Tag Archives: Poetry

War Song for Thanksgiving, 1847

Augustine Joseph Hickey Duganne was an American novelist and poet born in Boston in 1823. While still in his teens he began publishing patriotic poems in various newspapers including this poem that appeared in The National Era in 1847.

Duganne was married in Philadelphia before moving to New York City where he published many nobels and sketches before dying on October 20, 1884.

Several volumes of his poems were issued while he was alive and he wrote numerous books on government, literature, and art.

War Song for Thanksgiving, 1847

For The National Era.

It were a glorious strife, to guard
The ramparts of our land –
And at her portals stand,
Hurling back the invading hordes:
But to stain our patriot swords
With the blood of those who never
Raised the hostile hand,
Save in freedom’s bold endeavor,
Foreign foemen to withstand –
Is but lust, and wrong, and crime –
Branding us to endless time.

And they are mad who counsel now
The fetters and the steel,
Our triumph dark to seal:
Better far the olive-wreath
Offer now, than flames and death.
Pause, ye rash, unthinking zealots,
Ere ye rivet chains!
Freedom brooks nor kings nor helots –
Crowns and whips alike disdains.
Better now, in glory pause,
Than to break great Freedom’s laws!

Christian men, who lift your hearts
To Heaven, this day, in prayer –
And lay your conscience bare –
Know YE not, that War and Wrong
Can never make your temples strong.
Know YE not that blood and battles
Are not from the Lord?
Serve ye God’s great laws, or Vattel’s?
Grasp ye gospels, or the sword?
Lo! on high the record stands –
Ye, like Pilate, wash your hands!




A Mother’s Christmas Thoughts

This poem by ‘Madge Merton’ – a possible pseudonym of Canadian writer/journalist Elmira Elliott Atkinson – appeared in the December 1891 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

A Mother’s Christmas Thoughts

He kissed her with a soft good-night,
Her boy, grown tall and strong;
And she, alone in dim twilight,
Across the years has gone.

Sweet, patient face, dear mother heart,
Aching its sad, lone way
To those past years—that nobler part
Where little children play.

And all the fire-lit, cosy room
She filled with vanished joys;
And ’round the hearth, in dark’ning gloom,
Clustered her one-time boys.

Wee Harry played with drum and fife,
And led a mimic fray;
Poor lad, he lived a soldier’ s life,
And died the death one day.

And Harold watched an engine puff
And o’er the hearth-rug fly;
“I’ll be a driver, sure enough,
Won’t I, mamma,” he’d cry.

Tall John was all was left to-night,
The others nobly died;
One in the thickest of the fight,
And one steel rails beside.

Slow down the mother’s cheeks there ran
Tears born of chastened grief;
The tears that bridge a sorrow’s span,
And bring a sweet relief.

Sweet, patient face, dear mother-heart,
Aching its sad, lone way
Across to Christmas Eve’s apart,
Where little children play.

As Printed

A Mother's Christmas Thoughts - Godey's Lady's Book - December 1891

A Mother’s Christmas Thoughts – Godey’s Lady’s Book – December 1891


Collection: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Date: December, 1891
Title: A Mother’s Christmas Thoughts
Location: Philadelphia, PA

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Lines On The Mexican War, 1847

The 1847 Prospectus for The National Era stated:

“…While due attention will be paid to Current Events, Congressional Proceedings, General Politics and Literature, the great aim of the paper will be a complete discussion of the Question of Slavery, and an exhibition of the Duties of the Citizen in relation to it; especially will it explain and advocate the leading Principles and Measures of the Liberty Party, seeking to do this, not in the spirit of the Party, but in the love of Truth—not for the triumph of Party, but for the establishment of Truth…”

Lines On The Mexican War

For the National Era.

They tell me that on fields of blood
The flags of victory proudly wave;
But do they think upon that sod,
In agony, the true and brave
Are dying, where no eye is near,
O’er their sad fate to shed a tear?

They wonder that I do not joy,
When our old eagle proudly flies,
Triumphant, over every field,
Where sounds of strife and carnage rise;
And say my blood but coldly flows,
When friends are riding over foes.

Ah, no! it is not that I feel
Less joy when round my country’s name,
Her patriot sons, with glory, wreath
Fresh garlands in her crown of fame;
But ah! I cannot shout acclaim,
When blood is mingled there with shame.

I honor every hallowed spot,
Where fought and fell the true and brave;
I envy every hero’s lot,
Where buds the laurel o’er his grave –
Who nobly struck for truth and right,
And with his life-blood seal’d the fight.

But I must mourn the blushing blood,
Be it so ever nobly shed;
And I must weep upon the sod,
Which with the price of shame is red;
Alas! alas! that men so brave,
Should bind the fetter on the slave!

Love I my country? Ay, too well
To see her brave blood, mingling, flow,
Upon the field where Ringgold fell,
With that of many a conquered foe,
And feel no sad emotion start,
No wail of sorrow in my heart.

Yes, native land, my love for thee
Is such, I wish no stain to rest
Upon that flag which floateth free
On every shore, an honored guest;
I would not that the beaming light
Of those bright stars should dim to night.

Orwell, September, 1847.

Battle of Monterrey

Battle of Monterrey

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The National Era
Date: October 14, 1847
Title: Lines On The Mexican War
Location: Washington, D.C.


The Slave-Mother’s Lament in Autographs of Freedom

The following poem has been contributed to a collection of “Autographs for Freedom,” being made by Wilson Armistead, Esq., and which it is intended shall be lithographed and bound up in quarto volumes, to be disposed of for the benefit of the anti-slavery cause.

The writer will be happy to receive and forward any others or they may be sent direct to Mr. Armistead, Water Hall, Leeds.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria has, it appears, contributed to this collection, as have many other illustrious personages and numerous well-known friends to the cause.



The War Song of the 3d Brigade

Poetry was commonly found in 19th Century newspapers and magazines.  This poem was on the front page of the Vincennes Gazette on April 25, 1863 during the height of the Civil War.

The Vincennes Gazette for the years of 1855 to 1869 is contained within the Accessible Archives Civil War Collection.  This and other newspapers are the core of the Midwestern Perspective collection. (more…)