Before this thought the present hour recedes,
As from the beach a billow backward rolls,
And the great past, rich in heroic deeds
Illuminates our souls!
Stern Massachusetts Bay uplifts her form,
Boston the tale of Lexington repeats,
With breast unarmored she confronts the storm -
New England England meets.
I see the Middle Group by Fortune made
The bloody Flanders of the Northern Coast,
And, in a varying play of light and shade,
Host thundering fall on host.
I see the Carolinas, Georgia, mowed
By War the Reaper, and grim Ruin stalk
O'er wasted fields; - but Guilford paved the way
That led to this same York.
Here, too, Virginia in the vision comes -
Full-bent to crown the battle's closing arch,
Her pulses trumpets and her heart throbs drums,
To animate her march.
As Pocahontas, in a by-gone time,
Leaped forth the wrath of Powhatan to brave,
Virginia came, and here she stood sublime
To perish, or to save.
I see her interposing now her frame
Between her sisters and the alien bands,
And taking both of Freedom and of Fame
Full seisin with her hands.