The Land

By Maxwell Struthers Burt

Be not afraid, O Dead, be not afraid:
We have not lost the dreams that once were flung
Like pennons to the world: we yet are stung
With all the starry prophecies that made
You, in the gray dawn watchful, half afraid
Of vision. Never a night that all men sleep unstirred:
Never a sunset but the west is blurred
With banners marching and a sign displayed.
Be not afraid, O Dead, lest we forget
A single hour your living glorified;
Come but a drum-beat, and the sleepers fret
To walk again the places where you died:
Broad is the land, our loves are broadly spread,
But now, even more widely scattered lie our dead.
O Lord of splendid nations, let us dream
Not of a place of barter, nor “the State,”
But dream as lovers dream—for it is late—
Of some small place beloved; perhaps a stream
Running beside a house set round with flowers;
Perhaps a garden wet with hurrying showers,
Where bees are thick about a leaf-hid gate.
For such as these, men die nor hesitate.
The old gray cities, gossipy and wise,
The candid valleys, like a woman’s brow,
The mountains treading mightily toward the skies,
Turn dreams to visions—there’s a vision now!
Of hills panoplied, fields of waving spears,
And a great campus shaken with flags and tears.

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