’T ain’t right
to hev the young go fust,
All throbbin’ full o’ gifts an’ graces,
Leavin’ life’s paupers dry ez dust
To try an’ make b’lieve fill their places: 140
Nothin’ but tells us wut we miss,
Ther’ ’s gaps our lives can’t never fay in,
An’ thet world seems so fur from this
Lef’ for us loafers to grow gray in!
My eyes cloud up for rain;
my mouth 145
Will take to twitchin’ roun’ the corners;
I pity mothers, tu, down South,
For all they sot among the scorners:
I’d sooner take my chance to stan’
At Jedgment where your meanest slave is, 150
Than at God’s bar hol’ up a han’
Ez drippin’ red ez yourn, Jeff Davis!
Come, Peace! not like a mourner
For honor lost an’ dear ones wasted,
But proud, to meet a people proud, 155
With eyes thet tell o’ triumph tasted!
Come, with han’ grippin’ on the hilt,
An’ step thet proves ye Victory’s daughter!
Longin’ for you, our sperits wilt
Like shipwrecked men’s on raf’s for water. 160
Come, while our country feels
Of a gret instinct shoutin’ forwards,
An’ knows thet freedom ain’t a gift
Thet tarries long in han’s o’ cowards!
Come, sech ez mothers prayed for, when 165
They kissed their cross with lips thet quivered,
An’ bring fair wages for brave men,
A nation saved, a race delivered!
[The battles of Magenta and Solferino, in the early summer of 1859, had given promise of a complete emancipation of Italy from the Austrian supremacy, when Napoleon III., who was acting in alliance with Victor Emmanuel, king of Sardinia, held a meeting with the emperor Francis Joseph of Austria at Villa Franca, and agreed to terms which were very far from including the unification of Italy. There was a general distrust of Napoleon, and the war continued with the final result of a united Italy. In the poem which follows Mr. Lowell gives expression to his want of faith in the French emperor.]
Wait a little: do we
Louis Napoleon is not Fate,
Francis Joseph is not Time;
There’s One hath swifter feet than Crime;
Cannon-parliaments settle naught; 5
Venice is Austria’s,—whose is Thought?
Minie is good, but, spite of change,
Gutenberg’s gun has the longest range.
Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
Lachesis, twist! and, Atropos, sever! 10
In the shadow, year out, year in,
The silent headsman waits forever.