Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Stanzas: ‘O dark was the cloud, and more dark the foreboding’
Commemorative of the 23d of December, the day when the British were repulsed from New Orleans

O DARK was the cloud, and more dark the foreboding,
  When the conquerors of France and the champions of Spain
Turn’d hither those bolts, late so fatal exploding,
  Far flashing the lightnings of battle again!
Now the blackness no more our horizon deforms,        5
  Be the incense of thankfulness wafted on high;
Nor let gratitude’s flower, which has flourish’d in storms,
  Mid the sun of security wither and die.
When the earth with its groan joins the sea with its roaring,
  In a menace that startles his tottering walls,        10
To his tutelar saint for protection imploring,
  The terrified Lusian in agony calls.
But departs with the danger the feeling it forms,
  When Nature resumes her original guise,
And gratitude’s flower, that was nourished in storms,        15
  ’Neath the sun of security withers and dies.
Far from us be the sin of thy slaves, Superstition!
  Whose ingrate sensations no ardour retain,
Till the element-war that portends their perdition
  Shall shock them to feeling and phrenzy again!        20
More generous emotions our bosoms shall warm,
  Than timidity’s tremour that danger is nigh;
Nor shall gratitude’s flower, which we cherished in storm,
  In the sun of security wither and die.
For yet hail we the chieftain commission’d to save,        25
  We invoked as our guardian from perils at hand,
When the bellow of battle was heard on the wave,
  And kindred convulsions were shaking the land.
That sea-shout he still’d—those convulsions he stay’d!
  Then be gratitude’s fragrancy still wafted high,        30
And beware lest the flower safe through storm and through shade,
  In security’s sunbeam be suffer’d to die.
Yet cheer we the chief, who empower’d by high Heaven
  Reduced civic chaos to order and plan;
Made to contrary forces one impulse be given,        35
  And to the mind of the many, the mind of one man.
To him and his band, as returns this proud morning,
  Fresh chaplets we’ll culture all change to defy;
From our heart’s hardy flower, that all seasons adorning,
  Nor in storm nor in sunshine can wither or die.        40
Sprung from Scotia, 1 whose sons, northern lights mid the nation!
  Illumine the mists of the spirit-star’d sky,
There beatified Moore, from his bright elevation,
  Shall bend on thy valour a brother’s fond eye!
Ah! haply no tear damp’d the wreath that we form—        45
  With thy palm and thy laurel no cypress we tie:
They are gratitude’s flower, which, immortal through storm,
  In the sun of security never shall die!
Note 1. General Andrew Jackson is stated [erroneously] to have been born in Scotland. [back]

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