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France, the 18th Year of These States

  The 18th Year of These States.

1A GREAT year and place, A harsh, discordant, natal scream rising, to touch the  
 mother's heart closer than any yet.
2I walked the shores of my Eastern Sea, Heard over the waves the little voice, Saw the divine infant, where she woke, mournfully  
 wailing, amid the roar of cannon, curses, shouts, 
 crash of falling buildings,
Was not so sick from the blood in the gutters running  
 —nor from the single corpses, nor those in heaps, 
 nor those borne away in the tumbrils,
Was not so desperate at the battues of death—was  
 not so shocked at the repeated fusillades of the  
3Pale, silent, stern, what could I say to that long- 
 accrued retribution?
Could I wish humanity different? Could I wish the people made of wood and stone? Or that there be no justice in destiny or time?
  [ begin page 407 ]ppp.01500.415.jpg 4O Liberty! O mate for me! Here too keeps the blaze, the bullet and the axe, in  
 reserve, to fetch them out in case of need,
Here too, though long deprest, still is not destroyed, Here too could rise at last, murdering and extatic, Here too would demand full arrears of vengeance.
5Hence I sign this salute over the sea, And I do not deny that terrible red birth and baptism, But remember the little voice that I heard wailing— 
 and wait with perfect trust, no matter how long,
And from to-day, sad and cogent, I maintain the  
 bequeath'd cause, as for all lands,
And I send these words to Paris, with my love, And I guess some chansonniers there will understand  
For I guess there is latent music yet in France— 
 floods of it,
O I hear already the bustle of instruments—they  
 will soon be drowning all that would interrupt  
O I think the east wind brings a triumphal and free  
It reaches hither—it swells me to joyful madness, I will run transpose it in words, to justify it, I will yet sing a song for you, ma femme.
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