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155. the crisis.

by J. G. Whittier.
The crisis presses on us; face to face with us it stands,
With solemn lips of question, like the Sphynx in Egypt's sands!
This day we fashion Destiny, our web of fate we spin;
This day for all hereafter choose we holiness or sin;
Even now from starry Gerizim, or Ebal's cloudy crown,
We call the dews of blessing, or the bolts of cursing down!

By all for which the Martyrs bore their agony and shame;
By all the warning words of truth with which the Prophets came;
By the Future which awaits us; by all the hope which cast
Their faint and trembling beams across the blackness of the Past,
And in the awful name of Him who for earth's freedom died;
O ye people! O my brothers! let us choose the righteous side!

So shall the Northern pioneer go joyfully on his way,
To wed Penobscot's waters to San Francisco's bay;
To make the rugged places smooth, and sow the vales with grain,
And bear, with Liberty and Law, the Bible in his train;
The mighty West shall bless the East, and sea shall answer sea,
And mountain unto mountain call: praise God, for we are free!

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