AcceptationThe position of Margaret J. Preston, a representative poet of the Confederacy, has already been commented on. The fact that one sister, Elinor Junkin, was the first wife of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, and that to another at the close of the war fell the honor of providing a home in Lexington, Virginia, for Robert E. Lee, entitled her to speak here for the South as a whole. The poem appeared in 1866, in Beechenbrook.
We do accept thee, heavenly Peace!
Albeit thou comest in a guise
Unlooked for—undesired, our eyes
Welcome through tears the sweet release
From war, and woe, and want,—surcease,
For which we bless thee, blessed Peace!
We lift our foreheads from the dust;
And as we meet thy brow's clear calm,
There falls a freshening sense of balm
Upon our spirits. Fear—distrust—
The hopeless present on us thrust—
We'll meet them as we can, and must.
War has not wholly wrecked us: still
Strong hands, brave hearts, high souls are ours—
Proud consciousness of quenchless powers—
A Past whose memory makes us thrill—
Futures uncharactered, to fill
With heroisms—if we will.
Then courage, brothers!—Though each breast
Feel oft the rankling thorn, despair,
That failure plants so sharply there—
No pain, no pang shall be confest:
We'll work and watch the brightening west,
And leave to God and Heaven the rest.