Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

POEMS OF PEACE AND WAR.

.

ODE TO PEACE.

Come while our voices are blended in song,

Fly to our ark like the storm-beaten dove, DAUGHTER of God ! that sit’st on high

Fly to our ark on the wings of the dove, Amid the dances of the sky,

Speed o'er the far-sounding billows of song, And guidest with thy gentle sway

Crowned with thine olive-leaf garland of love; The planets on their tuneful way ;

Angel of Peace, thou hast waited too long ! Sweet Peace ! shall ne'er again The smile of thy most holy face,

Brothers, we meet on this altar of thine, From thine ethereal dwelling-place,

Mingling the gifts we have gathered for thee, Rejoice the wretched, weary race

Sweet with the odors of myrtle and pine,
Of discord-breathing men ?

Breeze of the prairie and breath of the sea ! Too long, O gladness-giving Queen ! Meadow and mountain, and forest and sea ! Thy tarrying in heaven has been ;

Sweet is the fragrance of myrtle and pine, Too long o'er this fair blooming world Sweeter the incense we offer to thee, The flag of blood has been unfurled,

Brothers, once more round this altar of thine! Polluting God's pure day ; Whilst, as each maddening people reels,

Angels of Bethlehem, answer the strain ! War onward drives his scythéd wheels,

Hark! a new birth-song is filling the sky ! And at his horses' bloody heels

Loud as the storm-wind that tumbles the main, Shriek Murder and Dismay.

Bid the full breath of the organ reply ;

Let the loud tempest of voices reply ; Oft have I wept to hear the cry

Roll its long surge like the earth-shaking main ! Of widow wailing bitterly ;

Swell the vast song till it mounts to the sky! To see the parent's silent tear

Angels of Bethlehem, echo the strain !
For children fallen beneath the spear ;

And I have felt so sore
The sense of human guilt and woe,
That I, in Virtue's passioned glow,
Have cursed (my soul was wounded so)

THE BATTLE-FIELD.
The shape of man I bore !
Then come from thy serene abode,

ONCE this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,
Thou gladness-giving child of God !

Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And cease the world's ensanguined strife,

And fiery hearts and arméd hands
And reconcile my soul to life;

Encountered in the battle-cloud.
For much I long to see,

Ah! never shall the land forget
Ere I shall to the grave descend,

How gushed the life-blood of her brave, Thy hand its blessed branch extend,

Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet,
And to the world's remotest end

Upon the soil they fought to save.
Wave Love and Harmony !

Now all is calm and fresh and still ;

Alone the chirp of flitting bird,

And talk of children on the hill,
HYMN OF PEACE.

And bell of wandering kine, are heard.
ANGEL of Peace, thou hast wandered too long! No solemn host goes trailing by

Spread thy white wings to the sunshine of love! The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain ;

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

WILLIAM TENNENT.

Men start not at the battle-cry,

0, be it never heard again !

Soon rested those who fought ; but thou

Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now,

Thy warfare only ends with life.

A friendless warfare ! lingering long

Through weary day and weary year ; A wild and many-weaponed throng

Hang on thy front and flank and rear. Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,

And blench not at thy chosen lot; The timid good may stand aloof,

The sage may frown, - yet faint thou not. Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,

The foul and hissing bolt of scorn ;
For with thy side shall dwell, at last,

The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again,

The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,

And dies among his worshippers.

“Ah ha! old worn-out soldier, is it you ?"
While thus I mused, still gazing, gazing still,
On beds of moss that spread the window-sill,
I deemed no moss my eyes had ever seen
Had been so lovely, brilliant, fresh, and green,
And guessed some infant hand had placed it there,
And prized its hue, so exquisite, so rare.
Feelings on feelings mingling, doubling rose ;
My heart felt everything but calm repose ;
I could not reckon minutes, hours, nor years,
But rose at once, and bursted into tears;
Then, like a fool, confused, sat down again, .
And thought upon the past with shame and pain ;
I raved at war and all its horrid cost,
And glory's quagmire, where the brave are lost.
On carnage, fire, and plunder long I mused,
And cursed the murdering weapons I had used.

Two shadows then I saw, two voices heard,
One bespoke age, and one a child's appeared.
In stepped my father with convulsive start,
And in an instant clasped me to his heart.
Close by him stood a little blue-eyed maid ;
And stooping to the child, the old man said,
“Come hither, Nancy, kiss me once again ;
This is your uncle Charles, come home from Spain."
The child approached, and with her fingers light
Stroked my old eyes, almost deprived of sight.
But why thus spin my tale, - thus tedious be?
Happy old soldier ! what's the world to me?

Yea, though thou lie upon the dust,

When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust,

Like those who fell in battle here!

ROBERT BLOOMFIELD.

SOLDIER, REST! THY WARFARE O'ER

Another hand thy sword shall wield,

Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed

The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.

FROM "THE LADY OF THE LAKE.”

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

THE SOLDIER'S RETURN.

How sweet it was to breathe that cooler air,
And take possession of my father's chair !
Beneath my elbow, on the solid frame,
Appeared the rough initials of my name,
Cut forty years before! The same old clock
Struck the same bell, and gave my heart a shock
I never can forget. A short breeze sprung,
And while a sigh was trembling on my tongue,
Caught the old dangling almanacs behind,
And up they flew like banners in the wind;
Then gently, singly, down, down, down they went,
And told of twenty years that I had spent
Far from my native land. That instant came
A robin on the threshold ; though so tame,
At first he looked distrustful, almost shy,
And cast on me his coal-black steadfast eye,
And seemed to say, - past friendship to renew,

SOLDIER, rest! thy warfare o'er,

Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking ; Dream of battled fields no more,

Days of danger, nights of waking. In our isle's enchanted hall,

Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
Fairy strains of music fall,

Every sense in slumber dewing,
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of fighting fields no more ;
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Morn of toil, nor night of waking.
No rude sound shall reach thine ear,

Armor's clang, or war-steed champing,
Trump nor pibroch summon here

Mustering clan, or squadron tramping. Yet the lark's shrill fife may come

At the day break from the fallow, And the bittern sound his drum,

Booming from the sedgy shallow. Ruder sounds shall none be near, Guards nor warders challenge here;

[blocks in formation]

Thrice since then had the lanes been white,

And the orchards sweet with apple-bloom ; And now, when the cows came back at night,

The feeble father drove them home.

For news had come to the lonely farm

That three were lying where two had lain ; And the old man's tremulous, palsied arm

Could never lean on a son's again.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,

Who stood expectant by ;
And then the old man shook his head,

And, with a natural sigh, “ 'T is some poor fellow's skull,” said he, “Who fell in the great victory.

IV. “ I find them in the garden,

For there 's many hereabout; And often, when I go to plough,

The ploughshare turns them out; For many thousand men,” said he, “Were slain in the great victory."

The summer day grew cool and late,

He went for the cows when the work was done; But down the lane, as he opened the gate,

He saw them coming one by one,

[blocks in formation]

“Now tell us what 't was all about,"

Young Peterkin he cries ; And little Wilhelmine looks up

With wonder-waiting eyes, “Now tell us all about the war, And what they fought each other for.'

OLD Tubal Cain was a man of might,

In the days when earth was young ;
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright,

The strokes of his hammer rung :
And he lifted high his brawny hand

On the iron glowing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,

As he fashioned the sword and the spear.
And he sang : “Hurrah for my handiwork !

Hurrah for the spear and the sword ! Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,

For he shall be king and lord."

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

To Tubal Cain came many a one,

As he wrought by his roaring fire, And each one prayed for a strong steel blade

As the crown of his desire :
And he made them weapons sharp and strong,

Till they shouted loud for glee,
And gave him gifts of pearl and gold,

And spoils of the forest free.
And they sang : “Hurrah for Tubal Cain,

Who hath given us strength anew!
Hurrah for the smith, hurrah for the fire,

And hurrah for the metal true !"

VIII.

“With fire and sword the country round

Was wasted far and wide ;
And many a childing mother there,

And new-born baby died ;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

with rage men,

IX.

“They say it was a shocking sight

After the field was won,
For many thousand bodies here

Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

But a sudden change came o'er his heart,

Ere the setting of the sun,
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain

For the evil he had done ;
He saw that

and hate, Made war upon their kind, That the land was red with the blood they shed,

In their lust for carnage blind.
And he said : “ Alas! that ever I made,

Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy

Is to slay their fellow-man !"
And for many a day old Tubal Cain

Sat brooding o'er his woe;
And his hand forbore to smite the ore,

And his furnace smouldered low.
But he rose at last with a cheerful face,

And a bright courageous eye,
And bared his strong right arm for work,

While the quick flames mounted high.
And he sang : “Hurrah for my handiwork !"

And the red sparks lit the air ; “Not alone for the blade was the bright steel

made," And he fashioned the first ploughshare.

X.

“Great praise the Duke of Marlborough won,

And our good Prince Eugene."
Why, 't was a very wicked thing!”

Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay, nay, my little girl !” quoth he,
“ It was a famous victory.

XI.

“And everybody praised the duke

Who this great fight did win.” “But what good came of it at last ?”

Quoth little Peterkin. Why, that I cannot tell," said he ; “ But 't was a famous victory."

And men, taught wisdom from the past,

In friendship joined their hands, Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,

And ploughed the willing lands;

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

>

And sang :

“ Hurrah for Tubal Cain ! Our stanch good friend is he ; And for the ploughshare and the plough

To him our praise shall be.
But while oppression lists its head,

Or a tyrant would be lord,
Though we may thank him for the plough,

We'll not forget the sword !"

“Pledges of thy love and faith, Proved on many a field of death,

Not by me are needed.” Marvelled much that henchman bold, That his laird, so stout of old,

Now so meekly pleaded.

CHARLES MACKAY.

“Woe's the day,” he sadly said, With a slowly shaking head,

And a look of pity; “Ury's honest lord reviled, Mock of knave and sport of child,

In his own good city!

BARCLAY OF URY.

“Speak the word, and, master mine, As we charged on Tilly's line,

And his Walloon lancers, Smiting through their midst, we 'll teach Civil look and decent speech

To these boyish prancers !"

“Marvel not, mine ancient friend, Like beginning, like the end !"

Quoth the laird of Ury; “Is the sinful servant more Than his gracious Lord who bore

Bonds and stripes in Jewry ?

Up the streets of Aberdeen,
By the kirk and college green,

Rode the laird of Ury;
Close behind him, close beside,
Foul of mouth and evil-eyed,

Pressed the mob in fury.
Flouted him the drunken churl,
Jeered at him the serving-girl,

Prompt to please her master; And the begging carlin, late Fed and clothed at Ury's gate,

Cursed him as he passed her.
Yet with calm and stately mien
Up the streets of Aberdeen

Came he slowly riding ;
And to all he saw and heard
Answering not with bitter word,

Turning not for chiding.
Came a troop with broadswords swinging,
Bits and bridles sharply ringing,

Loose and free and froward :
Quoth the foremost, “Ride him down !
Push him ! prick him! Through the town

Drive the Quaker coward !”
But from out the thickening crowd
Cried a sudden voice and loud :

“ Barclay! Ho! a Barclay !”
And the old man at his side
Saw a comrade, battle-tried,

Scarred and sunburned darkly; Who, with ready weapon bare, Fronting to the troopers there,

Cried aloud : “God save us ! Call

ye

coward him who stood Ankle-deep in Lutzen's blood,

With the brave Gustavus?"

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

“Nay, I do not need thy sword, Comrade mine," said Ury's lord ;

“Put it up, I pray thee. Passive to his holy will, Trust I in my Master still,

Even though he slay me.

“Through this dark and stormy night Faith beholds a feeble light

Up the blackness streaking ;

« VorigeDoorgaan »