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AWAKE and to horse! my brothers,
For the dawn is glimmering gray, And hark! in the crackling brush wood
There are feet that tread this way !
“Who cometh ?" "A friend !” “What tidings ? "
"O God! I sicken to tell ;
And its sights are sights of hell!
“ There's rapine, and fire, and slaughter,
From the mountain down to the shore; There's blood on the trampled harvest,
And blood on the homestead floor!
“ From the far off conquered cities
Comes the voice of a stifled wail,
Ring out, like a dirge, on the gale !
“I've seen, from the smoking village
Our mothers and daughters fly!
I've seen, where the little children
Sank down in the furrows, to die !
6 On the banks of the battle-stained river
I stood, as the moonlight shone,
As the sad wave swept him on!
“Where my home was glad, are ashes,
And horror and shame had been there; For I found, on the fallen lintel,
This tress of my wife's torn hair!
“ They are turning the slave upon us,
And with more than the fiend's worst art, Have uncovered the fires of the savage,
That slept in his untaught heart !
“ The ties to our hearths that bound him,
They have rent, with curses, away, And maddened him, with their madness,
To be almost as brutal as they.
“ With halter, and torch, and Bible,
And hymns, to the sound of the drum,
They preach the gospel of murder,
And pray for lust's kingdom to come!
“To saddle! to saddle! my brothers !
Look up to the rising sun,
Whether deeds like these shall be done.
6 Wherever the vandal cometh,
Press home to his heart with your steel; And where'er at his bosom ye can not,
Like the serpent, go strike at his heel.
“Through thicket and wood go hunt him ;
Creep up to his camp-fire side! And let ten of his corpses blacken
Where one of our brothers hath died !
“In his fainting, foot-sore marches,
In his flight from the stricken fray, In the snare of the lonely ambush,
The debts that we owe him, pay !
“In God's hand alone is judgment,
But He strikes with the hands of men,
And His blight would wither our manhood,
If we smote not the smiter again.
“By the graves where our fathers slumber,
By the shrines where our mothers prayed, By our homes, and hopes, and freedom,
Let every man swear on his blade
“ That he will not sheath nor stay it
Till from point to heft it glow,
In the blood of the felon foe!"
They swore; and the answering sunlight
Leapt red from their lifted swords, And the hate in their hearts made echo
To the wrath in their burning words!
There's weeping in all New-England,
And by Schuylkill's bank a knell ; And the widows there, and the orphans,
How the oath was kept can tell.
'Twas as the dying of the day,
The darkness grew so still ;
Was hushed upon the hill.
Slumbered the men of might;
To watch the camp that night.
and solemn man was he, With deep and sombre brow; The dreamful eyes seemed hoarding up
Some unaccomplished vow. The wistful glance peered o'er the plain,
Beneath the starry light; And, with the murmured name of God,
He watched the camp that night.
The future opened unto him
Its grand and awful scrollManassas and the valley march
Came heaving o'er his soul;