Newspapers Letters and Documents Maps Images Teaching Home

The Richmond Enquirer, January 15, 1861, p. 4, c. 1

The Crisis.

In mourning all our daughters stand,
A cry goes wailing through the land,
Such as the cry of beasts who feel
The quaking earth beneath them reel.*

Abroad the terror hardly shows;
The tide of [illegible] still onward flows;
The last wave of its failing source
Not yet has reached us in its course.

Friend heeds not friend upon the street,
Or halts a moment as they meet;
And hand grasps hand as 'twere a sword.
The eye tells all without a word.

But when the household, gathering night
Restores our treasures to our sight,
And shows how much we have to lose,
Then terror draws its loosened noose.

The mother gazes on her son,
And feels the shock of war begun;
Or trembles for her daughter's fate;
Fear will not let its coming wait.

She dares not hope that death will spare,
All her beloved darlings there;
But counts them over silently,
Nor knows which precious one 'twill be.

All joy is gone, all hope is fled,
And every heart is full of dread.
The air is darkened with its wings,
Nose know what woe the future brings.

Oh, North! thy hand this woe has wrought,
This evil on us all has brought.
Yet hope not thou shalt scatheless be;
Behold, this is thy penalty.

When labor's wheel shall cease to turn,
When famine's fire begins to burn;
When starving babes shall beg for bread,
Till parents bless, not weep their dead;

When want and crime shall seek relief,
And men too hardened grow for grief,
Till misery laughs in misery's face;
When shame shall flaunt its own disgrace;

When famished multitudes shall flood,
The barricaded streets with blood;
When rocking anarchy begins,
Then falleth vengeance on thy sins.


*It is said that beasts feel the approach of an earthquake, and in their alarm utter the most piteous of crys.