'Tis Not Death
'Tis not death, but only gliding
Upward through the pearly gate,
Just to see that all is ready ;
Just a. little while to wait.
Just to fan the Eden bowers
With her new-tried angel wings,
And to sweep her snowy fingers
O'er her harp of golden strings.
'Tis not death, but only mingling
With those bright, angelic throngs,
That the blessed ones may teach her
All their grand, triumphant songs.
She will learn them of the angels;
She will know them when we come,
And, before we reach the portal,
We shall hear her ' Welcome home !'
'Tis not death, but only hastening
To the loyed ones gone before,
Just to learn how love unmeasured
Shall be hers for evermore.
Just to feel her spirit folded
In a father's warm embrace,
And to gaze, with joy and rapture,
On an angel sister's face.
'Tis not death : the soul's releasing—
Bursting of its prison bars—
Bounding back to God who gave it
Mounting upward to the stars—
Is but life—'tis life eternal
Here to close the weary eyes
But to open them, with transport,
On the beams of Paradise.
'Tis not death : we have not lost her:
§he has only gone before,
Just to hold a welcome ready
When we reach the shining shore.
Earthly ties are loosening round us,
Earthly hopes are laid aside;
Here in flesh, but there in spirit,—
Heaven is home since Maymie died.
To A Night-Blooming Cereus.
Beautiful flower, with petals white,
That only blooms in the hush of night,
That never reveals to the sunlight bold
The inner beauty thy petals hold,
As I sit to night, keeeping watch o'er thee,
Thou seem'st to blossom alone for me.
I have known some hearts like thine own, fair one,
That never would ope to the glaring sun ;
Whose wealth of sweetness was treasured up
Like the golden threads in thy opening cup ;
Who had never a throb nor a glow at all,
Except for the heart that received them all.
And some hearts I have known that the gathering gloom
Has seemed to call into perfect bloom ;
Whose garnered brightness with magic power
Came blossoming out in life's darkest hour;
Who waited, like thee and the stars on high,
Ere they gave their splendor to earth and sky.
Beautiful flower, in thy robe of white,
Thou seem' st like an angel of peace to-night ;
But, like joys that have vanished, or fond hopes dead,
Thy wondrous beauty will all have fled
When I wake at morn, and I'll only see
The corpse of the flower that bloomed for me.
But, like other memories I treasure there,
And hide in my heart with a miser's care,
In that inner temple, that none may see
Except when I lift the veil for thee,
I will hold the thought of our converse sweet,
With hope and rapturous joy replete.
For we've talked together, thou and I,
When none but God and ourselves was nigh ;
I have touched my cheek to thy snowy tips,
And breathed a prayer on thy opening lips ;
And thou, in turn, to my weary heart
Didst strength and comfort and faith impart.
And now I will bid thee a fond 'good-night,'
With thy petals spread t as for upward flight ;
And my thoughts shall be of an angel flower
That blooms above in a fairer bower,
Where the dear ones, waiting, may turn to see
The beautiful bud that unclosed for me.
A Dirge For Horace Greeley
Weep, weep, O my country ! the cord has been severed
That bound the great heart of a statesman to thee ;
The spirit has fled that so nobly endeavored
To save from Disunion the land of the Free.
The beautiful rod and the strong staff are broken,
A gem from the casket of glory is reft ;
He is gone, but his eloquent words as a token
Of genius unrivaled shall ever be left.
'Mid the storms of the past, though the billows swept o'er him,
He stood, all undaunted by tempest or tide ;
For the Nation, his idol, lay bleeding before him,
And he sprang to his duty and knelt by her side.
The Union, the home of the brave and true-hearted,
Half palsied through fear by War's startling command,
With white arms upraised, all her courage departed,
In silent despair gave the statesman her hand.
As tender as brave, with a patriot's devotion,
He held and sustained her till danger was past;
With whispers of cheer checked the rising commotion,
And led her, unharmed, to a haven at last.
And when the fierce roar of the battle was over,
And Peace brooded down over hill-side and plain,
He gathered the bands we thought scattered forever,
And tried, with firm hand, to unite them again.
The boon of a Nation we claimed as his dower,—
Of her he had struggled so nobly to save ;
But friends turned aside at the hope-freighted hour,
And freemen bestowed on their Greeley —a grave.
Yet it was not defeat, —he, unmurmuring, bore it,
Till stung by the venom of taunting and sneer ;
Then shrank his great heart from the clutches that tore it.
While mind fell a victim to torturing fear.
Ah, friends ! ye should learn that all brave hearts aie tender ;
That heroes stand firm 'mid the clash of the sword ;
But spirits like fris may be forced to surrender
When the weapon ye use is a low, scathing word.
I tell you 'twere kinder if blood had flowed freely,
Had our martyr been slain by an enemy's hand,
Than to sting him to madness, —to offer our Greeley
A sacrifice here, in his own native land !
Yet worth cannot die; and, on history's pages,
His record will tell what he dared for our sake ;
And proudly reveal to the oncoming ages
How a statesman can live and a true luart can break.
Oh, that generous heart ! it was full to o'erflowing
When the wife of his youth and his country were there ;
But the one had passed on, and the other was going
Far, far from his reach, and he died of despair.
The Dying Soldier
With forehead throbbing from pain,
With lips that were burning and dry,
A soldier lay, between heaps of slain,
By his comrades left to die.
Moans ! moans ! moans !
The air reeled, sick as they fell,
Yet still he sang the ' Song of the War,'
In the tone of a funeral knell.
'Fight ! fight! fight!
Through the summer's fervid heat;
And fight ! fight ! fight !
'Mid rain and snow and sleet.
Scarcely an hour to rest,
Scarcely an hour to pray,
Until, like me, a comrade falls
In the midst of the deadly fray.
' March ! march ! march !
Till the limbs are numb and sore;
And march ! march ! march !
Till the feet are bathed in gore.
Grown so athirst for blood
That, while halting, by woods or streams,
We fall asleep to meet our foes,.
And shoot them down in our dreams.
'On! on! on!
Brave comrades, with purpose true !
Your steadfast souls must never swerve
From the work ye dare to do.
For the Union ye must defend,—
Ay ! barter your lives to save,—
Now stands, like a reeling, tottering ship,
On the brink of a yawning grave.
' Peace ! peace ! peace !
O God ! will it never come ?
I can almost hear that pleading cry
From lips now pale and dumb ;
Can almost catch the words,
As they echo, near and far,
Through the widow's plaint and the orphan's wail,
' We have had enough of War !'
Home ! home ! home !
What memories o'er me steal!
It were sweet to die with the loved ones there,
In the room where we used to kneel
And offer our evening prayer
For those who had gone to fight ;
Ah me ! what a bitter time was that
When I breathed a sad l Good-night !'
'I think that I tasted all
The wormwood in sorrow's cup,
When Mary covered her streaming eyes
And held the baby up,—
When mother, so old and frail,
Came in for a parting kiss,
And prayed we might meet in a better world,
If not again in this.
' Home ! home ! home !
Oh, would they. were with me here !
To press their lips to my burning cheeks,
Or dew them with a tear.
Fond heart ! it is hard to go
When life seems so full of joy !
Who will shield my wife and the aged one,
And my helpless baby boy?'
With forehead throbbing from pain,
With lips that were fevered and dry,
A soldier lay, between heaps of slain,
By his comrades left to die.
The struggle—the fight was o'er;
His soul, on that summer's even,
Had floated off from the field of blood,
To Home and Peace and Heaven.
It was years ago one October day
When a shadow fell on my Life's bright way;
And, with fond hopes blighted and glad dreams fled,
I turned with a weary, desolate tread
To the home I had left with light step and free,
Where my mother waited and prayed for me.
Ah ! though crushed by woe, not of all bereft
Can we ever feel while this friend is left.
The love of a mother is strong and true,—
Unchanged, undiminished, our whole life through :
And her circling arms are our truest stay
When hopes we have cherished have passed away.
' Grandmother Dickey,' an aged dame,
Walked over to see me the day I came:
It was life's October with grandmother then,
While mother had passed her threescore and ten.
And they both would fain have soothed me there,
As I sat beside them jn mute despair.
'Grandmother' said it would not be long
Till my call would come from the ransomed throng ;
Life was only a span, and 'twould be so sweet
For friends, long parted, again to meet.
And she told me my duty was plain and clear
To comfort the dear ones left me here.
Then we all knelt down, the pilgrims twain,
With me between them ; and not in vain
Were the fervent prayers, as on bended knee
They asked the Father to comfort me.
For, like perfume wafted from fields of balm,
There came o'er my spirit a wondrous calm.
This was years ago, and a long, long while
It seemed as I passed o'er the grave-yard stile,
And on through the leaves of brown, crimson, and gold
That covered the graves from the Winter's cold;
Then sat me down where the maples wave
Their shadowy boughs o'er my mother's grave.
And my thoughts went back, as I bowed me there,
To an aged form, bent in earnest prayer;
And I said, She is old now as mother was then,—
If she lives, she has counted threescore and ten.
And musing thus, with my lifted eyes
Fixed on the dreary October skies,
I stood, while the branches above poured down
Their wealth of crimson and gold and brown;
Then turned to follow the sound they gave,
And to watch them fall on a new-made grave.
A rustling of feet 'mid the leaflets sere
Made me turn to look,—'twas a child drew near.
' Come hither, my lad ! Whose grave? Pray tell!'
' Why, Grandmother Dickey's : you knew her well.
She was old and feeble and wanted to go,
For so many were dead that she used to know.'
I measured the space. I was just between
The pilgrims' graves, as that day I had been
Between the twain when her voice arose
To the pitying Father to soothe my woes.
But the lips were silent that prayed for me
Whom Faith had forsaken on Life's rough sea.
And my heart wailed out a despairing moan,—
A cry for the earth-love forever flown ;
Until mother's voice through the silence came,
' Waiting and praying, love, all the same.'
And then 'Grandmother's' words, 'It will be so sweet
When friends, long parted, again shall meet ! '
Morning's hush was all around me,
Silence brooded everywhere,
When the early dawning found me
Bowed and crushed by wild despair ;
For my eldest-born before me
Prostrate lay with faltering breath,
And the shudder that stole o'er me
Seemed the icy touch of death.
Then the solemn hush was broken,
Tones from distant bells were blent.
When I asked, ' What means this token?'
I was answered, ' Only Lent.'
Only Lent ! To fastings holy,
Soon to end at Easter-tide,
They referred, while I bent lowly
O'er the blossom at my side.
Tender plant, whose love had lighted
Days of toil and nights of gloom ;
But whose buds of hope were blighted,
Blighted in their early bloom.
Ten short years to bless and cheer me
Had this April flower been sent ;
Ten short springs to blossom near me,
Then to wither. Only lent.
Heavier seemed my cross unto me
Than before .was ever borne,
When she whispered that she knew me
As I wept that sacred morn.
I forgot Who once hung bleeding
While this Day was wrapped in gloom ;
For our ransom interceding,
Bearing thus the sinner's doom ;
And my soul cried out in sorrow
For the deep affliction sent,
Murmuring, ' He may claim to-morrow
Her whose life is only lent.'
But the morrow came and ended,
And another dawned and sped ;
Then the morn when He ascended―
Rose in triumph from the dead,
Crowned with resurrection glory;
Gladly rang the matin bells,
Pealing forth the wondrous story
Through our t plains and woods and dells.
Then the sweet, pale face beside me
Whiter grew by suffering spent;
Joy without, but hope denied me:
She, I knew, was only lent.
Days since then I've sadly numbered ;
Twelve young moons have come and gone,
And her precious form has slumbered,―
Cold and still has slumbered on.
But her deathless soul ascended
To a loving Saviour's side,
Where, with angel voices blended,
Hers will chant at Easter-tide.
When I know her joyous spirit,
Resting thus in sweet content,
All heaven's transports may inherit,
Should I grieve, though only lent ?
Once again through tears I hearkened
To the deep-toned bells that rang,
Heralding the day that darkened
'Neath the crucifixion pang.
Then the angel of Bestowment,
Pitying my lonely hours,
Bent above my couch a moment
With a bud from Eden bowers;
As it touched my yearning bosom,
Life and hope and joy seemed sent
To enfold the tender blossom,
Given perhaps ; perhaps but lent !
Last year's crucifixion morning
Held for me a heavy cross ;
For 'twas then I heard the warning
Of my near approaching loss ;
Now again its dawn is over,
Prayers and matins all are said,
And an angel seems to hover,
Breathing blessings on my head.
Hark ! she whispers, 'lam near thee;
Let not life in gloom be spent,
Let this blossom soothe and cheer thee;
Christ himself was only lent.''
The Eastern Star
Read before the members of this degree at Hamilton, Illinois, on St. John's Day, June 24, 1875.
Most worthy Patron, Matron, friends,
The blue sky fondly o'er us bends;
This grand old river at our feet
Listens, as if 'twould fain repeat
To distant shore or passing breeze
A murmur of our melodies.
Oh, wisely chosen, the gentle Five,
Whose spotless virtues we should strive
To imitate, that we may be
Worthy adoptive Masonry ;
Worthy to learn their sacred rite
When heavenly Orders greet our sight;
Worthy to catch the mystic sign
When Eastern stars below us shine;
Worthy to learn the pass-word given
By the sweet Sisterhood of heaven,
When golden gates are open wide,
By loved ones on the other side.
Mizpah!* the very name is fraught
With sweet significance ; for thought
Carries the heart to other years;
The circlet on the hand appears
As first it glowed when, 'Only thine,'
Responded to the mystic sign.
On Gilead's mount the maiden stood,
Not dreaming of the vow of blood
That bound her, in her budding bloom,
To meet a dread, unaltered doom.
The father came, exultant, back,
Hoping a pet -lamb on the track
Would, bounding, welcome his return ;
But, ah ! sad fate the truth to learn !
His lovely child, with flying feet,
Hastened, her honored sire to meet.
Then Jephthah told his vow, and said,
' Would that my life might serve instead !'
But the proud daughter answered, ' No !
'Twas to the Lord,—it must be so.'
That answer stands, a first Degree,
In our adoptive Masonry.
O Constancy ! bright badge of love,
Ruth did thy mighty fullness prove.
' Where'er thou goest I will go;
Thy resting-place I, too, must know;
Thy fate, thy country, I will try,
And where thou diest I will die.'
Forsaking Moab's dewy sod,
Her kindred and her people's God,
Of faithful Mahlon's love bereft,
Her fond heart had Naomi left.
' Esther, my queen ! what wilt thou, say?
If half my kingdom, I obey !'
The golden sceptre near her bent,
Admiring numbers gazed intent;
She, kneeling, touched the shining thing,
And cried, ' My people ! O my king !'
Fidelity to kindred shone
In every feature, and her tone,
Though tremulous, was firm and brave
As the fond look of love she gave.
The Crown and Sceptre thus find place
Whene'er our third Degree we trace.
' Hadst Thou been here, he had not died !'
Weeping, the trusting Martha cried ;
'Yet, even now, O blessed Lord,
My soul hangs trembling on Thy word !'
Oh, love sublime ! Oh, wondrous power,
To stay her in affliction's hour!
Her white arms, raised in mute appeal,
Her spirit's eager hope reveal.
She sees,—she feels her Saviour nigh,
And Faith repeats its yearning cry :
'I know that he will rise again,
Yet even now'—and not in vain
The sweet voice plead,—she led the way
To where the lifeless Lazarus lay;
And then across His brow there swept
A mortal sorrow,—
Then His diviner nature spoke :
' Lazarus, come forth !' The dead awoke
To learn a woman's faith could prove
The largeness of a Saviour's love,
To learn His pitying heart could melt
When those He Joved in anguish knelt.
Our broken Column,—fourth Degree,
Is type of Death in Masonry;
The Evergreen, its shaft beside,
Emblem of fields beyond the tide,
Where, in Fidelity complete,
Sits Martha at her Saviour's feet.
' Forgive them, Father ! they are blind !'
Thus prayed Electa, ever kind;
Her husband, children, home were gone,
Yet, brave and true, she stood alone.
The tender hands that gently led
The needy in, the hungry fed,
That prisoned in their fervent hold
The wretched wanderer, pinched and cold,
That held her hospitable Cup
To famished lips so bravely up,
Those hands condemned (so soft and fair)
The Crucifixion pang to bear !
Her perfect confidence in God,
Her sweet submission 'neath the rod,
Form, of her attributes, the key
To ope our sacred fifth Degree.
Lo ! in the East the Magi saw
The star, and, filled with holy awe,
They followed, in their winding way,
To where the Babe of Bethlehem lay.
A woman's hand its brow caressed,—
'Twas pillowed on a woman's breast;
While its first look of pleased surprise
Found answer in a woman's eyes.
Then, may not Woman bear a part
In Masonry's exalted art?
And what bright emblem, near or far,
Significant as Eastern Star?
Our Worthy Matron long has stood
Crowned with her badge of Motherhood,
And knows full well the rapturous bliss
That woke with Mary's welcoming kiss.
Our Worthy Patron guardian stands,
Ready to guide with willing hands;
Explaining Emblem, Signet, Hue,
Exhorting us to honor true,
Telling how widowed Ruth 'could glean
Humbly the golden sheaves between ;
Extolling Martha's changeless trust,
When life had sought its kindred dust ;
Recalling Esther's pleading tone,
That moved* Assyria's mighty throne;
And holding, like a crystal cup,
Electa's pure devotion up.
Be ye, my sisters, tender, true,
As our sweet type, the Violet blue ;
Steadfast as flower that ne'er will shun
The rising nor the setting sun.
Pure as the spotless Lily shine;
Changeless and bright as leaves of Pine;
Fervent of soul as Life can be
When warmed by glowing Charity.
Friends, brothers of the mystic tie,
Can we, unnoticed, pass you by ?
You, who have dried the widow's tears
And hushed the trembling orphan's fears?
Who, linked as in a golden band,
With widening circles fill our land?
Can aged eyes, though dimmed by tears,
Shut out the home that still appears
Changeless and bright to memory's view
As when both life and hope were new?
Can the fair bride forget the tone
That answers fondly to her own?
Or sister from remembrance tear
An elder brother's constant care ?
Till this can be will we disclaim
That Masonry is but a name;
Till this can be we'll chant afar
The praises of the Eastern Star,
That led the wandering shepherds on
Until, at the awakening dawn,
It rested, like a royal gem,
Upon the brow of Bethlehem.
Eighteen Hundred And Sixty-Two
I'd a dream last night : in the dim twilight
I was thrilled by a strange emotion ;
For the Old Year came, with his withered frame,
And led me on by a torch of flame
To the verge of the p&hless ocean.
In our onward flight, by the lurid light
Beamed his eye with a spectral brightness;
And he shivered so in the drifting snow,
While his silvered hairs fluttered to and fro
O'er a forehead of ghostly whiteness.
Yet he made no moan as we hurried on,
While the stars bent, pitying, o'er him;
Though from rock and dell rose a parting knell,
And the weird trees whispered a low farewell
As their shadows knelt before him.
But he paused with me by the grand old Sea,
Where the Nighty in her glory slumbered ;
And he gathered sand from the golden strand,
And said, as it dropped from his palsied hand,
' 'Tis thus that my hours are numbered.
' Yet before I go to my couch of snow
I will sing, though my voice may quiver;
For my heart is brave as yon dauntless wave
That laughs ere it leaps to its ocean grave,
To be locked in its depths forever.
' But no thought of earth, with her joy and mirth,
Upon memory's page is beaming;
Not her sweet spring flowers, or her summer hours,
Or the whispered echoes from love-lit bowers,
Or her bright autumnal gleaming.
'For these strains are old, you have heard them told
By the years that have dawned and perished ;
And the witching ways of their smiling Mays,
And their golden, dreamy October days,
Are like those I once fondly cherished.
' So my voice shall sweep to the boundless deep,
Far down 'neath the wild waves hoary,
That madly tore from their glittering floor
The magic chain, lest the listening shore
Might learn of their viewless glory.
* * * *
' Then list to me, and I'll sing to thee
Of the mystic depths where I've wandered free;
Of the coral halls and the diamond bed
Where old Neptune sits with his pale-faced dead;
Of the fairy grottoes of gold and pearl,
That the sea-nymphs weave for each fair young girl
That the storm-king bears from the ocean's crest
And lays, in her beauty, down to rest.
' Oh, wonderful things have I seen below,
Where the bright fern clings and the sea-flowers blow;
Where the mermaids gather and slyly hide
Their red-lipped shells from the amorous tide;
Where shattered wrecks, with their gold-heaped spars,
On the pebbles gleam like a heaven of stars.
' 'There is one bright spot that I love to scan:
'Tis the emerald couch of a valiant man,
Whom the breakers' roar nor the flame-lit sky,
Nor the prayers of kindred, could urge to fly.
The ship's on fire !' like a funeral knell
On the hearts of that startled crew it fell;
And strong men shook, as the lurid glare
On the waters gleamed like a hideous stare;
And women shrieked, as with fiendish sound
The fiery serpents hemmed them round,
And hissed in glee as their fangs were pressed
Through the babes that slept on their mothers' breast.
But the brave commander, with dauntless mien,
At the helm of the sinking ship was seen
And when maddened flames through the crackling shrouds
And the hot air leaped till they licked the clouds,
When the whirlwind force of the tempest's breath
Swept the tottering wreck in the jaws of death,
With the firm, strong grasp of an iron will
He clung to the mast, and he clings there still.
' The beautiful maidens adown the main
Have tried to untwine his grasp in vain;
They made him a couch of the greenest moss
And the snow-white down of the albatross;
And they placed at the head, for a funeral stone,
The shell that could utter the softest moan ;
And they tried to melt in their gentle hold
The icy touch of those fingers cold.
But they found it vain ; so with tender care
They wove a pillow of sea-weeds there,
And, circling around it, these matchless girls
Knelt as they severed their own bright curls,
And tossed them down till their sheen was pressed
By the brave man's feet they had wooed to rest.
And 'tis thus he stands, like a warrior bold,
Chained to the wreck with his iron hold.
'And far away, where the billows moan
In a sadder strain and with softer tone,
I have seen, in its infant beauty, lay
A bright creation of human clay,
As pure its cheek and its brow as fair
As dews from heaven or the snow-flakes are;
And the dimpled hands round that cherub face
Were fondly clasped in a long embrace,
While the sleep that closed its unconscious eye
Grew deep 'neath the waves' soft lullaby.
A. lonesome thing seemed that babe to me,
Rocked in the arms of the great, broad sea;
A wee, small thing to have come so far
All by itself, without spot or scar;
A frail, weak thing, with no hand to guide
Such tender feet down the rugged tide.
Yet I know when they launched that unguided barge
The void in its mother's heart seemed large
As the ocean's self, and her grief as wild
As the breakers dashing above her child.
' But my strain must cease :—through the starlight clear
I have heard the steps of the coming Year;
My pulses flutter, my eye grows dim,
Yet once I was merry and strong like him.
Oh, my brighter days !—they are crowding back :
I am gazing now on Spring's rosy track,
Till the Summer comes with her broad, bright smile,
And the Autumn follows her steps the while.
But they vanish now,—yes, they all have flown,
And left me here, with the Night, alone.
I'm a frail old man,—all my bright dreams sped,
My fond hopes crushed, and my loved ones dead.
Well, my snow-couch waits me,—yon phantom bell
Is tolling slowly my parting knell.
I will rest me here where the wild waves sweep :—
Good-night, fair Earth, I—must—sink—to—sleep.'
So the Old Year slept, and the New Year leaped
From the clouds to the moaning billow;
And he bade it stand on the golden strand,
And guide his steps with its jeweled hand
To the aged champion's pillow.
And the New Year bowed, while the starry crowd
That had thronged the verge of even
Marked his earnest gaze, and in hymns of praise
They told the birth of this Prince of Days
To the countless hosts of heaven.
And the clouds drew up, from their magic cup,
The tears that each gentle flower
Had wept unseen when the earth was green,
And faithless zephyrs, with flattering mien,
Went wooing from bower to bower.
And this treasured dew, when the year was new,
They poured from their crystal chalice,
Till it touched his brow, though I scarce knew how,
Nor yet who had breathed the baptismal vow
That rang through his midnight palace.
Then I saw him fly through the sapphire sky,
Earth's spells and her fetters scorning,
Till he sat alone where his sire had flown,
A crowned king on his royal throne:—
And when I awoke—it was morning.
Aged ten years.
Who that has seen some household idol fade
Like opening bud before the chilling blast,
Can faintly know His sufferings when He said,
' If Thou wilt, Father, let this cup be passed.'
And whosoever, when that life hath fled,
Can bow submissively and drain the cup,
And cry, 'Thy will be done,' though Hope has fled,
Has faith enough through life to bear her up.
I knelt beside her and, despairing, prayed;
Her little, pleading voice caught up the strain:
' Oh, spare me, Father, for her sake,' she said;
' Give me back life and strength and love again! '
' Or if, my Father, it seems best to Thee
From future woe to take my treasured one,
Do as Thou wilt, for Thou alone canst see:
Give me but faith to cry, ' Thy will be done! ' '
I rose and kissed her while she faintly smiled;
Her breath grew shorter and her pulse beat low;
' The morning dawneth; 'tis thy birthday, child!
God gave thee to me just ten years ago.
Thy father laid thee in these waiting arms
Amid the shadows of the morning dim,
And now, with all thy childhood's added charms,
I yield, and give thee back to God and him.'
The dying grasp was tightened round my own,
As if to bear me with her in her flight;
' Thou'rt going, love,' I said, 'but not alone:
He bears thee -upward to the world of light.
Thy mother's voice shall be the last on earth
To soothe her darling ere the cord is riven,
And, at thy spirit's new and glorious birth,
Thy father's first to welcome thee to heaven.'
Thus she went from us in the morning gray,
Her earthly and her heavenly birthday one;
Leaving behind her only pulseless clay,
And a crushed heart to cry, 'Thy will be done.'
We robed her, as she said, in spotless white,
And lifted grandma for a parting kiss;
Then bore the lovely burden from her sight
And bade the children come. How they would miss
The kindling eye, the earnest, welcoming voice,
The hand's warm pressure, and the beaming smile!
But they all gathered there, both girls and boys,
And as they stood around, and gazed, the while,
I bade them sing the songs she loved so well:
Their Sabbath greetings and their closing lays;
And, as their trembling accents rose and fell,
I felt an angel voice had joined their praise.
'Twas her delight in concert thus to meet
The children in the Sabbath morning's glow;
To sit and learn with them the story sweet
How Jesus came to bless them here below.
And can it be that never, never more,
Her joyful voice will join the sacred songs?
That not till I have reached the shining shore
My ear will catch the tone for which it longs?
Yet hush! sad heart! my loss is her release!
What is the school below to that above?
How will our Sabbaths here compare in peace
With that serener day that dawns above?
What melody, what cadence half so sweet
As swells when angel-fingers sweep the strings?
What prayers, with such adoring love replete,
As when the seraphs bow with folded wings?
While here, she loved each prophet's life to trace,
And tell of all the trials they had passed;
But there, she sits with Moses, face to face,
In the fair Canaan that was his at last.
And father Abraham will not pass her by:
I thought of Isaac all the night she died,
And asked, as searchingly I turned my eye,
If aught for my pet lamb might be supplied.
O holy Samuel, guide her o'er the strands,
And through the Heavenly Temple, large and fair,
Because the picture of thy clasped hands
In early childhood bowed her soul in prayer.
Show her where Daniel sits,—where David sings,
In loftier measure, more seraphic Psalms,
Then lead her gently to the King of kings,
Who bade His children here to ' Feed His lambs.'
And, mother Mary, I must plead with thee
Sometimes to clasp her to thy loving breast;
Else her fond, yearning heart will long for me,
Though heaven be gained and all its joys possessed.
Not to the Virgin Mary do I kneel;
Not to the holy saint my numbers flow;
But to the mother, whose true heart can feel,
Because it once ensured a kindred woe.
And, Maymie, when thy golden harp is tried,
When strains of love fall sweetly from thy tongue,
Fold thy white wings, and at thy Saviour's side
Let the wild yearnings of thy heart be sung.
Kneel, darling, kneel, and ask for what thou wilt
I know the wish e'en angels may not smother:
Not to be made more free from sin and guilt,
But that thy mission be to guard thy mother.
And if my spirit falter ere this cup
Of bitterness be drained—this large supply,
Reach down thy little hands and hold me up,
Else I must wholly sink, and, helpless, die.
Yes, darling, pray! thy earnest voice can plead
That on thy viewless pinions thou may'st come,
To hover near, in this my greatest need,
And then be near, at last, to guide me home.
Oh! man may climb the topmost round of fame,
And smile in triumph on the rocky steep;
In characters of blood may write his name,
While woman's portion is to watch and weep.
Yet who would barter all the love that glows
With quenchless fervor in a mother's heart,
E'en though that love be bought with anguish-throes,
For all that man can reach or wealth impart?
And even though, like mine, her hopes be crushed,
Her blossom blighted and her day-star fled,
Though the glad voice is here forever hushed,
And the sweet lips that sang all cold and dead,—
'Tis not in hopeless grief her head is bowed,
'Tis not in wild despair she meets His will;
For, mounting past the coffin and the shroud,
Her soul is mother of an angel still.
How saintly was the look her features wore
Before I saw the coffin-lid go down!
That marble brow, I kissed it o'er and o'er,
And left my tears among her tresses brown.
That cold, cold cheek! Those lips, so pale and still,
Would never more unto mine own be pressed;
Those little hands, so quick to do my will,
Were crossed and quiet on a silent breast.
Oh! be ye guarded what ye do or say
Before a mother when her child is dead;
Move with hushed tread beside the pulseless clay,
And in low whispers let your words be said.
Remember of her life it was a part;
Remember it was nourished at her breast;
That she would guard it still from sudden start,
The ringing footfalj, or untimely jest.
We bore her back to the old home she left
With strange reluctance only months before;
How doubly there my poor heart seemed bereft
To miss her smiling welcome at the door!
The constant feet that used to stand and wait
To welcome me were gone: I could not see
Her form come bounding through the wicket-gate,
Or hear her tones of joyful, childish glee.
We moved the sod from off her father's breast,
And laid her down to her serene repose;
Upon his bosom she will sweetly rest,
As withered bud beside the parent rose.
Together may their dust be mingled there,
E'en as their souls are knit beyond the tide!
Together may their deathless spirits share
The boundless glory of the Other Side!
Eighteen Hundred And Fifty-Nine
Oh, a grand old vessel was Fifty-Nine,
And a captain brave had she;
For eighteen hundred and more stout ships
He had steered over life's rough sea.
Eighteen hundred and more stout ships,
Bound not for different goals,
But all for the same, and freighted down
With cargoes of human souls.
And some of these souls were seared by crime;
Some, sin had made foul and black;
While others were pure as the flakes of snow
That cover our wild-flower track.
There were souls of monarchs, and souls of kings,
(The souls of their subjects, too ;)
And some were treacherous, false, and vile,
While others were heavenly true.
There were souls of brokers, bare, flinty things,
All shaved to tlie very core,
For even their honor was loaned on time,
At a hundred per cent, or more.
There were coquettes' souls of chameleon dyes,
And bachelors', knotty as pine,
And these unsocial and selfish souls
Came alone to old Fifty-Nine.
And old Captain Time, as they came aboard,
Counted all he could see;
But some were so narrow and shriveled up,
That they smuggled their passage free.
It was noon of night when the ship was launched,
But the ocean was calm and clear;
And merrily on, with her motley crew,
Went dancing the proud New Year.
On, past the glaciers of snow and ice
That decked the receding shore;
On to the isles where the spring-time sleeps,
Till she hears Time's distant oar.
And the forests woke when they heard afar
The flutter of coming sails ;
And whispered softly a low salute,
That was borne by the passing gales.
And every eye on the vessel's deck
Was turned toward that vision bright;
And those who worshiped at Nature's shrine
Were thrilled with a wild delight.
For those isles looked fair as a gleam of heaven
Through the sunset's golden bars;
Or like beauty's cheek, when its mantling flush
Is seen by the light of stars.
The ship was moored where the gentle flowers
Breathed fragrance on all around,
And the hours to some of the host within
Brought blessings and peace profound.
But, hark ! from the deck of old Fifty-Nine
A shout of defiance comes;
Then the tramp of feet, and the clang of war,
And the roll of advancing drums.
'To arms !' is echoed, in thunder-tones,
Through the din of the cannon's roar;
While sword and spear and the fair green earth
Are sated with human gore.
But Captain Time says never a word
To still the contending foes;
He has promised to steer the ship to port,
And has no hotirs to lose.
He is out, 'mid the blast and the shivering sails,
Tolling the funeral bell,
And every soul that can hear the sound
Sighs at the parting knell.
It tolls for one who has journeyed far,
Whose labors a world may boast;
Who has trodden Atlantic's crowded shore
And Pacific's quiet coast;
Whose wanderings led him o'er Southern plains,
Where eternal sunshine sleeps ;
And up to the loftiest Alpine height
Through snow-drifts' 'wildering steeps.
But Life's work is done, and the mourners pause
That the billows his dirge may sing,
As the dust of Humboldt is laid to rest
On the breast of the gentle Spring.
And slowly now is the vessel turned
From those bright, enchanting isles,
To hasten on where the Summer waits
With her witching, sunny smiles.
And it is not strange that those saddened hearts
Grew light as they neared her bowers,
And caught the gleam of her azure robes
Begirt with a zone of flowers;
Or that Captain Time, though his form is bent,
With labor and age and care,
Should feel a thrill through his palsied frame
When his ship was anchored there;
That the hoary seaman should half forget
The weight of unnumbered years,
When her rippling laugh, through ten thousand rills,
Was borne to his aged ears.
But see ! as they coast round those India isles,
Where the flowers of the orange blow,
Where the bulbul warbles its vesper hymns
By the light of the fire-fly's glow,
With the speed of thought he has left her side,
And fair Summer stands alone :
For off to the aft of old Fifty-Nine
Was a sound like a dying groan.
He has reached the spot, and he chants this dirge
As they bear the dust to shore,
And lay it down in its lonely bed
With a sigh of 'Nevermore' :
' Toll ! toll ! for a mighty soul
Is anchored in harbor now;
A mind creative, whose giant thoughts
Made men to his genius bow.
'Old Fifty-Nine, you are not so strong
Since you yielded up this prize;
You will feel no more his sustaining arm
When feuds and dissensions rise.
He will slumber here while incense sweet
From the date- and the palm-tree float ;
And a nation will hold in its heart of hearts
The name of the statesman Choate.
' But reef the topsail ! we may not wait
To sigh o'er the mighty dead,
For I know, from the surge of yon mountain waves,
There are breakers and shoals ahead.
Now cheerily, lads ! though the billows dash,
And the morrow bring cloudy weather,
We can bring her through with her motley crew
If we only ' pull together.''
And onward now, where grave Autumn sits
In her scarlet robes and golden,
And presses the juice from the purple grape
Like matrons in vineyards olden;
Where the blushing fruit from the ardent gaze
Of the sun drops down, to cover
The deepening flush that might else betray
Her heart to her distant lover:—
To this calm retreat Time hastens on,
To rest with the Autumn sober,
To gaze awhile on the cloudless skies
Of her dreamy, bright October.
But, hist ! there's an echo borne to his ear,
Too' feeble for distant thunder;
A sound as if fiends on old Fifty-Nine
Were tearing her shrouds asunder.
He turns and gazes ; no fleet of war
Has fired a signal warning;
He sees no speck upon sea or sky
On that fair autumnal morning.
And yet—'tis strange (he is very old,
And, perchance, he is frail and doting)—
But he fancies he sees the timbers shake
Where the Flag of the Free is floating.
And he thinks he hears (what absurd conceits
Make mortals unfit to reason !)—
He thinks he hears in that muffled sound
A murmur of 'Death and Treason.'
Yet he breathes no word of his doubts and fears,
Lest they call it imagination,
Until night comes on, and he finds the clan
At their murderous preparation.
And he looks aghast at the horrid work
The shadows of darkness cover,—
On the thirsty band that, like birds of prey,
O'er their slumbering victims hover.
And with scorn he turns from those dastard souls,
Their mutinous schemes bewailing,
While thought flies off to the days agone,
When old Fifty-Two was sailing.
And he thinks of one of its gallant crew,
Of his words of prophetic warning,
And sighs in vain for a Webster heart,
With patriot fervor burning.
'But, true hearts, rouse ye,' the captain cries,
As the tars from their hammocks spring ;
'We have traitors here we must urge to stay,
Till we let them off—with a swing.'
And once again is the vessel turned,
To stem the boisterous gales
That blow from the bleak December's shore
And moan through the shivering sails.
And hundreds of souls are landed here
On this coast so drear and bare,
While some are left on the vessel's deck
With looks of mute despair ;
For they see their captain's form on shore,
Afar o'er the waters wide,
And know that the ship is dashing on
To eternity's waiting tide.
And if ye list, at the dead of night,
To learn what her fate may be,
Ye may hear the wail of old Fifty- Nine
As she sinks in that soundless sea.
A Temperance Poem
Inscribed To The Ladies
Mr. Lionel Lightfoot, a man, you must know,
Whose life had been upright and blameless,
To the capital's chamber came three years ago
From a county that here shall be nameless.
He was loyal at heart, but all tyranny spurned,
And, when comrades endeavored to prove him,
Allegiance to Alcohol's power he spurned,—
Neither jeers nor persuasions could move him.
Though at club-room or bar they would oftentimes meet,
He ne'er treated, nor could be entreated to treat.
And now 'twas mid-winter, —the question was up
To legally sanction or banish the cup.
The ladies had come, with their beauty and grace,
To cheer the desponding and brighten the place.
Discussions grew warm, but all pleading was vain,
For Alcohol triumphed, and Whisky again
Would desolate hearthstones, —bring Want and Despair
To dear ones once guarded with tenderest care.
And Lightfoot lamented, —his mother's calm smile
Seemed resting upon him, —her voice, too, the while,
Those soft, tender tones to remembrance so dear,
Sweet, earnest, and true, floated back to his ear :
' My son, if they sanction this blight of the soul,
Forget not my teachings —beware of the bowl !'
The day had departed, the twilight had fled,
At the still hour of midnight the Old Year lay dead.
The breeze sighed its requiem, the ocean its moan,
For the aged and mighty who perished alone ;
But the sun of the morning rose fair o'er the scene
Where, in night's fearful silence, the death-pall had been.
And now it was New Year, —'a happy New Year,'—
And young Lightfoot were guilty of treason
If he failed to the fair ones in person to pay
His dues, with the dues of the season.
So, calling on Fairface, an exquisite dandy,
An ardent believer in spirits —of brandy,
He found him perturbed —in a barbarous passion,—
His moustache had been trimmed quite too close for the fashion ;
His head, too —oh, shocking to add to the list !—
Two hairs on the left the Macassar had missed.
But Lightfoot restored him : ' The former,' he said,
'Looked so foreign —distangué '(a beautiful red
He fain would have added, but paused, lest the ire
Of his comrade might set his adornment on fire.)
Then, waiting till Fairface made smooth as a die
For the fiftieth time his ' miwaculous tie,'
With assurance his collar just touched his goatee
Without varying, in distance, the slightest degree,
With cane between gloves of invisible green,
They called on Miss Mabel —society's queen ;
And, listening the while to the lively narrations
Of her numerous calls and her morning libations,
' Your health !' cries ma belle; returns Lightfoot, ' Ex-cuse me,
I never indulge.' ' What ! on New Year's refuse me !
Politeness demands it; beside' (soft and low),
' Champagne is so perfectly harmless, you know.'
Ah, woman, fair temptress, thou knew'st not the while
The doom that was sealed by that innocent smile;
Or how fatal the spell in that voice, that was given
To lure man from vice And direct him to heaven.
Thou saw' st not the phantoms that clutched at the bowl,
Nor the serpents that fastened their fangs in his soul ;
Thou heardst not the clank of the chains that were wound
By fiends that kept mocking the spirit they bound.
So Lightfoot was tempted, and yielded at last,
Beguiled by this siren of beauty ;
And, quitting her presence, he carried away
Her smile of approval as booty.
A dangerous trophy, these smiles of the fair;
They melted his good resolutions to air ;
For though he had reasoned, 'I'll only partake
This once of the wine, for the fair charmer's sake,'
He was sadly mistaken, —the breach had been made,
The fortress surrendered, its inmates betrayed ;
The noble resolves that had guarded the tower
Where Faith held her torch in temptation's dark hour,
The purposes high that had stamped on his brow
The glory of manhood, oh, where were they now?
But why follow on with the twain as they flit
From bower to bower, partaking?
Or tell how the feeble resolves of the one
Were seized with an ague of shaking?
How, long before night-fall, he fancied his brain
Was dancing a reel on a circular plain ?
How houses inverted, in warlike array,
Wheeled backward and forth in an endless chasse ?
We pass these sad pictures, nor linger to tell
How, step after step, from true manhood he fell.
How at first he took naught but the choicest of wine,—
Some ancient Madeira, or rum superfine ;
How he drank but with gentlemen, such as would deign
To touch no cheap brandy nor third-rate champagne.
Behold him, at last, in some vice-crowded den,
Where skulk the crouched forms of what once ranked as men;
Where the pestilent fumes from each whisky-scorched throat
The pure air of heaven with plague-spots have smote ;
Where Malice, Pollution, and Wretchedness teem,
And Guilt stalks among them to mock and blaspheme.
There see him, the victim of Woman's soft smile,
Debauched and corrupted, degraded and vile.
Years pass, and again with our 'pillars of State'
Is the same question pending in earnest debate ;
The fair ones are listeners ; Miss Mabel has come
To hear of the darkness in many a home,—
Of the desolate hearthstones the rum-fiend has made,
Of promises broken and loved ones betrayed,
She listens —grows weary— departing, at last,
She hastes to her chamber to think of the Past.
Though languid, she wooes a calm slumber in vain,
For the sleep that should soothe her but frenzies her brain.
She dreams —'tis of Lightfoot : she tempts him to drink.
He quaffs at her bidding, then ceases to shrink
From frequent indulgence of evils the worst;
His hopes are all blasted, his life is accurst ;
She sees him descending from honor —renown—
And sinking to ruin —down— hopelessly down.
There, wrestling with rum-fiends, in fury he raves,
Like a soul reft of reason, on life's maddening waves.
Half palsied with fright, 'mid the demons he stands,
And wards off their blows with his skeleton hands.
His eyes start with horror, and fearfully gloat
On blades, newly whetted, that point at his throat.
He shudders and cringes from serpents that hiss
And dart their forked tongues from their slimy abyss ;
And, reeling from terror, he howls in his pains,
As devils incarnate stand welding his chains;
While one, a' pale imp, the grim valet of Death,
With fagots of sulphur is firing his breath.
O horror ! it blazes ! it seethes to his brain !
His heart-strings have cracked —the blood boils in each vein !
A shudder —a gasp— a wild effort to speak—
And Miss Mabel awakes with a hideous shriek.
O ladies ! dear ladies ! when next round the wine
Your delicate fingers caressingly twine,
When, like a soft blessing, the breath of your lips
Floats over and hallows the juice ere he sips,
Just call the crouched form of poor Lightfoot to view,
And know that the dream of Miss Mabel was true.
Then, by your allurements, teach man to refrain,
And prove that your charms were bestowed not in vain ;
Let your spotless example illustrate the plan
That woman was made as a help-meet for man,
To warn him from treading the pathway of sin
By the beautiful love-light that glows from within.
And, oh ! as ye muse oti that Eden above,
Whence spirits departed are gazing in love,
And guarding their kindred, who, chained by the clay,
Are prone by the tempter to wander astray,
A father's fond blessing may greet you, the while,
A sister bend over your couch with a smile,
A mother, in accents of rapturous joy,
May sing how your warnings have rescued her boy.
Then woman, O woman ! thy mission fulfill !
Know man is the subject —the slave to thy will!
Thou wast given to guide him, —his beacon and star
To cheer when beside him and gleam from afar.
Then keep thy soul white, for one shadow of sin
May dim the bright taper that burneth within ;
And vain are his struggles life's billows above,
When the beacon goes out in the light-house of love.
Iowa's Centennial Poem
A hundred years ago to-day
A barren wild our borders lay;
Our stately forests grandly stood
Wrapped in majestic solitude.
Our rivers, coursing to the sea,
Felt not the chain of tyranny;
Nor yet above their glittering sheen
Could Freedom's stripes and stars be seen.
The red man. moored his birch canoe
Where sweet wild-flowers luxuriant grew;
Where sumachs, o'er the pebbly brink,
Bent down their crimson lips to drink;
And violets, with their tender eyes,
Looked up in wondering surprise
At Indian maid, who, by the wave,
Waited to greet her warrior brave.
A hundred years ! Gone like a dream,
All, save our t woods and noble stream;
The red man, with his bended bow,
No longer fells the bounding doe.
The camp-fire's curling smoke no more
Is seen beside the chieftain's door,
As Black Hawk talks, in whispers grave,
To Gitchie Manito the Brave.
But on this broad, luxuriant plain
Wave golden fields of ripening grain;
Our pastures, with their gurgling rills,
Feed cattle on a thousand hills,
While giant steamers plow our streams,
From which our starry banner gleams.
The mansions on our prairies wide,
Oft with a rude cot by their side,
Show how, by years of patient toil,
The lordly tillers of our soil
Have reared such homes as freemen may
With all their shackles torn away.
The flying shuttle, whirling wheel,
Invention's mighty power reveal.
We sweep, by steam, o'er earth's broad track,
And lightning sends our whispers back.
We share the nation's glory, too,
By holding to the world's broad view
Our men of mark, of genius rare,
Scattered, like sunbeams, everywhere.
On history's page will shine most bright
Such names as Belknap, Kirkwood, Wright,
Howell, McCreary, Mason, Hall,
Dodge, faithful to his country's call,
And warriors who, through war's wild shock,
Anchored our ship on Union rock.
The call that rose at Lexington,
There Freedom's struggle was begun,
Reached not these shores, yet still we claim
This priceless heritage the same.
They were our ancestors who fought
When liberty with blood was bought.
And Concord, with her patriot band,
Whose sons to-day rejoicing stand,
Deserves no more the honors won
Than we, so near the setting sun.
Could our hearts bound with wilder thrill
If we had met on Bunker's Hill?
Are patriots truer on the sod
Whence those br^ave souls went up to God?
Not if, with loyal heart and hand,.
We held the heritage they planned;
Not if, along this verdant track,
When Dissolution's cloud hung black,
Our soldiers poured their blood like rain,—
Deluged our sod with crimson stain,—
And flung our starry banner out
With glad, prolonged victorious shout,
Proclaiming where its bright folds waved
Our fathers' boon—the Union—saved.
Yes, side by side with those who sped
Where'er the gallant Putnam led,
With those whose forms grew cold and still
Upon the brow of Bunker's Hill,
We proudly write, on History's page,
The heroes of the present age;
Our dauntless braves, who did not quail
Beneath the storm of iron hail,
But who, like valiant Warren, fell
Guarding the land they loved so well.
Mills, Baker, Torrence, Worthington,
Martyrs to Freedom dearly won,
Beside their tombs our patriots cry,
'As much of valor as could die!'
Ask ye if Woman shrinking stood,
When rang War's cry o'er field and flood?
Did mothers, racked by dire alarms,
Prison their sons with clinging arms?
No ; worthy of the patriot sires
That lit the Revolution fires,
They forced the tears, that needs must start.
Backward, to trickle through the heart,
And said, in accents firm and low,
' Our prayers will follow, —go, boys, go!'
So when ye boast, as boast ye will,
Of the green slopes of Bunker's Hill,
And vow that ne'er shall be forgot
How Shiloh and Pea Ridge were fought;
When, with fond pride, you teach your son
How Tuttle's men took Donelson;
When to Alltoona you refer,
And tell how Corse defended her;
Or when you link with Archer's name
The sword his son will proudly claim,
Forget not Woman, who, through tears,
Read how the form that other years
Had seen soft-pillowed on her breast,—
The lips her own* so fondly pressed
Had murmured forth their dying moan—
Had paled and chilled, unsoothed —alone,—
Remember, every gallant one
Who fell was some fond mother's son.
I stood beneath our State's proud dome,
And saw the dear old Flag* come home.
Weary and worn and well-nigh spent,
To you, O statesmen ! it was sent,
To hold as a more priceless gem
Than England's royal diadem.
On shattered staff the wounded bars
Held feebly up the golden stars,
While the scarred veteran seemed to say,
'E'en death is sweet in Iowa.'
I fancied, as they bore it by,
Its red stripes glowed with deeper dye,
Since it had cheered each patriot one
Whose life-blood crimsoned Donelson.
Purer its lines of spotless white
Since trusting mothers knelt at night,
Lifting their yearning souls above
On the white wings of Faith and Love,
Pleading His arm might be the stay
Of valiant hearts from Iowa.
Deeper its blue since dimming eyes
Had faintly smiled in sweet surprise
Upon the silken folds that spread
Their pitying shadows o'er the dead,—
The loyal dead, for whom 'twas meet
Their Flag should be their winding-sheet.
Brighter its stars of deathless sheen
Since it had waved o'er fields of green,
Floated where giant steamers sailed,
Swayed —trembled —reeled— yet never trailed.
Well may we celebrate this day
With glad, triumphant shout;
Well may we bid dull care 'Away,'
And fling our banners out.
E'en Nature joins the welcome sounds
By grateful hearts begun,
Till from our rocks and vales rebounds
The name of Washington.
England her Wellington may claim;
France of Napoleon boast;
Scotia extol the deathless fame
Of Wallace and his host;
But more ecstatic is the thrill
That fires Columbia's son,
When lip and voice grow strangely still
At thought of Washington.
Perchance e'en now the shades of those
Who first in battle led
Have left their Eden of repose
To hover o'er our head.
They were the sowers of the seed
That made our country free,
And we, the reapers, loud indeed
May shout forth ' Victory !'
Nor to the arm of flesh alone
Attribute our success;
But to the One who led us on—
The God who deigned to bless.
And while, to-day, our banners wave
For battles dearly won,
We bless the power that victory gave
To our own Washington.
Bought with the life-blood of the brave,
Held through dissension's shock,
The heritage our fathers gave
Stands firm on Freedom's rock.
Then send your welcomes near and far,
Let party discord cease;
And learn of him who, first in War,
Was first alike in Peace.
Yes, patriot brothers, awaken!
Leave the red field of carnage behind;
Be former contentions forsaken,
And thus prove all brave hearts are kind.
Would ye make this, our glorious Centennial,
A type of the Union above?
Then join in our earthly millennial,
And crown it with brotherly love.
Oh, be not by prejudice blinded!
Our wanderers had something to learn;
And by parable all are reminded
That e'en prodigal sons may return.
Then let generous welcomes be proffered;
Give them robes of a right royal hue;
Let the rings that restore them be offered
By victors who honor the Blue.
They have desolate hearthstones among them,
And hearts that still moan in their pain,
When the thought of the anguish that wrung them
Floats over remembrance again.
Then when come your tear-drops, upstarting,
For friends who passed over the tide,
Forget not that many a parting
Brought woe on the Southern side.
In the names of our patriots ascended;
In the names of our heroes who bled; .
By the cause they so nobly defended;
By the Rachels who moaned o'er our dead;
We ask you to pledge them, true-hearted,
A covenant-promise anew;
Remembering 'mong patriots departed
No line parts the Gray from the Blue.