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Vainly to the child of Fashion,
Giving to ideal woe
Graceful luxury of compassion,
Shall the stricken mourner go ;
Hateful seems the earnest sorrow, beautiful the hollow show!
Nay, my words are all too sweeping;
In this crowded human mart,
Feeling is not dead, but sleeping;
Man's strong will and woman's heart,
In the coming strife for Freedom, yet shall bear their generous
And from yonder sunny valleys,
Southward in the distance lost,
Freedom yet shall summon allies
Worthier than the North can boast,
With the Evil by their hearth-stones grappling at severer cost.
Now, the soul alone is willing.
Faint the heart and weak the knee;
And as yet no lip is thrilling
With the mighty words “ BE FREE!”
Tarrieth long the land's Good Angel, but his advent is to be!
Meanwhile, turning from the reve'
To the prison-cell my sight,
For intenser hate of evil,
For a keener sense of right,
Shaking off thy dust, I thank thee, City of the Slaves, to-night!
“ To thy duty now and ever!
Dream no more of rest or stay ;
Give to Freedom's great endeavor
All thou art and hast to-day":-
Thus, above the city's murmur, saith a Voice, or seems to say.
Ye with heart and vision gifted
To discern and love the right,
Whose worn faces have been lifted
To the slowly-growing light,
Where from Freedom's sunrise drifted slowly back the murk of
Ye who through long years of trial
Still have held your purpose fast,
While a lengthening shade the dial
From the westering sunshine cast,
And of hope each hour's denial seemed an echo of the last ! -
O my brothers ! O my sisters !
Would to God that ye were near,
Gazing with me down the vistas
Of a sorrow strange and drear;
Would to God that ye were listeners to the Voice I seem to hear !
With the storm above us driving,
With the false earth mined below
Who shall marvel if thus striving
We have counted friend as foe;
Unto one another giving in the darkness blow for blow.
Well it may be that our natures
Have grown sterner and more hard,
And the freshness of their features
Somewhat harsh and battle-scarred,
And their harmonies of feeling overtasked and rudely jarred.
Be it so. It should not swerve us
From a purpose true and brave;
Dearer Freedom's rugged service
Than the pastime of the slave;
Better is the storm above it than the quiet of the grave.
Let us then, uniting, bury
All our idle feuds in dust,
And to future conflicts carry
Mutual faith and common trust;
Always he who most forgiveth in his brother is most just.
From the eternal shadow rounding
All our sun and starlight here,
Voices of our lost ones sounding
Bid us be of heart and cheer,
Through the silence, down the spaces, falling on the inward ear.
Know we not our dead are looking
Downward with a sad surprise,
All our strife of words rebuking
With their mild and loving eyes ?
Shall we grieve the holy angels ? Shall we cloud their blessed
Let us draw their mantles o'er us
Which have fallen in our way;
Let us do the work before us,
Cheerly, bravely, while we may,
Ere the long night-silence cometh, and with us it is not day!
FROM Yorktown's ruins, ranked and still,
Two lines stretch far o'er vale and hill :
Who curbs his steed at head of one?
Hark! the low murmur: Washington !
Who bends his keen, approving glance
Where down the gorgeous line of France
Shine knightly star and plume of snow?
Thou too art victor, Rochambeau !
The earth which bears this calm array
Shook with the war-charge yesterday,
Ploughed deep with hurrying hoof and wheel,
Shot-sown and bladed thick with steel;
October's clear and noonday sun
Paled in the breath-smoke of the gun,
And down night's double blackness fell,
Like a dropped star, the blazing shell.
Now all is hushed : the gleaming lines
Stand moveless as the neighboring pines ;
While through them, sul grim, and slow,
The conquered hosts of England go :
O'Hara's brow belies his dress,
Gay Tarleton's troop rides bannerless :
Shout, from thy fired and wasted homes,
Thy scourge, Virginia, captive comes !
Nor thou alone: with one glad voice
Let all thy sister States rejoice;
Let Freedom, in whatever clime
She waits with sleepless eye her time,
Shouting from cave and mountain wood,
Make glad her desert solitude,
While they who hunt her quail with fear :
The New World's chain lies broken here !
But who are they, who, cowering, wait
Within the shattered fortress gate ?
Dark tillers of Virginia's soil,
Classed with the battle's common spoil,
With household stuffs, and fowl, and swine;
With Indian weed and planters' wine,
With stolen beeves, and foraged corn,
Are they not men, Virginian born ?
O, veil your faces, young and brave !
Sleep, Scammel, in thy soldier grave!
Sons of the Northland, ye who set
Stout hearts against the bayonet,
And pressed with steady footfall near
The moated battery's blazing tier,
Turn your scarred faces from the sight,
Let shame do homage to the right!
Lo! threescore years have passed ; and where
The Gallic timbrel stirred the air,
With Northern drum-roll, and the clear,
Wild horn-blow of the mountaineer,
While Britain grounded on that plain
The arms she might not lift again,
As abject as in that old day
The slave still toils his life away.
O, fields still green and fresh in story,
Old days of pride, old names of glory,
Old marvels of the tongue and pen,
Old thoughts which stirred the hearts of men,
Ye spared the wrong; and over all
Behold the avenging shadow fall!
Your world-wide honor stained with shame,
Your freedom's self a hollow name!
Where's now the flag of that old war?
Where flows its stripe? Where burns its star?
Bear witness, Palo Alto's day,
Dark Vale of Palms, red Monterey,
Where Mexic Freedom, young and weak,
Fleshes the Northern eagle's beak:
Symbol of terror and despair,
Of chains and slaves, go seek it there !
Laugh, Prussia, midst thy iron ranks !
Laugh, Russia, from thy Neva's banks !
Brave sport to see the fledgling born
Of Freedom by its parent torn!
Safe now is Speilberg's dungeon cell,
Safe drear Siberia's frozen hell :
With Slavery's flag o'er both unrolled,
What of the New World fears the Old ?