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The foul human vultures
Have feasted and fled ;
Have crept from the dead.
From the hearths of their cabins,
The fields of their corn, Unwarned and unweaponed,
The victims were torn, By the whirlwind of murder
Swooped up and swept on To the low, reedy fen-lands,
The Marsh of the Swan.
With a vain plea for mercy
No stout knee was crooked ; In the mouths of the rifles
Right manly they looked.
O Marais du Cygne !
On red grass for green !
Yet warm with their lives,
Poor children and wives ! Put out the red forge-fire,
The smith shall not come; Unyoke the brown oxen,
The ploughman lies dumb.
O dreary death-train,
As lips of the slain !
Smooth down the gray hairs;
That burn through your prayers.
Strong man of the prairies,
Mourn bitter and wild ! Wail, desolate woman!
Weep, fatherless child !
From ashes beneath,
Is life out of death.
Not in vain on the dial
The shade moves along, To point the great contrasts
Of right and of wrong: Free homes and free altars,
Free prairie and flood, — The reeds of the Swan's Marsh,
Whose bloom is of blood !
On the lintels of Kansas
That blood shall not dry; Henceforth the Bad Angel
Shall harmless go by; Henceforth to the sunset,
Unchecked on her way, Shall Liberty follow
The march of the day.
ITP from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Over the mountains winding down,
Forty flags with their silver stars,
Flapped in the morning wind : the sun
Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bravest of all in Frederick town,
In her attic-window the staff she set,
Up the street came the rebel tread,
Under his slouched hat left and right
- Halt!” – the dust-brown ranks stood fast. “ Fire!” – out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shivered the window, pane and sash;
Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf; She leaned far out on the window-sill, And shook it forth with a royal will. “ Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag,” she said. A shade of sadness, a blush of shame, Over the face of the leader came; The nobler nature within him stirred To life at that woman's deed and word : • Who touches a hair of yon gray head Dies like a dog! March on!” he said. All day long through Frederick street Sounded the tread of marching feet: All day long that free flag tost Over the heads of the rebel host. Ever its torn folds rose and fell On the loyal winds that loved it well; And through the hill-gaps sunset light Shone over it with a warm good-night. Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er, And the Rebel rides on his raids no more. Honor to her! and let a tear Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall’s bier. Over Barbara Frietchie's grave, Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!
Peace and order and beauty draw