Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War/The Frenzy in the Wake

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The Frenzy in the Wake.[1]
Sherman's advance through the Carolinas.
(February, 1865.)



So strong to suffer, shall we be
Weak to contend, and break
The sinews of the Oppressor's knee
That grinds upon the neck?
O, the garments rolled in blood
Scorch in cities wrapped in flame,
And the African—the imp!
He gibbers, imputing shame.

Shall Time, avenging every woe,
To us that joy allot
Which Israel thrilled when Sisera's brow
Showed gaunt and showed the clot?
Curse on their foreheads, cheeks, and eyes—
The Northern faces—true
To the flag we hate, the flag whose stars
Like planets strike us through.

From frozen Maine they come,
Far Minnesota too;
They come to a sun whose rays disown—
May it wither them as the dew!
The ghosts of our slain appeal:
"Vain shall our victories be"
But back from its ebb the flood recoils—
Back in a whelming sea.

With burning woods our skies are brass,
The pillars of dust are seen;
The live-long day their cavalry pass—
No crossing the road between.
We were sore deceived—an awful host!
They move like a roaring wind.
Have we gamed and lost? but even despair
Shall never our hate rescind.