Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Southern States: Yorktown, Va.


By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)


FROM Yorktown’s ruins, ranked and still,

Two lines stretch far o’er vale and hill:

Who curbs his steed at head of one?

Hark! the low murmur: Washington!

Who bends his keen, approving glance

Where down the gorgeous line of France

Shine knightly star and plume of snow?

Thou too art victor, Rochambeau!

The earth which bears this calm array

Shook with the war-charger yesterday,

Ploughed deep with hurrying hoof and wheel,

Shot-sown and bladed thick with steel;

October’s clear and noonday sun

Paled in the breath-smoke of the gun,

And down night’s double blackness fell,

Like a dropped star, the blazing shell.

Now all is hushed: the gleaming lines

Stand moveless as the neighboring pines;

While through them, sullen, grim, and slow,

The conquered hosts of England go:

O’Hara’s brow belies his dress,

Gay Tarleton’s troop rides bannerless:

Shout, from thy fired and wasted homes,

Thy scourge, Virginia, captive comes!

Nor thou alone: with one glad voice

Let all thy sister States rejoice;

Let Freedom, in whatever clime

She waits with sleepless eye her time,

Shouting from cave and mountain wood

Make glad her desert solitude,

While they who hunt her quail with fear;

The New World’s chain lies broken here!