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29. a song of Lamentation.

“On hearing of the battle of Lexington, Col. Putnam left his plough standing in the middle of the field, and, without changing his clothes, repaired to Cambridge, riding in a single day one hundred miles.”--National Portrait Gallery, published 1834.

“A little beyond, a rebel was ploughing in a field by the roadside: both animals were taken, and the plough left standing in the furrow.”--Tribune Correspondence.

     Strophe First:
The plough stands in the furrow. Ah! how long?
     The unbroken sod invites the share in vain,
The fertile fields produce not: and among
     The woods resounds the tramp of armed men.

Ceres aye yields to Mars. The warrior-god
     Over her fields relentless drives his steeds;
And when and where he hurls his barbed rod,
     “Some Athens perishes, some Tully bleeds.”

Strophe Second:
     The plough stood in the furrow. Putnam heard
His country's trumpet-call, and left it there.
     In her behalf, the soul within him stirred
To such deeds as few mortals do, or dare.

     The plough stands in the furrow. Where is he
Who lately guided it with wonted skill?
     Go, seek him in the camp where traitors be,
Armed 'gainst the land which calls them “brothers” still.

Strophe Third:
     The song of birds amid the summer trees,
The forest foliage, glittering goldenly,
     The azure sky, the many-perfumed breeze,
Ah! sunny clime! fond Nature smiles on thee.

     The sound of mourning! dear homes ruthlessly
Laid waste! for Death and Hell walk hand in hand!
     Sackcloth and Ashes! Bend the stubborn knee--
Woe is thy heritage, thou goodly land.

     O bleeding land! there is, that bringeth cheer;
Renew thy fading hopes, repress thy sighs.
     O traitor band! there is, that causeth fear;
Haste ye and hide, ere Nemesis arise!

O mourning heart, be still! The gloomy night,
     Even to eye that's not “of faith,” grows gray;
Soon shall its darkness melt away in light.
     Come, quickly come, light of the glorious day!

Arise, and gird your loins, ye men of might!
     Earth trembling, hope, heaven, bide the end; hear ye!
Go forth, great-hearts! Do battle for the right!
     Go forth, and faint not: “God and Liberty!”

“Thine is the fight, O God.” For liberty
     To worship thee in peace, we draw the sword;
Thy cause shall fail not, save ordained by thee;
     Even as the sparrow falls but by thy word.

Grant thou, All-Merciful! thy mercy to us,
     Only thine arm of strength can us subdue.
With thine own spirit toward our foes, imbue us;
     So shall we “temper justice” to thy view.

Edmundus Scotus, Ninth Illinois Cavalry Chicago, November 27, 1862.

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