The Early Years of the Saturday Club, 1855-1870

By Edward Waldo Emerson | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VIII
1861

There is a sound of thunder afar,
Storm in the South that darkens the day,
Storm of battle and thunder of war,
Well if it do not roll our way.
Form! form! Riflemen form!
Ready, be ready to meet the storm!
Riflemen, riflemen, riflemen, form!

TENNYSON

THE New Year opened with hardly credible signs of imminent war. Five days before Christmas, hot-headed South Carolina had passed an ordinance of secession from the United States, and the fire was spreading to her neighbour States. Instead of a blast of indignation, Dr. Holmes wrote this affectionate appeal, from which I select four verses: --


BROTHER JONATHAN'S LAMENT FOR SISTER CAROLINE

She has gone, -- she has left us in passion and pride, --
Our stormy-browed sister, so long at our side!
She has torn her own star from our firmament's glow,
And turned on her brother the face of a foe!

Oh, Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
We can never forget that our hearts have been one, --
Our foreheads both sprinkled in Liberty's name,
From the fountain of blood with the finger of flame!

. . . . . . . . . .

Oh, Caroline, Caroline, child of the sun,
There are battles with Fate that can never be won!
The star-flowering banner must never be furled,
For its blossoms of light are the hope of the world!

Go, then, our rash sister! afar and aloof,
Run wild in the sunshine away from our roof;
But when your heart aches and your feet have grown sore,
Remember the pathway that leads to our door!

-249-

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