THE CURTAIN FALLS.
The two Chroniclers: Lonely is the man
Lonely is vision that leads a man away
From the pasture-lands,
From the furrows of corn and the brown loads of hay,
To the mountain-side,
To the high places where contemplation brings
All his adventurings
Among the sowers and the tillers in the wide
Valleys to one fused experience,
That shall control
The courses of his soul,
And give his hand
Courage and continence.
The First Chronicler: Shall a man understand,
He shall know bitterness because his kind,
Being perplexed of mind,
Hold issues even that are nothing mated.
And he shall give
Counsel out of his wisdom that none shall hear;
And steadfast in vain persuasion must he live,
Shall his temptation be.
Second Chronicler: Coveting the little,
the instant gain,
The brief security,
And easy-tongued renown,
Many will mock the vision that his brain
Builds to a far, unmeasured monument,
And many bid his resolutions down
To the wages of content.
First Chronicler: A year goes by.
The two together: Here contemplate
A heart, undaunted to possess
Itself among the glooms of fate,
In vision and in loneliness.
Ten months later. Seward’s room at Washington. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, is seated at his table with JOHNSON WHITE and CALEB JENNINGS, representing the Commissioners of the Confederate States.
White: It’s the common feeling in the South, Mr. Seward, that you’re the one man at Washington to see this thing with large imagination. I say this with no disrespect to the President.
Seward: I appreciate your kindness, Mr. White. But the Union is the Union—you can’t get over that. We are faced with a plain fact. Seven of the Southern States have already declared for secession. The President feels—and I may say that I and my colleagues are with him—that to break up the country like that means the decline of America.
Jennings: But everything might be done by compromise, Mr. Seward. Withdraw your garrison from Fort Sumter, Beauregard will be instructed to take no further action, South Carolina will be satisfied with the recognition of her authority, and, as likely as not, be willing to give the lead to the other states in reconsidering secession.
Seward: It is certainly a very attractive and, I conceive, a humane proposal.
White: By furthering it you might be the saviour of the country from civil war, Mr. Seward.
Seward: The President dwelt on his resolution to hold Fort Sumter in his inaugural address. It will be difficult to persuade him to go back on that. He’s firm in his decisions.