Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BROTHER JONATHAN'S LAMENT FOR SISTER CAROLINE [DECEMBER 2O, 1860], by OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES



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BROTHER JONATHAN'S LAMENT FOR SISTER CAROLINE [DECEMBER 2O, 1860], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: She has gone, - she has left us in passion and pride
Last Line: Remember the pathway that leads to our door!
Subject(s): Patriotism; South Carolina; State Rights; War; Secession


SHE has gone, -- she has left us in passion and
pride --
Our stormy-browed sister, so long at our side!
She has torn her own star from our firmament's
glow,
And turned on her brother the face of a foe!

O Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
We can never forget that our hearts have been
one, --
Our foreheads both sprinkled in Liberty's name,
From the fountain of blood with the finger of
flame!

You were always too ready to fire at a touch;
But we said: "She is hasty -- she does not mean
much."
We have scowled when you uttered some turbulent
threat;
But friendship still whispered: "Forgive and
forget."

Has our love all died out? Have its altars grown
cold?
Has the curse come at last which the fathers
foretold?
Then Nature must teach us the strength of the
chain
That her petulant children would sever in vain.

They may fight till the buzzards are gorged with
their spoil, --
Till the harvest grows black as it rots in the soil,
Till the wolves and the catamounts troop from
their caves,
And the shark tracks the pirate, the lord of the
waves:

In vain is the strife! When its fury is past,
Their fortunes must flow in one channel at last,
As the torrents that rush from the mountains of
snow
Roll mingled in peace in the valleys below.

Our Union is river, lake, ocean, and sky;
Man breaks not the medal when God cuts the die!
Though darkened with sulphur, though cloven
with steel,
The blue arch will brighten, the waters will heal!

O Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
There are battles with fate that can never be won!
The star-flowering banner must never be furled,
For its blossoms of light are the hope of the world!

Go, then, our rash sister, afar and aloof, --
Run wild in the sunshine away from our roof;
But when your heart aches and your feet have
grown sore,
Remember the pathway that leads to our door!




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