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THE BRANDED HAND.
THE BRANDED HAND.
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
They change to wrong, the duty which God hath written out
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;
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,
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,
While the multitude in blindness to a far-off Saviour knelt,
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 he who treads profanely on the scrolls of law and creed,
Then lift that manly right hand, bold ploughman of the wave!
Its branded palm shall prophesy, "SALVATION TO THE SLAVE!"
Hold it up before our sunshine, up against our Northern air,
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,
Like a lion growling low-
It is coming it is nigh!
Clang the bells in all your spires;
From Wachuset, lone and bleak,
O, for God and duty stand,
Whoso shrinks or falters now,
Freedom's soil hath only place
Perish party - perish clan ;
Like that angel's voice sublime,
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,
Make our Union-bond a chain,
Vainly shall your sand-wrought rope
Shattered over heaven's blue cope !
Give us bright though broken rays,
Take your land of sun and bloom;
For her plough, and forge, and loom ;
Take your slavery-blackened vales;
Boldly, or with treacherous art,
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,