187. the rising of the people.

by Elbridge Jefferson Cutler.
poem delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard University, July, 1861.

The drum's wild roar awakes the land; the fife is calling shrill;
Ten thousand starry banners blaze on town, and bay, and hill;
Our crowded streets are throbbing with the soldiers' measured tramp;
Among our bladed corn-fields gleam the white tents of the camp.
The thunders of the rising war hush labor's drowsy hum,
And heavy to the ground the first dark drops of battle come.
The souls of men flame up anew; the narrow heart expands;
And woman brings her patient faith to nerve her eager hands.
Thank God! we are not buried yet, though long in trance we lay;
Thank God! the fathers need not blush to own their sons to-day.

Oh! sad and slow the weeks went by; each held his anxious breath,
Like one who waits, in helpless fear, some sorrow great as death.
Oh! scarcely was there faith in God, nor any trust in man,
While fast along the Southern sky the blighting shadow ran.
It veiled the stars, one after one; it hushed the patriots' song;
And stole from men the sacred sense that parteth right and wrong.
Then a red flash — the lightning across the darkness broke,
And with a voice that shook the land, the guns of Sumter spoke:
Wake! sons of heroes, wake! the age of heroes dawns again;
Truth takes in hand her ancient sword, and calls her loyal men.
Lo! brightly o'er the breaking day shines Freedom's holy star,
Peace cannot cure the sickly time. All hail, the healer, War.!

That call was heard by Plymouth rock; 'twas heard in Boston bay;
Then up the piny streams of Maine sped on its ring: ing way;
New Hampshire's rocks, Vermont's green hills, it kindled into flame;
Rhode Island felt her mighty soul bursting her little frame:
The Empire City started up, her golden fetters rent,
And, meteor-like, across the North, the fiery message sent;
Over the breezy prairie lands, by bluff and lake it ran,
Till Kansas bent his arm, and laughed to find himself a man;
Then on, by cabin and by camp, by stony wastes and sands,
It ran exultant down the sea where the Golden City stands.

And wheresoe'er the summons came, there rose an angry din,
As when upon a rocky coast a stormy tide comes in.
Straightway the fathers gathered voice, straightway the sons arose,
With flushing cheek, as when the east with day's red current glows.
Hurrah! the long despair is past; our fading hopes renew;
The fog is lifting from the land, and lo I the anoient blue!
We learn the secret of the deeds the sires have handed down,
To fire the youthful soldier's zeal, and tend his green renown.
Who lives for country, through his arm feels all her forces flow.
'Tis easy to be brave for truth, as for the rose to blow.

Oh, Law! fair form of Liberty! God's light is on thy brow,
Oh, Liberty! thou soul of Law, God's very self art thou,
One the clear river's sparkling flood that clothes the bank with green;
And one the line of stubborn rock that holds the water in--
Friends, whom we cannot think apart, seeming each other's foe:
Twin flowers upon a single stalk with equal grace that grow.
Oh, fair ideas! we write your names across our banner's fold;
For you, the sluggard's brain is fire; for you, the coward bold,
Oh! daughter of the bleeding Past! Oh! hope the prophets saw!
God give us Law in Liberty, and Liberty in Law!

Full many a heart is aching, with mingled joy and pain,
For those who go so proudly forth, and may not come again;
And many a heart is aching for those it leaves behind,
As a thousand tender histories throng in upon the mind.
The old men bless the young men, and praise their bearing high;
The women in the doorways stand to wave them bravely by. [152]
One threw her arms about her boy, and said, “Good bye, my son;
God help thee do the valiant deeds thy father would have done.”
One held up to a bearded man a little child to kiss,
And said, “I shall not be alone, for thy dear love and this.”
And one, a rosebud in her hand, leant at a soldier's side;
“Thy country weds thee first,” she said, “be I thy second bride.”

Oh, mothers! when, around your hearths, ye count your cherished ones,
And miss from the enchanted ring the flower of all your sons;
Oh, wives! when o'er the cradled child ye bend at evening's fall,
And voices which the heart can hear across the distance call;
Oh, maids! when, in the sleepless nights, ye ope the little case,
And look till ye can look no more upon the proud young face,
Not only pray the Lord of Life, who measures mortal breath,
To bring the absent back unscathed out of the fire of death;
Oh, pray with that divine content which God's best favor draws,
That, whosoever lives or dies, he save his holy cause!

So out of shop and farmhouse, from shore and inland glen,
Thick as the bees in clover time, are swarming armed men;
Along the dusty roads in haste the eager columns come,
With flash of sword and musket's gleam, the bugle and the drum.
Ho! comrades! see the starry flag, broad waving at our head;
Ho! comrades! mark the tender light on the dear emblems spread!
Our fathers' blood has hallowed it; 'tis part of their renown;
And palsied be the caitiff hand would pluck its glories down!
Hurrah! hurrah! it is our home where'er thy colors fly;
We win with thee the victory, or in thy shadow die!

Oh, women! drive the rattling loom, and gather in the hay;
For all the youth worth love and truth are marshalled for the fray.
Southward the hosts are hurrying, with banners wide unfurled
From where the stately Hudson floats the wealth of half the world;
From where, amid his clustered isles, Lake Huron's waters gleam;
From where the Mississippi pours an unpolluted stream;
From where Kentucky's fields of corn bend in the Southern air;
From broad Ohio's luscious vines; from Jersey's orchards fair;
From where, between his fertile slopes, Nebraska's rivers run;
From Pennsylvania's iron hills; from woody Oregon;
And Massachusetts led the van, as in the days of yore,
And gave her reddest blood to cleanse the stones of Baltimore.

Oh, mothers! sisters! daughters I spare the tears ye fain would shed;
Who seem to die in such a cause, ye cannot call them dead;
They live upon the lips of men, in picture, bust, and song,
And nature folds them in her heart, and keeps them safe from wrong.

Oh! length of days is not a boon the brave man prayeth for;
There are a thousand evils worse than death or any war--
Oppression, with his iron strength, fed on the souls of men,
And License, with the hungry brood that haunt his ghastly den.
But like bright stars ye fill the eye; adoring hearts ye draw;
Oh! sacred grace of Liberty! oh, majesty of Law!

Hurrah! the drums are beating; the fife is calling shrill;
Ten thousand starry banners flame on town, and bay, and hill;
The thunders of the rising war drown labor's peaceful hum;
Thank God that we have lived to see the saffron morning come--
The morning of the battle call, to every soldier dear!
Oh joy! the cry is “Forward!” Oh, joy! the foe is near!
For all the crafty men of peace have failed to purge the land;
Hurrah! the ranks of battle close! God takes his cause in hand!

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