William Gilmore Simms

The Decay Of A People

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THIS the true sign of ruin to a race—
It undertakes no march, and day by day
Drowses in camp, or, with the laggard’s pace,
Walks sentry o’er possessions that decay;
Destined, with sensible waste, to fleet away;—
For the first secret of continued power
Is the continued conquest;—all our sway
Hath surety in the uses of the hour;
If that we waste, in vain walled town and lofty tower!

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William Gilmore Simms