Achsa White Sprague

Nov. 17, 1827 - Jul. 6, 1862


The People

by Achsa White Sprague

[It is worthy of note that while in this, the Government's hour of trial, large numbers of those in the army and navy who have been favored with the offices, have resigned and proved false to the hand that pampered them, not one common soldier or common sailor is known to have deserted his flag. Great honor is due to those officers who remained true despite the example of their treacherous associates; but the greatest honor and most important fact of all, is the unanimous firmness of the common soldiers, to the last man. So far as known, they have effectually resisted the traitorous offer of those whose commands but an hour before they obeyed as absolute law. -- Abraham Lincoln's Message.]

The power is vested in the people;
Though the men of office fall,
There's a mightier power behind them,
Ready at the country's call.
Traitors may betray the Union,
Brutus-like, may strive to kill, --
Men of office, politicians, --
But the people never will!

Twiggs, like Arnold, stands a traitor,
Armstrong sunk without a blow;
But our land has William Conways,
To all treason, answering No.
These are brave and these are faithful,
When all others prove untrue;
Turns America unfearing --
She has faith in such as you.

Floyd may fail, and e'en Buchanan;
Bell may toll his parting knell;
Yet the banner of our country
Floats as widely and as well;
For the people bear it onward,
From the pine-land and the hills,
From the lakes and from the prairies; --
We shall have a Country still.

Kings may boast their standing armies --
Falling sometimes by their hand;
We've, thank God, a standing army
In the heroes of our land.
Farmer, merchant and mechanic,
Lawyer, millionaire, divine,
These shall make our Stripes a terror,
These shall be our Stars to shine.

These shall teach to-day crowned Europe,
Though may rise a traitor band,
That a country, through its people,
Shall have power to nobly stand;
Shall maintain its institutions,
That declare all men are free:
That true power lies in the people,
Let all Europe turn and see.

Should the thoughts of truth and virtue,
Leave the courts and camps of Kings,
And the halls of Congress echo
Only to strange murmurings;
Should the men of office fail us, --
Virtue's sunlight overcast, --
In the true hearts of the people,
We shall find its altar last.

Socrates, one of the people,
Taught them truths that live to-day;
Christ, from his own humble Nazareth,
Swept the shades of night away.
Cincinnatus, grand through virtue,
Won renown in ancient Rome;
Wise, far-seeing, bold Columbus,
Found a world beyond the foam.

Pilgrim Fathers, when their rulers
Sought to bend them to their nod,
Grew a strong and mighty people,
Built a home to worship God.
Washington, from out that people,
Shone a bright resplendent sun,
Giving back his country's honors,
When its mighty work was done.

Abraham Lincoln, from the people,
Guides the Ship of State to-day,
Like our Washington, O Father!
Like our Washington,
we pray.
And the people, upward springing
At the trumpet's sudden blast,
He shall find them what he writes them --
True and faithful to the last.


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