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47. the hour and the man.

From the deep heart of all this land is sounding,
     Like the weird voice of Fate, the tramp of men;
And now, where serried ranks are fast emerging,
     Mountain gap, and glen,
And slope, and field, and plain, and stream, are glistening
     With points of steel and banners flaunting high;
And the awed world stands looking on and listening!
     'Midst it all, a cry
Steals up! in the beginning like a murmur
     From a high mountain or the distant sea,
But swelling to a blast: “O human brothers!
     Help up! We would be men; we would be free!”

On the broad page that bears the varied record
     Of every man's experience, this is found;
That great accomplishments or sure successes,
     Never yet have crowned
Him who has faltered in his own convictions;
     By varying and opposing counsels tossed;
Until, 'mid multitudinous convictions
     Truth and right were lost.
But cool, calm, cautious, and determined action,
     When comes the passing hour that's big with fate,
Fixes its impress on the individual,
     Exalts, expands, and magnifies the state.

From out the dusk of far receding centuries,
     One clear, prophetic voice of warning calls--
'Tis this: that in the hour of trust and trial,
     He who falters falls!
Oh! hearken to it, thou to-day, who oldest
     In thy hand a nation's wavering fate;
And be thou truest of the true, and boldest
     Of the bold! We wait--
We wait, thy people, patient but expectant;
     And the far nations, tip-toe, stand agape,
Whilst thou dost solve the problem of the present,
     And giv'st the future certainty and shape!

W. D. G. Kentucky, December 27, 1862.

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Mountain Gap (Virginia, United States) (1)
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