arming for battle.
who gird yourselves with speed,
[inscribed to Governor Sprague.]
No common call is that ye heed;
Your country bids you go, and bleed
Perchance; and who shall say what more,
What less than death, there is in store
For you, ere this fell strife is o'er?--
This strife, that needs some unbreathed name
To speak its woe — its ruthless fame;
That sets a continent aflame!
Oh, reckless stroke! oh, impious hand!
That cleft the bonds which held our land
In happy league our fathers planned.
On History's page, no fouler thing
Has left its stain; and Time shall bring
No veil for it, with pitying wing.
Treason's fierce breath fanned the red fire,
In whose wild flame may yet expire
Sweet Liberty, the world's desire.
Oh, men, who haste at duty's call,
To quench that fire, or in it fall,
God speed you, arm you, keep you all!
We will not say, “Be true! be brave!”
But through our tears a boon we crave--
“Heart of your heart, oh, let us have!”
We are cast down, to see you go,
With patriot souls, and eyes aglow
With valor's light, to meet the foe--
A foe we called, but yesterday,
Brother and friend; and now we say,
“Alas, for love he spurned away!”
We know you brave — ye will not quail;
We do not fear your swords will fail;
Yet for all this, our lips grow pale
With parting words, that say, “Come back,
By God's dear grace, on Victory's track!”
But then, our brothers fall, alack!
Yet go! ye bear no wanton brand;
Honor's bright hilt in every hand;
Go! for our Flag undaunted stand.
That dear old Flag, spangled with stars--
Go, keep it full; 'tis worth some wars,
To save its crest from Treason's scars.
No upstart flag the land shall own,
Where the old stars have proudly shone,
Till Hope, Truth, Valor, all are gone.
Brave hearts, farewell! bright eyes will weep
To night, quick tears that hinder sleep--
Weeping for you, whom angels keep!
April 19, 1861.