previous next
In foamy spray o'er its rough-hewn stair;
The spot I have learned to love so well,
Where fancy can revel without restraint,
And her creations are wont to dwell,
And fill the mind with pictures quaint;
And there I muse on a thousand things,
Which come on Imagination's wings,
And the well-known legends fondly trace,
That are told of the Indian-haunted place.

'Twas on this spot stood free and wild,
The Shawanese and the Delaware savage,
Ere Indian warrior taught his child
To scalp and murder, burn and ravage.
And as I stood by the stream one day,
A thousand visions flitting o'er me,
I thought of times long passed away,
And buried chieftains rose before me;
But vain are the dreams we would fain recall,
For oblivion's mantle is over them all.

And then I thought of the old-time fort,
With its blunderbuss and its swivel gun,
Its cracking fire-arms' loud report,
And the name its bold defender won;
How the savage ventured not too near
Its stockade sides, from a wholesome fear
Of the bull-dogs laid at rest within,
But oping their mouths with a ghastly grin:
And how when the governor's mandate came,
“Forthwith to deliver up the same,”
Old Colonel Chambers bristled with pride,
And declared that “the guns should stay by his side,
For his guns had stood by him, and he
Would stand by his guns, as they should see.”
Then followed visions of trouble and strife,
Of the tomahawk and the scalping-knife,
The war-whoop wild and the scene of slaughter,
And of human blood in the limpid water.

And then from the buried past we fly
To the living present which vividly seems
The realization of mystic dreams
That are wont to fleck our dream-land's sky.
From the time on freedom's natal day,
When Craighead urged the-youth away,
And our patriot sires, a martial band,
Shoulder to shoulder and hand to hand,
Marched forth to consecrate the land
At liberty's shrine and on freedom's altar;
Up to the day when marched the son
To end the work the sire begun,
And not a man was known to falter.
From the fields where Steele and Chambers fought,
At the nation's first baptismal,
To the gory spot where Easton wrought
And died ‘midst the deep swamps dismal;
And from where our patriot fathers bled,
And their comrades moaning, “dead, dead, dead,”
Consigned them to God's own keeping,
To the far-off hillside's thorn-bush shade
Where the gallant Kerns to rest is laid,
As one who is gently sleeping.

The past, the present, the future, all
We have known in life or loved in story;
The dead the living, the great, the small,
Obscurity's son and the child of. glory
In vision arise before our eyes,
And troop through brain in wild disorder,
And we look in the stream with. strange surprise,
When we recollect we're on the “border.”


And thus again as I lay by the stream
Which murmuring rolls its waters along,
And drips o'er the Falls in rippling song,
My fancies were shaped and this my dream,
Minerva-like, sprang out of my brain.
And bore away the triumphal car
Of terrible, glorious “border war;”
While rose to my ears a swelling strain,
Which seemed like the voices of heroes slain,
And this was the burden of what they were singing,
Its cadence wild with the waters ringing.

Away to the border, away,
Where your brethren are calling.
Away and take part in the fray,
Where your children are falling.
Fall in, men, fall in, and forward in order,
Do you not hear the cry coming up from the border?

Away to the border, away,
Where stout hearts are contending.
Away, and take part in the fray,
Your own hearth-stones defending.
Fall in, men, fall in, and forward in order,
The foe's at your doors almost, his foot on the border.

Away, to the border away,
Where brave men are dying.
Away, and take part in the fray,
Where your kinsmen are lying.
Fall in, men, fall in, and forward in order,
The blood of the slain is calling, “Come to the border.”


Then quickly before my astonished eyes--
For dreams are like clouds in summer skies--
Passed visions of men in warrior's guise,
Of men who were going to battle:
And mixed and mingled with my dream,
Was sabre-thrust and bayonet-gleam,
And the fierce artillery's rattle;
There was the Home Guard's steady line,
The “State Militia's” martial front,
The “Anderson Troop,” in clothes so fine,
And men who had borne the battle's brunt.

The Home Guards marched like men who knew
Their dinners were safely cooking behind them,
And like men who felt quite conscious, too,
Of where the dinner hour would find them;
And I marched along with my gun by my side,
And I praised my captain so kind and clever,
Who looked at “the boys” with a soldier's pride,
And called time, Right, Right, whenever
He meant the left foot
On the earth should be put;
But hurrah for our captain forever.

I can never forget, nor could I desire
That a scene like that which is certainly worth
A life-long pilgrimage here on this earth
From my memory should ever expire.
When our sergeant led out our squad in the night,
Our homes to defend, for our hearth-stones to fight,
And instructed us thus: “If the foe comes don't fire,
For you see if you should, and a rebel ‘bites dirt,’
It would end our organizations;
For you know that in case there were ‘ somebody hurt,’
'Twould conflict with the regulations.”
Then behind a stone fence we were placed where we
Till we heard the approaching relief, [slept

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Chambers (2)
Steele (1)
Easton (1)
Craighead (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: