Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
April 9
In the Land Where We Were Dreaming
By Daniel B. Lucas (1836–1909)
 
FAIR were our visions! Oh, they were as grand
As ever floated out of faerie land;
  Children were we in single faith,
  But God-like children, whom nor death
Nor threat nor danger drove from honor’s path,        5
  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 did thrill
  Until at eve the whip-poor-will,        10
At morn the mocking-bird, were mute and still,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
And we had graves that covered more of glory
Than ever tracked tradition’s ancient story;
  And in our dream we wove the thread        15
  Of principles for which had bled
And suffered long our own immortal dead,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
Though in our land we had both bond and free,
Both were content; and so God let them be;—        20
  ’Till envy coveted our land,
  And those fair fields our valor won;
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—        25
Red meteors flashed across our heaven’s field;
  Crimson the moon; between the Twins
  Barbed arrows fly, and then begins
Such strife as when disorder’s Chaos reigns,
  In the land where we were dreaming.        30
 
Down from her sun-lit heights smiled Liberty
And waved her cap in sign of Victory—
  The world approved, and everywhere,
  Except where growled the Russian bear,
The good, the brave, the just gave us their prayer        35
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
We fancied that a Government was ours—
We challenged place among the world’s great powers;
  We talked in sleep of Rank, Commission,
  Until so life-like grew our vision        40
That he who dared to doubt but met derision,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
We looked on high: a banner there was seen,
Whose field was blanched and spotless in its sheen—
  Chivalry’s cross its Union bears,        45
  And veterans swearing by their scars
Vowed they would bear it through a hundred wars,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
A hero came amongst us as we slept;
At first he lowly knelt—then rose and wept;        50
  Then gathering up a thousand spears
  He swept across the field of Mars;
Then bowed farewell and walked beyond the stars,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
We looked again: another figure still        55
Gave hope, and nerved each individual will—
  Full of grandeur, clothed with power,
  Self-poised, erect, he ruled the hour
With stern, majestic sway—of strength a tower,
  In the land where we were dreaming.        60
 
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’s safe,” we said, while we
Beheld a bronzéd hero—God-like Lee,        65
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
As wakes the soldier when the alarum calls—
As wakes the mother when the infant falls—
  As starts the traveller when around
  His sleeping couch the fire-bells sound—        70
So woke our nation with a single bound,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
Woe! woe is me! the startled mother cried—
While we have slept our noble sons have died!
  Woe! woe is me! how strange and sad        75
  That all our glorious vision’s fled,
And left us nothing real but the dead,
  In the land where we were dreaming.
 
 
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