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Anti-Slavery Poems
The Summons

by John Greenleaf Whittier

My ear is full of summer sounds,
Of summer sights my languid eye;
Beyond the dusty village bounds
I loiter in my daily rounds,
And in the noon-time shadows lie.

I hear the wild bee wind his horn,
The bird swings on the ripened wheat,
The long green lances of the corn
Are tilting in the winds of morn,
The locust shrills his song of heat.

Another sound my spirit hears,
A deeper sound that drowns them all;
A voice of pleading choked with tears,
The call of human hopes and fears,
The Macedonian cry to Paul!

The storm-bell rings, the trumpet blows;
I know the word and countersign;
Wherever Freedom's vanguard goes,
Where stand or fall her friends or foes,
I know the place that should be mine.

Shamed be the hands that idly fold,
And lips that woo the reed's accord,
When laggard Time the hour has tolled
For true with false and new with old
To fight the battles of the Lord!

O brothers! blest by partial Fate
With power to match the will and deed,
To him your summons comes too late
Who sinks beneath his armor's weight,
And has no answer but God-speed!

1860.
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