Drum-Taps (A Selection)
Aroused and angry,
I thought to beat the alarum, and urge relentless war;
But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d, and I resign’d myself,
To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead.
Forty years had I in my city seen soldiers parading;
Forty years as a pageant—till unawares, the Lady of this teeming and turbulent city,
Sleepless amid her ships, her houses, her incalculable wealth,
With her million children around her—suddenly,
At dead of night, at news from the south,
Incens’d, struck with clench’d hand the pavement.
A shock electric—the night sustain’d it;
Till with ominous hum, our hive at day-break pour’d out its myriads.
From the houses then, and the workshops, and through all the doorways,
Leapt they tumultuous—and lo! Manhattan arming.