Joseph Seamon Cotter (1861 - 1919)
Sonnet to Negro Soldiers
They shall go down unto Life's Borderland,
Walk unafraid within that Living Hell,
Nor heed the driving rain of shot and shell
That 'round them falls; but with uplifted hand
Be one with mighty hosts, an arméd band
Against man's wrong to man--for such full well
They know. And from their trembling lips shall swell
A song of hope the world can understand.
All this to them shall be a glorious sign,
A glimmer of that resurrection morn,
When age-long Faith crowned with a grace benign
Shall rise and from their brows cast down the thorn
Of prejudice. E'en though through blood it be,
There breaks this day their dawn of Liberty.
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