A Call to Arms (Timrod)

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For works with similar titles, see A Call to Arms.
A Call to Arms
by Henry Timrod

Ho! woodsmen of the mountain side!
   Ho! dwellers in the vales!
Ho! ye who by the chafing tide
   Have roughened in the gales!
Leave barn and byre, leave kin and cot,
   Lay by the bloodless spade;
Let desk, and case, and counter rot,
   And burn your books of trade.

The despot roves your fairest lands;
   And till he flies or fears,
Your fields must grow but armed bands,
   Your sheaves be sheaves of spears!
Give up to mildew and to rust
   The useless tools of gain;
And feed your country's sacred dust
   With floods of crimson rain!

Come, with the weapons at your call --
   With musket, pike, or knife;
He wields the deadliest blade of all
   Who lightest holds his life.
The arm that drives its unbought blows
   With all a patriot's scorn,
Might brain a tyrant with a rose,
   Or stab him with a thorn.

Does any falter? let him turn
   To some brave maiden's eyes,
And catch the holy fires that burn
   In those sublunar skies.
Oh! could you like your women feel,
   And in their spirit march,
A day might see your lines of steel
   Beneath the victor's arch.

What hope, O God! would not grow warm
   When thoughts like these give cheer?
The Lily calmly braves the storm,
   And shall the Palm-tree fear?
No! rather let its branches court
   The rack that sweeps the plain;
And from the Lily's regal port
   Learn how to breast the strain!

Ho! woodsmen of the mountain side!
   Ho! dwellers in the vales!
Ho! ye who by the roaring tide
   Have roughened in the gales!
Come! flocking gayly to the fight,
   From forest, hill, and lake;
We battle for our Country's right,
   And for the Lily's sake!

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.