Fifes and Drums/The Song

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THE SONG


Along the misty beaches, where the great wind-voices cry,
Where the sea's reverberant thunder sends its challenge to the sky,
And its deeper echoes lure us, from the countries where they die—
            A song is sounding on!

I can hear it, clear and urgent, over all the breakers' rage;
It is pleading for the memory of a noble heritage;
'Twas a woman's voice that sang it, in a past heroic age—
            Its call is sounding on.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
            His truth is marching on.

It is calling with the sea-winds far across the troubled wave,
Where Belgium in her beauty lies all one trampled grave,
And still her proud defenders lift the pæan of the brave—
            Her soul is marching on!

It cries along the bloody fields, from Russia back to France,
Where the great united nations hold the savage foe's advance;
Where the stars above the trenches meet the soldier's dying glance—
            Its call is sounding on.

I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel;
"As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
            Since God is marching on."

My country—oh, my country! Clear-sighted then and strong,
A shield for the defenceless and a flame against the wrong,
True to the ringing echoes of that mighty marching song
            That still is sounding on—

My country—oh, my country! The old brave call has come;
Too long your steps were lagging, too long your soul was dumb;
Tune now your wakening pulses to the throbbing of the drum,
            While God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
            Our God is marching on.

Marion Couthouy Smith.