Page images
PDF
EPUB

O, for your ancient freedom, pure and holy,

For the deliverance of a groaning earth,
For the wronged captive, bleeding, crushed, and lowly,

Let it go forth !

Sons of the best of fathers ! will ye falter

With all they left ye perilled and at stake ? Ho ! once again on Freedom's holy altar

The fire awake !

Prayer-strengthened for the trial, come together,

Put on the harness for the moral fight,
And, with the blessing of your Heavenly Father,

MAINTAIN THE RIGHT!

THE CRISIS.

WRITTEN ON LEARNING THE TERMS OF THE TREATY WITH MEXICO.

ACROSS the Stony Mountains, o'er the desert's drouth and
A sand,
The circles of our empire touch the Western Ocean's strand;
From slumberous Timpanogos, to Gila, wild and free,
Flowing down from Neuva Leon to California's sea;
And from the mountains of the East, to Santa Rosa's shore,
The eagles of Mexitli shall beat the air no more.

O Vale of Rio Bravo! Let thy simple children weep;
Close watch about their holy fire let maids of Pecos keep ;
Let Taos send her cry across Sierra Madre's pines,
And Algodones toll her bells amidst her corn and vines;
For lo ! the pale land-seekers come, with eager eyes of gain,
Wide scattering, like the bison herds on broad Salada's plain.

Let Sacramento’s herdsmen heed what sound, the winds bring

down, Of footsteps on the crisping snow, from cold Neveda's crown! Full hot and fast the Saxon rides, with rein of travel slack, And, bending o'er his saddle, leaves the sunrise at his back; By many a lonely river, and gorge of fir and pine, On many a wintry hill-top, his nightly camp-fires shine.

O countrymen and brothers ! that land of lake and plain,
Of salt wastes alternating with valleys fat with grain ;
Of mountains white with winter, looking downward, cold, serene,
On their feet with spring-vines tangled and lapped in softest geeen;
Swift through whose black volcanic gates, o'er many a sunny vale,
Wind-like the Arapahoe sweeps the bison's dusty trail !

Great spaces yet untravelled, great lakes whose mystic shores
The Saxon rifle never heard, nor dip of Saxon oars ;
Great herds that wander all unwatched, wild steeds that none have

tamed, Strange fish in unknown streams, and birds the Saxon never

named; Deep mines, dark mountain crucibles, where Nature's chemic

powers Work out the Great Designer's will: - all these ye say are ours !

Forever ours ! for good or ill, on us the burden lies ;
God's balance, watched by angels, is hung across the skies.
Shall Justice, Truth, and Freedom, turn the poised and trembling

scale ?
Or shall the Evil triumph, and robber Wrong prevail ?
Shall the broad land o'er which our flag in starry splendor waves,
Forego through us its freedom, and bear the tread of slaves ?

The day is breaking in the East, of which the prophets told,
And brightens up the sky of Time the Christian Age of Gold :
Old Might to Right is yielding, battle blade to clerkly pen,
Earth's monarchs are her peoples, and her serfs stand up as men;
The isles rejoice together, in a day are nations born,
And the slave walks free in Tunis, and by Stamboul's Golden Horn!
Is this, 0 countrymen of mine ! a day for us to sow
The soil of new-gained empire with slavery's séeds of woe?
To feed with our fresh life-blood the old world's cast-off crime,
Dropped, like some monstrous early birth, from the tired lap of

Time ?
To run anew the evil race the old lost nations ran,
And die like them of unbelief of God, and wrong of man?

Great Heaven! Is this our mission ? End in this the prayers

and tears, The toil, the strife, the watchings of our younger, better years ? Still, as the old world rolls in light, shall ours in shadow turn, A beamless Chaos, cursed of God, through outer darkness borne ? Where the far nations looked for light, a blackness in the air ? Where for words of hope they listened, the long wail of despair ?

The Crisis presses on us; face to face with us it stands,
With solemn lips of question, like the Sphinx in Egypt's sands!
This day we fashion Destiny, our web of Fate we spin ;
This day for all hereafter choose we holiness or sin; .
Even now from starry Gerizim, or Ebal's cloudy crown,
We call the dews of blessing or the bolts of cursing down !

By all for which the martyrs bore their agony and shame;
By all the warning words of truth with which the prophets came;
By the Future which awaits us; by all the hopes which cast
Their faint and trembling beams across the blackness of the Past;
And by the blessed thought of Him who for Earth's freedom died,
O my people! O my brothers ! let us choose the righteous side.

So shall the Northern pioneer go joyful on his way;
To wed Penobscot's waters to San Francisco's bay;
To make the rugged places smooth, and sow the vales with grain;
And bear, with Liberty and Law, the Bible in his train :
The mighty West shall bless the East, and sea shall answer sea,
And mountain unto mountain call : PRAISE GOD, FOR WE ARE

FREE!

RANDOLPH OF ROANOKE.

MOTHER Earth! upon thy lap

Thy weary ones receiving, And o'er them, silent as a dream,

Thy grassy mantle weaving, Fold softly in thy long embrace

That heart so worn and broken, And cool its pulse of fire beneath

Thy shadows old and oaken.

Shut out from him the bitter word

And serpent hiss of scorning; Nor let the storms of yesterday

Disturb his quiet morning.
Breathe over him forgetfulness

Of all save deeds of kindness,
And, save to smiles of grateful eyes,

Press down his lids in blindness.

There, where with living ear and eye

He heard Potomac's flowing,
And, through his tall ancestral trees,

Saw Autumn's sunset glowing,
He sleeps, — still looking to the West,

Beneath the dark wood shadow,
As if he still would see the sun

Sink down on wave and meadow.

Bard, Sage, and Tribune!- in himself

All moods of mind contrasting, The tenderest wail of human woe,

The scorn-like lightning blasting;

The pathos which from rival eyes

Unwilling tears could summon,
The stinging taunt, the fiery burst

Of hatred scarcely human !
Mirth, sparkling like a diamond shower,

From lips of life-long sadness ;
Clear picturings of majestic thought

Upon a ground of madness; And over all Romance and Song

A classic beauty throwing,
And laurelled Clio at his side

Her storied pages showing.
All parties feared him : each in turn

Beheld its schemes disjointed,
As right or left his fatal glance

And spectral finger pointed.
Sworn foe of Cant, he smote it down

With trenchant wit unsparing,
And, mocking, rent with ruthless hand

The robe Pretence was wearing.
Too honest or too proud to feign

A love he never cherished,
Beyond Virginia's border line

His patriotism perished.
While others hailed in distant skies

Our eagle's dusky pinion,
He only saw the mountain bird

Stoop o'er his Old Dominion ! Still through each change of fortune strange,

Racked nerve, and brain all burning,
His loving faith in Mother-land

Knew never shade of turning ;
By Britain's lakes, by Neva's wave,

Whatever sky was o'er him,
He heard her rivers' rushing sound,

Her blue peaks rose before him.

« PreviousContinue »