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But let its humbled sons, instead,
From sea to lake,
A long lament, as for the dead,
In sadness make.
Of all we loved and honoured, nought
Save power remains,-
A fallen angel's pride of thought,
Still strong in chains.
All else is gone; from those great eyes
The soul has fled:
When faith is lost, when honour dies,
The man is dead!
Then, pay the reverence of old days
To his dead fame;
Walk backward, with averted gaze,
And hide the shame!
"GREAT peace in Europe! Order reigns
From Tiber's hills to Danube's plains!"
So say her kings and priests; so say
The lying prophets of our day.
Go lay to earth a listening ear;
The tramp of measured marches hear,—
The rolling of the cannon's wheel,
The shotted musket's murderous peal,
The night alarm, the sentry's call,
The quick-eared spy in hut and hall!
From Polar sea and tropic fen
The dying groans of exiled men!
The bolted cell, the galley's chains,
The scaffold smoking with its stains!
Order, the hush of brooding slaves!
Peace in the dungeon-vaults and graves!
O Fisher of the world-wide net,
With meshes in all waters set,
Whose fabled keys of heaven and hell
Bolt hard the patriot's prison-cell,
And open wide the banquet-hall
Where kings and priests hold carnival!
Weak vassal tricked in royal guise,
Boy Kaiser with thy lip of lies!
Basé gambler for Napoleon's crown,
Barnacle on his dead renown!
Thou, Bourbon Neapolitan,
Crowned scandal, loathed of God and man!
And thou, fell Spider of the North!
Stretching thy giant feelers forth,
Within whose web the freedom dies
Of nations eaten up like flies!
Speak, Prince and Kaiser, Priest and Czar!
If this be Peace, pray what is War?
White Angel of the Lord! unmeet
That soil accursed for thy pure feet.
Never in Slavery's desert flows
The fountain of thy charmed repose;
No tyrant's hand thy chaplet weaves
Of lilies and of olive-leaves;
Not with the wicked shalt thou dwell,
Thus saith the Eternal Oracle ;
Thy home is with the pure and free!
Stern herald of thy better day,
Before thee, to prepare thy way,
The Baptist Shade of Liberty,
Grey, scarred, and hairy-robed, must press
With bleeding feet the wilderness!
Oh that its voice might pierce the ear
Of princes, trembling while they hear
A cry as of the Hebrew seer :
"Repent! God's kingdom draweth near!"
I HEARD the train's shrill whistle call,
I saw an earnest look beseech,
And rather by that look than speech
My neighbour told me all.
And, as I thought of Liberty
Marched hand-cuffed down that sworded
The solid earth beneath my feet Reeled fluid as the sea.
I felt a sense of bitter loss,-
Shame, tearless grief, and stifling wrath,
And loathing fear, as if my path
A serpent stretched across.
All love of home, all pride of place,
All generous confidence and trust,
Sank smothering in that deep disgust
And anguish of disgrace.
Down on my native hills of June,
And home's green quiet, hiding all,
Fell sudden darkness like the fall
Of midnight upon noon!
And Law, an unloosed maniac, strong,
Blood-drunken, through the blackness trod,
Hoarse-shouting in the ear of God
The blasphemy of wrong.
"O Mother, from thy memories proud,
Thy old renown, dear Commonwealth,
Lend this dead air a breeze of health,
And smite with stars this cloud.
"Mother of Freedom, wise and brave,
Rise awful in thy strength," I said.
Ah me! I spake but to the dead;
I stood upon her grave!
A SOUND of tumult troubles all the air,
Like the low thunders of a sultry sky
Far-rolling ere the downright lightnings glare;
The hills blaze red with warnings; foes draw nigh,
Treading the dark with challenge and reply.
Behold the burden of the prophet's vision,-
The gathering hosts,-the Valley of Decision,
Dusk with the wings of eagles wheeling o'er.
Day of the Lord, of darkness and not light!
It breaks in thunder and the whirlwind's roar !
Even so, Father! Let thy will be done,—
Turn and o'erturn, end what thou hast begun
In judgment or in mercy: as for me,
If but the least and frailest, let me be
Evermore numbered with the truly free
Who find thy service perfect liberty!
I fain would thank Thee that my mortal life
Has reached the hour (albeit through care and pain)
When Good and Evil, as for final strife,
Close dim and vast on Armageddon's plain;
And Michael and his angels once again
Drive howling back the Spirits of the Night.
Oh for the faith to read the signs aright,
And, from the angle of thy perfect sight,
See Truth's white banner floating on before;
And the Good Cause, despite of venal friends
And base expedients, move to noble ends;
See Peace with Freedom make to Time amends,
And, through its cloud of dust, the threshing-floor,
Flailed by thy thunder, heaped with chaffless grain!
ON HEARING THE BELLS RING ON THE PASSAGE OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ABOLISHING SLAVERY.
Clang of bell and roar of gun
Send the tidings up and down.
How the belfries rock and reel!
How the great guns, peal on peal,
Fling the joy from town to town!
Every stroke exulting tells
Of the burial-hour of crime.
Loud and long, that all may hear,
Ring for every listening ear
Of Eternity and Time!
God's own voice is in that peal,
And this spot is holy ground.
Lord, forgive us! What are we
That our eyes this glory see,
That our ears have heard the sound?
On the whirlwind is abroad;
In the earthquake he has spoken;
He has smitten with his thunder
The iron walls asunder,
And the gates of brass are broken!
Lift the old exulting song;
Sing with Miriam by the sea-
"He has cast the mighty down;
Horse and rider sink and drown;
He hath triumphed gloriously!"
Did we dare,
In our agony of prayer,