Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  Tourguénieff

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By William Morton Payne (1858–1919)

SILENT the lips that quivered as they told

The tale of deep, time-consecrated wrong;

Quiet the hand which held the pen so long

And used so well, that men, who bought and sold

Their fellow-men, were startled to behold

Themselves arraigned for judgment in the strong

Clear light of truth—a conscience-stricken throng,

Plague-spotted, in the ranks of death enrolled.

What thou hast done, we know, but fain would know

What thou hast seen; what lesson was in life

For thee! This only? that in grief men go

Even as they came, hence; this, that woe is rife

And hope illusive; this, that with a foe

Unconquerable men wage ceaseless strife?