Song of Peace

Awake the song of peace – 
Let nations of blood and pomp of war
We will not have again!

Let fruit trees crown out fields,
and flowers our vallies fair;
And on our mountain steeps the songs
Of happy swains be there!

Our maidens shail rejoice,
And bid the timbrel sound;
Soft dreams no more shall broken be
With drums parading round.

No tear for lovers slain
From lovely eyes shall fall;
But music and the dance shall come
In halcyon joys to all!

Too long the man of blood
Hath ruled without control;
Nor window’s tears, nor orphan’s sighs
Could touch his iron soul!

But lo! the mighty’s fallen
And from his lofty brow
The chaplet fades that circled there—
Where are his trophies now?

Look to the countless grave,
Where sleep the thousands slain!
The morning song no more call forth

The stirring songs no more call forth
The stirring bands again
The din, the strife is past—

Of foe with falling foe—
The grassy leaves wave o’er their heads
And quiet they rest below,

Sound high the harps of song,
And raise the joyous strain
But war’s rough note be it ne’er be heard
To swell the cords again

But all its trappings past—
Vain pomp of by gone years—
To ploughshares grind the pointed swords,
To pruning hooks the spears.

Come man to brother man,
Come in the bonds of peace,
Then strife and war with all their train
Of dark’ning woe shall cease.

Come with that spirit free
That art and science give,
Come with the patient mind for truth
Seek it, and ye shall live!

—By R. Gilfillan.


Plains of Mexico

Hark!—the sound is in our highways—
‘tis the rolling drum and fife
Leading down to Death’s wild deserts,
Martial caravans of life!

With a visage grim and solemn,
How the plumed host departs!
‘Tis the blood of their own hearts!

Flesh ho’ flesh to feed the vulture,
Human cattle, very low
Droves of skeletons to whiten
On the plains of Mexico

They are passing by the chapel,
And their measured foot fall say—
‘Toll the passing bell, good Sexton,
We are passing quite away

‘Toll, oh tell, so those who morn us,
May out on their weeds of black!

Flesh, ho! flesh to feed the vulture,
Human cattle, very low!
Droves of skeletons to whiten
On the plains of Mexico!

In the East a nation crieth—
“We are starving – send us bread!”
In the South red War replieth
“I am hungry for the dead!”

Six on herds for foreign markets
They are bought and sent away,
But the ox upon the shambles,
Brings a higher price than they!

Flesh ho! flesh to feed the vulture,
Human cattle, very low!
Droves of skeletons to whiten
On the plains of Mexico.

—From the Chambers’ Edinburg Journal


A Glorious Victory!

For the Voice of Industry

Make way for the victors! we’ve glory in store!
Our soldiers have massacred seven hundred more!
Wind shrilly, ye bugles! and scream all ye pipes!
We have not disgraced our broad banner of stripes;

True, true to the letter our army has been;
It has striped the weak Mexicans once and again.
Hurra for our soldiers! hurra for our seamen!
Hurra for our nation of Christians and Freemen!

When we tread on a worm, and it bites at our feet,
We crush out its life; - and it surely is meet
That a band of uncivilized, barbarous knaves
Should not dare to insult our chivalrous braves.

What though they are ignorant, foolish and blind?
They’ve sought to harm us, and we’ll pay them in kind.
Hurra for our soldiers! hurra for our seamen!
Hurra for our nation of Christians and Freemen!

When England endeavored to force the Chinese
To take down her opium, and yield up their teas –
When we heard the loud noise of her cannon’s red blast,
The nations with horror extreme stood aghast!

‘T was the cruelest wrong! oh, the poor Pagan souls!
But now ‘tis Columbia’s cannon that rolls.
Hurra for our soldiers! hurra for our seamen!
Hurra for our nation of Christians and Freemen!

To be sure we have stolen the best of the their land,
And have peopled their realm with a cut-throat band,
And in flying to arms they but stood for the right;
But then the poor fools have no business to fight!

Tho’ we took from their hands their ancestor’s dower,
Our Creed knows no right but that born of Power.
Hurra for our soldiers! hurra for our seamen!
Hurra for our nation of Christians and Freemen!



The Dying Soldier

The following lines were suggested by the Death of Lieut. Edward Eastman, of the U.S. Army, which cored at Camargo, in October last. From having been personally acquainted with a sister of the deceased, by whom affectionate mention was made of the absent soldier-brother, the writer had come to feel more than an ordinary degree of interest in his welfare; and it was with deep regret for his fate, as well as earnest sympathy for the bereaved parents and sisters (who thus mourn an only son and brother) that she learned his death. To those friends, these lines are respectfully dedicated.

How anxiously he waited
The slow approach of day
The sick and dying soldier
As in his tent he lay.

Many days had smiled upon him,
Quite as precious, since his birth,
And he’d seen them swift departing,
Scarcely noting of their worth.

But when any, or all others,
This more precious seemed to be
To the soldier, for he knew it
Was the last that he might see.

Far away from home and kindred,
As a volunteer he came,
Part because his country called him,
And in part to win a name.

But farewell to high ambition!
Farewell country! for the brave
Volunteer, with all his valor,
Has but come to fill a grave.

He had seen his comrades drooping
‘Neath the climate’s sticky breath,
And he watched beside them ever,
Till he saw it end in death.

And when pale disease had seized him,
It was with a heavy sigh
That lie-yielded to its power,
For he knew that he must die.

Die before one martial triumph,
Ere one laurel might gain!
Then alas! for the young soldier;
He is sacrificed in vain; -

Nor in vain – though ‘mid the conflict,
Where fierce man in reckless strife
Lays aside his better nature,
To destroy his brother’s life –

Where the cannon’s deadly rattle
Drowns the dying soldier’s cry –
Though no ‘mid the roar of battle,
The young volunteer may die;

And no record of his glory,
Written in heroic strain,
May dorn the page of story,
Yet he has not come in vain,

For a better fame awaits him,
And a brighter meed he’ll gain,
Than if thousands of his brothers,
Atoms of the dust he’d slain.

Better were those deeds of mercy,
To his dying comrades shown,
Than the slaying of ten thousand,
Or the taking of a town.

The dim light feebly burning
Within the tented room,
With chilly vapors bleeding,
But serve to pale the gloom.

No curtain, rug, or cushion,
No table, and no chair,
No fire is there to cheer him;
No mark of comfort there.

E’en the blanket that enfolds him,
(Sheet and covering of his bed - )
The same blanket shall enshroud him,
And will coffin him when dead.

But said I of a cov’ring
For the dying soldier’s head!



Suggested by reading a Sermon occasioned
by the death of Lieutenant Edward Eastman.

Tert, 2d Samuel, 11:26

Shall the sword devour forever?
Shall it cease it fury never,
Nor to its sheath return?

Must earth forever bear the stain
Of brothers’ blood, by brothers slain?
And sisters, brothers mourn?

When will our race the precept learn
To render good for ill, in turn,
And thus their foes, disarm?

When know our highest happiness
Flows from ability to bless,
Not from our power to harm?

War, when at a distance viewed, we know
Does not one half its horrors show,
But let it touch our land,

Let it from us a brother take,
Let it our house a Bochin make,
Then we shall take a stand.

Against its awful, fiendish rage;
And strive, its fury to assuage,
With all the powers we have

O should the friends of war but know
Of half the tears they cause to flow
Over the soldier’s grave!

Over his grave; what do I say?
His grave is made far, far away
From friends and kindred dear

No mother kneels beside his bed,
No sister props his drooping head,
No tender wife is there.


Reply to “A Glorious Victory”

For the Voice of Industry

“Make way for the victors! we’ve got glory in store,
And our eagle in flight, more proudly we soar;
Now the Mexican savage, in hurried retreat,
Who wooed the contention, has met a defeat.

Wind shrilly, ye bugles, and scream all ye pipes!
We have not disgraced our proud banner of stripes.”
The Christian that’s loath, or the seaman that cowers,
Merits not a free land, with a history like ours.

A nation by name, mere brutes at the best,
Who have harassed our borders, and citizens pressed,
Insulted our flag, our legation refused,
And in every base scheme this nation abused.

We’ve sought in good faith, and the olive branch waved,
That peace we might win, if peace could be saved;
Bad faith in return, with a villainous smile,
Is the only response, o’erflowering with bile.

‘Tis not as a worm we would crush as we stride,
But a reptile of venom, grown bold in its pride;
The blow we inflict’s for ourselves and the race,
Repel the aggression, or yield in disgrace.

In numbers outvieing the swarms of the sea,
They fain would make havoc, o’er land of the free;
Our few comrades, armed in justice and right,
Were sought by their hordes, and their hordes put to fight.

Were England at fault, then to England the blame,
Whether credit to herself, her pride, or her shame;
Be the cause what it may, ‘tis no reason indeed
That our rights we forbear, because others exceed.

The trophy we prize, by virtue of might,
Is the peace we conclude, the triumph of right;
And the saint or the sage is unworthy the land,
Who halts in defence, when the foe is at hand.

To be sure, we would claim a right to the soil,
Defended by valor; by patience, and toil,
And base were our hearts, and unworthy our name,
Had we failed to respond to the young scion’s claim

We’ve staid the vile scourge, so brazenly sent,
And returned them the lead, for the copper they spent.
Huzza for our solders! huzza for our seamen!
Who shrinks from the fray’s neither Christian nor Freeman!

Oh yes, we will boast, and forever declare,
To the world through in arms, we are free as the air;
Nor brought to the field, in a battle array,
Till forced by our wrongs to enter the fray.

We court not the spot of the gory and dead,
To havoc o’er life, by the bayonet sped;
But are bound by ties, as Christian, as just,
If amenity fails, to strike where we must!



Song of the Free

Poetry for the People

We intend to insert under this head, from time to time, such poems, original and selected, as truly give expression to the hopes, the aspirations, and the high purposes of those through whose veins flow the animating life-currents of the Present Age. It is a cheering sign of the times that so much of the truest poetry of the day breathes so strongly the spirit of Progress.

We commence with the following little lyric from one whose productions are well known to the readers of the “Voice”.

The bells gaily ring – ‘tis the Fourth of July –
And merry bards are singing – oh! why? tell me why!
The bells are all ringing – oh! why? tell me why?
The bells are all ringing for glad liberty,

And the gay bards are singing the song of the free.
And up goes the sound, from each hill-top and glen,
Of the firing of cannon, the shouting of men;

They bring forth their music to welcome the day,
And on the free breezes their bright colors play;
But ‘tis not for all – it is not for me –
That floats on the breeze, thus, the flag of the free.

Then hushed on each hill-top, and hushed in each glen,
Be the firing of cannon, the shouting of men;
No more on the breeze let you bright colors play,
No more bring your music to welcome the day;

For ‘tis not for all – it is not for me –
Your gay bands are playing the notes of the free.
Unfurl not your banner of freedom again,
Till off from your bondmen you’ve broken the chain.

Then ring forth one shout – shout for glad liberty,
And your gay bards may sing, then, the song of the free;
They may sing it for all – they may sing it for me –
And we all then will chorus the song of the free.

Ballard Vale, July 1847



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