William Gilmore Simms (1806 - 1870 / USA)
Oh! from the deeds well done, the blood well shed
In a good cause springs up to crown the land
With ever-during verdure, memory fed,
Wherever freedom rears one fearless band,
The genius, which makes sacred time and place,
Shaping the grand memorials of a race!
The barren rock becomes a monument,
The sea-shore sands a shrine;
And each brave life, in desperate conflict spent,
Grows to a memory which prolongs a line!
Oh! barren isle--oh! fruitless shore,
Oh! realm devoid of beauty--how the light
From glory's sun streams down for evermore,
Hallowing your ancient barrenness with bright!
Brief dates, your lowly forts; but full of glory,
Worthy a life-long story;
Remembered, to be chronicled and read,
When all your gallant garrisons are dead;
And to be sung
While liberty and letters find a tongue!
Taught by the grandsires at the ingle-blaze,
Through the long winter night;
Pored over, memoried well, in winter days,
While youthful admiration, with delight,
Hangs, breathless, o'er the tale, with silent praise;
Seasoning delight with wonder, as he reads
Of stubborn conflict and audacious deeds;
Watching the endurance of the free and brave,
Through the protracted struggle and close fight,
Contending for the lands they may not save,
Against the felon, and innumerous foe;
Still struggling, though each rampart proves a grave.
For home, and all that's dear to man below!
Earth reels and ocean rocks at every blow;
But still undaunted, with a martyr's might,
They make for man a new Thermopylae;
And, perishing for freedom, still go free!
Let but each humble islet of our coast
Thus join the terrible issue to the last;
And never shall the invader make his boast
Of triumph, though with mightiest panoply
He seeks to rend and rive, to blight and blast!
Comments about this poem (Morris Island by William Gilmore Simms )
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