Achsa White Sprague

Nov. 17, 1827 - Jul. 6, 1862


Emancipation In The District Of Columbia

by Achsa White Sprague

Now God be praised! for this old world has moved;
Time's rusty wheels at last are newly grooved;
And our own country vibrates to the shock,
As when a mighty earthquake smites the rock.
It shook the Senate Chamber as it passed;
It echoed like a trumpet's sudden blast;
The time-stained White House with the voice awoke,
And Freedom stood erect once more, and spoke:

No longer at my feet shall crawl the slave,
While high in air my starry banners wave;
No longer will I list their clanking chain,
Or on my garments wear this loathsome stain.
I stretch my hand, and grasp the power to-day;
When others fail, myself will bear the sway;
As when my sons declared themselves the free,
Shall beam once more the star of Liberty.

In this, the District where my Temple stands,
I burst, indignant, every captive's bands.
Here, in my home, my glorious work begin,
Then blush no more, each day, to see this sin.
Thus finding room to freely breathe and stand,
I'll stretch my sceptre over all the land,
Until, unfettered, leaps the wailing slave,
And echoes back the blessings of the brave.

The Eagle hears her voice majestic given,
And down he sweeps like thunderbolt from heaven,
And, with a joyous scream, he makes the dome
Of our freed Capitol his future home;
Never to seek again his eyrie high,
To sit with drooping wings and scornful eye;
But ready at the call, to lead the brave,
Who shout, Emancipation to the Slave!

Ay, throw thy banners to the breeze of heaven;
From slavery's chain another link is riven!
Ring joyous chimes, as rung that bell of old,
Which once our fathers' Declaration told.
A few more roods of free soil has our land;
Our Capitol, at least, has room to stand.
Send one more bolt, O God, from heaven to smite,
And slavery cowers forever from our sight!

Not all in vain have lovers of the right,
Proclaimed true freedom in their fearless might;
Not all in vain the efforts of the brave,
To break the fetters from the bleeding slave.
Ay, not in vain on Slavery's sod is shed
The blood of our brave hearts, our cherished dead;
For, thus baptized, our soil, shall all be free, --
The fruit of patriot's blood is Liberty.


The Poet And Other Poems.
Copyright 1864
Boston: William White And Co.,
158 Washington Street.