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MOVE ON THE COLUMNS!
MOVE on the columns! Why delay?
Our soldiers sicken in their camps ;
The summer heats, the autumn damps, Have sapped their vigor day by day;
And now the winter comes apace,
With death-chills in its cold embrace,
No longer what to plan or do:
The Union, and the hopes of man;
And Right will end what Wrong began, For God the right will vindicate.
Move on the columns! If the land
Is locked by winter, take the sea;
No possible barrier can be So fatal to a rightful stand,
As wavering purpose when at bay; This way, or that—"At once! to-day!" Were worth ten thousand men at hand.
Move on the columns! With the sweep
Of eagles let them strike the foe. The hurricane lays the forest low; Momentum wings the daring leap,
That clears the chasm ; the lightning stroke
Our myriad hosts from hill and plain?
Closing the harvest-hymn half sung
Hall-filled the granary and the mow,
Unturned the sod, untouched the plough, Scythes rusting where they last were swung. Move on the columns ! They are here
To found anew a people's faith ;
To save from treason and from death
And on each manly brow is set
Move on the columns ! Earth contains
No guerdon for the good and free
Like that which blessed our Liberty ; And while its banner still remains
The symbol of united power,
Nor man nor fiend can tell the hour
Strike down the sacrilegious hands
That clutch and wield the battle-brands Which menace with their Wrong our Right!
Words now are wasted: glittering steel
Alone can make this last appeal : They've willed it so—and we must fight.
Move on the columns! If they go
By ways they had not thought to take,
To fields we had not meant to make, Or if they bring unthought-of woe,
Let that which woke the fiery wrath Fall, scorched and blackening, in its path; Not man, but God, may stay the blow: Move on the columns !
W. D. GALLAGHER.
THE WASHERS OF THE SHROUD.
[October, 1861.] ALONG a river-side, I know not where, I walked one night in mystery of dream ; A chill creeps curdling yet beneath my hair, To think what chanced me by the pallid gleam Of a moon-wraith that waned through haunted air. Pale fireflies pulsed within the meadow-mist Their halos, wavering thistledowns of light; The loon, that seemed to mock some goblin tryst, Laughed; and the echoes, huddling in affright, Like Odin's hounds, fled baying down the night. Then all was silent, till there smote my ear A movement in the stream that checked my breath : Was it the slow plash of a wading deer? But something said, “This water is of Death! The Sisters wash a shroud-ill thing to hear !" I, looking then, beheld the ancient Three Known to the Greek's and to the Northman's creed, That sit in shadow of the mystic tree, Still crooning, as they weave their endless brede, One song:
“ Time was, Time is, and Time shall be.' No wrinkled crones were they, as I had deemed, But fair as yesterday, to-day, to-morrow, To mourner, lover, poet, ever seemed; Something too high for joy, too deep for sorrow, Thrilled in their tones, and from their faces gleamed. “Still men and nations reap as they have strawn," So sang they, working at their task the while; “The fatal raiment must be cleansed ere dawn; For Austria ? Italy? the Sea-Queen's isle ? O'er what quenched grandeur must our shroud be
“ Or is it for a younger, fairer corse, That gathered States for children round his knees, That tamed the wave to be his posting-horse, Feller of forests, linker of the seas, Bridge-builder, hammerer, youngest son of Thor's? “What make we, murmur'st thou ? and what are
we? When empires must be wound, we bring the shroud, The time-old web of the implacable Three: Is it too coarse for him, the young and proud? Earth's mightiest deigned to wear it-why not he?" “ Is there no hope?" I moaned, “so strong, so fair ! Our Fowler whose proud bird would brook ere
while No rival's swoop in all our western air ! Gather the ravens, then, in funeral file For him, life's morn yet golden in his hair ? “ Leave me not hopeless, ye unpitying dames ! I see,
half seeing. Tell me, ye who scanned The stars, Earth's elders, still must noblest aims Be traced upon oblivious ocean-sand ? Must Hesper join the wailing ghosts of names?" “When grass-blades stiffen with red battle-dew, Ye deem we choose the victor and the slain : Say, choose we them that shall be leal and true To the heart's longing, the high faith of brain ? Yet there the victory lies, if ye but knew. “Three roots bear up Dominion : Knowledge.
Will — These twain are strong, but stronger yet the third Obedience—'tis the great tap-root that still, Knit round the rock of Duty, is not stirred, Though Heaven-loosed tempests spend their utmost
“Is the doom sealed for Hesper? 'Tis not we