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He held his slaves, yet made withal
No false and vain pretences,
For scriptural defences.
His bitterest taunt and scorning,
That bent to him in fawning. He held his slaves : yet kept the while
His reverence for the Human ; In the dark vassals of his will
He saw but Man and Woman! No hunter of God's outraged poor
His Roanoke valley entered; No trader in the souls of men
Across his threshold ventured.
And when the old and wearied man
Laid down for his last sleeping, And at his side, a slave no more,
His brother man stood weeping, His latest thought, his latest breath,
To Freedom's duty giving, With failing tongue and trembling hand
The dying blest the living.
A truer son or braver !
On foreign hate or favor.
His proud and manly feeling
Or meanness of concealing. But none beheld with clearer eye
The plague-spot o'er her spreading, None heard more sure the steps of Doom
Along her future treading.
For her as for himself he spake,
When, his gaunt frame upbracing,
And perished in the tracing.
As from the grave where Henry sleeps,
From Vernon's weeping willow,
The Sage of Monticello,
Of Randolph's lowly dwelling,
A warning voice is swelling ! And hark ! from thy deserted fields
Are sadder warnings spoken, From quenched hearths, where thy exiled sons
Their household gods have broken. The curse is on thee, — wolves for men,
And briers for corn-sheaves giving ! 0, more than all thy dead renown
Were now one hero living !
C PEAK and tell us, our Ximena, looking northward far away,
“ Down the hills of Angostura still the storm of battle rolls ; Blood is flowing, men are dying ; God have mercy on their souls !”
Who is losing? who is winning? - “Over hill and over plain,
Holy Mother ! keep our brothers ! Look, Ximena, look once more : “ Still I see the fearful whirlwind rolling darkly as before, Bearing on, in strange confusion, friend and foeman, foot and horse, Like some wild and troubled torrent sweeping down its mountain
Look forth once more, Ximena! « Ah! the smoke has rolled away; And I see the Northern rifles gleaming down the ranks of gray. Hark! that sudden blast of bugles ! there the troop of Minon
wheels; There the Northern horses thunder, with the cannon at their heels.
“Jesu, pity! how it thickens ! now retreat and now advance ! Right against the blazing cannon shivers Puebla's charging lance ! Down they go, the brave young riders ; horse and foot together fall; Like a ploughshare in the fallow, through them ploughs the North
Nearer came the storm and nearer, rolling fast and frightful on :
“Lo! the wind the smoke is lifting: Blessed Mother, save my ..
brain ! I can see the wounded crawling slowly out from heaps of slain. Now they stagger, blind and bleeding ; now they fall, and strive
to rise ; Hasten, sisters, haste and save them, lest they die before our eyes !”
“O my heart's love ! O my dear one! lay thy poor head on my
knee; Dost thou know the lips that kiss thee? Canst thou hear me?
canst thou see? O my husband, brave and gentle! O my Bernal, look once more On the blessed cross before thee! mercy! mercy! all is o'er ! ”
Dry thy tears, my poor Ximena; lay thy dear one down to rest ;;
Close beside her, faintly moaning, fair and young, a soldier lay,
With a stifled cry of horror straight she turned away her head ; With a sad and bitter feeling looked she back upon her dead; But she heard the youth's low moaning, and his struggling breath
of pain, And she raised the cooling water to his parching lips again.
Whispered low the dying soldier, pressed her hand and faintly
smiled : Was that pitying face his mother's ? did she watch beside her child ? All his stranger words with meaning her woman's heart supplied ; With her kiss upon his forehead, “Mother!” murmured he, and
“ A bitter curse upon them, poor boy, who led thee forth,
Look forth once more, Ximena! “Like a cloud before the wind Rolls the battle down the mountains, leaving blood and death be
hind; Ah! they plead in vain for mercy; in the dust the wounded strive ; Hide your faces, holy angels ! O, thou Christ of God, forgive !”
Sink, O Night, among thy mountains ! let the cool, gray shadows
Dying brothers, fighting demons, drop thy curtain over all ! Through the thickening winter twilight, wide apart the battle rolled, In its sheath the sabre rested, and the cannon's lips grew cold.