Our Union’s Future I Implore



Once, upon an evening dreary,
While I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a mean and direful
Felony of the Southron corps —
Upon me slumbers stilly settle,
Disturbing naught the spirit’s mettle,
Continued with those thoughts to nettle —
Nettle my spirit’s very core;
“‘Tis but dreaming” oft I muttered,
“Settled upon my spirit’s core,
Only this and nothing more.”

“Oh, most surely I remember,
“‘Tis the last day of December,
“And that I am still a member
Of the Union I adore.
Vainly, thus I tried to waken,
Ev’ry measure I had taken,
Still my soul was horror-shaken —
Shaken for the land of yore;
For the good and glorious Union
Which our fathers formed of yore
Christening it with their heart’s gore.

And I fell to dreamful dozing;
Past and Future, thus disclosing,
Nerved me — swerved me into seeking
What I never sought before;
“Spirit one, or spirits seven,
“Come to me from Hell or Heaven,
“Only to my ken be given;
“Further knowledge, I implore,
Only to my sight be given
“Our Union’s Future I implore,
“This I asked and nothing more!”

Then, methought the air grew denser,
Perfumed from an unseen censer,
And a shadow ghostly gliding
Through the partly open door,
Cried, “Mortal, list to a confession
“Of the dying Year’s progression —
“Through the past annual session
“Sitting on Columbia’s shore,
To the Union you adore.

“List, I’ll read to you the reason
Why was born the darkest treason
Of devil sire and dusky dam;
Who, Union’s trouble gloating o’er,
Wildly chased a mad ambition,
Hoping for its full fruition
In their child’s future condition —
The fiendish, base-born Blackamoor;
Hoping in the full fruition
Of Tartarean Blackamoor
Learned in Plutonian lore.

“Davis, Beauregard, Toombs and Yancey!
A kingly bauble caught their fancy;
They wrought together, each one hoping
To claim the crown, and sceptered store;
But Abram cried, “Haste to repent thee,
Drop the power that Satan sent thee,
And pray the people for nepenthe!”
They laughed to see the Eagle soar,
With wrathful mien of majesty;
They mocked to see the Eagle soar,
And answered proudly “Nevermore!”

This last word was uttered gasping,
While his hands were wildly grasping
The seraphic scented air; then he
Vanished to return no more;
Vanished as the mystic token
Twelve at midnight had been spoken;
Then the silence was unbroken
Till through the half ope’d door
Came the New Year’s stately shadow;
Gliding through the open door,
Benediction, ah, it bore!

And I bent to it with reverence,
Heart rejoicing at the sev’rance
From the Old Year’s ghost so direful,
Dyed with fratricidal gore —
while “Prophet!” said I “will this Nation,
The best and greatest since Creation,
Fall before this dark temptation,
Dwell in Hades’ dismal shore?
Will it cease to be a beacon
To the oppressed of every shore?”
Quoth the Shadow “Nevermore.”

“But as gold tried in the fire,
Like an eaglet rising higher,
And as winnowed wheat prepared
For the Master’s garnered store,
Shall the Union’s second birth be,
And then will all the earth see
The glory of true Liberty —
Greater than ’twas e’er before;
And the people treasure freedom
With a care ne’er known before,
That it may suffer nevermore.”

With these words the shadow vanished,
From my eye-lids sleep was banished,
But the happy heartfelt blessing
Of its promise, still did pour
Oil upon the waters troubled
For my country’s danger, doubled
Of my soul, where fear’s had bubbled
By Tatarean Blackamoor;
And I prayed that back to Tartarus
Banished be the Blackamoor,
To return here nevermore!

The Golden Era (San Francisco, California)  – Jan 5, 1862


The beginning of the original poem by Edgar Allan Poe:

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