Skip to main content

To a Foiled Revolter or Revoltress

Part of the cluster MESSENGER LEAVES.

To a Foiled Revolter or Revoltress.

1COURAGE! my brother or my sister! Keep on! Liberty is to be subserved, whatever occurs; That is nothing, that is quelled 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  
 Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America,  
 Australia, Cuba, and all the islands and archi- 
 pelagoes of the sea.
  [ begin page 395 ]ppp.01500.403.jpg 3What we believe in invites no one, promises nothing,  
 sits in calmness and light, is positive and com- 
 posed, knows no discouragement,
Waits patiently its time—a year—a century—a  
 hundred centuries.
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  
The great speakers and writers are exiled—they lie  
 sick in distant lands,
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 entered 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 the superb  
 lovers of the nations of the world,
The superb lovers' names scouted in the public  
 gatherings by the lips of the orators,
Boys not christened after them, but christened after  
 traitors and murderers instead,
  [ begin page 396 ]ppp.01500.404.jpg Tyrants' and priests' successes really acknowledged  
 anywhere, for all the ostensible appearance,
You or I walking abroad upon the earth, elated at  
 the sight of slaves, no matter who they are,
And when all life, and all the Souls of men and women  
 are discharged from any part of the earth,
Then shall the instinct of liberty be discharged from  
 that part of the earth,
Then shall the infidel and the tyrant come into  
7Then courage! For till all ceases, neither must you cease. 8I do not know what you are for, (I do not what I am  
 for myself, nor what any thing is for,)
But I will search carefully for it in being foiled, 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  
 helped, that defeat is great,
And that death and dismay are great.

Part of the cluster MESSENGER LEAVES.

Back to top