What Of The Day?





Written during the stirring weeks when the great political battle for

Freedom under Fremont's leadership was permitting strong hope of

success,--a hope overshadowed and solemnized by a sense of the magnitude

of the barbaric evil, and a forecast of the unscrupulous and desperate

use of all its powers in the last and decisive struggle.



A SOUND of tumult troubles all the air,

Like the low thunders of a sultry sky

Far-rolling ere the downright lightnings glare;

The hills blaze red with warnings; foes draw nigh,

Treading the dark with challenge and reply.

Behold the burden of the prophet's vision;

The gathering hosts,--the Valley of Decision,

Dusk with the wings of eagles wheeling o'er.

Day of the Lord, of darkness and not light!

It breaks in thunder and the whirlwind's roar

Even so, Father! Let Thy will be done;

Turn and o'erturn, end what Thou bast begun

In judgment or in mercy: as for me,

If but the least and frailest, let me be

Evermore numbered with the truly free

Who find Thy service perfect liberty!

I fain would thank Thee that my mortal life

Has reached the hour (albeit through care and pain)

When Good and Evil, as for final strife,

Close dim and vast on Armageddon's plain;

And Michael and his angels once again

Drive howling back the Spirits of the Night.

Oh for the faith to read the signs aright

And, from the angle of Thy perfect sight,

See Truth's white banner floating on before;

And the Good Cause, despite of venal friends,

And base expedients, move to noble ends;

See Peace with Freedom make to Time amends,

And, through its cloud of dust, the threshing-floor,

Flailed by the thunder, heaped with chaffless grain

1856.





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