Monday, April 18, 2011

The First Guns of Sumter (poem)

The Covington Journal of April 20, 1861 has several articles and commentaries that I found interesting and will be posting this week. This first one is an attempt at a poem of the big event that had occurred too late for this weekly paper's previous edition.


Hark! The sound, O Southern brothers, that comes booming o'er the waves;
It is Sumter's deep-mouthed cannon, loud proclaiming you are slaves.
'Tis the thundering announcement of vile Abolition's horde, 
That Southern Rights can be sustained but by the crimson sword


How have we truly hoped for peace, have treated and have prayed;
Have trusted Abolitionism and meetly been betrayed!
Now throw the banner to the breeze - throw the fulchion of the free, 
And swear that while we trust in God, we'll bend no supplicant's knee.


Our wives, loves, sisters call on us - our mothers urge us too,
To seize our swords and take the field against our haughty foe; 
With more than Spartan heroism they bid us to go forth, 
And meet the slavish myrmidons thrown on us by the North.


We'll meet them too - and that like men - though numerous as the sands, 
With Right to lead and rifles in our steady, true right hands,
The God of battles shall decide in this our last appeal, 
If Liberty shall still be crushed beneath Oppression's heel.


Be our cities desolated and our rivers stained with blood,
Be our best and bravest hidden 'neath their verdant native sod.
But never let a Southerner who bows alone to God,
Debase his mother's teaching e'er, or kiss a tyrant's rod.


Sweet Liberty! can men resign or tamely give thee up,
Or listen to the siren's song, or taste the poisoned cup
Of proffered peace, when purchased by, what's dear to every heart -
The right to think, and feel, and speak, and act a manly part? 


No! spurn the siren, scorn the cup and strike oppression down,
And peace shall yet triumphant'y your brows with laurel crown!
Fear not - our God, when pleases Him, will give you his reward
And still remain, throughout all time, your anchor staff and guard.

Covington, Ky, April 17, 1861

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