To The Memory Of Charles B. Storrs

A poem by John Greenleaf Whittier

Thou hast fallen in thine armor,
Thou martyr of the Lord
With thy last breath crying "Onward!"
And thy hand upon the sword.
The haughty heart derideth,
And the sinful lip reviles,
But the blessing of the perishing
Around thy pillow smiles!

When to our cup of trembling
The added drop is given,
And the long-suspended thunder
Falls terribly from Heaven,
When a new and fearful freedom
Is proffered of the Lord
To the slow-consuming Famine,
The Pestilence and Sword!

When the refuges of Falsehood
Shall be swept away in wrath,
And the temple shall be shaken,
With its idol, to the earth,
Shall not thy words of warning
Be all remembered then?
And thy now unheeded message
Burn in the hearts of men?

Oppression's hand may scatter
Its nettles on thy tomb,
And even Christian bosoms
Deny thy memory room;
For lying lips shall torture
Thy mercy into crime,
And the slanderer shall flourish
As the bay-tree for a time.

But where the south-wind lingers
On Carolina's pines,
Or falls the careless sunbeam
Down Georgia's golden mines;
Where now beneath his burthen
The toiling slave is driven;
Where now a tyrant's mockery
Is offered unto Heaven;

Where Mammon hath its altars
Wet o'er with human blood,
And pride and lust debases
The workmanship of God,
There shall thy praise be spoken,
Redeemed from Falsehood's ban,
When the fetters shall be broken,
And the slave shall be a man!

Joy to thy spirit, brother!
A thousand hearts are warm,
A thousand kindred bosoms
Are baring to the storm.
What though red-handed Violence
With secret Fraud combine?
The wall of fire is round us,
Our Present Help was thine.

Lo, the waking up of nations,
From Slavery's fatal sleep;
The murmur of a Universe,
Deep calling unto Deep!
Joy to thy spirit, brother!
On every wind of heaven
The onward cheer and summons
Of Freedom's voice is given!

Glory to God forever!
Beyond the despot's will
The soul of Freedom liveth
Imperishable still.
The words which thou hast uttered
Are of that soul a part,
And the good seed thou hast scattered
Is springing from the heart.

In the evil days before us,
And the trials yet to come,
In the shadow of the prison,
Or the cruel martyrdom,
We will think of thee, O brother!
And thy sainted name shall be
In the blessing of the captive,
And the anthem of the free.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'To The Memory Of Charles B. Storrs' by John Greenleaf Whittier

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy