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BEAT! BEAT! DRUMS! 1

BY WALT WHITMAN

Beat! beat! drums !—blow! bugles ! blow!
Through the windows-through doors—burst like a

ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet-no happiness must

he have now with his bride, Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plowing his field

or gathering his grain, So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill

you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums !-blow! bugles ! blow!
Over the traffic of cities over the rumble of wheels

in the streets; Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses?

no sleepers must sleep in those beds, No bargainers' bargains by day-no brokers or spec

ulators-would they continue ? Would the talkers be talking ? would the singer at

tempt to sing ? Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case

before the judge ? Then rattle quicker, heavier drums-you bugles wilder

blow.

1 From

Selected Poems." Published by David McKay.

Beat! beat! drums !-blow! bugles ! blow!
Make no parley-stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid-mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's

entreaties, Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they

lie awaiting the hearses, So strong you thump O terrible drums--so loud you

bugles blow.

WAR

BY SAM WALTER FOSS

I am War. The upturned eyeballs of piled dead men

greet my eye, And the sons of mothers perish-and I laugh to see

them die, Mine the demon lust for torture, mine the devil lust

for pain, And there is to me no beauty like the pale brows of

the slain! But my voice calls forth the godlike from the sluggish

souls at ease, And the hands that toyed with ledgers scatter thunders

'round the seas; And the lolling idler, wakening, measures up to God's

own plan, And the puling trifler greatens to the stature of a man. When I speak, the centuried towers of old cities melt

in smoke, And the fortressed ports sink reeling at my far-aimed

thunder-stroke; And an immemorial empire flings its last flag to the

breeze, Sinking with its splintered navies down in the un

pitying seas. But the blind of sight awaken to an unimagined day, And the mean of soul grow conscious there is great

ness in their clay; Where my bugle voice goes pealing slaves grow heroes

at its breath, And the trembling coward rushes to the welcome arms

of death.

Pagan, heathen, and inhuman, devilish as the heart of

hell; Wild as chaos, strong for ruin, clothed in hate un

speakable, So they call me,-and I care not,--still I work my

waste afar, Heeding not your weeping mothers and your widows

-I am War! But your soft-boned men grow heroes when my flam

ing eyes they see, And I teach your little people how supremely great

they be; Yea, I tell them of the wideness of the soul's unfolded

plan And the godlike stuff that's molded in the making of Ah, the godlike stuff that's molded in the making of

a man.

a man! It has stood my iron testing since this strong old world

began. Tell me not that men are weaklings, halting tremblers,

pale and slow,There is stuff to shame the seraphs in the race of men

-I know. I have tested them by fire, and I know that man is

great, And the soul of man is stronger than is either death

or fate; And where'er my bugle calls them, under any sun or

star, They will leap with smiling faces to the fire test of

war.

THE BRAVE AT HOME 1

1

BY THOMAS BUCHANAN READ

The maid who binds her warrior's sash

With smile that well her pain dissembles,
The while beneath her drooping lash

One starry tear-drop hangs and trembles,
Though Heaven alone records the tear,

And Fame shall never know her story,
Her heart has shed a drop as dear

As e'er bedewed the field of glory!

1

* By permission of the publishers, J. P. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia.

The wife who girds her husband's sword,

Mid little ones who weep or wonder,
And bravely speaks the cheering word,

What though her heart be rent asunder,
Doomed nightly in her dreams to hear

The bolts of death around him rattle,
Hath shed as sacred blood as e'er

Was poured upon the field of battle!

The mother who conceals her grief

While to her breast her son she presses,
Then breathes a few brave words and brief,

Kissing the patriot brow she blesses,
With no one but her secret God

To know the pain that weighs upon her,
Sheds holy blood as e'er the sod

Received on Freedom's field of honor !

THE NINETEENTH OF APRIL 1

1861

BY LUCY LARCOM

This year, till late in April, the snow fell thick and

light: Thy truce-flag, friendly Nature, in clinging drifts of

white,

By permission of the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

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