The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/Looking At The Soldiers
Looking At The SoldiersEdit
“Mother, the trumpets are sounding to-day,
And the soldiers go by in their gallant array!
Their horses prance gaily, their banners float free,
Come, come to the window, dear mother, with me.
“Do you see how their bayonets gleam in the sun,
And their soldier-plumes nod, as they slowly march on?
And look to the regular tread of their feet!
Keeping time to the sound of the kettle-drum's beat.
“This, mother, you know, is a glorious day,
And Americans all should be joyous and gay;
For the Fourth of July saw our country set free;
But you look not delighted, dear mother, like me!”
“No, love; for that shining and brilliant display,
To me only tells of war's fearful array;
And I know that those bayonets, flashing so bright,
Were made in man's blood to be spoil'd of their light.
“And the music that swells up so sweet to the ear,
In a long gush of melody, joyous and clear,
Just as freely would pour out its wild thrilling flood,
To stir up men's hearts to the shedding of blood!
“Our country, my boy, as you tell me, is free,
But even that thought brings a sadness to me;
For less guilt would be hers, were her own fetter'd hand
Unable to loosen her slaves from their band.
“We joy that our country's light bonds have been broke,
But her sons wear, by thousands, a life-crushing yoke;
And yon bayonets, dear, would be sheathed in their breast,
Should they fling off the shackles that round them are prest.
“Even ‘midst these triumphant rejoicings, to-day,
The slave-mother weeps for her babes, torn away,
'Midst the echoing burst of these shouts, to be sold,
Human forms as they are, for a pittance of gold!
“Can you wonder then, love, that your mother is sad,
Though yon show is so gay, and the crowd is so glad?
Or will not my boy turn with me from the sight,
To think of those slaves sunk in sorrow and night?”