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1863 January 14: Emancipation Poetry

January 16, 2013

This poem, about the Emancipation Proclamation, appeared in the January 14, 1863. issue of The Prescott Journal.  They reprinted it from the Home League of Hartford, Wisconsin.

Proclamation Lines–Jan. 1st, 1863

I heard that river voice of angels cry,
And echo sent it all along the sky,
“Hosanna unto him who sits on high!”

“Yeah, glory be to him that we should see
With these poor eyes this day of jubilees.
And one more race of waiting souls act free.”

And as the wondrous portals were unrolled
I saw them writing in their books of gold,
The date that all the prophets had foretold.

And while they wrote it with their pens aflame,
The patriot saints of every age and name,
Made Heaven vocal with their glad acclaim !

The stars grew brighter in the firmament,
And every tongue that sung in heaven lent
Its voice, and down to earth the anthem sent.

This earth prolonged the glorious strain,
And FREEDOM was the grand refrain
Of every color, creed, and name.

The eyes that used to fill with liquid pain,
To-day are full of solemn fears again,
But tears of joy to see the melting chain !

Banish the auction block and cruel thong,
Back to barbarian night where they belong,
And let this race lift up its natal song.

They Shall not feel the blood-hound’s smarting gash,
Or know the sting and rain of well-plied lash,
Or the the [sic] numb ache when fiendish passions clash.

But over in the arch of their dark sky,
The scared box of promises hangs on high—
Their hopes of being free no more die !

Let tyrants sigh and drawl their last lament,
The arrow to their idol’s heart this day is sent ;
God bless the archer who the bow hath bent!

O sacred Liberty !  how dear art thou,
How radiant glows the youth upon thy brow,
And never half so beautiful as now !


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