138. seceding Virginia.
by L. H. Sigourney.Ho! mistress of the rolling James,
And of its mountain strand,
The oldest, noblest, proudest one,
Of all our household band;
Thou of the stately form and step,
The flower-encircled hair,
Prime favorite of the fruitful earth,
And of the balmy air;
Thou who didst hold thy cresset forth
Ere early dawn had fled,
The morning star whose lambent ray
Our constellation led,
Yet, when a comet madly rushed
Across the argent plain,
Why didst thou leave thy Heaven-mark'd sphere,
And join its flaming train?
We loved thee well, Virginia!
And gave thee deferent place,
Pleased with thine ancient dignity,
And native, peerless grace,
And little deemed such sudden blight
Would settle on thy bays,
And change to discord and disgust
Our gratulating praise;
For thou hadst given thy great and good
Our helm of State to guide;
Thy Palinurus steered our barque
Safe through the seething tide;
And when we spake of Washington
With grateful, reverent tone,
We called thine image forth, and blent
Thy memory with his own.
Our mother nursed thee at her breast
When she herself was young;
And thou shouldst still have succor'd her,
Though fiery serpents stung;
Virginia Dare, the first-born bud
Of the true Saxon vine,
And old Powhatan, hoary chief,
Who led his warrior-line,
And brave John Smith, the very soul
Of chivalry and pride,
And Pocahontas, princess pure,
The font of Christ beside,
Dreamed they that thou wouldst start aside,
When Treachery's tocsin rang?
And in her heaving bosom fix
Thy matricidal fang?
Thou shouldst around her fourscore years
Have bent with hovering care,
Who steadfast by thy cradle watched,
And poured the ardent prayer.
Thou shouldst not to her banded foes
Have lent thy ready ear,
Nor seen them desolate her joys
Without a filial tear;
Though all beside her banner-fold
Had trampled down and rent,
Thou shouldst have propp'd its shattered staff
With loyalty unspent;
Though all beside had recreant proved,
Thou shouldst have stood to aid,
Like Abdiel, dreadless seraph,
Alone, yet undismayed.
Who sleepeth at Mount Vernon,
In the glory of his fame?
Yet, go in silent infamy,
Nor dare pronounce his name,
For thou hast of their sacred force,
His farewell counsels reft,
And help'd to scatter to the winds
The rich bequest he left;
And in the darkest trial-hour,
Forsook the endangered side,
And, ere the cock crew thrice, thy true
Oh! that the pitying Prince of Peace
On thee his glance might bend,
And from remediless remorse
Preserve our long-loved friend.
Hartford, Conn., May 21, 1861.