Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
Hosea Biglow’s Lament
By James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
BEAVER roars hoarse with melting snows,
And rattles diamonds from his granite;
Time was he snatched away my prose,
And into psalms or satires ran it;
But he, and all the rest that once        5
Started my blood to contra dances
Find me and leave me but a dunce
That has no use for dreams and fancies.
Rat-tat-tat-tattle through the street,
I hear the drummers making riot,        10
And I sit thinking of the feet
That followed once and now are quiet,—
White feet as snow-drops innocent,
That never knew the paths of Satan,
Sad ears that listened as they went,        15
Lifelong to hear them come will wait on.
Have I not held them on my knee?
Did I not love to see them growing,
Three likely lads as well could be,
Handsome and brave, and not too knowing?        20
I sit and look into the blaze,
Whose nature, just like theirs, keeps climbing
Long as it lives in shining ways,
And half despise myself for rhyming.
What’s talk to them whose faith and truth        25
On War’s red touchstone rang true metal,
Who ventured life and love and youth
For the great prize of death in battle?
To him who, deadly hurt, again
Flashed on before the charge’s thunder,        30
Tipping with fire the bolt of men
That rived the Rebel line asunder?
Come Peace, not like a mourner bowed
For honor lost and dear ones wasted,
But proud, to meet a people proud,        35
With eyes that tell of triumph tasted.
Come with hand gripping on the hilt,
And step that proves you Victory’s daughter!
Longing for you, our spirits wilt
Like shipwrecked men on rafts for water.        40
Come, while our Country feels the lift
Of a great instinct shouting Forwards,
And knows that Freedom’s not a gift
That tarries long in hands of cowards.
Come, such as mothers prayed for, when        45
They kissed their cross with lips that quivered,
And bring fair wages for brave men,
A Nation saved, a Race delivered.

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