Page images
PDF
EPUB

ANNIVERSARY POEM.

[Read before the Alumni of the Friends' Yearly Meeting School, at the Annual Meeting at Newport, R. I., 15th 6th Mo., 1863.]

NCE more, dear friends, you meet

O

beneath

A clouded sky:
Not yet the sword has found its sheath,
And on the sweet spring airs the breath

Of war floats by.

Yet trouble springs not from the ground,

Nor pain from chance ;
The Eternal order circles round,

And wave and storm find mete and bound

In Providence.

Full long our feet the flowery ways
Of peace

have trod, Content with creed and garb and phrase : A harder path in earlier days

Led up to God.

Too cheaply truths, once purchased dear,

Are made our own;

Too long the world has smiled to hear
Our boast of full corn in the ear

By others sown;

To see us stir the martyr fires

Of long ago,
And wrap our satisfied desires
In the singed mantles that our sires

Have dropped below.

But now the cross our worthies bore

On us is laid;

Profession's quiet sleep is o'er,
And in the scale of truth once more

Our faith is weighed.

The
cry

of innocent blood at last
Is calling down
An answer in the whirlwind-blast,
The thunder and the shadow cast

From Heaven's dark frown.

The land is red with judgments. Who

Stands guiltless forth ?
Have we been faithful as we knew,
To God and to our brother true,

To Heaven and Earth ?

How faint, through din of merchandise

And count of gain, Have seemed to us the captive's cries ! How far away the tears and sighs

Of souls in pain !

This day the fearful reckoning comes

To each and all; We hear amidst our peaceful homes The summons of the conscript drums,

The bugle's call.

Our path is plain; the war-net draws

Round us in vain, While, faithful to the Higher Cause, We keep our fealty to the laws

Through patient pain.

The levelled gun, the battle brand,

We may not take ;
But, calmly loyal, we can stand
And suffer with our suffering land

For conscience' sake.

Why ask for ease where all is pain ?

Shall we alone

Be left to add our gain to gain,
When over Armageddon's plain

The trump is blown ?

To suffer well is well to serve ;

Safe in our Lord

The rigid lines of law shall curve
To spare us; from our heads shall swerve

Its smiting sword.

And light is mingled with the gloom,

And joy with grief ; Divinest compensations come, Through thorns of judgment mercies bloom

In sweet relief.

Thanks for our privilege to bless,

By word and deed,
The widow in her keen distress,
The childless and the fatherless,

The hearts that bleed !

« PreviousContinue »