But the plague-spot was on us the while,
And the serpent was warm in our breast.
We can no more revile;
The ox is for sacrifice dressed.
Do ye hear, O ye Dead, in your tombs--
Ye Dead, whose bold blows made us free--
Do ye hear the reveille of drums?
Can ye say what the issue shall be?
Past the midnight that comes,
Is the noon rising up from the sea?
Who whispered? Is life underneath,
Astir in the dust of the brave?
For there steals to my ear such a breath
As can only steal out of the grave:
“Ye must go down to death!
Ye have drunk of the blood of the slave!”
We have sinned! we have sinned! O ye Dead!
Our fields with the outcrying blood
Of Abel, our brother, are fed.
Must we therefore be drowned in the flood?
Waits no Ararat's head?
Is no ark guided there by our God?
“Ye must go down to death! Have ye heard
The tale of the writings of yore?--
How One in the sepulchre stirred,
And cast off the grave-clothes he wore?
In the flesh dwelt the Word,
Inheriting life evermore.
“When the foes of the nation have pressed
To its lips the sponge reeking in gall;
When the spear has gone into its breast,
And the skies have been rent by its call;
It shall rise from its rest:
It shall rise, and shall rule over all.