Abram Joseph Ryan

The South

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Yes, give me the land
Where the ruins are spread,
And the living tread light
On the heart of the dead;
Yes, give me the land
That is blest by the dust,
And bright with the deeds
Of the down-trodden just.

Yes, give me the land
Where the battles' red blast
Has flashed on the future
The form of the past;
Yes, give me the land
That hath legends and lays
That tell of the memories
Of long-vanished days.

Yes, give me the land
That hath story and song
To tell of the strife
Of the right with the wrong;
Yes, give me the land
With a grave in each spot
And names in the graves
That shall not be forgot.

Yes, give me the land
Of the wreck and the tomb;
There's grandeur in graves --
There's glory in gloom.
For out of the gloom
Future brightness is born;
As, after the night
Looms the sunrise of morn.

And the graves of the dead,
With the grass overgrown,
May yet form the footstool
Of Liberty's throne;
And each simple wreck
In the way-path of might
Shall yet be a rock
In the temple of Right.

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Abram Joseph Ryan