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!