Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
179. The Decay of a People
 
By William Gilmore Simms
 
 
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;—        5
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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