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about his treatment of events in that dreadful day, as in the story of Thomas Macy. The most characteristic setting of his general theme is to be found in the spirited ballad of Cassandra Southwick.' The incident is told dramatically by the heroine herself, but the passion which glows through the verse is true Whittier.
VOICES OF FREEDOM, SONGS OF LABOR,
IN WAR TIME
The militant note in Whittier's verse was sounded early. In 1832, when he was twenty-five years old, he wrote the stanzas ‘To William Lloyd 'Garrison.' They were followed by "Toussaint L'Ouverture' (1833), “The Slave-Ships' (1834), "The Hunters of Men' and Stanzas for the * Times' (1835), Clerical Oppressors' (1836), and the stinging "Pastoral Letter' (1837). He was now fairly embarked on his mission.
The brunt of his attack fell on supine Northern politicians, clerical apologists, and anxious business men who feared agitation might injure their Southern trade. Nothing was more abhorrent to Whittier than traffic in human flesh. He marvelled that it was not abhorrent to every one, and strove with all his power to make it so. America, in his belief, was a by-word among the
nations, forever prating of liberty' while she bought and sold slaves.
As he was the assailant of timid vote-seekers, money-getters, and ministers who defended slavery 'on scriptural grounds, so was Whittier the eulogist of all who made sacrifices for the cause, or who, like · Randolph of Roanoke,' a man with every traditional motive to cling to the peculiar institution, testified against it. Voices of Freedom is a record of the guerilla warfare which Whittier waged during forty years against slavery. With the additions he made to it in the progress of the struggle, it became not only the largest division of his work but one of the most notable. The history of Abolitionism is written here. The Pas'toral Letter' was Whittier's response to the body of Congregational ministers who deprecated the discussion of slavery as tending to make trouble in the churches. Massachusetts to Virginia’ was called out by Latimer's case. “Texas,' Faneuil 'Hall,' and the lines ‘To a Southern Statesman' are a protest against the annexation of territory sufficient for six new slave states.' For Right
' eousness' Sake' was inscribed to friends 'under arrest for treason against the slave power. The fine closing stanza deserves to be better known:
God's ways seem dark, but, soon or late,
They touch the shining hills of day;
The evil cannot brook delay,
Ye have the future grand and great,
The safe appeal of Truth to Time! • The Kansas Emigrants’ celebrates the Western advance, the coming of the new Pilgrims, armed with the Bible and free schools. “Le Ma'rais du Cygne' was written on hearing of the Kansas massacre in May, 1858. “The Quakers are Out,' a campaign song (not included in the collected writings), celebrates the Republican victory in Pennsylvania on the eve of the National election :
Away with misgiving -away with all doubt,
For Lincoln goes in, when the Quakers are out! Not the least notable among these poems is “The Summons,' in which the poet contrasts the quiet of summer with the distant tumult of
approaching war, and his knowledge of his place in the approaching struggle with consciousness of his inability to act.
The Voices of Freedom are often harsh and discordant. Lines were written in hot haste and sent to press before the ink had time to dry. The needs of the moment were imperative. There was little time to correct and no time to polish. Had Whittier possessed a lyric gift approximating that of Hugo or Swinburne, how wonderful must have been his contribution to our literature. For the cause was great and his devotion single. Much of the verse, however, is journalism.
He rises easily to poetic heights. `Massachusetts to Virginia' has a magnificent swing and pulsates with passion. When Webster's defection spread anger, consternation, and grief through the ranks of the party of Freedom, Whittier penned the burning stanzas to which he gave the title "Ichabod.' This anti-slavery poem was published in Songs of Labor, and is justly accounted one of the loftiest expressions of Whittier's genius.
In War Time and Other Poems records the anxieties, fears, hopes, and exultations incident to the great conflict between North and South. Says the poet:
'... our voices take
The volume contains · Barbara Frietchie,' perhaps the most popular ballad of the war, based on an incident told to Whittier by Mrs. Southworth, the novelist. One must reconstruct the times to comprehend the extraordinary effect produced by this dramatic little incident. Iconoclasts have made havoc with the story. If their points are well taken, we have one proof more of the superiority of legend over history for poetic purposes. Other noteworthy poems in this volume are “Thy Will be ‘Done’and the magnificent hymn Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott.'
We wait beneath the furnace blast
The pangs of transformation;
Hot burns the fire
That from the land
SNOW-BOUND, TENT ON THE BEACH,
PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM, VISION OF ECHARD
The volume of 1860, Home Ballads and Poems, contained two perfect examples of Whittier's art, namely, 'My Playmate' and `Telling the Bees.' To inquire what far-off experiences in the poet's life prompted the making of these exquisite ballads,' as Whittier called them, were idle, poets being proverbially given to the use of the imagination. The music of the dark pines on Ramoth Hill could be no sweeter than it is. The theme of either poem is common enough among bards, and perennially attractive. “My Playmate' and 'Telling 'the Bees,' together with ‘Amy Wentworth' and *The Countess, all show, though in varying degrees,
how pregnant with poetic suggestion were the scenes amid which Whittier passed his life. Even that urban and aristocratic little poem ‘Amy Wentworth’ derives half its charm from