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To welcome home to Christian soil
The ransomed of the Lord.
So runs the ancient legend
By bard and painter told; And lo! the cycle rounds again,
The new is as the old !
With rudder fouly broken,
And sails by traitors torn, Our country on a midnight sea
Is waiting for the morn.
Before her, nameless terror ;
Behind, the pirate foe;
The clouds are black above her,
The sea is white below.
The hope of all who suffer,
The dread of all who wrong,
She drifts in darkness and in storm,
How long, O Lord! how long?
But courage, O my mariners !
Ye shall not suffer wreck, While up to God the freedman's prayers
Are rising from your deck.
ls not your sail the banner
Which God hath blest anew, The mantle that de Matha wore,
The red, the white, the blue ?
Its hues are all of heaven,
The red of sunset's dye,
The whiteness of the moonlit cloud,
The blue of morning's sky.
Wait cheerily, then, O mariners,
For daylight and for land;
The breath of God is on your sail,
Your rudder in His hand.
Sail on, sail on, deep freighted
With blessings and with hopes;
The saints of old with shadowy hands
Are pulling at your ropes. Behind ye holy martyrs
Uplift the palm and crown; Before ye unborn ages send
Their benedictions down.
Take heart from John de Matha !
God's errands never fail !
Sweep on through storm and darkness,
The thunder and the hail!
Sail on! The morning cometh,
The port ye yet shall win;
And all the bells of God shall ring
The good ship bravely in!
Up from the South at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste, to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble and rumble and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.
And wider still these billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar,
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.
But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway leading down;
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed, as black as the steeds of night,
Was seen to pass with eagle flight.
As if he knew the terrible need,
He stretched away with his utmost speed ;
Hill rose and fell — but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.
Still sprung from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
The dust, like the smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster;
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls :
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.
Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape fled away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a bark fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire.
But lo! he is nearing his heart's desire -
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.
The first that the General saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops ;
What was done — what to do- a glance told him both;
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray ;
By the flash of his eye and his red nostrils' play
He seemed to the whole great army to say: “I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down to save the day.”
Hurrah! hurrah ! for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah! for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
There with the glorious General's name,
Be it said in letters both bold and bright:
“ Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From 'Vinchester - twenty miles away!”
Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.
Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach-tree fruited deep,
Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished Rebel horde,
On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain wall,-
Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,
Flapped in the morning wind : the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;
In ner attic-window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.
Up the street came the Rebel tread, Stonewall Jackson riding ahead. Under his slouched hat left and right He glanced : the old flag met his sight. 56 Halt!”- the dust-brown ranks stood fast 56 Fire!" -out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff,
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;
She leaned far out on the window-sill,
Aud shook it forth with a royal will.