James Madison Bell

Triumphs Of The Free

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Hail, thou observed of many lands,
Let all thy banners be unfurled,
This brilliant act of thine commands
The commendations of the world;
And all the brave of every tongue
Shall heap encomiums on thy name,
While many a lute shall there be strung
To chant the wonders of thy fame.


No victory won by land or sea,
No battle fought since war began,
Has done so much for liberty --
So much for humanizing man --
And never, while that old flag waves,
Proud ensign of the noble free,
Wilt thou achieve for all thy braves
A more ennobling victory.


For lo! the lightning spark which flew
With thought-like speed from east to west,
Brought to the honest, good, and true,
Glad tidings -- while to the oppressed
And writhing bondsman 'neath the yoke,
It was as when o'er Bethlehem's plains
An angel-choir the silence broke,
And charmed the shepherds with their strains.


To them, poor, hopeless, and forlorn,
It seemed a Savior had been given --
A very Jesus had been born,
The gift of God -- a child of heaven.
For all the hopes of all their race,
Swung on the slender thread of choice,
But interposing heavenly grace
Controlled events, hence we rejoice.


Rejoice! rejoice! the bondsmen's free,
The last foul link in their last chain,
This glorious Union victory
Will change to molten ore again.
Rejoice! rejoice! our prayer's been heard;
Let all who love the truth rejoice,
For lo! the man our hearts preferred
Becomes again the nation's choice.


Her choice to fill that high estate,
Grand place of trust, most lofty sphere,
Commandant and chief magistrate
O'er all her interest far and near;
Her choice, but not from blood or birth,
Or vague hereditary claim;
But chosen by the mighty North
For honest truth and patriot fame!


Chosen because he loved this land,
Dear home of his progenitors --
Too well to countenance a band
Of traitorous conspirators;
Too well to see that noble flag,
Beneath whose folds his fathers fought,
Insulted as a worthless rag,
And thrust beneath the earth to rot.


Chosen again, though not as when
The nation only deemed him true;
For now since all the skill of men
Combined with treason's dastard crew.
In vain for four long years have tried
His god-like truth to compromise,
He's grown a struggling nation's pride
Whom millions love and idolize.


Whom millions love -- why should they not?
And though they verge idolatry,
When we compare their present lot
With that of chains and slavery,
We scarcely can prefer a charge,
'Tis so in keeping with the race
That whence they draw in blessings large,
Thither their hearts best loves we trace.


But what had Lincoln done for those --
Those weltering 'neath the gory rod?
Who through their chains and cruel blows,
Had long been looking up to God?
This hath he done, by Truth's control,
Gave Earth and Heaven the blest decree,
Which though it fail to reach the soul,
Has rent the veil of Slavery.


Surely the gods have interposed,
And surely heaven has answered prayer,
Else why are mercy's doors unclosed;
And why this seeming special care;
And why this steady onward march
Of Justice, Truth and Liberty;
And why doth heaven's o'er-spreading arch
Look down with such complacency?


And why this overwhelming vote
By which great Lincoln's been retained,
Whose wondrous acts of world-wide note
Bears freedom to the long enchained?
God grant to him an arm of strength
Co-equal to his mighty heart;
Then shall our bleeding land at length
Bloom like the rose in every part.


To whom save him could we commit
The nation's weal till strife is closed,
And feel that he, in every whit,
Was equal to the task imposed?
Or, taking all our ills in view,
Together with this fiendish war,
Of all our noble heroes, who
Would we exchange our Lincoln for?


There's valiant Sherman, Grant and Sigel,
Each have bright laurels from the field,
For which of them could we our legal
Claim upon our faithful Lincoln yield?
Believe it, ye who will or may,
Of all earth's millions there are none
For whom America today
Would change her honest woodman's son.


He stands pre-eminently high,
With her the first of living men,
And at his will her warriors fly
To beard Secessia in his den.
And not until the monster lay
As docile as a crouching cur,
Would he command those braves away,
Urged on by each incentive spur.


But ere his office shall expire,
Or he its onerous tasks resign,
May Slavery die, and War retire,
And six and thirty States combine,
And blend in one unbroken Union,
Based on the equal rights of man,
Where discontent or vain delusion
Shall ne'er unsheath their swords again.

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James Madison Bell