A Word For The Hour

THE firmament breaks up. In black eclipse

Light after light goes out. One evil star,

Luridly glaring through the smoke of war,

As in the dream of the Apocalypse,

Drags others down. Let us not weakly weep

Nor rashly threaten. Give us grace to keep

Our faith and patience; wherefore should we leap

On one hand into fratricidal fight,

Or, on the other, yield eternal right,

Frame lies of law, and good and ill confound?

What fear we? Safe on freedom's vantage-ground

Our feet are planted: let us there remain

In unrevengeful calm, no means untried

Which truth can sanction, no just claim denied,

The sad spectators of a suicide!

They break the links of Union: shall we light

The fires of hell to weld anew the chain

On that red anvil where each blow is pain?

Draw we not even now a freer breath,

As from our shoulders falls a load of death

Loathsome as that the Tuscan's victim bore

When keen with life to a dead horror bound?

Why take we up the accursed thing again?

Pity, forgive, but urge them back no more

Who, drunk with passion, flaunt disunion's rag

With its vile reptile-blazon. Let us press

The golden cluster on our brave old flag

In closer union, and, if numbering less,

Brighter shall shine the stars which still remain.

16th First mo., 1861.

A Summons Abolition Of Slavery In The District Of Columbia, 1862 facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail