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Gaunt throngs whom the foeman had manacled, teem,
Like men just roused from some terrible dream,
To pass o'er the River.
They behold the broad banners, blood-darkened yet fair,
And a moment dissolves the last spell of despair,
While a peal as of victory swells on the air,
Rolling out to the River.
And that cry, with a thousand strange echoings spread,
Till the ashes of heroes seemed stirred in their bed,
And the deep voice of passion surged up from the dead--
Ay! press on to the River!
On! on! like the rushing of storms through the hills
On! on! with a tramp that is firm as their wills,
And the one heart of thousands grows buoyant and thrills
As they pause by the River.
Then the wan face of Maryland, haggard and worn,
At that sight, lost the touch of its aspect forlorn,
And she turned on the foeman full statured in scorn,
Pointing stern to the River.
And Potomac flowed calm, scarcely heaving her breast,
With her low lying billows all bright in the West,
For the hand of the Lord lulled the waters to rest
Of the fair rolling River.
Passed! passed! the glad thousands march safe through the tide.
(Hark, Despot! and hear the wild knell of your pride, Ringing weird-like and wild, pealing up from the side Of the calm flowing River!)
'Neath a blow swift and mighty the Tyrant shall fall,
Vain! vain! to his God swells a desolate call,
For his grave has been hollowed, and woven his pall,
Since they passed o'er the River!
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