Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CRIME OF THE AGES; 1861, by AUGUSTA COOPER BRISTOL



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THE CRIME OF THE AGES; 1861, by            
First Line: Poet, write! / not of a purpose dark and dire
Last Line: New life, new birth, or a nation's tomb?
Subject(s): American Civil War; United States - History


Poet, write!
Not of a purpose dark and dire
That souls of evil fashion,
Nor the power that nerves the assassin's hand
In the white heat of his passion:
But let thy rhyme,
Through every clime,
A burthen bear of this one crime:
Let the world draw in a shuddering breath,
O'er the crime that aims at a nation's death!

Minstrel, sing!
Not in affection's dulcet tone,
Or with sound of a soft recorder:
Strike not thy harp to a strain arranged
In measured, harmonic order:
But loud and strong
The tones prolong,
That thunder of a nation's wrong;
Let a sound of war in thy notes appear,
Till the world opes wide a startled ear!

Soldier, fight!
Thou hast a patriot's throbbing pulse,
And future history's pages,
Shall tell of the blood so freely shed
To redeem "the crime of the ages."
Well may'st thou fight
For truth and right,
And teach a rebel foe thy might!
Let a loyal heart, and undaunted will,
Show the world we are a nation still!

Prophet, speak!
Speak for the children of martyred sires,
An offspring the most ungrateful!
Warn them of Justice hurrying on
To punish a deed so hateful!
O read with thy
Prophetic eye
The omens of our troubled sky!
What is the picture beyond the gloom?
New life, new birth, or a nation's tomb?






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