19. a vision of January 4th.Lying on my couch a night or two ago,
I had a solemn vision of penitential woe;
Of that great time of fasting and of humiliation
Proposed by pious James unto our sinful nation.
All the stores were closed, the whole length of Broadway,
As on that great occasion, the Prince's procession day,
And the solemn chimes of Trinity through the air began to swim,
Tolling the grand Old Hundred and Luther's Judgment Hymn.
Ah, soon the great procession moved slowly from the Park;
'Twas headed by the Mayor, and brought up by men of mark,
Barefooted marched through mingled mud and snow;
Girdled with rope, and ashes-strewn, and clad in weeds of woe.
There were some Republican leaders, feeling very blue indeed,
That their party, after hard fighting, had the ill luck to succeed;
They were all for “conciliation,” “concession,” and “compromises;”
Hungry to eat their own words and back out of their own devices.
Houses in Southern trade, although their skirts were clear,
Had, for the sake of example, come in from far and near;
They bore a sable banner, all lettered in golden foil,
“After eating so much dirt, are we asked to swallow free soil?”
Merchants with “woolly” clerks, or those who, in sinful way,
Had thought their own thoughts sometimes on the questions of the day,
Marched with sorrowful tread, in garments as dark as death,
Beating their breasts, and crying “Mea culpa” with every breath.
There was the British Consul, walking subdued and meekly;
He had read that statesmanlike paper of Morse in the recent Weekly,
Unmasking the foul designs of the island across the ocean,
And he hastened to add his mite of penitence and devotion.
Many were the devices the mournful band upbore,
In token of heartfelt sorrow that would go and sin no more;
Loyal — repentant — humble — and all that sort of thing--
There was one in the style of Blondel--“O Cotton! O our King!”
It was a gloomy progress — no shouts or waving of palms--
They chanted De Profundis and the Penitential Psalms,
Or a verse of Dies Iroe by way of a little variety,
Tears and groans and ejaculations thrown in to prevent satiety.
Whenever the song was still the bands took up the wail--
(The drums and bugles wore crape as deep as a widow's veil)--
And the players moved along, solemn and slowly all,
To the music of Roslin Castle and the Dead March in Saul.
The route of the procession was up Broadway to Grace,
Where prayers were to be offered befitting the desperate case;
But a breakfast-bell rang near me, and roused by its thrilling stroke,
Just on the corner of Tenth street, I lost the vision and woke.