The Proclamation





President Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation was issued

January 1, 1863.



SAINT PATRICK, slave to Milcho of the herds

Of Ballymena, wakened with these words

"Arise, and flee

Out from the land of bondage, and be free!"



Glad as a soul in pain, who hears from heaven

The angels singing of his sins forgiven,

And, wondering, sees

His prison opening to their golden keys,



He rose a man who laid him down a slave,

Shook from his locks the ashes of the grave,

And outward trod

Into the glorious liberty of God.



He cast the symbols of his shame away;

And, passing where the sleeping Milcho lay,

Though back and limb

Smarted with wrong, he prayed, "God pardon

him!"



So went he forth; but in God's time he came

To light on Uilline's hills a holy flame;

And, dying, gave

The land a saint that lost him as a slave.



O dark, sad millions, patiently and dumb

Waiting for God, your hour at last has come,

And freedom's song

Breaks the long silence of your night of wrong!



Arise and flee! shake off the vile restraint

Of ages; but, like Ballymena's saint,

The oppressor spare,

Heap only on his head the coals of prayer.



Go forth, like him! like him return again,

To bless the land whereon in bitter pain

Ye toiled at first,

And heal with freedom what your slavery cursed.

1863.





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