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A Phase of the War in America, 1864
On the Road to Richmond Give me angel wing and eye, Give me arm and strength Herculean; With the speed of light I'll fly— Not to yonder bright cerulean. Westward far my flight should be, O'er the wide and wild Atlantic; I the fated land would see Drunk with blood whose sons are frantic. Horror, fed on carnage, lowers O'er corruption rankly steaming; O'er Virginia's Eden bowers I the fated land would see Drunk with blood whose sons are frantic. Horror, fed on carnage, lowers O'er corruption rankly steaming; O'er Virginia's Eden bowers Thousand vultures hover screaming. In one gory mass they lie— Husband, father, son, and lover— Festering 'neath a burning sky, Earth no more her slain can cover. Crippled victims, weak and wan, Back a ghastly tide are flowing; Angel eyes will weep to scan Bootless slaughter onward going. See, recording angels stand On each side of death's dark portals, Noting with unerring hand Entering hordes of ghastly mortals. From a cloud-capp'd tower I gaze, From the battle field arising Myriad souls, with dread amaze, I behold—my soul surprising. Civil War, thou demon fell, Shall thy bloody hand for ever Ring the dreadful tocsin bell? Britain's heart-strings quail and quiver. War, thou Lernæan hydra dire, I would strangle and uncoil thee; Close thy tracks of blood and fire, Of thy venomed fangs despoil thee. Through thy Augean stables vile, With long-horded rank pollution, (Heaven my help) I'd pour the while One strong, sweeping, vast ablution. Father of the waters, flow, Flow each Transatlantic river O'er your land of death and woe— Cleanse her soil of blood for ever. Time was when we lightly spoke, Smiled at each defeat and blunder; Now, alas! the spell is broke— We can only weep and wonder.
Janet Hamilton's other poems:
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