O Southland! O Southland!
Do you not hear to-day
The mighty beat of onward feet,
And know you not their way?
’Tis forward, ’tis upward,
On to the fair white arch
Of Freedom’s dome, and there is room
For each man who would march.
O Southland, fair Southland!
Then why do you still cling
To an idle age and a musty page,
To a dead and useless thing?
’Tis springtime! ’Tis work-time!
The world is young again!
And God’s above, and God is love,
And men are only men.
O Southland! my Southland!
O birthland! do not shirk
The toilsome task, nor respite ask,
But gird you for the work.
That weakness stalks in pride;
That he is strong who helps along
The faint one at his side.
To Horace Bumstead
Have you been sore discouraged
in the fight,
And even sometimes weighted by the thought
That those with whom and those for whom you fought
Lagged far behind, or dared but faintly smite?
And that the opposing forces in their might
Of blind inertia rendered as for naught
All that throughout the long years had been wrought,
And powerless each blow for Truth and Right?
If so, take new and greater
And think no more withouten help you stand;
For sure as God on His eternal throne
Sits, mindful of the sinful deeds of men,
—The awful Sword of Justice in His hand,—
You shall not, no, you shall not, fight alone.
THE COLOR SERGEANT
(On an Incident at the Battle of San Juan Hill)
Under a burning tropic sun,
With comrades around him lying,
A trooper of the sable Tenth
Lay wounded, bleeding, dying.
First in the charge up the
His company’s guidon bearing,
He had rushed where the leaden hail fell fast,
Not death nor danger fearing.
He fell in the front where
the fight grew fierce,
Still faithful in life’s last labor;
Black though his skin, yet his heart as true
As the steel of his blood-stained saber.
And while the battle around
Like the roar of a sullen breaker,
He closed his eyes on the bloody scene,
And presented arms to his Maker.
There he lay, without honor
But, still, in a grim-like beauty;
Despised of men for his humble race,
Yet true, in death, to his duty.