Janet Hamilton

(1795-1873 / Scotland)

To The North Americans - Poem by Janet Hamilton

'O foolish people, and unwise,'
Who stop your ears and shut your eyes,
Though common-sense and flagrant facts
Proclaim the madness of your acts!
A guessing, calculating nation,
Yet, to European observation,
To be outwitted and defeated,
You never guessed or calculated.
We guess the cost you should have counted
Before the war-horse you had mounted,
On which you cut such sorry capers.
You want our Campbells, Havelocks, Napiers,
Our Gladstone, Palmerston, and Russell,
And so you've got into a bustle
Of debt and danger, blood and battery,
And no mendacious boast or flattery
Can chase the clouds so darkly looming,
Or still the wailing echoes booming
Above, around the deathly track
To Richmond, and the red path back.
Look back-the trench, the swamp, the wood,
With dead and dying bodies strewed;
And nightly on thy banks, St James,
Were hundreds piled to feed the flames;
Then battle, panic, rout, and flight,
And all is terror and affright.


Ye know not all; ye soon shall know,
When dark reaction's tidal flow
Shall chill your hearts, and whelm your pride
And lust of empire in the tide.
Oh Union dames! let common-sense,
If not affection, influence
Your thoughts and words before high Heaven-
Such right to woman is not given,
To urge her husband, son, or lover,
All human ties to trample over
The cause. To keep the Union whole,
Alas! full many a parted soul
In battle, sinful, unforgiven,
Flies to its last account to heaven.


Then let religion, reason, love,
Your holiest, dearest, feelings move.
Your love, your eloquence, your tears,
All that on man's best feelings bears,
Employ, nor let your efforts cease
Till your fair land has rest and peace.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010



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