, How many a fond and fearless heart Would rise to throw Its life between thee and the foe.
They know not, in their hate and pride, What virtues with thy children bide,— How true, how good, thy graceful maids Make bright, like flowers, the valley shades; What generous men Spring, like thine oaks, by hill and glen;
What cordial welcomes greet the guest By thy lone rivers of the west; How faith is kept, and truth revered, And man is loved, and God is feared, In woodland homes, And where the ocean border foams.
There's freedom at thy gates, and rest For earth's down-trodden and opprest, A shelter for the hunted head, For the starved laborer toil and bread. Power, at thy bounds, Stops, and calls back his baffled hounds.
O fair young mother! on thy brow Shall sit a nobler grace than now. Deep in the brightness of thy skies, The thronging years in glory rise, And, as they fleet, Drop strength and riches at thy feet.
Thine eye, with every coming hour, Shall brighten, and thy form shall tower; And when thy sisters, elder born, Would brand thy name with words of scorn, Before thine eye Upon their lips the taunt shall die.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
* * * * *
Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise, The queen of the world, and the child of the skies! Thy genius commands thee; with rapture behold, While ages on ages thy splendors unfold. Thy reign is the last and the noblest of time, Most fruitful thy soil, most inviting thy clime; Let the crimes of the East ne'er encrimson thy name, Be freedom and science and virtue thy fame.
To conquest and slaughter let Europe aspire; Whelm nations in blood, and wrap cities in fire; Thy heroes the rights of mankind shall defend, And triumph pursue them, and glory attend. A world is thy realm; for a world be thy laws Enlarged as thine empire, and just as thy cause; On Freedom's broad basis that empire shall rise, Extend with the main, and dissolve with the skies.
Fair Science her gates to thy sons shall unbar, And the East see thy morn hide the beams of her star; New bards and new sages unrivalled shall soar To fame unextinguished when time is no more; To thee, the last refuge of virtue designed, Shall fly from all nations the best of mankind; Here, grateful to Heaven, with transport shall bring Their incense, more fragrant than odors of spring.
Nor less shall thy fair ones to glory ascend, And genius and beauty in harmony blend; The graces of form shall awake pure desire, And the charms of the soul ever cherish the fire; Their sweetness unmingled, their manners refined, And virtue's bright image, enstamped on the mind, With peace and soft rapture shall teach life to glow, And light up a smile on the aspect of woe.
Thy fleets to all regions thy power shall display, The nations admire, and the ocean obey; Each shore to thy glory its tribute unfold, And the East and the South yield their spices and gold. As the dayspring unbounded thy splendor shall flow, And earth's little kingdoms before thee shall bow, While the ensigns of union, in triumph unfurled, Hush the tumult of war, and give peace to the world.
Thus, as down a lone valley, with cedars o'er-spread, From war's dread confusion, I pensively strayed,— The gloom from the face of fair heaven retired; The wind ceased to murmur, the thunders expired; Perfumes, as of Eden, flowed sweetly along, And a voice, as of angels, enchantingly sung: "Columbia, Columbia, to glory arise, The queen of the world, and the child of the skies!"
* * * * *
ON THE PROSPECT OF PLANTING ARTS AND LEARNING IN AMERICA.
The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime Barren of every glorious theme, In distant lands now waits a better time, Producing subjects worthy fame.
In happy climes, where from the genial sun And virgin earth such scenes ensue, The force of art by nature seems outdone, And fancied beauties by the true:
In happy climes, the seat of innocence, Where nature guides and virtue rules, Where men shall not impose for truth and sense The pedantry of courts and schools:
There shall be sung another golden age, The rise of empire and of arts, The good and great inspiring epic rage, The wisest heads and noblest hearts.
Not such as Europe breeds in her decay: Such as she bred when fresh and young, When heavenly flame did animate her clay, By future poets shall be sung.
Westward the course of empire takes its way; The first four acts already past, A fifth shall close the drama with the day; Time's noblest offspring is the last.
BISHOP GEORGE BERKELEY.
* * * * *
ENGLAND TO AMERICA.
Nor force nor fraud shall sunder us! O ye Who north or south, or east or western land, Native to noble sounds, say truth for truth, Freedom for freedom, love for love, and God For God; O ye who in eternal youth Speak with a living and creative flood This universal English, and do stand Its breathing book; live worthy of that grand Heroic utterance—parted, yet a whole, Far, yet unsevered,—children brave and free Of the great Mother tongue, and ye shall be Lords of an empire wide as Shakespeare's soul, Sublime as Milton's immemorial theme, And rich as Chaucer's speech, and fair as Spenser's dream.
* * * * *
The south-land boasts its teeming cane, The prairied west its heavy grain, And sunset's radiant gates unfold On rising marts and sands of gold!
Rough, bleak, and hard, our little State Is scant of soil, of limits strait; Her yellow sands are sands alone, Her only mines are ice and stone!
From autumn frost to April rain, Too long her winter woods complain; From budding flower to falling leaf, Her summer time is all too brief.
Yet, on her rocks, and on her sands, And wintry hills, the school-house stands; And what her rugged soil denies The harvest of the mind supplies.
The riches of the commonwealth Are free, strong minds, and hearts of health; And more to her than gold or grain The cunning hand and cultured brain.
For well she keeps her ancient stock, The stubborn strength of Pilgrim Rock; And still maintains, with milder laws, And clearer light, the good old cause!
Nor heeds the sceptic's puny hands, While near her school the church-spire stands; Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule, While near her church-spire stands the school.
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
* * * * *
FROM "THE BUILDING OF THE SHIP."
Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O UNION, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate! We know what Master laid thy keel, What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel, Who made each mast, and sail, and rope, What anvils rang, what hammers beat, In what a forge and what a heat Were shaped the anchors of thy hope! Fear not each sudden sound and shock, 'Tis of the wave and not the rock; 'Tis but the flapping of the sail, And not a rent made by the gale! In spite of rock and tempest's roar, In spite of false lights on the shore, Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea! Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee, Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, Our faith triumphant o'er our fears, Are all with thee,—are all with thee!
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
* * * * *
My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountain-side Let freedom ring.
My native country, thee, Land of the noble free,— Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees, Sweet freedom's song; Let mortal tongues awake, Let all that breathe partake, Let rocks their silence break,— The sound prolong.
Our fathers' God, to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee I sing; Long may our land be bright With freedom's holy light; Protect us by thy might, Great God our King.
Samuel Francis Smith.
* * * * *
[On the proposed breaking up of the United States frigate "Constitution."]
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down! Long has it waved on high, And many an eye has danced to see That banner in the sky; Beneath it rung the battle-shout, And burst the cannon's roar: The meteor of the ocean air Shall sweep the clouds no more!
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood, Where knelt the vanquished foe, When winds were hurrying o'er the flood And waves were white below, No more shall feel the victor's tread, Or know the conquered knee: The harpies of the shore shall pluck The eagle of the sea!
O better that her shattered hulk Should sink beneath the wave! Her thunders shook the mighty deep, And there should be her grave: Nail to the mast her holy flag, Set every threadbare sail, And give her to the god of storms, The lightning and the gale!
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.
* * * * *
MEN OF THE NORTH AND WEST.
Men of the North and West, Wake in your might. Prepare, as the rebels have done, For the fight! You cannot shrink from the test; Rise! Men of the North and West!
They have torn down your banner of stars; They have trampled the laws; They have stifled the freedom they hate, For no cause! Do you love it or slavery best? Speak! Men of the North and West!
They strike at the life of the State: Shall the murder be done? They cry: "We are two!" And you? "We are one!" You must meet them, then, breast to breast; On! Men of the North and West!
Not with words; they laugh them to scorn, And tears they despise; But with swords in your hands, and death In your eyes! Strike home! leave to God all the rest; Strike! Men of the North and West!
RICHARD HENRY STODDARD.
* * * * *
OUR COUNTRY'S CALL.
Lay down the axe, fling by the spade; Leave in its track the toiling plough; The rifle and the bayonet-blade For arms like yours were fitter now; And let the hands that ply the pen Quit the light task, and learn to wield The horseman's crooked brand, and rein The charger on the battle-field.
Our country calls; away! away! To where the blood-stream blots the green; Strike to defend the gentlest sway That Time in all his course has seen. See, from a thousand coverts—see Spring the armed foes that haunt her track; They rush to smite her down, and we Must beat the banded traitors back.
Ho! sturdy as the oaks ye cleave, And moved as soon to fear and flight, Men of the glade and forest! leave Your woodcraft for the field of fight. The arms that wield the axe must pour An iron tempest on the foe; His serried ranks shall reel before The arm that lays the panther low.
And ye who breast the mountain storm By grassy steep or highland lake, Come, for the land ye love, to form A bulwark that no foe can break. Stand, like your own gray cliffs that mock The whirlwind; stand in her defence: The blast as soon shall move the rock, As rushing squadrons bear ye thence.
And ye whose homes are by her grand Swift rivers, rising far away, Come from the depth of her green land As mighty in your march as they; As terrible as when the rains Have swelled them over bank and bourne, With sudden floods to drown the plains And sweep along the woods uptorn.
And ye who throng beside the deep, Her ports and hamlets of the strand, In number like the waves that leap On his long-murmuring marge of sand, Come, like that deep, when, o'er his brim, He rises, all his floods to pour, And flings the proudest barks that swim, A helpless wreck against his shore.
Few, few were they whose swords of old Won the fair land in which we dwell; But we are many, we who hold The grim resolve to guard it well. Strike for that broad and goodly land, Blow after blow, till men shall see That Might and Right move hand in hand, And Glorious must their triumph be.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
* * * * *
A CRY TO ARMS.
Ho, woodsmen of the mountain-side! Ho, dwellers in the vales! Ho, ye who by the chafing tide Have roughened in the gales! Leave barn and byre, leave kin and cot, Lay by the bloodless spade; Let desk and case and counter rot, And burn your books of trade!
The despot roves your fairest lands; And till he flies or fears, Your fields must grow but armed bands, Your sheaves be sheaves of spears! Give up to mildew and to rust The useless tools of gain, And feed your country's sacred dust With floods of crimson rain!
Come with the weapons at your call— With musket, pike, or knife; He wields the deadliest blade of all Who lightest holds his life. The arm that drives its unbought blows With all a patriot's scorn, Might brain a tyrant with a rose Or stab him with a thorn.
Does any falter? Let him turn To some brave maiden's eyes, And catch the holy fires that burn In those sublunar skies. Oh, could you like your women feel, And in their spirit march, A day might see your lines of steel Beneath the victor's arch!
What hope, O God! would not grow warm When thoughts like these give cheer? The lily calmly braves the storm, And shall the palm-tree fear? No! rather let its branches court The rack that sweeps the plain; And from the lily's regal port Learn how to breast the strain.
Ho, woodsmen of the mountain-side! Ho, dwellers in the vales! Ho, ye who by the roaring tide Have roughened in the gales! Come, flocking gayly to the fight, From forest, hill, and lake; We battle for our country's right, And for the lily's sake!
* * * * *
THE NATION'S PRAYER.
Before Thy Throne we bow: O God, our shield be Thou From Treason's rage! In faith we look to Thee, Our strength in Heav'n we see, Defender of the free, In ev'ry age.
Our follies we confess: O God, forgive and bless! Let Mercy's light Illumine this dark hour, When war clouds o'er us lower, And Thine eternal power Defend the right!
Our Pilgrim fathers sleep, The ocean, broad and deep, Beside their graves. When Thine archangel cries, Forbid that they should rise To crowns in Paradise From soil of slaves!
Protect our armies, Lord, And when they draw the sword In freedom's name, Strike Thou for them the blow, Overwhelm the vaunting foe, And bury Treason low, In deathless shame!
Let Liberty arise, Her glory fill the skies, The world be free! Let all adore Thy name, And children lisp Thy fame— Let earth and heav'n proclaim The jubilee!
* * * * *
The despot's heel is on thy shore, Maryland! His torch is at thy temple door, Maryland! Avenge the patriotic gore That flecked the streets of Baltimore, And be the battle queen of yore, Maryland, My Maryland!
Hark to thy wandering son's appeal, Maryland! My mother State, to thee I kneel, Maryland! For life and death, for woe and weal, Thy peerless chivalry reveal, And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel, Maryland, My Maryland!
Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland! Thy beaming sword shall never rust, Maryland! Remember Carroll's sacred trust, Remember Howard's warlike thrust, And all thy slumberers with the just, Maryland, My Maryland!
Come, 'tis the red dawn of the day, Maryland! Come with thy panoplied array, Maryland! With Ringgold's spirit for the fray, With Watson's blood at Monterey, With fearless Lowe and dashing May, Maryland, My Maryland!
Dear mother, burst the tyrant's chain, Maryland! Virginia should not call in vain, Maryland! She meets her sisters on the plain: "Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain That baffles minions back amain, Maryland, My Maryland!
Come, for thy shield is bright and strong, Maryland! Come, for thy dalliance does thee wrong, Maryland! Come to thine own heroic throng, That stalks with liberty along, And give a new key to thy song, Maryland, My Maryland!
I see the blush upon thy cheek, Maryland! But thou wast ever bravely meek, Maryland! But lo! there surges forth a shriek From hill to hill, from creek to creek; Potomac calls to Chesapeake, Maryland, My Maryland!
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll, Maryland! Thou wilt not crook to his control, Maryland! Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the shot, the blade, the bowl, Than crucifixion of the soul, Maryland, My Maryland!
I hear the distant thunder hum, Maryland! The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum, Maryland! She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb— Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum; She breathes, she burns—she'll come! she'll come! Maryland, My Maryland!
JAMES RYDER RANDALL.
* * * * *
Southrons, hear your country call you! Up, lest worse than death befall you! To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie! Lo! all the beacon-fires are lighted,— Let all hearts be now united! To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie! Advance the flag of Dixie! Hurrah! hurrah! For Dixie's land we take our stand, And live or die for Dixie! To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie! To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie!
Hear the Northern thunders mutter! Northern flags in South winds flutter! Send them back your fierce defiance! Stamp upon the accursed alliance!
Fear no danger! Shun no labor! Lift up rifle, pike, and sabre! Shoulder pressing close to shoulder, Let the odds make each heart bolder!
How the South's great heart rejoices At your cannons' ringing voices! For faith betrayed, and pledges broken, Wrongs inflicted, insults spoken.
Strong as lions, swift as eagles, Back to their kennels hunt these beagles! Cut the unequal bonds asunder! Let them hence each other plunder!
Swear upon your country's altar Never to submit or falter, Till the spoilers are defeated, Till the Lord's work is completed.
Halt not till our Federation Secures among earth's powers its station! Then at peace, and crowned with glory, Hear your children tell the story!
If the loved ones weep in sadness, Victory soon shall bring them gladness,— To arms! Exultant pride soon banish sorrow, Smiles chase tears away to-morrow. To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie! Advance the flag of Dixie! Hurrah! hurrah! For Dixie's land we take our stand, And live or die for Dixie! To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie! To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie!
* * * * *
THE FLAG GOES BY.
Hats off! Along the street there comes A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums, A dash of color beneath the sky: Hats off! The flag is passing by!
Blue and crimson and white it shines, Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines. Hats off! The colors before us fly; But more than the flag is passing by.
Sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great, Fought to make and to save the State: Weary marches and sinking ships; Cheers of victory on dying lips;
Days of plenty and years of peace; March of a strong land's swift increase; Equal justice, right and law, Stately honor and reverend awe;
Sign of a nation, great and strong To ward her people from foreign wrong: Pride and glory and honor,—all Live in the colors to stand or fall.
Hats off! Along the street there comes A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums; And loyal hearts are beating high: Hats off! The flag is passing by!
HENRY HOLCOMB BENNETT.
* * * * *
THE BRAVE AT HOME.
The maid who binds her warrior's sash With smile that well her pain dissembles, The while beneath her drooping lash One starry tear-drop hangs and trembles, Though Heaven alone records the tear, And Fame shall never know her story, Her heart has shed a drop as dear As e'er bedewed the field of glory!
The wife who girds her husband's sword, Mid little ones who weep or wonder, And bravely speaks the cheering word, What though her heart be rent asunder, Doomed nightly in her dreams to hear The bolts of death around him rattle, Hath shed as sacred blood as e'er Was poured upon the field of battle!
The mother who conceals her grief While to her breast her son she presses, Then breathes a few brave words and brief, Kissing the patriot brow she blesses, With no one but her secret God To know the pain that weighs upon her, Sheds holy blood as e'er the sod Received on Freedom's field of honor!
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
* * * * *
THE PLACE WHERE MAN SHOULD DIE.
How little recks it where men lie, When once the moment's past In which the dim and glazing eye Has looked on earth its last,— Whether beneath the sculptured urn The coffined form shall rest, Or in its nakedness return Back to its mother's, breast!
Death is a common friend or foe, As different men may hold, And at his summons each must go, The timid and the bold; But when the spirit, free and warm, Deserts it, as it must, What matter where the lifeless form Dissolves again to dust?
The soldier falls 'mid corses piled Upon the battle-plain, Where reinless war-steeds gallop wild Above the mangled slain; But though his corse be grim to see, Hoof-trampled on the sod, What recks it, when the spirit free Has soared aloft to God?
The coward's dying eyes may close Upon his downy bed, And softest hands his limbs compose, Or garments o'er them spread. But ye who shun the bloody fray, When fall the mangled brave, Go—strip his coffin-lid away, And see him in his grave!
'Twere sweet, indeed, to close our eyes, With those we cherish near, And, wafted upwards by their sighs, Soar to some calmer sphere. But whether on the scaffold high, Or in the battle's van, The fittest place where man can die Is where he dies for man!
MICHAEL JOSEPH BARRY.
* * * * *
What man is there so bold that he should say, "Thus, and thus only, would I have the Sea"? For whether lying calm and beautiful, Clasping the earth in love, and throwing back The smile of Heaven from waves of amethyst; Or whether, freshened by the busy winds, It bears the trade and navies of the world To ends of use or stern activity; Or whether, lashed by tempests, it gives way To elemental fury, howls and roars At all its rocky barriers, in wild lust Of ruin drinks the blood of living things, And strews its wrecks o'er leagues of desolate shore,— Always it is the Sea, and men bow down Before its vast and varied majesty.
So all in vain will timorous ones essay To set the metes and bounds of Liberty. For Freedom is its own eternal law: It makes its own conditions, and in storm Or calm alike fulfils the unerring Will. Let us not then despise it when it lies Still as a sleeping lion, while a swarm Of gnat-like evils hover round its head; Nor doubt it when in mad, disjointed times It shakes the torch of terror, and its cry Shrills o'er the quaking earth, and in the flame Of riot and war we see its awful form Rise by the scaffold, where the crimson axe Rings down its grooves the knell of shuddering kings. For ever in thine eyes, O Liberty, Shines that high light whereby the world is saved, And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee!
* * * * *
FROM "POEMS OF FREEDOM."
Be patient, O be patient! Put your ear against the earth; Listen there how noiselessly the germ o' the seed has birth; How noiselessly and gently it upheaves its little way Till it parts the scarcely-broken ground, and the blade stands up in the day.
Be patient, O be patient! the germs of mighty thought Must have their silent undergrowth, must underground be wrought; But, as sure as ever there's a Power that makes the grass appear, Our land shall be green with Liberty, the blade-time shall be here.
Be patient, O be patient! go and watch the wheat-ears grow, So imperceptibly that ye can mark nor change nor throe: Day after day, day after day till the ear is fully grown; And then again day after day, till the ripened field is brown.
Be patient, O be patient! though yet our hopes are green, The harvest-field of Freedom shall be crowned with the sunny sheen. Be ripening, be ripening! mature your silent way Till the whole broad land is tongued with fire on Freedom's harvest day.
WILLIAM JAMES LINTON.
* * * * *
THE ANTIQUITY OF FREEDOM.
Here are old trees, tail oaks and gnarled pines, That stream with gray-green mosses; here the ground Was never trenched by spade, and flowers spring up Unsown, and die ungathered. It is sweet To linger here, among the flitting birds, And leaping squirrels, wandering brooks, and winds That shake the leaves, and scatter, as they pass, A fragrance from the cedars, thickly set With pale blue berries. In these peaceful shades— Peaceful, unpruned, immeasurably old— My thoughts go up the long dim path of years, Back to the earliest days of liberty.
Oh FREEDOM! thou art not, as poets dream, A fair young girl, with light and delicate limbs, And wavy tresses gushing from the cap With which the Roman master crowned his slave When he took off the gyves. A bearded man, Armed to the teeth, art thou; one mailed hand Grasps the broad shield, and one the sword; thy brow, Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarred With tokens of old wars; thy massive limbs Are strong with struggling. Power at thee has launched His bolts, and with his lightnings smitten thee; They could not quench the life thou hast from heaven. Merciless power has dug thy dungeon deep, And his swart armorers, by a thousand fires, Have forged thy chain; yet, while he deems thee bound, The links are shivered, and the prison walls Fall outward: terribly thou springest forth, As springs the flame above a burning pile, And shoutest to the nations, who return Thy shoutings, while the pale oppressor flies.
Thy birthright was not given by human hands: Thou wert twin-born with man. In pleasant fields, While yet our race was few, thou sat'st with him, To tend the quiet flock and watch the stars, And teach the reed to utter simple airs. Thou by his side, amid the tangled wood, Didst war upon the panther and the wolf, His only foes; and thou with him didst draw The earliest furrows on the mountain side, Soft with the deluge. Tyranny himself, Thy enemy, although of reverend look, Hoary with many years, and far obeyed, Is later born than thou; and as he meets The grave defiance of thine elder eye, The usurper trembles in his fastnesses.
Thou shalt wax stronger with the lapse of years, But he shall fade into a feebler age; Feebler, yet subtler. He shall weave his snares, And spring them on thy careless steps, and clap His withered hands, and from their ambush call His hordes to fall upon thee. He shall send Quaint maskers, forms of fair and gallant mien, To catch thy gaze, and uttering graceful words To charm thy ear; while his sly imps, by stealth, Twine around thee threads of steel, light thread on thread, That grow to fetters; or bind down thy arms With chains concealed in chaplets. Oh! not yet May'st thou unbrace thy corselet, nor lay by Thy sword; nor yet, O Freedom! close thy lids In slumber; for thine enemy never sleeps, And thou must watch and combat till the day Of the new earth and heaven. But wouldst thou rest Awhile from tumult and the frauds of men, These old and friendly solitudes invite Thy visit. They, while yet the forest trees Were young upon the unviolated earth, And yet the moss-stains on the rock were new, Beheld thy glorious childhood, and rejoiced.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
* * * * *
What's hallowed ground? Has earth a clod Its Maker meant not should be trod By man, the image of his God, Erect and free, Unscourged by Superstition's rod To bow the knee?
That's hallowed ground where, mourned and missed, The lips repose our love has kissed;— But where's their memory's mansion? Is't Yon churchyard's bowers? No! in ourselves their souls exist, A part of ours.
A kiss can consecrate the ground Where mated hearts are mutual bound: The spot where love's first links were wound, That ne'er are riven, Is hallowed down to earth's profound, And up to heaven!
For time makes all but true love old; The burning thoughts that then were told Run molten still in memory's mould; And will not cool Until the heart itself be cold In Lethe's pool.
What hallows ground where heroes sleep? 'Tis not the sculptured piles you heap! In dews that heavens far distant weep Their turf may bloom; Or Genii twine beneath the deep Their coral tomb.
But strew his ashes to the wind Whose sword or voice has served mankind,— And is he dead, whose glorious mind Lifts thine on high?— To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die.
Is't death to fall for Freedom's right? He's dead alone that lacks her light! And murder sullies in heaven's sight The sword he draws:— What can alone ennoble fight? A noble cause!
Give that,—and welcome War to brace Her drums, and rend heaven's reeking space! The colors planted face to face, The charging cheer, Though Death's pale horse lead on the chase, Shall still be dear.
And place our trophies where men kneel To Heaven!—but Heaven rebukes my zeal! The cause of Truth and human weal, O God above! Transfer it from the sword's appeal To Peace and Love.
Peace, Love! the cherubim, that join Their spread wings o'er Devotion's shrine, Prayers sound in vain, and temples shine, Where they are not,— The heart alone can make divine Religion's spot.
To incantations dost thou trust, And pompous rites in domes august? See mouldering stones and metal's rust Belie the vaunt, That man can bless one pile of dust With chime or chant.
The ticking wood-worm mocks thee, man! Thy temples,—creeds themselves grow wan! But there's a dome of nobler span, A temple given Thy faith, that bigots dare not ban,— Its space is heaven!
Its roof, star-pictured Nature's ceiling, Where, trancing the rapt spirit's feeling, And God himself to man revealing, The harmonious spheres Make music, though unheard their pealing By mortal ears.
Fair stars! are not your beings pure? Can sin, can death, your worlds obscure? Else why so swell the thoughts at your Aspect above? Ye must be heavens that make us sure Of heavenly love!
And in your harmony sublime I read the doom of distant time; That man's regenerate soul from crime Shall yet be drawn, And reason on his mortal clime Immortal dawn.
What's hallowed ground? 'Tis what gives birth To sacred thoughts in souls of worth!— Peace! Independence! Truth! go forth Earth's compass round; And your high-priesthood shall make earth All hallowed ground.
* * * * *
THE WOLF AND THE DOG.
A prowling wolf, whose shaggy skin (So strict the watch of dogs had been) Hid little but his bones, Once met a mastiff dog astray. A prouder, fatter, sleeker Tray No human mortal owns. Sir Wolf, in famished plight, Would fain have made a ration Upon his fat relation: But then he first must fight; And well the dog seemed able To save from wolfish table His carcass snug and tight. So then in civil conversation The wolf expressed his admiration Of Tray's fine case. Said Tray politely, "Yourself, good sir, may be as sightly; Quit but the woods, advised by me: For all your fellows here, I see, Are shabby wretches, lean and gaunt, Belike to die of haggard want. With such a pack, of course it follows, One fights for every bit he swallows. Come then with me, and share On equal terms our princely fare." "But what with you Has one to do?" Inquires the wolf. "Light work indeed," Replies the dog: "you only need To bark a little now and then, To chase off duns and beggar-men, To fawn on friends that come or go forth, Your master please, and so forth; For which you have to eat All sorts of well-cooked meat— Cold pullets, pigeons, savory messes— Besides unnumbered fond caresses." The wolf, by force of appetite, Accepts the terms outright, Tears glistened in his eyes; But faring on, he spies A galled spot on the mastiff's neck. "What's that?" he cries. "Oh, nothing but a speck." "A speck?"—"Ay, ay: 'tis not enough to pain me: Perhaps the collar's mark by which they chain me." "Chain! chain you! What! run you not, then, Just where you please and when?" "Not always, sir; but what of that?" "Enough for me, to spoil your fat! It ought to be a precious price Which could to servile chains entice; For me, I'll shun them while I've wit." So ran Sir Wolf, and runneth yet.
From the French of JEAN DE LA FONTAINE.
Translation of ELIZUR WRIGHT.
* * * * *
RIENZI TO THE ROMANS.
Friends! I come not here to talk. Ye know too well The story of our thraldom. We are slaves! The bright sun rises to his course, and lights A race of slaves! he sets, and his last beam Falls on a slave! Not such as, swept along By the full tide of power, the conqueror leads To crimson glory and undying fame, But base, ignoble slaves!—slaves to a horde Of petty tyrants, feudal despots; lords Rich in some dozen paltry villages, Strong in some hundred spearmen, only great In that strange spell,—a name! Each hour, dark fraud, Or open rapine, or protected murder, Cries out against them. But this very day An honest man, my neighbor (pointing to PAOLO), —there he stands,— Was struck—struck like a dog—by one who wore The badge of Ursini! because, forsooth, He tossed not high his ready cap in air, Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts, At sight of that great ruffian! Be we men, And suffer such dishonor? men, and wash not The stain away in blood? Such shames are common. I have known deeper wrongs. I, that speak to ye, I had a brother once, a gracious boy, Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope, Of sweet and quiet joy; there was the look Of Heaven upon his face which limners give To the beloved disciple. How I loved That gracious boy! younger by fifteen years, Brother at once and son! He left my side; A summer bloom on his fair cheeks, a smile Parting his innocent lips. In one short hour The pretty, harmless boy was slain! I saw The corse, the mangled corse, and then I cried For vengeance! Rouse ye, Romans! Rouse ye, slaves! Have ye brave sons?—Look in the next fierce brawl To see them die! Have ye fair daughters?—Look To see them live, torn from your arms, distained. Dishonored; and, if ye dare call for justice, Be answered by the lash! Yet this is Rome, That sat on her seven hills, and from her throne Of beauty ruled the world! Yet we are Romans! Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman Was greater than a king! And once again— Hear me, ye walls, that echoed to the tread Of either Brutus!—once again, I swear, The eternal city shall be free; her sons shall walk with princes.
MARY RUSSELL MITFORD.
* * * * *
FROM "THE GIAOUR."
Clime of the unforgotten brave! Whose land, from plain to mountain-cave, Was Freedom's home or Glory's grave! Shrine of the mighty! can it be That this is all remains of thee? Approach, thou craven, crouching slave; Say, is not this Thermopylae? These waters blue that round you lave, O servile offspring of the free,— Pronounce what sea, what shore is this? The gulf, the rock of Salamis! These scenes, their story not unknown, Arise, and make again your own; Snatch from the ashes of your sires The embers of their former fires; And he who in the strife expires Will add to theirs a name of fear That Tyranny shall quake to hear, And leave his sons a hope, a fame, They too will rather die than shame; For Freedom's battle once begun, Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son, Though baffled oft is ever won. Hear witness, Greece, thy living page; Attest it, many a deathless age: While kings, in dusty darkness hid, Have left a nameless pyramid, Thy heroes, though the general doom Hath swept the column from their tomb, A mightier monument command, The mountains of their native land! There points thy Muse to stranger's eye The graves of those that cannot die! 'Twere long to tell, and sad to trace, Each step from splendor to disgrace: Enough,—no foreign foe could quell Thy soul, till from itself it fell; Yes! self-abasement paved the way To villain-bonds and despot sway.
What can he tell who treads thy shore? No legend of thine olden time, No theme on which the Muse might soar, High as thine own in days of yore, When man was worthy of thy clime. The hearts within thy valleys bred, The fiery souls that might have led Thy sons to deeds sublime, Now crawl from cradle to the grave, Slaves—nay, the bondsmen of a slave, And callous save to crime.
* * * * *
FROM "CHILDE HAROLD" CANTO II.
Fair Greece! sad relic of departed worth! Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great! Who now shall lead thy scattered children forth, And long-accustomed bondage uncreate? Not such thy sons who whilom did await, The hopeless warriors of a willing doom, In bleak Thermopylae's sepulchral strait,— O, who that gallant spirit shall resume, Leap from Eurotas' banks, and call thee from the tomb?
Spirit of Freedom! when on Phyle's brow Thou sat'st with Thrasybulus and his train, Couldst thou forebode the dismal hour which now Dims the green beauties of thine Attic plain? Not thirty tyrants now enforce the chain, But every earle can lord it o'er thy land; Nor rise thy sons, but idly rail in vain, Trembling beneath the scourge of Turkish hand, From birth till death enslaved; in word, in deed, unmanned.
In all save form alone, how changed! and who That marks the fire still sparkling in each eye, Who but would deem their bosoms burned anew With thy unquenched beam, lost liberty! And many dream withal the hour is nigh That gives them back their fathers' heritage; For foreign arms and aid they fondly sigh, Nor solely dare encounter hostile rage, Or tear their name defiled from Slavery's mournful page.
Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not, Who would be free themselves must strike the blow? By their right arms the conquest must be wrought? Will Gaul or Muscovite redress ye? No! True, they may lay your proud despoilers low, But not for you will Freedom's altars flame. Shades of the Helots! triumph o'er your foe! Greece! change thy lords, thy state is still the same; Thy glorious day is o'er, but not thy years of shame!
And yet how lovely in thine age of woe, Land of lost gods and godlike men, art thou! Thy vales of evergreen, thy hills of snow, Proclaim thee Nature's varied favorite now. Thy fanes, thy temples to thy surface bow, Commingling slowly with heroic earth. Broke by the share of every rustic plough: So perish monuments of mortal birth. So perish all in turn, save well-recorded worth;
Save where some solitary column mourns Above its prostrate brethren of the cave; Save where Tritonia's airy shrine adorns Colonna's cliff, and gleams along the wave; Save o'er some warrior's half-forgotten grave, Where the gray stones and long-neglected grass Ages, but not oblivion, feebly brave, While strangers only not regardless pass, Lingering like me, perchance, to gaze, and sigh "Alas!"
Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild, Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields, Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled, And still his honeyed wealth Hymettus yields; There the blithe bee his fragrant fortress builds, The free-born wanderer of thy mountain air; Apollo still thy long, long summer gilds, Still in his beam Mendeli's marbles glare: Art, Glory, Freedom fail, but Nature still is fair.
Where'er we tread, 'tis haunted, holy ground; No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould, But one vast realm of wonder spreads around, And all the Muse's tales seem truly told, Till the sense aches with gazing to behold The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon: Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold, Defies the power which crushed thy temples gone: Age shakes Athena's tower, but spares gray Marathon.
* * * * *
SONG OF THE GREEK POET.
FROM "DON JUAN," CANTO III.
The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece! Where burning Sappho loved and sung, Where grew the arts of war and peace, Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung! Eternal summer gilds them yet; But all, except their sun, is set.
The Scian and the Teian muse, The hero's harp, the lover's lute, Have found the fame your shores refuse; Their place of birth alone is mute To sounds which echo further west Than your sires' Islands of the Blest.
The mountains look on Marathon, And Marathon looks on the sea: And musing there an hour alone, I dreamed that Greece might still be free; For, standing on the Persians' grave, I could not deem myself a slave.
A king sat on the rocky brow Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis; And ships, by thousands, lay below, And men in nations—all were his! He counted them at break of day— And when the sun set, where were they?
And where are they? and where art thou, My country? On thy voiceless shore The heroic lay is tuneless now, The heroic bosom beats no more! And must thy lyre, so long divine, Degenerate into hands like mine?
'Tis something in the dearth of fame, Though linked among a fettered race, To feel at least a patriot's shame, Even as I sing, suffuse my face; For what is left the poet here? For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.
Must we but weep o'er days more blest? Must we but blush? Our fathers bled. Earth! render back from out thy breast A remnant of our Spartan dead! Of the three hundred grant but three, To make a new Thermopylae!
What! silent still? and silent all? Ah no!—the voices of the dead Sound like a distant torrent's fall, And answer, "Let one living head, But one, arise—we come, we come!" 'Tis but the living who are dumb.
In vain,—in vain; strike other chords; Fill high the cup with Samian wine! Leave battles to the Turkish hordes, And shed the blood of Scio's vine! Hark! rising to the ignoble call, How answers each bold Bacchanal!
You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,— Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone? Of two such lessons, why forget The nobler and the manlier one? You have the letters Cadmus gave,— Think ye he meant them for a slave?
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! We will not think of themes like these! It made Anacreon's song divine: He served, but served Polycrates,— A tyrant; but our masters then Were still, at least, our countrymen.
The tyrant of the Chersonese Was freedom's best and bravest friend; That tyrant was Miltiades! O that the present hour would lend Another despot of the kind! Such chains as his were sure to bind.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! On Suli's rock and Parga's shore Exists the remnant of a line Such as the Doric mothers bore; And there perhaps some seed is sown The Heracleidan blood might own.
Trust not for freedom to the Franks,— They have a king who buys and sells: In native swords, and native ranks, The only hope of courage dwells; But Turkish force, and Latin fraud, Would break your shield, however broad.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine! Our virgins dance beneath the shade,— see their glorious black eyes shine; But, gazing on each glowing maid, My own the burning tear-drop laves, To think such breasts must suckle slaves.
Place me on Sunium's marbled steep, Where nothing, save the waves and I, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep; There, swan-like, let me sing and die. A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine,— Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!
* * * * *
TO ALTHEA FROM PRISON.
When Love with unconfined wings Hovers within my gates, And by divine Althea brings To whisper at my grates; When I lie tangled in her hair And fettered with her eye, The birds that wanton in the air Know no such liberty.
When flowing cups pass swiftly round With no allaying Thames, Our careless heads with roses crowned, Our hearts with loyal flames; When thirsty grief in wine we steep, When healths and draughts go free, Fishes that tipple in the deep Know no such liberty.
When, like committed linnets, I With shriller throat shall sing The mercy, sweetness, majesty And glories of my King; When I shall voice aloud, how good He is, how great should be, Enlarged winds that curl the flood Know no such liberty.
Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for an hermitage: If I have freedom in my love, And in my soul am free, Angels alone, that soar above, Enjoy such liberty.
* * * * *
FROM "THE TIMEPIECE": "THE TASK," BK. II.
O for a lodge in some vast wilderness, Some boundless contiguity of shade, Where rumor of oppression and deceit, Of unsuccessful or successful war, Might never reach me more! My ear is pained, My soul is sick, with every day's report Of wrong and outrage with which earth is filled. There is no flush in man's obdurate heart; It does not feel for man; the natural bond Of brotherhood is served as the flax, That falls asunder at the touch of fire. He finds his fellow guilty of a skin Not colored like his own, and, having power To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. Lands intersected by a narrow frith Abhor each other. Mountains interposed Make enemies of nations, who had else Like kindred drops been mingled into one. Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys; And, worse than all, and most to be deplored As human nature's broadest, foulest blot, Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat With stripes, that Mercy, with a bleeding heart, Weeps, when she sees inflicted on a beast. Then what is man? And what man, seeing this, And having human feelings, does not blush, And hang his head, to think himself a man? I would not have a slave to till my ground, To carry me, to fan me while I sleep, And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth That sinews bought and sold have ever earned. No; dear as freedom is, and in my heart's Just estimation prized above all price, I had much rather be myself the slave, And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. We have no slaves at home.—Then why abroad? And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave That parts us, are emancipate and loosed. Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs Receive our air, that moment they are free; They touch our country, and their shackles fall. That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then, And let it circulate through every vein Of all your empire; that, where Britain's power Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.
* * * * *
SONG OF THE WESTERN MEN.
[After the English Revolution of 1688, all bishops were compelled to swear allegiance to William and Mary. Seven of them, adherents of James II., refused and were imprisoned for treason,—the "Non-Jurors." Trelawney of Cornwall was one.]
A good sword and a trusty hand, A merry heart and true, King James's men shall understand What Cornish lads can do. And have they fixed the where and when, And shall Trelawney die? Then twenty thousand Cornish men Will know the reason why. What! will they scorn Tre, Pol, and Pen? And shall Trelawney die? Then twenty thousand under ground Will know the reason why.
Out spake the captain brave and bold, A merry wight was he: "Though London's Tower were Michael's hold, We'll set Trelawney free. We'll cross the Tarnar hand to hand, The Exe shall be no stay; We'll side by side from strand to strand, And who shall bid us nay? What! will they scorn Tre, Pol, and Pen? And shall Trelawney die? Then twenty thousand Cornish men Will know the reason why.
"And when we come to London wall We'll shout with it in view, 'Come forth, come forth, ye cowards all! We're better men than you! Trelawney, he's in keep and hold, Trelawney, he may die; But here's twenty thousand Cornish bold Will know the reason why!' What! will they scorn Tre, Pol, and Pen? And shall Trelawney die? Then twenty thousand under ground Will know the reason why."
ROBERT STEPHEN HAWKER.
* * * * *
THE HARP THAT ONCE THROUGH TARA'S HALLS.
The harp that once through Tara's halls The soul of music shed, Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls As if that soul were fled. So sleeps the pride of former days, So glory's thrill is o'er, And hearts that once beat high for praise Now feel that pulse no more!
No more to chiefs and ladies bright The harp of Tara swells; The chord alone that breaks at night Its tale of ruin tells. Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes, The only throb she gives Is when some heart indignant breaks, To show that still she lives.
* * * * *
AS BY THE SHORE AT BREAK OF DAY.
As by the shore, at break of day, A vanquished chief expiring lay, Upon the sands, with broken sword, He traced his farewell to the free; And there the last unfinished word He dying wrote, was "Liberty!"
At night a sea-bird shrieked the knell Of him who thus for freedom fell: The words he wrote, ere evening came, Were covered by the sounding sea;— So pass away the cause and name Of him who dies for liberty!
* * * * *
THE HILLS WERE MADE FOR FREEDOM.
When freedom from her home was driven, 'Mid vine-clad vales of Switzerland, She sought the glorious Alps of heaven, And there, 'mid cliffs by lightnings riven, Gathered her hero-band.
And still outrings her freedom-song, Amid the glaciers sparkling there, At Sabbath bell, as peasants throng Their mountain fastnesses along, Happy, and free as air.
The hills were made for freedom; they Break at a breath the tyrant's rod; Chains clank in valleys; there the prey Writhes 'neath Oppression's heel alway: Hills bow to none but God!
WILLIAM GOLDSMITH BROWN.
* * * * *
FROM "WILLIAM TELL."
Once Switzerland was free! With what a pride I used to walk these hills,—look up to heaven, And bless God that it was so! It was free From end to end, from cliff to lake 'twas free! Free as our torrents are, that leap our rocks, And plough our valleys, without asking leave; Or as our peaks, that wear their caps of snow In very presence of the regal sun! How happy was I in it then! I loved Its very storms. Ay, often have I sat In my boat at night, when, midway o'er the lake, The stars went out, and down the mountain gorge The wind came roaring,—I have sat and eyed The thunder breaking from his cloud, and smiled To see him shake his lightnings o'er my head, And think—I had no master save his own!
JAMES SHERIDAN KNOWLES.
* * * * *
MAKE WAY FOR LIBERTY!
[Battle of Sempach, fourteenth century.]
"Make way for Liberty!"—he cried; Made way for Liberty, and died! In arms the Austrian phalanx stood, A living wall, a human wood! A wall, where every conscious stone Seemed to its kindred thousands grown; A rampart all assaults to bear, Till time to dust their frames should wear; A wood like that enchanted grove In which with fiends Rinaldo strove, Where every silent tree possessed A spirit prisoned in its breast, Which the first stroke of coming strife Would startle into hideous life: So dense, so still, the Austrians stood, A living wall, a human wood! Impregnable their front appears, All horrent with projected spears, Whose polished points before them shine, From flank to flank, one brilliant line, Bright as the breakers' splendors run Along the billows to the sun.
Opposed to these, a hovering band Contended for their native land: Peasants, whose new-found strength had broke From manly necks the ignoble yoke, And forged their fetters into swords, On equal terms to fight their lords, And what insurgent rage had gained In many a mortal fray maintained: Marshalled once more at Freedom's call, They came to conquer or to fall, Where he who conquered, he who fell, Was deemed a dead, or living, Tell! Such virtues had that patriot breathed, So to the soil his soul bequeathed, That wheresoe'er his arrows flew Heroes in his own likeness grew, And warriors sprang from every sod Which his awakening footstep trod.
And now the work of life and death Hung on the passing of a breath; The fire of conflict burned within, The battle trembled to begin: Yet, while the Austrians held their ground, Point for attack was nowhere found; Where'er the impatient Switzers gazed, The unbroken line of lances blazed: That line 'twere suicide to meet, And perish at their tyrants' feet,— How could they rest within their graves, And leave their homes the homes of slaves? Would they not feel their children tread With clanging chains above their head?
It must not be: this day, this hour, Annihilates the oppressor's power; All Switzerland is in the field, She will not fly, she cannot yield,— She must not fall; her better fate Here gives her an immortal date. Few were the numbers she could boast; But every freeman was a host, And felt as though himself were he On whose sole arm hung victory.
It did depend on one indeed; Behold him,—Arnold Winkelried! There sounds not to the trump of fame The echo of a nobler name.
Unmarked he stood amid the throng, In rumination deep and long, Till you might see, with sudden grace, The very thought come o'er his face, And by the motion of his form Anticipate the bursting storm, And by the uplifting of his brow Tell where the bolt would strike, and how.
But ' twas no sooner thought than done, The field was in a moment won:—
"Make way for Liberty!" he cried, Then ran, with arms extended wide, As if his dearest friend to clasp; Ten spears he swept within his grasp.
"Make way for Liberty!" he cried; Their keen points met from side to side; He bowed amongst them like a tree, And thus made way for Liberty.
Swift to the breach his comrades fly; "Make way for Liberty!" they cry, And through the Austrian phalanx dart, As rushed the spears through Arnold's heart; While, instantaneous as his fall, Rout, ruin, panic, scattered all: An earthquake could not overthrow A city with a surer blow.
Thus Switzerland again was free; Thus Death made way for Liberty!
* * * * *
FROM "THE PLEASURES OF HOPE," PART I.
O sacred Truth! thy triumph ceased awhile, And Hope, thy sister, ceased with thee to smile, When leagued Oppression poured to Northern wars Her whiskered pandours and her fierce hussars, Waved her dread standard to the breeze of morn, Pealed her loud drum, and twanged her trumpet horn; Tumultuous horror brooded o'er her van, Presaging wrath to Poland—and to man! Warsaw's last champion from her height surveyed, Wide o'er the fields, a waste of ruin laid; "O Heaven!" he cried, "my bleeding country save!— Is there no hand on high to shield the brave? Yet, though destruction sweep these lovely plains, Rise, fellow-men! our country yet remains! By that dread name, we wave the sword on high, And swear for her to live—with her to die!" He said, and on the rampart-heights arrayed His trusty warriors, few, but undismayed; Firm-paced and slow, a horrid front they form, Still as the breeze, but dreadful as the storm; Low murmuring sounds along their banners fly, Revenge, or death,—the watchword and reply; Then pealed the notes, omnipotent to charm, And the loud tocsin tolled their last alarm!— In vain, alas! in vain, ye gallant few! From rank to rank your volleyed thunder flew:— O, bloodiest picture in the book of Time! Sarmatia fell, unwept, without a crime; Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe, Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe! Dropped from her nerveless grasp the shattered spear, Closed her bright eye, and curbed her high career; Hope, for a season, bade the world farewell, And Freedom shrieked—as Kosciusko fell!
* * * * *
Ye sons of freedom, wake to glory! Hark! hark! what myriads bid you rise! Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary, Behold their tears and hear their cries! Shall hateful tyrants, mischiefs breeding, With hireling hosts, a ruffian band, Affright and desolate the land, While peace and liberty lie bleeding? To arms! to arms! ye brave! The avenging sword unsheathe; March on! march on! all hearts resolved On victory or death.
Now, now the dangerous storm is rolling, Which treacherous kings confederate raise; The dogs of war, let loose, are howling, And lo! our fields and cities blaze; And shall we basely view the ruin, While lawless force, with guilty stride, Spreads desolation far and wide, With crimes and blood his hands imbruing? To arms! to arms! ye brave, etc.
O Liberty! can man resign thee, Once having felt thy generous flame? Can dungeons, bolts, or bars confine thee? Or whips thy noble spirit tame? Too long the world has wept, bewailing That falsehood's dagger tyrants wield, But freedom is our sword and shield, And all their arts are unavailing. To arms! to arms! ye brave, etc.
From the French of CLAUDE JOSEPH ROUGET DE LISLE.
* * * * *
A COURT LADY.
Her hair was tawny with gold, her eyes with purple were dark, Her cheeks' pale opal burnt with a red and restless spark.
Never was lady of Milan nobler in name and in race; Never was lady of Italy fairer to see in the face.
Never was lady on earth more true as woman and wife, Larger in judgment and instinct, prouder in manners and life.
She stood in the early morning, and said to her maidens, "Bring That silken robe made ready to wear at the court of the king.
"Bring me the clasps of diamonds, lucid, clear of the mote, Clasp me the large at the waist, and clasp me the small at the throat.
"Diamonds to fasten the hair, and diamonds to fasten the sleeves, Laces to drop from their rays, like a powder of snow from the eaves."
Gorgeous she entered the sunlight which gathered her up in a flame, While straight, in her open carriage, she to the hospital came.
In she went at the door, and gazing, from end to end, "Many and low are the pallets, but each is the place of a friend."
Up she passed through the wards, and stood at a young man's bed: Bloody the band on his brow, and livid the droop of his head.
"Art thou a Lombard, my brother? Happy art thou!" she cried, And smiled like Italy on him: he dreamed in her face and died.
Pale with his passing soul, she went on still to a second: He was a grave, hard man, whose years by dungeons were reckoned.
Wounds in his body were sore, wounds in his life were sorer. "Art thou a Romagnole?" Her eyes drove lightnings before her.
"Austrian and priest had joined to double and tighten the cord Able to bind thee, O strong one,—free by the stroke of a sword.
"Now be grave for the rest of us, using the life overcast To ripen our wine of the present (too new) in glooms of the past."
Down she stepped to a pallet where lay a face like a girl's, Young, pathetic with dying,—a deep black hole in the curls.
"Art thou from Tuscany, brother? and seest thou, dreaming in pain, Thy mother stand in the piazza, searching the list of the slain?"
Kind as a mother herself, she touched his cheeks with her hands: "Blessed is she who has borne thee, although she should weep as she stands."
On she passed to a Frenchman, his arm carried off by a ball: Kneeling,... "O more than my brother! how shall I thank thee for all?
"Each of the heroes round us has fought for his land and line, But thou hast fought for a stranger, in hate of a wrong not thine.
"Happy are all free peoples, too strong to be dispossessed; But blessed are those among nations who dare to be strong for the rest!"
Ever she passed on her way, and came to a couch where pined One with a face from Venetia, white with a hope out of mind.
Long she stood and gazed, and twice she tried at the name, But two great crystal tears were all that faltered and came.
Only a tear for Venice?—she turned as in passion and loss, And stooped to his forehead and kissed it, as if she were kissing the cross.
Faint with that strain of heart, she moved on then to another, Stern and strong in his death. "And dost thou suffer, my brother?"
Holding his hands in hers:—"Out of the Piedmont lion Cometh the sweetness of freedom! sweetest to live or to die on."
Holding his cold, rough hands,—"Well, O, well have ye done In noble, noble Piedmont, who would not be noble alone."
Back he fell while she spoke. She rose to her feet with a spring,— "That was a Piedmontese! and this is the Court of the King."
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
* * * * *
THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS IN NEW ENGLAND.
The breaking waves dashed high On a stern and rock-bound coast, And the woods against a stormy sky Their giant branches tossed;
And the heavy night hung dark The hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moored their bark On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes, They, the true-hearted, came; Not with the roll of the stirring drums, And the trumpet that sings of fame:
Not as the flying come, In silence and in fear;— They shook the depths of the desert gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang, And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free.
The ocean eagle soared From his nest by the white wave's foam, And the rocking pines of the forest roared,— This was their welcome home.
There were men with hoary hair Amidst that pilgrim-band: Why had they come to wither there, Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye, Lit by her deep love's truth; There was manhood's brow serenely high, And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar? Bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of the seas, the spoils of war?— They sought a faith's pure shrine!
Ay, call it holy ground, The soil where first they trod; They have left unstained what there they found,— Freedom to worship God.
* * * * *
THE AMERICAN FLAG.
When Freedom, from her mountain height, Unfurled her standard to the air, She tore the azure robe of night, And set the stars of glory there! She mingled with its gorgeous dyes The milky baldric of the skies, And striped its pure, celestial white With streakings of the morning light; Then, from his mansion in the sun, She called her eagle-bearer down, And gave into his mighty hand The symbol of her chosen land!
Majestic monarch of the cloud! Who rear'st aloft thy regal form, To hear the tempest trumping loud, And see the lightning lances driven, When strive the warriors of the storm, And rolls the thunder-drum of heaven,— Child of the Sun! to thee 'tis given To guard the banner of the free, To hover in the sulphur smoke, To ward away the battle-stroke, And bid its blendings shine afar, Like rainbows on the cloud of war, The harbingers of victory!
Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly, The sign of hope and triumph high! When speaks the signal-trumpet tone, And the long line comes gleaming on, Ere yet the life-blood, warm and wet, Has dimmed the glistening bayonet, Each soldier's eye shall brightly turn To where thy sky-born glories burn, And, as his springing steps advance, Catch war and vengeance from the glance.
And when the cannon-mouthings loud Heave in wild wreaths the battle shroud, And gory sabres rise and fall Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall, Then shall thy meteor glances glow, And cowering foes shall shrink beneath Each gallant arm that strikes below That lovely messenger of death.
Flag of the seas! on ocean wave Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave; When death, careering on the gale, Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail, And frighted waves rush wildly back Before the broadside's reeling rack, Each dying wanderer of the sea Shall look at once to heaven and thee, And smile to see thy splendors fly In triumph o'er his closing eye.
Flag of the free heart's hope and home, By angel hands to valor given! Thy stars have lit the welkin dome, And all thy hues were born in heaven. Forever float that standard sheet! Where breathes the foe but falls before us, With Freedom's soil beneath our feet, And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us!
JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE.
* * * * *
THE STAR-BANGLED BANNER.[A]
[Footnote A: Begun during the attack on Fort McHenry, by a British fleet, which on the night of Sept. 13, 1814, unsuccessfully bombarded that fort from the river Chesapeake; the author, an envoy from the city of Baltimore, having been detained as a prisoner on the fleet.]
O, say, can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?— Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the clouds of the fight O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming! And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
On that shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines on the stream; 'Tis the star-spangled banner! O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave; And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!
O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation! Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto. "In God is our trust:" And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.
* * * * *
NEW ENGLAND'S DEAD.
New England's dead! New England's dead! On every hill they lie; On every field of strife, made red By bloody victory. Each valley, where the battle poured Its red and awful tide, Beheld the brave New England sword With slaughter deeply dyed. Their bones are on the northern hill, And on the southern plain, By brook and river, lake and rill, And by the roaring main.
The land is holy where they fought, And holy where they fell; For by their blood that land was bought, The land they loved so well, Then glory to that valiant band, The honored saviours of the land!
O, few and weak their numbers were,— A handful of brave men; But to their God they gave their prayer, And rushed to battle then. The God of battles heard their cry, And sent to them the victory.
They left the ploughshare in the mold, Their flocks and herds without a fold, The sickle in the unshorn grain, The corn, half-garnered, on the plain, And mustered, in their simple dress, For wrongs to seek a stern redress, To right those wrongs, come weal, come woe, To perish, or o'ercome their foe.
And where are ye, O fearless men? And where are ye to-day? I call:—the hills reply again That ye have passed away; That on old Bunker's lonely height, In Trenton, and in Monmouth ground, The grass grows green, the harvest bright Above each soldier's mound. The bugle's wild and warlike blast Shall muster them no more; An army now might thunder past, And they heed not its roar. The starry flag, 'neath which they fought In many a bloody day, From their old graves shall rouse them not, For they have passed away.
* * * * *
All grim and soiled and brown and tan, I saw a Strong One, in his wrath, Smiting the godless shrines of man Along his path.
The Church beneath her trembling dome Essayed in vain her ghostly charm: Wealth shook within his gilded home With strange alarm.
Fraud from his secret chambers fled Before the sunlight bursting in: Sloth drew her pillow o'er her head To drown the din.
"Spare," Art implored, "yon holy pile; That grand old time-worn turret spare:" Meek Reverence, kneeling in the aisle Cried out, "Forbear!"
Gray-bearded Use, who, deaf and blind, Groped for his old accustomed stone, Leaned on his staff, and wept to find His seat o'erthrown.
Young Romance raised his dreamy eyes, O'erhung with paly locks of gold,— "Why smite," he asked in sad surprise, "The fair, the old?"
Yet louder rang the Strong One's stroke, Yet nearer flashed his axe's gleam; Shuddering and sick of heart I woke, As from a dream.
I looked: aside the dust-cloud rolled,— The Waster seemed the Builder too; Upspringing from the ruined Old I saw the New.
'Twas but the ruin of the bad,— The wasting of the wrong and ill; Whate'er of good the old time had Was living still.
Calm grew the brows of him I feared, The frown which awed me passed away, And left behind a smile which cheered Like breaking day.
The grain grew green on battle-plains, O'er swarded war-mounds grazed the cow; The slave stood forging from his chains The spade and plough.
Where frowned the fort, pavilions gay And cottage windows, flower-entwined, Looked out upon the peaceful bay And hills behind.
Through vine-wreathed cups with wine once red. The lights on brimming crystal fell, Drawn, sparkling, from the rivulet head And mossy well.
Through prison-walls, like Heaven-sent hope, Fresh breezes blew, and sunbeams strayed, And with the idle gallows-rope The young child played.
Where the doomed victim in his cell Had counted o'er the weary hours, Glad school-girls, answering to the bell, Came crowned with flowers.
Grown wiser for the lesson given, I fear no longer, for I know That where the share is deepest driven The best fruits grow.
The outworn rite, the old abuse, The pious fraud transparent grown, The good held captive in the use Of wrong alone,—
These wait their doom, from that great law Which makes the past time serve to-day; And fresher life the world shall draw From their decay.
O backward-looking son of time! The new is old, the old is new, The cycle of a change sublime Still sweeping through.
So wisely taught the Indian seer; Destroying Seva, forming Brahm, Who wake by turn Earth's love and fear, Are one, the same.
Idly as thou, in that old day Thou mournest, did thy sire repine; So, in his time, thy child grown gray Shall sigh for thine.
But life shall on and upward go; The eternal step of Progress beats To that great anthem, calm and slow, Which God repeats.
Take heart!—the Waster builds again,— A charmed life old Goodness hath; The tares may perish,—but the grain Is not for death.
God works in all things; all obey His first propulsion from the night: Wake thou and watch!—the world is gray With morning light!
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
* * * * *
FREEDOM OF THE MIND.
WRITTEN WHILE IN PRISON FOR DENOUNCING THE DOMESTIC SLAVE-TRADE.
High walls and huge the body may confine, And iron gates obstruct the prisoner's gaze, And massive bolts may baffle his design, And vigilant keepers watch his devious ways; But scorns the immortal mind such base control: No chains can bind it and no cell enclose. Swifter than light it flies from pole to pole, And in a flash from earth to heaven it goes. It leaps from mount to mount; from vale to vale It wanders, plucking honeyed fruits and flowers; It visits home to hear the fireside tale And in sweet converse pass the joyous hours; 'Tis up before the sun, roaming afar, And in its watches wearies every star.
WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON.
* * * * *
THE PRESENT CRISIS.
When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth's aching breast Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west, And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels the soul within him climb To the awful verge of manhood, as the energy sublime Of a century bursts full-blossomed on the thorny stem of Time.
Through the walls of hut and palace shoots the instantaneous throe, When the travail of the Ages wrings earth's systems to and fro; At the birth of each new Era, with a recognizing start, Nation wildly looks at nation, standing with mute lips apart. And glad Truth's yet mightier man-child leaps beneath the Future's heart.
So the Evil's triumph sendeth, with a terror and a chill, Under continent to continent, the sense of coming ill, And the slave, where'er he cowers, feels his sympathies with God In hot tear-drops ebbing earthward, to be drunk up by the sod, Till a corpse crawls round unburied, delving in the nobler clod.
For mankind are one in spirit, and an instinct bears along, Round the earth's electric circle, the swift flush of right or wrong; Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity's vast frame Through its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or shame;— In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim.
Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight, Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right, And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.
Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party thou shalt stand, Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shakes the dust against our land? Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet 'tis Truth alone is strong, And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.
Backward look across the ages and the beacon-moments see, That, like peaks of some sunk continent, jut through Oblivion's sea; Not an ear in court or market for the low foreboding cry Of those Crises, God's stern winnowers, from whose feet earth's chaff must fly; Never shows the choice momentous till the judgment hath passed by.
Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the Word; Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,— Yet that scaffold sways the Future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.
We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great, Slow of faith, how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate, But the soul is still oracular; amid the market's din, List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within,— "They enslave their children's children who make compromise with sin."
Slavery, the earthborn Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood, Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth with blood, Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day, Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey;— Shall we guide his gory fingers where our helpless children play?
Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust, Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just; Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified, And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.
Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes,—they were souls that stood alone, While the men they agonized for hurled the contumelious stone, Stood serene, and down the future saw the golden beam incline To the side of perfect justice, mastered by their faith divine, By one man's plain truth to manhood and to God's supreme design.
By the light of burning heretics Christ's bleeding feet I track, Toiling up new Calvaries ever with the cross that turns not back, And these mounts of anguish number how each generation learned One new word of that grand Credo which in prophet-hearts hath burned Since the first man stood God-conquered with his face to heaven upturned.
For Humanity sweeps onward: where to-day the martyr stands, On the morrow crouches Judas with the silver in his hands; Far in front the cross stands ready and the crackling fagots burn, While the hooting mob of yesterday in silent awe return To glean up the scattered ashes into History's golden urn.
'Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves Of a legendary virtue carved upon our fathers' graves, Worshippers of light ancestral make the present light a crime;— Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their time? Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, that make Plymouth rock sublime?
They were men of present valor, stalwart old iconoclasts, Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all virtue was the Past's; But we make their truth our falsehood, thinking that hath made us free, Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while our tender spirits flee The rude grasp of that Impulse which drove them across the sea.
They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires, Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar-fires; Shall we make their creed our jailer? Shall we, in our haste to slay, From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?
New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth; Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be, Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea, Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
* * * * *
THE LITTLE CLOUD.[A]
[Footnote A: Arousing of Anti-Slavery agitation, when it was proposed in Congress to abolish the "Missouri Compromise" and throw open the Territories to slavery if their people should so vote.]
As when, on Carmel's sterile steep, The ancient prophet bowed the knee, And seven times sent his servant forth To look toward the distant sea;
There came at last a little cloud, Scarce larger than the human hand, Spreading and swelling till it broke In showers on all the herbless land;
And hearts were glad, and shouts went up, And praise to Israel's mighty God, As the sear hills grew bright with flowers, And verdure clothed the valley sod,—
Even so our eyes have waited long; But now a little cloud appears, Spreading and swelling as it glides Onward into the coming years.
Bright cloud of Liberty! full soon, Far stretching from the ocean strand, Thy glorious folds shall spread abroad, Encircling our beloved land.
Like the sweet rain on Judah's hills, The glorious boon of love shall fall, And our bond millions shall arise, As at an angel's trumpet-call.
Then shall a shout of joy go up,— The wild, glad cry of freedom come From hearts long crushed by cruel hands, And songs from lips long sealed and dumb;
And every bondman's chain be broke, And every soul that moves abroad In this wide realm shall know and feel The blessed Liberty of God.
JOHN HOWARD BRYANT.
* * * * *
BROWN OF OSSAWATOMIE.
John Brown of Ossawatomie spake on his dying day: "I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery's pay; But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free, With her children, from the gallows-stair put up a prayer for me!"
John Brown of Ossawatomie, they led him out to die; And lo! a poor slave-mother with her little child pressed nigh: Then the bold, blue eye grew tender, and the old harsh face grew mild, As he stooped between the jeering ranks and kissed the negro's child!
The shadows of his stormy life that moment fell apart, And they who blamed the bloody hand forgave the loving heart; That kiss from all its guilty means redeemed the good intent, And round the grisly fighter's hair the martyr's aureole bent!
Perish with him the folly that seeks through evil good! Long live the generous purpose unstained with human blood! Not the raid of midnight terror, but the thought which underlies; Not the borderer's pride of daring, but the Christian's sacrifice.
Nevermore may yon Blue Ridges the Northern rifle hear, Nor see the light of blazing homes flash on the negro's spear; But let the free-winged angel Truth their guarded passes scale, To teach that right is more than might, and justice more than mail!
So vainly shall Virginia set her battle in array; In vain her trampling squadrons knead the winter snow with clay! She may strike the pouncing eagle, but she dares not harm the dove; And every gate she bars to Hate shall open wide to Love!
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
* * * * *
WORDS FOR THE "HALLELUJAH CHORUS."
John Brown's body lies a-moldering in the grave, John Brown's body lies slumbering in his grave— But John Brown's soul is marching with the brave, His soul is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His soul is marching on.
He has gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord; He is sworn as a private in the ranks of the Lord,— He shall stand at Armageddon with his brave old sword, When Heaven is marching on.
He shall file in front where the lines of battle form, He shall face to front when the squares of battle form— Time with the column, and charge in the storm, Where men are marching on.
Ah, foul Tyrants! do ye hear him where he comes? Ah, black traitor! do ye know him as he comes, In thunder of the cannon and roll of the drums, As we go marching on?
Men may die, and molder in the dust— Men may die, and arise again from dust, Shoulder to shoulder, in the ranks of the Just, When Heaven is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His soul is marching on.
HENRY HOWARD BROWNELL.
* * * * *
BATTLE-HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord: He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.
I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps; They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel: "As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on."
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat: O, be swift, my soul, to answer him! be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me; As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.
JULIA WARD HOWE.
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JOHN CHARLES FREMONT.[A]