76. to the American people.
by Bayard Taylor.I.
That late, in half-despair, I said:
“The Nation's ancient life is dead;
Her arm is weak, her blood is cold;
She hugs the peace that gives her gold--
The shameful peace, that sees expire
Each beacon-light of patriot fire,
And makes her court a traitor's den” --
Forgive me this, my Countrymen!
Oh, in your long forbearance grand,
Slow to suspect the treason planned,
Enduring wrong, yet hoping good
For sake of olden brotherhood,
How grander, how sublimer far,
At the roused Eagle's call ye are,
Leaping from slumber to the fight
For Freedom and for Chartered Right!
Throughout the land there goes a cry:
A sudden splendor fills the sky;
From every hill the banners burst,
Like buds by April breezes nurst;
In every hamlet, home, and mart,
The fire-beat of a single heart
Keeps time to strains whose pulses mix
Our blood with that of Seventy-Six!
The shot whereby the old flag fell
From Sumter's battered citadel,
Struck down the lines of party creed,
And made ye One, in soul and deed--
One mighty people, stern and strong,
To crush the consummated wrong,
Indignant with the wrath, whose rod
Smites as the awful sword of God!
The cup is full! They thought ye blind;
The props of State they undermined;
Abused your trust, your strength defied,
And stained the Nation's name of pride.
Now lift to Heaven your loyal brows;
Swear once again your fathers' vows,
And cut through traitor hearts a track
To nobler fame and freedom back!
Draw forth your million blades as one t
Complete the battle then begun!
God fights with ye, and overhead
Floats the dear banner of your dead.
They, and the glories of the Past,
The Future, dawning dim and vast,
And all the holiest hopes of man,
Are beaming triumph in your van!
Slow to resolve, be swift to do!
Teach ye the False how fight the True I
How bucklered Perfidy shall feel
In her black heart the Patriot's steel;
How sure the bolt that Justice wings;
How weak the arm a traitor brings;
How mighty they, who steadfast stand
For Freedom's Flag and Freedom's Land!
April 30, 1861.