And States co-equal and distinct Outshone the western sun, By one great charter interlinked-- Not blended into one; Whose graven key that high decree The grand inscription lent, "No earthly power can rule the free But by their own consent!"
Oh! sordid age! Oh! ruthless rage! Oh! sacrilegious wrong! A deed to blast the record page, And snap the strings of song; In that great charter's name, a band By grovelling greed enticed, Whose warrant is the grasping hand Of creeds without a Christ--
States that have trampled every pledge Its crystal code contains, Now give their swords a keener edge To harness it with chains-- To make a bond of brotherhood The sanction and the seal, By which to arm a rabble brood With fratricidal steel.
Who, conscious that their cause is black, In puling prose and rhyme, Talk hatefully of love, and tack Hypocrisy to crime; Who smile and smite, engross the gorge Or impotently frown; And call us "rebels" with King George, As if they wore his crown!
Most venal of a venal race, Who think you cheat the sky With every pharisaic face And simulated lie; Round Freedom's lair, with weapons bare, We greet the light divine Of those who throned the goddess there, And yet inspire the shrine!
Our loved ones' graves are at our feet, Their homesteads at our back-- No belted Southron can retreat With women on his track; Peal, bannered host, the proud decree Which from your fathers went, "No earthly power can rule the free But by their own consent!"
Wouldst Thou Have Me Love Thee.
By Alex B. Meek.
Wouldst thou have me love thee, dearest, With a woman's proudest heart, Which shall ever hold thee nearest, Shrined in its inmost heart? Listen, then! My country's calling On her sons to meet the foe! Leave these groves of rose and myrtle; Drop thy dreamy harp of love! Like young Korner--scorn the turtle, When the eagle screams above!
Dost thou pause?--Let dastards dally-- Do thou for thy country fight! 'Neath her noble emblem rally-- "God, our country, and our right!" Listen! now her trumpet's calling On her sons to meet the foe! Woman's heart is soft and tender, But 'tis proud and faithful too: Shall she be her land's defender? Lover! Soldier! up and do!
Seize thy father's ancient falchion, Which once flashed as freedom's star! Till sweet peace--the bow and halcyon, Stilled the stormy strife of war. Listen! now thy country's calling On her sons to meet her foe! Sweet is love in moonlight bowers! Sweet the altar and the flame! Sweet the spring-time with her flowers! Sweeter far the patriot's name!
Should the God who smiles above thee, Doom thee to a soldier's grave, Hearts will break, but fame will love thee, Canonized among the brave! Listen, then! thy country's calling On her sons to meet the foe! Rather would I view thee lying On the last red field of strife, 'Mid thy country's heroes dying, Than become a dastard's wife!
I know the sun shines, and the lilacs are blowing, And summer sends kisses by beautiful May-- Oh! to see all the treasures the spring is bestowing, And think--my boy Willie enlisted to-day.
It seems but a day since at twilight, low humming, I rocked him to sleep with his cheek upon mine, While Robby, the four-year old, watched for the coming Of father, adown the street's indistinct line.
It is many a year since my Harry departed, To come back no more in the twilight or dawn; And Robby grew weary of watching, and started Alone on the journey his father had gone.
It is many a year--and this afternoon sitting At Robby's old window, I heard the band play, And suddenly ceased dreaming over my knitting, To recollect Willie is twenty to-day.
And that, standing beside him this soft May-day morning, The sun making gold of his wreathed cigar smoke, I saw in his sweet eyes and lips a faint warning, And choked down the tears when he eagerly spoke:
"Dear mother, you know how these Northmen are crowing, They would trample the rights of the South in the dust; The boys are all fire; and they wish I were going--" He stopped, but his eyes said, "Oh, say if I must!"
I smiled on the boy, though my heart it seemed breaking, My eyes filled with tears, so I turned them away, And answered him, "Willie, 'tis well you are waking-- Go, act as your father would bid you, to-day!"
I sit in the window, and see the flags flying, And drearily list to the roll of the drum, And smother the pain in my heart that is lying, And bid all the fears in my bosom be dumb.