The Plague

John Pierpont

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"The Plague! the Plague! bring out your dead."
Through all the land the cry
Rang shrilly forth. "We bring our dead!"
Was murmured in reply.
And still no art could stay the sore,
By night, by day it ran;
Till written on our nation's door,
Was "Lazaret of Man!"

Beyond the pestilence that sweeps
The Oriental power,
Where Death, the busy toiler, reaps
A province in an hour;
To touch and taste, and taste and die,
And fill the maniac's grave,
Millions essayed, till from the sky,
Came Abstinence to save.

Now we are healed! yet at the pool
Lie many in their sin;
The "moderate" mad, the ruined fool--
No angel puts them in.
Ay, angel Temperance never tires,
But healing wing doth plume
Where soaring Faith, itself, expires,
And Hope is in the tomb.

Shout, Drunkard! shout! your chain of steel
Is sundered, link by link;
Shout, Maker! Vender! ye can feel,
Shout, Children! ye may think.
And Woman, in whose halcyon breast
The star of hope doth shine,
Would shout--but tears reveal the rest--
Lord God! the work is thine.

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