A Prophetic Ode.

From: Sonnets and Canzonets (1882)
Author: A. Bronson Alcott
Published: Roberts Brothers 1882 Boston



O THOU, my country, ope thine eyes
Toward what the Future holds for thee!
See the brave stripling rise
From lowliest hut and poverty,
From stair to stair;
Nor hardly fix his footsteps there,
Ere he another round
Doth upward bound;
Still, step by step, to higher stair
Forward he leaps,
Broader his vision sweeps,
Till he the loftiest summit gain,—
A people’s hope to further and maintain.


But lo! as oft befalls the great,
The wise and good,
There for a moment poised he stood,—
Then passed beyond the gazing crowd
Within the folded cloud.
Wasted by weary pains,
His pale remains
Now lie in state,
Swathed in his bloody shroud;
Peoples and kingdoms bathed in tears.
Hear’st thou the welcome greet his ears,
As he his holier throne doth take?
This brave of fifty manly years,
Dies he not now for thy dear sake?


O follow, thou, his leading far,
Be thou thyself the morning star,
Beaming thy glories round the world,
His name emblazoned on thy flag unfurled!
What speak the myriad bells,
Tolling this day their mournful knells?
“Ne’er may our weight be swung,
Never our iron tongue
Slavery’s base might extol
In town or capitol;
But o’er a people brave and free
Ring out in happier symphony
Garfield and Liberty!”

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