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[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
A clouded sky:
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
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;
By others sown ;
To see us stir the martyr fires
Of long ago,
Have dropped below.
But now the cross our worthies bore
On us is laid;
Profession's quiet sleep is o'er,
Our faith is weighed.
The cry of innocent blood at last
Is calling down
From Heaven's dark frown.
The land is red with judgments. Who
Stands guiltless forth ?
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;
For conscience' sake.
Why ask for ease where all is pain ?
Shall we alone
Be left to add our gain to gain,
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 hearts that bleed!