Jane Wilde

27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896

To Day

Has the line of the Patriots ended,
The race of the heroes failed,
That the bow of the mighty, unbended,
Falls slack from the hands of the quailed?
Or do graves lie too thick in the grass
For the chariot of Progress to pass?

Did the men of the past ever falter?
The stainless in name and fame.
They flung life’s best gifts on the altar
To kindle the sacrifice flame,
Till it rose like a pillar of light
Leading up from Egyptian night.

Oh! hearts all aflame, with the daring
Of youth leaping forth into life!
Have ye courage to lift up, unfearing,
The banner fallen low in the strife,
From hands faint through life’s deepest loss,
And bleeding from nails of the cross?

Can ye work on as they worked—unaided,
When all but honour seemed lost?
And give to your Country, as they did,
All, without counting the cost?
For the children have risen since then
Up to the height of men.

Now, swear by those pale martyr‐faces,
All worn by the furrows of tears,
By the lost youth no morrow replaces,
By all their long‐wasted years,
By the fires trod out on each hearth,
When the Exiles were driven forth;

By the young lives so vainly given,
By the raven hair blanched to grey,
By the strong spirits crushed and riven,
By the noble aims faded away,
By their brows, as the brows of a king,
Crowned by the circlet of suffering—
To strive as they strove, yet retrieving
The cause from all shadow of blame,
In the Congress of Peoples achieving
A place for our nation and name;
Not by war between brothers in blood,
But by glory made perfect through good.

We are blind, not discerning the promise,
’Tis the sword of the Spirit that kills;
Give us Light, and the fetters fall from us,
For the strong soul is free when it wills.
Not our wrongs but our sins make the cloud
That darkens the land like a shroud.

With this sword like an Archangel’s gleaming,
Go war against Evil and Sin,
’Gainst the falsehood, and meanness, and seeming
That stifle the true life within.
Your bonds are the bonds of the soul,
Strike them off, and you spring to the goal!

O men who have passed through the furnace,
Assayed like the gold, and as pure!
By your strength can the weakest gain firmness
The strongest may learn to endure,
When once they have chosen their part,
Though the sword may drive home to each heart.

O Martyrs! The scorners may trample
On the broken hearts strewed in their path;
But the young race, all flushed by example,
Will awake to the duties it hath,
And re‐kindle your own torch of Truth
With the passionate splendours of youth!
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