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To a Foil'd Revolter or Revoltress


1 COURAGE! my brother or my sister! Keep on! Liberty is to be subserved, whatever occurs; That is nothing, that is quell'd by one or two failures,  
 or any number of failures,
Or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or  
 by any unfaithfulness,
Or the show of the tushes of power, soldiers, cannon,  
 penal statutes.
2What we believe in waits latent forever through all  
 the continents, and all the islands and archi- 
 pelagos of the sea.
3What we believe in invites no one, promises nothing,  
 sits in calmness and light, is positive and com- 
 posed, knows no discouragement,
Waiting patiently, waiting its time.
4The battle rages with many a loud alarm, and fre- 
 quent advance and retreat,
The infidel triumphs—or supposes he triumphs, The prison, scaffold, garrote, hand-cuffs, iron necklace  
 and anklet, lead-balls, do their work,
The named and unnamed heroes pass to other spheres, The great speakers and writers are exiled—they lie sick  
 in distant lands,
  [ begin page 194 ]ppp.00473.194.jpg The cause is asleep—the strongest throats are still,  
 choked with their own blood,
The young men drop their eyelashes toward the ground  
 when they meet;
But for all this, liberty has not gone out of the place,  
 nor the infidel enter'd into possession.
5When liberty goes out of a place, it is not the first  
 to go, nor the second or third to go,
It waits for all the rest to go—it is the last.
6When there are no more memories of heroes and  
And when all life, and all the souls of men and women  
 are discharged from any part of the earth,
Then only shall liberty be discharged from that part of  
 the earth,
And the infidel and the tyrant come into possession.
7Then courage! revolter! revoltress! For till all ceases, neither must you cease. 8I do not know what you are for, (I do not know what  
 I am for myself, nor what anything is for,)
But I will search carefully for it even in being foil'd, In defeat, poverty, imprisonment—for they too are  
9Did we think victory great? So it is—But now it seems to me, when it cannot be  
 help'd, that defeat is great,
And that death and dismay are great.
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