Janet Hamilton

(1795-1873 / Scotland)

Remonstrance - Poem by Janet Hamilton

'One murder makes a villain, millions a hero; and number sanctifies the crime.'


With mournful eyes, and folded hands,
And listening ear, Britannia stands-
No counsel gives, makes no demands-
'Twere vain, for transatlantic lands
Scorn Europe's intervention.
She gazes o'er the western deep-
She can but pray, she can but weep;
There War's red eye doth never sleep-
His bloodiest revels Death doth keep-
Men shrink their deeds to mention.

Oh glorious land! to thee are given
The richest gifts of bounteous heaven;
But thou, by lust of empire driven,
Hast blindly, madly, vainly striven,
'Gainst Southern secession.
You may not, will not, cannot gain
Your object; not as one, but twain,
The North and South must now remain-
Let weeping Peace not sue in vain
For entrance and possession.

Ye live, and fight, and fall beneath
A lurid cloud of blood and death;
The atmosphere that feeds your breath
Smells rank; your victories claim a wreath
Of cypress, not of laurel.
Awake! no more of conquest dream;
The State boat's on Niagara's stream-
She nears the rapids-it would seem
That she must perish while you dream
Of triumph in the quarrel.

Let mercy, prudence, common sense,
Ply oar and helm, and shape from thence
Her course-their presence will dispense
A healthy, healing influence,
Your deadly wounds to close.
What profit should ye gain a world
And lose a soul? Your flag unfurled
Ten thousand souls to darkness hurled,
And yet you have not gained a world,
But thousand thousand woes.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010

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