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ELCOME home again, brave seaman! with thy thoughtful brow and gray,
And the old heroic spirit of our earlier, better day,
With that front of calm endurance, on whose steady nerve, in vain Pressed the iron of the prison, smote the fiery shafts of pain!
Is the tyrant's brand upon thee? Did the brutal cravens aim
To make God's truth thy falsehood, his holiest work thy shame?
When, all blood-quenched, from the torture the iron was withdrawn,
How laughed their evil angel the baffled fools to scorn!
They change to wrong, the duty which God hath written out
On the great heart of humanity too legible for doubt!
They, the loathsome moral lepers, blotched from footsole up to
Give to shame what God hath given unto honor and renown!
Why, that brand is highest honor! than its traces never yet
Upon old armorial hatchments was a prouder blazon set;
And thy unborn generations, as they tread our rocky strand,
Shall tell with pride the story of their father's BRANDED HAND!
As the Templar home was welcome, bearing back from Syrian wars
The scars of Arab lances, and of Paynim scimetars,
The pallor of the prison and the shackle's crimson span,
So we meet thee, so we greet thee, truest friend of God and man!
He suffered for the ransom of the dear Redeemer's grave,
Thou for his living presence in the bound and bleeding slave;
He for a soil no longer by the feet of angels trod,
Thou for the true Shechinah, the present home of God!
For, while the jurist sitting with the slave-whip o'er him swung,
From the tortured truths of freedom the lie of slavery wrung,
And the solemn priest to Moloch, on each God-deserted shrine,
Broke the bondman's heart for bread, poured the bondman's blood
While the multitude in blindness to a far-off Saviour knelt,
And spurned, the while, the temple where a present Saviour dwelt;
Thou beheld'st Him in the task-field, in the prison-shadows dim,
And thy mercy to the bondman, it was mercy unto Him!
In thy lone and long night-watches, sky above and wave below, Thou did'st learn a higher wisdom than the babbling schoolmen know;
God's stars and silence taught thee, as his angels only can,
That the one, sole sacred thing beneath the cope of heaven, is Man!
That he who treads profanely on the scrolls of law and creed,
In the depth of God's great goodness may find mercy in his need;
But woe to him who crushes the SOUL with chain and rod,
And herds with lower natures the awful form of God!
Then lift that manly right hand, bold ploughman of the wave!
Its branded palm shall prophesy, "SALVATION TO THE SLAVE!"
Hold up its fire-wrought language, that whoso reads may feel
His heart swell strong within him, his sinews change to steel.
Hold it up before our sunshine, up against our Northern air,
Ho! men of Massachusetts, for the love of God look there!
Take it henceforth for your standard, like the Bruce's heart of
In the dark strife closing round ye, let that hand be seen before!
And the tyrants of the slave-land shall tremble at that sign,
When it points its finger Southward along the Puritan line:
Woe to the State-gorged leeches, and the Church's locust band,
When they look from slavery's ramparts on the coming of that
From Wachuset, lone and bleak,
Unto Berkshire's tallest peak,
Let the flame-tongued heralds speak.
With one heart and with one mouth, Let the North unto the South
Speak the word befitting both:
"What though Issachar be strong! Ye may load his back with wrong Overmuch and over long:
Patience with her cup o'errun,
With her weary thread outspun,
Murmurs that her work is done.
Make our Union-bond a chain,
Weak as tow in Freedom's strain
Link by link shall snap in twain.
Vainly shall your sand-wrought rope
Bind the starry cluster up,
Shattered over heaven's blue cope !
Give us bright though broken rays,
Rather than eternal haze,
Clouding o'er the full-orbed blaze.
Take your land of sun and bloom;
Only leave to Freedom room
For her plough, and forge, and loom ;
Take your slavery-blackened vales;
Leave us but our own free gales,
Blowing on our thousand sails.
Boldly, or with treacherous art,
Strike the blood-wrought chain apart;
Break the Union's mighty heart;
Work the ruin, if ye will;
Pluck upon your heads an ill
Which shall grow and deepen still.
With your bondman's right arm bare,
With his heart of black despair,
Stand alone, if stand ye dare!