Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

The Fall Of Richmond - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

Roll not a drum—send not a clarion note
Of haughty triumph to the silent sky!
Hush'd be the shout of joy in ev'ry throat,
And veil'd the flash of pride in ev'ry eye.
Not with Te Deums loud, and high Hosannas,
Hail we the awful victory we have won;
But with our arms reversed, and lower'd banners,
We stand:—our work is done!
Thy work is done, God terrible and just!
Who laidst upon our hearts and hands this task;
Now, kneeling with our foreheads in the dust,
We venture Peace to ask!
Bleeding and writhing underneath our sword,
Prostrate our brethren lie—Thy fallen foe—
Struck down through us, by Thee, Omnipotent Lord!
By Thy dread hand laid low.

For our own guilt have we been doom'd to smite
These our own kindred, Thy great law defying,—
These, our own flesh and blood, who now unite
In one thing only with us—bravely dying.
Dying how bravely! yet how bitterly,
Not for the better side, but for the worse;
Blindly and madly striving against Thee,
For the bad cause, where Thou hast set Thy curse.
At whose defeat we may not raise our voice
Save in the deep thanksgiving of our prayers;
Lord, we have fought the fight; but to rejoice
Is ours no more than theirs.
Call back Thy dreadful ministers of wrath,
Who have led on our hosts to this great day;
Let our feet halt in the Avenger's path,
And bid our weapons stay!
And on this land, Freedom's inheritance,
Turn thou once more the splendour of Thy face;
Where nations, serving Thee, tow'rds light advance,
Give us again our place.
Not our bewildering past prosperity,
Not all thy former ill-acknowledged grace,
But this one boon, oh! grant us,—still to be
The home of hope for the whole human race!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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