Not Yet

by William Cullen Bryant

Oh country, marvel of the earth!
Oh realm to sudden greatness grown!
The age that gloried in thy birth,
Shall it behold thee overthrown?
Shall traitors lay that greatness low?
No, land of Hope and Blessing, No!

And we, who wear thy glorious name,
Shall we, like cravens, stand apart,
When those whom thou hast trusted aim
The death-blow at thy generous heart?
Forth goes the battle-cry, and lo!
Hosts rise in harness, shouting, No!

And they who founded, in our land,
The power that rules from sea to sea,
Bled they in vain, or vainly planned
To leave their country great and free?
Their sleeping ashes, from below,
Send up the thrilling murmur, No!

Knit they the gentle ties which long
These sister States were proud to wear,
And forged the kindly links so strong
For idle hands in sport to tear?
For scornful hands aside to throw?
No, by our fathers' memory, No!

Our humming marts, our iron ways,
Our wind-tossed woods on mountain-crest,
The hoarse Atlantic, with its bays,
The calm, broad Ocean of the West,
And Mississippi's torrent-flow,
And loud Niagara, answer, No!

Not yet the hour is nigh when they
Who deep in Eld's dim twilight sit,
Earth's ancient kings, shall rise and say,
"Proud country, welcome to the pit!
So soon art thou, like us, brought low!"
No, sullen group of shadows, No!

For now, behold, the arm that gave
The victory in our fathers' day,
Strong, as of old, to guard and save—
That mighty arm which none can stay—
On clouds above and fields below,
Writes, in men's sight, the answer, No!

—July, 1861.

Monadnock Valley Press > Bryant