IS IT this, then, O world-warrior,
That, exulting, through the folds
Of the dark and cloudy barrier
Thine enfranchised eye beholds?
Is, when blessed hands relieve thee
From the gross and mortal clay,
This the heaven that should receive thee?
Now the final link is breaking,
Of the fierce, corroding chain,
And the ships, their watch forsaking,
Bid the seas no more detain,
Whither is it, freed and risen,
The pure spirit seeks away,
Quits for what the weary prison?
Doubtless—angels, hovering o’er thee
In thine exile’s sad abode,
Marshalled even now before thee,
Move upon that chosen road!
Thither they, ere friends have laid thee
Where sad willows o’er thee play,
Shall already have conveyed thee!
Shall great captains, foiled and broken,
Hear from thee on each great day,
At the crisis, a word spoken—
Word that battles still obey—
‘Cuirassiers here, here those cannon;
Quick, those squadrons, up-away!
‘To the charge, on—as one man, on!’
(Yes, too true, alas! while, sated
Of the wars so slow to cease,
Nations, once that scorned and hated,
Would to Wisdom turn, and Peace;
Thy dire impulse still obeying,
Fevered youths, as in the old day,
In their hearts still find thee saying,
Oh, poor soul!—Or do I view thee,
From earth’s battle-fields withheld,
In a dream, assembling to thee
Troops that quell not, nor are quelled,
Breaking airy lines, defeating
Limbo-kings, and, as to-day,
Idly to all time repeating