Home  »  Yale Book of American Verse  »  79 Dedication of “In War Time”

Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse. 1912.

To Samuel E. Sewall and Harriet W. Sewall of Melrose

John Greenleaf Whittier 1807–1892

John Greenleaf Whittier

79 Dedication of “In War Time”

OLOR Iscanus queries: “Why should we

Vex at the land’s ridiculous miserie?”

So on his Usk banks, in the blood-red dawn

Of England’s civil strife, did careless Vaughan

Bemock his times. O friends of many years!

Though faith and trust are stronger than our fears,

And the signs promise peace with liberty,

Not thus we trifle with our country’s tears

And sweat of agony. The future’s gain

Is certain as God’s truth; but, meanwhile, pain

Is bitter and tears are salt: our voices take

A sober tone; our very household songs

Are heavy with a nation’s griefs and wrongs;

And innocent mirth is chastened for the sake

Of the brave hearts that nevermore shall beat,

The eyes that smile no more, the unreturning feet!