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E wait beneath the furnace-blast


The pangs

of transformation ; Not painlessly doth God recast

And mould anew the nation.

Hot burns the fire

Where wrongs expire ;
Nor spares the hand
That from the land
Uproots the ancient evil.

The hand-breadth cloud the sages feared

Its bloody rain is dropping ;

The poison plant the fathers spared
All else is overtopping.

East, West, South, North,
It curses the earth;
All justice dies,
And fraud and lies

Live only in its shadow.

What gives the wheat-field blades of steel?

What points the rebel cannon ? What sets the roaring rabble's heel On the old star-spangled pennon ?

What breaks the oath

Of the men o' the South ?

What whets the knife

For the Union's life?

Hark to the answer : Slavery !

Then waste no blows on lesser foes

In strife unworthy freemen.

God lifts to-day the vail, and shows

The features of the demon!

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What though the cast-out spirit tear

The nation in his going ?
We who have shared the guilt must share
The pang of his o'erthrowing !

Whate'er the loss,
Whate'er the cross,
Shall they complain

Of present pain
Who trust in God's hereafter ?

For who that leans on His right arm

Was ever yet forsaken?

What righteous cause can suffer harm
If He its part has taken ?

Though wild and loud
And dark the cloud

Behind its folds

His hand upholds
The calm sky of to-morrow !

Above the maddening cry for blood,

Above the wild war-drumming,
Let Freedom's voice be heard, with good
The evil overcoming.
Give prayer and purse
To stay the Curse
Whose wrong we share,

Whose shame we bear,
Whose end shall gladden Heaven!

In vain the bells of war shall ring

Of triumphs and revenges,

While still is spared the evil thing

That severs and estranges.

But blest the ear

That yet shall hear
The jubilant bell

That rings the knell
Of Slavery forever!

Then let the selfish lip be dumb,

And hushed the breath of sighing;
Before the joy of peace must come
The pains of purifying.
God give us grace
Each in his place
To bear his lot,

And, murmuring not,
Endure and wait and labor !

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