Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Oliver Wendell Holmes. 1809–1894
 
106. Under the Washington Elm, Cambridge
 
April 27, 1861
 
  EIGHTY years have passed, and more, 
  Since under the brave old tree 
Our fathers gathered in arms, and swore 
They would follow the sign their banners bore, 
  And fight till the land was free.         5
  
  Half of their work was done, 
  Half is left to do,— 
Cambridge, and Concord, and Lexington! 
When the battle is fought and won, 
  What shall be told of you?  10
  
  Hark!—'t is the south-wind moans,— 
  Who are the martyrs down? 
Ah, the marrow was true in your children's bones 
That sprinkled with blood the cursed stones 
  Of the murder-haunted town!  15
  
  What if the storm-clouds blow? 
  What if the green leaves fall? 
Better the crashing tempest's throe 
Than the army of worms that gnawed below; 
  Trample them one and all!  20
  
  Then, when the battle is won, 
  And the land from traitors free, 
Our children shall tell of the strife begun 
When Liberty's second April sun 
  Was bright on our brave old tree!  25
 
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