Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, JOHN BROWN, by PHOEBE CARY



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JOHN BROWN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Men silenced on his faithful lips
Last Line: Settled forever on his head!
Subject(s): Abolitionists; Brown, John (1800-1859); Slavery; Anti-slavery; Serfs


MEN silenced on his faithful lips
Words of resistless truth and power; --
Those words, reechoing now, have made
The gathering war-cry of the hour.

They thought to darken down in blood
The light of freedom's burning rays;
The beacon-fires we tend to-day
Were lit in that undying blaze.

They took the earthly prop and staff
Out of an unresisting hand;
God came, and led him safely on,
By ways they could not understand.

They knew not, when from his old eyes
They shut the world for evermore,
The ladder by which angels come
Rests firmly on the dungeon's floor.

They deemed no vision bright could cheer
His stony couch and prison ward;
He slept to dream of Heaven, and rose
To build a Bethel to the Lord!

They showed to his unshrinking gaze
The "sentence" men have paled to see;
He read God's writing of "reprieve,"
And grant of endless liberty.

They tried to conquer and subdue
By marshaled power and bitter hate;
The simple manhood of the man
Was braver than an armed state.

They hoped at last to make him feel
The felon's shame, and felon's dread;
And lo! the martyr's crown of joy
Settled forever on his head!





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