Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

A Phase Of The War In America, 1864

On The Road To Richmond

Give me angel wing and eye,
Give me arm and strength Herculean;
With the speed of light I'll fly-
Not to yonder bright cerulean.
Westward far my flight should be,
O'er the wide and wild Atlantic;
I the fated land would see
Drunk with blood whose sons are frantic.

Horror, fed on carnage, lowers
O'er corruption rankly steaming;
O'er Virginia's Eden bowers
I the fated land would see
Drunk with blood whose sons are frantic.

Horror, fed on carnage, lowers
O'er corruption rankly steaming;
O'er Virginia's Eden bowers
Thousand vultures hover screaming.

In one gory mass they lie-
Husband, father, son, and lover-
Festering 'neath a burning sky,
Earth no more her slain can cove

Crippled victims, weak and wan,
Back a ghastly tide are flowing;
Angel eyes will weep to scan
Bootless slaughter o

See, recording angels stand
On each side of death's dark portals,
Noting with unerring hand
Entering hordes of ghastly mortals.

From a cloud-capp'd tower I gaze,
From the battle field arising
Myriad souls, with dread amaze,
I behold-my soul surprising.

Civil War, thou demon fell,
Shall thy bloody hand for ever
Ring the dreadful tocsin bell?
Britain's heart-strings quail and quiver.

War, thou Lernæan hydra dire,
I would strangle and uncoil thee;
Close thy tracks of blood and fire,
Of thy venomed fangs despoil thee.

Through thy Augean stables vile,
With long-horded rank pollution,
(Heaven my help) I'd pour the while
One strong, sweeping, vast ablution.

Father of the waters, flow,
Flow each Transatlantic river
O'er your land of death and woe-
Cleanse her soil of blood for ever.

Time was when we lightly spoke,
Smiled at each defeat and blunder;
Now, alas! the spell is broke-
We can only weep and wonder.
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