Fifty years & Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about Fifty years & Other Poems.

    To gain these fruits that have been earned,
      To hold these fields that have been won,
    Our arms have strained, our backs have burned,
      Bent bare beneath a ruthless sun.

    That Banner which is now the type
      Of victory on field and flood—­
    Remember, its first crimson stripe
      Was dyed by Attucks’ willing blood.

    And never yet has come the cry—­
      When that fair flag has been assailed—­
    For men to do, for men to die,
      That have we faltered or have failed.

    We’ve helped to bear it, rent and torn,
      Through many a hot-breath’d battle breeze;
    Held in our hands, it has been borne
      And planted far across the seas.

    And never yet—­O haughty Land,
      Let us, at least, for this be praised—­
    Has one black, treason-guided hand
      Ever against that flag been raised.

    Then should we speak but servile words,
      Or shall we hang our heads in shame? 
    Stand back of new-come foreign hordes,
      And fear our heritage to claim?

    No! stand erect and without fear,
      And for our foes let this suffice—­
    We’ve bought a rightful sonship here,
      And we have more than paid the price.

    And yet, my brothers, well I know
      The tethered feet, the pinioned wings,
    The spirit bowed beneath the blow,
      The heart grown faint from wounds and stings;

    The staggering force of brutish might,
      That strikes and leaves us stunned and daezd;
    The long, vain waiting through the night
      To hear some voice for justice raised.

    Full well I know the hour when hope
      Sinks dead, and ’round us everywhere
    Hangs stifling darkness, and we grope
      With hands uplifted in despair.

    Courage!  Look out, beyond, and see
      The far horizon’s beckoning span! 
    Faith in your God-known destiny! 
      We are a part of some great plan.

    Because the tongues of Garrison
      And Phillips now are cold in death,
    Think you their work can be undone? 
      Or quenched the fires lit by their breath?

    Think you that John Brown’s spirit stops? 
      That Lovejoy was but idly slain? 
    Or do you think those precious drops
      From Lincoln’s heart were shed in vain?

    That for which millions prayed and sighed,
      That for which tens of thousands fought,
    For which so many freely died,
      God cannot let it come to naught.


    How would you have us, as we are? 
    Or sinking ’neath the load we bear? 
    Our eyes fixed forward on a star? 
    Or gazing empty at despair?

    Rising or falling?  Men or things? 
    With dragging pace or footsteps fleet? 
    Strong, willing sinews in your wings? 
    Or tightening chains about your feet?

Project Gutenberg
Fifty years & Other Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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