previous next

24. the battle autumn of 1862.

by John G. Whittier
The flags of war like storm-birds fly,
     The charging trumpets blow;
Yet rolls no thunder in the sky,
     No earthquake strives below.

And, calm and patient, Nature keeps
     Her ancient promise well,
Though o'er her bloom and greenness sweeps
     The battle's breath of hell.

And still she walks in golden hours
     Through harvest-happy farms,
And still she wears her fruit and flowers
     Like jewels on her arms.

What means the gladness of the plain,
     This joy of eve and morn,
The mirth that shakes the beard of grain
     And yellow locks of corn?

Ah! eyes may well be full of tears,
     And hearts with hate are hot;
But even-paced come round the years,
     And Nature changes not.

She meets with smiles our bitter grief,
     With songs our groans of pain;
She mocks with tint of flower and leaf
     The war-field's crimson stain.

Still, in the cannon's pause, we hear
     Her sweet thanksgiving-psalm;
Too near to God for doubt or fear,
     She shares the eternal calm.

She knows the seed lies safe below
     The fires that blast and burn;
From all the tears of blood we sow,
     She waits the rich return.

She sees with clearer eye than ours
     The good of suffering born--
The hearts that blossom like her flowers
     And ripen like her corn.

Oh! give to us, in times like these,
     The vision of her eyes;
And make her fields and fruited trees
     Our golden prophecies!

Oh! give to us her finer ear!
     Above the stormy din,
We, too, would hear the bells of cheer
     Ring peace and freedom in!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John G. Whittier (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: