Fair were our nation's visions, and as grand As ever floated out of fancy-land; Children we were in simple faith, But god-like children, whom nor death, Nor threat of danger drove from honor's path -- In the land where we were dreaming! Proud were our men as pride of birth could render, As violets our women pure and tender; And when they spoke, their voices thrill At evening hushed the whip-poor-will, At morn the mocking bird was mute and still, In the land where we were dreaming! And we had graves that covered more of glory, Than ever taxed the lips of ancient story; And in our dreams we wove the thread Of principles for which had bled, And suffered long our own immortal dead, In the land where we were dreaming! Tho' in our land we had both bond and free, Both were content, and so God let them be; Till Northern glances, slanting down, With envy viewed our harvest sun -- But little recked we, for we still slept on, In the land where we were dreaming! Our sleep grew troubled; and our dreams grew wild; Red meteors flashed across our heaven's field; Crimson the Moon; between the Twins Barbed arrows flew in circling lanes Of light, red Comets tossed their fiery manes O'er the land where we were dreaming! Down from her eagle height smiled Liberty, And waved her hand in sign of victory; The world approved, and everywhere, Except where growled the Russian bear, The brave, the good and just gave us their prayer, For the land where we were dreaming! High o'er our heads a starry flag was seen, Whose field was blanched, and spotless in its sheen; Chivalry's cross its union bears, And by his scars each vet'ran swears To bear it on in triumph through the wars, In the land where we were dreaming! We fondly thought a Government was ours -- We challenged place among the world's great powers; We talk'd in sleep of rank, commission, Until so life-like grew the vision, That he who dared to doubt but met derision, In the land where we were dreaming! A figure came among us as we slept -- At first he knelt, then slowly rose and wept; Then gathering up a thousand spears, He swept across the field of Mars, Then bowed farewell and walked behind the stars, From the land where we were dreaming! We looked again, another figure still Gave hope, and nerved each individual will; Erect he stood, as clothed with power; Self-poised, he seemd to rule the hour, With firm, majestic sway, -- of strength a tower, In the land where we were dreaming! As while great Jove, in bronze, a warder god, Gazed eastward from the Forum where he stood, Rome felt herself secure and free, -- So Richmond, we, on guard for thee, Beheld a bronzed hero, god-like Lee, In the land where we were dreaming! As wakes the soldier when the alarum calls, -- As wakes the mother when her infant falls, -- As starts the traveler when around His sleepy couch the fire-bells sound, -- So woke our nation with a single bound -- In the land where we were dreaming! Woe! Woe! is us, the startled mothers cried, While we have slept, our noble sons have died! Woe! Woe! is us, how strange and sad, That all our glorious visions fled, Have left us nothing real but our dead, In the land where we were dreaming! And are they really dead, our martyred slain? No, Dreamers! Morn shall bid them rise again, From every plain, -- from every height, -- On which they seemed to die for right, Their gallant spirits shall renew the fight, In the land where we were dreaming! Unconquered still in soul, tho' now o'er-run, In peace, in war, the battle's just begun! Once this Thyestean banquet o'er, Grown strong the few who bide their hour, Shall rise and hurl its drunken guests from power, In the land where we were dreaming!
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Last modified 18-April-2001