Virginia Capta.

A poem by Margaret J. Preston

APRIL 9TH, 1865.


Unconquered captive! - close thine eye,
And draw the ashen sackcloth o'er,
And in thy speechless woe deplore
The fate that would not let thee die!


The arm that wore the shield, strip bare;
The hand that held the martial rein,
And hurled the spear on many a plain -
Stretch - till they clasp the shackles there!


The foot that once could crush the crown,
Must drag the fetters, till it bleed
Beneath their weight: - thou dost not need
It now, to tread the tyrant down.


Thou thought'st him vanquish'd - boastful trust!
- His lance, in twain - his sword, a wreck -
But with his heel upon thy neck,
He holds thee prostrate in the dust!


Bend though thou must, beneath his will,
Let not one abject moan have place;
But with majestic, silent grace,
Maintain thy regal bearing still.


Look back through all thy storied past,
And sit erect in conscious pride: -
No grander heroes ever died -
No sterner, battled to the last!


Weep, if thou wilt, with proud, sad mein,
Thy blasted hopes - thy peace undone, -
Yet brave, live on, - nor seek to shun
Thy fate, like Egypt's conquer'd Queen.


Though forced a captive's place to fill,
In the triumphal train, - yet there,
Superbly, like Zenobia, wear
Thy chains, - Virginia Victrix still!

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