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Take thy banner !—and beneath
The war-cloud's encircling wreath,
Guard it-till our homes are free-
Guard it-God will prosper thee!
In the dark and trying hour,
In the breaking forth of power,
In the rush of steeds and men,
His right hand will shield thee then.
Take thy banner! But when night
Closes round the ghastly fight,
If the vanquish'd warrior bow,
Spare him!-by our holy vow,
By our prayers and many tears,
By the mercy that endears,
Spare him-he our love hath shared-
Spare him as thou wouldst be spared!
Take thy banner!—and if e'er
Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier,
And the muffled drum should beat
To the tread of mournful feet,
Then this crimson flag shall be
Martial cloak and shroud for thee!
And the warrior took that banner proud,
And it was his martial cloak and shroud.
WHEN the summer harvest was gather'd in,
And the sheaf of the gleaner grew white and thin,
And the ploughshare was in its furrow left,
Where the stubble land had been lately cleft,
An Indian hunter, with unstrung bow,
Look'd down where the valley lay stretch'd below.
He was a stranger there, and all that day
Had been out on the hills, a perilous way,
But the foot of the deer was far and fleet,
And the wolf kept aloof from the hunter's feet,
And bitter feelings pass'd o'er him then,
As he stood by the populous haunts of men.
The winds of autumn came over the woods
As the sun stole out from their solitudes,
The moss was white on the maple's trunk,
And dead from its arms the pale vine shrunk,
And ripened the mellow fruit hung, and red
Where the tree's wither'd leaves round it shed.
The foot of the reaper moved slow on the lawn,
And the sickle cut down the yellow corn,-
The mower sung loud by the meadow side,
Where the mists of evening were spreading wide,
And the voice of the herdsman came up the lea,
And the dance went round by the greenwood tree.
Then the hunter turned away from that scene,
Where the home of his fathers once had been,
And heard by the distant and measured stroke,
That the woodman hew'd down the giant oak,
And burning thoughts flash'd over his mind
Of the white man's faith, and love unkind.
The moon of the harvest grew high and bright,
As her golden horn pierced the cloud of white,—
A footstep was heard in the rustling brake,
Where the beech overshadowed the misty lake,
And a mourning voice and a plunge from shore ;-
And the hunter was seen on the hills no more.
When years had pass'd on, by that still lake-side The fisher look'd down through the silver tide, And there, on the smooth yellow sand display'd, A skeleton wasted and white was laid,
And 't was seen, as the waters moved deep and slow That the hand was still grasping a hunter's bow.
My way is on the bright blue sea,
My sleep upon its rocking tide;
And many an eye has followed me,
Where billows clasp the worn sea-side.
My plumage bears the crimson blush,
When ocean by the sun is kiss'd!
When fades the evening's purple flush,
My dark wing cleaves the silver mist.
Full many a fathom down beneath
The bright arch of the splendid deep, My ear has heard the sea-shell breathe O'er living myriads in their sleep.
They rested by the coral throne,
And by the pearly diadem,
Where the pale sea-grape had o'ergrown
The glorious dwellings made for them.
At night upon my storm-drench'd wing,
I poised above a helmless bark,
And soon I saw the shatter'd thing
Had pass'd away and left no mark.
And when the wind and storm had done,
A ship, that had rode out the gale,
Sunk down-without a signal gun,
And none was left to tell the tale.
I saw the pomp of day depart,—
The cloud resign its golden crown,
When to the ocean's beating heart,
The sailor's wasted corse went down.
Peace be to those whose graves are made
Beneath the bright and silver sea!
Peace that their relics there were laid
With no vain pride and pageantry.
Was born in Preston, in Connecticut, in 1804, and graduated at Brown University in 1823. He is now the editor of the New England Weekly Review in Hartford. His poems have
been published in the magazines and papers.
How beautiful!—from his blue throne on high,
The sun looks downward with a face of love
Upon the silent waters-and a sky,
Lovelier than that which lifts its arch above,
Down the far depths of Ocean, like a sheet
Of flame, is trembling-the wild tempests cease
To wave their cloudy pinions!-Oh, 't is sweet
To gaze on Ocean in his hour of peace.
Years have gone by, since first my infant eyes
Rested upon those waters. Once again,
As here I muse, the hours of childhood rise
Faint o'er my memory, like some witching strain
Of half-forgotten music. Yon blue wave
Still, still rolls on in beauty-but the tide
Of years rolls darkling o'er the lonely grave
Of Hopes, that with my life's bright morning died!
Look! look!-the clouds' light shadows from above,
Like fairy Islands, o'er the waters sweep!-
Oh I have dream'd my spirit thus could love
To float for ever on the boundless deep,
Communing with the elements;-to hear,
At midnight hour, the death-wing'd tempest rave,
Or gaze, admiring, on each starry sphere,
Glassing its glories in the mirror wave;—
To dream-deep-mingling with the shades of eve-
On Ocean's spirits, caves, and coral halls,
Where, cold and dark, the eternal billows heave,
No zephyr breathes, nor struggling sunbeam falls ;--
As round some far Isle of the burning zone,
Where tropic groves perfume the breath of morn,
List to the Ocean's melancholy tone,
Like a lone mourner's on the night-winds borne ;
To see the infant wave on yon blue verge,
Like a young eagle, breast the sinking sun,
And twilight dying on the crimson surge,
Till, down the deep dark zenith, one by one,
The lights of heaven were streaming;-or to weep,
The lost, the beautiful, that calmly rest
Beneath the eternal wave—then sink to sleep,
Hush'd by the beating of the Ocean's breast.
Oh it were joy to wander wild and free
Where southern billows in the sunlight flash,
Or Night sits brooding o'er the northern sea,
And all is still, save the o'erwhelming dash
Of that dark world of waters;-there to view
The meteor hanging from its cloud on high, '
Or see the northern fires, with blood-red hue,
Shake their wild tresses o'er the startled sky!
"T is sweet, 't is sweet to gaze upon the deep,
And muse upon its mysteries.-There it roll'd,
Ere yet that glorious sun had learn'd to sweep
The blue profound, and bathe the heavens in gold;-
The morning stars, as up the skies they came,
Heard their first music o'er the ocean rung,
And saw the first flash of their new-born flame
Back from its depths in softer brightness flung!
And there it rolls!-Age after age has swept
Down, down the eternal cataract of Time,
Men after men on earth's cold bosom slept,
Still there it rolls, unfading and sublime!
As bright those waves their sunny sparkles fling,
As sweetly now the bending heaven they kiss,
As when the Holy Spirit's boding wing
Moved o'er the waters of the vast abyss!
There, there it rolls.-I've seen the clouds unfurl
Their raven banner from the stormy west-
I've seen the wrathful Tempest Spirit hurl
His blue fork'd lightnings at the Ocean's breast;
The storm-cloud pass'd-the sinking wave was hush'd-
Those budding isles were glittering fresh and fair-
Serenely bright the peaceful waters blush'd,
And heaven seem'd painting its own beauties there!