Weep

By George Moses Horton 1798–1883 George Moses Horton
Weep for the country in its present state,
And of the gloom which still the future waits;
The proud confederate eagle heard the sound,
And with her flight fell prostrate to the ground!

Weep for the loss the country has sustained,
By which her now dependent is in jail;
The grief of him who now the war survived,
The conscript husbands and the weeping wives!

Weep for the seas of blood the battle cost,
And souls that ever hope forever lost!
The ravage of the field with no recruit,
Trees by the vengeance blasted to the root!

Weep for the downfall o'er your heads and chief,
Who sunk without a medium of relief;
Who fell beneath the hatchet of their pride,
Then like the serpent bit themselves and died!

Weep for the downfall of your president,
Who far too late his folly must repent;
Who like the dragon did all heaven assail,
And dragged his friends to limbo with his tail!

Weep o'er peculiar swelling coffers void,
Our treasures left, and all their banks destroyed;
Their foundless notes replete with shame to all,
Expecting every day their final fall,
In quest of profit never to be won,
Then sadly fallen and forever down!

Source: "Words for the Hour": A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry, edited by Faith Barrett (2005)

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Poet George Moses Horton 1798–1883

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Elegy, Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Born a slave on William Horton’s tobacco plantation, George Moses Horton taught himself to read. Around 1815 he began composing poems in his head, saying them aloud and “selling” them to an increasingly large crowd of buyers at the weekly Chapel Hill farmers market. Students at the nearby University of North Carolina bought his love poems and lent him books. As his fame spread, he gained the attention of Caroline Lee Whiting . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Elegy, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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