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74. in Libby prison — New-Year's eve, 1863-4.

'Tis twelve o'clock! Within my prison dreary--
My head upon my hand-sitting so weary,
Scanning the future, musing upon the past,
Pondering the fate that here my lot has cast;
The hoarse cry of the sentry, pacing his beat,
Wakens the echoes of the silent street:
“All is well!”

Ah! is it so? My fellow-captive, sleeping
Where the barred window strictest watch is keeping,
Dreaming of home and wife and prattling child--
Of the sequestered vale, the mountain wild--
Tell me, when cruel morn shall break again,
Wilt thou repeat the sentinel's refrain,
“All is well” ?

And thou, my country! wounded, pale, and bleeding,
Thy children deaf to a fond mother's pleading--
Stabbing with cruel hate the nurturing breast,
To which their infancy in love was pressed--
Recount thy wrongs, thy many sorrows name;
Then to the nations — if thou canst — proclaim:
“All is well!”

But through the clouds the sun is slowly breaking--
Hope from her long, deep sleep is waking:
Speed the time, Father! when the bow of peace,
Spanning the gulf, shall bid the tempest cease--
When to men, clasping each other by the hand,
Shall shout together in a united land:
“All is well!”

F. A. Bartleson, Colonel One Hundredth Illinois Volunteers.

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