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41. never! never! never!

“I may be asked, as I have been asked, when I am for the dissolution of the Union? I answer, never-never — never.” --Henry Clay.

You ask me when I'd rend the scroll
     Our father's names are written o'er,
When I would see our flag unroll.
     Its mingled stars and stripes no more--
When, with a worse than felon's hand
     Or felon's counsels, I would sever
The Union of this glorious land?
     I answer: never! never! never!

When ye can find the lawless might
     Where carnage treads its crimson way,
Where burning cities gild the night,
     And cannon smoke obscures the day;
In towns deserted, fields of ground
     Abandoned by the faithful plough,
Security, hope, peace profound,
     The blessings Heaven vouchsafes you now.

Think ye that I could brook to see
     The emblem I have loved so long,
Borne peaceful o'er the distant sea,
     Torn, trampled by a frenzied throng?
Divided, measured, parcelled out,
     Tamely surrendered up forever,
To gratify a lawless rout
     Of traitors? Never! never! never!

On yonder lone and lovely steep,
     The sculptor's art, the builder's power,
The landmark o'er the soldier's sleep,
     Have reared a lofty funeral tower.
There it shall stand until the river
     That rolls beneath shall cease to flow,
Aye, till the hill itself shall quiver
     With nature's last convulsive throe.

Upon that column's marble base,
     Its shafts, that soar into the sky,
There still is room enough to trace
     The list of millions yet to die.
And I would cover all its height
     And breadth before the hour of shame,
Till space should even fail to write
     Even the initials of a name.

Nay, I would haste to swell the ranks,
     Direct the fire, or lead the way,
While battle swept the rifted ranks
     And bore the serried lines away;
Fall, bleeding, in the doubtful strife
     Beneath the motto of my sires,
And draw the latest breath of life
     Before that Union flag expires.

Dissolve the Union! nay, remove
     The last asylum that is known,
Where patriots find a brother's love,
     And truth may shelter from a throne! [30]
Give up the hopes of high renown,
     The legacy our fathers willed,
Tear our victorious eagles down
     Before their mission is fulfilled.

--Fitzgerald's Philadelphia City Item, Nov. 9.

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