Henry Timrod


A Cry to Arms


Ho! woodsmen of the mountain side!
 Ho! dwellers in the vales!
Ho! ye who by the chafing tide
 Have roughened in the gales!
Leave barn and byre, leave kin and cot,
 Lay by the bloodless spade;
Let desk, and case, and counter rot,
 And burn your books of trade.

The despot roves your fairest lands;
 And till he flies or fears,
Your fields must grow but armèd bands,
 Your sheaves be sheaves of spears!
Give up to mildew and to rust
 The useless tools of gain;
And feed your country's sacred dust
 With floods of crimson rain!

Come, with the weapons at your calló
 With musket, pike, or knife;
He wields the deadliest blade of all
 Who lightest holds his life.
The arm that drives its unbought blows
 With all a patriot's scorn,
Might brain a tyrant with a rose,
 Or stab him with a thorn.

Does any falter? let him turn
 To some brave maiden's eyes,
And catch the holy fires that burn
 In those sublunar skies.
Oh! could you like your women feel,
 And in their spirit march,
A day might see your lines of steel
 Beneath the victor's arch.

What hope, O God! would not grow warm
 When thoughts like these give cheer?
The Lily calmly braves the storm,
 And shall the Palm-tree fear?
No! rather let its branches court
 The rack that sweeps the plain;
And from the Lily's regal port
 Learn how to breast the strain!

Ho! woodsmen of the mountain side!
 Ho! dwellers in the vales!
Ho! ye who by the roaring tide
 Have roughened in the gales!
Come! flocking gayly to the fight,
 From forest, hill, and lake;
We battle for our Country's right,
 And for the Lily's sake!






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