AN APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC.

1899.

THOU fair Republic oversea afar,

Where long blue ripples lap the fertile land,

Whose manifest dominion, like a star,

Fixed by the iron hands and swords of war,1

Now must for aye, a constellation, stand —

Thou new strong nation! as the eagle aspires

To match the sun’s own fires,

Children of our land, hear the children of your sires.

We stretch out hands to-day when the white wings

Of Peace are spread beneath you and your foe.

O race of men that slay the slaves of kings!

We, whom the foam-crowned ocean still enrings,

We, whose strong freedom never brooked a blow,

Hail you now victors, hail you of the sword

Proved in the west the lord,

Hail you, and bid you sound quick friendship and accord.

The eagle of your emblem would not stoop

To the proud vaults of that outrageous wing

That Bismark reared, and strengthened, and bade swoop

Fierce upon France, whose pallid pinions droop

To own an Emperor where she mocked a king: {136A}

Their challenge you hurled back across the foam:

Vienna and tall Rome

Trembled for their ally: you stirred our hearts at home.

The fire of love no waters shall devour;

The faith of friendship stands the shocks of time;

Seal with our voice the triumph of this hour,

Your glory to our glory and our power,

Alliance of one tongue, one faith, one clime!

Seal and clasp hands; and let the sea proclaim

Friendship of righteous fame,

And lordship of two worlds that time can never tame.

Stoop not and tender not an hour’s regret

For those wild words in trivial anger passed:

Forget your fools, as we their words forget,

And join our worlds in one amazing net

Of empire and dominion, till aghast

The lying Russian cloke his traitor head

More close, since Spain has bled

To wake in us the love that lay a century dead.

Let all the world keep silence at our peace;

Let France retreat and Russia step aside

From their encroachments, bid their envy cease

Stricken by Fear, who see our strength increase

By comradeship that quickens to abide,

A bond of justice, light, and liberty,

To make the wide earth free

As the wild waves that slake the passion of the sea. {136B}

Let all the world keep silence and behold

The wrath of two great nations that are friends

Against who bartered Poland, and who sold

Italy, weighed out Hungary for gold,

And shattered Greece to serve no noble ends.

The traitors and the peoples and the kings

That love not righteous things;

They shall behold our wrath, and find our anger stings.

White slaves shall look up and behold a light

Grow in the islands of the sacred sea,

And on the land whose forehead kisses night

And has the dawn upon its wings, whose might

Is mightier for the lips of Liberty

Pressed on its new-born cheeks, when Church and State

Drove forth to baffle Fate

Our sires and yours, whose fame is grown this year so great.

That morning of deliverance is at hand;

The world requickens, and all folk rejoice,

Seeing our kingdom look toward your land,

And both catch hands, indissolubly grand

In the proud friendship of a better choice.

Your winds that wrought wild wreckage of our shore

Shall sink and be no more,

Or waft your barks, with wheat gold-laden swiftly o’er.

Our foamcaps, that your rocks disdainful flung

Back to the waves that left our beaten coast,

Shall be like echoes of sweet songs unsung,

And all the ocean noises find a tongue

To voice the clamour of a righteous boast —

That friendship and dominion shall be wrought

Out of the womb of thought,

And all the bygone days be held for things of nought. {137A}

What matter though our fathers did you wrong?

Though brave sons brake our bitter yoke? Though we

Strove to compel you to a cruel thong?

What, though the stronger did defeat the strong?

Both, wild and patient as the steep strong sea?

What matter that some strive to waken hate,

Traitors to either state,

Hang them in chains! Our way to Freedom cannot wait!

The petty partisans of party war,

The hireling quillmen, and the jingo crowd,

The well-paid patriots, scenting from afar

Silence, their doom — shall they eclipse the star

Now crescent in the sky, whose music loud

Rejoices humble hearts and true men all,

And sounds the funeral

Dirge of slave, tyrant, priest, that snarl, and snarling fall?

These we forget — remembering only this:

Ye are blood-brothers, and our tongues are one;

Our hopes and conquests in one splendid kiss

Unite and struggle not for empire. Is

Our land and yours too little for the sun

To gladden, to illume, to bid increase,

Bound by two mighty seas

In one fraternal clasp of admirable peace?

Ye are our brothers; ye have spurned the power

That bound the islands of your eastern shore;

Ye have restored to freedom that fair flower,

Cuba, in her most agonising hour,

And east and west have thundered with red war.

We freed us from the slavery of Spain,

And laid upon the main

Our hand three centuries back — and ye have struck again. {137B}

Priestcraft and tyranny in this defeat

Shake, and the walls of hell with fear resound;

The sun laughs gladlier on the heavier wheat,

Because the fates must weave a winding-sheet

At last for Fear. Deliverers are found

Who will deliver. Mountain, stream, and brake,

Lone wood, and sleepy lake,

Are peopled with bright shapes that sing for freedom’s sake.

Rocks, and pale fountains, and tall trees that quiver,

And all the clouds that deck the sunset sky

Move like the music of a mighty river

Where ripples break,and rapids gleam and shiver,

And calm rebuilds her empire by-and-by.

For joy of this alliance all the earth

Forgets her day of dearth,

In her new birth forgets, and maddens into mirth.

The stars swing censers of pale gold to God,

Whose incense is the love-song of the free;

Angels with mercy and with beauty shod

Move in the mazes of an Eden, trod

Not by the seemly spirits of the sea,

But by brave men built wholly of desire

And freedom’s mystic fire,

To clothe its habitants with glorious attire.

Clasp hands, O fair republic of the west,

And leave the kingdoms to their sudden fate.

With new-born love and ardour unrepressed,

Let Lethe steep in its unquiet rest

The old years whose red hands have made us great.

O fair republic, strong and swift, unbind

The shackles of thy mind:

More than our kin ye are; henceforth not less than kind. {138A}

Bind on the splendid sandals, and unloose

The burning horses, and fling wide the reins!

From cold Archangel unto Syracuse

Europe shall see and tremble and ask truce,

And new blood pour through Asia’s wasted veins.

Our Empire from Guiana to Hong Kong,

In your new love made strong,

Shall last while earth is glad because of sun and song.

And O! ye desert places of the sea,

Ye plains and mountains rugged with the wind,

And all ye hollow caverns whence there flee

Foam-heads and blusterous waves, give ear to me,

And O thou thunder, follow hard behind!

O womb of night, reverberate these chords,

Ye clouds, ye stormy lords,

With clamour and shrill voice as of ten thousand swords.

Swords that clang sharp on heaven’s anvil, white

With heat of God’s own forehead that beholds

The building broken that is made of might,

Nor builded firm on justice’ iron height,

Nor is not cast in mercy’s sliver mould: —

Swords sharp to slay, when vengeance must its fill

Drink of the bloody rill

Wherein men lave their mouths, arise and smite and kill.

Listen all lands, and wonder! For the night

Rolls back her beaten iron, and the day

Breaks, and the passionate heralds of the light,

Armoured with love for panoply of might,

Rush on the portals of the falling way.

The lamps of heaven are dim while swords strike fire

From rocks whose crests burn higher: —

At their assault hell’s dogs gasp, totter, and expire {138B}

All the gold gates re open of the East;

The rugged columns of the hills uphold

A dome of changeless turquoise, and they feast,

The sun’s lips, on the woods that have increased

Since dawn with store of unimagined gold.

The steam of many exhalations fair

Sweetens the midday air;

Echo and tree and bud chant and give birth and bear.

The broad Pacific brightens into blue,

And coral isles are white with beating flame

Of living water on their strand, live through

With million flames candescent as the dew,

Red flowers too queenly for a mortal name!

The sea is pregnant with green stars; the land,

The sky, like lovers stand

With kiss half-consciously exchanged, hand fast in hand.

O lovers fair and free, the wings of peace

Bear this voice onward; linger as your will

By moon-wrought glades, and softly murmuring seas,

Lands white with summer, and the quiet leas!

Linger, and let no word of music thrill

Your hearts; young love is all the harp ye need:

Your kiss in very deed

Is keen to echo song well tuned from Milton’s reed.

O lovers, and ye happy groves that hear

Their whispers, and ye vales that know their feet,

And all ye mountains that incline your ear

To the still murmur of the love-lorn sphere,

And all ye caves their murmurs who repeat;

Your music throbs in unison with mine;

The world is flushed with wine

Bubbling from Freedom’s well, warm, luminous, divine. {139A}

Burn, changeful purple of the vine’s cool stream!

Burn, like the sunset of a stormy sky

When white winds gather, and white horses gleam

Upon the ocean, and the meadows steam

With haze of thunder, when the crimson eye

Dips, and deep darkness falls and lies, and breaks

In lightning’s awful flakes,

When thunder unto thunder calls and the storm awakes.

With maddening hoofs, ye coursers of the sun,

Spurn the reverberant air and paw the day,

Make east and west indissolubly one,

And night fall beaten, for its day is spun,

And bid light gird its sword to thigh, display

The shield of heaven’s blue, and call the deep

To watch the warrior sleep

Of two fast friends that wake only if brave men weep.

Wake, western land so fair, and this shall be!

Speak and accomplish, let no ardour slip,

A sullen hound, ad be brought shamefully

Back, and resurge the tremor of the sea,

And spoil a perfect kiss from free land’s lip.

Of fair free sister country, for our sake,

Who at thy side would break

All bars, all bonds, and bid the very dead awake.

Are not our veins made purple with our blood,

And our dominions touch they not afield?

Pours not the sea its long exultant flood

On either’s coast? The rose has one same bud,

And the vine’s heart one purple pledge doth yield.

Are we not weary of the fanged pen?

Are we not friends, and men?

Let us look frankly face to face — and quarrel then! {139B}

For by the groves of green and quiet ways,

And on the windy reaches of the river,

In moonlit night and blue unbroken days,

And where the cold ice breaks in pallid bays,

And where dim dawns in frosty forest shiver;

Where India burns and far Australia glows;

Where cactus blooms, where rose,

Let our hearts’ beat be heard, to lighten many woes.

Sister and daughter of our loyal isle,

Our hands reach out to you, our lips are fain

To wreathe with yours in one delicious smile

Of budding love, to grow a kiss awhile,

And laugh like bride and groom, and kiss again!

Let our alliance like a marriage stand,

Supreme from strand to strand,

The likeness of our love, the clasp of hand in hand.

And men who come behind us yet unborn,

Nor dimly guessed at down the brook of time,

Shall celebrate the brave undying morn

When the free nations put aside their scorn

For friendship, rock no sundering surge may climb, {140A}

When their strong hands gripped hard across the sea,

Flushed with fresh victory,

Lands royal, leal, and great, vast beautiful, and free.

Our children’s children shall unsheathe the sword

Against the envy of some tyrant power:

The leader of your people and our lord

Shall join to wrest fro slavery abhorred

Some other race, a fair storm-ruined flower!

O fair republic, lover and sweet friend,

Your loyal hand extend,

Let freedom, peace and faith grow stronger to the end!

O child of freedom, thou art very fair!

Thou hast white roses on thy eager breast,

The scent of all the South is in thy hair,

Thy lips are fragrant with the blossoms rare

Blown under sea waves when the white wings rest!

Come to our warrior breast, where victory

Sits passionate and free —

Ring out the wild salute! Our sister over sea! {140B}

 

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1. This poem was written shortly after the Spanish war.

 

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