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Poems in Wartime From Volume III., the Works of Whittier: Anti-Slavery Poems and Songs of Labor and Reform   By: (1807-1892)

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This eBook was produced by David Widger [widger@cecomet.net]

ANTI SLAVERY POEMS

SONGS OF LABOR AND REFORM

BY

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

CONTENTS:

IN WAR TIME. TO SAMUEL E. SEWALL AND HARRIET W. SEWALL THY WILL BE DONE A WORD FOR THE HOUR "EIN FESTE BURG IST UNSER GOTT" TO JOHN C. FREMONT THE WATCHERS TO ENGLISHMEN MITHRIDATES AT CHIOS AT PORT ROYAL ASTRAEA AT THE CAPITOL THE BATTLE AUTUMN OF 1862 OF ST. HELENA'S ISLAND, S. C. THE PROCLAMATION ANNIVERSARY POEM BARBARA FRIETCHIE HAT THE BIRDS SAID THE MANTLE OF ST. JOHN DE MATRA LADS DEO! HYMN FOR THE CELEBRATION OF EMANCIPATION AT NEWBURYPORT

IN WAR TIME.

TO SAMUEL E. SEWALL AND HARRIET W. SEWAll, OF MELROSE.

These lines to my old friends stood as dedication in the volume which contained a collection of pieces under the general title of In War Time. The group belonging distinctly under that title I have retained here; the other pieces in the volume are distributed among the appropriate divisions.

OLOR ISCANUS queries: "Why should we Vex at the land's ridiculous miserie?" So on his Usk banks, in the blood red dawn Of England's civil strife, did careless Vaughan Bemock his times. O friends of many years! Though faith and trust are stronger than our fears, And the signs promise peace with liberty, Not thus we trifle with our country's tears And sweat of agony. The future's gain Is certain as God's truth; but, meanwhile, pain Is bitter and tears are salt: our voices take A sober tone; our very household songs Are heavy with a nation's griefs and wrongs; And innocent mirth is chastened for the sake Of the brave hearts that nevermore shall beat, The eyes that smile no more, the unreturning feet! 1863

THY WILL BE DONE.

WE see not, know not; all our way Is night, with Thee alone is day From out the torrent's troubled drift, Above the storm our prayers we lift, Thy will be done!

The flesh may fail, the heart may faint, But who are we to make complaint, Or dare to plead, in times like these, The weakness of our love of ease? Thy will be done!

We take with solemn thankfulness Our burden up, nor ask it less, And count it joy that even we May suffer, serve, or wait for Thee, Whose will be done!

Though dim as yet in tint and line, We trace Thy picture's wise design, And thank Thee that our age supplies Its dark relief of sacrifice. Thy will be done!

And if, in our unworthiness, Thy sacrificial wine we press; If from Thy ordeal's heated bars Our feet are seamed with crimson scars, Thy will be done!

If, for the age to come, this hour Of trial hath vicarious power, And, blest by Thee, our present pain, Be Liberty's eternal gain, Thy will be done!

Strike, Thou the Master, we Thy keys, The anthem of the destinies! The minor of Thy loftier strain, Our hearts shall breathe the old refrain, Thy will be done! 1861.

A WORD FOR THE HOUR.

THE firmament breaks up. In black eclipse Light after light goes out. One evil star, Luridly glaring through the smoke of war, As in the dream of the Apocalypse, Drags others down. Let us not weakly weep Nor rashly threaten. Give us grace to keep Our faith and patience; wherefore should we leap On one hand into fratricidal fight, Or, on the other, yield eternal right, Frame lies of law, and good and ill confound? What fear we? Safe on freedom's vantage ground Our feet are planted: let us there remain In unrevengeful calm, no means untried Which truth can sanction, no just claim denied, The sad spectators of a suicide! They break the links of Union: shall we light The fires of hell to weld anew the chain On that red anvil where each blow is pain? Draw we not even now a freer breath, As from our shoulders falls a load of death Loathsome as that the Tuscan's victim bore When keen with life to a dead horror bound? Why take we up the accursed thing again? Pity, forgive, but urge them back no more Who, drunk with passion, flaunt disunion's rag With its vile reptile blazon... Continue reading book >>




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