Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There was a sound in the wind to-day,
Like a joyous cymbal ringing!
And the leaves of the trees talked with the breeze,
And they altogether were singing,
For they knew that an army, both bold and strong,
A brave, brave army, was coming,
Not with the fife and sounds of strife,
With marshal music and drumming,
Not with stern faces and gleaming swords,
That would make blood to flow like water,
While brother and brother should slay each other
On wholesale fields of slaughter;
But rather like rills from a thousand hills,
That ripple through valley and heather,
On, on to the sea, with a song of glee,
Till they meet and mingle together.
They come from the South, and the East, and the West,
The bravest and best in the nation.
They come at no idle and aimless quest,
But to work for a world's salvation.
From the Scot's fair land and from England's strand,
O'er mountain and heather and ocean,
They come; and the foe by their coming shall know
The strength of a Templar's devotion.
On the earnest brows, in the thoughtful eyes,
We read the unchanging story-
They fight in their might for the truth and the right,
And not for vain name or glory.
O grandest of armies! O bravest of bands!
We give you a cordial greeting,
And the blood of our warm hearts beats in the hands
That are offered to you in meeting.
The heart of a Templar is never cold,
Nor stands it aloof from a brother,
And his hand is steady, and always ready
To clasp the hand of another.
In God's great Book, where but angels look,
On pages of spotless beauty
Are written in letters of living light
A Templar's vow and his duty.
'For ever and ever,' the promise reads,
For ever and ever 'twas given.
And who keeps or breaks the pledge that he takes
Must meet the record in heaven.
Our order is noble and grand and strong,
And is gathering strength each hour,
And the good of the earth proclaim its worth,
While the foe turns pale at its power.
And we of the State that men call great,
The nation's brave 'Badger' daughter,
Step by step as we go, are defeating the foe,
While we add to the hosts of cold water.
With a chief at our head whom the foe may well dread,
The Sherman or Grant of our battles,
By day and by night we fight the good fight,
Though never a cannon rattles.
For the tongue and the pen are the swords of our men,
And prayer keeps them whetted and polished;
They will let God's light in on the foe's licensed sin,
Till the traffic of death is abolished.
With cunning hands we fashioned the strands
Of a stout restraining tether,
To fasten the beast, for a season at least,
And our statesmen tied it together.
The beast strains the rope with the idle hope
Of making it weaker or longer,
But the Templars to-day are working away
To make it shorter and stronger.
We give you greeting-we need your aid!
There is work for many a morrow,
There are beautiful souls going down in the bowls,
There are homes that are burdened with sorrow,
There are mourning captives all over the earth,
Hugging the fetters that bind them.
We must show them the light, we must set them aright,
We must work for them all as we find them.
With a soaring 'Faith,' that is stronger than death,
We must work while the day hangs o'er us.
We are brave and strong, and our battle-song
Has 'Hope' for the ringing chorus.
With 'Charity' broad as the mercy of God,
We must lift up the fallen neighbor,
And the Lord's dear band, in the angel land,
Will smile on our blesséd labor.
Welcome, brave warriors in God's holy cause!
The hearts in our bosoms are beating
As one heart to-night, filled with pride and delight-
Welcome, thrice welcome, our greeting.
And though soon between will lie long miles of green,
Though oceans divide us for ever,
The ties which now bind heart with heart, mind with mind,
The hand of Death only can sever.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox's Other Poems
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